Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
First, congratulations and good luck to Red Pepper for the relaunch. The left needs real pluralism and vitality, inside and outside Labour. I always find the magazine interesting and I’m always in awe of Hilary’s commitment and consistency for a liberal left project.
So what did become of the Labour left?
Alex Nunns gives a fair overview but probably didn’t have the space to go as deep as he needed. Liz Davies, sadly, is just dismissive. Sure there are weaknesses and problems but why does she want to write off the left in the party? I don’t want to write the left off outside. We can challenge, compliment, support and learn from each other.
Alex Nunns does a run round the people and the forces. Cruddas and McDonnell, the Campaign group and Compass. What he doesn’t really get into is the history and the ideas. The weakness of the left is in part a product of the low base it starts from. The soft left divided over Blair and lost its leading figure, Robin Cook. There was no organisation. Compass has started to change that but there is a long way to go.
If the left is weak it’s because our ideas aren’t yet strong enough or haven’t been honed and popularised. There are lots of left ideas but they haven’t been formed into a convincing narrative or a popular language in the way that both Thatcher and Blair managed. That’s the second challenge.
Compass has made some headway with its Programme for Renewal but now a string of symbolic and transformative policy ideas need to be worked up. Working with a fluid group of MPs, issue by issue, using our base of 2,500 members and a much bigger email list, and then linking into the unions and progressive NGOs and charities, we are learning how to campaign and exert real pressure. Alex Nunns highlights some of the campaigns we have been involved in – like Trident, the education bill and the commercialisation of childhood.
In London we will do all we can to get Ken Livingstone re-elected on the most progressive ticket possible. I know people get fixated about leaders. Well leaders have a role and Compass helped get Jon Cruddas within a whisker of winning the deputy leadership. More importantly, he changed the terms of debate.
Following the advice of Gramsci, we wont have illusions about Gordon Brown, but neither will we become disillusioned. We won’t be cheerleaders but there is no point in being oppositionalist. We know the real enemy are the Tories.
Instead we will try to build coalitions of ideas and organisation, inside and outside Labour, that compel leaders to be as radical as possible and encourage the more radical to rise to the top. In that we look forward to a strong relationship with Red Pepper and its readers.
Neal Lawson is the chair of Compass
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
How can the heavily-armed Israeli state claim to be victimised by one teenage activist? By Richard Seymour.
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism