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It’s no surprise that it was a comedian, Russell Brand, who, rather magnificently, kicked off a discussion about voting. Some of the best-informed, most passionate thinkers are comedians. The thing that surprises me is not that Westminster politics are found to be boring, but rather that so many journalists find them so interesting. But that doesn’t mean parliament is irrelevant. It’s there to be used, like the courts, the media, the internet and the streets.
I doubt that any of the excitement about the more radical musings of Ed Miliband is justified. But I would still like to see him in Downing Street, if only to see the back of the current occupant. I will probably vote Green, or for Left Unity if they stand. I’m in a safe Labour seat, so there’s no risk of my putting a Tory or Lib Dem in. It’s a luxury, I know.
I think the election of a Labour government would give encouragement to genuine radicals, or at least not inhibit them. It won’t be 1997. Labour can only scrape in, with no euphoria and no blind faith in magical electability. Voting for a party doesn’t mean you have to cheer them on while they do things you were condemning a few months earlier, as New Labour’s craven supporters did until they were forced to concede that the chaos and slaughter their leader brought to Iraq was perhaps a step too far.
But if you don’t want to vote, fine; do something else. We need nonviolent direct action. We also need riots. We need lawyers, loud-mouths and dull academics. We need writers, artists, goths and vandals. We need boycotts, strikes and political theatre, however bad. We need reformists and revolutionaries. We need socialists, greens, anarchists, comedians, atheists, theists, poets and statisticians. And if you want a spiritual awakening, have one.
The collapse of Carillion is only one small part of a larger story of decades of economic mismanagement, writes Jane Lethbridge
Laura McDonald writes that universities should not just be finishing schools for the wealthy or disciplinary institutions churning out docile workers.
A floundering alliance of Blairites is trying to reinvent itself for a Corbynite age. By Tom Costello.
Marienna Pope-Weidemann explains why decades of occupation and oppression have led some people to call Israel an apartheid state.
International Women's Day is set to be marked by strikes from "paid work in offices and factories, or unpaid domestic work in homes, communities and bedrooms."
Laurie Laybourn-Langton writes that measuring the economy is political - and economic measurement dominates politics.
David Scott argues that our prison system represents a human rights disaster, and reformist solutions can't tackle the root problems.
A deeper engagement with culture can strengthen our democracy, taking political projects beyond electoral impact and festival memes into a whole new world of radical, lasting change.
Ruth Tanner writes that revelations about Oxfam's behaviour in Haiti are shocking, but not surprising.
The actions of Oxfam officials are horrendous - but gutting foreign aid funding just puts more people at risk, writes Daniel Gibson.
Stormzy, Grenfell and what it means to be a ‘threat’
The artist is giving a vital platform to a new generation of voices pointing out the deep hypocrisy in which crimes get punished and which get rewarded, write Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Laura Connelly
For All, By All
The latest issue of Red Pepper asks - how do we invite, support and nurture greater public participation so that our cultural capabilities are empowered beyond the crushing logic of market fundamentalism?
‘We are hungry in three languages’: The forgotten promise of the Bosnian Spring
Ruth Tanner looks back at a wave of protests which swept through Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
It’s time for a cultural renewal of the left
Andrew Dolan writes that we need to integrate art, music, films and poetry into our movement, creating spaces where political ideas are given further room to breathe.
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