The second ‘Arise – a festival of Labour’s Left Ideas’ will look at how and why we can campaign for a better world for the many and a socialist, Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Government, writes Matt Willgress.
Recent months have seen an intensification of attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party from a number of different angles, including the formation of the Independent Group, an almost permanent misrepresentation in parts of the media and our Party about the leadership’s position on Brexit, and much more besides.
As its ‘programme’ develops, it is clear that the Independent Group may want to focus only talking on its Remain agenda when it comes to the EU, but also stands for austerity and a foreign policy agenda similar to Blair’s pro-war approach of slavish Atlanticism, which led us to Iraq and other disasters.
This stands in deep contrast to Labour’s popular manifesto ‘For the Many, Not the Few,’ on the basis of which Labour made historic gains in the 2017 General Election
This showed that it was not only possible, but necessary, for Labour to challenge the Tories with a radical alternative across the board.
Central to its vision was the understanding that to end the damage of the Tories’ ideologically-driven austerity, it wasn’t enough to just ‘soften’ austerity, but instead what was needed was fundamental restricting of our economy, so it works for the 99% not just the 1%.
Alongside this were specific pledges on policy areas such as housing, returning utilities to public ownership and making the minimum wage a living wage, which both enthused the Party’s membership and provided popular with much of the electorate.
Yet while Labour’s position has transformed in a range of areas, party members have a real desire to discuss and deepen the understanding of Jeremy Corbyn’s principled positions over the decades on a range of issues, from what would public ownership look like in the 21st century to what would a socialist foreign policy look like.
For this reason, a number of groups, publications, campaigns and prominent figures on Labour’s left came together last year to organise ‘Arise — A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas’ and it is coming back this year on June 21 and 22.
Diane Abbott spoke at the event and described it as “a great event, with over 400 people discussing Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour’s people-powered politics of opposing austerity, fighting racism and standing up for peace and internationalism.”
Richard Burgon MP meanwhile said, “Arise was a wonderful coming together of activists to discuss, debate and explore some of the most important ideas and issues facing us today. The focus on public ownership fit for the 21st century, a modern socialist approach for the economy, internationalism, anti-racism and the importance of trade unions and social movements meant that this really was a fantastic event in the best Bevanite and Bennite traditions.”
In the current context of intense attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist ideas – with a political and economic establishment determined to do all it can to stop real change – this event will provide both an opportunity for networking and co-ordination on the Left, and a chance to defend, articulate and understand Jeremy’s politics across the board. This will include not only our alternative economic strategy, but also why the fight against war and for international justice is essential to our democratic socialism, and much more besides.
There will be an international solidarity hub, a literary section with authors presenting books from Labour’s Left, a strand on how we fight for liberation and equality, workshops on Corbynomics and creating an economy for the many not the few, and much more besides, including the new addition of a rally hosted by the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs on the Friday evening.
With the Tories in turmoil and a Jeremy Corbyn-led government possible if we unite and move forward on our agenda for the many, I hope you will join us there at what will an inspiring weekend of people-powered politics, internationalism and solidarity.
- Arise takes place on the evening of June 21 and all day on June 22 across 3 different central London venues. Participants include Richard Burgon MP, Cat Smith MP, Dan Carden MP, Emma Dent-Coad MP, Laura Pidcock MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP and more.
- You can book advance, discounted tickets for Arise at arise-festival.com . You can follow Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas on Twitter via @arise_festival and on Facebook at facebook.com/LabourLeftFestival