The Future of Progressive Politics – Taking Back Control?

Oct 25th, 2018 | By admin | Category: Articles, Frontpage, Lead

Politics professor Andrew Gamble will be the headline speaker at the next ILP day school on ‘the future of progressive politics’ to be held in Sheffield on Saturday 8 December.

Gamble, who is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield and Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge, will speak about his new book Open Left: The Future of Progressive Politics, and his ideas on how to create a social democracy for the 21st century.

Open Left cover

In his book, Gamble says:

“The ten years since the financial crash have been lean years for progressive politics of all kinds. Now Brexit in the UK, Trump in the US, and the rising tide of national populism in Europe pose new dangers. Parties of the Centre-Left are in retreat. Old bases of support have declined, old policies are out of touch, old assumptions no longer hold.

“At the same time new thinking, new innovations, new forces are turning the world upside down. We face great dangers but also great opportunities.

“How should those who still want a progressive future respond? This book argues that the first priority is an Open Left. We must abandon the idea that one tradition of progressive thought has all the answers. We need openness to new policy ideas, openness to learning from past mistakes and other’s experiences. We should be prepared to listen to very different voices and very different intellectual traditions. We must find ways to engage with people from a wide range of communities and backgrounds.

“An Open Left also recognises we cannot retreat from the world, or ignore economic and political realities. We need a dialogue with progressive movements from many different countries, learning from their experiences of putting progressive ideas into action.

“The idea of progress can still inspire change, but it needs updating.”

Gamble will be followed by the ILP’s Barry Winter who will lead a discussion on ‘taking back control’ and whether the slogan adopted by many Brexit supporters can be used for progressive purposes.

The free event will take place at The Circle from 1pm-4pm, although you need to book by Friday 30 November to reserve your place.

You can book via Eventbrite or by email to: info@independentlabour.org.uk.

What: ‘The Future of Progressive Politics – Taking Back Control?’
When: 1-4pm Saturday 8 December 2018
Where: The Circle, Sheffield
Who: Andrew Gamble, Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield, & Barry Winter, ILP
How much: Free
How to book: Eventbrite or email: info@independentlabour.org.uk.

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  1. Andrew Gamble’s title and the above quotation are very important. We clearly (as always) need the dialectics of democratic socialist debate – especially now or it might be too late. We need to encourage this approach beyond and across our own boundaries.

    GDH Cole wrote two especially important articles for the New Statesmen back in 1955 on ‘The Future of Socialism’, which were later published as a pamphlet. They influenced the setting up of a body entitled ‘The International Society for Socialist Studies’ which started with conferences in Oxford, Paris and London involving people from some 20 nations.

    I was lucky enough to attend the London conference in September 1957 and hear GDH introduce a discussion on his paper ‘How Current Trends In Capitalism Influence Socialist Policies’. I then quickly decided to join the Labour Party, having just completed my national service in Iraq a year earlier – where I had read GDH’s New Statesman articles as I used to order the publication on rice paper and collect it from an book shop in Basra.

    Unfortunately, GDH died in 1959. As a university academic he had forged links with the adult education college at Ruskin, but I only arrived there as a student in 1960 so I only came across the once at him at the ISSS conference. Unfortunately, the ISSS did not survive, but the New Left came to provide an avenue for one of its leading activists – Stuart Hall – and it was also an avenue for some of my connections.

    A commitment I took from my early experiences was the need for discussion and debate among comrades, and a wilingness to learn via dialogue and debate, rather then sticking with dogma. As John Stuart Mill said, the person “who only knows their own side of the case, knows little of that”.

    So since my early days in the Labour Party, I have been keen for discussions and debates. Apart from branch discussions, over time the New Left, the Fabian Society, the ILP and teaching trade unionists via industrial day release classes have given me such openings. But how can we draw from such lessons and build for the future?

  2. I’m sure Andrew Gamble will be a fascinating speaker on the challenges faced by the left and centre-left.

    Back in the 1980s I recall his insightful writings on Thatcherism – both his contributions to Marxism Today and his books putting Thatcher in historical context.

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