Across much of the world the centre-left is in crisis. In Britain, where the Labour Party has fared better than most, the left still grapples with how to respond to future challenges and is struggling to understand its place in a world where class politics has been turned on its head. In the 2017 and 2018 elections affluent voters turned left, while those hardest hit by years of austerity were increasingly willing to turn right.


This fascinating new pamphlet shows how, across the world, decades of neoliberalism have left their mark. It tells a story of a movement that more often than not has lost its way, searching for answers to the new challenges of automation, climate change and identity politics, but lacking a wider sense of purpose. The near total control of corporations, extending beyond business to the economy, politics and society, has left social democrats who traditionally looked to the state for answers searching for new ways to restore power to people who increasingly feel its absence.


Whichever lessons are drawn from this pamphlet, this is a debate we must have. The collapse of neo-liberalism, the rise of angry, polarised politics and a growing public discontent has made it clear that ‘the institutions and dogmas of a quiet past’, as Abraham Lincoln put it, ‘are unfit for the stormy present’.


The future is up for grabs but only to those who are willing to question, listen, think and pioneer. In recent years, as global crises have left us buffeted, politics has felt increasingly small and parochial. This pamphlet seeks to reach out across national boundaries, drawing on our international traditions in order to seek the inspiration for change, from wherever it is best learnt.

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Cover page of What's Left

Across much of the world the centre-left is in crisis. In Britain, where the Labour Party has fared better than most, the left still grapples with how to respond to future challenges and is struggling to understand its place in a world where class politics has been turned on its head. In the...

Image of report's cover page: young white man with England flag painted on forehead, looking disappointed

The Brexit vote was the biggest single democratic revolution the UK has experienced in decades. In hindsight everyone saw it coming, but at the time the news when it trickled through in the early hours after the close of polling was a seismic shock. It still is. That was because the reasons were...

In this piece, Hannah O’Rourke explores the ways in which our online world is shaping our social interaction - and political awareness. She explains how the use of certain tools incentivises forms of communication and exchange which can run counter to our political values. In response, she...

The Common Platform will build a shared vision, programme and set of alliances for a good society; one that is much more equal, sustainable and democratic. Crucially, it will combine emerging new practice in civil society and the social economy with creative ideas and policy thinking to...

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1968 has shaped radical progressive politics perhaps more than any other year. It was a moment when the social movements of women, race and peace, which had been developing throughout the decade, collided with new left thinking and ideas. It was crystalised through mostly student protest on campuses and in cities across the West. As Mark Perryman sets out here, no government fell as a consequence, but space was opened up for a libertarian and non-statist left to flourish. The reverberations of ‘68 continue to ripple through our politics half a century later.

Beyond Monopoly Socialism


By Neal Lawson

This paper was written to help the Labour Party think through its approach to power so it can build relationships with other parties and forces it is bound to require if it is not just to gain office but have and use power for transformative effect. Equally this was written so that Green,...

Cover page of think piece

This thinkpiece makes the case for radical liberalism in today's political context. Paul Pettinger and Chris Bowers make the case that the Lib Dems should embrace and advance radical social liberal values, such as seeking the devolution of power as well as wealth, and empowering people as...

The old economic order is dying morally and practically. To build a new one we need not just different forms of ownership for more social purpose, but workers with rights underpinned by a new system of social security. Here Ursula Huws makes the case for a new Bill of Workers' Rights and a new...

Good London report


By Catriona Cowie-Fraser and Jacqui Howard

The Good London project addressed how rising inequality and rapid change are excluding too many Londoners from a good life. The project started with a single question: what kind of city do you want to live in? At the heart of Good London was the intention to question how democracy operates in...

Compass annual position paper 2017


By Compass MC

This paper was circulated to Compass members in advance of the AGM in November. It was then debate and passed, along with any accepted amendments at the AGM on Saturday 4th November 2017.

What is the Progressive Alliance?


By Sue Goss

After the vote for Brexit, interest in the idea of a ‘Progressive Alliance’ accelerated. It became The Progressive Alliance during the Richmond Park by-election almost a year ago when some progressive parties and thousands of progressive voters combined to see the defeat of Zac Goldsmith....

This is an extended version of a contribution to a Compass session at The World Transformed at the Labour Party conference in Brighton in September 2017 with Clive Lewis MP, Lisa Nandy MP, Hilary Wainwright and Jeremy Gilbert, on One more heave or hegemony? It forms part of Compass’ thinking...

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