Radical Hope London – all the news and how to get involved

Have a read of what happened in the open space groups at our London post election gathering in May and get involved in whatever way you can – some wonderful things taking shape. Please email Jacqui at jacqui@compassonline.flywheelsites.com and I’ll put you in touch! 

Radical Hope

… for the economy

Radical hope for the economy begins with envisaging a new economy. However, to give us space to do so, we need to reclaim the economic narrative. This means dismantling the myths and assumptions in our current economic narrative that blind us to the possibility of a better economy.  

Actions / ideas:

  • We individually affirmed that we would get involved with a community group that we hadn’t previously gotten involved in, and seek to meet people outside of our usual friendship groups.

  • We created a “Re-messaging Economics” group, which is currently a mailing list for introductions and for sharing ideas of how to remessage. There are 25 people right now. Some of us will be meeting in a smaller group, called “Sunday Night Syndicate” who first met on Sun 31st May.

 … for our environment

We discussed the absolute necessity to transcend old language about climate change. The fear of science (or science of fear) hasn’t translated into the kind of action that’s so desperately required – and we discussed as a group how to campaign more positively for the changes we need. There was also quite some discussion about what we should be doing in the run up to the Paris climate talks this year

Actions / ideas:
  • We need to use the talks to mobilise people, but we shouldn’t expect a great outcome.

  • The Government’s plans will present us with some crunch points e.g. airport expansion, fracking and road building.

… for London

We spoke about what would make a good London and in detail about how to actually run a campaign around radicalising the Mayoral election. Some of the most interesting stuff was hearing about how organising has taken place in local neighbourhoods. We talked about how people in London often identify with the neighbourhood and then with the city, rather than with constituencies or boroughs. The hopeful stuff was hearing about the things which are already happening. 

No concrete actions came out of this but there might be some stuff in the pipeline so let us know if you want to get involved.

… for feminism 

We were inspired seeing women heading up anti-austerity parties (& in particular seeing 3 women in the leaders’ debates). We’re also hopeful about how new social movements (particularly the anti-fracking movement, movements for social housing, young feminist movement, sisters’ uncut) are being led by women- making their own spaces for leadership outside of formal institutions

We discussed feminist critiques of economies that ignore unpaid caring work (disproportionately done by women), but mentioned new exciting ways in which women are organising economies which put caring at their heart (e.g. Skills Network in Lambeth)

We talked about the challenge of redistributing & revaluing the caring work that women disproportionately do because of their social roles, and discussed how emerging campaigns around a Basic Income & a shorter working week could be fruitful for feminists. :

There were no direct actions coming out of this discussion but it will be carried on so if you’re are interested in developing the conversation and getting involved email jacqui@compassonline.flywheelsites.com

… for redistributing power 

Issues and themes that were discussed included electoral reform, new forms of democracy via community groups; constitutional conventions and the problems and opportunities around city devolution.

Actions / ideas:

  • – Engage with the citizen led constitutional conventions being piloted by Electoral Reform Society etc
  • Campaign for PR for local elections

  • Develop a movement demanding more democratic accountability in the ‘super cities’ (e.g. Greater Manchester).  

… from around the world

People were very interested in what’s going on in Spain and how Podemos is doing things (how it was launched and funding were the most common questions raised). We discussed how important it is for these movements to reach beyond the traditional activist circles, both by cutting across generational lines (engaging all sectors of society, not  just the young) and by challenging traditional labels (e.g. right and left) when these have ceased to be meaningful.

We took hope from how very diverse movements across Europe and the world are standing up to neoliberalism and reclaiming politics as something that belongs to people, not the elites.

… for next generations

The main point to come out of the group work was that young people are engaged and interested in politics – they don’t need liberal missionaries to deliver it to them. Their opinions are much more radical than anything we could come up with because they are still wildly idealistic and the only thing we can do for them is to offer them the physical space in which to hold discussions of their own. Compass could organise space in which the young people could hold this discussion, but have no further involvement except if requested by the students. Another interesting idea was adults infiltrating schools governing body and seeing if they can change them from the inside.

The most hopeful thing was that people like S – a 15 year old activist who joined us at Radical Hope – exist and are willing to put themselves in an environment slightly out of their comfort zone in order to negotiate change. 

Actions / ideas:
  • If you’re 30 or younger, join us on 7 July at 6:30pm in London for a Compass Youth gathering. If you want to come or get involved in organising it email jacqui@compassonline.flywheelsites.com. Also share with any young people who might be interested.
  • If you want to get involved in the incredible Arts Emergency network, who bring the Arts and Humanities to young people, email info@arts-emergency.org/. Bryony from Arts Emergency facilitated the session and let us use their amazing banners that hung on the walls.

… for Labour

The Labour Party has become an instrumental machine for delivering votes (or failing to). If it does not recognise that the party as currently constituted is no longer “fit for purpose” it runs a real risk of extinction. So Labour needs to recover its identity as a campaigning organisation and to draw on the campaigning energy and motivation of Its members. This should include an active and visible (but not dominative) role in facilitating local campaigns where Labour can offer its organisational resources and experience, and also plays a consciousness-raising role in connecting local campaigns to national issues (e.g., on housing, connecting crises of affordable housing to the operations of the unregulated market).

 There was virtually unanimous support for electoral reform as Labour policy; and also for cross-party electoral alliances to maximise “progressive” representation in Parliament, initially on the basis of a shared commitment to introducing PR. To recover, Labour must have the courage of its convictions – which means it must have convictions!

… for Europe & the EU

This discussion addressed how to win a radical, progressive grassroots YES to EU. We discussed the need for a progressive EU vision including European wide minimum wage, clampdown on tax avoidance, a European migration fund etc. We spoke about the need to bring together progressive groups to advocate for a people’s Yes to EU including debates, events, blogs etc, and ideas about how to foster European identity amongst students through study exchanges etc.

 … for universal services

The group recognised the valuable role that public services play on both supporting people, and in bringing the society together.

We felt that after 30 years of tilting towards a consumer view of citizenship that there is a lot of work to be done in re-establishing the language of public provision, determining the appropriate content and cost of public services, and clarifying the boundaries between universal services, cash benefits, taxation and income support. This is work that we each need to do for ourselves to reach greater clarity on our own opinions, but which is also work that we all as progressives need to develop if we are going to reverse the course of public service erosion that has been going on for many years.

… for housing

We discussed the lack of affordable housing, rising rents, selling off of social housing and the precarious position of people in the private rented sector. And solutions – making the tax system less favourable for landlords, abolishing buy to let mortgages, campaigning against the extension of right to buy and building more houses… somehow.

Another issues discussed was how to address the difference between social renting and private renting. Some feel that all housing campaigners ought to be defending council housing as their number one priority, but others feel that this ignores the fact that it is private renters (11 million people nationally; two and half million in London) who get the worst deal – and there are now more private renters than social renters in the UK. In an ideal world, all renting would be social renting, but as social housing stock keeps getting sold off, and eligibility criteria for social tenancies become ever narrower, it’s hard to see how private renters can be encouraged to campaign for something that only a very small group of people can ever get.

The worse the housing crisis gets the bigger the opportunity to build a movement around it. And the fact we were largely discussing things that the group were already heavily invested in, acting on.

Actions / ideas:

  • What about establishing a national network to support people who want to establish housing co-operatives and other models of shared ownership, for e.g. land trusts, ways to make architecture + design more important

  • How about remaking the building society movement

  • Make the ‘mayoral elections a referendum on housing’ 

… for movement building 

The group felt that the primary need was to reach out to people beyond the usual circles, to identify shared values and build stronger and wider networks. This means firstly, to start having conversations with people in our lives, but not already actively engaged with politics e.g. on doorsteps and in workplaces. Secondly, to reach out and try to build links with groups already engaged in community activity, but who may not see their work as being part of a wider political movement.

5 thoughts on “Radical Hope London – all the news and how to get involved

  1. This was a really inspiring gathering of thoughtful, progressive people – and sets the pace for the future. Local groups are now springing up – and more will come about!

  2. We really need some events outside London. Some of us up north have stopped wearing woad which shows that we are really up to date.

  3. Good to see the emphasis on progressive alliances.A Good Society
    Would encourage social enterprise and small and medium sized
    Businesses and the people in them should be with us.

  4. Interesting and exciting stuff! There is so much to be done on every front – essentially it is knowing that we all have POWER and using that to spread the idea that we can live more simply, more in community and working together we can achieve some of our goals!

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