Tag Archives: Corbyn

Agen Sabung Ayam – In the age of Corbyn, is the time proper for another Road to Wigan Pier?

Agen Sabung Ayam

George Orwell, whose Road to Wigan Pier was 1 of the Left Book Club’s earliest selections – though he upset lots of its members with the book’s second half. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

Aiming to “set the agenda for a new age of political debate”, the Left Book Club was re-launched this week at a meeting at the Conway Hall in London. The Left Book Club final published a book in 1948. Jeremy Corbyn had but to be born. Nevertheless the Labour leader has generously endorsed the revival as “a terrific and timely idea” that will give “intellectual ballast to the wave of political alter sweeping Britain and beyond, encouraging informed and compassionate debate”. He added that he had a massive collection of Left Book Club titles, some bought new by his parents and others that he acquired second hand. I speculate that the memory of these books in their plain red or orange covers – their flash upon his inward eye – have to have offered Corbyn with a uncommon pleasurable moment in the past handful of weeks: the believed of them on his shelves obtaining identical kind of heart-filling effect that the daffodils had on Wordsworth.

My personal collection isn’t so huge. In truth, it runs to just 1 book, Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, and I didn’t inherit it. I purchased it 20 or 30 years ago due to the fact I liked the concept of having such a fine book in its low cost and original form – seeing the words and photographs as its first readers have to have noticed them. Published in 1937, the year after the Left Book Club was founded, it need to be the club’s most enduringly well-known title. Other authors and their books have come and gone: names such as JBS Haldane, André Malraux, Clifford Odets and Edgar Snow lie among the forgotten. And yet they had been as soon as momentous among the sort of self-improving individuals that the Left Book Club wanted to enlighten and console, in the hope that they would thereby be equipped “to fight against war and fascism”, which Victor Gollancz insisted was the club’s basic objective.

Gollancz was the publishing brain behind the concept. A selection panel comprising himself, the economist Harold Laski and the political journalist John Strachey would publish a book each and every month in a unique edition that would be provided to club members for 2s 6d. At times the book would currently have one more publisher, and often it would be commissioned by the panel. Naturally sufficient, the titles reflected the panel’s political prejudices – Laski and Strachey were Marxists, Gollancz belonged to Labour – with the result that the list was blindly pro-Soviet until the Hitler-Stalin pact shattered that daydream in 1939. But offered the significant and earnest nature of the books – and what they demanded of the reader – the club was an astonishing good results. By 1939 it had attracted 57,000 members and set up 1,500 discussion groups in workplaces and local communities. Its influence as an educational and political movement stretched via the war into the early years of the first Labour government, eight members of which had been Left Book Club contributors.

Connected: The road to Wigan Pier, 75 years on

Could something like that achievement ever take place once again? At initial sight, it would seem mad to believe so. A book is an antique strategy of political dissemination. Ideology and knowledge-hunger certainly died with the concentrate group and the Tweet. But as well several recent counter examples recommend the case is far from clear-reduce. Thomas Piketty, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben: it was the printed book that contained their suggestions rather than social media. A kind devised in the 15th century is proving remarkably resilient. A book, like a fire, is some thing folks can collect round. It can be – see reading groups and literary festivals – the focus of a good night out, or the very first provocative stage in a a lot more serious method. Or both.

The reborn Left Book Club intends to publish what it calls “a full range of progressive traditions, perspectives and ideas”, which reading groups can talk about and develop to promote “progressive social alter in the interests of operating people”. It sounds doctrinaire, a phrasing from the 1930s, but then that anxious decade bears a close resemblance to the present in so many ways. “Crisis” is the term at property in each: the crisis of capitalism and social inequality of environmental degradation and international relations, all accompanied then as now with the worry of actual or imminent violence. In the prewar novels of Orwell and Graham Greene, “bomb” and “gun” are words that you notice.

It was therefore acceptable, although possibly accidental, that Tuesday’s relaunch took spot in the Conway Hall in Bloomsbury, which has an interior that combines the golden age of Heal’s with a touch of the Odeon, and meeting rooms named soon after Fenner Brockway and Bertrand Russell. (The institution has late-18th century origins, but the hall was constructed in 1929.) I didn’t know what to expect. In Orwell’s novel Coming Up for Air, the final book he published just before the outbreak of war, his very first-individual protagonist, George Bowling, took a sour view of Left Book Club meetings. He describes dusty parish halls, empty rows of chairs and thinly attended lectures on the menace of fascism. A pal of his wife started to attend simply because she “thought it had something to do with books which had been left in railway carriages and have been getting sold off cheap”.

In contrast, every available seat was taken at the Conway’s major hall, which had tables that supported bottles of wine as nicely as copies of the club’s 1st book (Syriza: Inside the Labyrinth by Kevin Ovenden). Two thirds of the crowd looked beneath 30, with a gender balance of 50:50 it was also practically entirely white. “Can Corbyn’s Labour turn out to be a mass movement for radical change?” was the theme of the discussion, as announced on the invitation. Ken Livingstone created the keynote speech. Kevin Maguire, the Day-to-day Mirror’s political columnist, chaired the panel, which integrated the new Left Book Club’s principal founders, Jan Woolf and Neil Faulkner, respectively a writer and a Marxist historian.

Associated: Sixty years of campaigning to end poverty – in pictures

The discussion was swiftly extended to the audience. It was lively and typically cordial, and briefly newsworthy when Livingstone announced that he was to join Maria Eagle as the co-chair of the committee reviewing Labour defence policy, which had nonetheless to be officially announced. Some of the language was vengeful. “Those rightwing swines in Scotland deserved to shed,” Faulkner said. At other instances it was simply loose and assertive. “Our economy is up shit creek and it’s gonna get worse,” Livingstone mentioned. On the entire (the identical trend is apparent on the BBC’s Query Time), the questions from the audience showed a sharper appreciation of difficulty ahead than the answers from the panel. Nobody, maybe out of kindness, queried the premise of the motion – to ask if “Corbyn’s Labour” exists or will go on current.

The “broad left” was described a few instances – an opportunistic alliance that would contain the Greens, the SNP and even the Lib Dems (groans at this point). Marxists, too, if any can be located.

Gollancz knew a small about the issues of such a project. As the publisher who commissioned The Road to Wigan Pier, he was also among the very first to read Orwell’s typescript. He loved the first of the book’s two components and hated the second, when the narrative leaves off describing hardship and turns to the socialist prescription for curing it. In his view, Orwell had traduced his fellow socialists as Stalinists, vegetarian cranks and middle-class snobs. The Communists amongst the club’s associates had been specifically upset. In an desperate attempt to placate the book’s critics, Gollancz wrote an introduction that dissed the second half. It vanished soon after the very first edition. Its awkwardness, which is practically a point of beauty, survives in mine.

Agen Sabung Ayam – Jeremy Corbyn to give greater choice-making powers to Labour grassroots

Agen Sabung Ayam

Corbyn will say the reforms, which include plans to shake up the policy making NEC, are not designed to ‘settle scores or fight sectarian battles’. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Jeremy Corbyn will announce that he is giving more decision-making powers to registered party supporters and introducing online ballots for members on policy, as part of a “democratic revolution” within the Labour party.

He has also ordered a review of the powers and structure of the Labour national executive, currently dominated by the left, in a move seen by his internal critics as an attempt to strengthen its policy making powers. The plans give the first indication of how Corbyn hopes to expand democracy within the party.

In a wide-ranging speech on Saturday covering the economy and foreign policy, Corbyn will say the reforms “are not designed to settle political scores or fight sectarian battles”. He will say in a speech to the Labour south west region: “It’s about being open to the people we seek to represent; giving them a voice through our organisation and policy-making, and drawing members into political action.

“Why not give members the chance to take part in indicative online ballots on policy in between annual conferences – and give our grassroots members and supporters a real say?”

He describes the changes as a democratic revolution in the party “opening up decision-making to the hundreds of thousands of new members and supporters that have joined us since May”. But there will be alarm among some Labour MPs and party members at Corbyn’s plans to give registered supporters paying £3 a regular direct say on policy issues that could be equivalent to full party members.

Nearly 84% of 100,000 non-party members that paid £3 to vote in the leadership election voted for Corbyn. It is not known how many have now joined the party as full members.

The remarks trailed by his office do not make reference to either the plan to shake up the national executive, or to the future status of the national policy forum, the elected body that decides major policy statements for party conference.

Related: Like a good Marxist, Corbyn is securing his revolution from within | Damian McBride

The unions control half the vote at party conference, but do not have the same level of influence over the policy forum, which is elected from all wings of the party. The review of the powers and governance structure of the NEC was agreed at an away-day and promoted most strongly by those on the left.

NEC members have now been asked “to feed in ideas and suggestions as to how the national executive can govern better and what structures are required with any proposed changes being brought to the national executive”.

Advocates of the changes argue the NEC was once the supreme body of the party with a central role on policy making, but its status was downgraded to a largely administrative one by Tony Blair. Corbyn’s supporters argue much of its policy making role was transferred to the leader’s office or to the national policy forum, an elected body drawn from all wings of the party that oversees policy on a regular cycle.

His speech will also call for an end to police cuts, an independent foreign policy in which war is the last resort and will urge Labour to resist Tory calls for patriotism as the party of hedge funds, bankers and the 1%.

He will claim Labour “stands for this country’s greatest traditions: the suffragettes and the trade unions; the Britain of Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley, Alan Turing and the Beatles – and perhaps our finest Olympian Mo Farah – the working people of this country who fought fascism, built the welfare state and turned this land into an industrial powerhouse.”

He will say: “The Tories won in May on their lowest ever share of the vote to deliver a parliamentary majority; just 37 % of those who voted and less than a quarter of those eligible. That’s no landslide in anyone’s book. But Labour failed to win back the economic credibility lost in the financial crash of 2008 or convince potential supporters we offered a genuine alternative.”

He will urge the party to focus “everything on the interests, aspirations and needs of middle and lower income voters”.