The future for Open Labour

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By Jade Azim / @JadeFrancesAzim

So far, Open Labour, in its fledgling stages, has not expressed opinion on one of the most integral exercises in shaping the future of the Labour Party: internal elections. This is true in particular of the recent and forthcoming Young Labour elections.

In our early days, we are developing governing principles and a distinct philosophy to carry us forward, but sticking to our commitments to openness, it is quite clear that we have our own vision for the Labour Party. We will not hide away from our influences. We also very much intend to be key developers alongside our comrades from other Labour Groups in the formation of a new agenda for the Labour Party going into 2020.

For now, we will be developing a wealth of ideas to carry us forward, based in our historic traditions that are already well-known influencers of Open Labour: Tribune, the former Bevanites, John Smith, Robin Cook and other historical figures of the Labour Left. But we are more than the past, and we are more than the interim that often came to be the mark of our predecessors, to fill a space from one shift to the next. We believe we can build a new, Open Left philosophy that can win, not just the hearts of Labour members –for whom we believe we represent the majority- but the hearts and heads of the general public. We will be comprehensive in our reviews and our new Open Left ideas, on housing, public services, the NHS, technology, new forms of public ownership, welfare and the welfare state, economic growth, and election strategy. New and exciting modern, democratic socialist approaches to the issues we face in the 21st Century, and to the electorate.

That is what we are busy doing, collating our views and organising our principles. From the blogposts we already have, on technology, to the nature of the centre ground, to a Citizens’ Income, that is starting to take shape: our contributions come from far and wide and they are grassroots-driven. To be a glorified think tank would be a mistake, though academia plays a part: our members will decide the future. And in that we too encourage the young, enthused members that have recently joined the Labour Party, and the wider youth movement as a whole. We encourage candidates to make their pitches to us, and to our audience. We encourage them to attend our future events, to write for us.

For now we have asked James Elliott and Jasmine Beckett, both standing to be our Youth Rep on the National Executive Committee (NEC), for their pitches to Open Labour and our members with a consideration of our traditions. (EDIT: due to unforseen circumstances and tribulations of the race, the candidates had to drop out.)

As we organise our future principles, we are happy to provide platforms to everyone in the Labour Party, from across the spectrum. This open debate is key not only for the new politics of Labour, but for Open Labour too. We will decide what the best route is, and that comes with vigorous debate. That is the nature of Open Labour.

With this approach, the formation of our guiding philosophies will be entirely out in the open, debated in public, carefully considered and decided on by the grassroots. They will be blogged, published as reports, debated on at events such as the one forthcoming in Manchester, put forward at stalls during Labour events and conferences, and discussed on panels alongside our peers.

Once we have established a comprehensive set of principles, we will be in a position to play a key role internal to the Labour Party. The future will involve far greater involvement, and we will do as our comrades in our counterpart Labour groups do now: promote, endorse candidates, engage, debate, and persuade members that our vision is worthy of consideration. And then we will put that forward to the electorate. We have considerable talent and knowledge under our belts, we will make sure to be worthy of being a key player in future debates. For now we are deciding our own future. We ask you to help.


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