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Cover Art by Amanda Berglund

Spring 2020

Table of Contents

Ronan Burtenshaw

Workers Keep Society Going. After the Crisis, They Should Run it Too.

Day by day, in actions small and large, labour provides the collective basis that makes society possible. It stitches together the social fabric — only for capital to tear it apart.


The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a generation of socialists, trade unionists and anti-fascists, and will likely claim many more before it ends. Here, we remember several of those we have lost from Britain and around the world.

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David Rowland

We Need a Public Health Revolution

The coronavirus crisis shows us that we can no longer afford to deal with healthcare in narrow technocratic terms. We need a public health doctrine that sees the full social and political context.

Allyson M. Pollock, Luke Clements, and Louisa Harding Edgar

Towards a National Care Service

Coronavirus has exposed the scandal of our privatised, fragmented and underfunded social care system. It’s time to demand a public alternative.

Grace Blakeley

The Era of State-Monopoly Capitalism

The coronavirus crash will concentrate economic power in the hands of the state and major multinational corporations – the task for the Left is to fight for democratic alternatives.

Zarah Sultana

The World We Want

We now know there is such a thing as a society. But after this crisis, will it be run in the interests of private profit or the public good?

Sonia Adesara

Coronavirus and the Hostile Environment

Every week the public claps the migrant workers who keep the NHS running — but the Tory government remains intent on treating

Jack Chadwick

The Cholera Riots

Nearly two hundred years ago, shipping merchants ignored all health warnings and brought cholera to Britain. Their act of greed triggered widespread social revolt.

Richard Johnson

A Constitutional Socialist

A new biography of Peter Shore rediscovers the life of a parliamentary radical who fought any attempt to weaken the political strength of working people.

Marcus Barnett

‘Forward, Unemployed’

In the twenties and thirties, the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement mobilised thousands to resist the indignities of unemployment. As we enter another economic crisis, we should learn from their fight.

Liz Davies

The Dark Heart of the Labour Party

In the wake of the revelations in the leaked Labour Party report, former NEC member Liz Davies recalls her battles against the party right-wing under Blair – and says little has changed.


Andrew Murray

Class Politics After Corbyn

The failure of Corbynism was its inability to speak to the working-class in all its diversity. The risk of Starmer’s leadership is that it abandons that project altogether.

Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

Planning the Future

The market has failed to rise to the challenge of coronavirus, and states everywhere are stepping in – it’s time to make the case for a democratically planned economy.

Natalie Shure and Fran Quigley

Socialise Big Pharma

The coronavirus pandemic is teaching the world a lesson: we can’t leave the future of medicine in the hands of corporate profiteers.

Chris McLaughlin

As I Please: Labour Must Articulate the Alternative

The case for a new social contract is growing by the day – but it will only happen on progressive terms if Labour makes the case.

Kevin Morgan

We Don’t Need the Blitz Spirit, We Need the Popular Front

If the Left is to draw any comparisons between the current crisis and the Second World War, it should look to the broad left-wing movement that built a consensus for the welfare state.

Rachel O’Brien

An Acceptable Sacrifice

‘Underlying conditions’ has become just the latest throwaway remark reminding disabled people that society doesn’t value their lives.

Aneesa Akbar

New Labour’s Islamophobia

The demonisation of Muslims, asylum seekers and refugees under Tony Blair may make many in Labour feel uncomfortable. But if the party is serious about its anti-racist credentials, it must confront its past.

Claudia Webbe

Thank You Jeremy, John, and Diane

Labour’s recently departed leadership team of Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott stood firmly for socialism against incredible pressures — and history will vindicate them.

Helen Yaffe

Cuba’s Model Vindicated?

Cuban doctors have been praised for their contributions to the fight against Covid-19 – they are a symbol of a socialist model which has now survived longer in the post-Soviet world than before it.


Julian Duane

A Letter from Mexico City

Mexico last dealt with a pandemic in 2009, causing a terrible economic crisis, in the aftermath of an election stolen from the centre-left candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. How well prepared is it now that ‘AMLO’ is in power?

Juliet Jacques

Marx at the Ecosexual Workshop

The newspaper columns of Paul B. Preciado combine queer history and a sober account of the last decade of left advance.

Rhian E. Jones

Workers’ Playtime

Working life is being rapidly reshaped in response to Covid-19, but the balance between work and leisure time has been contested for centuries.

Hannah Proctor

Dizzy with Defeat

The newly published notebooks of the Russian-Belgian revolutionary Victor Serge record the bitter defeats of the twentieth century, but contain within them a boundless curiosity about the world and a stubborn hope for the future.

Douglas Murphy

All Kinds of Folk

The late Alasdair Gray was Glasgow’s greatest writer and painter, a talent worthy of that great city, which he depicted in murals and his monumental novels.

Johny Pitts

To Peripheral Plaza

A new book on Kraftwerk’s ‘Future Music from Germany’ and a Caribbean tribute both reckon with the echoes of an imagined utopia in a bleak present.

Nathalie Olah

The Tradition of the New

Walsall’s ‘New’ Art Gallery opened twenty years ago, and is still one of the best in Britain. As one of the few enduring successes of New Labour’s lavish arts programme celebrates its anniversary, we ask: what went right?

Charlotte Lydia Riley

Reading some Effing Orwell in the Empire

Tribune’s one-time literary editor has become a meme and a ciché, but he remains one of the Left’s most ethically complex writers, and nowhere more so than in his depictions of the British Empire.

Owen Hatherley

Red Library: Brecht

A new set of translations of the great socialist poet and playwright contain consolations and lessons for the dark times.