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Winter 2020

Table of Contents

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Why I Should Be the Next Labour Leader

Special Section

The New Intake

Newly elected socialist MPs from across the country introduce themselves to Tribune readers.

Features

Ronan Burtenshaw

Why We Lost

In 2017, Corbynism was a vibrant socialist project with a real prospect of power — in the two years since, it inflicted many of its own wounds.

Phil Miller

Getting Away With War Crimes

Former British soldiers with friends in high places ran a mercenary enterprise from Sri Lanka to Nicaragua, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake.

Grace Blakeley

No Going Back

Ignore the pundits cheering on the return of ‘sensible’ politics. If humanity is going to tackle the challenges it faces, socialism remains the only answer.

Leo Panitch

A Decade on the Left

The past ten years have seen the socialist movement emerge from the margins to challenge power. But after a series of defeats, where does it go next?

Wendy Liu

The Broken Mythologies of Silicon Valley

The high-profile collapse of WeWork is a parable of venture capitalism — and a world where our collective future is determined by the whims of billionaire investors.

Lynsey Hanley

Secondary Modern

Wirral’s Solar Campus was a global pioneer in the field of ecology. Its gradual destruction tells a story about how idealistic social and architectural ideas have been ground down by class and regional inequalities.

Laura Pidcock

A Letter to the Movement

Laura Pidcock may have lost her seat in December, but she remains unbowed. Her advice? Stand tall, defend your community, and prepare for the fightback.

Opinion

Andrew Murray

Assessing Defeat

To understand December’s loss, socialists should look beyond the ‘Brexit or Corbyn’ binary to deeper problems facing the labour movement — which can’t be solved by charting a course towards the centre.

Marcus Barnett

Rebuilding the Red Bases

To popularise the hope of a better future, socialists must once again become a meaningful part of working-class communities.

Jane McAlevey

Why Unions Matter

There is only one force on earth that can challenge the stranglehold of capital: a fighting trade union movement with organisers at its core.

Leslie Phipps

The Hollow Government

When Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings were in charge of the Department for Education, their scorched earth reforms left chaos in their wake. Now, they have their sights on the entire civil service.

Kat Wright

Organising the Housing Struggle

The housing crisis isn’t going away just because Labour lost the election. Now is the time for those who want to continue the fight to throw themselves into grassroots campaigns.

Jon Trickett

Breaking From Westminster

If Labour is to rebuild itself in the twenty-first century it has to commit to a fundamental transformation of Britain’s political institutions.

Chris McLaughlin

The Real Continuity Candidate

Only economic radicalism and internationalism can achieve the change the Labour Party hopes to see in British politics.

Richard Leonard

Empowering Scotland

Unless the Labour Party gets bolder on constitutional questions, defeats like the one it suffered in Scotland in December will be permanent.

Asif Mohammed

Labour’s Midlands Rout

The Midlands, which was once a heartland of militant trade unionism, saw thousands of Labour voters switch to the Tories this election. Only a politics that truly embraces community, solidarity and dignity can reverse this trend.

Culture

Esra Akcan

A Letter From Berlin

West Berlin’s thriving Kreuzberg district was regarded as a ‘ghetto’ until it was reshaped as a public housing showcase in the 1980s by a complex alliance of migrants, architects, and the city council. Now its success is pushing out the people who rebuilt it.

Charlotte Lydia Riley

Eccentrics Against the Apocalypse

The Greenham Common peace camp was not just a protest, but a community trying to live a better world in the present day.

Robert Barry

Spiral Scratch

The ‘Scratch Orchestra’ founded in the 1970s by composer Cornelius Cardew was an experiment in democratic music-making, turning the orchestra into the microcosm of a new society.

Rhian E. Jones

Why Be Miserable?

The history of Les Misérables has been characterised by popular acclaim in the face of critical disdain and ruling-class anxiety. Maybe it’s time to hear the people sing.

Hannah Proctor

To All of Us With Nervous Systems and Nightmares

Anne Boyer’s book The Undying speaks of the equality of human illness — and the inequality of care under capitalism.

Carl Neville

Secrets and Lies

A tense thriller about the trial of Katherine Gun and the propaganda of the Iraq War is a useful reminder that ‘post-truth’ politics is a lot older than Donald Trump.

Juliet Jacques

China’s Poet-Generals

An annotated anthology of verse by Chinese revolutionaries, from imprisoned Trotskyists to Mao himself, tells the story of how poetry, power, and insurrection so often ran together.

Frances Hatherley

The Photography of the Oppressed

The Wellcome Collection exhibition Misbehaving Bodies reminds us of the pioneering work of Jo Spence, whose photographic projects brought together agitprop, therapy, and working-class pride.

Owen Hatherley

The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe

In this month’s Red Library, we look at a pile of biographies, travelogues, and memoirs about state socialist Eastern Europe, and ask whether they can teach us anything new about how and why it collapsed.