This is our strategic vision for 2020/21,
as voted through by the editorial team on 25th June 2020.
Over the last few years, the political landscape has changed dramatically across the globe. Where there had been a threat of fascism in a few countries, we are now witnessing the established authoritarian and repressive powers of reactionary individuals enacting their policies and violence in India, Brazil, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Poland, the Philippines, the US and the UK – with similar threats on the horizon in most neoliberal countries.
The people behind The Norwich Radical, editors and contributors alike, remain firm in their belief that progressive and radical voices in our media are as vital as ever. We have witnessed direct attacks on the trans* community and marginalised genders from mainstream media and politics, the legitimisation and normalisation of far right talking points and discourse, the demonisation of migrant communities in the route to and aftermath of the Brexit process, and the systemic, institutional racism that pervades even the more ‘progressive’ aspects and areas of society, especially in the light of the Black Lives Matter-led uprising and movement.
Our politics and our values have always been and will remain at the centre of our operation. We are unashamedly from various angles of the political left. We believe that society is better structured around cooperation than competition. We believe that individuals are better served through networks of collaboration than through being pitted against each other. We believe that collective endeavour has the potential to lead to a fairer, healthier, wealthier and happier society.
We believe the world is ours to change.
We see the trajectory of The Norwich Radical as intrinsically linked to our political position. As activists, we see the existence, dissemination and flourishing of left-wing ideas as crucial to struggle and political change. As such, we build our strategy upwards from our political beliefs. Without our values, any vision would be hollow.
Given the wider political context, we will endeavour to bring to the fore the voices which are marginalised by the world’s current direction. We will contribute to and shape debates on the major political developments locally, nationally and worldwide, offering radical and progressive perspectives and influencing the thoughts, ideas, and ideologies of people in our city and further afield. We’ll also make sure to take leadership from those most affected from injustice, offering space for them to speak in their own voices and put forward their solutions.
In pursuit of this, we’ll move towards expanding the number of writers, editors, artists, activists, trade unionists, workers, students in our team. We’ll seek to recruit new team members from diverse and varied backgrounds, especially those with direct experience of the current dominant oppressions. We need to act seriously on issues of diversity (and lack thereof in the publication as it currently stands), and we will take proactive steps to address them, ensuring not to slip towards tokenism.
In addition to establishing writers within our own collective, we recognise that we cannot operate in isolation from political actors external to us. We want to be viewed as a major player in the production and distribution of radical ideas, where change makers and influencers seek out opportunities to work with us, utilising the platform that we offer and our ability to reach different and more diverse audiences than other outlets can. We will offer our publication as a space in which to continue activism in a non-physical manner, especially in light of the COVID-19 crisis and the uprisings against police brutality and systemic discrimination globally.
Similarly, we want to be embedded within a wider matrix of political radicals at a grassroots level. Having worked hard to establish ourselves as part of a progressive network within our city, this year we will go further, strengthening existing ties and building new ones. We’ll be taking a more active role in our community, attending more events, being a more effective ally to local struggles and working more closely with our friends across progressive movements in Norwich.
As part of this process, we’ll continue to acknowledge the importance of organising in a space outside of our online presence. We will continue to support local initiatives, such as Pimp My Unicorn and the People’s Picnic, and will endeavour to redevelop War of Words – The Progressive Media Conference, into an even more accessible, inclusive event, hosting progressives from across the globe to speak on, debate, discuss and build a better media future.
One of the reasons we wish to build on what we have achieved through War of Words is that we are keen to build a community surrounding The Norwich Radical that is wider than its writers and editors, but also includes our readers and our friends across the left. That’s why we’ll be aiming to reinvent ourselves as a membership organisation, made up of those who consider themselves aligned with our values. We will operate as a legally registered co-operative, with democracy, shared ownership, and collectivism built throughout and recognised by written rules and guidelines.
In all of our developments in the coming years, we will never be trapped in the notion that there is a singular effective or preferred root to initiating change. We know that the ballot box, lobbying, grassroots campaigning, direct action and community organising have all proven to shift politics. But we also know that the arts and the written word have an important and crucial role to play, and we will never shy away from using unique and different means to espouse our views, building on our recent developments as a safe space for arts performance and platform for showcasing venues, events, and artists otherwise left untouched. We will acknowledge and elevate the role of the arts in the midst and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the financial and societal repercussions of those who work in this field, and its crucial nature as a means of protest and a spotlight on injustice.