This is our strategic vision for 2017/2018, as voted through by the editorial team at the Annual Review on April 23rd 2017.
Over the last year, we’ve seen our political landscape change dramatically. The right have further entrenched their grip on power across the globe. Xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism and white supremacy have become normalised and legitimised. Military conflicts have intensified. Fascists are on the march, growing in strength and gaining ground at the ballot box. Climate change continues unabated. Attacks on human rights have been rampant.
As The Norwich Radical enters its fourth year, it is clear that progressive and radical voices in our political arena are as vital as ever. Around the world, we see an ongoing war for the future of politics and the lives of citizens everywhere. It is a war that pits liberation against oppression, collectivism against individualism, internationalism against isolationism, peace against militarism, solidarity against division.
Our politics and our values have always been at the centre of our operation. We are unashamedly from the political left. We believe that society is better structured around co-operation 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, and citizens in our team. We’ll seek to recruit new team members from diverse and varied backgrounds especially those with direct experience of the dominant oppressions of the day.
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.
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. In 2018, we’ll bring War of Words – The Progressive Media Conference, back to Norwich for the third consecutive year, hosting progressives from across the Europe to speak on, debate, discuss and build a better media future. And this time we’ll make it bigger and better than ever, hosting a festival of events, celebrating the arts, radical politics, and alternative media outlets.
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 co-operative, with democracy, shared ownership, and collectivism built throughout.
In all of our developments this year, we will never be trapped in the notion that there is one 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.
But in spite of all of this, we will also take steps to address our flaws. We need to take seriously issues of diversity, and we will take proactive steps to address them, ensuring not to slip towards tokenism. We’ll also need to become more agile, responding to events and changes in politics and the artist with greater speed and urgency, so as to remain relevant, timely and incisive.