WE LIVE IN A CORRUPT AND VIOLENT STATE – JOHNSON’S RESIGNATION WON’T CHANGE THAT

By Rowan Gavin

At long last, the Johnson juggernaut has run out of road. The Bohnson’s repeated scandals, criminal convictions, outright racism and transphobia were not enough to unseat him; in the end all it took was a few opportunistic cronies seeing a chance to pull their knives. Et tu, Gove?

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BATS, BIKES AND BETRAYALS – THE FIGHT TO STOP THE WENSUM LINK

By Sophie Ciurlik-Rittenbaum

The Norwich Western Link, also known as the Wensum Link, is a proposed road that cuts through the Wensum River Valley. It would cut through a Site of Special Scientific Interest destroying critical habitat, most notably inhabited by one of the only colonies of endangered Barbastelle bats. The project is already over budget, and according to Stop The Wensum Link, may cost up to £300 million. The Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council is responsible for the Link and is pushing for its construction, whereas the Labour-controlled Norwich City Council has announced its opposition to the link.

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BEST LEADERSHIP FORWARD: WHERE’S THE OPPOSITION?

by Sunetra Senior

To mount successful opposition, Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, must embody an Evolved Left.

The ambiguous outcome of the recent by-election at North Shropshire has been telling: screaming even. Starmer is a leader of airs over recognisable reformative action. A microcosm of the calamity of the general election in the summer, the traditionally Tory stronghold in the North of England was lost to the Liberal Democrats as opposed to Labour, despite it being fertile territory for the latter in the wake of recent Conservative catastrophe: the explicit exposure of corruption, incompetent handling of the pandemic and the creeping economic fallout of Brexit, have seen the Tories floundering in the polls. Starmer’s red party should enjoy a stronger lead. A piece for Open Democracy states: “After the Conservatives, the biggest loser from this by-election is Labour. The party shed more than half of its vote share, from 22% to 10%, and was pushed into third place.” This is a deepening of the disillusionment from the nation-wide local election held earlier this year. Labour failed to make substantial gains, while also unable to regain Hartlepool as the party’s traditional heartland.  For someone who made ‘winning’ a lynchpin of his manifesto as announced at the annual Labour conference in Autumn, Starmer’s performance has been persistently poor. 

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FIGHTING THE MEDIA MAN – A GUIDE TO THE UK’S INDEPENDENT, ANTI-CORPORATE MEDIA

By Rowan Gavin

Content warning: mentions transphobia in media

A friend recently described infamous podcaster Joe Rogan as “an independent broadcaster that you might not like/agree with but [who] actually has a voice to push back against corporate media”. Has the standard of anti-establishment commentary really fallen so low that we must turn to a UFC commentator for any effective criticism of the corporate status quo? 

Short answer: hell no!

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MORE THAN CLEAR RED WATER, IS IT TIME FOR AN INDEPENDENT WELSH LABOUR?

by Jonathan Lee

As the UK Labour Party conference fizzles to an uninspiring close, the party appears to be as divided and directionless as ever. Keir Starmer’s long, heckle-drawing speech fell short on setting out a clear agenda for the party, but was big on Labour winning, winning, winning.

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‘FORWARD MOMENTUM’ OR CONTINUED DECLINE?

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by Sean Meleady

A group of left-wing Norfolk Labour activists have re-founded the Norfolk branch of the socialist pressure group Momentum. Originally they were affiliated with the pro-reform Forward Momentum faction, which argued that the group needed to change in a post-Corbyn era. Following the victory of Forward Momentum candidates in the Labour Party’s internal National Coordinating Group (NCG) elections, at the expense of the Momentum Renewal slate associated with Momentum founder Jon Lansman, they hope that the group can be revived locally. 

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THE BURDENSOMENESS OF TIME: ON SIMONE WEIL’S ‘THE MYSTICISM OF WORK’

by Joseph Reardon

The call came and I was told that my second period of furlough had ended. I would return to the workshop for three twelve and a half hour shifts per week, 7am to 7.30pm. The week my boss called, I’d been rereading Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil (1909-1943). Weil was a philosopher who worked in temporary teaching jobs, often being run out of town for her trade union-organising and activism. By the time of her death, Weil had built up a body of idiosyncratic, unorthodox, mystically-inclined theological writing, posthumously collected in Gravity and Grace. I read the final section, ‘The Mysticism of Work’, the day before my return to the workshop. After sitting in my room for three months, going back to such long days would be hard physically, which made it hard mentally; I didn’t want to do it, but I had no choice. At least I’d be able to search for Weil’s mysticism of work.

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BUDGET 2021 AND THE SPECTRE OF CORBYN

By Howard Green

On March third, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his annual budget for 2021. As you would expect from a modern Conservative government, the budget showed an unwillingness to borrow and spend more than a moderate amount, despite the continuing economic pressures posed by the pandemic, and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to benefitting their rich donors while denying the most basic of help to the victims of years of Tory austerity. Sunak is spending just enough pocket change to maintain the appearance that the government isn’t just doing the bare minimum during the pandemic, but, typically, even this amounts to high praise from the largely right-wing mainstream media.

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ONE YEAR LATER: CORBYN’S LEGACY, COMPASSIONATE POLITICS & THE FUTURE OF THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT

corbyn legacy graffiti
by Sunetra Senior

~Rally, Inspire, Reform~

This time, last year, after the 2019 snap-election, Corbyn had announced his resignation in the wake of a Tory landslide the likes of which had not been seen since the 1980s. Recently, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) further concluded that there were a “significant number of complaints relating to antisemitism that were not investigated at all” over the last three years under the former Labour leader, which also led to his suspension from the party. However, while these events are serious and the ramifications apt, they do not also justify the complete assassination of his character as is still the ongoing trend. In fact, as well as being hypocritical in nature, causing unnecessary political stagnation, this regressively rejects what Corbyn represented as compassionate in essence, ultimately even dragging progressive politics back. As opposed to attempting to officially eradicate the controversial leader as if a malignant blot then, newly appointed Keir Starmer must now aim to consolidate his ailing party and fully deliver what past predecessors could not.

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PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT – TIME FOR THE FIGHTBACK

By John Sillett

The recent collapse into administration of shop group Arcadia and Debenhams’ department stores was shocking, but not unexpected. Both companies have had their assets looted by their owners; Arcadia’s owner Philip Green has become widely seen as the unacceptable face of capitalism. Whilst the vultures pick over the bones of Topshop and its relations, there has been an avalanche of redundancies in many sectors, from construction to engineering. The pandemic has hastened the collapse or rationalisation of companies depending on footfall, like retail, hospitality and tourism.

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