Friday, 18 December 2020

Towards the Proletarocene: New Initiatives for the Left

It’s good, in a variously dark time, to see the new Left initiatives that are under way all around us.  Salvage Magazine announces itself as a ‘journal of revolutionary arts and letters’, and features leading weird fiction writer China Miéville on its editorial board.  It is devoted to what it enigmatically terms ‘a communism of the ruins’, and its full manifesto (from which I have pinched the title of this post) appears from Verso in July 2021: The Tragedy of the Worker: Towards the Proletarocene, edited by Rosie Warren and others.

Meantime, the Cambridge Marx Reading Group continues its good work and has, like so many other such projects, gone online during the Covid lockdowns.  You can, for example, chase up Cat Moir discussing Ernst Bloch’s utopian mode of Marxism on Youtube, under the aegis of this group.  Ruth Levitas has for a long time tried to make Bloch’s work count in William Morris circles, so the more we learn of it, the better.

And Jeremy Corbyn is launching a new online Peace and Justice movement in January 2021.  This initiative, of course, at once bears upon much wider political questions.  Whether there is any way back for Corbyn to the Labour Party whip, one may doubt.  Keir Starmer’s purge of the Left means that the conditions for a return of the whip to Corbyn are likely to be so onerous and humiliating that he couldn’t possibly accept them, which neatly gets rid of him (from a rightwing Starmeresque viewpoint, that is).

But getting rid of him thus might open opportunities to the rest of us – ‘us’ here being those who, like me, left Labour as the extent of the Starmer purge became clear (his early move against Rebecca Long-Bailey was the flashpoint in my case).  There appear to be something like fifty or sixty thousand of us now.  Corbyn’s leadership qualities are certainly mixed, but he is enough of a national figurehead to be probably the only person who could start a new political party to the left of Labour - an ‘Independent Labour Party’, to borrow Tariq Ali’s phrase here.  If a new formation of this kind could pull some existing leftwing MPs away from Starmer’s Labour and sign up most of the recently lapsed membership, it might well be a viable organisation for Left ideas and values.  As the Covid darkness of 2020 begins to cede to a hopefully brighter 2021, one can only hope, and, if Corbyn makes such a move, pitch in.


1 comment:

Tony Pinkney said...

Local political developments in Lancaster along the lines I'm looking for do seem to be happening: