The 2017 general election saw Jeremy Corbyn inspire young people to demand a new kind of socialism. Now, from the heart of the Labour Party, Liam Young asks how this new movement can help secure a fairer and better society for all.
When Jeremy Corbyn decided to stand for the Labour leadership in 2015, Liam Young – then just 19 years old – knew this was a watershed moment for the party and for young people across the country. He joined Corbyn’s campaign and was soon writing for the Independent and the New Statesman, explaining how the new leader would energise the youth vote and bring forward a new kind of politics. While many commentators questioned Corbyn’s actions, Young wrote about how his policies would work and be hugely popular. He harnessed the power of social media and is emerging as one of the most influential voices on the left for his generation and beyond. When the general election results of 2017 came through, he was not surprised by the surge in support for Corbyn’s Labour.
Liam Young is a writer and political activist who, aged 19, was one of the first to campaign for Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. He has written for the Independent and the New Statesman. Having recently completed his degree in International Relations at the London School of Economics, he now advises a member of parliament.
“Liam is one of Britain’s most brilliant young writers. He was ridiculed for believing a Corbyn-led Labour party could inspire people – but ultimately completely vindicated. If you want to know why the youth surge happened, this is an absolute must-read.” – Owen Jones.
For over a hundred years, the Labour Party has been a bastion for working class organisation and struggle. However, has it ever truly been on the side of the workers? Where do its interests really lie? And can we rely on it to provide a barrier against right-wing forces? By looking into its history, this book shines a light on the internal dynamics of the “party with socialists in it”.
From its origins in the late nineteenth century, the Labour Party was uncomfortably divided between a metropolitan liberal and a working class milieu, which characterises the party to this very day. This history guides us through the Bevanite movement and the celebrated government of Clement Attlee, to the emergence of a New Left that was highly sceptical of the Labour party during the Wilson era. It explores the move towards Blairism and the disheartening story of the decline of the Labour Left after their historic defeat in the 1980s.
With the emergence of socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s fate rests in the balance. Will they reconcile their internal divisions or split into obscurity?
Simon Hannah is a writer and political activist. His work has been featured in Open Democracy and New Left Project. He is currently researching at King’s College the municipal socialist movement of the 1980s. He is an active trade unionist and a member of the Labour Party.
“The rise to prominence of Jeremy Corbyn has made relevant again the history of the Labour Left from which he comes. But that history is not generally known. Simon Hannah has therefore done us a great service. At a very crucial time in British politics, his book helps us to fill in important gaps in our knowledge.” – David Coates, author of Prolonged Labour: The Slow Birth of New Labour in Britain.
“A well-timed explanation of the class contradictions at the root of the Labour Party from its creation to the present day.” – Graham Bash, Labour Briefing.
“This informative and thought-provoking historical account allows us to assess the Party’s history, whilst acknowledging that the progressive movement inspired by Corbyn’ leadership is something new and exciting.” – Liz Davies, Labour Party Activist.