Democracy, Collective Action, and the State

By Horton, Tim; Stears, Marc | Renewal : a Journal of Labour Politics, July 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Democracy, Collective Action, and the State


Horton, Tim, Stears, Marc, Renewal : a Journal of Labour Politics


An exchange

From: Marc Stears

To: Tim Horton

Dear Tim

I hope you share my sense that this is an exciting time to be thinking anew about Labour and the priorities of the British left. There is an energy about Labour at the moment which is both sorely needed and stimulating to see.

It didn't necessarily seem as if it would be this way a year ago. The Labour leadership race did not really generate any great sense of debate or new direction in the Party. Perhaps it was just too muted because of the fact that the two leading candidates were brothers or perhaps it was because we were still all too stunned by the election defeat. But now I hope we will both agree that there is a sense that the Party is finding a direction again. Ed Miliband is also providing effective leadership both on short-term issues and on the long-term challenges facing Britain.

Where perhaps we might disagree is in the role that so-called 'Blue Labour' has played in this re-energising of the Party.

It seems to rne that, for all of its faults, the debate that has surrounded 'Blue Labour', and that emerged from the e-book that launched that debate, The Labour Tradition and the Politics of Paradox, has contributed significantly (Glasman et al., 2011). It has helped the Party find a new agenda and re-connect with parts of the public that had become distanced and detached during the last years of the previous Labour government.

It has done so in two ways. First, the 'Blue Labour' debate has placed the need for community-based politics right back at the heart of the Party's agenda. During the general election, the Conservatives had their 'Big Society', the Liberal Democrats had their tradition of 'neighbourhood campaigning', and we were left with almost nothing to compare. We had become far too reliant in our thinking - even if not actually in practice - on a statist model of social democracy, one that looked to Westminster and Whitehall for solutions for social problems without drawing on the energies of the people themselves. The debate over 'Blue Labour' reminded us that it didn't need to be like that. It reminded us, in particular, that throughout its history, Labour has been at its best when it has been the Party of local action, of co-operation, of small-scale action, as well as the Party of centralised state action. We were in danger of forgetting this crucial part of our tradition - the co-operative, guild socialist, municipal socialist part - and now that is right back at the forefront of our thinking.

Second, the 'Blue Labour' debate has also reminded us of the absolute centrality of democracy to Labour politics. People across the country - and especially within our own Party - had grown increasingly tired of the technical, managerial, and media-obsessed way of doing politics that had emerged in the New Labour years. We know why Blair and Brown created a disciplined Party machine; it was what was needed to beat the Conservatives back in the 1 99Os. But the Party had lost its soul in the process. Policymakers had become removed from party members. There was a sense that there were only two kinds of people in the Party any more: those who wanted a career in professional politics and those who were willing to stuff envelopes or deliver leaflets. The sense of Labour as a democratic movement, where people enjoyed coming together, debating and doing, had disappeared. We now know that this has to be put right. 'Blue Labour' has started to help us think about how we might do that. The model of community organisations like London Citizens is helpfully invoked, and Movement for Change offers the beginning of a new way of doing politics within Labour. This is a tremendous step forwards.

Labour needed plentiful sources of intellectual and political renewal after the election defeat. 'Blue Labour' has been one such source.

All best

Marc

From: Tim Norton

To: Marc Stears

Dear Marc

Thanks for your message. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Democracy, Collective Action, and the State
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.