Diane Abbott: Socialism for the twenty-first century

18th March, 2018 6:20 pm

The Labour Party has always had socialists in it. But it is now led by socialists. This is not accidental.

Throughout my lifetime, each generation in this country has confidently and correctly expected its standard of living to be better than its parents. That is no longer the case. We are living in unprecedented times, at least in the modern era. These unprecedented times create their own exceptional political circumstances.

Yet Jeremy Corbyn is excoriated because he intends to do something about this terrible economic situation. As John McDonnell showed on LabourList this week, the Tories have no plan to lift the economy out of its stagnation. If people are to have any hope it will only be with Labour’s plans for investment, not cuts.

Prosperity is the bedrock of the socialist project. In the past, it was possible to simply argue for a slightly bigger slice of the expanding pie. Now we must take action to make sure the pie grows at all. That is the basis of our economic policy.

But socialism cannot be elitist or sectoral or ever concede to the divide and rule agenda of the Tories. We stand for the liberation of all. We oppose discrimination, bigotry and prejudice in all its forms. Our policies are aimed at promoting equality, in terms of pay, housing, schools, the law and every aspect of social life.

We are also internationalists. This term has become so abused that those who prosecuted illegal wars claimed it for themselves. Real internationalism means valuing the lives of others, promoting peace and recognising the need to tackle international problems such as climate change collectively and internationally.

Over the course of the week, I have tried to bring together some of the key elements of Labour’s approach to twenty-first century socialism. The intention has been to show how Labour will approach these issues, and to make these issues impact on Labour thinking.

A great many thanks are necessary. First, to LabourList and its editor Sienna Rodgers for giving me this opportunity. Secondly, I want to thank all the fantastic contributors, whose passion and erudition is so valuable now and in the future movement we need to sustain a Corbyn-led government.

Finally, I would like to thank you the readers, whose engagement, disagreement and support over this week is vital. You are the lifeblood of a growing movement that can change lives for the better.

Diane @HackneyAbbott

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