Friday 7 November 2008

So it's Obama - but what's our agenda for change?

The American election has held us all entranced. But now its over, what happens next?

This extraordinary week in politics continues tomorrow with our Fabian conference America Votes, Europe Responds at Westminster Central Hall tomorrow. It is a good moment to be meeting in the very same building that hosted the first ever meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in January 1946.

Can we make sure we are actors, and not just spectators, in the search for the new multilateralism our age needs and a progressive politics of hope and change? We've been debating the World After Bush since my essay in the summer of 2006 and putting up a manifesto of new ideas for UK and US foreign policy , as well as pushing for a more open and less controlled way of doing politics, as David Lammy and our new paper from Will Straw and Nick Anstead have argued.

But how can that translate into change at home and abroad?

Tomorrow, David Lammy will ask what the US election result means - and who owns change in British politics.

What will change mean in America? Is this the new dawn - or a crisis of raised expectations?

Does Europe have an answer to Henry Kissinger's famous question - who do I call? And what should Brown, Merkel and Sarkozy say when they pick up the phone before January 20th?

And how do we translate the lessons of the movement politics to British politics? Ben Brandzel will speak about his experiences with MoveOn and the Obama campaign, with British activists and thinkers, and those returning from the US campaign trail.

Online booking is now closed. But tickets are also available on the door. Registration is from 9.30am and the conference begins at 10.30am. More information here.


LabMike said...

Had a look at the foreign policy manifesto- nothing of worth about ending exploitation of foreign labour. No ban on companies using half-starved children working 100 hour weeks to produce enough Mars bars to make our bourgeois selves sick! The very bedrock of our capitalist society rests on shoulders such as these- and the left doesn't care?

Compromises and even zealous adoption of a system that has gotten increasingly dirty (but increasingly ignorable and too far away for our jingoistic nation to be unable to dismiss it). This Thatcherite New Labour has been a betrayal. Hell- not only of the left, but of the democratic system. We have three Neo-Libs to choose from next election! Democracy!

If you wanna know why people over are so apathetic towards our politics, I can say that for myself it's because they all differ only in the trivialities. This rich elite that plays with our world (yeah, a Dylan quote) over champagne on super-yachts. Labour is indistinguishable from Tory- so why get excited over either one?

We may be pre-emptively self fellating over an Obama victory, but the world is the same one as it was last week. And it doesn't look set to change significantly.

LabMike said...

"We may be pre-emptively self fellating over an Obama victory"

Typo, I'm sorry! I thought it sounded so good too :P

Fabian-Blogger said...

Clearly an exciting prospect for the centre-left in Europe. It’s important for us to work together with Obama’s administration to forge a better policy direction for the world.