Thursday, 12 March 2009

Gordon Brown wants to bring movement politics to Britain

What was Gordon Brown doing on the plane back from Washington?

Writing for the Fabians, of course, according to Tom Baldwin's report in The Times tomorrow.

Gordon Brown is preparing to tell his demoralised and impoverished party that Labour may need to reinvent itself as a modern progressive movement modelled on Barack Obama’s campaign ...

On his flight home from Washington last week, the Prime Minister wrote a foreword to a Fabian Society publication entitled The Change We Need: What Britain Can Learn From Obama’s Victory.

The book, being published later this month, will call on Labour to replace its rigid command-and-control structure with a system that allows more dissent, removes “barriers to participation”, including membership fees, and grants greater autonomy for activists.

I can't personally verify that (as weren't on the plane), but the Prime Minister has indeed penned a very good foreword to our forthcoming pamphlet 'The Change We Need', edited by Nick Anstead and Will Straw (who published a freethinking paper Yes We Can for us in November, to preview the forthcoming collection).

This is one of the first substantive reports digging into the US campaign - in order to ask how we can translate the lessons of the movement politics to the different political structures and cultures on this side of the Atlantic. There are several significant US voices - with authors including Robert Y. Shapiro, Kate Kenski, Ben Brandzel, Karin Christiansen & Marcus Roberts, Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Faiz Shakir, Matthew McGregor, Yair Ghitza and Todd Rogers, Rep. Glenn Nye and Robert Gerber - while British perspectives come from the editors, from David Lammy (who gave a significant Fabian speech last summer at the end of the primary season), and from the Prime Minister.

We will be launching the book on March 23rd: it should help to kickstart an important debate about the politics for change that we need here.

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