An Alternative Politics

Raymond Williams

Abstract


The challenge of constructing an alternative politics must be accepted, for at least two reasons. First, because the Labour Party is now subject to change, though to what extent and in what direction is still uncertain. Second, because those of us who are committed to the Labour movement, yet who are critics of what has been accurately called Labourism, have an obligation to engage with practical policy, at the levels at which this is ordinarily determined, even when we also insist on discussing those problems of theory and assumption which these processes typically evade. In an earlier essay I tried to describe the programmes and initiatives which are necessary before any serious Left policy is possible or is attempted in government. I agreed with current proposals and campaigns to democratise the Labour Party and to reorganise the independent Left, but I mainly emphasised a major effort in research and education, on a scale which has not been attempted for at least two generations. The present essay follows from that perspective and emphasis, and is mainly concerned with what could be done, in government, to extend and sustain that effort.

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