Skip to main content
British Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn

How UK Labour Party’s ‘Radical’ Plan for Economic Democracy Could Shake Global Politics

Isaiah J. Poole

Isaiah J. Poole

Editorial Manager, The Next System Project more

Joe Guinan

Joe Guinan

Executive Director of the Next System Project more

Martin O’Neill

Martin O’Neill

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York; Commissioning Editor of Renewal more

Democracy & Governance Democratic Ownership

The Labour Party in the United Kingdom, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, is advancing “a radical program for dismantling and displacing corporate and financial power in Britain” that could open up a revitalization of left politics globally, says a new essay in the United Kingdom-based journal Renewal written by Next System Project executive director Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill, a senior politics lecturer at the University of York. Both are commissioning editors at Renewal.

“This ‘institutional turn’ in Labour’s thinking under Corbyn is a direct response to the magnitude of the challenges now confronting the country,” they write, which include a familiar litany of economic problems—“wage stagnation, underinvestment, low productivity, widening inequalities of income and wealth, not to mention the looming effects of climate change.” These are “predictable outcomes” of the “institutional arrangements at the heart of today’s British capitalism—concentrated private ownership, corporate dominance, and the overweening might of London-based finance capital” that “together form a powerful engine for the extraction of value and its distribution upwards.”

Corbyn’s “vision of democratizing the economy,” contained in the Labour Party’s 2017 manifesto, “For the Many, Not the Few,” has  “opened up space for a far broader political conversation on the economy than has been possible in decades,” they write.

“None of this is about selling a fantasy,” the authors add. “Real-world examples of democratic, participatory economic alternatives exist in communities across the globe. Worker ownership, cooperatives, municipal enterprise, land trusts, public banks, and a host of kindred institutional forms all represent ways in which capital can be held in common by both small and large publics. They illuminate how practical new approaches can generate innovative solutions to deep underlying problems.”

These approaches could also counter what the authors call a “general malaise” and division in left politics by rallying people to solutions “capable of drawing support from all those who want a more equal and democratic society.”

Read the full article at Renewal.

Isaiah J. Poole

Isaiah J. Poole

Editorial Manager, The Next System Project more

Joe Guinan

Joe Guinan

Executive Director of the Next System Project more

Martin O’Neill

Martin O’Neill

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York; Commissioning Editor of Renewal more

More related work

Amazon New York City protest

Without Amazon, New York can now do economic development right

There is an opening to make the city’s emerging solidarity economy a viable alternative to the tactic of using tax giveaways to woo large corporations. read more
Worker cooperative

Worker cooperatives

A worker cooperative provides for both democratic ownership and democratic governance of the workplace, unlike traditional businesses in which ownership is often antagonistic to the workers who create value for the firm. read more

From private profit to public alternatives

Public ownership is gaining ground against privatization—here’s why neoliberalism’s narrative is falling apart and why the people are taking back the economy. read more