Editorial statement of Forward March

The fabric of politics as we know it is being unravelled, both within the Labour Party and without. Over the past year we have witnessed a quiet revolution. From Jeremy Corbyn’s astonishing capture of the Labour Party, to the epoch-defining vote to leave the European Union, the political assumptions and strategies of old have been destroyed, left in tatters by insurgent new forces. This observation seems undeniable following Corbyn’s second successive leadership victory, which saw him emerge with an even greater mandate.

We stand on a precipice, teetering on the brink. It is not yet clear what lurks below, or the fate of our Party and movement. Opportunities are emerging as rapidly as threats. Yet as political realities continue to change at nauseating speed, our intellectual analysis must keep up. Failure to do so risks our being swamped by the flows of history, when we should instead be shaping them.

It is from this chaotic context that Forward March is launched, both as product and willed-for solution. Containing analysis and ideas which aim to reinvigorate the left, we hope to equip Labour with the capacity to understand and act upon its historic mission. Our logic emerges from several key premises.

The editorship of Forward March notes and believes

  • That the Labour Party is experiencing a profound crisis, one of existential proportions. We have witnessed 15 years of continual decline. This has been the product of structural shifts in society and the economy, combined with the repeated failings of both Labour’s left and right flanks.
  • That Corbyn's election victories are a response to the Party’s long-term decline, and represent a fundamental realignment on the British left. Corbynism is symptomatic of the wider crisis of social democracy across Europe. At the same time, we do not believe that as yet Corbyn has risen to these challenges. While we salute his intentions, we fear at present that the Corbyn project is too attached to chimeras of the past. It has changed everything, but as of yet solved nothing.
  •  That at the core of Labour’s crisis is its 'cultural collapse'. Labour has lost its symbiotic relationship with the people it seeks to represent, exposed so painfully in the vote to leave the European Union. Labour has for too long failed to empathise with many of the primary categories of belonging of the British people, and as a result new frameworks of understanding and messaging must be developed.
  • That the political culture endemic in the Party at present prevents any resolution to these profound questions. Forward March seeks to transcend the simplistic factional dichotomies of left and right wing, Blairite and Corbynite, to give the Party renewed collective purpose. Such a strategy is the beginning to any path which will see Labour contesting for power, forming a government, and enacting fundamental and lasting socialist change.

Forward March takes its name and influence from Eric Hobsbawm’s seminal 1978 essay The Forward March of Labour halted?, the following words from which encapsulate the spirit which underpins our premises:

‘If the labour and socialist movement is to recover its soul, its dynamism, and its historical initiative, we must... recognise the novel situation in which we find ourselves, to analyse it realistically and concretely, to analyse the reasons, historical and otherwise, for the failures as well as the successes of the labour movement, and to formulate not only what we would want to do, but what can be done.’

We hope you enjoy reading and discussing what we produce.