The work of the London Office work centres around three focal points, with a fourth in development:
Building Economic Democracy in a Post-Industrial Age
The United Kingdom is perhaps the country in Europe in which the consequences of neoliberalism, deregulation, privatisation and financialization are most profound. With precarious working and living conditions becoming normalised since the abolition of collective agreements and tenant protections, entire regions being left behind as a result of de-industrialization, and record-breaking income disparities emerging amidst the estrangement of metropolis and periphery, the impact of these neoliberalisation processes is written across UK society. Nevertheless, the British left has confronted these issues in a sustained and committed manner, and in doing so has developed some ground breaking theoretical and practical economic approaches, especially with regards to democratising the economy and institutions, and not least during the Corbyn years in which a left wing government was a feasible possibility. As such, an office in London enables the foundation as a whole to strengthen its work on alternative leftist economic policies and strategies aimed at economic democracy under the conditions of (post)industrial societies, which would be an important basis for future leftist governance.
Essential Organizing Models for a Brave New World
It is often said that one of the main weaknesses of the left is not its lack of excellent ideas, but its inability to organize well enough to build power in many communities, such as in rural areas and working class communities and to translate these good leftist ideas into politics and power in a way that is meaningful, and empowering to normal people and their communities. The London office has decided to take seriously the need for deep organising to be central to the work of the left in the UK. As such, we are involved in supporting a range of organizing efforts - in areas as diverse as labour and trade unions, migrant workers, community organizing, the right to the city and to housing, or sex workers rights – with a variety of British and Irish partners.
Our most international project is Organizing for Power (more information: https://www.rosalux.de/en/o4p), a skills-focused networking and training program led by acclaimed labour organizer and educator Jane McAlevey. The program focuses on building super-majority participation in structure-based organizing environments, primarily trade unions. Though it is open to all serious organizers, it targets especially those seeking to win the toughest battles by building high participation unions and other structure-based organizing groups, such as tenant unions, led by actively engaged super majorities. Within two years of its conception, tens of thousands of organizers from over 100 countries have participated in this program.
The Power of Political Education
Political education underpins much of the work of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung. Our partners and comrades in Ireland and the UK have underscored the need for much more systematic and comprehensive political education – in terms of content as well as forums and instruments. The foundation’s London office has been engaged in supporting a range of political educations measures. These range from organisational internal learning processes through seminars and workshops to media content on various subjects such as feminizing politics, a Global Green New Deal and the struggles of the LGBT+ movement. The office is exploring, developing and disseminating political education methods, and enhancing platforms for shared learning and communication between different parts of the Irish and British left to enhance cooperation in that area.
From a Colonial Past to an Antiracist Future
We are also in the process of developing a work stream on the contemporary impact of the UK’s colonial past, and struggles for an anti-racist future. Please get in touch with us if you would like to discuss any ideas in this area.