About New Socialist.

New Socialist is an independent online socialist magazine based in Britain.

We were formed in 2017, in response to a contradiction we felt between the tremendous potential of ‘Corbynism’ and its drift into conformism and deep rooted dampening down of radicalism and theoretical challenge for the sake of both internal and external “unity”. We felt—and still feel—that this drift is typical of the British left. Even whilst broadly situated within ‘Corbynism’, New Socialist was always at its most critical left edge, and open to extra-Parliamentary movements. While we acknowledge that contesting the state through Parliament is necessary, we are agnostic over whether the Labour Party can be made into a tool through which to do this, particularly in the wake of the 2019 election defeat and the left’s loss of the leadership. As such, we maintain a critical interest in Labour, but prioritise other forms of activity over and above Parliamentarianism.

We are Marxists. We understand Marxism not as a fixed doctrine to be applied to reality, but as an always provisional, open activity. Our Marxism is always tested in and modified by practice, in constant contact with and affected by emergent struggles and contradictions, including ‘non-Marxist’ ones. Our Marxism and our socialism are not varieties of class reductionism, not least when the understanding of class amongst class reductionist ‘socialists’ is stagnant, boring, and lacking in analytical or political utility. Neither do we subscribe to the Parliamentary economism that has characterised much of the thinking of the Labour left.

We are keenly aware that there is a certain ‘sophisticated’ Marxism that overstates the ideological dimensions of the state—and the struggle against them—over its repressive aspect. This is partly due to theoretical errors, but even more so due to the personal circumstances and privileges of many theorists. We aim to centre struggles against these repressive aspects- against borders, prisons, police and against repressive, authoritarian aspects of the social state- in solidarity with anti-racist struggle. We also recognise that racism is inscribed in capitalism, especially British capitalism with the structuring role of imperialism, beyond repressive aspects of the state.

We are also committed to ecological transformation—not only amelioration or reform but a deep, thoroughgoing departure from the ways in which capitalism organises and relates to nature. For us, socialism is the transformation of relationships, not only within nature, but with each other. Rather than parliamentary economism, we believe socialism challenges the family, and includes a movement away from transphobia and homophobia. Transphobia and homophobia are not only prejudices that harm some of the most vulnerable, but integral parts of capitalism and the capitalist state’s system of relationships.

Socialism is a whole way of life, and we aim to provide a wide-ranging exploration of culture—both through extensive theoretical treatments, and through shorter accessible engagements in our ‘Culture is Ordinary’ section.

We want to make ourselves useful to struggles and organising in Britain and beyond. Our ‘Transmissions’ series allows comrades to publicise their struggles, seek support and develop further leverage. It will enable those outside those particular struggles to offer support, and learn how to provide support. Our Activists’ Inquiry also offers space for the sharing and recording of experience. Alongside this, we will continue to publish more theoretical reflections on struggles.

We understand what we do as being practical. It is not just practical in the sense that we aim to have real world effects. It is not just practical in that we aim for our thought to be open to—and modified by—emergent practice. What we do is its own political activity. We are not only interested in producing high quality work with certain practical effects external to it. We are also interested in the effects of how we produce. As far as is possible within a small, underfunded magazine, we aim to prefigure the world we want, and to be accountable for how we do that. We are committed to building people’s capacity to act both collectively and as individual writers, which means we take very seriously the ethical impacts of who we commission, publish, and support. We aim to spend time developing writers within our movements who may lack confidence, or who may be marginalised.

We are proudly and intransigently independent, both in our funding and our politics. We are not beholden to any faction or group on the left, whether inside or outside the Labour Party. We are funded solely through subscriptions. This means we are also independent of any of the institutions of the labour movement. We are able to accept or turn down whatever work we want, and able to criticise or praise whoever we want.

We aim to be as open, generous and imaginative as possible, to allow us to learn from a range of traditions and struggles and to help us develop socialist thought and practice. We believe in a genuine pluralism, not mere heterogeneity. Indeed, we view a lot of the limits of Corbynism—especially its conformist limits—as the result of never cohering beyond a heterogenous coalition. This often led to closed attitudes and brittleness. Genuine pluralism and political alliance, by contrast, requires a shared understanding of a radical project and the drawing of lines against those opposed—whether in word or deed—to any of the moral, ethical, or theoretical commitments of that project. This can, however, only happen through comradely, good faith discussion.

The task, as William Morris once put it, is not to “make socialism”, but to “make socialists”. We understand socialism as a collective, open-ended process of transformation: the making and re-making of one another, and the connections between us. Above all, we hope to create a space where this can happen.