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Editors' Letter

ECOLOGIES | Editorials  }

Tom Gann, The Editors / October 16, 2021
Updates on what's been going on at New Socialist, and launching #NS500, our subscription drive. 5755 words / 23 min read

Image: B. Mure


Welcome to our second edition, ECOLOGIES. Firstly, we’d like to apologise for how long it’s taken for this edition to come out, though we hope the breadth and quality of work at least in part justifies and makes up for the delay. One reason for this delay is quite simple: the sheer quantity of work that we have commissioned has meant that developing and editing pieces to our standards has taken a long time. Another reason—ironically, given how much Marx’s observation on capital’s exhaustion of soil and worker has preoccupied us and many of our writers in the work towards this edition—there is also the question of our own exhaustion, and how overburdened and under-resourced we continue to be. New Socialist is without doubt a labour of love, but the love part does not cancel out the labour part. More on this in a moment.

Today we are publishing the majority of the edition. Over the next month we will be adding a few pieces that have not yet been finished (including josie sparrow on soil, Tom Gann on the Green New Deal and the passive revolution, Eddie George on the life of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and our Activists’ Inquiry). We have decided to publish now, even though the edition is not complete, as we’re excited to share all the work with you—and we don’t want to risk any of our writers having to rewrite anything more.

Bringing ECOLOGIES into being was always going to be a sprawling endeavour. Perhaps inevitably, even with the extent of this edition (and our deliberate avoidance of some of the more hackneyed topics of the ecologically-inclined Anglo-American left), we still have not covered anywhere near everything we would have liked to. For this reason, we’re hoping to revisit the theme for another edition, sometime in the not-too-distant future.

We still have not covered anywhere near everything we would have liked to. For this reason, we’re hoping to revisit the theme for another edition, sometime in the not-too-distant future.

We’d like to thank all our writers, especially those who had to rework aspects of their pieces because events transpired, as events so often do, in the space between writing and publication; and especially those who had to contend with difficult personal circumstances as we developed this edition. Your visions, insights, and excellence make this edition what it is, and we are profoundly grateful.

Likewise, to our illustrators and photographers—credited on their individual pages—without whom, this edition would be a thousand times less beautiful.

Thanks are also due to the publishers who graciously offered us extracts, and particularly the workers who helped coordinate it. We would particularly like to extend our solidarity to the comrades at Verso Books and their efforts to unionise, both in the US and in Britain. It is our hope that Verso’s British management will reconsider their current handling of the union recognition process, and we would encourage Verso authors to extend their solidarity to this cause. We would also like to voice our concerns over the Verso management’s handling of sexual harassment, and express our full solidarity with Emily Janakiram, the Verso women’s group, and all survivors of sexual harassment and violence. In this edition, we are running several extracts from Verso books. In light of the above, we have considered our position carefully. Ultimately, we decided that, absent a call from Verso workers for a boycott, we would go ahead. If, in future, Verso workers do decide to call for a boycott, we will act in solidarity with them.

Huge thanks, as ever, go to our subscribers—including the comrade who wants to remain anonymous whose generous donation covered the costs of the writing and artwork for this edition!—without whom, this edition would not have been what is is.

Finally, we want to thank our readers, everyone who has been kind and encouraged us, and all those involved in the struggles and political creativity (both in Britain and globally) that have made the arguments and positions set out in this edition possible. It is always our view that we stand within a web of movements and struggles that have effects on us, even as we reciprocally—hopefully—affect them. This is central to our sense of political responsibility. We hope that this edition does justice to at least some of these ecological struggles and movements, and that it can have positive, generative political effects.

It is always our view that we stand within a web of movements and struggles that have effects on us, even as we reciprocally—hopefully—affect them. This is central to our sense of political responsibility.

Looking back on Bad New Times, the edition was incredibly and gratifyingly well received. The reception of the individual pieces was almost entirely positive, though one person felt that the presence of the A23 Travelogue vindicated his decision to stop subscribing. (We should note here that the absence of the Travelogue in this edition is not a consequence of this complaint.) The new design of the website and the overall concept were also both very well received.

Perhaps the less successful aspects were that, although (or perhaps because) the pieces were so well received, they didn’t often promote significant discussion beyond praise and positive sharing. This is certainly gratifying—and is a mark of the quality of the work—but was also a little disappointing. Countering this broader trend, we were very pleased to hear of a reading group around Mary Robertson’s wonderful and crucial piece on left economic strategies, a piece which also attracted some constructively critical discussion online. Developing ways to build discussion around our pieces is something we would like to explore—we want to open up conversations on the left, rather than act as mere suppliers of Content.

The other slight limit or disappointment of Bad New Times was that publishing such a quantity of high-quality work all in one go meant that some pieces did not get the attention they deserved. At the time of writing, we are thinking about how we might make this less of an issue with ECOLOGIES, and we are also reviewing our commissioning schedule. Views and ideas from readers/subscribers are, as ever, welcome (and, as we will explain, we have plans to develop ways to allow subscribers to put forward their ideas for New Socialist).

In May, our editor Elle O’Rourke and our regular contributor Jules Gleeson (whose review of Christopher Chitty’s Sexual Hegemony you can read in this edition), published their essay collection Transgender Marxism (Pluto Press). It’s a wonderful and absolutely crucial book, and we’re very happy to be able to share an extract from Elle and Jules’s excellent introduction as part of this edition. If you haven’t bought a copy yet, you really should! Subscribers can get a handy 35% discount on Transgender Marxism, or any other books from Pluto.

We have also recently seen the publication of editor emerita (and contributor to this edition) Rhian E. Jones’s Paint Your Town Red, co-written with Matthew Brown, which we’d very much recommend. Frequent contributor and Friend Of NS Owen Hatherley’s Red Metropolis came out earlier in the year: Tom Gann interviews Owen in this edition, and Daniel Frost reviews the book. Both Paint Your Town Red and Red Metropolis are published by Repeater Books; and, as luck would have it, New Socialist subscribers can also get a 50% discount on one book from Repeater. Meanwhile, Influx Press have published two books by NS contributors: The Service, Frankie Miren‘s excellent debut novel, and Variations, a wonderful collection of short stories from Juliet Jacques.

Whilst preparing this edition, we have continued to publish fairly extensively in our Transmissions section. It is quite clear to us now, having worked things out in practice, that the structure of a themed edition with Transmissions running alongside it is the best way to combine responsiveness to emergent and continuing struggles with the production of deep, careful analytical and theoretical work (an operative theory for the left). We hope, too, that the two sides of New Socialist will continue to be brought into generative relation. We’re proud of what we’ve done with Transmissions so far. It has, however, not been without its issues.

For us, the most pressing problem with Transmissions has not been what we have published (which has been important and of high quality)—but what we haven’t. The circumstances of a publication like New Socialist mean that what we can publish is to a significant extent shaped by our existing contacts, and these are necessarily patchy. And so, while we are strong when it comes to struggles in Latin America, or Poland, or in militant base unions like United Voices of the World, we are less connected with radical and left tendencies within the TUC unions (excepting UCU and the NEU, which is definitely suggestive of a particular base for readers and writers). Similarly, our coverage of the British nations is far better on Wales than it is on Scotland or Cornwall; our coverage of Ireland could also stand to improve. Equally our coverage of the experiences and theorising of disabled people is lacking.

Perhaps most significantly for recent months, our lack of capacity to cover struggles in Sub-Saharan Africa (other than South Africa—again, suggestive) has been apparent. For example, we spent ages trying to commission something around the End SARS movement in Nigeria, but all leads ran cold. There is also a notable absence of perspectives from Sub-Saharan Africa in this edition—another reason we’re keen to do a ‘part 2’. We’re having ongoing internal discussions around what it would take to address these limits, and we’ll keep you posted.

Another interesting aspect of Transmissions (though we don’t view it as a limit) has been the controversy that some of our pieces have attracted. Two particularly controversial pieces that we’d like to discuss were Nicky Hutchinson’s ‘Labour’s Members aren’t the Problem’, and the statement from No More Exclusions. We think it is worth clarifying our position on these pieces, as part of a wider commitment to public reflection and transparency.

In ‘Anti-Critique’, responding to criticisms of her The Accumulation of Capital, Rosa Luxemburg defended her right to criticise the official theoretical leadership of the labour movement, even though

the self-pitying will bewail the fact that ‘Marxists are arguing amongst themselves’, that tried and tested ‘authorities’ are being contested.

Luxemburg felt, by contrast, that it was crucial to have these arguments in public—firstly, as part of a striving for new discoveries, new uses of Marxism; and secondly, because the specifically public character of criticism (and self-criticism) is a process of democratisation: a practice that refuses and resists the forces that would turn Marxism (or another kind of critical thought and practice) into the sole property of a group of ‘experts’. Following Luxemburg, we defend our (and our writers’) right to criticise where we feel it is necessary. There is, of course, room for reflection around more personalised and direct criticisms. They are more likely to wound; and they also risk the reduction of political contestation to mere ‘beef’. These are both reasons to avoid such personalised attacks unless absolutely necessary.

The public character of criticism is a process of democratisation: a practice that resists the forces that would turn Marxism (or any other kind of critical thought or practice) into the sole property of a group of ‘experts’.

However, sometimes those in positions of leadership— whether formally or effectively—merit criticism. Sometimes they identify so strongly with political structures, institutions, or tendencies that to critique one is to critique the other. And sometimes, too (and this is particularly part of what we imagine for the Transmissions project), things need to be said—directly and polemically, and with the intention of having immediate and broad effects. Strikingly, the most controversial aspect of Nicky’s ‘Labour Members aren’t the Problem’ was a political line shared with our Bad New Times editorial, a critique that seemed to fly under the radar until it was levelled at a specific target. At that point, conversations around this line suddenly became possible.

Raymond Williams’s observations on the theoretical deficiencies of the Labour Party seem salient here—though we would extend it to include certain trade unions and social movements. He writes:

the fact that the Labour Party is a coalition has led to an evident poverty in theory: any attempt to go beyond quite general definitions leads at once to strains on this complicated alliance.1

Particularly under current conditions (these are, after all, the Bad New Times), we would absolutely bend the stick towards pushing arguments and contradictions further. If that strains a complicated alliance on the left, or challenges various petty-bourgeois and bourgeois ‘leaders’ of the left2, so be it.

The importance of criticism has been central to our conception of New Socialist from the very beginning. This applied to Corbyn’s leadership of Labour, and it applies to popular movements—especially for processes of democratisation and political education. This brings us back to Luxemburg’s insistence that the authorities of movements or parties (and, in our conception of operative theory, we might add the authorities of academic institutions) do not ‘own’ Marxism, or socialism, or critical thought. It is to be democratised. Neither (returning to our concern around the need for a long revolutionary overcoming of the division between leaders and led) do they own the capacity for legitimate political action. Again, we would insist, this capacity is all of ours, in common.

The publication of the No More Exclusions statement raised a different set of questions. The remit of Transmissions has always been to combine generative criticism with a form of direct service to movements: where ‘Labour Members Aren’t the Problem’ is an example of the former, the No More Exclusions statement was a clear example of the latter, and one that takes its place among many other similar statements. Despite the statement having attracted much criticism and opprobrium, we strongly agree with it, and are proud to have published it. In some ways, the question of whether it was ‘right’ for us to have done so would be more interesting if we had disagreed with parts of it. That being said, even if we hadn’t completely agreed with its contents, it would still have been correct for us to publish a statement from a Black-led abolitionist group of education workers, parents, and students who were being traduced in both the national and the educational press, and had been denied the right to reply by mainstream media outlets.

As we’ve noted, we faced a great deal of criticism around our decision to publish this statement. Some of this criticism came from ‘the left’, some came from teachers, and some came from teachers who are part of ‘the left’. The thrust of much of it was that the statement was “anti-worker”, in that it argued for a restriction on both the autonomy of teachers and their ability to ‘protect’ themselves and their pupils through the exclusion of other pupils.

It’s important to emphasise here that the statement was written by a group whose members are predominantly education workers, and that the NEU has now voted to adopt the No More Exclusions moratorium—though these points do not, by themselves, settle the question of whether the statement was pro- or anti-worker. However, we would argue that trying to settle the question this way misses a crucial point.

An abolitionist perspective, or a perspective committed to the critique and long revolutionary defeat of the capitalist state (these may overlap or may be distinct), necessarily entails a critique of the role (and even the individuals in these roles) of at least some state workers; most obviously police, prison officers, border guards, soldiers. It also requires, as in the rejection of school exclusions, a critique of the repressive functions (and their racialised and racialising effects) of those state workers whose workplaces do not run predominantly on repression (Althusser notes the secondary repressive function carried out within schools, even though they predominantly “run on ideology”3).

We would also argue that the ideological role of state workers, including teachers, merits critique. As Althusser puts it later in On the Reproduction of Capital:

I beg the pardon of those teachers who, in impossible or appalling conditions, are striving to turn the scientific and political weapons that they manage to find in the history and knowledge that they ‘teach’ back against the ideology and the system and practices in which they are trapped. They are heroes of a kind. But they are very rare.4

Perhaps such teachers are less rare now, but the structure remains.

We would also contend here that the immediate or lived experience of the worker —or indeed the simple fact of identifying oneself as a worker—does not by itself guarantee a politically or theoretically reliable position. Teachers may well be workers, but students (particularly those students at most risk of exclusion) are not exploiters, and the No More Exclusions statement—written by a group of teachers—offers an example of fearless self-criticism in the service of justice. There is much to learn and admire in this practice.

At this point, it’s worth returning to the question of exhaustion. The attacks that we’ve received—particularly regarding the No More Exclusions statement—have been a major factor in our exhaustion and the limiting of our capacities. Of course, in saying this there is a need for a certain amount of care: some of the criticism was clearly part of Luxemburg’s “intellectual clash of self-criticism and the rough and tumble of history”, and therefore welcome and desirable. In many ways, we would like much more of this.

That said, it is abundantly clear that a certain amount of criticism—be it from the big names of the left, or from various teachers, spiteful and aggrieved beyond good sense—was intended to have a disciplinary effect. It was an attempt to make our development and publishing of critical positions too costly, both emotionally (the personalisation of attacks inevitably has effects) and financially (it was striking that several people threatened to stop subscribing — and then did so — if we did not retract or unpublish the No More Exclusions statement. Subscribers of course have every right to do what they want with their money, and stopping subscribing is one way to have political effects but there is a contradiction here around our autonomy that we currently feel keenly).

This opens up a wider question of accountability to various movements, and to our readers and subscribers (groups which are not mutually exclusive), as well as how we might negotiate a need to take up controversial and critical positions within the left, and the importance of being responsive to criticism, without having our productive capacities destroyed by particular sorts of criticism and disciplining. Perhaps this can only be worked out in practice, where in the end contradictions are resolved (though not always nicely). For now, there is no clear answer—but we remain committed to taking up positions that may be challenging or unpopular, including within the left. We do this not for the sake of controversy, but in solidarity with those often excluded by many of the forms and institutions of the left, particularly insofar as those are shaped by the state. “Freedom,” as Luxemburg says, “is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.” This duty of solidarity with the one who thinks differently means defending our right to take up and support these positions, and finding ways to cope with the criticism.

All of this brings us to the constant problem of New Socialist (indeed, the ongoing and historic problem of left media in general, as we wrote in our last editors’ letter). We remain chronically under-resourced. Our number of subscribers has improved since the publication of the last edition, but our income is still not sufficient for us to be truly sustainable. Indeed, we were only able to put out an edition of this scope and seriousness thanks to that very generous one-off donation. For the time being, we remain incapable of doing what we want to do, and what we think is necessary in terms of contributing to the intellectual and practical life of the left. An added aspect of this is that we are entirely reliant on our subscribers—we have not sought money from parts of the labour movement who may be able to offer us funding, as we feel this could compromise our independence and critical capacity.

Even given the significant constraints imposed by a lack of resources, we believe that what New Socialist is able to do is unique. With ECOLOGIES, we have extended the thoughtful, careful, theoretical work—often with a strategic focus (although we also retain a critique of a certain conception of “strategy”)—that we have undertaken over the last four years. Unlike a large amount of political work, including on the left, we have aimed as much as possible to disentangle ourselves from a Westminster-centred, ‘pundit’-focused, hegemonic conception of politics, choosing instead to develop a range of operative theory for and within the left.

Unlike a large amount of political work, including on the left, we have aimed as much as possible to disentangle ourselves from a Westminster-centred, ‘pundit’-focused, hegemonic conception of politics.

However, this disentanglement has never been a disentanglement from taking firm and necessary political lines. Our work is always shaped both by principles and by our contact with, or place within, various struggles. Equally, the analysis stemming from these firm commitments is usually vindicated, and sometimes very rapidly: from opposing the coup in Bolivia to our prescient criticisms of Keir Starmer. We are, and will always be, committed to making all this work freely available. If we were better resourced we could do even more.

To try and address this problem, we are launching #NS500. We hope to attract 500 more subscribers at £5 each (though if you are able to afford more than £5 a month, please feel free to be more generous; and if you’re unable to afford £5, even a small subscription helps so much).

We are launching #NS500. We hope to attract 500 more subscribers at £5 each.

To those comrades who already subscribe—thank you so much for your support. If you are already a subscriber, or if you are unable to afford to subscribe, then we’d also be very grateful if you could promote #NS500. Our commitment to making our work freely available necessarily limits the ‘rewards’ that are available, though we’d like to reiterate the discount on books that our comrades at Pluto and Repeater are kindly continuing to offer, as well as the discount from Polity on the books covered in this edition. We do have a few ideas for how we can show our appreciation, though (see below), and we welcome any suggestions from subscribers regarding what you’d like to see!

At the moment, we feel in rather an unhappy position with regard to “professionalism”; stuck between, on the one hand, expectations (both our own and those of others) of what we should be doing and how, and, on the other, the limits of resources and capacity that we face.

If #NS500 is successful, it will allow for a positive resolution of this contradiction. It is not possible to sustain a publication like New Socialist on a purely voluntary basis. There is a need for a regular and dependable amount of editing, administration, relationship building, and maintenance to be carried out. At the time of writing, this work is only partially resourced.

We also believe that, as far as possible, work should be recognised and resourced—not at the level of $3 million houses, of course, but at a level of decency and security. At the moment, the under-resourcing of this work, as well as producing exhaustion, also leads to failures from the point of view of professionalism—most notably the length this edition has taken to come out. Our lack of resourcing also means the pressure on the paid time of editors from all directions makes it harder than it should be to organise and make the most of potential voluntary work.

Transparency is important to us, so we’d like to break down what we’re currently doing, and some of the things we could do if we were better resourced. As with everything about New Socialist, this is of course open to discussion and contestation, including from our readers and subscribers.

We are currently able to pay for the equivalent of just under four days’ editing and admin work per week at the London Living Wage. The work required to keep New Socialist going at the level we are at now relies on much more work than will fit into those paid hours (and it is telling that Tom and josie, who are doing this work, have been unable to finish their pieces for the edition).

We are aiming to be able to pay for 10 days editing and admin work at the London Living Wage or just above—something eminently possible with 500 more subscribers at £5.

With 500 more £5 subscriptions, we would be able to produce an edition roughly every four months, whilst maintaining the level of care we take in developing and editing pieces. We feel that this level of care is a major strength of New Socialist, and we are committed to maintaining it. We would also be able to develop Transmissions significantly, building a better and wider base of contacts and commissioning much more work, and so making ourselves more useful to struggles and movements in Britain and abroad. With Transmissions, moreover, we would like to be able to be more proactive, having the time actively to seek out pieces in the areas where we should be doing much better.

We are aware that asking for 500 more subscribers is ambitious and if we are not able to reach this immediately. If we do not reach this, it would be necessary to scale back our plans a little. This might mean doing a slightly less substantial edition every six months, more reliance on voluntary work (though a greater capacity to organise it), and improving, but not radically transforming, what we are able to publish in Transmissions.

We pay every writer for every piece, although occasionally writers will waive their fees, or have them donated to an appropriate cause. However, we are not able to pay as much as we would like and this has effects on what we can publish, both in Transmissions and in our editions. There were a number of pieces on subjects that we wanted to cover in ECOLOGIES that we were unable to get because the writers we wanted were, quite reasonably, unwilling to write for what we can pay. It is often argued that there is a cliqueyness to left media, and there’s a certain amount of truth in that—but one reason for this, paradoxically, is that friends and comrades who believe deeply in the political project of New Socialist are much more likely to write for what we can pay. Equally, our inability to pay well tends to bias our content towards academics and/or comrades with books to publicise. Once again, our regret here is not about what we have published, which we view as incredibly useful, high quality work, but what we haven’t been able to publish. #NS500 will enable us to pay more, broadening the range of perspectives we are able to represent.

Another goal for #NS500 is to be able to put into practice some of our commitments around political education. A crucial part of democratising theory is demystifying it, and we have some pretty exciting ideas for how to go about this. We want to broaden the ways we communicate, and radically expand access to our work.

Tied to broadening how we communicate (and, just as importantly, how we are open to communication), and related to our desire for new practices around responsiveness and accountability, we will be inviting our subscribers to an open editorial meeting every two months. These meetings will offer a space for subscribers to contribute ideas, critiques, and perspectives, as well as offering us a chance to explain and account for editorial decisions, discuss plans for forthcoming editions and events, and build community with those of you who make NS possible. Connected to this latter point, our hope is that the meetings can act as catalysts for political action, new friendships, and a deeper sense of a shared project. We will also be developing further plans for engaging with, and being responsive to, our subscribers.

We will be inviting our subscribers to a regular meeting, which will offer a space to contribute ideas, as well as offering us a chance to explain editorial decisions and build community with those of you who make NS possible.

New Socialist is very tightly run in terms of costs. We have no office or equipment costs. In 2017, soon after we were founded, a leading Labour left figure, then in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, suggested visiting our offices. We didn’t have the heart to tell him that our ‘offices’ were, at that point, the Cádiz branch of the admirable Spanish chain 100 Montaditos. Our ‘offices’ now are essentially Tom and josie’s dining room. All of this is to illustrate the point that any money we raise from #NS500 will go towards editing and political education work, and towards more equitable payment for writers.

We are very proud of what we have done and are continuing to do, and are particularly proud of ECOLOGIES. We hope and believe that what we are doing is useful and we’re excited to be able to do even more.

Ultimately, if you think New Socialist is valuable, and are able to support us, please consider doing so. If you already subscribe, thank you so much. It means such a lot to both have that support, and to know that you think enough of our work to pay to support it—and us.

Our next edition will consider the question of class. We are not yet seeking pitches yet, as we would like to take a little time to discuss internally, consult with subscribers, and find out, based on what happens with #NS500, how much we will be able to publish. In the next couple of months, we will also be running a reading group on class which we hope will also feed into some of our considerations for the edition. We are also planning to hold an event to discuss this ECOLOGIES edition in the near future. More details on these soon.

Finally, a few lines of remembrance. Since Bad New Times was published, the left has lost three major figures—Leo Panitch, the political theorist Ed Rooksby, and the journalist Dawn Foster. Each of these figures had an undeniable effect on the culture and practice of the British left, and will be sorely missed.

Leo Panitch was a giant as a writer and theorist, but perhaps most of all as an educator. Having authored and co-authored some of the most important texts on left politics, he assumed the informal role of beloved teacher for many on the left. Sometimes this was a didactic role, but more often it was a case of encouraging younger comrades—in a Canadian baritone like honey poured over thunder—and helping them to believe in themselves. Accepting, as we must, socialism as a struggle upwards, few things can be more important than that belief.

Ed Rooksby only wrote for us once. As editors, we had often discussed how we’d like him to write for us more. Sadly, now it’s too late. None of us had met Ed, though we had friends in common, and those friends have spoken of his kindness and his exceptional qualities as a teacher. Ed’s piece for us, a piece which is still intensely engaged with and discussed, on Lenin and the state after the revolution, showed a great deal of what was so valuable in his work: a refusal to be satisfied with the taken-for-granted presuppositions of various left traditions (in this case, the notion that, regardless of disagreements over whether it was good or not, that the Bolsheviks “smashed” the old Russian state), and a sharp sense of the links between theoretical/ historical debates and urgent, current questions of socialist strategy. In addition to Ed’s important piece for us, his work was influential in reanimating a number of the commitments and problems of left Eurocommunism and the refusal (again of a handed-down, obfuscatory binary) of the reform/revolution split. Indeed, it was Ed’s work that spurred Tom Gann (the author of these lines) to properly engage with Poulantzas, so for that I/we owe him a huge debt. And as with Poulantzas’s early death, all of us interested in problems of socialist strategy and the state will be so much the poorer for there being no more work, no more worrying over problems, no more responses to new situations from Ed.

If we were merely to say that Dawn Foster was a working class, disabled, left wing woman from Newport who overcame all the structural barriers presented by this intersection of oppressions to the extent that she became a successful columnist, it would give those who didn’t know her work a sense of her excellence. She was a formidable journalist and writer who held to her socialist principles even when it became deleterious to her career; profoundly serious in her work- particularly on the issue of housing- but also often stingingly funny when satirising the over-privileged and pompous. UK media is even bleaker without her.

As our comrade Juliet Jacques put it in her important tribute to her friend:

There will be more Dawns, and the British left will rise again. I wish more journalists approached their work like Dawn, with wit, diligence and an incorruptible social conscience. I hope her memory will serve as a challenge to all media organisations, especially those on the left, to think about how they treat working class talents.

We hope you enjoy ECOLOGIES, and we’d love to hear what you think.

In solidarity,

Tom Gann and the New Socialist editors


  1. Raymond Williams. [1965]. 1989. “The British Left”, in Resources of Hope edited by Robin Gable. London: Verso. p. 167. 

  2. As Luxemburg argues elsewhere, the mass-membership parties and organisations of the left and the labour movement produce a bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie among their officials and propagandists and this is often the social basis for revisionism and opportunism. 

  3. Louis Althusser. 2014. On the Reproduction of Capitalism. Translated by G. M. Goshgarian. London: Verso. p. 86. 

  4. Althusser. On the Reproduction of Capitalism. p. 146. 


Authors:

Tom Gann (@Tom_Gann)

Founding editor


The Editors (@newsocialistuk)

The New Socialist editorial collective.