Globe, Movement, Politics, United Kingdom

Lessons for the left

A journey through left-wing populism across grassroots, national and European levels. A reflection and analysis on how each party operates, the roots of each movement’s base, the forms of party organisation, and the particular national context. This will take place on Wednesday 2 June in a Housmans virtual event.


Podemos. Pablo Iglesias. Photo / Flickr. Creative Commons License

Marina Prentoulis, Senior Lecturer in Media and Politics, in conversation with the General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Kate Hudson, will be in charge of the discussion.

The right is utilising populist rhetoric while the left’s attempts have had little success, so Prentoulis’s latest book is entitled “Left populism in Europe: lessons from Jeremy Corbyn to Podemos” is a tool for those looking for a way to move forward during such a bleak time for the left in Europe.

She evaluates the transformational process of left populism across grassroots, national and European levels whilst questioning how to harness the power of broad-based, popular left politics. Employing her abundance of political organising experience, Prentoulis argues that “left populism is a political logic that brings together isolated demands against a common enemy with an egalitarian pluralism that could transform economic and political institutions in a radical democratic direction”.

Every political party does this differently and to understand what the next step should be, it is crucial to have an extensive analysis of the history of each movement’s base, the forms of party organisation and the national contexts.

Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Pixabay

Both Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and Syriza in Greece failed to change the neoliberal status quo and introduce socialism in their countries.

While they struggled for power, the Spanish party Podemos were much more successful and are now in government with the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party.

In the case of Podemos, this party achieved a shocking and historical first: a true coalition government, in post-Franco Spain. An article on Verso outlines how the new coalition has rapidly introduced progressive policies, including raising the minimum wage to 950 Euros, revoking Article 52d (which allowed employers to drop individuals on medical leave) and raising pensions in line with inflation and declaring a climate emergency.

Prentoulis is the Associate Professor in Politics and Media at the University of East Anglia, she has spent time as the UK’s spokesperson of Syriza, she has been an interviewee on an array of British and international media programmes, including BBC’s Newsnight, the Andrew Marr Show, Sky News and CNN.

“It’s been a dramatic decade for left-wing political projects in Greece, Spain, and the UK. Through personal experience, a wealth of interviews and analysis, Prentoulis pulls together an assessment which is vital for anyone who wants to understand the post-crash upsurge of radical politics in Europe”, stated Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now.

With this in mind, Housmans Radical Booksellers has organised the online event “Left populism in Europe: lessons from Jeremy Corbyn to Podemos”, where Prentoulis will discuss her new book, which was published by Pluto Press.

Following this discussion, she will be joined by Kate Hudson to interrogate how each party operates and explore the key ideas mentioned in Prentoulis’ book, such as the roots of each movement.

Kate Hudson is active in the European Left Party, specifically its working groups on Peace and on Fighting the Far Right. According to Housmans, she was formerly an academic who specialised in this field and has written in depth on this issue.

Her books “European Communism since 1989” and “The new European left” specifically explored this topic. Currently, she is also General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Open to all members of the public, this event will take place Wednesday 2nd June from 7:00 pm. to 8.30 pm. For further information, please visit their Facebook page. To register click here.

(Photos: Pixabay)

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