#BLM protest, Lambeth, 2020

The Left, the Party and the Class

An essay on the future of the Labour left

33 min readJul 25, 2020


The Labour Party faces a historic challenge: the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered state intervention, bailouts, massive borrowing, direct income support and central bank money printing all across the world. And it’s not over.

We’ve entered the worst economic slump since 1921, with a global economy that was already stagnant, heavily unequal and debt-burdened. Anyone who thinks the current geopolitical order will survive hasn’t understood the 1930s.

The Tories claim that, by relying on deficits, state bailouts and quantitative easing, they are acting “beyond ideology”. Rhetorically at least they are edging their way towards a post-austerity Conservatism. The scale of slump, and the money already spent and borrowed, could open the door to a permanent change in the economic model in a way the 2008 crisis did not — if the left can seize the opportunity.

But the Labour left is demoralised and divided. Some activists are leaving the party; others want the left to become an organised opposition to Keir Starmer, producing a continuous negative commentary from the sidelines. The Labour…



Paul Mason

Journalist, writer and film-maker. Author of How To Stop Fascism.