- This event has passed.
This is Only the Beginning: Michael Chessum author talk & signing
February 16 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
We are in the middle of an explosion of industrial unrest and resistance to Tory rule – and knowing what we should do now means understanding the recent past. The 2010s were a decade of foodbanks, riots, and the rebirth of political alternatives. Looking to escape a future of rising debt, falling living standards and climate meltdown, a set of movements were born across the globe, led by students, workers and the tent cities of Occupy.
A new wave of optimistic, radical young people were building mass movements outside the political bubble, rejecting the neo-liberal consensus and the enrichment of the 1%, and laying the foundations of a new left. Eight years later, Bernie Sanders was favorite to clinch the Democratic Party nomination, and Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum had taken over the Labour Party in Britain, promising ‘a new kind of politics’.
But as the new left poured into Labour, it was overwhelmed by older, institutional forces on both left and right. Four years after Corbyn became leader, after bitter-infighting and a Brexit-fuelled strategic crisis, it all fell apart.
This is the inside story of how the left came back to life in the 2010s, from a man who found himself at the centre of events – featuring unparalleled access and a range of interviews with key left-wing figures. Michael Chessum explains how this movement was built, why it failed, and what it needs to do now.
Michael Chessum is a journalist and activist who has been on the front line of the new left movements of recent years. He co-founded the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, playing a prominent role in the student protests of 2010 and the anti-austerity movement that followed. When Momentum was created, he was elected to its first Steering Committee and served as its Treasurer, and worked as a press officer and speechwriter on Jeremy Corbyn’s second leadership campaign. As National Organizer for the left wing anti-Brexit group Another Europe is Possible, he became a dissident within Corbynism and a prominent voice in the public debate on Brexit and migrants’ rights.
He has written on politics and social movements for more than a decade, and has reported from the ground as left movements surged in Chile and Greece. His writing has been published in the Guardian and Observer, the New Statesman, The Independent, Vice, Novara, The London Review of Books and many others.