Socialism Makes Sense: Ideas for Freedom 2018

Submitted by AWL on 2 April, 2018 - 8:36
A ring of roses with the words "socialism makes sense" in the middle.

Socialism Makes Sense: Ideas for Freedom 2018
21-24 June 2018
Birkbeck University, Malet St, London

Facebook event

Around the world, socialism is on the agenda.

In the UK, the Labour Party – now the biggest political party in Europe – is led by a self-proclaimed socialist.

In the USA, the movement around Bernie Sanders has made “socialism” the most-searched word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and inspired a generation of new leftwing activists.

But how can we make the leap from worldwide interest in an idea to making it a reality?

Can socialism work, and how can we get there?

A festival of socialist ideas and leftwing discussion, hosted by Workers' Liberty, Ideas for Freedom is an opportunity to explore, through talks, film showings, workshops and debates, ideas about how our world works, and how we can fight for a better one.

We will be holding a whole four days activities for you to get involved in. We kick off the event with a walking tour on the evening of Thursday 21 June to celebrate the history of the working-class suffragettes of East London. Friday night will be our big evening opening debate. Saturday and Sunday will be days of debate, discussion, film showings, workshops and exhibitions.



Thursday evening
This year our Thursday evening walking tour with return with a Suffragette theme for the 100th anniversary of the vote being won for some women. Watch this space for more details.

Friday evening debate
Capitalism versus Socialism — Workers’ Liberty debates Dr. Kristian Niemetz of the Institute of Economic Affairs

Saturday and Sunday

Challenges of a Labour government: “The Corbyn road to socialism? Next steps for Labour"
Featuring Simon Hannah, author of A Party With Socialists In It and co-editor of the Clarion magazine, David Osland, Labour left activists and journalist, Ruth Cashman (Lambeth Unison co-chair), and more tbc.

Reimagining local government with speakers from the Labour left revolt against the "Haringey Development Vehicle", Architects for Social Housing, and Namaa AL Mahdi, Hounslow Momentum • Can Labour stop Brexit? with Michael Chessum, Another Europe Is Possible, and activists from the Labour Campaign for Free Movement • Fighting the anti-union laws with Gemma Short, Workers' Liberty industrial organiser, and Edd Mustill, co-editor of the Clarion magazine • What should Labour do on crime and policing? • Nationalise the banks! • A crisis of care: socialist feminism and the welfare state under the next Labour government with the Workers’ Liberty’s Lambeth's socialist-feminist reading group • The left in government: a panel discussing the experiences of Syriza in Greece, Lula's Workers' Party in Brazil, Mitterand's government in France, and the Wilson/Callaghan governments in Britain.

Socialism Makes Sense: Neurodiversity under capitalism and under socialism with Janine Booth, author of Autism Equality in the Workplace, and Dr. Dinah Murray • What will education look like under socialism? with University and College union activist and education researcher Sol Gamsu, and teacher activists from the National Education Union • The case for Bolshevik organising • Is Venezuela a model? • Why we published Socialism Makes Sense • and more!

The ABCs of Socialism introductory stream: Is socialism incompatible with human nature?; Who'll clean the toilets under socialism?; How do revolutionary socialists organise?; Socialism and democracy; plus our well stocked bookshop and second hand bookstall will be running all weekend

Global Solidarity: The global fight for women's rights with the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign and the South Asia Solidarity Group • Iran: the anti-imperialist myth with film-maker Kaveh Abbassian and Obi Saiq • The 2011 uprising in Libya and its aftermath with Clive Bradley, co-writer of a forthcoming TV series on Muammar Qaddafi • The class struggle in China with Demaine Boocock • and more to be announced.

Revolutionary history: Solidarnosc 1981: revolution against Stalinism • Red Suffragettes: working-class women and the fight for the vote with Jill Mountford • The Sheffield Workers' Committee with Edd Mustill, co-editor of the Clarion magazine • The invention of guns: socialists, militarism, and gun control with Catherine Fletcher.

Sessions also include: Revolt in the degree factories: building on the UCU strike with UCU activists Rhian Keyse and Jo Grady, and National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts activist Monty Shield • Left antisemitism: what it is and how to fight it with Daniel Randall, Matt Bolton, and Hannah Weisfeld • The new New Unionism? a discussion on reviving the trade union movement hosted by the Labour Days podcast, featuring a striker from the East Dulwich Picturehouse cinema strike, and more • Animation behind the Iron Curtain • Capitalism is killing us! a discussion on capitalism and health with healthworker activists from the BMA and Unison • The legacy of Stephen Hawking • and more to be announced!

Agenda announcements for the weekend event will continue to be added here. Watch this space!

Venue, accommodation, creche

Free accommodation is provided with comrades who live in London. Please help us organise this by sending an email to with the title "IFF accommodation" and telling us what nights you will need, how many people, and whether you have any specific requirements (i.e. no stairs, need a bed, fine with floor/sofa, no late nights etc.).

A free creche is provided during the weekend, and additional childcare can be arranged on Thursday and Friday nights if needed. Please book a place by emailing

Workers' Liberty is committed to holding accessible events. The venue for Saturday and Sunday daytime is step-free and has accessible toilets. You can find a floor plan of the venue here and here. Please get in touch if you have specific requirements that we could factor into our planning.

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