What is the Democratic Left Network?
The Democratic Left Network (DLN) is creating a space within which anyone who holds to DLN principles is welcome. It is a space for the discussion of practical evidence-based but principled politics and policy. We welcome constructive critique and debate on all domestic and international issues. Practical ideas for national and party renewal are vital.
Why DLN is needed
The DLN is tired of the ‘pessimism’ on the Left. The collapse of the undemocratic Soviet experiment, the over-reliance on imported ideas from the United States and the failed technocratic elitism of the last Labour Government have created despair about the prospects for democratic socialism that is unjustified.
The people are not a mob to be managed or guided but human beings, born with potential agency, who are able, both individually and together, to determine their own destiny. Relying on overseas bureaucrats to solve our problems is political cowardice. DLN wants to be part of re-igniting the commitment to a democratic socialist future by helping:
To infuse a new spirit of radical possibility against negative thinking, limited political vision and the dead weight of history.
The left meet the political and policy challenge of new technologies, seeing their emergence as opportunities and not changes to be frightened of.
Ensure the removal of the last vestiges of feudal power and authoritarian rule and bring the historic mission of the British left i.e. the emancipation of the people, to full fruition.
A left-critique of the spread of neo-liberal policies in the UK and across Europe through hegemonic and undemocratic power structures such as the EU; and
New thinking about a post-neo-liberal future.
The primary vehicle for this politics of transformation is the Labour Movement and the Labour Party. However, we place values ahead of ideology and theory. Consequently, DLN welcomes all who share democratic socialist values, whether associated with the Labour Movement and Party or not.
DLN: founding principles
To achieve such ends, the DLN is committed to three core principles, which inform our ideas and debates.
Democracy as a Fundamental Left Principle
The democratic principle is foundational to the DLN. We are committed to political emancipation through effective representative and consultative democracy. The people should command the state and not the state the people. The application of this principle means:
The self-determination of free peoples and the collaboration of democratic nation states within an internationalist framework.
Opposition to all forms of hegemonic power, including bureaucratic or technocratic supra-nationalism and unilateral use and abuse of economic and military force in the world.
The democratic transformation of all political institutions, including political parties, to help effect change
Encouragement of mass political education that will challenge elite presumption and the unaccountable exercise of power.
Equality and Solidarity as the Very Core of Democratic Socialism
Equally central to the DLN are the principles of equality and solidarity. The nation is a commonwealth. All must share equally according to their needs without discrimination.
Along with political emancipation the main purpose of democratic socialist politics is the economic emancipation of the British people through the dispersion of economic power by means of redistributive education, welfare, healthcare and full employment.
A democratic socialist society was the vision of the founders of the original Labour Representation Committee. Nothing in the last 116 years has happened that changes that vision and those founding principles. On the contrary, the great project appears to have stalled in executive failures and existential gloom. The DLN intends to be part of the process of kick-starting the engine of progress.