The World Transformed is a political education project that emerged out of the movement around Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. Our first festival took place in 2016, as an attempt to revitalise the left’s presence at the Labour Party conference, bridge the gap between the parliamentary and social movement left, and develop a space for radical, participatory and creative political education.
Since then the festival has grown to become the biggest leftwing multi-day event in the Britain, and we have seen the emergence of dozens of local Transformed groups across the country, as well as TWT launching a number of other year round educational projects from short courses to organising schools, podcasts, trainings and pedagogical research.
Though TWT emerged out of Corbyn’s leadership, in response to the call to build a ‘new kind of politics’, we have always been, and will always be, independent of the Labour party. Since our inception, our vision of political education has been guided by the following principles:
Our work has three key aspects:
TWT hosts an annual festival of politics, arts and music, to bring together our movement in all its diversity for a series of panels, workshops, games, parties and more.
In 2018, Derby Transformed organised the very first local TWT event, attracting hundreds of people together to discuss politics, meet others and organise for the future. Since then, we have seen 30 local groups establish themselves and organise events ranging from a single day to three day festivals in their own communities. We want to help more Transformed groups grow, connecting them to each other and providing support for their events.
If you are interested in organising your own Transformed event and want to find out more about how to do this get in touch with us at [email protected]
TWT runs a number of trainings for our organisers, volunteers, and network of Transformed groups. These include:
As well as continuing to roll these trainings out to the TWT community, we will be hosting a number of skill shares too, from community organising to social media, and graphic design to fundraising skills.
TWTFM is our magazine style podcast that focuses on a key topic through a mixture of accessible theory, history, activist struggles, culture and music. We also host regular online educational and cultural events, from book launches to panel discussions, online consciousness raising and political theory.
Over the past year, TWT have hired a researcher in collaboration with the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn trust to map popular political education across the UK.
We will continue to develop our culture of research and experimentation around political education and critical pedagogy, including how arts and culture can contribute to transformative political education events. This research will be used to inform our outward facing political education work, and to develop a shared approach to political education within the TWT community.
During the Corbyn years, TWT took the approach of ‘socialism from below’, using our position next to the Labour Party conference to influence party policy whilst we had the enthusiastic ear of the leadership, and platforming politicians alongside activists and grassroots groups to debate, discuss and share ideas. Despite that, we have been, and will always be, independent of the Labour Party, and do not receive funding from them for our work.
With Starmer embracing a shallow patriotism at the expense of the economic radicalism the current crises demand, we understand the concern of many socialists for the party’s future, and the need to reevaluate our own orientation to the party.
In just a year, we’ve seen anti-democratic stitch-ups in candidate selections, waves of suspensions, black, Muslim and GRT comrades thrown under the bus, a disregard for LGBTQIA and other marginalised communities, a rightward shift in policy, and a dearth of parliamentary opposition to the Tory government. In short, the new Labour leadership has proved itself to be vacuous and inept - not only unable to provide an effective opposition, but openly intent on alienating the hundreds of thousands of activists who helped bring the Party close to power in 2017, as well those fighting for justice on the streets and in workplaces.
As an organisation predicated on utopian thinking and radical change, we understand the need to expand our political imagination beyond the party, and centre bottom-up struggles in our political thinking and organising.
However, equally crucial to TWT’s mission to build a utopian vision for the world we want to live in, is planning exactly how it is that we get there. With that in mind, TWT’s position is that the Labour Party is an important site of struggle for socialists. As seen with the Corbyn moment, engagement with the party opens up the opportunity of taking state power, and provides a crucial vehicle for socialists to build up our numbers and skills quickly. With a first past the post voting system, and the Labour party’s links with many trade unions, currently Labour is the best vehicle for the social movement’s interventions in electoral politics - particularly in England.
Part of TWT’s role is to help activists develop an understanding of where interventions in electoral politics are useful, i.e how we can use the party effectively in struggle, and what its limitations are. We also see our role as to facilitate discussions on why and how the Labour Party dominates our politics in this way, and how we can move beyond it. In doing so, we hope to help galvanise and maintain connections between the Labour and extra-parliamentary left, who are becoming increasingly fragmented in the aftermath of Corbynism.