Why we founded The World Transformed, a conference that united the British left for the first time in decades.

For many millennials, 2015 marked a new period of activism in our lives. For a generation that had always been written off as ‘entitled’ and ‘apathetic’ we were finally awoken. We’d grown up in an individualised society but suddenly came together to show the world that our ideas and tech-savvy ways were going to change things. But that isn’t quite what happened.

It was Jeremy Corbyn that did it for me. I’d always been interested in politics — outspoken in class, disruptive over the dinner table, grumpy when I conceded defeat — you know the type. But I’d never really been politically active. Sure I’d gone on a few marches and waved a few placards but I’d never been to a Labour Party meeting or tried to organise a campaign. Now it’s how I spend most of my time.

What I’ve learned in the last eighteen months is that the culture and infrastructure of left politics is completely unsuitable for the kind of energy and enthusiasm that Jeremy unleashed. Meetings are long, decisions take forever and the result is … unremarkable.

People are walking away from Labour and Momentum understandably frustrated. Why can’t we just do something? Why do we sit around passing motions all the time? What’s the point? Trust me, I sympathise …

The fact is that we need a radically new political culture. One that puts ideas, skills and creativity at its heart. The space for debate and discussion isn’t just at meetings; it’s all around us. I learn more from YouTube clips and Facebook posts than I do from local party meetings. The fact is that social media has taken the debate out of the community hall and into the community. It’s what we’ve always dreamed of. But we still prioritise meetings and decision-making over action and learning.

We need a political culture that unleashes the potential of individuals to transform the world in which they live. That means providing resources, learning quickly from one another, sharing ideas and connecting people who share the same interests. The job of an organiser today is to facilitate the free movement of resources, ideas and people through the network.

That’s why we founded The World Transformed. It’s a kind of start-up political events and training company. We cut our teeth in grassroots education collectives like Brick Lane Debates where events were lively, participatory and action-oriented. Now we’re focused on empowering others to think, act and lead. It’s our job to upgrade the network’s capacity if no-one else will. We need fibre optic broadband but most people are still using dial-up.

Our new campaign, Take Back Control, is doing just that. We’re supporting local groups across the UK to run their own participatory events on the theme of taking back control of the Brexit negotiations. We’re working with Labour parties, Momentum groups and other activists to upskill local organisers with tools, training and resources so they can manage on their own.

This September our annual festival, The World Transformed 2017, will be in Brighton and it’ll be a place to meet people from across the movement, learn from each other, develop new skills and build tools to make us more effective.

You can expect to learn about cutting-edge campaign technology, listen to practitioners from different fields share their experiences, and explore some of the most exciting ideas about the future of society. For those who know what they’re doing, it’s a chance to develop your practice as an activist, for those who are new, it’s the best place to come and experience what the new politics is all about. No wordy resolutions or amendments. Promise.

By Roland Singer-Kingsmith, co-founder of The World Transformed.

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