“The World Transformed festival will foster an open and collaborative space to harness the energy we have seen this summer into an expanding social movement. As a festival of both radical politics and culture, TWT presents an opportunity to come together, organise, and debate our way into a new future.”
By George Walker, The World Transformed
The current political moment has the potential to radically reshape the world and how we run. Beleaguered by rampant inflation brought on by corporate profiteering and global tumult, working-class people across Britain and Ireland seem united behind a new burgeoning social movement against capitalist exploitation. Unions, such as the RMT, have mobilised workers around a set of popular demands, standing up to railway bosses who routinely neglect this vital service.
They have been building support among the public, and external campaigns, such as Enough is Enough and Don’t Pay are also gathering momentum. We have also seen militancy in unexpected places, with workers in sectors rarely associated with industrial action taking their voices to the picket line: Barristers taking indefinite strike action over pay and the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) balloting members for a full strike after another measly below-inflation pay offer.
The stakes of this fight have only been compounded by the arrival of new Prime Minister Liz Truss. The formation of the PM’s first cabinet somewhat remarkably narrowed the ideological base of the government further to the hard-right, with pledges to handicap the resurgent union movement and subsidise the brazen profiteering of energy retailers under consideration. The appointment of climate-denying Dickensian caricature Jacob Rees-Mogg as Business and Energy Secretary, amid the backdrop of an ongoing climate catastrophe, which has produced the hottest temperatures on record this summer, represents a particularly unsavoury intimation of the Truss premiership.
It’s clearly imperative that we fight back. Yet the huge sense of crisis and collapse can be overwhelming and confusing. This year’s The World Transformed festival will foster an open and collaborative space to harness the energy we have seen this summer into an expanding social movement. As a festival of both radical politics and culture, TWT presents an opportunity to come together, organise, and debate our way into a new future. This year’s programme features talks, workshops, and rallies on a multitude of issues and ideas, with events on organising your workplace and creating trade union media. Collective joy will always be an essential part of TWT, and our roster of live music and DJs – including Wes Baggaley, Rossy Ross, Dance Mums and Joy Collective – allows for comrades both new and old to connect and party outside the talks and classes, with the returning pub quiz by Zarah Sultana proving a particular highlight.
Borne out of the rise of Corbyn in 2016, our first festival hit the city of Liverpool, acting as a space for the creative flurry of ideas that accompanied the political direction of Labour at the time, allied to yet also existing independently of the party to pull it towards the popular progressive issues of the time. Jeremy Corbyn has described TWT as somewhere for the Labour left “to debate policies, exchange ideas, and expand our political horizon with arts, music and culture”. More than just an annual festival, The World Transformed also supports all-year-round political education, with local Transformed groups hosting events from Cardiff to Cornwall and from Norfolk to Northumberland.
A historic centre of left-wing organisation and agitation, returning to Liverpool for this year’s festival feels like a real moment of galvanisation and unity. From the city’s revolutionary transport strike in 1911 in which Churchill cut his teeth as a ruthless trigger-happy statesman, to the city’s mass boycott of the Sun newspaper over its defamation of Liverpool fans at the Hillsborough accident, in Liverpool, we can draw on a rich, radical history. With Liverpool we also benefit from the strong activist and political groups and individuals cemented there, with events on co-ordinating a national right to food movement and political organisation in working-class communities spearheaded by the proudly scouse Fans Supporting Food Banks initiative and its co-founder, the socialist MP for Liverpool West Derby Ian Byrne.
While it’s easy to feel disempowered today, it is in joining these dots between grassroots campaigns and the more established groups and institutions of the British left that we find one of our greatest strengths, and this year will be no different. At this moment we must log our heads together on the biggest issues of the day, coming together to have open and creative discussions that support the actions of the burgeoning trade union movement in their fight for fair pay in sectors ranging from post officers to port workers,
You can buy tickets for this year’s festival here, with options pertaining to your income available, including a pay-it-forward option to subsidise free tickets for those who can’t afford the full price. If you can’t be there physically, we’re still counting on your support for a successful festival, and to continue our good work after the weekend’s events. You can donate to The World Transformed here, and sign up to our newsletter to track our efforts here. Ultimately, we’re looking forward to seeing you in Liverpool, at what will be a monumental capping-off point for the summer in which British people fought back!