Progressive politics in the UK is in crisis.
The urgency of the moment demands that we stand together.
Who are we?
Sussex Progressives is a space for cross-party and non-party political action. Our group emerged from the aftermath of the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. The success of the Leave vote in the referendum laid bare the crisis progressive politics faces in the UK. Many of the problems of our society and politics manifested themselves in the loss of the referendum. These include a long term decline of civic participation, eroding social and community bonds; a reorganisation of the economy away from stable employment to insecure and flexible jobs; growing inequalities between the richest and poorest; and growing spatial, social, and economic segregation along lines of class and race.
We recognize that these processes of polarization and change are not simple and do not fall neatly along party political lines, or even the lines of the EU referendum. Indeed, traditional political parties are finding themselves increasing disconnected from their social bases, with the result that people feel left out of the political process. Our members are drawn from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green party and those with no party affiliation. We do not aim to replace people's party membership, rather to act in the understanding that the challenges facing society today such as Brexit, climate change and electoral reform are too big to be addressed by any one party alone. We seek to unite progressive voices and strive for a local and national politics with progressive values at its heart.
The Sussex Progressives are committed to the following values:
• Economic justice
Based on these orienting values, Sussex Progressives have so far decided to advocate for the following issues, which are seen as a starting point from which to build a progressive base:
• Substantive as well as formal equality for everyone
• A state and society that truly care for those who are vulnerable
• A job market that offers decent and secure work for all
• Affordable housing
• A truly representative electoral system
• A stronger, more effective environmental policy
• A recognition that our shared humanity is stronger than the borders that separate us
• Reliable and affordable public transport/infrastructure
How we work
To advance these principles, we have adopted a dual strategy of launching campaigns ourselves and building links with other progressive voices. First, operating our own campaigns will allow us to direct the energies of our members into the issues that are important to them and the local area in order to achieve direct and meaningful change in our community. Such campaigns will relate to our objectives as stated. Second, we are intentionally building and nurturing relationships with and between organisations and political parties working on progressive issues. Building relationships across progressive groups is crucial for growing long-term and broad-based change. We have already begun work to unite progressive voices and to nurture conversations between people of different political positions that share our core values and objectives.
As a group, we operate in an open and democratic way. We welcome people to join us in advancing progressive values and shaping the character and practice of the group. Campaigns will be built on the ideas and input of the entire group, with clear channels for providing input and taking decisions. Sussex Progressives is intended as a group with a plurality of political opinions and priorities, therefore campaigns will focus on areas of broad agreement across the group. We intend to create an organisation that mimics the society we hope to build. This means an organisation in which all members have an equal say, that nurtures the leadership skills and capacities of its members, and provides processes for effective communication and cooperation. Furthermore, we will maintain a continuous awareness of our membership and its relational ties to people and organisations working for progressive issues. In doing so, we will build power through strengthening these relationships and, consequently, a more progressive society and state in the years to come.