3 min read
Mon 23 Dec 2019 Writing

General Election Review

We are pleased to be part of the team of commissioners for Labour Together’s General Election Review.

We are pleased to be part of the team of commissioners for Labour Together’s General Election Review.

The first step you can take is filling in this survey .

Our focus will be on three areas:

  1. How the ground game was organised during the election.
  2. The experience of being a Labour member in general.
  3. The relationship between Labour and wider social movements.

If you’d like to talk to us about any of these areas, please send an email to electionreview@commonknowledge.coop.

Organising The Ground Game

We will concentrate on the experience of Labour activists on the ground and pay particular attention to how they worked with digital systems.

Some questions we want to consider:

  • How did the ground game run day-to-day? How was it organised? Was it well organised?
  • How did people learn about canvassing and other opportunities to persuade voters?
  • If activists used Labour Party or Momentum digital tools, how effective were they?
  • What other tools — from WhatsApp to Google Docs to Slack —did people use to organise their work?
  • How did they find the experience when they arrived to canvass?
  • How well-coordinated or managed were these opportunities? Did activists feel they had adequate training and briefing?
  • Were resources directed to the right place, or did organisers struggle with under- or oversupply?
  • Did people feel they were doing quality work and that, for example, canvassing was worthwhile?
  • What was the balance between Voter ID and persuasive conversation? What are the limits of both these techniques?

Being A Labour Member

We want to reflect upon the experience of being a Labour member in general.

Some things we want to think about:

  • Do Labour members feel the time they spend with Labour, in meetings and social activities, is useful and important?
  • How do they experience the cycle of meetings that make up the rhythm of party life?
  • Do they understand how the party works, how the branch level operates and how they can make changes within it?
  • How do they feel about how the party, at a national or a local level, communicates with them?

Labour and Social Movements

We want to consider the relationship between Labour and the wider social movements.

In the last few years there have been conversations about how Labour could reshape itself as a social movement, or that Labour should link itself to wider social struggles. There has been a desire for Labour to do community organising, with the establishment of the Labour Community Organising unit . Sessions at The World Transformed festival often consider this issue.

We want to reflect on this honestly. This is especially important as there is some enthusiasm for this to be a key part of the renewal of the Labour party, and to ensure Labour has a solid base in communities outside of elections.

Some questions that would be useful to answer:

  • Has Labour assisted or hindered activist campaigns beyond electoral cycles? How much progress have these campaigns been able to make?
  • What happens when the conflict in a particular campaign is opposing, for example, a Labour local authority and its policies?
  • Has the flood of people joining the Labour party who are involved in broader social movement struggles made running non-electorally focused campaigns easier or harder?
  • What has been the role of trade unions in this? For example, Unite’s community union membership?
  • What is the role of community unions like ACORN or community organising groups like London Citizens?
  • Where does concern with deep community-based work collide with electoral concerns?

We are interested in hearing a range of voices here, including those entirely skeptical of working within or alongside Labour or those critical of activists who have campaigned through its structures.

You can email us at electionreview@commonknowledge.coop on any of these topics.

We are ready to listen.

We are Common Knowledge, a not-for-profit workers’ cooperative. Working directly with grassroots activists, we design digital tools that make radical change possible, guided by the values of agency, solidarity, pragmatism, thoughtfulness, interdependence, openness, optimism and cooperation.