3 min read 🎯 Strategy
Tue 04 Jun 2024 Writing

Our Approach to the 2024 General Election


Just two weeks ago, Rishi Sunak announced that the next UK General Election will take place on 4 July. The day after, all seven of us in Common Knowledge ran a workshop to collectively decide what we should do with the next six weeks. This helped us focus our attention and set our intentions for the campaign.

Aims & Intentions

Our first move was to make space within the co-op to focus on the election as a whole, so we reached out to a number of our collaborators to request a pause on their projects until after the election. (Thank you to Dudley CVS , BCRW , Zetkin and Left Book Club for your generous response to this.)

In the space we’ve carved out, our aim is primarily to make improvements to Mapped based on the feedback we’ve had from organisers so far. This will be a combination of making the existing product more stable, secure and resilient, as well as building new features to help organisers during the campaign.

We decided that we wanted to focus on supporting groups organising around climate justice and migrants rights. In particular, we are interested in strengthening coalitions of civil society actors — especially those campaigns focused on solidarity across multiple issues.

We agreed to double down on our collaboration with the Climate Coalition — a central hub of actions, resources and events that will help people engage their local politicians to tackle climate change and protect nature. This hub builds on top of the core functionality of Mapped with a custom user interface and content management system.

Finally, we set the intention to maintain healthy boundaries and work-life balance over the next few weeks. Our intention is to prioritise honest communication and joyful collaboration. We want this to be a period of renewed focus and extended impact, but without having anyone burnout through the process.

Our thoughts on the election

As well as deciding what to focus on within the co-op, we discussed how to make sense of this election more broadly. What are the stakes? What has changed? What is on the cards?

We at Common Knowledge tend to circle around the question of transformation and justice. We live in a despicably unjust, destitute and violent society. Wealth accumulation is grotesque and basic provisions are sparse. There is a genocide, and the state continues to export arms to Israel. The police are brutal. The climate continues heating up, fuelled by our wasteful and destructive economy. These challenges will be faced by whatever government comes next, and that government must be held to account through continuous grassroots pressure.

How can we prepare and support the movement for this new cycle of robust action?

We think that the special interests of the working class need to be manifested in the creation of new institutions or the collaboration of existing ones. For example, tenant and worker unions who strike together through mass economic leverage, advocacy groups whose disruptive action makes them impossible to ignore, a whole counter-cultural ecosystem whose object is transformation of the system as it is. This is where we try to position ourselves, what we work towards and where our imaginative selves have a space to breathe.

However, our pragmatic selves see that an election like this, in this moment where party politics is at such a dire and universally accepted low point — such that discourse around the end or failure of democracy is commonplace — sucks most of the political conversation and imagination in towards a dismal singularity of possibility: state capture and reform. In a moment like this, our movement is not in a position or context to mount a plausible campaign for working class power to meet its own needs; instead we will be left with a result defined only by how much change we might see in terms of worker control of capital.

Post-election — in a nutshell — our invitation will be to radicalise past liberal reformism by building trenchant working class power through the routes and methods we’ve employed already, and hopefully new ones.