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Socialists launch new Political Education Project

SOCIALISTS and labour movement activists today launched the Political Education Project, “a new effort in working-class self-education in Britain, Ireland and the US.”

Organisers seek to draw on “traditions of working-class pedagogy from trade unions, the civil rights movement, and community organising” and are kicking off with an online 10-week course that will include classes on socialism, women’s oppression, anti-racism and building working-class power.

“Historically miners’ libraries, mechanics institutes, socialist Sunday schools and more supported and sustained independent working-class education ... provided part of the essential ‘infrastructure of dissent’ in which working-class movements, and the unions, were nurtured and flourished. The challenge now is to rebuild similar institutions adequate to the challenges of the 21st century,” the group’s founding statement says.

Steering group member Paul O’Connell told the Morning Star that “political education is crucial for building strong, resilient working-class movements,” arguing that “over the past 50 years ... the infrastructure of working-class education has been hollowed out. The political turmoil and defeats of the last few years show again the urgent need for serious political education.

“Now more than ever we have to take the ‘educate’ part of ‘educate, agitate, organise’ seriously, now more than ever we have to work together to understand the world in order to change it.”

Sasha Josette, a strategic communications & media consultant working in campaigns, participatory policy and climate justice who is also on the steering group, said the project’s initial course would be “the first of many 10-week courses – free! 
”The courses are open to everyone. There are a lot more ideas and projects we’d like to try but thought we’d start with socialist Sunday schools, and see what happens!”

Other steering group members include Labour councillor Laura Smith, the former MP for Crewe and Nantwich and a key figure in the No Holding Back initiative on rebuilding Labour’s connections to working-class communities, and Irish Congress of Trade Unions Anti-Sectarian Unit Trademark co-director Stiofan O Nuallain.

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