Editorial: Work, autonomy and community
Since we took on the co-editorship Renewal at the start of 2016, we have deliberately focused our efforts on filling in the conceptual gaps between academic analysis and specific policy proposals. The contributions we have sought – on Europe, inequality, community wealth, localism, democratisation and the social composition of the electorate – have been aimed at both raising the ambitions of Labour’s politics and ensuring their relevance to an age of multiple crises. With the left in a strengthened position and the Labour party enjoying something of an internal truce, this issue takes the opportunity to investigate the normative foundations for a twenty-first century social democracy. Beyond the reversal of the damage caused by state austerity and corporate excess, beyond even the construction of new institutions to guarantee economic justice and ecological stability, what kinds of emancipation, what forms of life, should the left promote? Our contributors, in various ways, explore the ultimate purposes of social democracy, alongside the tensions and choices that confront us on the way. Together, they raise fundamental questions about the meaning of ‘work’, the value of place and community, and the realisation of social justice in the fabric of everyday life.