Learn about Labour: political education resources for lockdown
Our movement is stronger when we come together to learn more about the world around us, the history of our movement and the struggles of workers.
With so many of us stuck at home, we’ve collated some resources for you to learn more at home alone – or why not set up a video call to discuss what you’ve been reading or watching with friends, family or colleagues? Here’s 10 things to get your teeth stuck into.
1. Read Labour MPs’ favourite books
From Ben Elton to Maya Angelou, we asked MPs and members of our new Shadow Cabinet to pick their favourite books for Labour members like us to read. Some are historical and political, others are novels, so there’s something for everyone.
To get your hands on some of these books, you can try Hive, which delivers nationally while representing hundreds of independent booksellers.
2. Watch films about the labour movement and UK politics
Made In Dagenham is an inspiring film about the Ford women’s strike of 1968, when women working in the Dagenham Ford factory went on strike for equal pay with the support of Labour politicians. Pride is a tear jerking film about the LGBT movement and the miners’ strike. I Daniel, Blake is a compelling drama filmed by Ken Loach which tells the story of benefit sanctions in the UK and the often devastating impact they have on people. All three of these films are available through online streaming services. Nae Parasan, a documentary telling the story of workers in Scotland who defied bosses orders to make weapons for the dictator Pinochet, is available on BBC iPlayer.
3. Under 27? Get stuck in with Young Labour
Throughout this crisis, Young Labour has been creating some incredible resources for young Labour supporters.
Thousands of Labour members have come together on video calls. It’s been incredible to see so many young people come together to support each other – whether they’re concerned about their housing situation or keeping their job during this crisis. Keep up to date on Young Labour’s upcoming video calls by following its Facebook page.
4. Use free online books
Verso have made many of their online versions of books free during this crisis so we can learn while we’re unable to socialise, and Pluto Books give away a free ebook with every order. There are also a number of online resources for learning about history and politics online, such as the digital archives of the British Library.
5. Use Labour’s online training resources
We have a number of online training resources, and you can sign up to start receiving our regular training bulletins. Achieve is Labour’s online learning platform, where you can learn more about how our campaigning works on the ground and how you can get involved on a local level.
Why not start by learning about how we win votes at election time, ready for 2021’s huge set of local elections? You’ll need your Labour Login to get started.
6. Read about the history of The Labour Party
Ours is a proud history, with achievements – from the NHS to the welfare state – that have made a lasting difference to the lives of people across our country. Fancy learning more about it? Check out the Labour Legacy module on Achieve.
In which year was our manifesto called ‘Let us Face the Future’ ? What groundbreaking law change did Barabara Castle win in 1970? Find out by reading about our history on our website. If you’re starting them young and learning about the Labour Party with your kids, the BBC Bitesize website also has a history of our party.
7. Take part in a Labour webinar
Our training webinars are regularly updated here. They include specific sessions for new members to find out more about how the party works, how to become a Councillor, how to use social media and beyond.
A number of sessions have been recorded so you can catch up from home, anywhere, anytime.
Our very own Shadow Business Secretary, Ed Miliband, has a podcast called Reasons to be Cheerful which looks at the world around us and the positive solutions to make it better. They talk to policy-makers, experts, campaigners, academics and thinkers who are shaping the policies and ideas to tackle the biggest problems facing the world today.
The Working Class History podcast documents those throughout history who have struggled for a better world – covering events like the Stonewall Riots, the Peterloo massacre and the contribution of women during the miners’ strike.
Pluto Press’s podcast, Radicals in Conversation, touches on subjects as wide ranging as feminism, the arms trade and LGBT struggles.
9. Read trade union learning resources
The TUC (Trades Union Congress) has plenty of resources on your rights at work, how to organise in the workplace and trade union history. Why not learn more about incredible workers’ victories throughout history on this trade union history website from the TUC. Or find out about the Matchworkers strike in 1888 which saw women workers unite and win.
Check out the webinars on the TUC’s website to learn about things as diverse as mental health, zero hours contracts, pensions and beyond.
If you’re a trade union rep, the TUC Education’s eLearning modules are great resources to help reps keep up to date on key workplace issues.
Labour Unions is the collective voice of the 12 trade unions. Sign up to its mailing list to be kept up to date with the latest campaigns, training and online events.
10. Find out how to fight antisemitism and other forms of racism
Antisemitism is a poison that must be challenged wherever it raises its head – and it’s our job as anti-racists to do that. We have developed these resources for Labour members to find out more about fighting this form of racism in our movement and wider society, including common conspiracy theories to look out for and challenge them effectively.
Hope Not Hate’s website has some powerful research about racism in the UK, including its State of Hate 2020 report detailing the extent of hatred and bigotry in our country this year. It also has a great podcast.