Hello, my name is Ben Cobley. On this blog I hope to share some of my better thoughts on politics, philosophy, society, and the Left, in addition to some other interesting stuff.
The name A Free Left Blog comes from a concern that the political and cultural Left is dominated by forms of ‘group think’ which shut down free thinking rather than encourage it. I want to challenge this while promoting a Left which is genuinely liberal but rooted in time and place.
“Part of what it is to be courageous is to see reality accurately and to respond well in the face of it." ~ Jonathan Lear
I am standing in
elections for the Management Committee of Compass, the broad Left pressure group which used to be
attached to the Labour Party but more recently opened itself up to sympathisers
from all political parties and none.
This is the statement I have submitted to support my nomination:
"I write a blog
called A Free Left Blog, which I set up out of concern about forms of ‘group
think’ on the Left which demand obedience and discourage open-mindedness.
I believe the Left should be generous and welcoming, open and tolerant, and
also ethical in the way it behaves. I am against ideologies like neoliberalism
and ‘vulgar’ Marxism, and forms that have emerged around the politics of
identity, including strictly deterministic versions of feminism. These offer
simplistic, all-encompassing explanations about our world while setting
different groups in society against each other.
I see better
ways to be found in a culture of democracy, a deeper version of equality than
the version that is dominant; a respect for land and the natural world with
which we are so connected; economics as a means not an end; and freedom, as
something rooted in a shared good life."