In the past, as Karl Marx famously said, philosophers interpreted the world — the point, however, he said, is to change it. And Red Line TV aims to spotlight the things that NEED changing.
In the face of mainstream media misinformation, fake news and distortion on an industrial scale, it has never been more important to have a medium prepare to analyse without fear or favour the critical issues at the heart of our society. Red Line TV aims to be that medium.
Red Line TV is unashamedly a medium of the socialist left. But that’s not because it is for political specialists, but because it believes that a rigorous left wing analysis is absolutely essential to understand what’s happening to us.
Presented and produced by Jackie Walker, Tina Werkmann and Graham Bash, three people with a great store of experience in political activism and journalism, Red Line TV is a regular, Zoom-based show. Each show tackles a major issue of the day, calling on the best people we can find to help us to explore it, never ducking debate or controversy, but throughout striving to understand and explain the realities of the forces at play.
THE ORIGINS OF RED LINE TV
By GRAHAM BASH
Red Line TV is the successor to Labour Briefing magazine, or rather, it is Labour Briefing in televisual format.
Labour Briefing began as London Labour Briefing in the early 1980s.
The Tories had just won the 1979 General Election, the Labour left was organising to take control of Labour local authorities and fighting for leadership of the Greater London Council. The Bennite challenge for power in the Labour Party was beginning.
Briefing’s first editorial stated: “ We have set ourselves the task of keeping active militants inside the Labour Party and the unions in touch with other… Organisation and information are the keys to success.”
Throughout the many changes in format and title there have been a number of unifying themes:
1. The recognition that our struggle was above all a practical one — to unite as many forces as we could to try to undermine the ability of the right wing leadership of the labour movement to betray and atomise the movement. Where the leadership divided, our task was to unite; where they withheld information, our task was to provide it; and when they tried to separate the industrial and political wings of the movement, our task was to bind them more closely together.
2. Our united front approach. The statement in our first editorial that Briefing was not controlled by any one tendency or group has remained a fundamental principle — even when Briefing became hosted by the Labour Representation Committee. From our very first issue we declared war on the leaderships of Labour Party and most trade unions (and peace has never been declared) — yet we have retained a commitment and loyalty to the mass organisations of the labour movement. We were not in the business of competing either with the trade unions or constituency Labour parties.
3. Our task was to break down all those divisions that hampered class unity and prevented the movement from realising its strength:
* the division between local and national politics, as we quickly transcended our initially narrow local government base and broadened our political attack,
* the division between national and international politics,
* and the divisions in the left itself as we began to to unite the best, most consistent comrades in the Bennite camp with the most sensible sections of the revolutionary left.
With this emphasis on breaking down divisions and uniting struggles, under the pressure from the women’s and anti-racist movements we made the simple discovery that we Labour Party members and trade unionists were also men and women, mothers, fathers, single parents, lesbians, gay men and trans. We were racially and sexually oppressed, rape victims, disabled and victims of mental institutions. And we wrote as human beings — usually avoiding dry, abstract analyses and writing with all the anger, bitterness, humour, irreverence, mischief and empathy that human beings possess.
As we now face the most difficult of conditions — threatened by global climate catastrophe and war, and with the leadership of the Labour Party threatening the very survival of the party — we will keep to the very best of our traditions. Our socialist intransigence, coupled with our commitment to pluralism and labour movement democracy and accountability will be vital as the labour movement reassembles its forces for the struggles ahead.