Owen Jones comes to Bristol

“Trump and Brexit are movements of hate, racism, and bigotry.”

On the 5th of December, Guardian journalist and author Owen Jones came to the Wills Memorial Building in Bristol to discuss political issues on social justice. He spoke alongside educational researcher Melissa Benn, Oxford professor, Danny Dorling and Durham research fellow Kayleigh Garthwaite.

Jones was the last to speak and began by drawing a distinction between the politics of hope and the politics of fear that has been so prevalent in 2016.

First dwelling on the positive, politics of hope looked at the progress of Bernie Sanders in the US election, being the ‘most successful socialist’ in US election history. Jones also discussed the success of the Spanish left wing, grass roots political party Podemos, who gained over 5 million votes in their first election.

Jones concluded that these movements suggested a glimmer of hope for the future of international politics.

Politics of fear was an umbrella term for the shift towards the conservative and right wing politics with regards to Trump, Brexit, Austria and France.

Each movement subscribing to a philosophy that advocates hate, racism and bigotry, rather than unity and cohesion. The National Front in France and despite their defeat, 46% of Austria’s population voting for the far-right Freedom party all demonstrate the impact of anti-immigration rhetoric and politics based on fear.

An important subject he touched upon included breaking down linguistic barriers of left-wing politics.  It is important that the left is inclusive by recognising the intersectionality of politics to include class, race, gender and sexuality. It is vital that everyone can access the dialogue of the left. Jones suggested that the general population can currently relate better to narratives of right wing newspapers rather than the academic jargon of left.

Jones had captivated the audience by the end of his speech, receiving the biggest round of applause. He ended by stating that History will reward those who stood against the xenophobic movements around the world.