We spoke to Labour Society about their talk with Owen Jones at the Guild

They’re the largest society on campus

Owen Jones, Guardian columnist and author, is coming to Liverpool to do a talk at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Labour Society have organised for him to also visit the Guild to do another talk exclusively for students. The political activist is known for his socialist, democratic perspective and for looking about 12 years old whilst actually being 32.

The talk will be a student-only event in order for it not to clash entirely with his talk at the Philharmonic. It will be from 5pm on the 27th October.

The event at the Philharmonic is called ‘The Politics of Hope’ and its Facebook page details what the talk will be about:

How can we build societies run in the interests of working people, not run as a racket for the mean and the greedy at the top? By looking at some alternatives across the world, we can end the inevitability of widening inequalities and injustice.”

Tickets range from £12 to £18 and you can get them here.

UoL’s Labour Society then took the initiative and decided to organise their own talk with Owen Jones, at a less costly price and exclusively for students. This talk, held in the Guild, will be a different discussion to the Philharmonic ‘Politics of Hope’ talk. It will be about ‘The Labour Party as a social movement’. We spoke to one of the organisers and Chair of the Labour Society, Rory Hughes, for more information.

Labour Soc members campaigning for ‘education day of action’ on Bold Street

What are your thoughts on Owen Jones?

“Owen Jones has probably been the most influential commentator and activist on the left in the past decade. For the generation growing up after the 2008 economic crisis, Owen Jones was a lone voice that offered ideas to rally around. His appeal has certainly been particularly huge amongst the young. His commitment to the Labour Party seemed somewhat odd to many people on the left for years. Progressive people were flocking first to the Lib Dems, then the Greens, or more often than not to no party at all. However, his analysis that the Labour Party would be the institution through which a mass-based radical politics would happen in the UK appears vindicated following the rise of Corbyn. As a critical supporter of Corbyn, he is capable of uniting the different wings of the party around a coherent progressive politics and this is particularly important right now.”
Why is this event useful to your society?
“We organised Owen Jones to come and speak at the Guild in order to attract even more students in to our society and to the Labour party in general. We are currently the biggest society on campus with over 50 paid-up members. Owen Jones will be giving a talk at the Guild on ‘The Labour Party as a social movement’. We hope that the ideas that will come out from this event will inspire more people to join the labour party and encourage us all to think creatively of how to deploy the 600,000 strong membership of the Labour Party (now the biggest political party in Europe) to campaign for the Labour Party and progressive social change more broadly.”

Some of the many members of Labour Society

Do you have any thoughts on the £12/£18 ticket charge for the event at the Philharmonic?
“It is hugely expensive. However, the line that ‘it’s very expensive for someone who is supposed to be a socialist is a cheap attack and is based on misinformation. Owen Jones has no control over the ticket prices of such events. The Philharmonic set the ticket cost, not him. Owen Jones was very keen to come and do a talk at the Guild when we contacted him because he was aware that it would be more accessible than his talk at the Philharmonic that night and declined when we offered to pay him a fee.
“For our event at the Guild, we are currently planning on charging £2 per student, or free for Labour Society members (our sign up fee is £3). We are doing this in order to encourage people who like Owen Jones to join the Labour Party and actually get campaigning for the radical politics of hope that Owen Jones encourages. Furthermore, the funds raised will be used to fund our campaigns and other events in the future.

Labour Society have also organised a bar crawl after the event. They’re meeting at the Casa at 8, will wait around for anyone who’s been to see Owen at the Philharmonic and the go on to the bar crawl. Anyone who isn’t a member of the society will be charged £1 to join.