On March 27th, mourners from across the political spectrum gathered to bid farewell to Tony Benn. In order not to dilute his memory and political audacity into bland commemorative rhetoric, we publish an extract from Leo Panitch and Colin Leys’s The End of Parliamentary Socialism that highlights Tony Benn’s importance for the British Left.
"Our society, as it is now structured, consists still of a few individual successes built upon a pedestal of statutory failure – economic failure, educational failure, or failure of some other sort. The whole competitive idea that a nation must have so many failures in order to produce one success is ludicrous yet it is the foundation of capitalist ideology. Why do we describe so many people as having failed? Why are we not able to recognize that in any society the richest resource is people? Why is it that people when they do have the free time now available to them do not have the facilities for discovering the potential that lies within them? Asking questions like this, you come to realize that at the deepest level socialism must mean liberation."
– Tony Benn, Parliament, People and Power: Agenda for a Free Society
Read Leo Panitch's tribute to the Benn in the Guardian.
Read Tony Benn's introduction to Gerrard Winstanley's A Common Treasury on our blog here.