Hilary Wainwright

Everyone sensed the new energy at this year’s Labour Party conference, held in Brighton from September 24-27.

The reality of the conference was something not seen in Britain for a long time: thousands of determined and self-confident members of a Labour Party that boldly stands for what they believe in.

There is a political movement in Scotland that is quite beyond anything containable by or even comprehensible through the terms of conventional parliamentary, tick-some-scoundrel's-name-every-four-years politics.

Many of us have had our political senses so numbed for so long by broken promises of change that it’s taken a long time for people to wake up to this fact.

Former Brazilian president Lula, who helped found the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) and governed from 2003–2010, took his time to comment on the wave of protests that erupted in mid-June, bringing millions onto the streets.

But when he finally gave an interview, he warmly welcomed the protests: “Brazil is living an extraordinary moment in the affirmation of its democracy. We are a very young democracy ... It’s only to be expected that our society should be a walking metamorphosis, changing itself at every moment.”

Thirty-five years ago, workers at the Lucas Aerospace company formulated an “alternative corporate plan” to convert military production to socially useful and environmentally desirable purposes.

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