Arbury Road is a European think tank born from the need to renovate the political discourse in Europe, exploring new ways of communication to help align people’s needs and demands with political goals. Arbury Road aims to shape a new, common identity for European, cosmopolitan progressives which is inclusive and representative of the working class, and to offer concrete solutions to real social issues throughout the world. We are a grassroots think-tank, so our identity and positions will be shaped by our members as a collective, but in this manifesto, we define the goals and values that will underpin our work.

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Our goals

Our goals address what we see as three major problems in progressive politics today.

  1. A progressive identity. We live in a world of ‘single-issue politics’, where people fight for specific causes and not a coherent, integrated vision for the world. Populist parties create programs that contain, at the same time, both progressive and conservative agendas, but generally, propose the return to national sovereignty as a remedy for the 'evils' of globalisation. These sovereigntist messages, which depict the European Union as a scapegoat for all sorts of problems, are clear, powerful, and capable of mobilising the anger of regular citizens who have been left behind by the European liberal elite. To counter populism and single-issue politics, a new progressive identity for Europe is needed so that people are motivated to vote not issue by issue, but based on a sense of belonging to a progressive movement that is bound to a coherent and ambitious vision of the world and the future.

  2. A progressive path for the process of European integration. The European Union as a liberal project has failed to deliver its promises. Make no mistake, the EU has delivered what was most needed in the 1940s: peace in Europe. But this is not enough. The EU has been floundering in recent years as it prioritises economic growth, leading to a socially fractured union. The project of European integration should not be left to liberals, and progressives cannot fool themselves into thinking that a return to national sovereignty is the answer to the EU’s problems. Many of the challenges that we collectively face, from the climate crisis to the maintenance and expansion of welfare systems, require European and global cooperation to be dealt with effectively. European integration should, instead, be based on greater political unity and concrete common policies which support a coherent progressive vision that can win back the hearts of European citizens.

  3. Open communication. Progressives are no longer capable of speaking with the people who should constitute their natural base of voters, namely: the working class and the less fortunate members of society; the unemployed and young generations; the small business owners and the self-employed. Many people in these groups see progressives as an intellectual caste, detached from reality and from the daily problems or regular citizens. Arbury Road wants to embark on the difficult, but by no means impossible, journey to re-establish a popular identity for progressives. We will do so by writing and speaking in plain language, by meeting with regular people and listening to their needs and demands, and by working to represent the population of Europe rather than a small intellectual minority.

Our values

Connecting citizens’ individual struggles to a coherent identity and vision requires values that encompass diverse but compatible ideological views that can together fight neoliberal and fascist ideas. The goal is to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and open discussion, where we respect people’s opinions, and where different points of view are analysed rather than criminalised, in order to reconnect progressives with the popular strata. 

Respect. It seems banal, but it’s not in today’s politics. Arbury Road is a place of mutual respect where the atmosphere of discussion is always open-minded. Too often, on all sides of politics, beliefs are represented as dogmatic truth. We believe that we should try to understand each other.

Solidarity. Respect is not sufficient. We need a world that is based on solidarity. Solidarity between classes, between genders, between nations, and groups. We are all human.

Dignity. Every human being on this planet deserves to be valued, respected, and treated with dignity regardless of how they look, where they come from, or how they think. Ethics plays a major role in ensuring people are treated with dignity and Arbury Road is dedicated to providing an ethics-based approach to every activity we carry out. You will not find content that discriminates, nor will you find activities that are carried out in bad faith. We will always strive to make the world a fair, ethical and dignified place.

Efficiency. Progressive often fail to stress the importance of efficiency. We believe that the public sector and public investment should play a fundamental role in the economy, to create a better and more equal society that does not leave anyone behind. At the same time, this can only be achieved if public services are efficient. In the past, progressives have lost time defending old, anachronistic, and inefficient public bodies. Today there are no more excuses. We have technologies which enable us to find one-click solutions, placing people’s needs at the centre of government instead of making citizens and civil society adapt to bureaucratic constraints. Efficient services save money which can be redistributed and used to finance the welfare state and social programs, increasing equality and societal wealth.

Community. We value the European community but also local communities, and rediscovering what brings us together. Being a community means to share a series of norms, values, customs, identities. These are partially inherited, but also need to be built. We have a common European heritage, made by art, culture, music, and cooperation, but also a common past of wars, destruction, and colonialism to redeem.

Transparency. In Today's world, it can be difficult to process and evaluate all the information that we receive. For this reason, transparency is even more fundamental than in the past. The operations of Arbury Road will always be open to its members, who are also its owners, and to all whom we communicate with.

On the basis of these goals and values, we invite members to contribute to our full manifesto, where we establish our positions on the Environment, Equality, Circular Economy (labour market & welfare), Education, Human Rights, Technology & Innovation, Sustainable Agriculture, a model for European Integration, and a vision for Europe’s role in the world.

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