Labour’s Netroots on display this Saturday

Netroots UK will be the biggest networking, training and strategy event ever for digital progressive activists (the Netroots, or digital grassroots), and Labour Party people at all levels will be using it to make new contacts and showcase their work and activism.

From the parliamentary party, Tom Watson will be talking about how MPs use social media to interact with constituents and lobbyists, and Stella Creasy will be discussing the potential to bring activists and voters more meaningfully into decisions and organisation.

Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of Westminster Council Labour Group, will be giving tips on how to make your local party organising more effective through new media, in a workshop session.

Alex Smith, Ed Miliband’s new media advisor, is talking in a workshop on using online activity to drive offline action (in a session with Obama’s former States Co-ordinator Teddy Goff).

Labour party campaign groups will be represented well with people from Compass, The Fabians and LabourYes taking key roles too.

And Labour-supporting bloggers will be out in force, including LabourList Editor Mark Ferguson, who is contributing to a workshop on building up the progressive blogosphere.

So there’s plenty for Labour activists to get out of the event from Party sources alone.

Perhaps even more usefully though, the event encompasses the whole spectrum of progressive activism, party-aligned or not from other parties, unions, pressure groups, and direct action groups from the recent student occupations and tax protests.

Reversing the Coalition’s dangerous, damaging and ideologically driven program of spending cuts – 2011’s most pressing goal for progressives of all types – will take work on many fronts – as a parliamentary opposition for sure, but also from unions, campaigners and community groups across the wider progressive movement.

Labour and Labour people have much to offer a better networked and resurgent progressive netroots, and much to learn from them as well.

Netroots UK is taking place on Saturday 8 Jan in central London. Tickets cost £5 and can be reserved online at http://www.netrootsuk.org

John Wood

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