Subscribe from £5 every three months.

Latest Articles

20 years of the CIC

Illustration by
Nay Groves
Adrian Ashton

20 years in – have we finally found the question that the CIC is the answer to?

The concept of ‘social enterprise’ predates the rise of the Community Interest Company (CIC), introduced in 2005 under the New Labour government. This legal form has come to monopolise the concept of social enterprise in the UK, adopted by a wide range of community groups, co-operatives, and larger-scale organisations, whose activities and objectives must fall under the banner of being ‘for the benefit of the community’. But given its numerous problems, and the other more democratic options available, why is it still seen as advantageous?

'New Economies' and the Rebuilding of Democratic Power

Jonny Gordon-Farleigh

In September 2023, I joined the New Economies gathering in Rotterdam, hosted by the international philanthropic fund Partners for a New Economy. Convening 180 ‘changemakers’ from across Europe and the US, it was an opportunity to catch up on the latest developments across a movement to redesign the economy, with sessions on the impact of inequalities between the Global North and South, the consequences of international debt and currency hierarchies, the disruptions of AI technologies, and tensions surrounding the extractive role of private capital in green infrastructure investment.

Beyond addressing these particular political and economic trends, the one-day conference principally focused on how this loose movement of NGOs could “move new economic thinking from the margins to the mainstream”. The opening keynote speaker, Katherine Trebeck, co-founder of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, stressed the importance of efforts to create “public momentum” and the necessity of “reaching people in ‘flyover towns’ in the US and in Brexit-voting villages in England”. The following panel then reinforced the scale of these challenges by exploring how we “build a bigger tent” to go far beyond our current – and narrowly constituted – movement.

Read More...

Romantic anti-capitalism: an interview with Michael Löwy

Your 2019 book Romantic Anti-capitalism and Nature argues there is an “elective affinity” between romanticism, anti-capitalism, and ecology. Through the works of the likes of Cole – a landscape painter, Morris – an artist and activist, Benjamin – a social philosopher, and Williams – a cultural critic, you explore the “essential links” between the destruction of nature and the rise of capitalism in different historical periods and cultural contexts. 

Can you outline your conception of ‘romantic anticapitalism’, and explain its historical, political, and anthropological (and so on) sources? 

I developed the concept of “romantic anticapitalism” in several writings with my friend Robert Sayre. For us, romanticism is much more than a literary school of the early nineteenth century. It is a world-view (Weltanschauung) that is present in all fields of cultural life: poetry, literature, art, philosophy, anthropology, political theory, historiography – and even political economy (Lenin wrote an essay in 1897, A characterisation of romantic economicism). Romanticism appeared by the mid-eighteenth century, with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and one of its first representatives was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In 1755 he published his treatise, Discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality among human beings: a sort of inaugural manifesto of political romanticism. And against the established wisdom, romanticism does not end by 1830 nor 1848. It continues until today.

What is the “rational kernel” of the romantic world-view? It is a social and cultural protest against the modern industrial capitalist civilisation, in the name of past, pre-capitalist, pre-modern values. Romantics denounce the capitalist disenchantment of the world, the quantification (monetisation) of everything, the replacement of human relations by the “cash nexus”. They rejected capitalism because, to paraphrase Marx in the The Communist Manifesto, capitalism has drowned religious fervour, chivalrous enthusiasm, and common sentimentalism “in the icy waters of egotistical calculation”. There is a passage in Marx’s Grundrisse which remarkably summarises the issue: in previous stages of development, life had a greater plenitude. The romantics would like to return to this past plenitude, but this is as absurd as to accept the present bourgeois emptiness. However, as long as the bourgeois society exists, its legitimate romantic critique will exist too. The only thing missing in this passage is the revolutionary, or utopian, romanticism. 

Read More...

What’s the Future of Philanthropy?

The historical legacy and current role of philanthropy is not undisputed. Many frame it as a form of compensation for marginalised groups, while others charge it with continuing the harms of the past into the present.

Lankelly Chase’s high-profile decision to release all of its assets and resources over the next five years and “dismantle” itself has raised lots of questions about the nature and future of philanthropy across the UK.

So, what is the future of philanthropy? Is it possible to disentangle the current role of philanthropy from its exploitative legacy? How does foundation divestment from harmful industries impact the portfolio returns and resources for social justice movements? Should existing philanthropic endowments come under more democratic stewardship? And will a potential void of progressive foundations create space for more corporate – market-oriented – funds?

For this group feature, we invited a range of contributors to offer their perspective on the future of charitable trusts and foundations, and potential opportunities for more democratic alternatives to the philanthropic model.

Read More...

New Social Spaces

Dan Gregory

Building on research for Local Trust (Skittled Out) – on the decline of ‘social infrastructure’ in our communities, such as pubs and social clubs, Dan Gregory turns to the unprecedented rise in new social spaces – from board game cafés and bouldering centres to mosques and makerspaces. But where are these spaces located, who steps through their doors, and, importantly, who owns them? To regain control of our declining social capital, Dan suggests, we should be fighting to transfer ownership of these important spaces into the hands of the communities who use them.

Read More...

All Articles



Latest Issues

Winter 2024 #44

Autumn 2023 #43

Summer 2023 #42

Spring 2023 #41

All Issues


From economics to politics, we're the leading magazine of democratic alternatives

We feature original illustrations, long-form interviews, and in-depth articles that present a serious challenge to the current economic and political crisis.

With your subscription you will receive four new print issues a year, once a quarter and the three latest back issues. All subscriptions come with full access to our digital archive via Exact Editions where you can read every previous issue of STIR magazine.

Gift & Lifetime Subscriptions

Access the Archive

We have hundreds of original articles, interviews, reviews, and practical toolkits in our archive.

We have hundreds of original articles, interviews, reviews, and practical toolkits in our archive. Print subscribers have access to the archive as part of an annual subscription. For online-only access to the STIR archive, you can purchase a digital subscription for £11.99 a year.

Get a digital subscription

Can I purchase a gift subscription?
Yes! We offer one-year or three-year subscriptions. Simply subscribe using the buttons above and enter the name and mailing address of the subscriber.

Can I subscribe as an institution or organisation?
Yes! Digital Institutional subscriptions are available for academic, corporate, and government institutions via Exact Editions, featuring:

  • Fully-searchable access to the growing archive of current and back issues
  • Unlimited IP-authenticated access and remote access options available
  • Cross-platform compatibility with all Web, iOS and Android devices
  • Usage reports, MARC records and excellent customer support
  • For further information or to request a quote, please contact
  • To purchase an Office subscription (2 Issues per quarter + 3 back issues + digital archive access), simply follow the Subscribe link above. Please contact if you have any questions

When will I receive my first issue of STIR?
If you purchased a Print subscription, your first copy will usually arrive within one-two weeks of payment being received. If you purchased a Digital subscription, please contact to receive your login information after completing your purchase.

How can I access the digital archive?
If you are an existing subscriber, you can login to Exact Editions here. If you are a new subscriber, please contact to receive your login information after completing your purchase.

How can I update my subscription details?
To update your address or contact details, please email with the new address. For new subscribers (2023 onwards), please login to your Stripe account.

How can I cancel my subscription?
To cancel your subscription, you can cancel recurring payments via your bank, or contact For new subscribers, please login to your Stripe account.

Read Our Blog

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.