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Turning Point 2000

After the two general elections of 1974, and the successful miners' strike of that year, the crisis atmosphere in British politics continued into 1975. The media were full of rumours about a possible coup to set up a new coalition government.

Following our involvement in the Campaign for Social Democracy and the experience of campaigning as a candidate in the first 1974 election, a growing interest in decentralist, environmental, feminist and other "alternative" viewpoints was stimulating me to think more radically. It was an exciting time. For more details, see About James Robertson.

Among the people we got to know were Peter Cadogan and Colin Hutchinson. Peter was the General Secretary of the South Place Ethical Society in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square in London, and minister of the humanist congregation there. He had just published his powerful pamphlet on "Direct Democracy". Colin was actively engaged in the environmental campaigns of the Conservation Society.

After some months of preliminary discussions with many other people, the four of us - Peter Cadogan, Colin Hutchinson, Alison Pritchard and I - established ourselves as an ad hoc committee to organise a meeting in Conway Hall. We decided to call it "Turning Point", after the recently published Club of Rome book Mankind at the Turning Point. (Fritjof Capra's book The Turning Point came out only in 1982.)

We duly held the first Turning Point meeting in Conway Hall on 29 November 1975. Over 200 people took part.

Peter Cadogan chaired the meeting. The speakers and their subjects were:

  • Colin Hutchinson - "The Crisis of Lifestyles",
  • Renee-Marie Croose Parry (Founder of the Teilhard Centre for the Future of Man) - "Values for Survival",
  • Jerry Ravetz (Council for Science and Society) - "Science and Technology",
  • Sheila Rothwell (Fawcett Society) - "The Changing Roles of the Sexes",
  • James Robertson - "The Institutional Imperative".

The meeting aimed to "provide an opportunity for concerned people to discuss the nature of the present crisis. Thinkers and activists in various fields, including ecology, religion and values, science, sex equality and institutional change, will be exploring what common ground they share and what scope there may be for helping and supporting one another".

That set the tone for the thirty-five more big meetings and smaller seminars held by Turning Point/2000 from 1975 to 1996. Their subjects included "The Politics of Tomorrow" (1977), "The Psychology of Social Change (1978), "The Future of Health" (1982), "The Future of Money" (1984), "The Conscious Consumer" (1987), "Beyond Marx, Keynes and Thatcher" (1993), "Overcoming Obstacles to a New Path of Progress" (1996), and many others.

One memorable big meeting was on "Contributions to an Alternative Future" on 12th May 1979. The speakers were Bill Dyson, Hazel Henderson, Willis Harman and Amory Lovins. A Guardian centre-page article two days later, titled "Enter the Future Softly", reported the meeting as "evidence that the alternative movement shadows all sectors of activity, public, private and personal. One day, when the soft revolution comes, presumably all these alternative individual sectors will link into one whole". Spot on!

Papers and correspondence about all these meetings and seminars are in our hard-copy Archive (click here for information about it).

The first Turning Point newsletter went out in June 1976, and from February 1977 we issued 16-page newsletters to a thousand or so recipients around the world regularly twice a year to September 1987. Then, after a two-year gap, we resumed the series under the heading Turning Point 2000.


Not published


Turning Point also published two papers.

The Redistribution of Work (1981)

Impressions of the New South Africa (1996)


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