Thursday, August 20, 2015
Labour's future is our collective responsibility
I've voted for Corbyn (and I hope you have too).
The online fuss about a "purge" may indicate that over zealous party loyalists will shave a few hundred votes from the total cast for the socialist candidate - as the media contribute "guilt by association" stories which try to tar Jeremy Corbyn with utterly implausible charges in the hope that some mud will stick.
No one knows what the result of the leadership election will be - but it is clearly more than possible that the left will win. More than that, we have already seen that the Labour Left is a sizeable and vibrant force.
Now, as Jon Lansman makes clear in the link at the head of this blog post, we need to understand that changing the Labour Party begins rather than ends with this leadership election.
Jeremy Corbyn's election as Party Leader will not, of itself, change a single policy of our Party any more than his defeat would, of itself, rule out a progressive change. Obviously the result may well make a difference to how people vote at Conference or in the National Policy Forum, but it is there that votes will have to be cast.
One of the less well-informed calls I have read this week was the call from Dave Nellist (in the context of a kind offer that TUSC might bring its legions back into the fold) for Corbyn, if elected, to decree that Labour Councils stop making cuts. This is quite beyond the power of the Party Leader (and which socialist would want to be a member of a Party of which it was not?)
A Leader prepared to support rather than denounce bold opposition to austerity can open up space in which such opposition might grow - but it is Party members and trade unionists in each locality who need to nurture such growth (and history shows that local resistance can take place in spite of denunciation from on high).
What we need to do is engage energetically with the Party's democratic structures in terms of policy-making and candidate selection. That first person plural applies to all of us who are enthusiastic supporters of Corbyn's leadership bid. It is much wider than the venerable and worthy organisations extant on the Labour Left - but it does need to find some collective, democratic expression (soon).
If we want to transform the Labour Party we cannot leave this to one man.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.