Sunday, July 03, 2016
Democracy is on the line. Time to do all we can to Keep Corbyn.
It is not as simple as "Jeremy Corbyn ought not to resign." Nor is it as straightforward as he is an admirable and brave man (though he is) and that those who stand by him in Parliament are the best of the political representatives of our class (though they are).
The point is that Jeremy Corbyn has no right to resign. Were he to do so he would betray his mandate, our members, our Party and our class.
At this moment, when Brexit has unleashed the forces of the political right who seek ownership of the anti-establishment spirit engendered by austerity, such a betrayal would be most dangerous.
The first half of the twentieth century saw the final achievement of the franchise - and the working out of its consequences, culminating in the postwar Welfare State. For a generation after 1945 a state beholden to workers' votes (and facing a global alternative to capitalism) offered some social and economic security 'from the cradle to the grave.'
The second half of the twentieth century saw capital's fightback against the democratic, social and economic gains of labour. This fightback culminated not so much in the political victories of Thatcher as in her subsequent conquest of our Party through Blair. A key element of this conquest was the 'professionalisation' of politics.
Our Party, and our movement, were built by self-taught activists and we chose to lead and represent us people drawn from our own ranks. By the end of the last century however we had developed a 'political class' of full-time career politicians, the 'progressive' wing of which led us in opposition to the Tories.
Whether or not these people had a degree in 'PPE' from Oxford they were our 'experts' and they knew, better than we, what was in our interest - which turned out (according to them) to be accommodating to the political triumph of Thatcherism by swallowing privatisation at home and imperialism abroad.
It is this caste of career politicians who are now in open rebellion against the Leader who was the overwhelming democratic choice of the Party membership less than a year ago. They rebel not so much because they fear that, under his leadership, we may lose an election.
In a two party system (which we almost still have) elections are won, and lost, and won - and those whose career is in politics carry on more or less regardless.
They are in rebellion against Jeremy Corbyn because they fear that he might win an election and, in so doing, rewrite the rules upon which their 'political' careers are predicated.
If the coup plotters oust Corbyn they will succeed in distancing the Labour Party from any hope of influence or control by Party members for at least a decade - and in this decade the populist genie created by austerity and unleashed by the referendum vote will, without doubt, be controlled from the political right.
Hilary Benn can't resist this.
Angela Eagle can't resist this.
Tom Watson can't resist this.
If we want to avoid the mistakes of past we need a socialist leader of the Labour Party who will lead real resistance to austerity and racism now, when we need it more than ever.
For all our futures it is essential that we Keep Corbyn.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.