Saturday, 8 August 2015

Labour Leadership & Jeremy Corbyn

by Laurens Otter
THE reasons anarchists refuse to vote are diverse, it by no means follows that any one anarchist will accept all the reasons advanced by his / her comrades.  For me (as a syndicalist) it is purely because the institutions of government are so organised that it is impossible to use them to change society.


A new MP when elected is conditioned in the House of Commons:

'You won't get on unless you compromise', 'if you want to change society, you've got to get power, and if you want to get power you've got to...'  etc.


You either play the game or you sit on the back benches.  Before people get to Parliament the conditioning has begun already.  Every shop steward was subjected to the same process.  Every aspirant to adopted as a constituency candidate, as indeed for every official of the constituency parties it is the same.


At the same time the forces of finance, capitalist control of the media, the conditioning through the education system of every child in the land; the way that workers are conditioned.  Many young workers are told:

'You can only get change if you become a foreman/ manager etc, so conform for the moment and then when you're promoted you can get changes.'


So what happens when once the conditioning system breaks down?  When because the system  has over-reached itself, and popular reaction seizes on an Obama for President or a Corbyn for Labour leader?


Well, it still holds that the system is such that there was no conceivable way that Barrack Obama could implement his promised policies; no way that he could have carried all his Party in voting to shut down Guantamano.   But let us have the honesty to admit that the 'Yes We Can'  Campaign – despite the fact that it was easy for an anarchist to see and say:  'No, unfortunately you can't' – did mobilise a large number of people who had previously lacked hope.  Many, if not most, will have ended up disheartened.  But some will remain sufficiently inspired to move on from Constitutional Politics.


No doubt Obama's contribution to progressive politics ended the day he was actually elected and from then on he was a prisoner of the system:  Though he does do some good as a 'Lame Duck President', while he is unable, constitutionally to do anything, he can campaign and show up how the system works.


In much the way here the system over reached itself, and behold a back-bencher, who has consistently refused to be conditioned, turned away from the Parliamentary flesh-pots and has now been thrust into the affray.  Jeremy Corbyn was Chairman of the Wrekin Young Socialists, when I first moved up here to Shropshire.  Wrekin Young Socialists was one of the first young socialist groups that refused to align itself with either Transport House or Militant.


Jeremy moved to London very soon after I moved to Wrekin.  In London, he contacted high-profile campaigners like the anarcho- syndicalist and former editor of Freedom, Peter Turner, who would refer any industrial victimisation cases to Jeremy that could be dealt with in a Parliamentary capacity.  Jeremy also worked with Rob Green over the issues arising from the murder of Hilda Murrell.


So we must concede that Jeremy is an honest socialist, though admittedly reformist, and that if it were possible that a parliamentarian could advance socialism and could start Labour on the road to change; then Jeremy would be a good choice.


That said it needs to be pointed out that his platform doesn't go very far.  He wants to restore some of the nationalisation done by the Clement Attlee Government.  Most of which had previously been enacted by the Churchill-led war-time Coalition. 


The media has of course thrown all the mud it can at Jeremy Corbyn.  That is to be expected.  The nearest they came to a good argument is the claim that Michael Foot moved Labour leftwards and then lost badly.  That is only part of the truth.  Foot campaigned from the Left, but immediately he was elected he change tack.  He made an alliance with Healey, announced that he would 'do nothing to offend the consciences of Multi-nationalists' who had backed  backed him:

'Stuff you,  you're used to keeping your consciences in your pockets, you can go on so doing.'  

He then attacked Tony Benn – until then his partner in the campaign to change the leadership – in a

most opportunist and unfair way.  Not surprisingly, the Left in consequence, sat on its hands, and did not support Foot in the subsequent election.


Ned Ludd said...

So why not vote? It's not as if they will notice if you don't. You have nothing to lose.

mark hollinrake said...

Corbyn is a reformist just like Benn was, but is the best choice available to those who have a vote in the leadership election. Socialists, Anarchists, Communists, Trade Unionists, sometimes have to go for the best alternative available, so long as you are not selling out on your own personal beliefs too much. JC would be able to win over some left wingers, Trade Unionists, peace campaigners etc who at the moment who cannot vote for a LP that is basically a pro war, Tory lite, party that does not have the guts to stand by Trade Unionists in struggle, and fight to overturn, the anti union laws of Thatcher.

I am convinced a much more radical LP would win a General election, and be able to work with other radical parties like the Greens. In fact I will have a sports-person's bet with anyone, that under Corbyn, Labour would win in 2020, so long as the party really campaigns hard on the policies that he will put forward. Look at where the left wingers like Corbyn stood in this past election, and you will see that in relation to most LP candidates they did better, often increasing their majorities like JC.

JC is a good Trade Unionist, by far the best choice for us Trade Unionists and will fight to get justice for blacklisted comrades, and to overthrow the Thatcher and soon to be Cameron anti trade union laws.

He is a good anti nuclear and peace campaigner , by far the beat of the candidates.

He is by far the the best socialist of the candidates, and easily the most progressives. In fact I would say he is the only socialist and progressive of the ones standing.

He is also a man of integrity, willing to state what he really believes, and campaign to change people's positions.