[Marxism] Is electing socialist Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party the way to beat austerity?
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 29 06:48:27 MDT 2015
On 7/29/15 8:04 AM, John Passant via Marxism wrote:
> Is electing socialist Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour
> Party the way to beat austerity?
> The support for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign is a very good sign but
> British Labour isn’t the answer, argues Charlie Kimber, national
> secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Socialist Worker
Charlie Kimber: "We and others have made a start towards this with the
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. The UCU, FBU and Bfawu union
conferences all called for meetings, talks or a conference on working
class political representation."
The TUSC appears to be the latest attempt at a Socialist Alliance type
formation in which "Leninist" parties coalesce (the SP and SWP in this
instance) around the idea of a broad electoral initiative. The record on
such formations is dismal to say the least. The problem, as it was in
RESPECT et al, is that the "Leninists" make decisions about strategy in
party headquarters and present them as a fait accompli to TUSC members.
It is the Achilles heel of democratic centralism, something that will
prevent TUSC from ever having the influence people like Kimber seeks.
People join parties not as second-class citizens. They fully expect that
the highest decision-making body is inside the group they joined, and
not outside it.
In terms of the Corbyn bid to be Labour Party chief, it is easy to write
him off as a faker in the same way that the SWP treats everybody outside
their ranks. As is the case in most questions involving British
politics, I defer to Richard Seymour's judgement:
In short, the state of the Labour Party is not something that can be
changed in one leadership race, as it is the accumulated result of
decades of class struggles and their outcomes.
However, that tactical point doesn't change the overall situation, and
it doesn't mean we don't have a responsibility to support Corbyn's bid,
and undermine Project Fear, in whatever ways we can. It's not just the
Labour Left that is weak. It is the Left as a whole. Yes, Corbyn would
be relatively isolated at the top, and top-heavy successes are extremely
vulnerable. Yes, he will be trying to shift the balance of forces in
favour of the Left, in a situation in which our forces are incredibly
depleted. But it is a structural aspect of today's situation that in
the growing vacuum created by the breakdown of the old party-base
relationship, individuals and groups can suddenly project influence well
beyond their actual social basis, if what they say finds an ideological
resonance in lived experience. We don't get to change that just be
force of will. So we have to work with the grain of our few advantages.
Corbyn has made a breakthrough, and that presents opportunities that
it would be stupid and irresponsible to opt out of.
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