[Marxism] Is electing socialist Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party the way to beat austerity?

Louis Proyect 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
> UK
> http://enpassant.com.au/2015/07/29/is-electing-socialist-jeremy-corbyn-as-leader-of-the-british-labour-party-the-way-to-beat-austerity/

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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