[Marxism] Protest and Power. The Battle for the Labour Party. David Kogan. A Review from the Left.

andrew coates pabs47 at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 28 03:14:45 MDT 2019

In 2019” concludes The Battle for the Labour Party, will Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, “remain a party of protest or find a formula to defeat a government that is deeply vulnerable? Can Labour set aside the internal divisions to become a party of power again?” David Kogan offers a portrait of Labour’s “schisms” between “ideologues” and “pragmatists” since the 1970s. For the left, and one has little doubt where the author classes the Corybinista "sans culottes” in this division, Labour’s leadership offers an opportunity for a dynamic and radical party of the left in Britain” and a socialist “new style of politics.” Has the Party Leader, as Jon Lansman suggests, “risen to the occasion”? Divisions over anti-Semitism, the re-selection of MPs, and Brexit point to schisms. Kogan offers his own “insight” into Corbyn’s character and his movement, which, he asserts, point to a failure of leadership.

The backcloth of The Battle is a picture of the – confusingly labelled – New Left in the Labour Party. Through the lens of the Campaign for Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLDP), whose socialism, if defined, is traditional Clause Four nationalisation, this is not the New Left, as in New Left Review, and the movements with that name that began in the late 1950s. Led by the indomitable Vladimir Derer the CLDP focused, from 1973 onwards, on the “internal processes of the Labour Party.” Present day Party “fault lines” from the left’s high-water-mark in the early 1980s, isolation in the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium, to Jeremy Corbyn’s election in 2015 and the 2017 electoral “apotheosis” are traced through this history.


Andrew Coates

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