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Shock news: Jeremy Corbyn has a coherent strategy for the British left

5 year plan posterTurning Britain into an extended 1950s Czechoslovak collective farm tractor station forms no part whatsoever of the political project advocated by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

Yeah, I know, this shock revelation will sorely disappoint their detractors. But what is striking is that, ever since the two men took the leading positions in the Labour Party four months ago, serious measured analysis of what they actually stand for has been almost non-existent.

That’s partly their own fault, of course. The Little Red Book stunt and the casual Christmas party quote from Enver Hoxha have made it easy for them to be caricatured as madcap Maoist moonbats.

Boilerplate knocking copy has flowed easily from the pens of commentators so little aware of contemporary leftwing thought that they wouldn’t know their Althusser from their elbow.

Nor has it helped that both of them have spent recent decades as assiduous constituency MPs, with written outputs not extending far beyond occasional columns for the Morning Star or Labour Briefing.

To cap it all, since September 12 they have been too busy fighting for sheer survival to have had much opportunity to come up with a clutch of doorstep-sellable hallmark policies, something that needs to be put right in the months ahead.

So to resort to Blairspeak, what, then, is ‘the offer’? Corbynism – if it exists as a distinct doctrine at all – is simply the latest iteration of a strand of politics with deep roots in a Very British Labourism.

Think of it as an updated Bennism, a radical but pragmatic blend of Marxism and social democracy, implemented by winning a majority at Westminster rather than storming whatever might pass for the Winter Palace in the fevered imagination of Progress and Labour First.

Such thinking has most recently been encapsulated in the works of Ralph Miliband, with economic perspectives situated in a tradition that runs from the Alternative Economic Strategy of the 1970s down to the ideas of Andrew Fisher now.

Obviously the right, inside and outside the Labour Party, would rather attack Fisher for asinine Tweets from two or three years back than engage with the substantive arguments contained in his book The Failed Experiment. Shoot, you’d almost think they weren’t interested in looking at what Team Corbyn is actually all about, wouldn’t you?

Attempts to conflate Corbyn and McDonnell’s platform with ‘Leninism’ are frankly silly, despite my friends Paul Anderson and Kevin Davey unconvincingly attempting to do just that. Don’t expect the demand for ‘all power to the Soviets’ to feature in Labour party political broadcasts any time soon.

Strictly speaking, Corbyn and McDonnell are not even advocating socialism in the strict sense of the term, namely the dominance of social ownership of the means of production. Letting a few rail franchises expire hardly counts as a rerun of the First Five Year Plan.

What voters are being asked to buy into is an end to austerity, an end to British involvement in elective wars, and a genuine internationalism, defined not by way of spurious comparisons of the recreational bombing of Syria to the International Brigades, but by its attitude to racism, immigration and the refugee crisis.

The obvious question is, is this prospectus saleable? The Labour right insists that it isn’t, but has singularly failed to articulate a convincing alternative.

For starters, the Blair brand is irredeemably tainted. More fundamentally, any attempt at stealth redistribution on the back of a steady expanding capitalist economy is out of the question in a climate of secular stagnation. Social neoliberalism has run out of road.

No Corbyn backer with any sense will argue that the guy is a slam dunk for 2020. For a start, there’s the loss of Scotland, the responsibility for which lies squarely with the last three Labour leaders.

Then there’s Cameron’s boundary changes, Mason-Dixie style voter suppression,  cuts to Short money and attacks on trade union funding.

All this, without even mentioning the ‘stab him in the front’/‘does the prime minister agree …’ tendency in Labour’s own ranks.

But the point is that Corbyn alone has a coherent strategy, which at the very least is proving sufficiently attractive to win tens of thousands of new recruits.

In the intellectual state in which Labour currently languishes, the one-eyed man is plainly king, or whatever it is that republicans are called in these circumstances.

Sure, the next four years are going to be a rough ride for the British left. But whatever the nay-sayers tell you, it is thanks to Corbyn that Labour starts 2016 with better chances than it would be under the leadership of any other conceivable contender.

28 Comments

  1. David Ellis says:

    Corbyn and Co are made to look far more radical than they are by his New Labour opponents in the PLP and the hysterical UK media. He is not really radical at all except in a liberal sense but he has positioned Labour on the other side of the austerity debate which given that capitalism is truly fucked, and I mean truly fucked, seems to the ruling class to be insanely radical and for the working class promises the opposition politics they have so desperately been waiting for. No, Corbyn’s not that radical at all but without a doubt had any of the New Labour candidates been elected leader instead of him the Labour Party’s death would have been assured. It still might be if Corbyn does not get properly radical and put some socialist red meat on those anti-austerity bones. So far we have vagueness and some warmed over Keynesianism a lot of which Osborne will be able to appropriate for himself and some of which he already has. He will also need to provide radical opposition to Cameron during the EU Referendum by leading a labour movement LEAVE campaign on the basis that a socialist Europe is possible. Failure to do so seeing Labour once again pulling Cameron’s arse out of the fire will again see the pasokification of Labour recommencing Corbyn or no Corbyn and it will be as eradicated in Engalnd and Wales as it is now in Scotland. Also continual shuffling of the deck to select a shadow cabinet will not do. He has to take the fight to New Labour who are in effect politically irrelevant except as reckers by starting the process of de-selecting their MPs and getting anti-austerity candidates to replace them or, if they cannot be got rid of, to stand against them because whilst Corbyn can save all these careerists seats for them in 2020 by standing on what will by then be a very popular anti-austerity programme it will be no good to anyone if these clowns then turn round and refuse to form an anti-austerity government with him at its head but link up with Tories and Lib Dems to form a government of national emergency with the press behind them.

  2. Mick Hall says:

    The reason the blairites aren’t interested in looking at what Team Corbyn is actually about is because deep down they understand it might gain traction with the electorate and they have no wish to publicise it. Not only that they themselves have nothing new to offer, and they can hardly say we support austerity, killing people overseas and supporting international treaties which only benefit multinationals even if it would help them top-up their pension pots. Now can they?

    1. David Ellis says:

      Blair said that even if Corbyn could win he would not vote for him. That tells us given that there is no longer any political relevance to New Labour that the only role left to them is sabotage and wrecking and they most definitely will prevent the coming to power of an anti-austerity government, even one as woolly as Corbyn’s, come hell or high water. They will get re-elected on his coat tails and then refuse to form a government except with Lib Dems and Tories. If Momentum can stop attacking left critics of Corbyn and actually deal with that possibility it might be doing something useful.

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        I think the very fact that you’re discussing the possibility of an anti-austerity, (a meaningless term anyway,) government and not of a Labor or even socialist government, demonstrates just how bankrupt the, (self styled,) left in the UK have now become; intellectually, polemically and even semantically and how completely divorced from the socialist traditions, principles and aspirations which during my lifetime made the UK such decent place to live; universal state funded health care, education, public transport, social housing, the abolition of poverty, employment rights, state ownership and control of critical assets and so on, all the good stuff that came from socialism.

        But also now morally bankrupt as well, the completely rotten PLP have just completely disregarded the views not merely of their leadership, but also of the country, over the needles attacks on Syria and the only response that Corbyn and his mates seem to have is to basically go back to his little 1970’s bedsit world and to put on another Leonard Cohan record on turntable.

        LEONARD COHEN LYRICS
        “Everybody Knows”

        Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
        Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
        Everybody knows that the war is over
        Everybody knows the good guys lost
        Everybody knows the fight was fixed
        The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
        That’s how it goes
        Everybody knows

        A nice enough guy though, (Corbyn,) by all accounts, (and undoubtedly the best that Labor now has to offer us,) and I’m not someone to denigrate that, (particularly not in the current climate,) but he’s a relic a better times and scarcely the harbinger of socialist future for the UK that the predominately middle class, (bourgeoisie,) Labor party of teachers, social workers, public service employees, middle managers and academics and the appalling charity sector are trying to portray him as being.

        As David Ellis puts it so eloquently above; the British labor party are now well and truly fucked.

  3. John Penney says:

    Outside of our specific current politico/economic context, it’s quite true that there is nothing in itself that is specifically “socialist” about pretty much anything Jeremy or John have put forward policy-wise so far . Indeed many commentators, both pro Corbyn and anti, have correctly pointed out that Conservative governments in the 50’s and 60’s carried out more nationalisations than so far Jeremy is proposing.

    Historical context is all, however ; and our current context is one of both an ever deepening global systemic capitalist crisis of falling global demand and falling profitability, about which many of the more lucid economic commentators of the Right ,as well as the Left, are increasingly getting very nervous indeed. Combined this with the ideologically driven determination of the Right to “shrink the state, loot the public realm, destroy trades unionism,and pursue “balanced budgets”, irrespective of economic sanity, and the Corbyn menu of expansionary interventionist Left Keynsian economics and mild social democratic support for the Welfare State, is positively “transitional” in its potential to produce a serious confrontation with Big Capital and its political creatures.

    Many, many, economists now predict another major economic/financial crisis , potentially, on a par with the (unresolved) 2008 Crisis before the 2020 general Election. Even the “optimists” forecast a continuing and deepening world recession – making a complete mockery of all of Osborne’s economic forecasts . And because Osborne’s ideological blinkers will cause him to mimic the disastrously counter-productive economic nostrums pursued by his Chancellor of the Exchequer predecessors in the 1930’s, with even deeper state spending cuts, rather than the required Keynsian expansionary activity , by 2020 the current housing and personal debt bubbles will have long burst, and our economy, and mass unemployment will be in a right pickle.

    In this looming , partly self inflicted, partly globally derived , crisis, the Left Keynsian nostrums of Jeremy Corbyn and his team , including Richard Murphy’s “People’s Quantitative Easing” have the potential to attract not only the mass support of traditional Labour voters, but huge sections of the middle classes , and even business sectors, not usually considered as Labour voters.

    There is everything to play for leading up to 2020, and despite the crazed rhetoric of the Tory press , determined to portray Jeremy and his team’s emerging policies as “Hard Left Marxism”, they are, in their targeted Left Keynsianism, actually quite radical enough to both win the 2020 General Election , AND provoke serious confrontation with the more rabid sections of the capitalist class.

    1. John Penney says:

      I should add, having just re-read David Ellis’s post, and , rarely for me, finding agreement with some of his key points, I should add to my earlier post.

      I think most of us on the Left think that Jeremy’s Left Keynsianism could well be a General election winner in 2020. The crucial point though is the one made by David Ellis, ie, where would a victorious Corbyn-led Labour government go from its 2020 election victory ?

      We have the very recent dire example in front of us – of the initially hugely encouraging Tsipras-led Syriza victory in Greece – on a radical anti-austerity Left-Keynsian Platform – similar to Jeremy’s . But where politically is Syriza now ? An already totally capitulated ex-anti austerity Party, packed out with ex-PASOK Party politicians as ministers, the Syriza radical Left purged, and Tsipras’s government (grudgingly – with impotent tears in its eyes) acting as the EU Troika’s implementation agent in Greece for the most rapacious Austerity programme since the Nazi Occupation.

      So winning in 2020 cannot be the sole aim for the Left , or even the overriding aim – if the next step of a Corbyn-led Labour government (or a successor Labour Leader because of Corbyn’s age) is to repeat the spineless reactionary capitulation to the demands of Capital of the initially Let radical Mitterrand government of the 1980’s ,or Syriza today, as soon as the capitalist class puts the screws on via capital flight and currency speculation, a “victory ” for Labour in 2020 will be a hollow sham.

  4. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

    I have been out on the picket lines with the junior doctors today and was heartened by their support for Jeremy Corbyn, and they commented that out of all those that oppose him, when he says something you can believe him, but the others leave you with the impression that they will say one thing and then do the other. They are also solidly committed to the principles of our NHS, they spoke of the disaster that would befall the people of this country if it is privatised.

    Interestingly also they commented; that Thatcher stated that her greatest political achievement was Blair and New Labour.

    I was delighted to see the cars tooting in support and how the doctors were so well tuned in to the politics surrounding the NHS.

  5. David Pavett says:

    I agree with most of what David Osland says and with most of the comments so far in the discussion.

    We all know that the stated aims of Corbyn and McDonnell since taking on their leading roles are very modest ones and that this is how it has to be. We all know as well that we need to have some kind of vision beyond those immediate aims in order to have a sense of the direction of travel. Finally, we all know that producing full range of policies both for immediate problems as well as the medium and long term cannot be the work of just two leaders. It needs to be a truly collective effort.

    It’s that last bit that worries me. I voted for Corbyn and I am glad that I did so. I was concerned about the appointment of McDonnell but I think that he has shown that he is up to the task. But my strongest reason for voting for Corbyn, apart from the fact that for me there was just no contest when I looked at the other three candidates, was his promise to democratise the Party and to bring the members fully into to the policy making process. I still believe that he genuinely wants to do that. The problem for me is that the signs of this happening are still very weak, and in my view far short of what is possible. I doesn’t help either that Momemtum, which could have acted as an effective counter-weight to Progress and the right-Labour think-tanks was badly concieved and seems to be in a muddle.

    To take the last point first, I can see clear signs at branch and General Committee level of a right-wing fight back. And that is made easier by the fact that the old guard in terms of elected and appointed officials are still largely in place throughout the Party. In my branch the left, through the efforts of a couple of left-wingers has stimulated debate and that has been well received. But this has been individual initiatives and has no steer from a national level. We need some steer now.

    For example, Trident is soon coming up for a decision on renewal. Labour’s policy is still officially pro-Trident. It is an issue which acts as a focus for expressing disagreement on a whole range of things dividing left and right within Labour. Not only that but severall Shadow Cabinet members have made it clear that they would probably resign if Labour opposed renewal.

    I cannot see any way out of this mess which doesn’t involve informed debate of the members throughout the Party. We need high-quality briefing papers from the pro and anti-Trident camps, along with a specific request to branches and CLPs to decide where they stand. I am confident that the majority would oppose renewal but whether that is the case or not the members’ views need to be clearly established. If a clear majority is opposed to renewal that would not by itself change policy (there are procedures for that) but it would make it clear that the policy was in a state of flux. It would also make clear that the right-wing huffing and puffing on the issue was against the wishes of the members. That would make it more difficult for pro-Trident MPs (in the Shadow Cabinet or not) to use the issue to undermine Corbyn.

    One could argue a similar case on other issues. I don’t understand why we are not getting a national steer to debate such things. I am sorry that Momentum appears to be so confused that it is unable to help push for such Party-wide debates on key issues. For the moment the left seems not to be meeting the challenge on policy matters with the clarity and determination that is needed – far from it.

  6. Mick Hall says:

    I agree with David about clear signs at branch and General Committee level of a right-wing fight back.

    I’m a new party member but since I received my membership card in mid October my local LP has not had a single CLP meeting. In November the CLP Secretary claimed the meeting was canceled because the key to meeting room had gone astray, the December meeting was replaced by a christmas shindig. This month there is to be no CLP meeting, and at the end of Feb there will be the AGM.

    As to ward meeting when I enquired I was told they do not take place as not enough members attend them. All of which I find pathetic.

    When I asked for an emergency meeting so we could discuss Bombing Syria, I was told by the CLP chair it would not be possible as there would not be a Quorum.

    I am new to the LP, but it seems to me the old guard are stalling so they can maintain their positions at the Feb AGM. I hear i’m not the only new member who joined due to Corbyn, although many of my leftist contacts in the borough refuses too as they regard most of the party’s Coun and local leadership in my area as a lost cause. Reactionary to the core one of them told me.

    There doesn’t seem to be a momentum in the area so I am at a loss what to do.

    By the way the Secretary (who is on my card as my contact) and some other office holders now refuse to even answer my emails, although to be fair the chair does reply, whether that is intentional or they are just incompetent is for others to decide. I’m getting on but if I were a youngsters I feel I would have walked out and it makes me wonder if that is also part of the plan. I should say this seat is a marginal, Tories held it by a small majority in May and UKIP is biting at Labour’s door on the local council.

    To be honest I had no intention of getting heavily involved when I signed up. I did so out of an act of solidarity with Jeremy, thinking I would attend the odd meeting and help out during elections. But the attitude of the bunch who seem to have an armlock on the local party has shocked me. Comradely they are not. Any thoughts on line or off would be welcomed.

    1. James Martin says:

      Hi Mick, yes it can be frustrating in some areas, as can some union branches where positions are ‘sat on’ and activity discouraged. Momentum is a work in progress, and there have been some announcements in the past week or so about developing and accountable national structure but for now it is basically a national mailing list and local groups where people have got together to form them (often on social media). You can also contact the Labour Representation Committee and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy as both may have local members you can liaise with. In addition the regional Party conferences are now becoming quite large (they are essentially open meetings) and a good place to meet up with like minds who may be quite close to you but outside your immediate ward/constituency. Social media is often very useful, but saying that as an old fart myself I never use it! Good luck and please don’t give up!

      1. Mick Hall says:

        James

        I really appreciate your reply it was just what I needed to hear. No I will not be walking away.

        Thanks comrade

        Mick

        1. peter willsman says:

          Mick,phone me and I will tell you all about CLPD.The phone no.is on CLPD website at bottom of Home Page.Yours,PW.

  7. Giles Wynne says:

    I visited the Czech Collective Farms in the 50’s and by invitation through my father’s University . The workers planted all manner of fruit trees along the road side which people could visit the countryside and help themselves for free. Britain imported 50% of it beer hops from these farms. Britain sold them the latest harvesting machinery. The farms were a success. There was full employment and rural communities developed. The failure was the starved lack of investment due to the West embargoes (Cuba) and Poor Agriculture Economics and “Direction” coming from Central Office. Cooperative Farming is what we need in Britain today – British Agricultural Policies for Britain – Not EU ones – The Common Market has never been common.

    1. Dave Roberts says:

      You forgot to mention the StB one of the most repressive of the secret police forces of the Warsaw Pact which destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Czech people. Or is this the side of socialism that we mustn’t mention?

      1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

        Dave: remember Dr Kelly, he died under some peculiar circumstances, when he apparently committed suicide by cutting his wrists, but with no blood where his body was found.

        Just thought I would remind you that secrets and the secret services are a black art in all countries.

        1. Dave Roberts says:

          That’s a pretty lame comparison but I suppose it’s the best a Stalinist can do these days.

  8. Peter Rowlands says:

    I wrote on this for Left Futures soon after Jeremy won (The Corbyn Manifesto), and as David Osland acknowledges there hasn’t been much development since, including banking, where there is an urgent need to promote policy to break up the big banks, that still remain ‘too big to fail’, and to regulate the shadow banking structure which so endangers financial stability.The recent FCA decision not to go ahead with an investigation into banking is an indication of how much this government is in thrall to the financial interest, and we need policy in this area, which would be popular – most people do not have much time for banks or bankers. But in most areas, as far as I can establish, policy is little more than ‘back of an envelope’ stuff, although John Healey seems to have done some good work on housing.
    David Pavett is quite right on this,we need policy papers for the membership to discuss and decide upon. This is the best way of involving the membership and of giving credibility to policy.
    Meanwhile we have the usual nonsense from David Ellis, who does not seem to understand that it is not possible for Labour to be a revolutionary party, that the struggle is for it to become a social democratic one, that a Leave the EU stance would effectively be to lend support to Poujadist nationalism and that a programme of mass deselections would destroy the party.
    John Penney’s speculations about what Labour does if it wins in 2020 are pointless. I t would depend on a range of things, including the political complexion of other EU states and that of the US, the state of the UK, EU and world economies and other things that cannot possibly be foreseen from now. The comparison with Greece and Syriza is not meaningful. I would suggest that the important elections for the left now are those on May 5th.

    1. John Penney says:

      “pointless to speculate what Labour might do if it won the 2020 General Election” , Peter ? What complacent , ahistorical, no lessons can ever be learnt from past experience, universe do you inhabit ?

      Of course there are a huge series of factors which would influence the economic and political circumstances of a 2020 new Labour government. But are the broad brush likely circumstances actually that unknowable , Peter ? Of course they aren’t. A new Labour government would take office in a situation of continuing very deep economic crisis/stagnation in the UK and the world generally, with our current House price and personal debt bubbles long burst as a prop for domestic demand. A new Labour government will find all the propaganda organs of the capitalist class in full “black propaganda” mode – dwarfing the anti Corbyn frenzy of recent months. And attempt to pursue policies , such as minor renationalisation , removing the legal shackles from trades unions, implementing Left Keynsian expansionary policies, would be met with capital flight and general currency and economic sabotage. Just look at the fate of the initially Left reformist radical Mitterrand government in France in the 1980’s , or Syriza in Greece last year , for how it would assuredly go . (or the 1964 Wilson Government too). Or are even the experiences of the first , slightly Left Keynsian, interventionist, Wilson Government too abstract for you too , Peter ?

      This is why Jeremy and his team desperately need a comprehensive Left-oriented economic strategy and Plan ASAP , including tactics to deal with the inevitable capitalist backlash if a Corbyn government sticks to its elective Left policy mandate.

      Your naïve,” ooh, the future is unknowable, so let’s just blithely head on hoping for the best”, is pathetic for an adult in the real world of historical record and and repeated derailment of Left governments by capitalist pressure – and only too tragically common amongst Left reformists historically. You are always apparently taken aback anew that the capitalist class can just be so nasty and unsporting.

      Your unsupported claim that no lessons can be learnt from Syriza’s tragedy in Greece (or presumably Wilson’s need to Kowtow to the IMF in the 1960’s, or Mitterrand’s policy emasculation by the markets and the then EMS straightjacket in the 1980’s) , in favour of only thinking about MAY 2016 – is the recommendation of a political novice, not a serious political thinker. Wake up Peter. Wilful blindness is a vice in politics , not a virtue.

      1. Peter Rowlands says:

        I am well aware that in four year’s time capitalism is still likely to be in a state of crisis, that an incoming Corbyn government would face economic sabotage and capital outflow which it should have contingency plans for,and of the various examples of how international finance has dealt with governments that have stepped out of line and how that might recur.
        But this is GCSE Marxism. Anyone following such a debate knows this, or does John Penney think that what he has said is full of significant insight that the left ignores at its peril. Well it isn’t. It is commonplace and therefore pointless.
        Meanwhile, there is an important debate about how the Corbyn led party moves fortward, and that is what we should concentrate on now.

      2. David Pavett says:

        @Peter & John. I don’t think your differences are great and whatever they are they need to be expressed in careful and friendly language. So no need for “this is GCSE Marxism” or “Your naïve, ‘ooh, the future is unknowable …'”.

        I think John’s point was that policies that might look like standard social democracy in one context might take on a different significance in another (in the context of a capitalism determined to asset strip the public realm). That seems right to me and well supported by the fact and I agree that we should consider the policies advocated by Corbyn in that light.

        But Peter is clearly also right, in my view, to suggest that the policies so far are back of an envelope stuff and that there is a very urgent need to make them into something substantial for which a case can be argued throughout the Party.

        Both of those things point to the need to break with Labour tradition and organise systematic and well informed debate on key issues throughout the Party. And in that all major points of view must be allowed full expression. If the membership is treated as adults then the response will be delivered in an adult and considered manner. We all need to play our part in making that happen and put to one side the back-room plots and manoeuvres of the past (if we were ever inclined to work in that way).

        I think it is important that we show tolerance to each other and keep our language as polite and respectful as possible so that differences (which are certainly real) don’t get in the way of things that we all want to see happen.

        1. David Ellis says:

          The report into why Labour lost the last election will give four reasons why. Three will probably be lies but one, the lack of a coherent overall vision, is true. In 1997 the Blairites had the Third Way. It was of course a lie, there can be no Third Way, but at the time it seemed plausible because of the incredible consumer boom based on the global financial credit bubble/Ponzi Scam started by Thatcher and Reagan in 1987 when they handed responsibility for money supply to the private financiers on the grounds that politicians could not be trusted with it as they had a tendency to build hospitals and schools and shit in exchange for votes. Gordon Brown promised no more boom and bust and Mandy told the bankers to get rich but pay your taxes. The Third Way cost Britain any hope of a future when in 2008 the irreversible bankruptcy of not just the UK’s but the world’s financial system was revealed. There will never be another Third Way or version thereof which is why the New Labourites are now a political irrelevance, except as provocateurs and saboteurs, as the center ground has vanished as the country splits between pro and anti-austerity camps. But anti-austerity is merely a vague wish if it does not come with an alternative vision of the good life and how society can be better organised. The left opportunists seem reluctant to develop such a vision from which policies can naturally flow. Might I suggest socialism? Then we can develop a programme for working class power and the transition to said socialism. The policies would then suggest themselves: People’s Bank, a regime of full-employment, socialisation of the means of production and exchange, worker-elected managers to replace the fat cats imposed by shareholders and the old school tie network, repeal of all anti-trade union legislation, labour movement defence of pickets, demos, marches, minority communities, meetings etc, a socialist Europe to replace the EU and a federation of sovereign nations to replace the Westminster Union. That kind of thing.

          1. Dave Roberts says:

            Which are the three lies?

  9. Bazza says:

    George Eaton in The latest New Statesman quoted Harold Wilson (a bit of an exaggeration on Wilson’s part) saying that his was a “Bolshevik leadership with a Tsarist Cabinet” and perhaps with Jeremy we have a left wing democratic socialist leadership with a social democratic shadow cabinet (and PLP although this is perhaps a bit kind to the Labour careerists – the ‘great men and women of history’ – with no original ideas in their heads) and for example the boring ‘Desperate Dan’ Jarvis is suddenly making some noise but then again perhaps, “Empty vessels make the loudest noise!”
    The good news is that with Jeremy’s victory we may now have a more left wing democratic socialist grassroots and in a bottom-up approach we need to get power back to members, to conference, and on the NEC.
    I believe we need state-led public investment and more democratic public ownership with working class/working people/staff electing boards and communities having a say; I could argue again the benefits of democratic public ownership (and some of the left fail to sell the benefits – just think with the public ownership of pharmaceuticals we would save the NHS bilions, would focus research on meeting health needs and not on what was the most profitable, and would stop the market depriving patients with serious conditions of a few exta years of life because of cost) so make the case also for rail, mail, public utilities, some banks and some airlines but I will put my penny worth in through our democratic consultations.
    We perhaps don’t need top down leaders, but we do need facilitators to keep the power with the grassroots.
    We also need to select left wing democratic socialist Labour candidates in every CLP.
    We also need left wing democratic socialist forces in every country in he World so globally we are all fighting for the same things at the same time.
    Let democracy and the power of ideas rule.
    Solidarity!

  10. Danny Nicol says:

    A good post in conceding the non-socialism of the new programme. The commanding heights of the economy will, it seems, remain resolutely privately owned under a Corbyn government. I am not terribly surprised, since the Labour Left’s commitment to socialism (as opposed to its devotion to other left wing causes) has been weak certainly since Wilson vetoed the proposal to nationalise 25 top companies in Labour’s Programme 1973. But it does all make one wonder why the Party’s establishmentarians bother being quite so hostile to the new leadership.

    In any event we are to have a Keynesian public investment programme instead. Is this coherent? I am not so sure. European Union law prohibits state aids which are incompatible with the single market. In order to be convinced that the new policies add up to a coherent whole, I would need to see evidence that this prohibition, alongside other EU provisions, wouldn’t hinder the public investment programme. This is especially the case given that the state aid prohibition, like anything else in the EU Treaties, can only be repealed by the common accord of all the Member States, something impossible in practice for the Left to achieve, whatever its talk of EU reform.

  11. John Penney says:

    Good point on the EU, Danny. There is no chance whatsoever of an even mildly radical Left social democratic UK government being able to stay in the EU for long. The “Stay in and fight for a workers Europe” mantra of the Left (including me , until the smashing of the Greek Syriza anti austerity programme by the Troika), is undoable fantasy I’m afraid.

    That Labour had specific proactive support for the ghastly undemocratic TTIP deal in its last election Manifesto tells one everything about the servile pro Big Business nature of the pre-Corbyn Labour Party. That the Labour Party has remained true to the ” Stay in the EU” camp, with no mention of the complete unacceptability of TTIP for instance to any government interested in opposing neoliberalism, Austerity, and rebuilding its economy based on the interests of its working class majority, by Corbyn and his team since winning the leadership, is a real policy weakness . At least it is until the next LP Conference – but by then the EU referendum will probably be over.
    And If we’ve voted to leave by then it will be largely on the back of racist, xenophobic, UKIP-type, petty nationalist arguments , not the much more valid socialist arguments I’m sure Jeremy and his team would prefer – but for the overwhelming weight of the neoliberal PLP.

    1. Peter Rowlands says:

      TTIP has not been unopposed, our own MP here, Geraint Davies, has recently led a critical debate on it, but I agree that more needs to be done.It is just not true, however, to ascribe Labour’s pro remain in the EU view to the ‘weight of the neoliberal PLP’. There is little enthusiasm for the Labour out grouping, and most serious left opinion is for remaining in, as expressed recently by Diane Abbott and Owen Jones, who has changed his mind on the issue. The problem is that there is still little enthusiasm for it, which is why so far the Labour In campaign has largely failed to espouse the left arguments I suggested it should in my article in LF on Nov 11th.I hope that this will change in the run up to the referendum, but a left Out view is just not feasible.

  12. swatantra says:

    Lets face it The little Red Book stunt will go down in history in the same way as Liam Byrne infamous note relating to Old mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.
    Pity because both were light hearted and in jest.
    Tories obviously haven’t a sense of humour.
    Somehow both JC and McD have to convince everyone that they are not Marxists but real Social Democrats. And they must try really hard at that, before the Tory smears begin to stick.

    1. Dave Roberts says:

      Correct along with Callaghan’s ” Crisis, what crisis?”. Unfortunately these things become fact and I wonder at the mentality of both of them for saying and doing these things. What exactly is Milne doing in his advice to them on the media?

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