Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn


Jeremy Corbyn MP was elected in 2015, to lead the British Labour Party.

Fabians Against Corbyn

According to Julie Hyland of the World Socialist Website 20 January 2017:

The January 14 Fabian Society conference, “The Left in Britain. Britain in the World,” was called to discuss “where next for the British left” following “the Brexit referendum in the UK and the accession of Donald Trump to the US Presidency.”

It would supposedly outline “what we believe, who we speak to, and how we win.”

Keynote speaker at the conference was Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Fabianism was central to the moves against both of Corbyn’s leadership challenges in 2015 and 2016. Fabian members and supporters within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) led last year’s attempted coup against him. No less than 15 shadow secretaries of state and nine shadow ministers, who resigned from Corbyn’s cabinet in a bid to force him out, were associated with the society.

Corbyn’s professed aim of transforming Labour into a vehicle for socialism was an anathema to the Fabian Society, which sought to utilise the party’s defeat in the 2015 General Election to engineer a further shift to the right. To this end it had launched its “Facing the Future” programme, to “bring together a broad range of voices” aimed at answering what Labour needed to do “to secure a winning coalition of support across every region and age-group, attracting SNP [Scottish National Party], UKIP [UK Independence Party] and Conservative voters..?”

It has had to make several adjustments to its efforts to position Labour firmly on the right given the failure of the anti-Corbyn coup and the crisis created by the vote to leave the European Union in the UK referendum last June. But its aims remain unchanged.

Prior to its conference, Fabian General Secretary Andrew Harrop published a report, "Stuck, How Labour is too weak to win and too strong to die". He wrote that Labour’s problem was that it is too weak to win the next election, but too strong to be displaced as the UK’s main party of opposition—mainly as a result of the first-past-the-post system. The sense of stagnation was compounded by an “uneasy calm” in the party. While Corbyn had beaten off the coup, the Labour leader had “no roadmap for winning back lost voters,” Harrop asserted, while amongst the PLP there is “quietude, passitivity and resignation.”

“This is the calm of stalemate, of insignificance, even of looming death,” he warned.

Harrop presented statistics purporting to show that Labour was haemorrhaging support to the more overtly pro and anti-EU parties, due to its “muffled and inconsistent” line on Brexit. The bottom line was that Labour “has no choice but to reach out to people in both camps, by positioning itself in the middle of the newly dominant social/cultural axis of politics….”

It must “become the party of this cultural ‘middle’,” Harrop went on. Tony Blair had tried to “own the ‘centre ground’ of the left-right economic axis. Now the party’s goal must be to dominate the centre of the newly dominant social/cultural axis that runs between Blair’s liberal internationalism and Trump’s social authoritarianism. The party must plant its flag midway between these poles and seek to occupy as much space as possible…”

The reference to Blair makes clear the character of what Harrop is proposing. The former Labour leader was the figurehead for the transformation of Labour into a right wing party of big business. The claim to stand at the centre of a “newly dominant social/cultural axis” is aimed at re-consolidating this shift, through a noxious brew of identity politics and support for Britain’s continued access to the European single market (so-called “liberal internationalism”) with economic nationalism and anti-migrant restrictions, masquerading as a defence of working people (“social authoritarianism”).

On the eve of the conference, Harrop extrapolated on this theme, writing that within the Labour Party there was a “three-way tug-of-war between populist socialism, mainstream social democracy, and the communitarianism of Blue Labour. Each has something to offer, but can Labour create a fresh politics that coherently combines a bit of them all?”

The aim is not merely to fashion some arrangement that can keep Labour together. Its goal is a Progressive Alliance that will allow Labour to “govern in partnership with other parties,” Harrop states—mainly, but not confined to, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats.

Whether this is possible matters less than the political function that such an orientation will serve—which is to bury entirely the common class issues facing working people beneath one or another variety of nationalist politics.

This is made clear by Harrop’s suggestion that Labour should recognise that “an English majority [in parliament] is also much more achievable than a UK majority. Labour must prepare itself to work in partnership, in an era of quasi-federal, multi-party politics.”

This means that Labour should essentially accept that Scotland belongs to the SNP, as the price for the Progressive Alliance and as part of the Balkanisation of the UK. Having accepted the goal of an “English majority,” Harrop suggests this would “enable Labour to legislate under the terms of ‘English votes for English laws’,” “develop a clear manifesto for England,” and a “mandate for an English legislative agenda.”

The Fabian Society’s support for a Progressive Alliance has been broadly welcomed. The Compass think-tank, founded by forces close to former Labour leader Gordon Brown and now including in its leadership representatives of the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru (the Party of Wales), has been one of its main advocates. Writing in the run-up to the conference, Compass chair Neal Lawson welcomed Harrop’s “no-brainer of a political strategy.”

He ridiculed “tribalist” policies, in which Labour appeared to hate the Liberal Democrats and the SNP—writing sarcastically, “Because we are so much better than the Lib Dems, are we not? We introduced tuition fees and they doubled them. We started illegal wars and they started the bedroom tax. We focus on the 10 percent we disagree on and forget the 90 percent of times when we walk through the same lobbies… The lurch to the right means we have to forgive each other.”

Lawson was present at the conference alongside Richard Angell, of the Blairite think-tank Progress, and leading anti-Corbyn coup plotters such as Labour MPs Nia Griffith, Keir Starmer, Maria Eagle and Stephen Kinnock. Griffith and Starmer are now prominent members of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.

Consensus is emerging in Labour that free movement must be limited. Kinnock, a leading figure in the pro-Remain campaign, has joined Starmer, Corbyn’s shadow Brexit secretary, in arguing for a two-tier migration system, that divides into highly-skilled EU workers and tier two, low and semi-skilled workers that should be “restricted by sector-based quotas, negotiated between government, industry and trade unions.”

Guardian journalist Paul Mason, also present at the conference, is a former member of the Workers Power group in the 1980s. His main value to the ruling class is his connections with the pseudo-left around Corbyn. Mason is another supporter of Labour building a “progressive alliance,” although previously he has sought to portray this as an opposition to the supposed racism of the white, male working class whom he blames for Brexit and Trump’s victory.

Writing the day after the conference in the Guardian, Mason now agitates for immigration controls, along the two-tier line proposed by Kinnock. He argues that Britain can remain inside the European Economic Area (EEA), while restricting freedom of movement, because “freedom of movement has always been a ‘qualified right’—not an absolute one: that is, constrained by national conditions.”

Citing the EEA treaty, Mason asserts that countries are allowed “to suspend freedom of movement, for an unspecified period and unilaterally, due to ‘serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties’. Well, we have a serious societal difficulty: we have lost consent for high inward migration, and we need to regain it.”

Mason claims that such restrictions are aimed at clamping down on low wages and deregulated employment. Answering those who say this is “pandering to racism,” he continues, “This betrays a profound misunderstanding of what drives opposition to free movement among progressive, left-minded people,” which is really bound up with “strong cultural traditions, a strong sense of place and community…”

There is nothing to separate such language from that of the UK Independence Party’s Nigel Farage or Trump.

Mason’s comment was framed as a defence of Corbyn, who only last week stated that freedom of movement was “not a principle.” It is only the latest of Corbyn’s one-time “red lines”—opposition to NATO, the EU, now immigration controls—that has been unceremoniously jettisoned.

Thus Corbyn was happy to accept the position of keynote speaker at a conference organised and attended by many of his one-time political assassins.

The Labour leader said nothing explicitly on the progressive alliance, but he has no need to. His presence was proof enough. In a speech that borrowed from Trump’s references to the elite “rigging” the system, and arguing for “our exit from the EU to rebalance Britain and provide a vision for what the country could be,” he effectively signed up to the Fabian agenda.

Pledging a “further devolution of powers” in the UK, Corbyn said that a “people’s convention on how a federal Britain could work is something that is overdue.”

On immigration, he said that Labour will “do what is best for the economy,” using Brexit to “develop a genuine industrial and regional strategy…”[1]


Czech agent?

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Leftist history

Corbyn has been virtually unknown in the United States, even within the radical movement. John Catalinotto of the Workers World Party first became aware of him in November 2001, soon after the U.S.-British invasion of Afghanistan. At a protest meeting in Madrid, Spain, "we represented the anti-war movements of our respective countries. It was early in the post-9/11 imperialist aggression that was to swallow up Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush in the U.S. and Labor’s Tony Blair in Britain — two war criminals."

Corbyn was impressive with his lack of swagger. He showed more sensitivity to helping the meeting be a success than to spotlighting his talk. He went on in subsequent years to becoming a leader of the Stop the War Coalition, and currently is chair of that organization, which has been the leading anti-war group in Britain. In January 2003 he spoke at a major anti-war rally Workers World Party helped organize in Washington against the oncoming war on Iraq.

Corbyn was the first to invite Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein to the British Parliament as early as 1984. He is also known for supporting rights for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer communities.

Corbyn also opposed NATO’s 2011 attacks on Libya and its current aggressive stance on Ukraine. He spoke out against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and its bombings of Gaza in 2008 and 2014. On Sept. 12, the day following his election as Labor leader, he left Parliament to speak at a London rally of 50,000 people in solidarity with the refugees in Europe.

Corbyn has been one of the few Labor members of parliament to consistently oppose all privatization. He has flouted the official Labor leadership in Parliament to vote against all austerity.

Within Labor’s group in Parliament, Corbyn got support from only 20 of the 230 members. Betting odds against his election were 200 to 1. Recent changes in Labor’s voting rules, however, tripled the eligible rank-and-file voters to 500,000. And he won support from some of the major trade unions. The mass of rank-and-file youth and worker votes overwhelmed the Tony Blair-Gordon Brown “New Labor” parliamentary faction. [2]

Labour radicals

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Bazian connection

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Jeremy Corbyn with Hatem Bazian.

Fasting against “Star Wars”

In 2008 , Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space promoted a June 22 “Global day of fasting to Stop Star Wars”.

The global day of fasting to Stop Star Wars on June 22 is one important way for the public to become involved in this debate. All over the world the U.S. is dragging the "allies" into Star Wars and active resistance to the insanity of an arms race in space is growing.

Included on the “fast’ list was Jeremy Corbyn of London, England.[3]

CAN connection

Traprock Peace Center has been working since October, 26, 2002 to support the formation and growth of an independent national student antiwar movement. Many national organizations were trying to organize students. Traprock's approach was to support an independent student movement, one that was not part of or directed by a non-student organization. With the Stop the War Coalition in the UK (Andrew Burgin) we worked to create linkages between the student movements in the US and the UK.

Our work with Stop the War started in September, 2002. They asked us to help them connect with national student organizations in the US. We went to the massive October 26, 2002 demonstration in DC with the hope of meeting up with student leaders. To make a long story short, Charlie Jenks met with George Washington students who had organized a mass rally of students after the demonstration at GW. Charlie was invited to speak to the several hundred students in attendance; he voiced support for their initiative to create a national listserv for students antiwar activists. His hope was that this listserv would develop into an independent national organization.

Between October, 2002 and January, 2003 the listserv was very active and students decided to organize a national conference before the mass demontrations of January 18, 2003 in DC and San Francisco. Originally, students planned to have their national conference in Chicago. That fell through after a group of people disrupted a Chicago meeting that was trying to come to an agreement on hosting a national conference. It was to have taken place in early January in Chicago. Reportedly, these people - many of whom had not been involved in the process up to that time - objected to the conference taking place at all. Instead, they wanted students to participate in a planned conference for students, but not sponsored by students, on January 19 in DC, the day after the mass January 18 demonstration. Did the people who prevented the Chicago conference intend to prevent the formation of an independent student network?

Meanwhile, Traprock was working with Stop the War to support an independent conference, wherever it would take place, by bringing a student ambassador from the UK to attend and support the conference. Stop the War agreed to send the student to Chicago. When the plans fell through, there was a scramble to come up with an alternative.

It was decided, with input from all over the country via the listserv, to organize sister conferences, rather than a single conference, that would occur in DC and San Francisco on January 17th, the eve of the mass demonstrations. The two sister conferences would confer by phone and create - in essence - a single conference. The timing was critical in order to create an independent student network.

Stop the War made arrangements to send a student ambassador - Hellen Salmon of Oxford University and the National Union of Students - to the East Coast student conference in Washington, DC on January 17, 2003. StoptheWar and Traprock also sponsored the visit to the US by Jeremy Corbyn, British Labour MP. Mr. Corbyn had been invited to the US to speak at the mass rally by Michael Letwin, and Peter Wood, a former GW student, had met Stop the War representatives in London. Out of his meeting, and the work Traprock had been doing with Stop the War, came an invitation for Mr. Corbyn to give the keynote speech at the student conference. Traprock contributed funds to sponsor Mr. Corbyn's trip. arranged for his stay in DC, and acted as media liasion for him from January 17-20, arranging interviews on television (e.g. CNN) and radio.

Mr. Corbyn gave a great keynote address, and Ms. Salmon and he participated in a press conference that included student organizers of the new independent student network. Major print media participated in the press conference. Mr. Corbyn and Charlie Jenks met CAN activists at the January 18, 2003 rally (see Jan. 18-19 PhotoAlbum), and on January 20th, Traprock; Mike Zmolek of EndtheWar.org and Jason Kafoury of UFPJ arranged a meeting between Jeremy Corbyn, CAN students and leading US peace activists. 4 student activists (3 students from GW University and 1 from Duke) participated in the meeting.[4]

"NO WAR, NO WAY"

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Jan 19, 2003, ANSWER brought together an impressive array of speakers at two rallies—one that began at 11 a.m. in the sprawling National Mall, and a concluding rally at the Washington Shipyard.

Moonanum James, co-chair of United American Indians of New England and a Vietnam-era veteran, opened the rally by connecting the U.S. government’s ongoing racist war against Native peoples with their preparations for a racist war against Iraq.

Actors Jessica Lange and Tyne Daly addressed the crowd. So did political figures, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton; former-U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney and Rep. John Conyers. The Rev. Lucius Walker read an anti-war statement from Rep. Charles Rangel.

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark called on those listening to “impeach Bush.” Blase Bonpane, from the Office of the Americas, traveled from Los Angeles to bring greetings. International representation included Ashraf El-Bayoumi from the Cairo Conference against U.S. Aggression on Iraq and Jeremy Corbyn from the Stop the War Coalition and Abe Tomoko spoke as a representative of the Lower House of the Japanese Parliament.

Struggles around the world against U.S. domination were articulated by Teresa Gutierrez and Sara Flounders from the IAC; Hector Castro, director of education, Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, Colombia; Francisco Rivera, Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques; Marie Hilao Enriquez from BAYAN; and Yoomi Jeong from the Korea Truth Commission.

Muslim speakers included Mahdi Bray, Muslim American Society; Ismael Kamal, Muslim Student Association; Ihab Darwish, Free Palestine Alliance; Ghazi Khan Kan, Council on American Islamic Relations; Imam Mousa, Masjid Al-Islam; and Dr. Mansoon Khan from Peace TV.

The Revs. Herbert Daughtry, national pastor of House of the Lord Church; Graylan Hagler, pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, andJesuit priest John Dear addressed the audience.

Anti-war speakers included Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessen from Military Families Speak Out and Liz McAlister, partner and widow of the late peace activist Philip Berrigan. “No blood for oil!” demanded disabled Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Speaking out for labor against the war: Brenda Stokely, president of AFSCME 1707 and Local 215 as well as a co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War; Fred Mason, president of statewide Maryland and D.C. AFL-CIO; Michael Letwin from U.S. Labor Against War and Dr. Nadia Marsh from Doctors and Nurses Against the War.

ANSWER speakers included Youth and Student Coordinator Peta Lindsay, Elias Rashmawi from the Free Palestine Alliance. Jennifer Wager from IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard from PCJ and Larry Holmes and Brian Becker, both from the International Action Center.

Speakers representing other anti-war coalitions included Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-chair of United for Peace and Justice; Damu Smith from Black Voices for Peace; Medea Benjamin from Global Exchange, and Miles Solay from Not In Our Name.

Jesse Heiwa, from Queers for Peace and Justice, New York, pointed to the growing coalition of lesbian, gay, bi and trans organizations against the war. Brooklyn-based activists Viola Plummer from the December 12th Movement and City Councilman Charles Barron raised the need for anti-racist solidarity, including fighting for reparations. Singer Patti Smith and D.C. cultural artists Pam Parker and Lucy Murphy performed. [5]

Race & Class

In 2009, the Editorial Working Committee of Race & Class, published on behalf of the UK based Institute of Race Relations, included John Berger, Lee Bridges, Victoria Brittain, Jan Carew, Jeremy Corbyn, Basil Davidson, Avery Gordon, Barbara Harlow, Saul Landau, Neil Lazarus, Manning Marable, Nancy Murray, Colin Prescod, Barbara Ransby, Cedric Robinson, Bill Rolston and Chris Searle[6].

PES, 2016

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AOC connection

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Anti-Apartheid

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References

  1. WSWS.org UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn allies himself with Fabian Society’s right-wing agenda By Julie Hyland 20 January 2017
  2. Workers World What does Corbyn’s Labor Party victory mean? By John Catalinotto posted on September 14, 2015
  3. Organizing Notes blog: STAR WARS OR SOCIAL PROGRESS - YOU DECIDE, June 21, 2008 (accessed on April 21, 2010)
  4. [1]
  5. [WW http://www.workers.org/pdf/2003/ww013003.pdf Jan. 30, 2003]
  6. Race & Class, Vol 51 2009