The people’s victory: everything is possible

This is the text of a broadsheet Left Unity is distributing today.

corbyn-win

Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party. Who could have imagined writing such a sentence only a few weeks ago? His victory shatters the austerity consensus that has dominated British politics for the last five years.

This is a victory for the movement as a whole. It is a victory for all those opposing the welfare cuts, for all those campaigning against war and racism, for all those fighting to defend our NHS and a host of other issues.

Jeremy’s election will have the effect of a dam breaking in British political life. It will shift the centre of political gravity to the left.

There were two intersecting currents behind the dramatic growth of the Corbyn campaign. Firstly there was the long pent-up resentment against the Blairite wing of the party, which the new process for electing the leadership allowed to be unleashed.

Despite the endless stream of party grandees warning of the apocalypse that would befall Labour if Corbyn won, Jeremy’s campaign was the only one that really inspired the membership. The Blairites were ignored and Jeremy won, despite the exclusion of thousands of his supporters from the ballot. We still want to know why PCS leader Mark Serwotka and so many others were barred from voting.

Second, Jeremy’s campaign spoke to the same new forces that are represented in many movements and parties across Europe, from Greece to Spain and beyond: people who are no longer willing to accept the economic brutality and political dishonesty of the ruling elites. In Britain we have seen these political developments find partial expression in the Green surge before the last election and the dramatic events of the Scottish referendum campaign, which saw the SNP eclipse the Labour Party as people sought an alternative to the politics of austerity. Jeremy’s campaign is a further expression of this.

The campaign has brought tens of thousands of people to public meetings around the country and raised a level of political hope that was previously almost impossible to imagine.

Jeremy’s victory heralds a new period of political struggle and political possibility. A mass movement has been born of those who share his policies, whether inside or outside of the Labour Party. As events unfold we must work together to enable the possibilities to be realised.

There is no doubt that Jeremy’s leadership will be under constant attack. These attacks will come not only from some Labour MPs but from much of the media and – most importantly – from the British establishment. The pressure will be on to trim the policies which challenge its power. Mass support for these policies across society will help Jeremy resist and reject this pressure.

For all of us who support Jeremy’s policies, the central question is how to defend this new leadership and how to support and help sustain and expand the movement that gave rise to it.

For us in Left Unity this will be our political priority. As an anchor to the left in British politics, we are committed to fighting alongside Jeremy and his supporters inside and outside of the Labour Party to achieve the policies that we all share. This includes the renationalisation of essential services such as rail and utilities, defence of our health service, halting the punitive welfare cuts, stopping the Trident replacement programme and many other things.

All these goals are now possible.

And that doesn’t just mean waiting for the 2020 election. The government has already said, for example, that Jeremy Corbyn’s win can stop airstrikes on Syria, because Cameron can only get the plan through if enough Labour MPs vote for it.

This new movement needs to continue to grow and gain strength. This can only happen to the extent that it continues to engage with the many struggles that gave rise to it.

The first port of call will be the TUC demonstration against the Tory Party conference in Manchester on 4 October, reinforcing the breakdown of the austerity consensus and posing alternative policies.

The series of events throughout the following week, organised by the People’s Assembly, will give us the opportunity for detailed discussion about the challenges ahead.

Left Unity will contribute to and help facilitate these discussions in the coming months: working with others we will be organising events and launching an online journal dedicated to understanding and developing these new possibilities. You can contact us at info@leftunity.org to get involved.

Jeremy’s victory is a momentous opportunity for the people of Britain, for the working class which has been kicked aside by Tory and Labour alike, to reclaim our society, our resources, our priorities, for the good of all of us. It is also of great significance for the wider world: for a Britain without nuclear weapons, that ends its warmongering, that treats other countries and peoples with equality, dignity and respect. This is a vision – and a reality – worth fighting for. Now’s the time to make it happen.


15 comments

15 responses to “The people’s victory: everything is possible”

  1. Mervyn Hyde says:

    Now that Jeremey has been elected by such an overwhelming majority and Labour has moved decidedly left, I welcome the warm gesture shown in this article of a united left front.
    Jeremey is open to embrace all sections of the left and a co-ordinated campaign effort could write off any Tory challenge, we all recognise what the Neo-Liberal right stand for, it’s up to all of us to consign them to the dustbin of history.

    • James Parker says:

      Left Unity have it right we will be supporting Jeremy Corbyn in any way possible, currently from outside the Labour Party, I think Mervyn, and me, will have to wait for significant moves within the LP before we can be a recognised part of a united left front. LU can decide that it will follow this line in solidarity with the new mood within the LP.
      I think LU should also look to forming local contacts with the Left outside the LP, whom I suspect will also be trying to connect to the mass movement that is Anti-Austerity and Corbyn’s LP. Locally I still get the impression that the Left outside of the LP is still trapped in small sects trying to gain “leadership”.

  2. We must gather enough people to go to Tory Conference and show them how we dispise their policies.
    Solidarity
    Amjad

  3. kim moore says:

    Well Done Left Unity for coming out in support of JC

  4. Mike Ballard says:

    Workers in Britain should join the Labour Party NOW and support their class interests. For too long, the Labour Party has been hacked by people who believe that serving the class interests of capitalists and landlords is the only realistic way to win government in a democratic election. Hell, the capitalists and landlords only make up 10% of the population. They are a minority governing the majority, the producers of wealth, the working class.

    • Robert says:

      To early yet, being disabled I will wait to see what the out come will be from Corbyn, I will be watching Progress to see what happens before I decide to come back.

      labour looks to be on it’s way back but the party is now split between the right and the left lets see what happens in the future, I will give it three years before i make a decision.

      I still have issues over labour and ATOS

  5. Brendan Kelly says:

    Left Unity supporters / members should now consider joining Labour and help drive forward the democratisation of the party and it’s historic and unprecedented surge to the left. A once in a generation opportunity exists to establish a genuine Socialist voice. The main battle for the future of this new movement will be inside the Labour Party at every level.

  6. James Parker says:

    Mike, we should all try to encourage active involvement in politics but despite Jeremy Corbyn’s magnificent achievement simply declaring that we launch ourselves at the Local LP branch is a receipt for disillusion and cynicism, I remember my first encounter with LP branch officers in the Chester LP. 40 years ago so things have changed but I’ll bet that thousands of those suddenly awakened will hit a brick wall when they approach the party. Can LU, find some way to identify those local branches that have taken onboard the lesson of Corbyn and help new activists make effective connection with the LP. You can be sure that a large number of serving MPs will be organising to exclude hopeful activists. I will say that one of my local LP branches has made significant moves to encourage new supporters to get involved, promising branch meetings that actually discuss politics with the minimum of branch business and fussy formality. I might even try to get along to it, but will they let LU people attend and discuss.

  7. Stefan says:

    Hurraaaa, my warm congratulations.
    Hopefully this is a sign for the whole of Europe.
    Stefan/ Germany

  8. Des Derwin says:

    I hope Left Unity takes a moment out to declare again the need for its own existence and politics in addition to, as you are rightfully doing, relating in a unitary fashion to the new movement around Jeremy Corbyn.

  9. Mrs CI Jenke says:

    Fantastic that Left Unity are supporting Jeremy Corbyn – at last there is hope for people who desire a true democracy.

  10. John Penney says:

    I was one of the first “founding member” recruits to Left Unity – inspired and convinced by Ken Loach’s call for the founding of a broadly-based genuinely radical, but not revolutionary, new mass party to the Left of the then thoroughly neoliberal – led and ideologically neoliberal dominated NewLabour Party. The assumption of most of us in Left Unity, and the radical Left generally at the time, and indeed right up to the astonishing and unpredicted “Corbyn Surge” during the leadership election campaign, was that Labour was forever lost to any meaningful shift leftwards. I certainly believed that to be the case. How totally wrong we all turned out to be. Major deeply socially-based “tectonic plate” political shifts have a tendancy to catch everyone out. This is just such a major socio-political tectonic plate shift. The Left needs to catch up – fast.

    The first few years of our Left Unity Party Project up to the Corbyn Surge has not been greatly successful . We failed to even breach the 2,000 member barrier (The Corbyn Campaign had about 16,000 volunteer helpers !) – and I’m afraid politically and compositionally in my opinion we utterly failed to breach the apparently impervious barriers separating the Far Left from the mass of ordinary working class left-leaning people.

    The next phase of the class struggle , the British (or at least Welsh and English) majority component anyway , will, astonishingly, have as a key component the new vicious , no compromise possible, struggle within the Labour Party against the totally entrenched neoliberal right , particularly in the PLP, to implement the objectives of the Corbyn campaign to transform Labour into a real party of the Left. This will be a bitter internal civil war, with the neoliberal PLP majority backed ruthlessly by the entire mass media. The potential to draw the hundreds of thousands of new, radical Left, Labour Party members into not only the internal Party struggle, but the wider anti Austerity struggle, is one that no socialist should stand aside from.

    I have therefore regretfully resigned from Left Unity and its many, many, fine comrades , and joined the Labour Party (AGAIN – after a 20 year break) , as have many other previously fully committed Left Unity members over the last few weeks. The Left Unity project was completely correct at the time of its formation, on the basis of what we all assumed was the impossibility of the rise of a renewed radical Left within the party. We were all simply wrong – the recent explosion of new radical Left movements across Europe, eg, Die Linke, Podemos, Syriza (and that particular one went well didn’t it !) has, freakishly, manifested itself WITHIN the British equivalent of PASOK. We have to swallow our pride, accept that we were wrong , and get ourselves, en masse (if the tiny radical Left can be said to be en masse) into the Labour Party to directly participate in this struggle – and to continue to fight the wider anti austerity struggle too – but drawing the hundreds of thousands of new Labour Party members out of the LP’s internal branch life into this much broader struggle.

    The Left Unity project has simply become irrelevant. I personally doubt that the Labour Party can be won to be a serious party of the Left without a major split /deselection battle between its entrenched neoliberal MP’s and councillors and the now rapidly growing dominant radical Left membership. Fighting to create a new fighting left Labour party out of the coming Labour civil war has to be a key priority for the entire Left. The key motion at the forthcoming Left Unity National Conference should be to dissolve the Party and enter the labour Party ASAP.

    • James Parker says:

      John,
      I think you got this wrong in that you started with the idea that Left Unity was in some way on a par with the Labour Party. I say this as you think its one or the other. You are right in essence that there will be a real struggle within the Labour Party, fraternal if Corbyn can use his mandate effectively but I doubt the neo-liberal/careerist/ whatever will ever be fraternal. A manufactured split is no doubt being planned. To work out out a strategy on what radicals should be doing we have to come up with an analysis that helps to understand why the LP members hung in thru’ the Blair/Brown years, why the labour voters are still there (diminished by years of B/B). Big task, and the only way we will get this is by linking up with those whose critical faculties
      caused them to search for an alternative (or like Corbyn and friends to risk their parliamentary careers). The one thought I have is that the Labour Party is that the left in the party didn’t have or never voiced an analysis of contemporary Capitalism. The right of the party have produced this but kept it restricted to their elite cabal, initially too impolitic for a mass working class party. The analysis needed now is one that will bring the full membership face to face with financialised global capitalism, manufacturing restricted to low wage regions, insecurity of employment and welfare for western populations. The best way to do this is with comrades initially.

  11. Roy Wall says:

    What is the Program of Left Unity?
    In a broadsheet published after Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership election, and which has also appeared on the Left Unity website [see above], Left Unity claims that its program is essentially the same as that of Corbyn:
    … we are committed to fighting alongside Jeremy … to achieve policies that we share. This includes the re-nationalisation of essential services such as rail and utilities, defence of our health service, halting the punitive welfare cuts, stopping the Trident replacement programme and many other things.”
    But it is necessary to be more precise than this, and to prioritise.
    “Young people are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population, the largest gap in more than 20 years, according to an analysis of official figures,” – wrote The Guardian recently.
    And what is the prospect of young people finding a home to live in? A 2014 study showed that “52% of those seeking help with homelessness are under 25.”
    A recent article in the New Statesman claims that “It’s been reported that a significant portion of the support Corbyn is receiving is coming from new, young Labour members.” This is clearly not surprising.
    We need to get our programmatic priorities right. Are the concerns of homeless and/or unemployed youth adequately stated in the Left Unity broadsheet, namely “…the re-nationalisation of essential services such as rail and utilities, defence of our health service, halting the punitive welfare cuts, stopping the Trident replacement programme and many other things”?
    Young people form the backbone of the new political movement which has found its focus in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. We must formulate and prioritise demands for a crash program of homebuilding, the removal of tuition fees, and the reintroduction of full maintenance grants for all students.
    Roy Wall
    Fred Carpenter
    September 2015

  12. Patrick Black says:

    ‘Critical support’ of the Corbyn effect in the Labour party is important but I don’t think that Left Unity, while losing members to Labour, should dissolve itself unless it is simply unavoidable in the present situation.

    It is still necessary in my mind to continue to develop an alternative democratic Socialist/Feminist/Ecological politics and vision and clear critique, analysis and active opposition to the on going neo liberal capitalist offensive by both the much hated Tory Government and numerous ‘pragmatic’ neo liberal Labour (and other) city councils throughout the country, both fully experienced and adept at implementing austerity cuts and privatising public services and in the case of Labour with the aid and assistance sections of the trade union bureaucracy !

    There hasnt really been much concrete talk if any by Jeremy Corbyn about this unsightly spectre within our midst, other than him rather naively and inadequately calling for Labour city councils to work together to oppose the Tory Government !

    The Left unity conference in November will be crucial in discussing the way forward. If it is decided to dissolve the party then so be it, if not then all well and good as long as the party is able to make a clear and honest assessment of it’s own limited progress so far and shows itself capable of developing it’s present strengths in the struggles ahead .


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