6 January 2018

Jeremy Corbyn: we support him, but he's making mistakes

Socialist should support the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party, but that does not mean Corbyn is not making serious mistakes.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party in 2015 ended a quarter of a century of New Labourism and the collaboration of the Labour Party with neo-economic liberalism. While that victory is welcome, the Corbyn leadership has failed to adjust to the requirements of socialism in the twenty-first century. The main points of criticism are these:

1. On Brexit Corbyn flops around. Brexit means a loss of rights, economic damage and is a fuel for nationalist-xenophobia. These are all things Labour should unconditionally oppose.

2. The 2017 General Election temporarily silenced the New-Labourites who still dominate the PLP and the Party bureaucracy. Yet there is no coordinated struggle from the top against the Right; e.g. supporting de-selection of at least those Labour MPs who would be disloyal to a Crobyn-led Labour government. The leadership has also failed to speak out against the witchhunt of socialists in the party.

3. The leadership is committed to an outdated tribalism and will not work or form electoral arrangements with other progressives forces, in particular the Green Party. The leadership also support the current undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system.

4. Despite waffle about constitutional conventions, the current leadership supports the Union and opposes independence for Scotland (and for an independent Scottish Labour Party). While it is not for the English left to tell Scotland to be independent, the Labour Party should at least be neutral on the issue rather than rallying behind British nationalism.

Progressive people need to support the Corbyn leadership generally, but also need to organise separately within and outside the British Labour Party for a progressive radical socialism.

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