The Communist Party Executive Committee met over this historic weekend and debated the radical shift in British working class politics. Read the full version of CP Trade Union Organiser Graham Stevenson’s Political Report.
We now know and celebrate the result in Labour’s leadership election …every negative hurled at Jeremy Corbyn seemed only to serve to strengthen him! Undoubtedly, this is a definite shift of great significance but it is just the start that reflects real, if largely spontaneous, changes in our class – albeit channelled in a specific way.
In discussing the once vexed theoretical issue of the role of the individual in history, Engels wrote that they gave form and speed to events otherwise forced by the shifting of the tectonic plates of economic and material factors, such as class interest. The degree to which personalities can influence history has often been subject to the `great men’ notion but the truth has always been much more banal.
But what form! What speed! Who can now doubt that Corbyn, with his calm message of hope, has electrified potential mass support for Labour, a shift always potentially there – if not immediately obvious, given the nature of the British working class, as our analysis of Britain’s Road to Socialism has always implied.
Congratulations to the comrades at the Morning Star for the first Sunday paper since 1929! And for every single one of those editions over the summer that captured the rising mood. Is it even possible for our paper to get better? Congratulations to our editor for breaking into Andrew Marr’s private reverie with a taste of reality. 2015 is definitely NOT the early 1980s.
And congratulations to our Party’s team at the TUC. More comrades there than for a long time; more and better editions of Unity! And a magnificent new pamphlet, Kill the Bill.
It is said that the turning point in the leadership contest was the Labour front bench abstention on the Welfare Bill. Just as important was the decision of the Unite EC to back Jeremy when it had been expected that Burnham would get the nomination. It is still the case that the organic link with unions was decisive and that connection is likely to get stronger. We need to begin discussion and debate about the rights of affiliated members, perhaps initially in the context of historical lessons.
The campaign began and ended with the criticism that Jeremy Corbyn has little chance of winning the 2020 general election. The only way that didn’t apply to the other candidates, it seems, was the degree to which they agreed with the Tories! Labour’s inability to provide a loud and proud alternative to Conservative policies explains why so much of its base switched to SNP, UKIP, and the Greens at the election.
It’s not Corbyn whose head is on the block – Labour must either win back the seats it once held in Scotland, implying a left turn, even if only in perception, or it must beat the Conservatives by 12% of the poll to form an overall majority. Boundaries, eligibility, and other changes all work against that. Being more like the Tories was always a doomed strategy. Winning more voters back, adding to the electorate by more registration are two key factors that only enthusiasm and confidence can deliver.
As it turned out, it was only Corbyn who demonstrated an ability to provide convincing solutions for support for a Labour Party led by someone who stands for something relevant and helpful to ordinary people. The very idea that a party clearly prepared to abandon its core values to make electoral gain might be considered inspiring is now seen to be laughable.