Jeremy Corbyn

The Corbyn-exit story: probably fabrication, surely dead-end

According to the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle is thinking of quitting the Labour Party and standing Corbyn as an independent in Islington North in the general election likely in 2023 or 2024. It looks like malicious “stirring “by those papers. The Corbynista blog Skwawkbox claims Labour right-wingers have been feeding those Tory papers. Though Skwawkbox is unreliable, that is plausible. An exit would be a foolish move by Corbyn. His feeble “Peace and Justice Project“ does not provide the groundwork for a new party. Corbyn might gain local support (he has a good...

Stalinism: not so “external”

Urte March, in their review of Corbynism: What Went Wrong? in Solidarity 614 cites their own comrade Tim Nailsea’s review of the Communist Party’s re-issued Britain’s Road to Socialism. This is to hammer their argument that Martin Thomas is wrong to blame Stalinism for many of Corbynism’s weak points when the finger should be pointed at the reformist character of the Labour party itself. But, as Nailsea says in their review: “Britain’s Road to Socialism is, in fact, probably one of the clearest blueprints for reformist socialism one might find on the British left”. Since its publication in...

Corbynism's fundamental failure was on campaigning

Mike Davis reviews Corbynism: what went wrong? This is a thoughtful if polemical book charting the rise and fall of the Corbyn project. The essence of the analysis is that Corbynism ran aground on two political issues: antisemitism and Brexit. The remedy for which could have been debate and education. Additionally only a meagre culture of political discussion was developed. Membership mushroomed with Corbyn’s election in 2015. However, the older rejoiners were already "formed" and youth were not drawn into regular activity and education—youth and student activity declined, while the right...

Corbynism's flaw was unity with the right, not Stalinism

The Alliance for Workers' Liberty has issued Corbynism: What Went Wrong?, a 60-page assessment of the collapse of the Corbyn project. At the outset, the pamphlet correctly identifies the ‘real lost promise’ of Corbynism. Rather than building an independent socialist movement in workplaces and communities which could have ousted the right in the Parliamentary Labour Party and in local government, propelled Labour to power and held the leadership to account on its promises, Corbyn kept the membership as an auxiliary social movement only to be mobilised at times of leadership or parliamentary...

The hinge of Corbynism's downfall

Martin Thomas, author of Corbynism: What Went Wrong?, responds to the reviews of the booklet by Mike Davis and Urte March in this issue of Solidarity and earlier ones by Richard Price and Andrew Coates online. Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty work to transform the existing labour movement, not to create “our own” labour movement alongside it. We do our work by organising and educating for the battles of today, which, as yet, perforce, are “reform” struggles. That far we agree with Mike Davis — that nine-tenths of the work for the socialist revolution is “in the womb of the existing society”...

After Corbynism, the old dilemma remains

The booklet Corbynism, What Went Wrong? by Martin Thomas is written from the point of view of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), a Trotskyist political organisation which was mostly frozen out of the Corbynista and Momentum movement. The booklet recounts the history of the Corbyn phenomenon from the 2015 beginning until the 2019 end. It regrets the lost opportunity of those years to build a mass movement, particularly of not bringing in even more young people, and at the same time illustrates the mistakes it feels were made. And – equally tellingly – lists its differences with “the...

Trade union struggle and political struggle - an interview with John McDonnell

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and former Shadow Chancellor, spoke to Sacha Ismail. After Labour Party conference, what do you think will happen with Starmer’s leadership? Do you think he’ll be around for a long time? It’s impossible to tell at the moment. At the conference he used the traditional Blairite, Mandelson playbook. Attack your own party to demonstrate you’re a strong leader; do a big personal speech to try to demonstrate you’re a normal human being; make banal statements instead of policy commitments. It didn’t work: the bounce in the polls didn’t happen. The...

Starmerism won't win elections

Keir Starmer’s Blair tribute act is promoted as the way to win elections. It is not. “Mainstream” social democracy has done badly for decades in elections, as well as in bringing social progress. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the French Socialist Party was the strongest party in France, with 37.5% of the first-round vote for the National Assembly in 1981, and 49.3% in the second round. Even in 1997, it had 23.5%. In 2017, it was down to 7.4%. The Labour Party in the Netherlands was in government most of the time from 1946 to 2002. Its vote share has gone down from 29.0% in 1998 to 5.7% in 2021...

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