Ballots for the Labour Party leadership election were sent out on 14 August by post and voting ends on 10 September. An estimated 120,000 people have paid £3 in order to become ‘affiliated members’, and vote in the election, substantially increasing the party’s membership figures, which had been steadily eroding over the preceding years.
Trade unions have been running concerted campaigns to register their members as voters, and to campaign among their membership for the election of Jeremy Corbyn, who announced his leadership bid after Milliband’s electoral rout, in the run-up to the substantial anti-austerity demonstrations held in London and across the country in June 2015.
All of which begs the question: if Jeremy Corbyn is elected to the leadership of the Labour Party, can he make it a party of the working class? If he becomes Prime minister, can his Labour Party lead Britain towards socialism and a fairer, more just and equitable society for British workers and help to shape a fairer and more peaceful world?
Our party’s position on the Labour party is clear: Nothing can make Labour a party of the working class! Labour is a party of imperialism; it serves, and has always served, the imperialist ruling class. No leader, however sincere and however ‘socialist’ in outlook, can change that.
But after the collapse of the Labour Party, with its total rout in Scotland, and its tattered remains getting a drubbing at the polls in the 2015 general election, many British workers – who have for years clung on to the hope and illusion that Labour can really represent their views, needs and interests – are clutching onto the straw offered to them by Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise bid for the party’s leadership.
True, the usual rag-tag band of ‘left’ social democrats, revisionist communists and trotskyites – that have always touted their connections to left-labour – are backing him to the hilt and, on the one hand, are only too willing to act as his foot soldiers and, on the other, are happy to tout his prospective leadership of Labour as ‘proof’ that Labour “really is the party of the working class” after all!
Yet only a fool would fail to see that the groundswell of popular support for “JC”, amounts to much more than this. A rising tide carries all ships. And we believe that it is the rising tide of mass discontent with capitalist austerity, and imperialist war, rather than the vessel of Jeremy Corbyn himself, or the much discredited Labour party, that unerlies the #JezWeCan phenomenon.
Jeremy is currently re-inventing himself as a pre-presidential ‘Obama-like’ image of hope, representing all things to all people. Well and good. Let him be all the things people say he is, but he will not be able to change the nature of his party. Indeed, looked at from this perspective, electing him as leader may turn out to be a very useful learning opportunity for many who have got behind him so enthusiastically.
There is clearly a strong desire amongst many of JC’s supporters to change the status quo – to reverse cuts, stop wars, tackle climate change and create a fairer society. As yet, most of them have no idea how to bring about the change they want to see, and are still full of illusions in the ability of the bourgeois electoral system to deliver real representation in government and the capitalist system of production to behave in a planned and predictable way. These illusions must be shattered if the movement for socialism is to grow, and the experience of a ‘left’ Labour leader, we believe, can only hasten this process.
We must remember that the real business of running the country goes on behind closed doors – in the private clubs and back rooms where the imperialist ruling class meet. Bourgeois career politicians in the main capitalist parties are simply the mouthpieces for decisions taken elsewhere. Just as Obama’s election as President of the USA didn’t improve the situation for poor black Americans, so Jeremy’s election as leader of the Labour party, or even as Prime Minister, can’t reverse working-class poverty that is part and parcel of capitalism – and especially the warmongering and austerity that are an inevitable result of capitalist crisis.
We must keep reminding our class, brothers and sisters, that the capitalist system creates wealth for a few by forcing into abject poverty the many, and that imperialism brings wealth to Britain – principally for the handful of multi-billionaires who live here virtually tax free – by looting and oppressing oppressed peoples and nations abroad.
These results go hand in hand, and one cannot be abolished without the other. The idea that the system can remain in place, allowing the the rich to keep ‘most’ of their wealth while simply ‘sharing out’ a bit of the ‘excess’ is a fairy tale. The notion of a ‘fairer and more decent’ capitalism is a pipe-dream.
We will not be able to build a decent life for the poor until we have abolished the exploitation that creates the super-rich!
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