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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 June 2015

Labour leadership race

Can Corbyn's left challenge succeed?

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

Left-wing backbencher and seasoned campaigner Jeremy Corbyn entered the Labour leadership contest on 4 June.

Until then all the contenders were in a race to the right, offering nothing to those angry with and suffering from Tory cuts. Jeremy has drawn the opposite conclusion from Labour's defeat to his competitors - offering 'austerity-light' failed to win them support.

But he faces an enormous hurdle to get on the ballot paper - securing the backing of 35 MPs. His stand, an attempt to show that there is some Left left in Labour, will confirm the opposite is the case.

In 2010 David Miliband and Harriet Harman 'lent' Diane Abbott their nomination to get her on the ballot paper, in order to demonstrate the party's diversity. The more left-wing John McDonnell, however, was not able to get the nominations.

But it is not likely Jeremy will be 'lent' nominations by the frontrunners - pro-privatisation, pro-war and pro-austerity Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendell.

A poll of Mirror readers has Jeremy steaming out in front of the pack. He has 15,000 Facebook 'likes' to Burnham's 4,400. In fact, changes made under Ed Miliband to Labour's democratic structures make the process after nomination comparable to gathering Facebook 'likes'.

Unions

The collective voice of the unions has been removed. Instead, individual trade unionists who sign up to become 'affiliated supporters' can vote in the contest - as can anyone who pays 3 to become a 'registered supporter'.

Given this situation, the Blairite leadership is likely to see gifting Jeremy the nominations as an unnecessary risk.

Jeremy has support from bakers' union BFAWU. It makes sense that Labour-affiliated unions back the only candidate who represents their members. But this week Jeremy's nominations from MPs have not increased while those for the Blairite triumvirate have.

No doubt there are many workers, activists and trade unionists who hope Jeremy's stand will be a chance to reclaim Labour from the Blairites who stole it from the working class.

If it proves impossible to even get on the ballot paper, all efforts must turn to building a new mass workers' party. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is doing vital work to prepare for building such an alternative.

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In The Socialist 10 June 2015:


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Protesters tell Labour councils to fight Tory cuts

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Readers' comments and reviews

This Skype is the limit!

1945 - when Britain said no to Churchill

'Socialism is the only way to stop austerity and poverty'


 

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