Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/879/21780

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 November 2015

Editorial of the Socialist

How to defend Corbyn and defeat austerity

Youth Fight Austerity budget day protest 2015, photo Senan

Youth Fight Austerity budget day protest 2015, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Jeremy Corbyn continues to face savage and relentless attacks from the capitalist establishment and also from within Labour.

The latest example has been scurrilous attacks by the Murdoch-owned Sky News website, which ran a 'Jihadi Jez' headline following the horrendous terrorist attacks in Paris, merely because Jeremy Corbyn had suggested it would have been better if 'Jihadi John' could have faced trial (instead of an extra judicial killing).

Unsurprisingly, the article was packed with attacks on Corbyn from figures in the Labour machine. This included John Woodcock MP, chair of Labour's backbench defence committee, who condemned Corbyn's position on the Middle East as "willed powerlessness".

Woodcock's position, of course, is to support increased Western intervention in Syria, including UK airstrikes. But this would do nothing to end the nightmare facing the people of Syria and Iraq. It would only make it worse, as Jeremy Corbyn has said bringing: "more conflict, more mayhem, and more loss".

Nor would it do anything to protect people in Britain and elsewhere from the nightmare of the kind of horrific terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on Friday; on the contrary it will make them more likely to occur.

Party structures

This is just the latest attack on Corbyn in a clear escalation by the right wing of civil war in the Labour Party, as they try to undermine the anti-austerity and anti-war programme on which Corbyn was elected.

It would be a major mistake to imagine it is possible to pacify the Labour right, trying to 'peacefully co-exist' with the Blairites while they conduct an all-out war, with the full backing of the capitalist class.

To defeat the right requires building on the 'Corbyn surge' to create a mass movement against austerity. Only a movement of this kind will be able to launch a serious fight to transform Labour so that it not only has an anti-austerity leader, but is an anti-austerity party.

This is not possible on the basis of accepting the current, highly-undemocratic, Labour Party structures.

To say, as Jeremy did, for example, that he was making it 'crystal-clear' he opposed mandatory reselection of MPs was a mistake. It emboldened the right and can potentially disarm the hundreds of thousands of workers and young people who would like to deselect pro-war, pro-austerity Blairite MPs.

Instead of making political and organisational retreats it is essential to stand firm on the anti-austerity programme which delivered a landslide victory in the Labour leadership election and attempt to organise all anti-austerity forces in defence of Jeremy Corbyn.

A 'council of war' involving all anti-austerity forces - including the non-affiliated unions, the Socialist Party and others - is urgently needed.

At this stage the unaffiliated unions' best means of supporting Jeremy Corbyn is not to affiliate - which means handing over large sums of cash to the right wing-controlled Labour Party machine and receiving virtually no influence in return.

Far better now to directly fund Jeremy Corbyn's 'anti-austerity' Labour and help the fight to democratise the Labour Party.

One vital demand should be for all political forces that have been fighting against austerity to be welcomed into Labour. This means removing all bans and proscriptions against socialists but also extending the existing list of acceptable affiliated organisations to include the Socialist Party, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, anti-austerity forces within the Green Party, and others.

This, in practise, would re-create the vibrant coalition structure of the Labour Party when it was founded, involving trade unions, the co-op movement, social movements and different socialist parties.

It would be a struggle for a force that could take up and defeat the capitalist establishment, which is gathering its forces - including within the Labour Party - to defeat the Corbyn movement.

Labour councils

Another essential strand of the battle against austerity is to fight for Labour councils to refuse to implement austerity locally. Local authorities have already suffered 39% budget cuts over the last five years, with more to come.

Up until now Labour councils have dutifully implemented the cuts demanded by the Tory government. An important element in Jeremy Corbyn's victory in the Labour leadership contest was his urging "Labour councils to stand together against the cuts". This can only mean: don't implement these cuts, which will only add to the already unbearable suffering of working class people.

The combined financial reserves of Labour councils with elections next May amount to a considerable 4.4 billion. For all 100-plus Labour-controlled councils it is much higher. What is to stop Labour councils coming together and - via pooling their reserves and using prudential borrowing powers - collectively refusing to implement a single further cut?

Such a stand would create the conditions to build a mass movement which could potentially stop Tory austerity in its tracks. Clearly, many Labour councillors are on the right of the party and would not be prepared to refuse to implement austerity. But if Jeremy Corbyn were to make a clear call for action of this kind it would encourage more Labour councillors to act and would also enormously increase his standing among the many council workers and service users who are facing cuts.

Conversely, if the new 'anti-austerity' Labour Party was seen to uncritically back Labour councils implementing cuts it would undermine Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity stance and inevitably disillusion his potential supporters.

The Socialist Party has a record of standing anti-austerity candidates in elections as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, along with the RMT (transport workers' union) and others. Of course pro-austerity right-wingers have criticised us for this, but how else could trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists have developed a political voice against unrelenting austerity from councils of all political stripes?

We do not wish to stand against Labour candidates in the future; but to prevent this being necessary requires a strategy to develop anti-austerity Labour councils who are prepared to oppose the cuts not only in words but in deeds.

Jeremy Corbyn's victory has lifted the confidence of all those who oppose austerity and has already dealt a blow to the establishment. However if the right succeed in containing and undermining him the danger is that those drawn around Corbyn's campaign will become disillusioned.

This would represent the loss of another favourable opportunity to strengthen the workers' movement in the battle against capitalism and its political representatives - the Tories and other forces that base themselves on outmoded capitalism.

There is an urgent need for all those who oppose austerity to discuss how we can defend Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party by building a mass movement against austerity.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 18 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

How to defend Corbyn and defeat austerity

We can defeat the Tory cuts!

Tories flog bank assets to hellhound US profiteers

Athletics doping scandal: big business profits behind global sports corruption

Councils won't spend a penny

Them & Us


Socialist Party features

The end of social housing? How can we solve the housing crisis?

How can young people organise to support Jeremy Corbyn?


International socialist news and analysis

Paris terror attacks


Workplace news and analysis

Junior doctors: first strikes in 40 years

Trade union action needed to fight for steel jobs

Historic London bus drivers' agreement

Reinstate sacked CWU reps

Pro-Corbyn mood among Usdaw members

Support for Roger Bannister in Unison election

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments and reviews

All NHS unions should join junior doctors' strike

A day in the life of a Game retail worker

Why I joined: "I already feel as if I am finally home"

Robert Tressell's characters are all too real to me

My struggle for an income I can live on


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour bans union activist

Thousands march against India premier's bloody sectarianism

Strike to save Lambeth libraries

Gaining momentum in Lewisham

Anger at care home closure


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 November 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

The Socialist:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleSocialism - the podcast offering Marxist analysis for the movement against capitalism

triangleTories' Brexit bust-up - general election now

triangleSocialism - the podcast of the Socialist Party

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The importance of the Socialist paper today

Socialist:

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Germany - government divisions and workers' struggles

triangleCable makers' pay strike bites as production falls 33%

triangleNo to fat-cat top judges' 59k pay hike - fight for decent pay for criminal justice workers

triangleThe renewed relevance of Engels' classic Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Labour:

triangle'Corbyn-council' faces a choice: Implement or fight the cuts

Austerity:

triangleStudents demanding an end to Tory cuts and austerity in education. London, 17.10.18. photo by Isai Priya

triangleUniversal credit = universal misery

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleLabour conference shows: Blairites must be ousted

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/10/18

Brexit

Tories' Brexit bust-up - general election now

17/10/18

Universal Credit

Universal credit = universal misery

17/10/18

Engels

The renewed relevance of Engels' classic Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

17/10/18

Mental health

Fully fund mental health services now

17/10/18

Saudi Arabia

Tory and Trump hypocrisy over murder of Saudi Arabian journalist

17/10/18

Pay

No to fat-cat top judges' 59k pay hike - fight for decent pay for criminal justice workers

17/10/18

Fracking

Toxic fracking gets the go-ahead while protesters jailed

17/10/18

Cardiff

Homeless driven from Windsor streets for royal wedding: abolish the monarchy and end homelessness now!

15/10/18

Socialism

Socialism - the podcast of the Socialist Party

10/10/18

Racism

Fight racism: fight for jobs, homes and services for all

10/10/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/10/18

Tories

Tories' crisis conference - Corbyn must fight for general election

10/10/18

Amazon

Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise

10/10/18

Capitalism

Workers in UK do 1.2trn of unpaid housework and care

10/10/18

Super-rich

Super-rich flee to Monaco to evade Corbyn

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999