The fact that Jeremy Corbyn is standing in the election for the post of leader of the Labour Party has captured the imagination. This is because he clearly stands for an anti-austerity programme, which the Labour Party as a whole in the May general election signally failed to do.
In the context of the space for change broadening to accommodate the movement to oppose the austerity agenda and to fight for the alternative, this represents an opportunity for the workers’ and people’s movements to make advances. The issue is to build the movement to oppose the neo-liberal austerity agenda of Cameron acting on behalf of monopoly capital, an agenda which is wrecking society and the economy, and to advance the movement for the empowerment of the working class and people.
The demonstrations on June 20 to put an end to austerity, coming soon after the general election, showed the mood of the people to oppose the neo-liberal agenda and put an end to the status quo.
They showed that the working class and people’s movements were ready to take up the challenges to bring an end to austerity, bring about a new direction for society, effect democratic renewal and empower the people. Working people, especially the youth, were disgusted that the Conservatives had managed to stage an electoral coup and achieve a majority government. It was in this context that for Jeremy Corbyn to take a stand on a platform of anti-austerity, anti-war, pro-worker and in defence of rights and the vulnerable has garnered so much support. He has not assumed the role of a condescending saviour but has represented an opportunity for people to rally around the flag of opposing austerity and neo-liberalism.
That his leadership bid has received so much opprobrium, not least from those in the Labour Party that are in love with neo-liberalism and fear the organised working class which gave rise to their party, is not so much the issue. It is a fact that the cartel party system does not represent a way out of the crisis, but serves to consolidate it by negating the popular will, attempting to de-politicise the electorate and ensure they are marginalised from decision-making. The necessity for democratic renewal is the burning issue.
But the opposition to what Jeremy Corbyn is presenting to the electorate is aimed at stifling the initiative of the people in finding their bearings and making advances. It is an attempt to prevent discussion on the problems facing the people and society, and embargo envisioning that there is an alternative to the anti-social, anti-worker, pro-war agenda of the ruling elite. It is an attempt to deny the reality of the nature of the capitalist economy which is serving the rich and decimating social programmes.
One method used to stifle discussion is to label everything in terms of left and right, especially in terms of “hard left” and “extreme right”. If “left” means progressive and pro-people, and “right” means reactionary and anti-people, then one cannot quarrel with the fact that Corbyn is on the left. But the working class movement is getting wise to the labelling’s being used to prevent apprehension of the reality. The ruling elite has been misjudging the stage of the people’s movement when assessing that Jeremy Corbyn would find only support from the so-called “hard left”, and that people are content with neo-liberalism,
which they call the “centre ground”. The fact is that the people do not accept the anti-social offensive and warmongering, and are searching for a pro-social alternative and an anti-war government.
At the very least, Corbyn’s candidacy has challenged the complacency and authoritarianism of the Westminster consensus. It has shown that the working class and people will support the position of putting the well-being of the people and the advance of society in the first place, and not be taken in by the mantra that “tough decisions” need to be taken to reduce the deficit, pay the rich, submit to monopoly dictate and so forth.
The issue is for the people to prepare to defeat the austerity agenda of the Cameron government by building the movement, and crucially to engage in discussion and take action in order to further the concerns of the people and to develop the people’s involvement in political affairs. Ultimately, the goal is to empower the people to be the decision-makers at every level in society, have a real say in governance and determine the direction of the economy so that it serves the public good.
For a solution to the crisis of working class representation!
All power to Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign!