Jeremy Corbyn has been elected Leader of the Labour Party on the first ballot with 59.5% of the vote. In his victory speech he said, “We are a party organically linked together between the unions and party membership and all the affiliated organisations. That is where we get our strength from.” It remains crucial that the organised workers get behind the anti-austerity agenda that Corbyn’s campaign has represented. Space has opened up for the independent programme of the working class. It is necessary to occupy that space and expand the space for the advance of the historic mission of the working class to build a new and just society and solve its problems in its favour and that of the people as a whole.
A feature of the campaign of Jeremy Corbyn has been his readiness to take a stand on the important problems facing society, rather than follow the path of expediency or the outlook that the ends justify the means.
For example, Corbyn has released documents on: Defence Diversification; Protecting Our Planet; Mental Health; Northern Future; Railways; The Economy in 2020; Working with Women; A Better Future for Young People; The Arts. He has also made constructive comments on a number of other issues, and, as he says, poses a problem for the press because he always answers their questions.
Jeremy Corbyn has said that a fuse has been lit for a new kind of politics. With this outcome, his campaign has stressed, it is clear that a fundamental change of approach to politics is long overdue. The characteristic of this new politics is acts of conscious participation by the working class and the whole electorate. It is a characteristic that is opposed to pragmatism and takes a stand on principle.
The fact that Jeremy Corbyn clearly stands for an anti-austerity programme captured the imagination. 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 opposition to what Jeremy Corbyn has been presenting to the electorate has been 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.
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, and submit to monopoly dictate.
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.
The issue of building a social movement is consistent with the right of the electorate to participate in political affairs, to elect and be elected, for their will to be transformed into the legal will through a political system that serves their interests.
What people have seen in Jeremy Corbyn is someone who is part of and comes out of the movement against war, against the neo-liberal agenda and for progress, the public good and new political arrangements. Just as the SNP in Scotland, standing for national rights and against austerity, swept all before it in the general election, so Corbyn has galvanised discussion on the problems facing society.
With Jeremy Corbyn’s victory, the opportunity presents itself to actually turn things around, consistent with the mood and demands of the times. Things will not be the same, as the overwhelming support for him, especially from the youth, has shown that there is unbounded potential to challenge the austerity agenda, block the anti-social offensive and fight for the alternative, for democratic renewal and a new society.