In Defence of Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn

When Jeremy Corbyn acquired the thirty five nominations necessary to make it on to the ballot paper for Labour’s leadership race, I was naively ecstatic. Here was a man with the grizzled facial hair all lefties are obliged to grow, who fought for radical socialism that was the perennial villain in the bedtime stories told to the grandchildren of reptilian Tory grandees.

Blairites and a media stuffed with neoliberal acolytes convulsed at the despicable thought that an unapologetic socialist was competing, suggesting Mr. Corbyn was doing something right. If he wasn’t a threat, he wouldn’t be earning the sneering derision of the advocates of austerity. There are, however, intransigent issues stemming mostly from his own party that render his campaign tragically futile.

The recent news that Mr. Corbyn could win the contest surprised me greatly. Initial ecstasy dissipated before cynicism, when I realised that he only managed to scrape a place because he got the ‘backing’ of politicians like David Lammy; red Tories who hate Mr. Corbyn’s politics, but wanted him to participate in the hope that the Labour left would be conclusively beaten by a centrist to show that socialist principles were definitively unpopular. Mr. Corbyn’s need for support from false allies showed that he lacks the solid base of genuine backers who’d rally round him if he won.

His performances in recent debates were invigorating, his anti-austerity rhetoric and call to abolish trident resonating with many, but he doesn’t have a convincing vision for Labour’s future that will turn them into a socialist party again. He is raging a futile battle within a party that is determinedly against him. It doesn’t matter that loyal activists and the public like him, because they have no power. If the Blairite machine doesn’t derail his campaign now, he will be deposed internally if triumphant, in a sordid coup that will tarnish politics further. That’s ‘democracy’ for you.

Mr. Corbyn is an honourable man who fights on behalf of the victims of western imperialism, bourgeois decadence and fiscal masochism: the working-class. His willingness to stand for noble values like a united Ireland, justice for Palestinians, and publicly owned industries run in the interests of workers, shows fearlessness in tackling supercilious elites. My concern is that if Mr. Corbyn won and failed to implement his genuinely radical policies, he would be deemed an inept traitor by the dismissive, and the case for Marxism will be lost for another generation.

Labour has been cowed by the slavering hounds of neoliberalism, a clutch of professional bile merchants whose ostensibly moderate approach veils acidic disgust for anybody who rejects the sanctity of free markets and the might of the British military. This champion of social justice has faced the bitterest opposition from within his own party, with the assent of the right-wing press, which suggests he is destined to fail. What he should do, along with all the other left wing Labour MPs, is detach himself from that decaying husk and form a new workers’ party in conjunction with other left wing groups.

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