On Saturday, avowed socialist and anti-imperialist Jeremy Corbyn won the election for the leadership of the British Labour party. Corbyn achieved an emphatic victory by securing 59.5% of votes beating other Labour candidates Andy Burnham (19%), Yvette Cooper (17%) and Liz Kendall (4.5%). This follows the defeat Labour incurred in the British general election a few months prior, with the Tories gaining a majority, Labour having their lowest seat tally since 1987 and Ed Miliband resigning shortly after.
Labour MPs calling for Labour leadership contest to be closed down…because people are voting for Jeremy Corbyn. Preposterous.
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) July 26, 2015
After Ed Miliband resigned few could have imagined what would unfold in the coming months. Jeremy Corbyn was long regarded as a fringe member of the Labour Party and the prospect that he could lead was never taken seriously. It wasn’t until the very last minute he put his name forward for candidacy and received just enough signatures from MP’s to enter the race. Disillusionment of the Labour Party has grown in the last number of years. The murderous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan waged by Blair’s government, the continuation of neoliberal economics, a poisonous ideology and the failure to offer a viable alternative to the Tories’ callous economic policies have all contributed to that. Corbyn unlike the Parliamentary Labour Party has a very clear vision of what is conducive to a fair and equal society and his ideas have resonated with Labour voters. He’s renowned for his influential role in the Stop The War coalition, which vigorously protested against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; one of his first acts as leader of the Labour Party will be to apologise for Labour’s role in destroying a nation. His activism extends beyond that though, he was a vigorous protestor against apartheid in South Africa and was arrested in 1984 for protesting outside the South African house in London. In addition he campaigned for the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who overthrew the democratically elected government in Chile and established a military junta, killing thousands in the process with the support and assistance of the CIA. Furthermore he’s been a vehement critic of the regime in Israel which continues to kill and oppress Palestinians, and British complicity in it. He’s also expressed ambitions to withdraw from the hideous military organisation NATO and has condemned its expansionism. His strong support can probably be attributed mostly to his economic policies though, which are firmly grounded in reason. Corbyn is acutely aware of the damage wreaked by neoliberal economics and the burgeoning income inequality in Western states. A lot of his proposals, like renationalising the railways and imposing a higher tax rate on the wealthy are supported strongly by the UK public. Most of the UK also support the imposition of rent control on landlords, and the bulk of the British public also agree with cutting tuition fees. Corbyn was also the only one of the four Labour leadership candidates to oppose the vicious welfare bill proposed by the Tories which will cut welfare spending by 12bn. He’s also won the backing of economists who have contradicted the media’s assertion that his economic policies are unreasonable.
Jewish (and Israeli) supporters of Jeremy Corbyn write to the Guardian to hit back at claims of anti-Semitism: http://t.co/FlqIi4OZYE
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) August 21, 2015
— George Aylett (@GeorgeAylett) September 1, 2015
The British media which is largely subservient to power mounted a concerted smear campaign and demonised Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to suppress support of him. Evidently, this has backfired spectacularly but it will likely pale in comparison to what’s ahead. Jeremy Corbyn represents the largest threat to the British establishment in sometime and now that he’s actually won the election, the fearmongering is only going to intensify. Many have praised most of the Labour voters for being impervious to the latest propaganda emanating from the British media, but how the British public reacts to it remains to be seen. Following Corbyn’s victory, we’ve already seen British PM, David Cameron labelling Corbyn a threat to economic and national security, this from the man who has imposed vicious austerity and who brazenly welcomes a war criminal to Downing Street.
The sort of rhetoric you'd expect from a tinpot dictatorship. How utterly embarrassingly pathetic. https://t.co/K9rjTUU3ls
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) September 13, 2015
Majority of public back Jeremy Corbyn's plans for living wage, scrapping tuition fees and public ownership of rail. pic.twitter.com/rGLSXTrL8a
— George Aylett (@GeorgeAylett) September 12, 2015
The special relationship between the United States and Britain is well documented, since the 2nd World War, Britain have essentially been a lackey to the US, they have collaborated with and facilitated the US’ imperialistic policies for many decades. Corbyn challenges this relationship and is vehemently critical of US hegemony in the world. There’s no doubt the powerful in Washington will be concerned about his victory, and if his support continues to increase it’s inevitable they’ll be trying strenuously to prevent him from becoming Prime-minister. The US media which is oligopolistic and where power is largely concentrated in a small selection of news providers are as committed as their British counterparts to ensuring someone with the views of Corbyn does not gain significant power.
let's play "spot the agenda". This week: The Daily Beast and Jeremy Corbyn. (This is not edited for effect) pic.twitter.com/BqTSLAtDa6
— Adam Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) September 13, 2015
4 entirely separate media outlets went with "divisive far-left" for their headlines. LA Times Slate CTV ABC10 pic.twitter.com/bsbdSZtYGd
— Adam Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) September 13, 2015
Corbyn won against the might of the ‘mainstream' political-media propaganda system operating at maximum power. An astonishing achievement.
— Media Lens (@medialens) September 12, 2015
What’s impressive about Jeremy Corbyn is the collectivist approach he espouses. He subscribes to genuine democracy where the public actually have leverage over the policies their government are implementing, and where they’re actively participating in politics and not merely viewing from the sidelines. He also understands there are no quick fixes, and that overcoming the extensive damage caused by previous governments and the incumbent one is a long process that requires patience and deep commitment. Ultimately it’s not Jeremy Corbyn who will determine whether there’s a resolution to the oppression by the British government, but the people themselves. Energising the British electorate and organising movements is essential in service of that goal.
The new UK leader of the opposition is the chair of Stop the War, vice chair of CND and a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Wow.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) September 12, 2015
Neocons: 'Corbyn is a threat to national security'. Translation:' JC is a threat to our power & influence & our warmongering foreign policy'
— Neil Clark (@NeilClark66) September 13, 2015
Unlike the PLP whose politics were imperceptible from the party they sought to defeat, Corbyn is ideologically at variance with the Tories and offers a legitimate, humane and rational alternative to the scourge of neoliberal capitalism, militarism and jingoism.
It’s hard to overstate just how positive this development is: The largest opposition party in the UK is now led by a proper Socialist, and vociferous opponent of the UK’s imperialistic policies; this would have seemed unthinkable not long ago. For too long the left has been plagued by defeatism, harbouring the misguided belief that the oppressive systems of power are unassailable, Jeremy Corbyn exhibits a conviction that we can overcome the formidable forces we’re up against.