On the Blairist ‘pragmatic’ approach and Blair’s refusal to endorse Corbyn

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“ Tony Blair, the former Labour prime minister and famous Third Way pragmatist whose core philosophy was that the Labour party had to reflexively compromise on its ideals, was similarly unenthused about Corbyn. He refused to endorse Corbyn prior to the election, said that Labour was not providing a competitive opposition that was a threat to the Tories, and had earlier accused Corbyn of reducing the party to a ‘fringe protest movement.’ (To be fair, Blair’s refusal to follow his own philosophy and be pragmatic and endorse a Labour leader who he didn’t entirely agree with was undoubtedly a good thing: he’s a warmonger, as well as being widely disliked by the British public) ”

Branko Marcetic, ‘Corbyn. Is. Dumbledore’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On the death of Blairism

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“ Blairism, New Labour, whatever you want to call it, is dead. It owed its hegemony to, frankly, despair: the idea that socialist policies were electoral poison, and offering them to the British people would invite only landslide Tory victories. The idea that technocratic centrism in this election would have mobilised voters as Corbyn’s Labour did is for the birds. No, Labour didn’t win, but it won its biggest increase in vote share since Clement Attlee in 1945 and is far closer to government than it was, despite being hobbled with disadvantages such as the loss of Scotland before Corbyn assumed Labour’s leadership. The idea, therefore, that centrism is the only possible route for electoral victory is buried ”

Owen Jones, ‘New Labour is dead. Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet must stay as it is’, The Guardian

On Corbyn’s post-election optimism

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“ ‘I believe the DUP is in favour of scrapping the bedroom tax,’ he said. ‘There’s a whole range of issues like that where we think there’ll be a majority in parliament.’ Corbyn said he expected there would be another election before the end of the year. ‘We cannot go on with a period of great instability,’ he said. ‘We have a programme, we have support and we’re ready to fight another election campaign as soon as may be, because we want to be able to serve the people of this country on the agenda we put forward, which is transformative and has gained amazing levels of support.’ Asked if he was prepared to lead the party for the long-term, Corbyn smiled and joked: ‘Look at me, I’ve got youth on my side’ ”

Jessica Elgot, ‘Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will call on other parties to defeat government’, The Guardian

On how to counter inequality

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“ Rampant inequality is not the fault of a class of people doing exactly what anyone would do in their position, but a political and economic system that incentivizes and enables them to do so. (Don’t hate the player, hate the game.) It follows that the solution is not individual and moralistic, but collective and political.  All over the world, social democratic movements are gaining popularity and power on the strength of ideas meant to reduce inequality and stimulate the economy: increased inheritance tax, maximum wage, taxes on the wealthy, and increased spending on the programs people need to not just survive, but thrive. Another important element is unionism: when workers assert their power, wages rise along with purchasing power and general feelings of satisfaction. An even more exciting solution is on offer in the UK, which votes on Thursday, where the Labour party wants to democratize the economy by empowering workers to direct the fruits of their labor. Worker-owned cooperatives, re-nationalization and other forms of public, community-oriented ownership all have roles to play ”

Jamie Peck, ‘It’s not just the 1%. The upper middle class is oppressing everyone else, too’, The Guardian

On the new Labour party and radical social program

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“ If Brexit was a vague and contradictory call to ‘take back control,’ Labour’s program is the route to achieving it, recovering an alternative long buried by Thatcherism. It takes its inspiration from the most radical aspect of social-democratic politics — decommodification — and aims to remove staples of daily life from the market, making them public, universal, and free at the point of access. In doing so, the party’s program would radically lower the cost of living, placing workers under less pressure to accede to the demands of their bosses to work longer or for less. It would revive the idea of entitlement that conservatives have fought so hard to discredit and put the brakes on a slide towards an economy where even public goods are provided on a pay-per-service basis. It could also change how people relate to the provision of necessary things, challenging the idea that this must be done on the basis of exchange, where what you receive always relates to what you can afford. For forty-one years Britain has been governed, by both the Conservatives and New Labour, on the basis that the market rules, and that the growing marketization of public life was a natural development. By seeking to subordinate the market to the interests of the people, Corbyn’s Labour has fundamentally challenged the logic imposed upon the party by the International Monetary Fund in 1976 (…) In the more likely circumstance that Labour is defeated in the election, the party’s right will immediately argue that it was because its leadership was too left wing. But we now know this is not true. The vast majority of the country supports left-wing policies — it is the Labour right and their allies in the political, business, and media elite who are in the minority. The next battle will be to defend the manifesto from their attacks ”

Max Shanly & Ronan Burtenshaw, ‘The Blueprint’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On why Labour’s poll ratings have risen

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“ Labour’s poll ratings – and Corbyn’s own numbers – have risen for two reasons. Unfiltered media coverage of Corbyn has allowed many prospective voters to reconsider their first impression of the Labour leader. Both he and his team have run an astonishing campaign. But above all else, it’s the vision Corbyn’s team offered in Labour’s manifesto that has lifted all the party’s ratings. A pledge to raise taxes on the top 5%, big corporations and financial institutions – while freezing tax for everyone else – and to invest in the NHS, education, housing, public services and jobs has resonated. So has a genuine living wage, the abolition of student debt, and bringing public utilities run by profiteers and foreign governments back under the ownership of the British people ”

Owen Jones, ‘This is not over: we can still turn the arrogance of Theresa May into hubris’, The Guardian

On Corbyn’s recognizing the madness of ever using a nuclear weapon

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“ I think the idea of anyone ever using a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world is utterly appalling and terrible. It would result in the destruction of lives and community and environment of millions of people. I would be actively engaged to ensure that danger didn’t come about (…) I would view the idea of using a nuclear weapon as something resulting in a failure of the whole world’s diplomatic system. There has to be no first use. There has to be a process of engagement to bring about ultimately global nuclear disarmament […] You cannot countenance a world in which we could all be destroyed by nuclear war ”

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader