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

 

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On the mainstream dislike of old-style socialism and the collapse of centrism in the UK

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“ The Guardian is a big influence, and it has to be said that both its comment writers and its news editorial stance have been about as pro-Corbyn as the New York Times was pro–Bernie Sanders — that is, not at all. And for the same reasons. These are the liberal elitists. It’s people who don’t like old-style socialism. All the identity politics around Corbyn, they’re different than the ones around Sanders, but they were there. Lots of mainstream feminists don’t like Corbyn. In the end, Corbyn has proved you can run a traditional left campaign and energize young people. The other possibility is so dire — a right-wing Conservative and racist UKIP alliance government. The Guardian, which I write for, has had this hope that some centrist party would emerge, a bit like Emmanuel Macron in Paris, or like the Clintonite Democrats. But that kind of politics has collapsed in Britain, and the Liberal Democrats, who are the small third party here, just have really not done anything ”

Paul Mason, ‘The Movement in Corbyn’s Wake’, 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 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 strengths and May’s weaknesses

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“ Despite so many years of protest, Corbyn’s greatest strength lies in proposition rather than in opposition: his gentle style is better suited to explaining his own vision than to contesting his opponent’s. The more exposure he receives, the better he looks – while the cameras expose May as charmless, cheerless and, above all, frit. She won’t stand up to anyone who wields power. She will say nothing against Donald Trump, even when he peddles blatant falsehoods in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in this nation, exploiting our grief to support his disgusting prejudices; even when he pulls out of the global agreement on climate change. She is even more sycophantic towards this revolting man than Tony Blair was to George W Bush. She won’t confront Saudi Arabia over terrorism or Yemen or anything else ”

George Monbiot, ‘I’ve never voted with hope before. Jeremy Corbyn has changed that’, The Guardian