The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 19th June 2015
JEREMY Corbyn has won the nomination of 36 Labour MPs to get on the ballot for the new Labour leader. The veteran Islington MP is now officially in the race for the Labour leadership.
Corbyn crossed the required 35 MPs nomination threshold just as the deadline passed at noon on Monday. But those MPs won’t all be rooting for him when the campaign starts in earnest. “I fully recognise that those colleagues who nominated me may not necessarily agree with me on the pitch I’m taking,” Corbyn declared.
Some of them were long-standing members of Labour’s left social-democratic trends. Others were clearly swayed by last week’s massive on-line campaign amongst the rankand- file lobbying for support to ensure a full debate and a democratic choice for the new leader of the Labour Party.
“I will take part in that debate and hope that at the end of it the Labour Party emerges stronger and more resolute in opposing the principles behind austerity and impoverishment of the poorest in Britain,” Corbyn said. That debate will now take place and for some that’s a victory in itself. But getting on the short-list also means that there’s every chance of Corbyn winning.
John McDonnell MP, the Labour Representation Committee leader and Jeremy Corbyn’s agent, says: “We’re in it to win it and I think we can get that support. I think you’ll be surprised, if not shocked, at the scale of support that we have.”
Corbyn is the only contender opposed to austerity and the Trident nuclear weapons system. He voted against the Iraq war, ID cards and increasing tuition fees. He supports the restoration of the public sector and social welfare and the demand for a £10 minimum wage. His rivals are three Blairite has-beens, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, who have little to offer apart from the same old class collaborationist policies that cost Labour the last election.
For the first time ordinary, grass-roots members will have as much say as Labour MPs in the leadership contest. The Labour leader will be chosen in a “one member, one vote” ballot of Labour’s existing 242,000 members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters in the unions.
Corbyn’s campaign team are urging all supporters to either join Labour or register as a supporter for £3 or free if already a member of an affiliated trade union before the cut-off date of 12th August. Ballot papers go out on 14th August and the ballot will close at 12 noon on Thursday 10th September.
Corbyn’s campaign team is urging his 19,000-strong Facebook group and the thousands of others who rallied round the call to get him nominated to sign up as supporters and ensure “all this energy and power is translated into votes”.
It must also be translated into pressure on the leaders of the major unions affiliated to Labour to support the only candidate who campaigns for the repeal of the anti-union laws that prevent free collective bargaining and for the restoration of the “welfare state”, council housing and the public sector that they repeatedly claim to support on the TUC.
These leaders, particularly those in Unite and Unison who claim to be of the left when it suits them to ensure the support of the factions that keep them in office, have a clear choice.
The principled stand is to urge their members to vote for Corbyn. The alternative, to plump for one of the wash-outed Blairites, will condemn Labour to another five years in the wilderness chasing the votes of the mythical “hard-working families” and “aspirational” workers of Toryland and abandoning the millions of the dispossessed and unemployed who want an end to austerity and a hope for the future.
Corbyn has been a trade union rep, a trade union official, a local councillor and a Labour MP for the last 32 years. He is a leading member of the LRC, which the New Communist Party is affiliated to, and a prominent anti-war and peace campaigner.
Left social-democracy will not bring us socialism. But a Corbyn victory will mean a defeat for the anti-working class policies of the opportunists and careerists at Labour’s helm today.