The Corbyn effect

JUST a few months ago people were telling us that the Labour Party was a part of the capitalist state machinery and its right-wing leadership so firmly entrenched it could never be reclaimed by the left-wing of the party — which was now a dwindling band of MPs who would soon be gone — and the best thing the working class could do was to quit Labour and try to build another new labour and trade union movement.

But The New Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist Party and we knew that the structure of this party, created by the trade unions, was tied to the working class and that, in the right circumstances, it could once again become an instrument of the working class in the struggle against capitalist exploitation, warmongering and greed. Even so, we were as surprised as most people that the change in the nature of that party’s leadership happened so quickly.

Dialectical processes are like that, a long slow build-up of pressure that can go unnoticed until a tipping point is reached. That build-up of a steady fall in the values of wages, fall in living standards, the withdrawal of state welfare safety nets and the increase in state oppression had been happening for decades.

Activists could see it in the growing street protests against austerity — that were always under-reported if reported at all by the media. But there was no indication of just how big the swelling class anger was growing. The right-wing Labour leadership ignored it while the media treated all protest as the impotent actions of a tiny lunatic fringe outside of normal society.

The biggest impact of Corbyn’s magnificent success is that the increasingly oppressed working class in Britain has suddenly discovered for itself that it is not a tiny lunatic fringe but is hundreds of thousands strong. Hundreds of thousands of people voted for Jeremy Corbyn; thousands joined the party or registered as supporters in order to do so and swept him into the leadership — in spite of right-wing Labour efforts to gerrymander and change the rules on who could vote in the middle of the process.

Another 15,000 people joined the Labour Party within 24 hours of the election result.

People who had grown old and cynical along with youngsters who had grown up totally alienated from the whole political process became engaged and have been given real hope that it is possible to fight back against the relentless all-consuming greed of the filthy rich bankers.

This has shaken the ruling class to its roots and its media are full of dire warnings of the now real prospect of Corbyn becoming prime minister. They thought they had wiped out all working class consciousness, solidarity and pride long ago.

Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister will probably bring some important working class gains: repeal of anti-trade union laws, new funding for the NHS and education, an end to privatisation and PFI and a hopefully the end of Trident. But these gains are not guaranteed. They will have to be wrung from a still powerful ruling class that will fight all the way and each progressive measure will be a battle.

We will have to fight harder in return but it will be that much easier now we know as a class that we are much stronger than we thought we were. And the enemy is rattled.

What Corbyn will not be able to achieve is full economic and social justice because that cannot be done through Parliament. He supports Keynesian economics — borrowing to invest in the future. It is a short-term remedy that leads to chronic inflation in the long-term.

True socialism can only be achieved by overthrowing the whole capitalist state machinery and Parliament is only one part of that. We will have to replace it with a working class state.

But what he can or wants to do is not as important as what we, as a class, are going to do. We need a revolution and the most important requirement of a revolutionary situation is a working class that is mobilised, confident and conscious of its own strength and potential. And we have Jeremy Corbyn to thank for showing us our own strength.

It’s up to us now to use that strength and build on it until it is unstoppable