The more you win the harder it gets

JEREMY Corbyn, as expected, won the contest for leadership of the Labour Party and with an increased majority from last year’s contest. It would have been a much bigger majority if the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party had not spent the last few months furiously expelling and disallowing as many Corbyn supporters as they could from taking part in the ballot.

Earlier this summer elections to that NEC produced a majority in favour of Corbyn and this newly-elected committee was expected to take over at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool this week.

Control of this committee is vital. The old committee had been shamelessly changing the rules at every turn to block Corbyn supporters and to undermine his leadership. And at the conference they had another trick up their sleeves. They regained control of the new NEC by changing the rules again to admit special places on the committee for a representative from Scotland and one from Wales. But these new places would not be filled by any democratic vote — they would be appointees nominated by the leaders of Labour in Scotland and Wales — both of whom oppose Corbyn.

Following Corbyn’s second victory, some of the 170-odd Labour MPs who had tried to destroy his leadership in June with a mass resignation and vote of no-confidence said that they would now accept his leadership and some would return to their Shadow Cabinet positions. This underlines their remarkable arrogance in assuming that these positions are theirs for the asking, in spite of their disloyalty. Others have been keeping quiet.

Tom Watson, one of the traitors that Corbyn had made his Deputy Shadow Prime Minister, took to the conference stage this week once again to try to humiliate Corbyn and succeeded in demonstrating that he is incorrigibly untrustworthy.

Corbyn is still trying to promote unity, peace and forgiveness, tolerating and appeasing his vilest enemies in a way that verges on masochism. He will not be able to deliver social justice for the working class in Britain if he does not recognise that he is in a class war with very real enemies trying to destroy him, who will not be appeased. The more he wins the harder they fight.

He is no use to the workers, the underpaid, the disabled, the vulnerable and the oppressed if he becomes a disempowered martyr. For their sake he must assert the strength their votes have given him.

His enemies are working for the oppressors; he must work to disarm them. The right-wing of the party has worked for decades to consolidate its power over the party structure, using dirty tricks, threats, bribery, smear campaigns and worse to drive left-wingers out of the party.

In the 1990s, with their hero Tony Blair in charge, they abolished Clause Four and any pretence at being socialist.

But the thousands they drove out are now coming back, with new confidence after Corbyn’s first leadership win last year. Suddenly the working class is becoming politicised again. It will take some time to rebuild the grassroots structures from ward committees upwards, but Momentum is working on that and Labour is becoming the party of the working class again. It is only a matter of time before new NEC elections deliver a bigger, unassailable majority for Corbyn supporters.

The enemy are fighting a rear-guard action but they are not yet routed, and they have the wealth and resources of the ruling class behind them. In spite of this Corbyn’s success so far shows the ruling class is losing its grip but there will not be a final victory until the power of the ruling class is broken.

When and if Corbyn becomes Prime Minister the battle for socialism will be far from over. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is advocating pure Keynesian polices — borrowing to fund a big rise in the minimum wage to lift millions of workers out of poverty and dependence on benefits.

This will indeed make life better for the working class and promote economic growth — for a while. But it depends heavily on Government borrowing. The debts are never paid off because new investment is always needed. The sums don’t add up; it is capitalism after all. This is the policy of Syriza in Greece — in the long-run it is not as Left as it seems.

But we will have a class conscious, mobilised working class by then — the most essential factor in taking the struggle further for socialism and real workers’ democracy.