Sunday, 23 December 2018

Corbyn Must Go!

A week ago, I wrote that Andrew Gwynne had set out Labour's policy as being to forge ahead with a policy of Brexit were a General Election or Referendum were to be held.  Referring to the post, Sraid Marx questioned whether it was just that Gwynne had said more than he intended in his interview.  But, now, the matter has been put beyond doubt.  In an interview with the Guardian, Corbyn himself has reaffirmed that position, saying,  

"even if his party won a snap general election in the new year, he would seek to go to Brussels and try to secure a better deal – if possible, in time to allow Brexit to go ahead on 29 March."

That can only mean that Labour would go into that snap General Election arguing for Brexit, and worse arguing for that Brexit on the basis of Labour's ludicrous position that it could somehow negotiate a better deal with the EU's conservative politicians and bureaucrats than can the Tories, a deal that would give Britain all of the advantages of being in the EU and more, but with none of the costs, or obligations!

Corbyn goes on, in the interview to say,

“We have to recognise a number of things. One is, as a party, about 60% of Labour voters voted remain; about 40% voted leave. We have to recognise why people voted in those directions.”

But that isn't true.  John Curtice's analysis of the Referendum vote shows that on average around two thirds of Labour's 2015 support voted Remain, with only a third voting Leave.  Even in those Regions where there was a majority for Leave, a majority of Labour voters still voted Remain, and only in marginally smaller proportions than in Remain supporting Regions.

In London, where a large proportion of voters live, and where a large proportion of those voters back Labour, three-quarters supported Remain.  Even in Wales, which overall backed Leave, two-thirds of Labour voters backed Remain.  Only in the North and Midlands do you get to a figure around 60%.  But, that analysis was based on Labour's 2015 vote.  Further analysis based on the 2017 General Election, when millions of young voters, and voters that previously backed the Greens or Liberals, came over to Labour, as the only credible party able to stop a hard Brexit, and possibly to stop Brexit altogether, shows that around 75% of that vote backed Remain.

What is more, Channel 4 News' latest survey showed that a majority of all voters in Labour held constituencies, now back Remain, everywhere in the country.  It showed that there was now a clear majority across the country for Remain, and that there were clear majorities for Remain in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including in those regions like the North-East, where previously the biggest support for Leave had come.  In fact, the survey showed that biggest swing towards Remain came from those areas that had previously been the most strongly supporting Leave.  All that is despite the labour leadership, throughout this period, acting as merely a pale pink version of the Tory Brexiters, and failing to provide any principled alternative on the issue.

What is worse, Corbyn in the Guardian interview duplicitously says,

“it would be a matter for the party to decide what the policy would be; but my proposal at this moment is that we go forward, trying to get a customs union with the EU, in which we would be able to be proper trading partners.”

But, its quite clear what the party's policy is, and it is not what Corbyn is shovelling.  At party conference, the vast majority of delegates were pushing for a clearer policy that would have committed the party to opposing Brexit outright, whether by a General Election, or support for another referendum.  Only after a lot of arm twisting was the composite motion agreed, in the interests of party unity.  But, the clear intention of that composite to was to back a strategy that worked towards a General Election, or another referendum, in which Labour would argue for Brexit to be scrapped.  That is why Starmer, made clear in his conference speech on the composite that if that process resulted in Labour backing another referendum, that referendum would have to include the option of Remain.

Current estimates are that 90% of party members support Remain.  The only rational position on which Labour could call for a General Election or another referendum, would be on the basis of calling for Remain, and scrapping Brexit.  Corbyn is setting himself against 90% of party members, and around 75% of Labour voters, by pushing ahead with his reactionary dream of Brexit as part of a Stalinoid programme of Social Democracy in One Country, egged on by his Stalinist advisors, from the Morning Star, and Socialist Action.  Such a programme would destroy Labour for a generation.

Even compared with a Blair-right Labour Party such a development would be reactionary.  Its only necessary to look at the calamity that befell the working-class in Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam, and Cuba as a consequence of Stalinism to recognise that.  In Russia, millions starved to death as a result of Stalin's crazy economic policies, and the police state erected to push them through; in China millions more died as Mao's economic nationalist policy of The Great Leap Forward, amounted to driving the country back decades, if not centuries, in terms of its economic potential.  And, everywhere that Stalinists have been allowed to pursue such a course, not only has it led to such economic chaos, but it has led to the erection of the most grotesque, bureaucratic and totalitarian regimes.

The Labour Party of Ramsay McDonald was bad, but it did not cause millions of workers to die, or place millions more of them in the Gulags, as Stalin's did.  The Labour Government of Harold Wilson was far from being socialist, but it did not put millions of workers under the thumb of an oppressive police state, or send in tanks to suppress their demands for democracy, as Khruschev did in relation to Hungary, and Brezhnev did in relation to the Prague Spring of 1968!  And, although Venezuela is not the same as those states, its Stalinist leaders, following a similar course of reactionary economic nationalism have turned a country that has the world's largest proven reserves of oil, and should be one of its richest, into a reactionary hell-hole, from which workers are frantically trying to escape.  Trotsky wrote that the national socialist regime of Stalin only differed from the national socialist regime of Hitler, in that the former was more brutal.

Stalinism is a syphilis in the workers movement that must be removed, and unfortunately, Corbyn, under the influence of his Stalinist advisors, is the manifestation of it in the Labour Party.  Corbyn must go, and the Labour Party must be again rebuilt from the ground up, on the basis of a clear commitment to openness, democratic accountability of the leadership, and to international socialism.  It shows why it was necessary to press ahead with democratic reforms that would have enabled the rank and file to deselect MP's on the basis of mandatory reselection and the right of immediate recall.

The party rank and file must call Corbyn and the leadership to account for their betrayal of party members and basic socialist principle.  Party branches should flood the NEC with motions and demands for a recall conference to decisively commit the Party to opposing Brexit, for the revoking of Article 50, and for the calling of a General Election on that basis, in which Labour will set out the reactionary nature of Brexit, and its opposition to it.  It should set out our commitment to working with socialists and workers organisations across the EU, to fight for a Workers Europe, as I set out some time ago, we should build a Socialist Campaign for Europe.

Its clear that we cannot trust Corbyn, who has put his own personal commitment to the reactionary economic nationalist programme of Stalinism above the needs and wishes of party members and of British workers, with his continued backing of Brexit.  Its time for him, and his Stalinist advisors to go.  We need a new leader committed to the principles of socialist internationalism, to oppose Brexit, and build a progressive socialist movement across Europe.


Karl Greenall said...

Reading the Canary and Skwawkbox, it appears that the comments attributed to Jeremy Corbyn are deliberate distortions. This has been amplified by Another Angry Voice.
I just wonder what is going on?

Boffy said...

The comments from Corbyn appear pretty clear and unambiguous, and consistent with the line he has taken in the past. If not, then he could a week ago have come out and made a public statement making clear that what Andrew Gwynne had said was not correct, and he could today make his own position clear, but he hasn't.

All that is required is for Corbyn to say that in a General Election, Labour will stand on a platform to stop Brexit, or at least to put forward a proposal for a second referendum in which Labour would call for a remain vote - I prefer a General Election in which Labour simply commits itself to scrapping Brexit - or else, it should commit to supporting a second referendum in which Labour would campaign for a Remain vote.

But, Corbyn has done no such thing. All of his actions and words - or lack of them - have led in the opposite direction, which is why I'm not holding my breath waiting for hims to disavow comments that have been attributed to him, and which are consistent with the line he has been taking over the last three years.

Unknown said...

Oh, not another one jumping on the anti-Corbyn bandwagon.
He is, as usual, trying to keep both sides happy for as long as possible. Yes, he said he'd try to negotiate with the EU, but he may not succeed. Either way, he will respect the overwhelming vote at Conference which was in favour of a 2nd vote with an option to Remain. The EU don't want us to leave so they may well agree to his terms without us having to leave.

Boffy said...

I'm not jumping on any bandwagon. I'm holding to the position I have always held. I would love to be able to continue to support Corbyn, but I can't given his position, and given the reality of the Stalinists behind him pushing this line.

Firstly, Corbyn himself would have been the first to criticise Blair or some other politician who argued that they were trying to "keep both sides happy" rather than setting out, and promoting a principled socialist position. The job of political parties, particularly principles social-democratic or socialist parties is to lead, not to follow on the basis of keeping voters happy, and that requires taking a clear position not triangulating.

No only may he "not" succeed in trying to negotiate with the EU, but he is bound not to succeed, because his position makes even less sense than does the Tories! But, more importantly, it requires going into an election or referendum, on the basis of a position that continues to argue FOR Brexit. It means saying that you are for Brexit, that you want to win an election on the basis of pressing ahead with Brexit, which is a reactionary, anti-working-class policy; or it means going into a referendum arguing for Brexit. The latter would be even more insane, because to abide even nominally with the conference policy it would mean demanding a referendum in which Remain was on the ballot, but then arguing for a Brexit vote in that referendum, so that you could then try to negotiate it. Total bollocks, which any sensible voter will laugh at from the start.

Corbyn is NOT respecting the overwhelming conference vote. He is doing everything he can to avoid respecting it. He pulled every lever to get the composite through, just as the previous year he did everything he could to prevent Brexit even being discussed at conference. The overwhelming majority of delegates, and of party members wanted a clearer Brexit position committing the party to oppose it. 90% of party members want to Remain, but Corbyn doesn't, and he is putting his own reactionary position above that of the party. He is doing exactly what previous party leaders have done in ignoring the party membership, and he is following May's lead of trying to fudge and dissemble, so as to try to square the circle with the kind of semantics you have put forward here about respecting the conference vote, when its clear to everyone that he is doing the exact opposite.

Saying the EU will agree to his terms is a lie. It would be like a trades union deciding to destroy itself by saying that it would give better terms to people who leave the union than it will give to union members! No sensible person believes any organisation, including the EU will do that. If the EU don't want us to leave, as you say, why on Earth A brexit negotiation, is not about negotiating do you think they would negotiate a deal with one of its current members, for that member to leave on better terms that it gives to the members that stay? Corbyn isn't proposing a negotiation for staying IN the EU after all, but negotiating the terms of Brexit!

We should have been in the position where the Tories would have been ripped apart, and the Blair-rights and Liberals were a distant memory, had Labour been putting forward a principled socialist position of opposing Brexit. Instead, Corbyn by pursuing his reactionary nationalist agenda is destroying the Labour Party. That is why he has to go.

davidjc said...

I follow the logic, but you have to ask, if not the Corbyn leadership, then who and what? Other available leftish figures - Abbot?Williamson? Lewis? - come with their own problems and the left campaign to remain has happily folded itself into the blairite/Tory one.
Corbyn has two left power bases; members and unions, mainly Unite. If a new leader went fully pro Remain, they’d face trouble from McCluskey and co. You’d swap one mess - the present Brexit position - for another - left Labour civil war.
In an election the wobbly Labour line of their version of soft Brexit or a referendum, though poor, could well be up against an even crazier Tory one of may’s unpopular deal or a fringe Singapore Brexit.

Boffy said...


Its a problem that stems from the failure to push through the democratic reforms and mandatory reselection, so we have a small pool of even acceptable let alone good candidates. The other possibility is that Corbyn is forced to change position by the membership. McDonnell appears to have been more susceptible to take an anti-Brexit stance. I think that its McCluskey who would have the problem, as he is also going to be out of step with his members, who stand to lose their jobs as a result of Brexit, and a large majority of whom will also have voted Remain. Its Tories, and non-organised layers of the working-class that voted Leave.

But, to be honest, its Brexit that is the decisive issue of the day. Provided we have all the necessary democratic reforms in place, I'd prefer a leader that opposed Brexit, and was controllable by the membership, even if the rest of their politics was a bit softer than Corbyn whose left politics are only fake left economic nationalism, and who appears more under the control of his Stalinist inner core than party members.

I don't think that the choice actually does come down to a Corbynite soft Brexit and referendum, as opposed to May's version. I have written a post for my predictions for 2019, that will appear in a couple of days setting out why. Although Corbyn's position appears virtually identical to May's, the fact he does not then simply support her deal tells you two things.

Firstly, he dare not do that, because he knows that would set off a Labour flare up to remove him. Secondly, it tells you his real position is probably not the one he is setting out. Either he is not competent, or is delusional and actually believes he could negotiate a better deal than May based on unicorns, and the EU giving him/UK a better deal than any state in the EU, or else he knows that is not possible, and believes that having negotiate and failed its the basis for pulling the UK out in a clean Brexit. The current position of opposing May, likewise, supports Mogg, and the No Deal Brexiters.

In other words, the real position, as opposed to the stated position is a No Deal Brexit, covered by negotiations his Stalinist advisors know are doomed to failure in short order. As I set out in that post, it has to be put in the context of the kind of mentality of these Stalinists based upon catastrophism, which leads them to think that a serious crisis for capital somehow swings workers behind a socialist agenda (which it doesn't). A catastrophe following Brexit in this view leads to a justification for nationalising the commanding heights of the economy, and so on. Its a totally bureaucratic conception, based on manoeuvre implemented over the heads of the class.

The same applies to Ireland. A No Deal Brexit means no Customs Union/Single Market, so the answer is a United Ireland. But, in such conditions the Unionists will resist violently. Again its a solution that could only be implemented from above on the basis of force, but this time involving a civil war that would inevitably flow over to the mainland, as the Unionists nationalist/fascist supporters in Britain came to their aid.