UK: How Jeremy Corbyn has capitulated to the Pro-War and Pro-Austerity Wing of the Labour Party

Statement by Supporters of RED LIBERATION (Bulletin of Socialists active in the Labour Party), 6.1.2015

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn who was recently elected as leader of the Labour Party attracted wide support from the youth and the working class who wanted to see a change of direction from the Party’s pro-capitalist and pro-austerity policies.

 

Corbyn was able to attract such support because he raised a number of progressive demands like:

 

* Against imperialist wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen;

 

* Partial nationalisation of Rail and other enterprises;

 

* Clear opposition to the Tories welfare proposals;

 

* The restoration of Clause 4 in the Labour Party. [1]

 

Since his election Corbyn, whose politics has to be described as left reformist, unfortunately has capitulated to the pro-austerity wing of the party. In the recent debate in parliament over the government’s decision for air strikes in Syria, Corbyn allowed a significant number of pro-war Labour MP’S a free vote to support the government. He allowed Hilary Benn, a pro-war shadow cabinet member, to wind up the debate which made a mockery of Corbyn’s opposition to air strikes in Syria.

 

Furthermore, Corbyn has continued to bow to pressure from right wing Labour MP’s over the Tories benefit sanctions.

 

“Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to oppose the benefits cap have been undermined by members of his own shadow cabinet, as he prepares to face David Cameron in prime minister’s questions for the first time.

 

Speaking to the Trades Union Congress conference in Brighton on Tuesday, Corbyn said the benefits cap introduced by the coalition created “social cleansing” and that the party would oppose it all together.

 

But speaking hours later on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Owen Smith, said the party was only opposing government plans to reduce the cap.

 

The shadow equalities minister, Kate Green, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, said the Labour Party’s present policy position was to support the principle of the benefit cap and that there was some evidence it had helped people into work”.[2]

 

Recently Corbyn together with John McDonnell (Shadow Chancellor) and Jon Trickett ( Shadow secretary of state for Communities and Local Government) have issued a letter to all Labour councillors instructing them to stay within the law and carry out cuts to social services, housing and other vital services.

 

“Transcript of the letter sent out by Jeremy Corbyn, Jon Trickett and John McDonnell: The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, said in September ‘…the situation councils are now in is if they don’t set a budget, a council officer will do it for them. There is no choice for them anymore.’ As you know, councils must set a balanced budget under the Local Government Act 1992. If this does not happen, i.e. if a council fails to set a legal budget, then the council’s Section 151 Officer is required to issue the council with a notice under Section 114 of the 1988 Local Government Act. Councillors are then required to take all the necessary actions in order to bring the budget back into balance.

 

Failing to do so can lead to complaints against councillors under the Code of Conduct, judicial review of the council and, most significantly, government intervention by the Secretary of State. It would mean council officers or, worse still, Tory ministers deciding council spending priorities” [3]

 

This letter from the Labour leadership clearly shows they are ready to implement the government’s pro-austerity agenda. So much for Corbyn’s much vaunted anti-austerity program. Corbyn will continue to be a hostage of the Blairites until he breaks with them completely!

 

It is important that MOMENTUM, the campaign organization of left-wing Corbyn supporters, openly criticises the political adaption of the Corbyn leadership group to the Blairites. Furthermore, we demand that MOMENTUM operates in a transparent and democratic way. Hence it is important to have a national conference of MOMENTUM activists in spring which democratically decides on the policy and elects a leadership.

 

The supporters of RED LIBERATION put forward the following concrete proposals to unite all progressive forces in the Labour Party.

 

* Mandatory reselection of all Labour MP’s and councillors who fail to oppose Britain’s imperialist wars!

 

* Oppose the air Strikes in Syria! Oppose all imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan Syria, Yemen and Ireland! Support the Resistance!

 

* Oppose all cuts in social services, housing and education! Cancel all household debts! Occupy properties threatened with eviction! Organise rent strikes and occupy council offices if necessary!

 

* Demand that Corbyn, McDonnell and Trickett withdraw the letter requesting Labour councillors to support a legal budget!

 

* Support MOMENTUM (despite its political weaknesses) and all other progressive forces in the Labour Party campaigning on an anti-austerity program!

 

* For a general strike to bring down this hated Tory government!

 

 

 

In order to unite all the progressive forces inside the Labour Party it is vital to bring together authentic socialist and revolutionary activists. The supporters of RED LIBERATION are dedicated to this task. Join us if you agree with our perspective.

 

 

 

Footnotes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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