By KD Tait THE COUP has stalled. Jeremy Corbyn has resisted a vicious attempt to morally blackmail him into resigning and open the way to a right-wing counter-revolution in the Labour Party – a return to austerity-lite and anti-immigration policies.
The Labour rebels will now have to challenge Corbyn and hundreds of thousands of members in a leadership contest, once they stop squabbling amongst themselves and agree a candidate.
This is not about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. This is a rebellion against the ideas he represents: an end to austerity, an end to participation in wars and occupations, for public control of services, the redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, refusing to blame migrant workers for the havoc wreaked by the Tories, the bosses and their system.
These ideas are a threat to the Establishment because they embody the aspirations of millions of people for a radical break with the status quo.
If the rebels really cared about working class people, they would be concentrating their efforts on attacking the Tory government. If they really cared about the disaster of the referendum, they would be fighting the surge of racism and preparing to resist the assault by Michael Gove or Theresa May on labour rights and protective regulations, on a new austerity budget to pay for Brexit.
Instead, they refused to vote against the welfare Bill, which plunged disabled people into further poverty. Most of them voted for Britain’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now, they want to sabotage the fightback by dividing and splitting our forces, instead of taking advantage of the turmoil in the Tory party.
Their record speaks for itself. It is a record of putting the interest of the British Establishment, the ruling class that controls all the fundamental economic levers in society, ahead of the interests of working class people.
The action of the 179 rebels ranks alongside previous acts of betrayal in Labour’s history: the Gang of Four split in 1981 and Ramsay MacDonald’s desertion in 1931.
This is a revolt by the agents of the Establishment, the defenders of the failed politics of the past inside the Labour Party, against the members.
The rebels are bitterly divided, but they are united by one common aim: to ensure that the Labour Party remains firmly subordinated to the interests of the capitalist class, come what may.
They want a party that is “respectable” – in the eyes of Murdoch and the City billionaires, because it has “sensible” economic policies, those approved of by the Financial Times.
They want a party that is “responsible” in the eyes of the army, the spy chiefs and the warmongering leaders of the United States and the European Union.
The Labour Party elite and their allies in the councils and their staffs, represent this class and are helping them by subordinating our interests to theirs.
They would rather destroy the Labour Party than see it become a voice and a vehicle for those without a voice and without agency to resist exploitation and oppression.
That’s why they want to drive the members out of the party. That’s why they want to demoralise Jeremy Corbyn, to bully and browbeat him into surrender.
They want to deliver the Labour Party back into the hands of the enemy of working people. That is why we must stand our ground and fight them, here, today.
The fact that Cameron, the bosses’ media and the Labour rebels all agree that Corbyn should go is instructive. They want to tell working class people who our party’s leader should be.
But if we let our enemy choose our leader, according to the specifications they find acceptable, then we will get the leader that we deserve.
It would be a leader leading a beaten and subjugated party into accepting austerity and the destruction of the welfare state. They will claim to be putting British workers first, while dividing and weakening all of us in the end.
Fight to win
The aggression of the PLP rebels is motivated by their fear of losing control. If they lose control of the party, and alienate the unions, they will lose their utility to the British ruling class, and the social and economic privileges that handsomely reward them.
They know this is a political fight to the death, and are acting accordingly by dispensing with the rules and trampling the party’s democracy into the mud. This time, the struggle will be harder. The right wing are prepared and their treatment of Jeremy shows how ruthless they are prepared to be. If that is how they treat what they all call a “decent” man, imagine how they will treat ordinary members.
Far from turning the other cheek, let alone relying on kindness, we should strike back, and strike back hard.
Trying to win over the middle ground, the weak and hesitant members with mealy-mouthed, defensive, pacifist messages will come at the expense of winning the young, the angry, who never came to boring ward meetings to be patronised and abused by cliques of middle class councillors and their lackeys.
The demonstrations and outpouring of support for Corbyn are needed to help Jeremy and his allies in parliament stick to their guns.
If Momentum is able to provide a lead in mobilising huge mass meetings to communicate Labour’s anti-austerity, anti-racist message, as Corbyn’s campaign did in 2015, the right can be routed again, this time decisively. Like last time, we need huge pressure organised from grassroots union members to ensure their leaders continue to back Corbyn to the hilt.
But this time we should recognise there is little chance of the PLP submitting to a renewed mandate. They will continue to rebel and sabotage the party. Widespread reports in the media that they are investigating how to seize the party name, reveal that they are preparing to split the party, and condemn us to at least five more years of Tory rule.
Calls for “Party unity” by people preparing to split is naked blackmail. They picked this fight; we must finish it by definitively changing the policies of the party, and its representatives.
Now is the time for all socialists, all progressive people, all those who want a genuine political alternative, to join Labour to defeat the rebellion, and open the road to a new kind of party which can make revolutionary change a reality.
A longer version of this article has since been edited and updated for print