Here’s some important background information on the current battle for the Labour Party, courtesy of the ever-informative Kerry-Anne Mendoza in The Canary.
In the full article, she suggests the 172 Labour MPs who supported a vote on ‘no confidence’ against Jeremy Corbyn are guilty of “mutiny”.
That’s a great description. Let Corbyn’s challengers be known as mutineers from now on.
The reason Labour had a new leadership election process last time round, was the result of the parliamentary Labour Party and the NEC’s long term efforts to diminish the power of Trade Unions. By widening the vote to Labour voters, and quieting the voice of Trade Unions, the Blairite factions of the party gambled on those new voters being to the right of the Unions.
But they got a shock. It turned out that many were actually well to the left, and ready to take a chance on a democratic socialist like Corbyn. So, the Party responded to those new supporters as ‘infiltrators’.
To this permanent political class, a popular movement based on social democratic values is about as welcome as a fart in an elevator.
This is why Harriet Harman planned to cull over 100,000 so-called ‘infiltrators’ from the vote. This is why self-appointed voice-of-the-left Polly Toynbee, the Guardian editorial team, and most of the press (right and liberal) were busily character assassinating Corbyn and anyone who would give him their vote.
Furthermore, it appears that Jeremy Corbyn plans to galvanize the power of this membership to bring democracy into policy making. In short, it looks like Labour members will be supporting policy development in a way unheard of by mainstream parties before now. This would remove the power of the front bench and parliamentary party to act against the will of the membership – this should empower Corbyn’s team to drive through the radical social democratic policies he has in mind.
An unconstrained Labour Party with Corbyn at its head, and John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor, could deliver the sort of coordinated opposition, uniting with workers and their unions, disenfranchised groups and their campaign groups – to start landing big punches now. The sorts of actions that Blue Labour would never take, could now be back on the table. There could be general strikes, there could be mass rallies utilising the full power of these groups, there could be the kind of concerted, unrelenting uproar that tore the Tory Party apart in the early 1990’s.
The permanent political class is facing the most real and present threat to their power since 1979. They are going to throw every weapon in their armoury at ensuring that doesn’t happen. But none of those weapons is more powerful than a tight-knit, grass roots movement with its eye on shared vision of an inspiring future. They don’t fear Corbyn because he might be unelectable, they fear him because he, and the movement he represents, might be unstoppable.
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