The Labour Party headed by Jeremy Corbyn is facing a campaign of de-legitimisation – possibly followed by a campaign of de-stabilisation if elected – by those with something to lose from it.
Note carefully that the ranks of those opposed do not include the Great British public.
No – the aggressors are led by the Conservative Party, Tory Brexiteers, the kind of far-right activists who promoted the despicable ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, Blairite Labour MPs and right-wing media operators ranging from the Daily Mail to Guido Fawkes.
I don’t think the situation is as extreme as Paul Mason suggests; people have realised that Jeremy Corbyn is the victim of a hate campaign that has very little factual basis – if any at all.
But Mr Mason’s comments – below – are inspirational and well worth taking to heart:
If, amidst rising xenophobia and intolerance, an organisation – half a million-strong – is prepared to go out on rainy Saturdays and set up stalls arguing for migrants’ rights, or more generous welfare benefits, risking the ridicule of Guido Fawkes and Breitbart – what would be the logic of trying to smash it?
If it had a leader who had faced arrest, harassment and continual state surveillance for opposing states based on policies of ethnic exclusion then why, even despite his occasional errors, would you want to destroy him as a human being?
Labour needs a step change on three fronts. First, streamline the internal discipline: we need a mechanism to punish those guilty of racism, anti-Semitism or transphobia, to exonerate those subject to malicious accusations and to educate people in how to express differences respectfully. That is new general secretary Jennie Formby’s job.
Second, spread the load. There are numerous highly-talented centrist politicians sitting on Labour’s backbenches who could and should be in the shadow cabinet. Give them big positions and create a resilient alliance of necessity between the left and centre of the party, isolating the Blairite rump. Demand excellence from shadow cabinet members and replace those who can’t deliver it, regardless of past allegiances and reputations. That is Corbyn’s job.
Third, build a vibrant political culture where anti-Semitism is combated, where any illusions about Vladimir Putin’s Russia are punctured and the truth is told about the crimes of Stalinism; a culture where people are educated in the values of the Labour movement and its diverse traditions – social democracy, syndicalism and democratic Marxism – not just given a manifesto, a rulebook and a list of doors to knock.
We need a movement that helps people develop a belief in their own agency – not the agency of states, religions, autocrats or, for that matter, iconic Labour leaders. That part is up to us.
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