After two decades of cruising along the contaminated economic canals built by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, the Labour Party’s failure to win the 2015 election proved quite definitively that it had no fuel left (even with the oil stolen from Iraq) and was heading for disaster. Fortunately, one dissenter had a proposal for changing course and the energy to do so. His colleagues, however, maintained they were heading in the right direction, with Tony Blair himself (“the poster child of Labour’s loss of principles and integrity”) calling on people to “get a transplant” if they disagreed. Having sold out British workers in favour of their powerful corporate backers, though, the Blairite attempts to send the “arsonist” back to “put the fire out” were useless, as most Labour supporters knew that Jeremy Corbyn was the only candidate capable of truly extinguishing the blaze.
Although many economists agreed, calling Corbyn’s politics “mainstream economics” and rejecting claims that the “loony lefty” would destroy the country, the Labour establishment tried to purge many progressives from the party to stop them voting for Corbyn (as Yvette Cooper was allowed to receive £75,000 from an ex-Tory donor and Liz Kendall received funding from “arms manufacturers” and “autocratic regimes”). Labour was rapidly becoming “more a secret society” than a “broad church”. Media snobs seeking to convert Corbyn sympathisers through condescension (like Janet Daley claiming they were “fools” partaking in an “adolescent rebellion”), meanwhile, simply united them even more.
Ridiculous attempts to slander Corbyn as an anti-Semite, though, suggested the media’s problem with the MP was more about control of foreign territories and resources than anything else. Detached from historical context, hostile commentators failed to explain how ISIS’s Islamism had drawn strength from the West’s treasured alliance with repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia’s, disastrous military interventions, and long-standing determination to destroy secular Middle Eastern movements.
In short, Corbyn did not create Islamism, he did not blindly defend the crimes of the Israeli State, and he has never sold weapons to brutal dictators. Nor does he perpetuate the dangerous idea that Islamism and Zionism are the same as Islam and Judaism. Instead, he understands that equating extreme political ideologies with religions is part of the problem and that, in order to build peace, the world desperately needs more dialogue and cooperation.
In other words, “Corbyn is right about Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel/Palestine” and, for that reason, his “principled foreign policy stance” will come under attack repeatedly from those who benefit financially from war and tyranny. The task of British progressives, then, must be to stand resolutely alongside the man who wants peace, justice, democracy, environmental protection, and a promise that Labour “will never flout the United Nations and international law” again. Why? Because under the anti-democratic electoral system we have today, in which neither of the two main political parties is able to attract the support of more than a quarter of eligible voters, Jeremy Corbyn is the best hope for change we have.
[Note finally that the hubbub about Corbyn’s opposition to nuclear weapons is a mere continuation of the media and political establishments’ paranoic defence of the profitable war industry.]
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Ben Norton, “How the UK helped kill 4,500 people in Yemen in 150 Days, including 400 children”, Stop the War Coalition, August 27, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015 http://stopwar.org.uk/news/how-the-uk-helped-kill-4-500-people-in-yemen-in-150-days-including-400-children.
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