By Dave Vallely
With the prospect of an early election in Britain, the right-wing Blairities in the Labour Party have made their move against the party’s left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn. They have been waiting for an excuse to move against him since he swept to victory as a Labour leader last Autumn.
However, the leadership contest last year brought hundreds of thousands of new, predominately-young supporters into the Labour Party in order to vote for Corbyn’s radical anti-austerity politics. At the time of writing over 120,000 more people have joined the Labour Party to defend Jeremy Corbyn since plans were hatched by his opponents in the Parliamentary Labour Party to remove him.
They have been shy about putting forward a challenger and have desperately opted for Angela Eagle. They hoped to bully Corbyn into resigning. However, as we go to press the attempted coup against Corbyn is in increasing disarray as their attempt to prevent him going on the ballot in the event of a leadership contest was blocked by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Of course there needs to be absolute vigilance in the coming weeks as the Blairites may seek to challenge this decision in the courts.
What’s behind the coup?
Contrary to what they say, the Blairites are not concerned that Jeremy Corbyn won’t be elected, but the opposite. They are terrified, as loyal political representatives of the ruling 1%, of the prospect of a Corbyn-led government committed to an anti-austerity programme and supported by millions of working class and young people.
A poll immediately after the EU referendum indicated a rise in support for Labour, while support for the Tories fell. It’s this prospect that worries the Blairite wing to such an extent that they are prepared to split the Labour Party.
Unfortunately, Corbyn and his supporters have facilitated the Right by compromising in an effort to maintain “unity”. This false “unity” has been maintained by not calling for deselection of Blairite MPs, refusing to make a clear call for Labour-controlled councils to stop carrying out cuts in public services, and excluding left wing groups, including the Socialist Party in England and Wales from meetings and offering support.
This has been perceived as a weakness by the Right and the emboldened Blairites have now overreached themselves. Jeremy Corbyn can be rescued by the popular support that is already mobilising on the streets to defend him.
The coup by the Right is a battle for the future of the whole labour movement. In this confrontation there lies the opportunity to re-forge a mass party that actually stands in the interests of the working class in Britain.
The coup plotters only number a few but are ensconced in parliament, among big business, and in the billionaire-owned media. The strength of Jeremy Corbyn rests with the hundreds of thousands outside. A special labour movement conference should be called that would involve all those who support Corbyn – including trade unions and socialist organisations inside and outside the Labour Party – to work out a programme and strategy to defeat the coup and take on the Tories.
A Labour Party freed of the Blairite deadweight could start by fighting on the programme which saw Jeremy Corbyn elected as leader in the first place. Even if the defeated Blairite MPs split and left a parliamentary Labour party of 30 or 40 MPs, such a force would still be able to wage a much more effective fight back against Tory cuts and win mass support.
It could be the basis to re-found the Labour Party as a new radical workers’ party able to attract all those workers and youth wanting to fight back against capitalism. It could raise demands for a £10 an hour minimum wage, re-nationalisation of the rail and energy companies, a mass council house building programme and radical socialist policies that mean breaking with the capitalist system.