UK: How Jeremy Corbyn has capitulated to the Pro-War and Pro-Austerity Wing of the Labour Party

Statement by Supporters of RED LIBERATION (Bulletin of Socialists active in the Labour Party), 6.1.2015

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn who was recently elected as leader of the Labour Party attracted wide support from the youth and the working class who wanted to see a change of direction from the Party’s pro-capitalist and pro-austerity policies.

 

Corbyn was able to attract such support because he raised a number of progressive demands like:

 

* Against imperialist wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen;

 

* Partial nationalisation of Rail and other enterprises;

 

* Clear opposition to the Tories welfare proposals;

 

* The restoration of Clause 4 in the Labour Party. [1]

 

Since his election Corbyn, whose politics has to be described as left reformist, unfortunately has capitulated to the pro-austerity wing of the party. In the recent debate in parliament over the government’s decision for air strikes in Syria, Corbyn allowed a significant number of pro-war Labour MP’S a free vote to support the government. He allowed Hilary Benn, a pro-war shadow cabinet member, to wind up the debate which made a mockery of Corbyn’s opposition to air strikes in Syria.

 

Furthermore, Corbyn has continued to bow to pressure from right wing Labour MP’s over the Tories benefit sanctions.

 

“Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to oppose the benefits cap have been undermined by members of his own shadow cabinet, as he prepares to face David Cameron in prime minister’s questions for the first time.

 

Speaking to the Trades Union Congress conference in Brighton on Tuesday, Corbyn said the benefits cap introduced by the coalition created “social cleansing” and that the party would oppose it all together.

 

But speaking hours later on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Owen Smith, said the party was only opposing government plans to reduce the cap.

 

The shadow equalities minister, Kate Green, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, said the Labour Party’s present policy position was to support the principle of the benefit cap and that there was some evidence it had helped people into work”.[2]

 

Recently Corbyn together with John McDonnell (Shadow Chancellor) and Jon Trickett ( Shadow secretary of state for Communities and Local Government) have issued a letter to all Labour councillors instructing them to stay within the law and carry out cuts to social services, housing and other vital services.

 

“Transcript of the letter sent out by Jeremy Corbyn, Jon Trickett and John McDonnell: The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, said in September ‘…the situation councils are now in is if they don’t set a budget, a council officer will do it for them. There is no choice for them anymore.’ As you know, councils must set a balanced budget under the Local Government Act 1992. If this does not happen, i.e. if a council fails to set a legal budget, then the council’s Section 151 Officer is required to issue the council with a notice under Section 114 of the 1988 Local Government Act. Councillors are then required to take all the necessary actions in order to bring the budget back into balance.

 

Failing to do so can lead to complaints against councillors under the Code of Conduct, judicial review of the council and, most significantly, government intervention by the Secretary of State. It would mean council officers or, worse still, Tory ministers deciding council spending priorities” [3]

 

This letter from the Labour leadership clearly shows they are ready to implement the government’s pro-austerity agenda. So much for Corbyn’s much vaunted anti-austerity program. Corbyn will continue to be a hostage of the Blairites until he breaks with them completely!

 

It is important that MOMENTUM, the campaign organization of left-wing Corbyn supporters, openly criticises the political adaption of the Corbyn leadership group to the Blairites. Furthermore, we demand that MOMENTUM operates in a transparent and democratic way. Hence it is important to have a national conference of MOMENTUM activists in spring which democratically decides on the policy and elects a leadership.

 

The supporters of RED LIBERATION put forward the following concrete proposals to unite all progressive forces in the Labour Party.

 

* Mandatory reselection of all Labour MP’s and councillors who fail to oppose Britain’s imperialist wars!

 

* Oppose the air Strikes in Syria! Oppose all imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan Syria, Yemen and Ireland! Support the Resistance!

 

* Oppose all cuts in social services, housing and education! Cancel all household debts! Occupy properties threatened with eviction! Organise rent strikes and occupy council offices if necessary!

 

* Demand that Corbyn, McDonnell and Trickett withdraw the letter requesting Labour councillors to support a legal budget!

 

* Support MOMENTUM (despite its political weaknesses) and all other progressive forces in the Labour Party campaigning on an anti-austerity program!

 

* For a general strike to bring down this hated Tory government!

 

 

 

In order to unite all the progressive forces inside the Labour Party it is vital to bring together authentic socialist and revolutionary activists. The supporters of RED LIBERATION are dedicated to this task. Join us if you agree with our perspective.

 

 

 

Footnotes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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