Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Defend Corbyn's anti-austerity policies


Please add your name to this statement initiated by Unite the Resistance

The overwhelming election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party is a hugely welcome development for everyone who opposes austerity, racism and war.
The thousands who packed into halls across Britain to hear Jeremy are clearly looking for a new kind of politics that breaks with the pro-austerity consensus. Some were established activists but many were young people from a generation that have faced the assault on EMA, spiralling tuition fees and the rise of zero hours contracts.
They have been inspired by the campaign’s message. After years where the Labour leadership often aped Tory policies the party now has a leader who is a socialist with a proven track record of standing in solidarity with those fighting against injustice and for peace.
His first act on being elected was to join the demonstration in support of refugees in London and to speak out in defence of the trade union movement and against the Tory Trade Union Bill.
He won in an election where over 400,000 voted and he won almost 60 percent of the vote. This gives him a clear democratic mandate to carry out the polices that he put forward during the leadership contest.
Any attempt by the media, or politicians from either inside or outside Labour Party to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he represents flies in the face of what is clearly an overwhelming democratic mandate.
Jeremy Corbyn’s victory has already sent shock waves through an establishment that for years has had the luxury of a political leadership on both sides of the House of Commons prepared to back austerity.
In Corbyn they see someone who stands for resistance to year after year of privatisation, cuts, and war. In short – policies that make the 99 percent pay for a crisis created by the 1 percent.
We call on all those both inside and outside the Labour Party who support the pro-union, anti-austerity, anti-racist and anti-war policies that Jeremy Corbyn has put forward to stand up to any attempts to undermine his democratic right to lead the Labour Party and the programme he has supported.

Currently supported by:
Sean Vernell & Jane Aitchison (Joint Secretaries Unite the Resistance)
Len McCluskey (General Secretary Unite)
Mark Serwotka (General Secretary PCS)
Ronnie Draper (General Secretary BFAWU)
Matt Wrack (General Secretary FBU)
Christine Blower (General Secretary NUT)
Dave Prentis (General Secretary Unison)
Michelle Stanistreet (General Secretary NUJ)
Dave Ward (General Secretary CWU)
Sally Hunt (General Secretary UCU)
Mary Bousted (General Secretary ATL)
Kevin Courtney (Deputy General Secretary NUT)
Tony Kearns (Deputy General Secretary CWU)
Ian Hodson (National President BFAWU)
Liz Lawrence (President UCU)
Peter Pinkney (President RMT)
Andy Smith (President NUJ)
Rob Goodfellow (UCU President elect)
Kevin McHugh (Deputy President PCS)
Janice Godrich (President PCS)
Cheryl Gedling (Acting Vice President PCS)
Martin Kavanagh (PCS DWP Vice President)
Zita Holbourne (PCS exec & BARAC)
Ian Gawther (PCS RAC Group branch chair)
Gordon Rowntree (PCS Assistant group Secretary HMRC)
Mary Ferguson (PCS NEC & Northern Region Chair)
Sarah Wooley (BFAWU NEC)
Zita Holbourne (PCS exec & BARAC)
Kevin McHugh (Deputy President PCS)
Ian Gawther (PCS RAC Group branch chair)
Gordon Rowntree (PCS HMRC Assistant Group Secretary)
Mary Ferguson (PCS NEC & Northern Regional Chair)
Dave Muritu (UCU NEC & Chair Black members' standing committee)
Richard McEwan (UCU NEC & FEC vice chair)
George Atwell (BFAWU full time officer)
Sharon Holder (National Officer GMB)

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At 9:28 pm, Anonymous Ian Birchall said...

I am somewhat puzzled by the variety of responses to Corbyn emanating from the SWP. These range from Sean Vernell’s uncritical euphoria - http://uculeft.org/2015/09/jez-he-did/ - to John Molyneux’s gloomy Leninist orthodoxy - http://johnmolyneux.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-assault-on-corbyn.html .
Can you provide some explanation for a simple-minded outsider like myself? Is there a fierce internal debate raging, of which we outsiders know nothing? Or are the opposites united in a higher dialectical synthesis which nobody but Alex Callinicos can understand?

At 4:14 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Hi Ian - I am a bit suprised that someone with your experience and knowledge should be puzzled here. Clearly Sean Vernell's more optimistic piece is written in his capacity as a trade unionist within UCU trying to build the left / rank and file in UCU - ie - for UCU Left - and so trying to emphasise the commonalities with Corbyn supporters in order to hopefully encourage them to also be more confident about fighting back in their workplaces in the aftermath of the Corbyn victory. It is only if there is such a fightback from trade unionists from below that Corbyn has any chance of succeeding.

Were John Molyneux at a UCU union meeting no doubt his line of argument would be something similar. However he is writing in a personal capacity as a Marxist on a Marxist blog - and so inevitably is going to stress some of the structural difficulties ahead for Corbyn / any parliamentary road to socialism. So there is no fierce internal debate raging inside the SWP about Corbyn - or at least not to my knowledge or based on my district anyway. If you want confirmation of this, you could always pop along to a local SWP meeting on Corbyn at some point...


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