Jeremy Corbyn victory in British Labour, bigger than last year

This video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn’s acceptance speech after being elected Labour leader in full

24 September 2016

Jeremy Corbyn has urged Labour to “wipe the slate clean” after he was re-elected as party leader following a bitter campaign which saw him defeat challenger Owen Smith.

The votes in the British Labour leadership election have been counted today. Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn won with 62% of the votes, against 38% for Blairite and Pfizerite right-winger Owen Smith.

Compared to last year, when Corbyn was first elected as Labour leader, Corbyn got 3 more % points and 62,000 more votes.

And that after a year-long smear campaign by the corporate media, including the ‘liberal’ Guardian and Independent, and by the Conservative government, aided and abetted by Blairite ‘Westminster bubble’ politicians’ sabotage … after all kinds of dirty tricks by unelected Blairite party bureaucrats to stop pro-Corbyn Labour members from voting.

Congratulations, Jeremy!

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the pro-Corbyn Unite trade union, reacted:

We urge Labour MPs to heed the signal sent by the members – twice now in one year – about the direction they want for the party. This includes respecting and supporting the elected leader and his team; no more sniping, plotting and corridor coups.

52 thoughts on “Jeremy Corbyn victory in British Labour, bigger than last year

  1. Saturday 24th September 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    Jeremy Corbyn wins stunning victory on 62% in huge show of support for a new politics

    by Conrad Landin

    in Liverpool

    JEREMY CORBYN vowed yesterday to make Labour an “engine of progress for our country” as he stampeded to victory with an increased mandate of 61.8 per cent of the vote.

    In his victory speech, Mr Corbyn said he had “no doubt” that Labour could win the next general election if party members could unite.

    He also used the speech to call for a mass mobilisation of the party against “segregation” in schools. He said activists will “hit the streets” next Saturday to launch a national campaign against the Tories’ plans to reintroduce grammar schools and “for inclusive education for all.”

    In a statement, his challenger and former shadow pensions secretary Owen Smith said he would “fully accept and respect the result,” and will now “reflect carefully on it and on what role I might play in future.”

    Mr Corbyn won support from 59 per cent of party members, 70 per cent of registered supporters and 60 per cent of affiliated supporters.

    Though Mr Corbyn won with 59.5 per cent of the overall vote last year, it is the first time he has won a majority in all three categories.

    This year’s leadership challenge was sparked after the vote to leave the EU — with MPs claiming that Mr Corbyn had not campaigned vociferously enough to remain in the common market.

    Some MPs had hoped to depose the left-wing leader after the Oldham by-election last November, and subsequently after the local elections in May. But on both occasions Labour scotched expectations of defeat.

    With an increased party membership, Mr Corbyn won on a turnout of 77.4 per cent yesterday — up from 76.3 per cent last time.

    MPs who joined the calls for Labour to put divisions behind it included shadow cabinet quitters Lucy Powell, Lilian Greenwood and Hilary Benn, who simply tweeted: “Time for unity.”

    Unite general secretary Len McCluskey called on MPs who had quit to come back. “We urge Labour MPs to heed the signal sent by the members, twice now in one year, about the direction they want for the party,” he said.

    “This includes respecting and supporting the elected leader and his team; no more sniping, plotting and corridor coups.”

    But some parliamentarians, such as former shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander, insisted they would stand by their decisions not to serve on Mr Corbyn’s front bench.

    As the Star went to press last night, Labour’s national executive committee was discussing a plan from deputy leader Tom Watson that would see MPs elect half the shadow cabinet. Supporters of Mr Corbyn fear that this could be used to construct a rival power base at the top of the party.

    Trade unions, including those who supported Owen Smith in the leadership contest, called for the party to quit squabbling and rally behind the leader.

    General union GMB leader Tim Roache said: “GMB sends our congratulations to Jeremy. It’s time for the Labour Party to unite and get on with holding this government to account — standing up for working people and winning their support rather than continually talking to ourselves about ourselves and banging on about our internal differences.

    “The real opposition here is the Conservative government and the pain and misery it is inflicting — we must never forget that.”

    Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, who expressed qualified support for Mr Corbyn’s leadership during the campaign, said the leftwinger had won “because he’s captured the imagination of party members.”

    But he warned that Mr Corbyn must “show those sceptical about his leadership that he has the ability and the ideas to win an election.”

    Former Coronation Street actor Tracy Brabin, who was selected this week as Labour’s candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election following the killing of Jo Cox, said party “infighting” had been “a distraction” and called for members and MPs to unite.

    Rail union Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “Labour, under Jeremy, offers a real and positive alternative to the failures of the last six years.

    “Jeremy has shown he is not just the man to lead Labour, but the man to heal the divisions in our country and help build a better Britain.”


  2. Sunday 25th September 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    After a deeply unpleasant election campaign, a careful analysis is needed for the party to move forward, argues LIZ DAVIES

    AS the dust settles over this bruising, unnecessary leadership contest, we can get on with what the Labour Party should have been doing over the last few months: opposing the Tories.
    Grammar schools, the decimation of social housing, the future of the NHS, punitive welfare provisions and the appalling rise in racism and racist attacks are all issues where Labour has a political and moral obligation to speak up for ordinary people.
    When Labour has united against austerity, we have inflicted defeats, most famously over tax credits.
    As we unite behind Jeremy Corbyn as our leader, we need to think through three issues: politics, how to manage debate and party democracy.
    Politics: after 172 MPs voted for no confidence in Corbyn, Owen Smith during his campaign claimed that — at least on domestic policy — they were not politically opposed to Corbyn. It was his lack of capability as a leader, they said, that had led them to this situation.
    Those were weasel words. From the moment that Corbyn announced his candidacy for leader in June 2015, it was obvious that this was a political battle.
    It was an ideological contest between the old forces of New Labour (privatisation of public support, welfare cuts, bringing down the deficit) and the new response that 35 years of neoliberalism has only worked for the super-rich and the rest of us — the 99 per cent — benefit from redistribution of wealth, and defending and extending public services and the role of the state.
    It was that political divide, along with the obvious foreign policy divisions, that led so many MPs to greet the prospect of a Corbyn-led party with horror.
    For a while they seemed to come on board, at least around anti-austerity. At last year’s conference, senior Labour figures started to refer to the Labour Party as the anti-austerity party.
    The divisions over foreign policy remained and emerged most notably over Syria and Trident.
    This time round, the Smith campaign knew that party members wouldn’t support the last Labour government’s economic policies.
    He said he stood for anti-austerity policies; the problem is that party members didn’t believe him.
    Corbyn now has a second mandate for his economic policies and for a foreign policy based on conflict resolution, international justice and human rights.
    There can be no doubt that party members want the Labour Party to advocate those policies.
    A majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) may not agree with some, or all, of those policies but they must respect the democratically expressed views of party members.
    Of course MPs have the right to vote according to their consciences (if their consciences tell them to vote in favour of bombing, that’s a matter for them).
    But they should take account of the fact that a majority of party members broadly support Corbyn’s policies, and they should be pulling together to articulate those policies in Parliament, on the doorstep and in the media.
    Robust and appropriate debate: it’s hard to think of a more unpleasant election campaign. A very careful analysis is needed to move forward.
    First, personal abuse is utterly unacceptable. It is a feature of our internet age. For some years now, anyone in public life — MPs, journalists, actors, campaigners — has been subject to profoundly unpleasant personal abuse.
    And those who are not the norm — women, black and ethnic minorities, disabled people — experience extra hatred, with misogynistic, racist, prejudiced, hate-filled language.
    Pre-internet, those sentiments would only have been expressed in private, or in a pub; equally hateful sentiments but not broadcast to the world.
    This summer, all sorts of people have been subject to abuse. Certainly some MPs have received unacceptable abuse for their role in the failed coup. They have also received emails simply expressing disagreement or disappointment.
    People in public life must distinguish between hate speech and free speech. Corbyn and John McDonnell have been on the receiving end of personal abuse: from the disingenuous line that the PLP wasn’t voting against Corbyn’s politics but his character, to the Tory MP calling McDonnell “nasty” on Question Time.
    Corbyn’s supporters have been subject to the innuendo that we are anti-semitic, violent, foaming at the mouth obsessives.
    We’ve been accused of being homophobic, or of tolerating it. I don’t recognise those caricatures. Abuse has been meted out on both sides: sometimes in unacceptable forms and sometimes in robust but tolerable language.
    The Labour Party, through the NEC, is going to have to grapple with how debate can be appropriately expressed and that will not be easy.
    The extremes of the lines between hate speech and polite disagreement are fairly straightforward. The difficulty is the territory in between.
    The NEC must be wary of assuming that, just because someone complains, the comments complained of are really beyond the pale.
    Finally, party democracy. When Corbyn was elected last year, he was stuck with Tony Blair’s structures for party policy-making: the hideously opaque National Policy Forum, local parties unable to put motions to conference except on rules or “contemporary” issues, an NEC where only six members are directly elected by party members.
    As I write, Corbyn has announced a plan to have the shadow cabinet elected in blocks by the PLP and by the party membership, with another third appointed by the leader.
    This could be the beginning of a conversation in the party about how to make policy-making more democratic and transparent in the future.
    How can grassroots members be involved in deciding both the broad strands and the detail of policy?
    This is the chance for serious change, based on the principles of bottom-up, accountable, transparent and democratic decision-making.
    As the new NEC considers a new form of party democracy, it must also refine procedures on suspensions, or refusal to admit into membership.
    Of the suspensions that I have seen, the accusation of “support for other political parties” generally refers to previous support for the Green Party.
    Surely we want to attract former Green Party supporters? No-one is suggesting that existing Green Party members should be permitted to join, but why not welcome someone who previously voted Green and now wants to join a Corbyn-led Labour Party?
    I’ve seen, in my work helping members who have been suspended, how suspension is used as a blunt instrument, a “suspend now and ask questions later” tool.
    The Chakrabarti report recommended that there should be due process to any decision to suspend and the NEC needs to consider that carefully.
    I hope that the vast majority of suspended members (or those refused admission) will be reinstated and receive an apology.
    Finally, parliamentary reselection: MPs who voted for the motion of no confidence knew what they were doing.
    Where their local parties disagree, the MPs will have to answer for their actions.
    Just as they also answer for their performance in Parliament, their views on welfare, foreign policy, social housing and their professional and ethical standards.
    There is neither an automatic right to be a Labour Party candidate, nor an automatic right to deselect an MP (the trigger ballot is the gateway).
    Every MP will put the whole of their record before the local CLP and party members will decide.
    The one cheerful sight in this otherwise dreadful summer has been the performance of the new shadow cabinet members in Parliament.
    Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Clive Lewis and their colleagues have done a fantastic job taking on the Tories from the front benches, something that they cannot have anticipated when they were elected just 18 months ago.
    They, with a re-elected Corbyn as leader and John McDonnell as shadow chancellor, and hundreds of thousands of invigorated, enthusiastic and campaigning party members, are the hope for the future.
    Liz Davies is a member of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Labour Party. She was an elected member of Labour’s national executive committee 1998-2000. She is an honorary vice-president of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.


  3. Sunday 25th
    posted by Morning Star in Features

    The Labour machine has been too busy railing against Jeremy and his supporters to realise it’s in denial over the biggest political issues of our time, writes ALAN SIMPSON

    IT ALL reminds me of my teenage “baptism” into adult football. The manager’s warning was absolutely clear: “Watch out for these lot, they’re brutes. Once you’re on the pitch it’ll be easier. The ref will be there. But if they can, they’ll kick, thump or butt you on the way out from the dressing room. They like to get their retaliation in first.”
    So it is with today’s Labour Party.
    The leadership retaliations began long before the contest started, let alone the votes were counted.
    Invoking the spirit of Henry Kissinger, a succession of Labour figures have persistently sought to justify the assassination of Jeremy Corbyn, almost repeating: “The issues are much too important for the Labour (Chilean) voters to be left to decide for themselves.”
    And, in the most bizarre twist of language, the assassins’ main complaint, throughout their rolling coup, has been that party members are interfering with their freedom to assassinate; with MPs only trying “to save the party from itself.”
    How the right must be laughing and the neocons rejoicing.
    The gap between rich and poor may now be a chasm. Narrow nationalist and neofascist parties may be swimming in the disintegration of inclusive economics. And the planet may teeter on the verge of self-destruction. But Corbyn gets to cop the blame for everything.
    Lest we forget, Labour lost the last two general elections without Jeremy Corbyn having much say in either defeat. Labour’s obsession with austerity-lite may have appealed to the Westminster elite but it was a political disaster across the country. This is the real problem Labour lives in denial of.
    Throughout the Euro referendum, Corbyn wanted to attack the Tories over the surrender of sovereignties to European free-trade delusions. He wanted an outright opposition to any TTIP agreement. But his assassins would have none of it. Immigration became the default agenda, in the absence of a more robust “remain but reform” alternative.
    Courtesy of Greenpeace, we now know that TTIP’s ugly sister, Tisa (the Transatlantic Trade in Services Agreement), being ushered through in secret, threatens something even more brutal than TTIP. It will strip nations and citizens of any right to put the planet before profits.
    The Tisa draft contains “ratchet” clauses that would block the reversal of privatisation policies. So goodbye to plans to bring the railways back into public ownership or take privatised healthcare back into a genuinely “public” National Health Service.
    Most of the carbon reduction measures nations will need, to deliver the Paris Agreement, will be illegal under Tisa.
    In an annex on “Energy and Mining Services,” corporations will be able to sue countries that pursue measures that damage their profitability — and it will be the World Trade Organisation, not the nation state, that determines the outcome of the challenge.
    The boldest parts of the Corbyn manifesto are probably in his Environment, Energy and Climate section. But any wholesale restructuring of energy market thinking would send big energy racing to the WTO, demanding an unrestricted right to pollute.
    It doesn’t get any better if you wanted to decarbonise financial services, or shipping or aviation.
    Democratic constraints on the politics of self-destruction will all go out the window.
    Is Labour outraged about this? Does it rail against the corporate feudalism Tisa would enshrine in law? Does it race to the barricades to defend a right to renationalise services “in the public interest”? Is it refusing to endorse a treaty that it will not even be legal to (publicly) reveal until five years after its implementation? No, it isn’t.
    Instead, the machine rails about Jeremy. It rails about Momentum. It rails about reselection. It rails about anything apart from the biggest political issues of our time, for these are deemed divisive.
    When New Labour drew in cohorts of superficial supporters, they were welcomed with open arms — a refreshing break from the more politically demanding bedrock of active members.
    When Corbyn draws in tens of thousands, looking for something more substantial, they are deemed a threat to the house-trained politics that has parked Labour on the opposition benches.
    I have no doubts that Momentum brings with it the same range of defects you will find in any other part of the Labour Party. We all do. But none are on a par with the defects paraded unremittingly by the Tories.
    Theresa May trails platitudes into every gathering of the United Nations and global summits, and drips patronising “grammar school humour” into the Commons. And Labour’s infighting has let her get away with it.
    Labour MPs do not have to love Jeremy Corbyn, but they do now have to back him: first, by recognising that “the enemy” is not on their benches but the ones facing them, and second, by grasping that tinkering with the system will no longer avert the crises we are drifting into.
    Labour’s task is, as ever, to weave what we have into a stronger cloth — and within its folds construct a bigger, brighter vision.
    There is nothing for Labour in the return to a divided past. But only radical transformation now stands any chance of delivering the more inclusive, accountable and sustainable future Britain desperately needs. Time is no longer on anyone’s side.
    As a matter of urgency, Labour must become the voice of a sea change in global economic thinking. If the Paris Agreement is to be delivered, we have to reconfigure trade around carbon footprints, embrace the consumption of “less” before the production of more, and develop the skills needed for the Age of Clean (and an economics of “smart”).
    Labour must also become the advocate of new international institutions; ones that can deliver solutions beyond the current reach of the United Nations, World Bank and IMF; using pollution taxes to pay for transnational responses to the crises thrown up by war, drought, famine and flood.

    Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have all the answers to these challenges, but he is the only one holding the door open. Labour’s tragedy is not in having Jeremy Corbyn as its leader, but to be saddled with a party mindset that hasn’t engaged with big picture politics for a long, long time.

    If anything needs to be kicked, it is this.

    Alan Simpson is former Labour MP for Nottingham South.


  4. Sunday 25th
    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Owen Smith’s leadership bid has been a cringe-fest from start to finish, says STEVE SWEENEY

    WELL, they might have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky members.
    If you are reading this version of my article it means that, as widely anticipated, Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as Labour leader.
    I suspect many will be nursing a hangover after a wild night of exuberance, celebrating the end of what has seemed an endless but energetic campaign.But it was all so unnecessary.
    The attempt to dislodge Corbyn started before he had even won the leadership contest the first time around in September 2015. Claims that he was “given a chance” are utter nonsense.
    Disgraced MP Simon Danczuk told LBC that the plotting against Corbyn would start “as soon as the result comes out. Am I going to put up with some crazy left-wing policies and traipse through the voting lobby to support him? It’s not going to happen is it? So I would give him about 12 months if he does become leader.”
    His comments came as the plotting and scheming began.
    A so-called “rebel alliance” was being discussed as an anti-Corbyn grouping in Parliament. Thankfully, the force was not to be with them as, despite their attempts, like Obi Wan Kenobi, Corbyn grew stronger.
    Behind the scenes there was a familiar face. If you want to plot a coup it’s a case of Dial W for Watson.
    Thankfully, it wasn’t a case of third time lucky for serial backstabber Tom Watson. The Roland Browning/Stephen the Bear lookalike has tried to oust three of the past four Labour leaders now, starting with Tony Blair and moving on to Gordon Brown before his latest failure. It would appear that Watskyism isn’t as strong a current in the Labour Party as he would like to think it is.
    Along with other Watskysists he will surely now be nervously watching the clock, waiting for the inevitable moment when he is challenged as deputy leader.
    After his despicable role in the coup and his poorly judged betrayal and spat with Unite leader Len McCluskey, Watson can no longer rely on the trade unions who provided the support and endorsement for his campaign.
    Along with with the likes of John McTernan, Watson represents the very worst of Labour Party bullies.
    A sad bunch of Brocialists who probably advised the hapless Owen Smith that jokes about his penis and laddish banter were key to success while sniggering in the background.
    Compared to McTernan, Watson is an amateur in the failure stakes. McTernan has the distinction of being involved in electoral disaster in Scotland and Australia. A reverse Midas touch in that instead of gold, everything he touches turns to shite.
    I learnt some interesting new things during the campaign.
    I learnt that you are a “moderate” if you vote to bomb Syria, destabilise a country, create a refugee crisis and cause countless deaths.
    I learnt that you are an “extremist” if you oppose the bombings, want to defend our NHS, renationalise the railways and oppose the costly renewal of weapons of mass destruction.
    In fact if you say that you wouldn’t “press the button” that would cause mass annihilation and potentially mean the end of human life on planet Earth it makes you something akin to pure evil.
    I also learnt that I have the same inside leg measurement as Owen Smith.
    Corbyn can’t expect loyalty we were told, as he has not shown loyalty to leaders in the past. He has continuously defied the whip to be one of Parliament’s most notorious rebels.
    But who did Corbyn rebel against? Take foundation hospitals, for example. Party conference voted against their introduction, Corbyn duly voted against, the PLP majority voted for.
    On issues such as Iraq, PFI, tuition fees and others, conference and the members rejected or opposed and Corbyn was with them.
    So it is not Corbyn who is the serial rebel as he is made out to be. It is the PLP who have taken it upon themselves to ignore conference and the democratic decision-making body that it was and vote against the wishes of the membership.
    For years the PLP operated in this way with impunity. The decisions taken by conference or those supported by the members were simply ignored by the PLP who did as they pleased.
    The members and conference were, for many, an irritating inconvenience.
    In fact conference was such a nuisance to them that they decided to do away with its status as the decision-making body of the party altogether, replacing it with the undemocratic and politically lightweight national policy forums.
    Hopefully under a Corbyn leadership the status of conference will be restored and the decisions taken there respected.
    Newly politicised members, particularly young people, will not stand for a party that treats them with such disdain. Part of Corbyn’s success has been his ability and willingness to listen and learn. Democracy is key to the “new kind of politics” that he represents.
    The threat to Corbyn will not disappear. Rightwinger Luke Akehurst was a frequent guest on discussion programmes during the leadership campaign.
    Akehurst revealed in a tweet to Morning Star industrial reporter Conrad Landin that the strategy was not to win on this occasion. In other words, they’ll be back. And the smart money is on a return to politics for failed leadership contender David Miliband, someone who was so distrusted that his own brother stood against him.
    The leadership election drained much of the energy away from fighting the Tories and building the movement against austerity, wars and racism.
    It was the activists that are central to those campaigns and the wider movement that rightly devoted their attention to ensuring that the coup failed.
    The attacks on Corbyn are an attack on the progressive movement and independent working-class politics.
    It started with the smears against the Stop the War Coalition when the former chair attended a Christmas fundraising dinner in December 2015. This was an attempt to separate Corbyn from the movements.
    Having an anti-austerity, anti-war, socialist leader of the Labour Party in Parliament and a mass movement outside of it poses a very real threat to the political Establishment. This is what they fear.
    A Corbyn-led, left-wing Labour threatens their vested interests, something that didn’t and wouldn’t happen under the so-called “moderates.”
    This is also why the majority of the mainstream media oppose his leadership, which have has in many cases led the attack with sensationalist and biased reporting, including the BBC showing a live ministerial resignation timed to undermine Corbyn.
    Writing off the hundreds of thousands of new members or registered supporters as “Trostkyist infiltrators” and attempts to smear Momentum also went into overdrive.
    Describing them as “hard-left” and lazy comparisons with Militant came from all corners.
    The pinnacle was reached when two programmes aired on the same night close to the end of the campaign, designed for maximum impact.
    One saw an inept undercover journalist spend six months and probably a significant sum of money from the Channel 4 budget to elicit precisely nothing.
    The highlights of an embarrassment of a programme included footage of a public meeting where the argument was made that people should join Labour and Momentum and, shock horror, seek to shape the direction of those organisations.
    And then the appearance of an “independent” legal expert who just happened to be the brother-in-law of Alastair Campbell and the QC who represented Michael Foster, arguing that Corbyn shouldn’t be automatically included on the leadership ballot.
    As someone said to me, the most shocking thing in the programme was Momentum founder Jon Lansman’s shirt.
    The only thing that the show exposed was that the so-called infiltration they fear comes from undercover journalists.
    The death throes of Blairism make them dangerous as they desperately try to cling on to power. The numerous attempts to fix the outcome in their favour show the lengths they will go to.
    From expulsions of long-standing members, the purging of thousands for often bizarre reasons, such as expressing a strong love of the Foo Fighters on Twitter, and the disenfranchising of a large swathe of new members, not to mention the attempt to block Corbyn from appearing on the ballot altogether, the determination of the Labour right is clear.
    They cannot win in an open and transparent manner yet rely on bureaucratic machinations. The latest proposals from Watson, extending the number of seats on the NEC to include Wales and Scotland, are an attempt to ensure there is an anti-Corbyn majority.
    The most damaging outcome of the purges was the expulsion of three Bristol councillors that resulted in Labour losing overall control of the council. In fact I’ve heard on more than one occasion that there are some who would prefer a Tory government than a Corbyn-led Labour Party in power.
    While I understand the temptation to reach out the olive branch, this would I believe be a mistake. Those who plotted against Corbyn have no interest in unity. Alan Johnson’s recent article in the Tory press in which he said that “moderate” Labour MPs must wage a remorseless campaign to undermine Corbyn’s leadership year after year underlines the point.
    One thing that the mass resignations did reveal was that there are some extremely talented new MPs. Angela Rayner has proved a revelation as shadow education secretary and her assured performances in the House of Commons have had Theresa May on the rack over grammar schools.
    Had her underwhelming predecessor not resigned it would arguably have taken Rayner longer to take on a post with such responsibility.
    A bold left-wing programme and a left-wing shadow cabinet would pose a real threat to May and the Tories who are, despite everything, a weak and divided government.
    Now is the time to strike hard and really take on the Tories and take the movement forward together in the fight for a better society.
    What better way to start that fight than the People’s Assembly weekend of protest in Birmingham on October 1-2?
    As part of a number of “Take Back Brum” events, the People’s Assembly will be hosting the People’s Conference at Birmingham Town Hall on October 1 where we will debate and discuss our alternative, followed by Ken Loach introducing a special advance screening of the award-winning film I, Daniel Blake. On October 2 thousands will march through Birmingham for a national demonstration, Austerity Has Failed: Tories Out.
    For now we can celebrate. But the real fight is just beginning.


  5. Sunday 25th
    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Corbyn’s re-election creates a real opportunity to end our bloody record of military intervention, writes LINDSEY GERMAN

    NOW that Jeremy Corbyn’s predicted second victory in the contest for Labour leadership has been clinched, it’s perhaps time for a little reflection on why he has achieved such victories against all the odds.
    While the media and his opponents in the Labour Party mutter about his unelectability, they should consider the following.
    This summer alone, Chilcot reported on the Iraq war, damning Tony Blair in the most trenchant terms and making it clear that this was a war which never needed to happen.
    This was followed by the parliamentary foreign affairs committee report, which was scathing about the role of David Cameron over the intervention in Libya in 2011.
    That war became a war for regime change, killed an estimated 30,000 and has left the country wracked by civil war. So damning was the report that Cameron stood down as an MP the day before its publication.
    Now Julian Lewis MP, from the Commons defence committee, has laid into the British intervention in Syria, arguing that it is not central to the overall coalition intervention there, and disputing Cameron’s claim in Parliament last year that there were 70,000 “moderate” opposition fighters that British aircraft could support.
    There is bitter division among MPs as some call for restrictions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the reactionary regime which is Britain’s closest ally and major military hardware customer in the Middle East which is now engaged in a huge bombing campaign in Yemen.
    That two of the three last prime ministers have been discredited and their reputations trashed on these central questions of war and peace is remarkable enough.
    That the political and media Establishment has been happy to draw a veil over these damning criticisms is perhaps not so surprising, given their own complicity in banging the drum for these interventions.
    But their failure to hold themselves and their colleagues to account should not blind them to the reality.
    These wars have failed, have actually made the situation worse and have helped not to contain terrorism but to spread it.
    They now constitute a major fault line through British politics. Millions marched against the Iraq war, but Blair ignored them and went ahead.
    Later interventions have only helped pour fuel on the flames of an already dangerous situation.
    Corbyn is known as an anti-war campaigner, has voted in a principled fashion against all these interventions, as he has against Trident and all forms of nuclear weapons.
    To many people this now makes him “electable” — someone who predicted the disastrous outcomes of these wars. Despite the Blairites repeatedly arguing that their man won three elections, does anyone seriously think Blair would be given a hearing now?
    It is precisely Jeremy’s commitment to sometimes unpopular causes, and his strong sense of opposition to war and support for peace, that has helped to fuel his successive leadership campaigns.It is almost exactly 15 years ago that George Bush launched the “war on terror,” following the events of September 11 2001.
    Blair was his most devoted disciple. It is also 15 years ago this week that Stop the War held its first launch meeting. A huge number — over 2,000 — turned up on a Friday night, signifying the very deep unease and opposition to war among wide sections of the population.
    The first war, against Afghanistan, was rapidly declared victorious, but is still continuing all these years later.
    Despite the biggest mobilisations in British history, and an estimated 30 million marching worldwide on February 15 2003, Blair and Bush were determined to go to war.
    The devastation of the Middle East is there for all to see today, and the interventions — both covert and overt — are still continuing.
    Stop the War is marking this 15-year anniversary with a conference on October 8. Corbyn will be speaking at it, joined by an array of international speakers from the US, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Ireland, along with experts on a range of topics.
    The conference will look at the anti-war campaigns after Chilcot, the Gulf and the war in Yemen, what’s happening across the Middle East, war and internationalism, and drone warfare.
    The conference will reaffirm the centrality of an anti-war movement — the largest and most significant in any Nato country — and the continued need to oppose British imperialism and its allies.
    This does not mean supporting British imperialism’s opponents. We have repeatedly been accused of being pro-Taliban, pro-Saddam, pro Gaddafi and pro-Assad. We are also accused of being pro-Russia.
    In fact, we have repeatedly condemned all foreign interventions in Syria and elsewhere, and have condemned all bombing which in every case results in the deaths of innocent civilians and often also helps fuel greater opposition.
    Those who attack us — and by extension Corbyn — are the same people who want to diminish criticisms of Blair and Cameron (and Brown, who continued a heavy involvement in Afghanistan), and who cheerled every escalation of war, every new intervention.
    They are the same people who voted for bombing Syria last December and were willing to suck up every one of Cameron’s lies to do so.
    Corbyn’s leadership of Labour raises a whole series of questions about foreign policy. It reflects a deep desire for change. But such change will require coming to terms with Britain’s imperial past and its imperialist present, and that is something which strikes fear into the hearts of the Tories, the right of Labour, much of the media, and the whole British Establishment.
    It is precisely why the issues around war, peace and imperialism have become such touchstones since last year’s leadership election.
    Both the Syria debate and that on Trident became major tests of Corbyn’s strength and commitment.
    That isn’t going to change. Nor is the constant pressure over Israel and Palestine.
    Those on the left who think we can ignore these questions, or soft pedal on them, are making a big mistake.
    Foreign policy will remain centre stage, whether over Nato and eastern Europe, Syria, Libya or Latin America.
    For the first time in decades, there is a Labour leader prepared to challenge the consensus, where Britain’s wars and economic dominance go hand in hand.
    Lindsey German is convenor of the Stop the War Coalition.


  6. Sunday 25th
    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Jeremy Corbyn might have been re-elected as Labour leader, but he’ll still need a big movement behind him if we’re to bring about change, says TOM GRIFFITHS

    THE People’s Assembly has had an incredible year. Since June 20 2015 when a quarter of a million people attended our End Austerity Now demonstration, we have consistently held the largest mass demonstrations against austerity in Britain.
    We have mobilised hundreds of thousands over many other issues, from the NHS to the refugee crisis and much more. The word austerity is now firmly in the national consciousness. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have explicitly stated that the Labour Party is now an “anti-austerity party.”
    The Tories have softened their rhetoric since Theresa May became Prime Minister, if not their practice, and all the other mainstream political parties have at one time or another challenged the austerity hegemony.
    However, for a variety of reasons there seem to be some questions about the role of the People’s Assembly is in the current (Corbyn, post-Cameron) political climate.
    Some have asked: “Where is the People’s Assembly going now that austerity is no longer the official Tory line,” or “So now Jeremy is the leader of the Labour Party, do we still need a People’s Assembly?”
    All this amounts to something of an existential crisis.
    This is caused in no small part by our own success. Austerity chancellor George Osborne is gone, and if you were to take at face value May’s speech on the steps of Downing Street where she proposed a Britain “not just for the privileged few,” you might believe that we have seen the end of austerity.
    It is also a crisis caused by the magnetic pull of the Labour leadership campaign, and the broader civil war within the Labour Party, of which this leadership contest is just the most recent battle.
    Should we not all down tools and wade into this conflict, bunker down in the CLP trenches and allow the People’s Assembly to wither away? In short, is the People’s Assembly redundant? Well, the answer is categorically not. And here’s why.
    For one, the Tories are not abandoning austerity. They may be rebranding and even softening their rhetoric around austerity, which we should be hailing as victory, but they will continue to do all the things we oppose — decimate public services, privatise the NHS and continue their ideological smash-and-grab policy of seizing wealth and concentrating it at the top.
    Second, we have to make the case as to why broader social movements are still absolutely vital.
    The People’s Assembly is non-party political, and our relationship with the left of the Labour Party but also the Greens, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and a whole range of other left parties, including the Communist Party and others, are a very important part of our campaigning toolkit.
    It is clearly the case that maintaining and supporting Corbyn is vital for each and every one of us on the left at the moment.
    However, while it is obviously positive that so many people are joining the Labour Party and hopefully changing the party for the better, that is a huge process and there is no clear end in sight.
    The PLP rebels are not going to disappear and mass deselection is unlikely, however appealing it might seem.
    Even though Corbyn has won this election, what is less certain is what sort of win he will secure.
    Before too long the PLP could come at him again. Therefore internal Labour Party politics is going to continue to be a major energy drain on the movement as a whole unless organisations like the People’s Assembly are maintained.
    This really matters because the opposition the Labour left is able to mount is drastically limited in particular by this recent leadership election and in general by the manoeuvring of the right of the party.
    The People’s Assembly, however, can continue its opposition to the Tories and by doing so embolden and encourage Corbyn and the leadership at the same time.
    Corbyn is not able to fix society on his own. He is an honest man of principle and his policies offer a real alternative to the vicious politics of greed of the Tories and the Labour right. He’s also a very nice man.
    However, if and when Corbyn runs for prime minister, the tidal wave of fury that would be unleashed by the Establishment would be a tsunami compared to the gentle splashing which he is subject to at the moment.
    We must remember that for left-wing ideas to survive such an onslaught, we need independent social and protest movements that can shape the debate in the most radical direction and offer support to Corbyn and his allies from outside Parliament.
    Of course there may be a split in the Labour Party before a general election happens. While that could be positive in the longer term, it could likely be disastrous electorally speaking in the shorter term. Another reason why, we should not put all our eggs in the parliamentary political party basket.
    Corbyn comes from the movement. He was the chair of the Stop the War Coalition. He is one of the founding signatories of the People’s Assembly, he announced his leadership challenge from the stage of our demo on June 20 2015, his first act as elected Labour leader was to speak at the huge Refugees Welcome demo.
    This is where he comes from. And it isn’t wrongheaded or arrogant to say the People’s Assembly has played a huge part in creating the landscape in which he has done so well.
    It is madness to think that a movement that is capable of giving such a leg up to someone like Corbyn is no longer needed.
    This is not just about him but the ideas that he represents. There must be many more like Jeremy Corbyn before we are able to change the world and they are only going to come from the movement.
    Protest movements work. We are told all the time that they don’t. But they do. They may not do so in isolation, nor do the leaders of even the most liberal Western democracy wake up the next morning, read the papers full of accurate coverage of our demonstrations and have an instant change of heart.
    We would be naive if we thought that is the case. But protest movements over time exert incredible pressure on governments and have a huge impact on the political landscape of society.
    Chartism, Suffragism, US civil rights, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the mass mobilisations of Stop the War, are examples of how mass movements have shaped history.
    You could argue that more than your average career politician or civil servant, it is movement people like you and me who really change the world.
    In conclusion, we have to have a radical, independent, non-party political protest movement that is not going to have its energy sapped by a civil war in the Labour Party, one that is dynamic and principled and able to call out the Tories on the lies and hypocrisy of their so-called austerity slowdown.
    We need to be on the pickets with the junior doctors in October, support the firefighters under attack in Manchester and elsewhere and we need to be on the streets in Birmingham mounting opposition to the Tories in ways which no-one else can. See you on the streets.

    For more information on the People’s Assembly, visit


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