Is Corbyn a throwback? Trekkie James Martin is reminded of a 1966 episode of Star Trek.
You, yes you, reading this article haven’t noticed?
You, yes you, reading this article haven’t noticed? That bloody Jeremy Corbyn rocking up and putting the world to rights. He is just like Michael Foot and Clement Attlee, offering the people what they want, nobody would ever vote for that. The way the media is treating Corbyn reminds me of an episode of Star Trek, in which the Ferengi like capitalists and the Romulan like media are threatening the existence of the Federation (the left), its new leader has a trick up his sleeve: The Corbymite Manoeuvre.
Since Corbyn’s election, the media have been reporting Corbyn like he was some kind of Alien, every time I hear him referred to as ‘the left wing leader’, I start to think of Star Wars and the ‘Rebel leaders’ that attacked the Death Star. I suppose in that analogy, the Death Star would be austerity and the evil Emperor David Cameron. Since the Yoda like Corbyn came to power, the (empire) establishment appear to be on a back foot. Well, ok, not entirely, the Banks still run the place and TTIP looks like it will be signed through to the chagrin of the people, or will it? Why is the establishment on the back foot? Have the people voted Jeremy as their ‘Corbynite Manoeuvre’, a manoeuvre that defeated an enemy and led the Enterprise to victory?
Post the UK 2015 election, the left of the UK found themselves with a hangover like no other. The left had hoped the Tories would somehow lose their Lynton Crosby election. The centre left hailed Ed Miliband as the person that could ensure a one term Tory government. We awoke (albeit I was firmly awake) Friday 8th May aghast. Having previously rigged the electoral process to provide five year fixed terms, 76% of the electorate that did not vote Tory found, that through an ancient electoral system, they had a Tory majority. The establishment within the Labour Party blamed Miliband for dragging the Labour Party to the centre, sorry, I mean ‘left’. Meanwhile the old grandees rubbed their hands, it was time for the election of new leaders and this meant more airtime for them – to crucify the left.
35 MP’s of the PLP was required to secure a nomination for the ticket for the leader of the Labour Party. For a time the right and their friends in Progress, looked like they had it in the bag. The pin up boy, Andy Burnham, would promise ‘progressive renationalisation’ (whatever that means) in order to pacify the left. The establishment had their malleable candidate and the begrudging Unions would support him/her – nothing would change. The problem was, the working class which had historically relied upon the Labour Party, had felt betrayed by the party since 1994. The prospect of three right wing candidates without a single alternative led to a number of MP’s ‘broadening the debate’. Like most, I failed to recognise that there was a debate, for me there seemed to be a diktat that the ‘left had had their shot’ with Miliband, now was time for more neo-liberal Blairism. More of the same would win voters over!
Enter Jeremy Corbyn. I remember hearing of Jeremy’s initial standing for Labour leader in a hotel in Glasgow, with the person who later wrote his North of England policy document. Let me be honest, I was unconvinced. I hoped he would do well, but experience told me too well that the establishment would never permit such a hopeful character to receive so much as a moment of airtime. Two weeks later, my Social Media accounts were ablaze with speeches akin to Bevan and Varoufakis. Then I was asked to attend a phone bank for him, each caller a supporter. After spending most of my life wondering what an ‘opposition’ was, I found somebody that spoke to my heart.
Corbyn’s first Prime Minsters Questions was a game changer. Punch and Judy became about the people, democracy and the Labour Party began to come back to the people. It wasn’t perfect, there could have been more of an attack on the Tories. The message was clear though, the people are coming. The Tories are trying to ban Trade Unions…and our ability to strike through the Trade Union Bill, a direct assault on workplace democracy that even some prominent employers are against. The Tories vision of a workplace is that we become subservient drones, like the Borg. Corbyn’s vision is to liberate us from tedious work to install good work in a good society.
So why is the establishment on the back foot? The Corbyn campaign has not gathered momentum through the establishment media, whose view, to quote that eponymous Star Trek episode the Corbomite Manoeuvre, is that, “I have no time for you, your theories, your quaint philosophies”, for every criticism of Corbyn’s socialism, another tranche of followers have declared to support him. The electorate is exhausted with the neo-liberal project and its persistent demonization of the poor and of the people. A desire, if you will, for Government to work for and not against the people. When over half a million people join a political and social movement, I am relieved with hope that democracy is not dead. With this, TTIP can be defeated and anything is possible, so long as people have faith to fight for it. Some argue the recent experience of Syriza shows the limits of the parliamentary road to socialism. But, we have succeeded before, when we have succeeded a victories have echoed down the decades. My hope therefore, is that the establishment does not succeed, with its poison to destroy Corbyn, for today comrades – a movement is afoot, the left have hope again, when the left has hope, we have always succeeded. We can have Roddenberry’s utopian society.
“In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.” – Aristotle
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