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What the coup against Jeremy Corbyn reveals about the Labour Party

By       Message Chris Marsden     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 7/19/16

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Reprinted from WSWS

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
(Image by garryknight)
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Just 10 months ago, Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, pledging to recast the party as an opponent of austerity, militarism and war. Today Corbyn is a marked man who the majority of Labour Party MPs have determined must be expelled from office.

Around 170 parliamentarians and a few hundred apparatchiks are engaged in a sordid plot to overturn the express wishes of the hundreds of thousands of members and supporters, many of them young, who joined Labour because they wanted Corbyn to succeed.

Ever since he became leader Corbyn -- citing his intention to inaugurate a new era of "kinder, gentler" politics and to maintain party unity -- has retreated before his opponents on every single issue he claimed to stand for -- including abandoning his decades of opposition to the European Union (EU) in last month's referendum. Every retreat, every appeal for party unity has emboldened and strengthened the right-wing and demobilized Corbyn's own supporters.

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The coup against Corbyn is being led by people who should have been deselected as Labour MPs, but who he instead brought onto his shadow cabinet. It is backed by former party leaders who are all intimately associated with the lurch to the right by Labour that Corbyn promised to reverse, including Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Their acolytes will stop at nothing. Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) first tried to prevent Corbyn from standing in the election, by demanding he won the support of the very MPs who voted to remove him. When this maneuver failed, NEC members waited until Corbyn's supporters had left the room and ruled that no one who has joined the party since January -- 130,000 people so far -- will be allowed to vote. An obscure body known as the NEC Procedures Committee has extended this ban to cover trade union members affiliated to the party.

The NEC also ruled that no Constituency Labour Party will be allowed to meet for the duration of the contest due to "fears of intimidation." To justify this blatant attempt to suppress dissent and sabotage Corbyn's chance of winning the leadership contest, progressive, left-leaning people, often lifelong opponents of racism and sexism, are denounced as a mob of racists threatening to kill or rape women MPs -- all on the basis of anonymous tweets and Facebook postings. Hacks such as John Harris of the Guardian declares of Corbyn supporters that "misogyny and antisemitism are never far away."

The Procedures Committee are now trawling through Labour members online social media accounts for evidence of the use of words such as "traitor" as the basis for hopefully expelling a target figure of 50,000. The whole of the Brighton, Hove and District and Gorton CLPs have been suspended simply on the basis of mere accusations made by anti-Corbyn party members.

In the face of all of this, Corbyn's key ally, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, declared that "The party won't split."

"Labour Party members and MPs are democrats," he said. "We'll have a democratic debate. It will be amicable.... And when the membership decides who will be the leader, we'll unite behind that leader."

Neither Corbyn nor McDonnell are so naive as to believe that the party's right-wing have a democratic bone in their body. They know, because it has been widely reported, that their opponents intend to either successfully purge the party or they will split and form a new one firmly committed to austerity, to NATO and to renewing UK membership of the EU.

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Corbyn will not say this because he would rather see his supporters thrown out and fall on his own sword than risk breaking the stranglehold enjoyed by the Labour Party over the working class.

The central lessons that must be drawn from the bitter experiences of Corbyn's period in office and the coup mounted against him is that Labour cannot be reformed.

Corbyn is only the latest in a long line of "lefts" -- including his mentor Tony Benn -- who serve the political role of concealing the real character of the Labour Party.

Labour was, from its birth, dedicated to the defense of capitalism against the threat posed by the working class. Kinnock, at a July 8 meeting to mobilize the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) against Corbyn, admitted as much. He told MPs, "In 1918, in the shadow of the Russian revolution, they made a deliberate, conscious, ideological choice -- that they would not pursue the syndicalist road, that they would not pursue the revolutionary road -- it was a real choice in those days. They would pursue the parliamentary road to socialism...

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Chris Marsden's work can be found on wsws.org, a website dedicated to global awareness of socialist issues & which serves as the forum for the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

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