The fallacy, and the failure of reformism By William Bowles

27 June 2016

So I turn on the TV and up comes a BBC reporter, and the first words I hear are, “but the word that comes to mind regarding Mr Corbyn’s performance on campaigning to remain in the EU, is lacklustre…that’s what everybody is saying”. The reporter went on to blame Corbyn for the result because he didn’t campaign hard enough to Remain.

And yes, for once the BBC reporter is absolutely correct, Corbyn was, well less than lacklustre I’d say but the guy was caught between a rock and a hard place and surrounded by enemies within his own camp (thankfully all departed now). He would have had to stand up and be counted but I don’t think he has what it takes and we have to ask the question why? Why didn’t he appeal directly to those who elected him, the ‘forgotten ones’, the bottom 30% that the ‘good life’ in the EU has not only passed by but ripped them off for the past forty years. The ones who voted for Corbyn but who ironically also tipped the balance in the Referendum vote. Had Corbyn followed through and supported Brexit, I think the winning percentage would have been even higher.

But again, as I predicted, the BBC news is full of stuff about a second referendum, can it be done, with one of the BBC’s political pundits telling us that, “well Parliament is sovereign, they can pass any law they like’, but adding that if they did, there would probably be a revolution! And this is the key. Does the elite think it can pull it off the way they did in Ireland over the Bank Bailout Referendum? Clearly the BBC doesn’t think so, so unless the challenge comes from Scotland, it’s unlikely that the Establishment would risk such a dangerous move.

But potentially at least, one good thing has come out of it following the mass resignations from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, in that perhaps if the guy has any sense, he’ll select a cabinet which actually reflects his views, rather than the compromise he had before. It will of course enrage the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) (if it isn’t already enraged enough). Update: I see that he has already selected a new shadow cabinet, composed by the looks of it, almost entirely of newly elected Labour MPs. So hopefully, no closet Blairites and nobody from Labour’s ‘old guard’ (aside from Dianne Abbott, one the few ‘notable’ Labour MPs’ to openly support Corbyn).

This is really a great opportunity for Corbyn to redirect and refocus the Labour Party from the grassroots up (if he hasn’t blown it with his ‘lacklustre’ campaign to Remain). But his first and major battle has to be with the PLP and of course, with the British Establishment but on both counts he is going to need mass, popular support if he is to have any chance of success (see below).

Everything is up for grabs.

It’s either Corbyn grabbing the situation by the scruff of the neck, by enlisting that forgotten 30% and the rest of the progressive movement and people, and redirecting the Labour Party away from Austerity and neoliberalism and at least in the direction of socialism. It’s that or resigning to reaction and xenophobia and further attacks on working people and of course, more wars (and all of this was already promised to us if we didn’t vote the ‘right’ way).

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge the Empire but will Corbyn rise to the occasion? History would tell us no, that reformism is a dead end, after all, isn’t it part of the reason we’re in this mess in the first place? The left did a deal with capitalism in 1945 and we got capitalism with a socialist face, for thirty years or so. But now we have capitalism with its usual, barbaric face, that will stop at nothing to maintain its grip on humanity, even risking the planet itself.

So Jeremy Corbyn, it’s now or never.

PS: See John Pilger’s excellent piece on this subject

PPS: There’s a demo in support of Corbyn organised for tonight if you’re in London, and if you’re interested:

#KeepCorbyn Protest Tonight
The right wing in the Labour Party are trying to kick out Jeremy Corbyn who has been so central to the movements against austerity, war and racism. Whatever party you are in, or none, it’s crucial to support Jeremy at this time. Having such a principled leader of the opposition has made a huge difference. Tonight Momentum has organised a protest at Parliament Square as the Parliamentary Labour Party are meeting discussing a motion for ‘no confidence’ in Jeremy.

6pm, Monday 27 June, Parliament Square
Invite & share the Facebook event

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity


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