A Journey to Revolution
by George Hatjoullis
I was an active Labour Party member from my schoolboy Young Socialist days until a year or so after the New Labour landslide in 1997. I supported Labour throughout this time at some personal cost as I was a banker by profession. I parted company when I realised that in two respects New Labour had changed tack. First, on civil liberties and second, on foreign policy. I joined the Liberal Democrats not because they offered a viable alternative to power but because they paid lip service to the values I held worthwhile. I knew it was only lip service. Politicians are about power. I was not surprised by the willingness to join a coalition and I reasoned they might ameliorate the worst excesses of the Tory party. I think they did.
The 2015 election caused me some problems. The issue that was bothering me was the rise of the right and the vitriol directed at the EU. I had my doubts about Cameron’s strategy of holding a referendum but I could see that this vitriol would grow and become overwhelming under Miliband. The only hope was that a referendum would kill the issue once and for all. It was a slim hope because I knew as well as Farage that racism was the basis of the vitriol and that this was a powerful force. What I most feared came to pass but it might not have.
The surprise event for me was Corbyn. I had noted that there was a demand for a bit more political daylight between the Tories and Labour but assumed the outcome would be a Sadiq Khan type leader e.g. Hilary Benn. This leader would throw his or her weight behind Remain, and just edge it for Remain. I was crestfallen when Corbyn was elected and downright depressed when John Mcdonnell popped up as shadow chancellor. These were Labour men in the Tony Benn mould. Anti-EU, socialist purists. Moreover, whilst working through the democratic parliamentary system, or bourgeois democracy as they might style it, they are, at heart, revolutionaries. I met many in my years in the old Labour party.
They have a vision of a socialist Britain, a final destination as it were. How they achieve it is not, to them, important. Nor do they have a time horizon. The revolutionaries see the chaos and destruction of revolution as collateral damage. The price of achieving the promised land. But revolution does not have to be physically violent. One can engineer a revolution without throwing a molotov cocktail. This may be the strategy of the Corbyn Labour party.
Corbyn has validated a questionable referendum. He has supported Article 50. He has enabled an election in which Labour will lose many seats and the Tories will achieve an overwhelming majority. He is not incompetent. He knows this will be the outcome. He knows exit from the EU will be economically damaging and he knows the damage 5 years of one party rule by the Tories, or CONUK, will inflict upon many of the fools that voted for Brexit and CONUK. Indeed he is banking on it. It will demonstrate to the British people the right does not represent their interests and bourgeois democracy (aka liberalism) cannot protect them. Only a truly socialist state can. He and the revolutionary Labour party will be there to reconstruct Britain, rising like a red phoenix from the economic ashes.
The day after I published this Corbyn declared he would not step down if Labour lose the election. Well of course not!
The election result was much better for Labour than I had anticipated. There were several reasons. First, the youth vote was inspired to join in by the idea of a party for the many not the few. It may not have grasped the significance for Brexit but that is beside the point. Second, the terrorist acts enabled Corbyn to present himself as a safer pair of hands than May (even I was impressed).Finally, many ex Labour voters that had voted UKip returned to Labour. His Brexit strategy paid off. Of course my conclusions remain unchanged.