Note: This Thursday, the UK will be holding an election where Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is the lead challenger against the Conservative Party’s Boris Johnson. Johnson has been leading in the polls throughout the campaign but his lead has been shrinking. The threat of a long-time peace activist and socialist being elected is frightening the power structure.
There has been an aggressive character assassination and fear-mongering campaign against Corbyn. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was caught in a recording saying he would intervene to stop Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn from becoming Prime Minister. In the off-the-record meeting with Jewish leaders, Pompeo promised he would not wait for Corbyn to be elected, rather he’ll attempt to stop it from being possible.
Recent reports indicate US involvement in the election to stop Corbyn. The Grayzone Project reports that the UK’s military-intelligence apparatus is campaigning in the corporate media against Corbyn, along with US government-funded NATO advocates who are smearing Corbyn with evidence-free claims that he is a Russian puppet. They allege without any evidence that Russia leaked a report about Boris Johnson’s negotiations with the US over the National Health Service to Corbyn.
Scottish journalist Johanna Ross reports in the Centre for Research on Globalization that Corbyn has been called a ‘national security risk’ and an ‘enemy of the state.’ She describes an orchestrated campaign against Corbyn involving former and current members of the army, navy and special forces, as well as MI5, MI6 and ex-senior civil servants.
The military is panicked. Ten retired military officers wrote a letter in the Sunday Times warning of dire consequences if Corbyn is elected. They said the UK would “not be trusted to receive the vital intelligence provided to us by our allies that helps us keep our people safe.”
The Independent reported that a general threatened a mutiny if Corbyn were elected:
A senior serving general has reportedly warned that a Jeremy Corbyn government could face “a mutiny” from the Army if it tried to downgrade them.
The unnamed general said members of the armed forces would begin directly and publicly challenging the Labour leader if he tried to scrap Trident, pull out of Nato or announce “any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.”
Corbyn has consistently supported Palestinian rights. This has led to a concerted smear campaign falsely accusing Corbyn of ‘anti-semitism.’ This has been hyped during this current election campaign. The three leading UK Jewish newspapers ran editorials saying Jewish people feel unsafe and will leave the country if Corbyn is elected. The Chief Rabbi has said that “British Jews are gripped by anxiety.” and a columnist from a national newspaper claimed “Corbyn wants to reopen Auschwitz.” These claims of anti-Semitism are completely false but this Corbyn character assassination has been constantly repeated.
An excellent response to the allegations of anti-semitism comes from Leo Panitch in an article in the Toronto Star, Historical record shows Jeremy Corbyn is a defender of Jews. He writes that “since becoming a member of parliament in 1983 Corbyn has been the most consistent campaigner against all forms of racism.” Before becoming an MP in “1977 Corbyn had already organized a defence of the Jewish population of Wood Green from a neo-Nazi march.” He describes how Corbyn has supported people of Jewish faith around the world and how there is no basis for the allegations.
Corbyn is not just running against Boris Johnson. He is running against the banks and investors who fear socialism as well as militarists on both sides of the Atlantic who are doing all they can to keep him from winning the election. KZ
Public health, renewable energy, homes for the homeless and a second Brexit referendum: It’s Jeremy Corbyn’s social program versus ‘get Brexit done.’
The UK elections will be held on Dec. 12, marking yet another in the endless string of elections over the past five years. Godot, here played by Brexit, has not yet arrived, and nobody knows if and when he will come.
So far, this election campaign has been flabby, limp, behind the events, leaving voters in the dark and in the cold. The only jolt of adrenaline was Jeremy Corbyn’s “New ‘Old’ Labour” electoral program, presented in Birmingham on Nov. 21. It took its cues from the program on which the party ran in the 2017 election, which crushed Theresa May’s dreams of personal glory and an absolute Parliamentary majority, allowing Labour to recover significant ground from the Tories.
But the program goes further than that. It calls for a massive strengthening and deprivatization of the public health system, free dental care, 100,000 new houses built per year by 2024 to give a home to the homeless, support for the energy conversion to renewable energy and bringing green jobs to deindustrialized areas, the nationalization of electricity, gas and water utilities and of the postal service, and free broadband internet.
It would put a stop the social savagery and vampiric austerity of the controversial Universal Credit system pushed by the Etonians, with the reintroduction of a humane welfare model and the freezing of the retirement age at 66. And it would also mark the end of the most expensive university fees in Europe, together with the nationalization of the railways and free bus rides for those under 25. Furthermore, it would increase the minimum wage from £8 to £10 per hour.
In terms of foreign policy, the program calls for a new internationalism, which essentially means no more carrying water for the American machine as it rips holes in the fabric of democracy far and wide.
Corbyn has spent his life on the front lines, shouting at people while wearing signs around his neck. He hopes this program can get him into Downing Street. One might put it this way: while some people think that nothing like this program has ever been seen before, that there as been nothing so ambitious and redistributive since the days of the Levellers, for others this is only the bare minimum needed. Some of the most ambitious policies, such as safeguarding the freedom of movement, the abolition of private schools (voted by the Labour base at the latest congress) and the sacrosanct decarbonization of the economy by 2030, have all been taken out of the program, particularly due to pressure from the unions.
And still, it’s enough to just glance over these proposals—which have been greeted by the usual shrill cries of “who’s going to pay for it?” of the media subservient to the current regime, unable to envision a society not aimed at the benefit of its wealthy shareholders—for them to have a powerful tonic effect. Those who will pay for it will be the many billionaires who make their fortunes from capital in perpetual flight, or the oil companies that are amassing profits by devastating the biosphere. In short, the 1% at the top, the elite which has made the City of London into its own European capital, will pay for it.
As for Brexit, there will be a second referendum after a renegotiated agreement to remain in the EU Customs Union, “close” to the single market. Even more, European citizens living in the UK would no longer have to go through the process of applying for settled status.
This is the only opportunity left—both for Corbyn, who is in his 70s, and for his younger fellow citizens who don’t want to grow old in a land facing ecological and social desolation—to turn around what is the most privatized and unequal society in Europe, where the press is almost entirely in private, mendacious and right-wing hands, where the economic crisis is being paid for by the victims while enriching its perpetrators, where sales of SUVs are on the rise as the climate catastrophe deprives the world’s South of water and arable land, and where, to top it off, the surreal persistence of a royal family cloaked in ermine robes proves that no, the law is not the same for everyone (the royal scion Prince Andrew is a case in point).
If this opportunity were to bear fruit, this alone would be enough to lift the dark cloud of the appalling Baudelarian anguish in which we find ourselves. After all, if something like that can happen here, in the world capital of inequality, it can really happen anywhere.
What are the polls showing? A thirteen-point Tory lead, but Boris Johnson is confirming that he is a mediocre campaigner at best, able to do little more than repeat “Get Brexit done,” the Tory slogan that recalls May’s “strong and stable leadership.”
No matter what the court jesters of post-political analysis say, after so much hand-wringing, here are the right and left as the clear contenders once again. One can only hope that, as happened with neoliberal Blairism, the rest of Europe would also rush to implement the model of socialist Corbynism. This would be the final end of the Blairite-Thatcherian “There Is No Alternative,” or of Mark Fisher’s “capitalist realism”: it would show that the voice of class cannot be silenced.