5 Days Remaining

Thursday 3rd
posted by Morning Star in Features

It’s tempting to conclude that it’s not really Isis or Assad that Labour’s rightwingers are interested in removing but Jeremy Corbyn, says RABBIL SIKDAR

JEREMY CORBYN is not one for political point-scoring but if anyone deserves to be winning points it’s him.

Every angle has been a route of attack against him. From the inside and the outside, revolts and sieges, enemies have poured scorn over his socialist principles.

From military interventions to Trident to shoot-to-kill to anything, there has been a campaign of vitriol targeting Jeremy Corbyn. And he has endured. And been vindicated for it.

And now a mistake made 12 years ago is about to be made again, and Labour will be at the centre of it even though it isn’t in power, unlike 12 years ago.

In 2003 Britain illegally invaded Iraq without a political settlement for the country, a chaotic land divided by sectarian feuds, and inevitably catalysed the rise of violent extremist groups like Isis in that region.

Bombing Libya turned it into another wasteland now playing host to Isis. And as the Islamist fanatics run rampant in the blurred lines between Iraq and Syria, Britain considers bombing Syria and thinks this time it is different.

This is a bombing that will focus on the city of Raqqa, a stronghold of Isis but also home to thousands of civilians now terrified by what could happen.

They said bombing would solve the problems of Iraq and Libya and each time a military offensive has become a political failure that only resulted in the further radicalisation of young Muslims, whether in the Middle East or on our own streets.

Bombing Isis only fuels their propaganda and shies away from the fact that this is a murderous death cult which feeds off the anger and suffering of ordinary Sunnis.

Not tackling how the vicious jihadist ideology is exported by Saudi Arabia is, once again, a sign of how short-sighted our plans are. Public fear should not translate to hasty, injudicious decisions.

Any plans to defeat Isis without a political settlement that respects the democratic will of the people of Syria will not work.

Yet now Labour MPs are determined to make the same mistake that created so much anger the last time.

Then, and so often before, Jeremy Corbyn was right to oppose war. Yet still some have rebelled against Corbyn and will most likely vote with the Tories.

It’s tempting to conclude that it’s not really Isis or Assad that the Blairites are interested in removing but Jeremy Corbyn. A democratic mandate that included a fiercely anti-war stance is now being shredded by New Labour MPs.

They call Corbyn unelectable and have done everything in their power to make it that way.

We know what Corbyn stands for, but what Labour as a party stands for is a cloud of confusion thanks to them. At this current moment, the party is a spiralling mess.

Extremely frustrating, given this is a time when the Tories were treading on glass over the steel industry, tax credits, the failing NHS and now the potential looming catastrophe over another military incursion in the Middle East.

Oh Labour Party, when will you stop shooting yourselves in the foot?

Labour spent five years apologising for a deficit that it was not responsible for and seemed determined to fight the Tories on the most neoliberal platform it could find.

Even as the potential of Corbyn’s vision, one of ideological clarity, fizzles with spark and promise, Labour rightwingers are determined to undermine their hugely popular leader.

What they are doing is dangerously undemocratic. A “coup” is unnecessary when they seem insistent on bleeding Corbyn’s reign to death. If Corbyn is truly unelectable, who is at fault for that?

No-one knew what Miliband stood for. Corbyn is the antithesis — he stands for fair wages, taxes on the rich, strong welfare, strong labour laws and financial regulations and is an advocate of international co-operation over war.

Yet the hostile manoeuvrings of the Blairites mean that now no-one is sure what Labour stands for. What’s the party position on Trident and Syria? What’s the party position on just about anything these days?

This is not the fault of Corbyn. He has a democratic mandate and would be fully within his rights to purge the party of those holding him to ransom. The Labour Party is the political wing of the working class, a source of political expression for the class of workers.

What is vital now is for Corbyn to fully translate his ideas into an economic narrative that both resonates with the public’s wishes over jobs, housing and the NHS while dismantling the myths forged over the past five years by the Tory media.

The saga around the tax credits has demonstrated the lack of popularity around much of what the Tories do.
No-one passionately or enthusiastically campaigns for welfare cuts or immigration controls. The public is not that devoid of empathy or a heart.

Corbyn has impressed enough people to create an explosive rise in the Labour membership by offering a different economic strategy, one that revolves around answering the ageless conflict between the super-rich elite and the rest of society.

Inevitably his strategy around foreign policy will be brought into scrutiny. Corbyn risks being accused of lacking patriotism or guts. But it’s the easy thing to bow to public fear and rush into an ill-judged war.

I’m not personally opposed to bombing Isis oilfields or training camps, but the idea that air strikes will destroy Isis while they are selling oil to Turkey and are funded by the extremists in Saudi Arabia and Qatar is ludicrous.

A different strategy, one on finding political coalitions of moderate Sunnis and Shi’ites to head up a democratic Syrian government and both arming the Kurds and recognising their right to a state, would offer a different way.

The war on terror has not made anyone safe. It simply feeds a cycle of violence, raising it to astronomic levels.

But the only way Corbyn can get his message through is when his team are united with him and behind him rather than plotting to stab him in the back every time.