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The problem with Corbyn is that the socialist ideas he represents really are a throwback, they are no paradigm shift at all. His is very much the old tankie dream of centrally-organised cadres working dutifully to create a workers paradise, probably based on 5 year plans and the nationalisation of everything that moves.

This idea had already been shown to fail by the 70s, the naitonalised industries were bywords for inefficiecy, the ossification, indeed deification, of out-dated work practices and a failure to adapt and move forward to embrace new ideas.

All of which came crashing down in the "Winter of Discontent" in 1978/9. Something had to change and the struggles of the 80 within Labour were between those who wanted to throw this off, the people who became Blairites, and those who wanted to double down, the Bennites among whom Corbyn was numbered.

However, I suspect that, in the last 30 years, JC has had something of a learning curve. His adherence to democratic decision making is far more pronounced than that of the Bennites. Which means that the accusation that Neil kinnock threw at him of being a "syndicalist" is probably correct

Syndicalism had been a prominent ideology amongst some workers in the period before World War One. Analogous movements existed in countries across the world (especially Europe and the Americas) and were often inspired by anarchist and communist ideas, as well as drawing on the radical democratic practices of some 19th Century trade unionism.

The idea, at its core, was a relatively simple one. Industry should be directly owned and controlled by the working class without intermediaries, and the state and parliament inherently stood in opposition to this happening.

The Labour party has, as the article explains, always been opposed to co-ops and bottom-up organisations, preferring the more traditional Leninist top-down imposition of state ownership "in the name of the people". So, although the Labour party took over the Co-op party, I believe the rule book of the party somewhere specifically prohibits their promotion.

This new syndicalist movement that corbyn leads is very much of the Occupy podemos m5* generation. Whether Corbyn himself is the best person to lead it is something I doubt, as he still harks back instinctively to his Bennite past. But he's better than any of the alternatives on offer, he recognises that neo-liberalist conservativism is a busted flush and that'll do for now

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2016 at 12:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just support for the NHS and improved social welfare policies will do a world of good, and the government can always subsidize home energy efficiency upgrades which would be very helpful to homeowners and the economy, as it would reduce energy imports. And he could push for affordable housing in London and in areas suitable for retirement living.

Does he or is he likely to support wind and solar? And does he have a policy on land use reform? Encouraging land based wind and solar for homeowners would create more decent jobs, as would better funding for NHS and social welfare. He could work to replace 'efficiency' with equality and effectiveness as a metric for social welfare efforts. That, if successful, would constitute a revolution.

The paradigm shift here need not involve totally new ideas. The problem is not what is known but what has been 'socially forgotten' - like the analysis of Keynes and his followers and of Kalecki, etc. Just bringing those ideas back into the public square would be paradigm shift enough!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2016 at 01:31:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great comment, Helen.
A client was somewhat vituperatively dismissive of Jez yesterday, for his 'unelectability'.
This counting on the electorate to be able only to elect mediagenic puppets is disproved by the astonishing recent increase in party registration.
It also reeks of age-ist condescension.
It's a blind spot a mile wide.
Yes there are a lot of easily swayed idiot voters, as Brexit proved, but Corbyn is not promising the moon or using any base tactics to garner voters.  

By just serenely holding firm under the slings and arrows he lets his opponents reveal their mean-spiritedness.
QED

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2016 at 06:21:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This idea had already been shown to fail by the 70s, the naitonalised industries were bywords for inefficiecy, the ossification, indeed deification, of out-dated work practices and a failure to adapt and move forward to embrace new ideas.

No less so than privatised industries today. I think it's hard to argue that privatised rail is doing a better, cheaper job than BR used to - or would have been able to with equivalent funding.

The idea that nationalisation never works was part of the Thatcherite mythology. Privatisation never works either, and large corporations are at least as incoherent and sclerotic - with the difference that some, like the UK's arms trade (the one that can't design an aircraft carrier that works in warm weather), are also corrupt.

All of which came crashing down in the "Winter of Discontent" in 1978/9.

Which is another legendary moment in the Thatcherite retelling of history. What really happened was that the UK - like most countries - had been through severe inflation caused by oil price shocks.

Unions attempted to protect their workers by pushing up wages. Callaghan was Labour in Name Only, and was effectively just a neoliberal stooge. Of course he took on the unions, and of course he lost.

Which led to the next part of received Thatcherite mythology - the idea that wage increases cause runaway inflation, and that the unions somehow run the country, and will run it into the ground if not castrated.

In fact import costs have far more influence on inflation than wages do. And viable companies always have the option to trim profits to pay a higher wage bill.

If they choose not, that's a choice, not an economic inevitability.

As for the rest - these are also standard Tory talking points. Here's Boris laying them out back in October:

Boris on Corbyn

That's certainly Corbyn's heritage, but it's not so clear what Corbyn has turned into today. I don't think we'd see a Trot being quite as cool about the abuse that Corbyn has received, or being quite so good at getting members to join the party.

Corbyn isn't business as usual. Nor is he necessarily just a throwback. But even if all he wants is to roll back the Thatcherite consensus a lot of Labour voters, old and new, are just fine with that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2016 at 10:40:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Trots' I get, though not the particular flavors that might be under discussion. Trotsky opposed Stalin and it got him killed. But what is a 'tankie' in this context?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2016 at 11:28:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Militants?

Trotskyists refer to a tendency of small, disciplined groups trying to infiltrate and take over larger labour parties. Or at least dreaming of it and giving larger Labour parties the perfect excuse to throw out people who were to far left, whether or not they actually belonged to a Trotskyist group.

by fjallstrom on Sun Jul 24th, 2016 at 06:33:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tankie definition

A hardline Stalinist. A tankie is a member of a communist group or a "fellow traveller" (sympathiser) who believes fully in the political system of the Soviet Union and defends/defended the actions of the Soviet Union and other accredited states (China, Serbia, etc.) to the hilt, even in cases where other communists criticise their policies or actions. For instance, such a person favours overseas interventions by Soviet-style states, defends these regimes when they engage in human rights violations, and wishes to establish a similar system in other countries such as Britain and America.
[....]
The term derives from the fact that the divisions within the communist movement first arose when the Soviet Union sent tanks into communist Hungary in 1956, to crush an attempt to establish an alternative version of communism which was not embraced by the Russians. Most communists outside the eastern bloc opposed this action and criticised the Soviet Union. The "tankies" were those who said "send the tanks in".


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 24th, 2016 at 09:30:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. Memo to self: "Don't forget about the Urban Dictionary."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jul 24th, 2016 at 01:22:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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