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The Labour Vote Is Up Four Percent

Picture of Jeremy Corbyn

Picture of Jeremy Corbyn

The media and anti-Corbyn MPs had made this a referendum on Corbyn’s leadership and predicted massive losses.


Because of geographic clustering, a few seats were lost, but the overall vote is up.

This is remarkable. Almost the entire media in Britain has been relentlessly anti-Corbyn. Half his own MPs are constantly sniping at him. There is a ginned-up anti-semitism “crisis” in the Labour Party (how dare members criticize Israel).

And the Labour party improves its vote.

This a sign that the elites in Britain, as elsewhere, are losing control of the narrative. Ordinary people do not believe their shit any more. And it’s really a sign, because the elites have been united in vituperative and never-ending opposition to Corbyn.

Let me give some advice to my British friends across the pond: You need to purge the disloyal MPs. Oh yes, there has been great talk about how one shouldn’t do that.

You are a fool if you listen. The MPs have been acting not just in opposition to Corbyn, but traitorously to the party. They have been deliberately trying to sabotage him.

This is up to rank-and-file Labour party members. Corbyn won’t put his fingerprints on this. But Labour still has nomination meetings.

Start now. Get control of the local ridings, and, when the time comes, get rid of them. Do not apologize for this: They refuse to represent the democratic will of the Labour party membership. If they want to run on neo-liberal Blairite policies, the Lib-Dems and Conservatives can have them.

And if Corbyn gets in power, he must then purge. Within the first 100 days, major figures in the BBC must be forced to step down, the civil service mandarinate must be broken and a media-breakup law instituted and carried through, while steps must be taken to break the power of the City.

This is because those sectors will oppose his plans relentlessly. They cannot be appeased, and a deal cannot be made with them.

This is the lesson, by the way, that people should be learning from what is happening in South America. Having been left with commanding control of the media and economy, the old forces of the right have been able to use that control to sabotage and destroy left-wing governments and they have done so in extraordinarily non-democratic ways and in Venezuela’s case, through clear-cut economic sabotage.

You cannot do business with these people. They are not trustworthy, and they will use every bit of power they have to destroy you.

Those who think this is not true in Britain but only in Third world countries are whistling in the dark.

And yes, the phone call came from inside the house.

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Failure Is the Precondition for Fascism



Well, not all the time, but it is one of the necessary preconditions.

More broadly, when the old regime has failed (lost a war, bungled the economy), then people are willing to try something else. This “something else” may mean electing someone like FDR. It may be allowing someone like Stalin or Hitler to rise to power. It may be opting to try Communism. It may be electing someone as mild as Corbyn.

Or it may take the form of someone like Trump or Cruz.

Unhappiness occurs during decline.

Decline. The US economy has been lousy for most people for decades. Since somewhere between 1968 and 1980. 1968 was the peak of wages for working class white males, for example. You are surprised they are unhappy? They have been in decline for almost 40 years.

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Women’s wages were rising through much of the period. They might be less than men’s, but they were rising.

Happiness is predicated on doing better than in the past. It doesn’t have to better by much, it just has to be better.

Since 2008, the economy, for the majority of the population (over 80 percent, over 90 percent by some calculations), has been bad. They have lost income. Their houses are worth less. They are less likely to be employed, much less have that lesser job.

They are ripe for fascism.

They are ripe for any sort of radical change offered by anyone who doesn’t parse; doesn’t feel, like one of the current set of elites. Trump does not, Cruz does not, Sanders does not. In Britain, where the situation is similar, Corbyn does not.

This is the beginning of the time of changes. Some countries will choose well, others will not, but the issues of how and by whom countries are run is in play–in a way it has not been in my lifetime.

Important Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does: Corbyn Trident Missile Edition

So, off in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour leader, has been against the Trident nuclear missile system: He wants to scrap it.

The hysteria over this has been epic–from the Press, from within his own party, and from the Conservative Party.

His opposition has been characterized as wildly irresponsible, but someone finally polled the issue: 49 percent agree with Corbyn, scrap the missiles. 51 percent disagree.

This is a statistical dead heat.

So, something which half the population supports is somehow massively opposed by the elites and the press.

I mean, issues over which the population is split down the middle can be controversial, but I see no indication that Trident is an important issue to ordinary Britons, compared to, say the NHS, austerity, the EU, or immigration.

As for Trident and its merits, upon investigation, I have come to Corbyn’s position (which I did not support originally).  Trident is not a fully-independent deterrent. The missiles are made by the US, maintained by the US and supplied from the same pool the US uses. While Trident may be “operationally independent,” the US could pull the plug on the program any time it wanted.

Trident is a deterrent as long as the UK is on good terms with the US. But, if it’s on good terms with the US, it has the US umbrella anyway.

Trident is only useful if you think the US might not retaliate for a nuclear attack on the UK (yeah, right, unless there’s been a HUGE falling out, in which case Trident is gone), or if the UK wants to nuke something itself that the US doesn’t want to nuke.

This is worth paying for? A small, first-strike nuclear capacity?

But the larger point is simpler: It’s not a very important issue to most Britons, and it’s not something about which the polls are skewed. So why is the establishment so hysterical about it?

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Developed World Propaganda Ability Is Breaking Down

How negative was the UK press about Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour Leader, who believes in post-war socialist/liberal policies and is genuinely anti-war?

The Media Reform Coalition analysed nearly 500 pieces across eight national newspapers, including The Sun, The Times, Guardian and Daily Mail, and found 60% of their articles were ‘negative’, meaning they were openly hostile or expressed animosity or ridicule.

Out of the 494 articles across the papers during Corbyn’s first seven days at leader, 60% (296 articles) were negative, with only 13% positive stories (65 articles) and 27% taking a “neutral” stance (133 articles), the report says.

If you’ve read the UK press, you know this understates the situation, if anything. Ridicule hardly covers the general slant of the press.

And yet, Corbyn is the least unpopular of the UK’s leaders. He has negative ratings, yes, but they are the least negative.

The actively hostile press in Greece could not stop Syriza, nor could they stop the population from voting NO in the austerity referendum. Of course, Syriza decided to continue with austerity anyway, but the media failed.

In the US we have the media openly calling Trump a fascist, and that hasn’t slowed him down a bit. (I’m anti-Trump, as it happens, lest anyone think I approve of him.) To be sure, they keep giving him massive amounts of oxygen, by reporting on everything he says, because he knows how to be newsworthy, but their ridicule has not slowed him down.

One suspects, indeed, that it has made him stronger. Those who support Trump distrust the media. That the media is against Trump is a positive to them. This certainly isn’t an insane metric; for decades, the media has pushed mainstream candidates who have not improved Trump supporters’ lives one bit, after all.

Regardless, the ideological mechanism of control through the press is failing. In France, LePen rises. In Britain, Corbyn. In the US, Trump and, to a lesser extent, Sanders (who is bad on Imperialism, but good on many domestic issues). This trend continues elsewhere, such as in Spain and Portugal.

This isn’t entirely a good thing, as I presume is evident. It is just a thing, good or bad. The establishment is losing control.

It is, however, an opportunity. If you’re someone whose ideas were considered non-mainstream, you finally have your chance. Whether those ideas are good or bad, well, that’s another matter.

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UK Labour By-Election Victory

Not only did Labour win, but they won with a record vote count. The candidate is quite a bit to Corbyn’s right, but it’s safe to say that this was about the national party, not about the candidate.

Meanwhile Corbyn has the highest approval ratings of any UK political party leader, though those ratings are negative. Yes, every other leader is hated more than he is.

Both these results are remarkable given the relentless media campaign against Corbyn.

As far as I can see, Corbyn, and the old-left he represents (Corbyn being essentially a 1960s Liberal), face two main problems: the MPs within his own caucus who are good “middle-way” Blairites and the media.

As for Corbyn’s first problem, the Blairites have now outed themselves, and those who voted for war in Syria flagged themselves. It’s not Corbyn’s job to deal directly with those pro-war MPs–that responsibility falls on the Labour Party membership. Labour’s rank and file need to make sure that these MPs are not candidates in the next election. Corbyn shouldn’t have to tell them this; it should be obvious.

Now for Corbyn’s second problem: the media. The media have overplayed their hand; their virtual unanimity, along with their nitpicking on the smallest of details, has made them look deranged. What harm they could do, they have done, and there is little ammunition left.

Corbyn reminds me a lot of Canada’s New Democratic Party Leader, Thomas Mulcair. Mulcair lost the Canadian election, but he went into the election with a lead because he had proven again and again that he was a man of integrity, that he had principles he would hold to no matter what.

Corbyn is similar. He has principles, and he has stuck to those principles for decades, even when the path to success appeared to call for abandoning them. The fact that the media hates him is not an unalloyed negative–in fact, it positions him solidly as an outsider. This is a good thing when a huge chunk of the electorate is looking for somebody who does not have the approval of The Powers That Be.

As with Mulcair, I think that Corbyn is likely to have his chance to win an election. Likewise (as with Mulcair), either Corbyn can blow it, or his luck can turn (or both). But he should have a good shot.

This is extraordinarily promising. The old order is breaking down, due to the enforcement of austerity and their continued emphasis on war, when any fool can see that neither austerity nor war have worked.

The propaganda machine is failing. You can see it in the US, where the relentless demonization of Trump simply has not worked (don’t get me wrong, Trump is damn near fascist, unlike Corbyn). People are looking for leaders who don’t parse as tools.

This can be good, and it can be bad. In the 30s, Germany got Hitler, Italy got Mussolini, and America got FDR.

This time around, Britain has a chance to get Corbyn, a genuinely good and principled man. May they be lucky enough to do so.

And the elites in the UK should remember that Corbyn is the best deal they are likely to get. If they do manage to stop him, the next person who parses as independent of their whims, either from the right or left, will be someone who intends to bring them to heel, or liquidate them.

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Jeremy Corbyn and the Syrian Bombing Vote

So, today there will be a vote in the UK House of Commons to determine whether the UK should bomb Syria.

The Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats will vote yes. The SNP will vote no. And Corbyn has allowed Labour party members to vote according to their consciences.

This is a close vote, but even if every Labour party member voted no, the motion would fail.

Nonetheless, much of the media is blaming Corbyn for the possibility of bombing.

Seventy-five percent of Labour party members are against bombing Syria, and the logic on the side of not bombing Syria is strong; interventions in the Middle East since 9/11 have seen an inexorable rise in terrorism rather than a decrease.

But there is more to consider. Corbyn has always said he would bring more democracy to Labour, and this is in line with that promise. This is a case of one principle “no war” going against another principle “more democracy.”

Also, letting Labour MPs vote against bombing Syria, when the majority of Labour party members are for it, may be very smart politics. Smoke the pro-war MPs out, let them run up their flags, and when the time comes for candidate selection, well, everyone will know who is for war. The majority of voters selecting candidates are free to use the next election to ensure that Corbyn has a party of MPs who are anti-war. This gives him a much stronger hand.

The Labour party has been rife with backbiting since Corbyn won. The majority of MPs did not want him as leader, do not want him as leader, and have been doing what they can to weaken him.

Corbyn cannot deal with this alone. It must be dealt with by the membership, who must get rid of those members. Corbyn does have limited ability as leader to flush them out, but he can hardly refuse to sign nomination papers from 60 percent of MPs. They have to be sent packing by the membership.

So, if you are a British Labour member, remember who voted for war and turf them.

Correction: I had the math wrong on the vote. If every Labor member voted “nay,” it would not make a difference without a lot of Conservative members also voting against.

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So, You Supported Corbyn: Here Is What You MUST Do if He Is to Survive and Win

Intra-party war is coming in the British Labour party. I agree entirely with Salvage:

There is war coming in the Labour Party. Already, the bad-faith resignations and rumour-mongering of leading right-wingers signals the scale of resistance Corbyn will face—

—When their onslaught begins in earnest, they will be fighting with the party machinery at their disposal. They will be fighting with the press on their side, with the Tories as tacit allies, with business at their backs. They will have the support of the civil service and the state apparatuses. They will undoubtedly benefit from Clockwork Orange-style deep-state intrigue. But, far more fundamentally, they will benefit from the fact that Corbyn is obliged to work with a parliamentary party that is overwhelmingly hostile to what he wishes to achieve, and is apt either to force him to make damaging compromises, or to engineer habitual crises for him, or both.

So, you voted for Corbyn. You’re a Labour party member, old or new. What MUST you do to have Corbyn’s back?

Because, be clear, he will fail without you. He will lose. He and a few allies within the Labour party cannot win this fight alone. He will be destroyed by lack of cooperation, scandals, and engineered crises. The vast majority of all media coverage will be negative, etc.

You must take over the locals—the branches and constituencies. Flood them. If the officers don’t act how you think they should, let them know. And by “let them know,” I mean, get in their faces.

Make sure your local MP, who probably doesn’t like Corbyn or support him, know that if he doesn’t get onside, he won’t be the nominee in the next election. Make his/her life personally unpleasant. If s/he votes against Corbyn, picket him. Mock her. Make sure there is a cost. Because on the other side, that MP will know that if they oppose Corbyn, they will be taken care of by the City and the other usual suspects.

You must prove there is a cost for opposing the democratic will of the majority of Labour party members. MPs and officials must know that if they try to sabotage Corbyn, their days in the party are numbered and will be extremely unpleasant.

The carrot is that if they get onside, they’re gold. They can keep their positions, they can feel like they’re part of a swelling horde.

But if it isn’t clear to officials and MPs that the cost for opposing Corbyn is too high, they will, and they may well win.

You elected Corbyn, but without your staying in his corner, and fighting, he’s just a sacrificial goat. A real leader is only as good as his followers. You have a real leader now, a man who genuinely wants to create a kinder, fairer Britain, a man who has lived his life in line with his beliefs.

This is what and who you wanted. Now go and make him a success. If he fails, it will be as much on you as on him.

If he succeeds, the same.

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The Human Crop of War

There is little question that absent the Iraq war there would be no Syrian refugee crisis.  The line draws direct between the two.

Germany, today, is closing its borders to refugees after earning the world’s praise (for a change) for its compassionate acceptance of those who needed its shelter, and those whom it certainly can afford to shelter. As the richest European state, Germany can take more refugees, feed and house them and even find work for them.

Ethically, the countries who should be taking most of the Syrian refugees are those responsible for Iraq and who have directly fueled the flames of the Syrian conflict: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, America, Britain and so on.

There is a deadly price for posturing that leads to war: be clear, Assad, however bad he was was not as bad as the Syrian civil war.  To be sure, there is often a case for ending the reign of tyrants, but one does need to check the price tag.

And, along with checking the price, one might want to to check the motivation. Wrong ends generally feed back to into wrong means: it is not credible, given their own records on human rights, that most of those who are trying to overthrow Assad actually are acting out of good motives.

This is power politics, not humanitarian action.

There is little more to say about this.  We could take care of the refugees if we wanted to, we have the resources, this is not in question.  In question is if we want to.  In a western world whose baseline policy is austerity—who do not even want to care for their own citizens, the answer tends to be no.

Jeremy Corbyn, who suggests (to mainstream laughter) that the solution to the Syrian crisis is not to bomb Syria more, is the beginning of the repudiation of the nonsense that doing more of what didn’t work in the past is the solution.  Let us hope he is Britain’s next Prime Minister, and the beginning of a wave of repudiation of the austerity and war.

Until then the weak will suffer what they must, and powerful will do as they will.  And then whine about the results of their actions.

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