This is an interesting intervention from Paul Mason. The left needs to debate what is going on here.
Paul Mason concedes he’s not a Marxist, dodging the question of whether he used to be one. What is key though is that he defends the right of those of us who are proud to describe ourselves as such. All serious Marxists need to help Jeremy Corbyn as best we can. And the reality is we can’t really do that from outside his party, references to there being no parliamentary road to socialism being entirely besides the point. We need to join Labour, and we need to do that now.
Marxists joining Labour will be resisted by those represented by the Blairites at this Progress meeting. In reality, most of the PLP will try to keep most Marxists out. However, Labour’s rank and file, and the party’s voter base, is overwhelmingly supportive of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and as such will be sympathetic to all left-wingers joining.
Every socialist who is not a member will sooner or later be tempted to stand against the official Labour candidate. Under first-past-the-post, that’s a luxury none of us can afford. Blairites denying rights to Marxists will be directly responsible for any split in the anti-Tory vote that results from their McCarthyite witch hunts. This is one of several reasons why Jeremy Corbyn will be pushing at an open door when he backs all socialists being allowed to unite together into the one big party: the Labour Party.
Securing rapid membership of Labour on the basis of working class unity imposes a reciprocal attitude by us towards Jeremy Corbyn’s critics on the right – up to a point. In the above Youtube video, we witness mutual incomprehension as to what kind of unity is being advocated by the other side. Paul Mason appears to think he’s being clear, but he’s really not, and I suspect he knows it. His lack of clarity could damage the left unless we explore the limits of the broad charch that is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
Progress claim they’re being made to feel like parriahs. The reality is most Labour members don’t have a good word to say about these Blairites. What Progress think they’re doing inside Labour is baffling. Paul says they can’t achieve their aims for at least a decade or two. But if your goal is to destroy Labour, why not spread like cancer and maybe accelerate the process? You’re bound to end up with a seat in the House of Lords if you follow that path, surely.
Progress don’t feel welcome, and they’re not. But they still have the Parliamentary Labour Party almost totally in their pocket. This is their base. Members can’t tolerate anti-Corbyn MPs damaging the party as they did so successfully via their virtual monopoly of access to the airwaves at all five terrestrial network news channels for the two years from Corbyn’s being placed on the ballot paper to Theresa May’s opportunistic snap general election. It took a mere month of Blairite MPs keeping their gobs shut for two years of sabotage to be undone by Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s activists. Members don’t trust today’s PLP. That is a problem they can’t easily solve.
For excellent reasons, the PLP is terrified of their respective CLPs and of the party’s voters. They realise they need to keep their heads down, for the time being at least. Most of them already accept this, some even pretending they’ve been converted into Jeremy Corbyn fans. Unfortunately, the fact that fifty MPs broke the whip at the very first opportunity, days after the general election – with four front benchers testing Jeremy Corbyn’s willingness to defend collective responsibility – proves how right we are to worry about today’s PLP.
Most Labour MPs accept they owe their jobs to Jeremy Corbyn; accept it in their heads if not publicly. Corbyn is the vote winner. The MPs on the other hand are, with very few exceptions, unpopular Blairites, repulsive to voters – those who are not such non entities that no one knows who they are.
CLPs will decide who is fit to be elected as Labour MPs, and at the moment few can doubt the more they sabotage the Prime Minister-in-waiting, the sooner they’ll be out on their ear.
Because most MPs can’t hide their contempt for Jeremy Corbyn, and for his voter base within the general population and the Labour Party, many are unlikely to even try to accept the new situation. Already I can see what this means: a new party is being born, incubated inside parliament, one which could within months leap into bed in a national government. Such a government would dedicate itself to destroy the Hard Brexit wing of the Tories, as well as Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. You have to be blind not to notice the preparations for some kind of coalition deal between Blairite MP and an extremely large section of Tories as well as all Liberal Democrats and possibly most (but not all) of the SNP’s MPs. The latter party could split between left and right if they propped up any Tory/Blairite coalition government. And the left wing of the SNP, should they split, should be won to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party as soon as possible.