When the campaign started I assumed I’d vote for him in protest, a mere gesture to say that the left was still alive – but I never guessed that Jeremy Corbyn would lead the party (with nearly 60% of the vote too).
As you might know, neither the Great and the Good collectively or me as an individual supported Corbyn in the end, but both as a socialist and a member of the Labour Party I now consider myself a full blooded backer of his, and I will support him until the end. However, it isn’t just current members of Labour who should do this.
Firstly, affiliated and registered supporters need to join the party. They helped to shape our future, so I think they should continue their engagement by actively campaigning for and staying involved with Labour.
I have a bigger point to make here though – it’s not just those who’ve declared support for Labour who should be entering the movement, but all those on the left who for years have shunned the Labour Party as the party of “Red Tories” in the past. This is a call therefore to Greens, a call to members of Plaid, the TUSC, Left Unity or any other ‘left of Labour’ party you care to mention. I have long argued that a vote for any party under FPTP other than Labour helps the Tories (even a vote for the SNP, in an indirect way), but now there’s no excuse to be made – the Labour Party is headed up by a democratic socialist with a democratic socialist agenda.
Socialism isn’t merely a pipe dream, something that exists to make us feel happy about ourselves. Socialism is a creed of unity and solidarity, and the embodiment of a struggle against the elite. Fragmentation shouldn’t be an option – it goes against everything we believe in, and reduces our strongly held beliefs to something for our own entertainment, rather than a the engine powerful movement that strives for equality, decency and liberty.
So under what banner should we unite?
Labour is the biggest political party in the UK in terms of membership, has the biggest parliamentary presence of any leftwing party (and now with Jeremy at the helm it most certainly is leftwing) and has a strong, socialist grassroots movement backing it, embodied in the Corbyn campaign. Labour has won elections, and it still can – if everyone on the left is willing to do their bit.
So don’t sit back and moan about tiny inadequacies, let go of the last vestiges of petty purism and join the real struggle against the Conservatives. Labour is a new party now, and we all need to stand behind it if it’s to survive and reshape Britain into a better country.