By Steve Dobbs
As I pointed out last week, the right-wing inside and outside the Labour Party are using Brexit as an excuse to sabotage Corbyn. Events have continued to ramp up even further.
Cable said there are “two scenarios” of what could happen after the election. “One is Corbyn goes and his supporters go, which is also as important because it’s not just him, it’s the Momentum crowd, and they make way for a more forward looking group of people and we get back to a situation like 30 years ago when the Labour Party pulled itself out of the abyss,” he said.
“Or it could be they stay put and the party just can’t continue to function and it fragments.”
Cable said the “logic” of Corbyn “digging in indefinitely” and staying on as leader would see the “moderates” and some of the pro-Remain Labour MPs leaving the party. “I can’t see how they can possibly stay,” he said.
“New Labour was something which could have been built on. But it could now go backwards – it could go backwards to oblivion if Corbyn doesn’t go after the election.”
If that happens, he says there would have to be a new party, which he would support: “I would have to because this isn’t the party I’ve known, the party I’ve believed in.”
But Corbyn has said he will stay on, and rightly so. He has the backing of the vast majority of membership and has survived countless attempts to remove him. He has brushed off lies and abuse from the media, the establishment and the Blairite wreckers in his own party on a daily basis – the sorts of which would have caused a mental breakdown in those less steely minded.
The whole capitalist establishment are desperate to remove Corbyn because his programme presents a challenge and confrontation with British capitalism, despite its mild reformist measures by historical standards.
UPDATE 13:25: Literally minutes after publishing this post at midday, right-wing Blairite MP Frank Fields claims MPs could form “People’s Labour Party” if Corbyn seeks to stay on after election defeat:
Any group that is sufficiently large could seek to be classed as the official opposition and apply for the funding granted to parties outside government, known as Short money. They could approach one of the “big beasts” on the backbenches to be the figurehead for their group.
“We’ve got to actually remake the Labour party,” Field told Politico while campaigning in his Birkenhead constituency…
The idea faces several obstacles, however, including the question of whether any new group in parliament could win a official recognition and funding, following an application to John Bercow.
“Then we must get the Short money,” Field said.
“If it’s not surrendered, and we have a majority in the parliamentary Labour Party, we should go to the courts to get it, and get the speaker to accept that our candidate is the leader of the opposition.”
The establishment are looking towards the recent French presidential election and to replicate the victory of Macron, whose ‘centre’ (i.e. pro-EU, neoliberal) movement En Marche (on the move) was a right-wing split from Hollande’s Socialist Party. But let’s remember that Macron only succeeded because a) the Left vote was split in the first round, and b) it was him or the crypto-fascist Le Pen in the second round! Macron’s success will be short-lived as he continues to carry out the same right-wing policies that Hollande’s extremely unpopular government did.
What the ruling class are afraid of is not Labour’s manifesto as such but the movement of millions of workers and young people rallying behind it and looking towards ‘socialistic’ solutions to the problems we face. In turn, these people can be won to a genuine revolutionary socialist programme on the basis of a Marxist analysis and framework. That’s why Marxist World supporters are involved in the Labour Party and aren’t sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to ‘blow over’. Right now the fight is in the Labour Party and all class-conscious workers, youth and socialists should get stuck in.
Despite the intentions of the ruling class, a right-wing split from Labour would actually be an enormous advantage for socialists– even if, in the short term, it reduced Corbyn’s Labour to only 30-40 MPs in parliament. Firstly, the bulk of the membership would stick with Corbyn as shown by his mass support in both recent leadership elections. Indeed, it might even attract new members because they would see a more united party, with the hated Blairites completely exposed for what they are. Secondly, it would mean the Left could relatively easily wrestle control of the Labour apparatus from the Right, who would largely be absent. Thirdly, the Trade Unions – under pressure from their membership – would mostly back Corbyn’s Labour and hence it would continue to have a social and financial base.
We do not know what the outcome of the election will be on the 8 June, although Labour’s support has only been increasing as the days and weeks go by. So comrades, rally round Corbyn – vote Labour in England and Wales and let the Blairite wreckers expose themselves. Things are just warming up – let’s build the forces for socialism!