The message Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign needs to take to the British working class
There is a fundamental difference between the democratic values social democracy has historically furnished and passed on from generation to generation for more than a century, to the democratic values bourgeois democracy has thus far stood upon and has used to pacify and conceal the reality of oppression in modern society. Our democracy is that of social responsibility and political engagement while theirs is the breeder of apathy, social disassociation and resentment.
It is the values of political representation and the struggle against individualism that have shaped social democratic parties and trade unions historically into promoting a democracy in direct opposition to that of bourgeois democracy. It is the center notion of the vote being a direct result of political participation in collective processes, of constant production of ideas and political positions and resulting into the further participation as a means to protect and constantly politically influence the end result; against the notion of a voting culture that perpetuates the individual’s sentiment to pass over the political responsibility to whichever the political result of that vote might be, our voting culture, the culture that emanates from the existence of a class society and the political hunger to overrule it, gives breeds social responsibility strengthening and legitimizing the connection between the individual and the outcome of a collective vote.
It is therefore with great displeasure that one witnesses the manner the labour movement, organised both inside and outside the Labour party, has reacted to Jeremy Corbyn’s resent success in securing a run for the leadership of the Party. With no expectance every organization that orbits the Labour party and the movement itself has pointed to the great opportunity the Party’s current voting system presents to Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign in making the possibility of securing votes from individuals that choose to become ‘supporters’ rather than members by paying an one off fee of three pounds, becoming thus eligible to vote in the election. Trade union leaderships have come forward embracing the idea of their members becoming Labour party ‘supporters’ in order to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, and Party members propagate on similar lines; all seemingly forgetting that it was through the democratic values of socialist democracy that Jeremy Corbyn achieved this left’s presence on the ballot paper; that it was under the pressure of members that consistently populate their ward and constituency meetings, that Labour MPs cast their nomination in favor of Jermy Corbyn. It was the political weight of these democratic organs of the Party that forced the issue. The message of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign is more important than the actual victory. If the British working class wants a left leader of ther party then it must act as a class and act upon its obligation to propagate and support such an electoral result with its daily political presence and active participation in the party’s wards and constituencies. Only then would such a victory be meaningful, accountable and pragmatic in its effort to create a political change. Without the presence of the working class such a victory would be vacant in political substance and distant from those that voted for it. In the absence of a grassroots support Jeremy Corbyn will stand alone in the far distance with his program only coming across as an echo of a distance voice and only exist as a political shadow of what could had been.
Opportunism, sectarianism , individualism, petty bourgeois characteristics that are found in the core of every Marxist, Trotskyist organization in Britain and drive their political outlook. To them the process is irrelevant, the conditions of the class struggle are only expressed from within their organizational boundaries and their influence rather than the ability of the working class to produce culture, political ideas and ideals and thus leadership that represents such manifestations and is accountable to it; the ability to operate as a class rather than individuals operating as an extension of the petty bourgeois sentiments filtered through the media or coming from the other social spectrum emanating from sectarian organizations. The vote in our democracy is not an anti-vote, but a vote for much more. It is a conscious vote rather than an emotional burst of political unawareness. The sectarians will stand on their high ground regardless of the result, observing the events as a social experiment and seek to gain from it. In the case of a victory by temporarily moving closer to the party and pointing at the ineffectiveness of the victory; in the case of the defeat by once more proclaiming the party’s death and the need for something new. In the end they will once again play their parasitical role in the continuation of the working class’ political isolation.
In return for the limitation of the trade union bureaucracies’ grip on the Party’s highest decision making organ and ultimate expression of democratic centralism, the prominence and importance in policy making of the Labour party’s conference was diminished by the introduction of ‘one member one vote’. Today this process has been taken further with non members, ‘supporters’, having the right to vote in the party’s leadership contest. The power struggle between trade union bureaucracies and the parliamentary party has seen the gradual undermining of the grassroots’ political influence. It was an attempt to shift power to the parliamentary labour party while at the same time and through their propagation for their democracy weakening the role of the constituency labour parties and the conference. It was the same argument the British establishment used against trade union memberships in forcing the one member one vote for strike action balloting and thus belittling the power of the democratic committees and organs that existed on the ground, creating a political gap between the membership and the leadership and empowering union bureaucracies more than ever before. It was an argument in which the left failed to take a class position resulting in the working class witnessing the emergence of a political gap that is ever present as a consequence of the diminishing political gravity of the party’s democratic organs. Without these organs being at the core of any electoral result or decision making process, the outcomes stand away from the ability of the membership to constantly be in a political position to critically check and challenge their development, thus forcing accountability and providing legitimacy that will drive further political participation and production of ideas. With these forces being precisely that which provide workers the ability to shape class identity and culture. As for the trade union leaderships, they will urge trade unionists to take part in the process, but in a manner that will not undermine their importance in the relationship between their members and the Labour party; urging therefore to become individual political orbiters of the Labour party entrenched in political inactivity, rather than participate in a substantial and meaningful way.
The failure of the past in capitulating to the petty bourgeois notion of democracy must not be continued. Let it be known that there is our democracy; and on that we seek to transform society. The message is by far more important than any empty victory. The message of our democracy must be at the forefront of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. Our democracy, our values, our culture. On these we build, on these we become more than individuals living under the illusion of bourgeois democracy; on these we become a class and a people striving for our democracy.