Thoughts on the movement, or why we still don't even Corbyn - Joseph Kay and Ed Goddard

Registering to vote in the 2016 Labour leadership election raised £4,588,525.

It’s a lonely world these days for an anti-parliamentary socialist with all politics seeming to have taken a back seat to the current Labour Party shenanigans. While the deluge of establishment groupthink currently arrayed on Corbyn is as disgusting as it is cynical, we're still not pinning any hopes on him in the (now quite likely) event he comes out on top in the next leadership election.

Look, it could well happen that the left may, against all odds, take control of the Labour Party NEC and make the party more member-led. That’s something I would have given very long odds on a year or so ago (but then again, the same is true of Leicester City winning the Prem so maybe 2016 is the year for long odds!).

That said, if you think the Labour Right play dirty, wait til you see the CBI, the City of London and the IMF join in while the media dial up the smears to 11. As sneaky and disingenuous as individuals like Tristram Hunt, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith are, they’re all also largely inept and charmless, as their botched coup and embarrassing public appearances demonstrate. They’re like The Orphans in The Warriors, easily rolled over at the start but not nearly as fearsome as the other opponents on the journey back to Coney Island.

The same will not be true as we draw up to General Election time, and even less so if Corbyn were to win; the likelihood he'd be able to pass reforms that harmed the interests of big business, without massive pressure from a disruptive extra-parliamentary social movement, is very slim… all the slimmer for the fact it won’t be Tom Watson playing ‘Good Cop’ to Chuka Umunna’s ‘Bad Cop’; it will be the Murdochs and other ‘captains of industry’ hamstringing even mild social democratic reform through non-cooperation, sabotage and public smears.

Without such a movement, a Corbyn (or any other social democratic) government would not have a leg to stand on. Yet with such a social movement, the role of such a government becomes different: the role will be to mediate and to limit; to separate ‘responsible’ representatives from ‘unruly’ elements and give carrots to the first while doling out sticks to the latter.

Ultimately, extra-parliamentary forces largely determine parliamentary possibilities so even if you want parliamentary reform, it necessitates building grassroots power and a capacity to take disruptive action - strikes, occupations, demonstrations that block transport hubs etc - that such reform will become realisable. And, of course, when such extra-parliamentary forces are forcing reforms, parliamentarism ceases to appear as a ray of hope and becomes an obstacle.

It’s at this point that the usual response is “can’t we do both?”. “Can’t we build an autonomous grassroots working-class direct action movement AND fight to reform the Labour Party into a left-wing electable vote-winning machine?” And the answer to this is: theoretically, yes. But practically there are only 24 hours in a day, two-thirds of which are usually spent either sleeping or working. What has become clear with the recent coup (if it wasn’t already) is that reforming the Labour Party won’t be as easy as paying £3 to vote Corbyn as leader. It means getting involved in your Constituency Labour Party, pressuring your MP, possibly deselecting them, which, as Novara’s recent guide to deselection makes clear, could potentially involve “years of hard work in branches and constituencies across the country”. Which is fine; as the old cliché goes, ‘they wouldn’t call it a struggle if it was easy’. The point is whether the Labour Party is the best place to expend all that energy in struggle.

From our point of view, there can be no ‘UKIP of the left’; pro- and anti-systemic politics just don’t work in the same way like that. But it is worth thinking about how the extra-parliamentary left in Britain could use similar resources to what's currently being chucked into the Labour Party and, in that sense, it's oddly useful looking at the US extra-parliamentary right, with its vast media infrastructure of talk shows, blogs and ecology of organisations. Sure, they’re financed by millionaire/billionaire capitalists and we’re not (nor should we be). But working-class people collectively pay millions into unions, £4.6 million into the Labour Party in 48 hours and donate thousands of hours of voluntary labour into similar organisations. So the resources are there and it’s worth thinking about how an extra-parliamentary social movement could make use of them.

Money isn’t always a limiting factor but it often helps, certainly with media infrastructure, training, equipment and organising events.

In terms of action, it’s all about finding points of leverage:

  • Sisters Uncut have been doing fantastic work around domestic violence and housing. Their recent occupation of an empty council house in Hackney has highlighted cuts to both and created a base for organisation far more quickly than involvement in the Labour Party ever could.
  • Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth have been doing excellent work around housing and building their eviction phone tree. Similar could be said of the recent UCL rent strikers
  • IWW, Solfed and IWGB have all had some decent industrial organising, particularly Solfed amongst hospitality workers in Brighton and the IWGB amongst cleaners and couriers in London (the IWGB have also organised a London Courier Emergency Fund to help ‘self-employed’ couriers when they have accidents and can’t work)
  • There’s also a Black Lives Matter UK group in the works which promises to be very exciting

So what is to be done?

The fact is that outside of a lot of major cities, there isn’t a whole lot of extra-parliamentary direct action organising going on and often it’s the Labour Party/Momentum or nothing. And it’s also obviously a lot easier to get involved or support existing groups than start one from scratch. Given all that, a potential strategy to help isolated groups could look something like this:

1) Build alt-media and social networks; Novara are doing very well at this (despite becoming a bit too Labour-centric for our tastes) as are Media Diversified. The Occupied Times also produce a very high quality print publication. And, er, obviously us at

2) Utilise contacts built through alt-media networks to organise a loose tour of direct action groups around the country aiming not merely to hold meetings but to seed new direct action groups. Would require organisations to put up a few people willing to travel and talk within a given area, pool resources etc.

3) Focus shouldn’t be on building particular organisations but supporting people to organise in a locally appropriate model: if they want to form an IWW branch/Solfed local/Sisters Uncut chapter, then fine. If they want to organise a non-affiliated Solidarity Network or housing action group, also fine

The same concerted effort over years that would go into the Labour Party could instead be used to grow direct action groups in localities across the country.

Obviously, there aren’t 180,000 people itching to get involved in extra-parliamentary direct action; what’s being sketched out here is how a few million quid and thousands of activist hours could help develop a movement separate from the Labour Party, and lamenting all that’s gone into that party (and scepticism over Corbyn more generally) does not mean passively accepting Tory rule. It just means we prefer barking up the right (tall and difficult to climb) tree than the wrong (accessible, appealing) one.

For more tips on how to get involved/start different kinds of organisation, check out:

But more importantly, check out some of the great groups mentioned in this blog post!

This blog post is a padded out version of a thread on Joseph Kay's twitter.


Jul 23 2016 08:28

this should be shared widely. it would be great to have country-specific versions of this, as the same conversation is happening, for instance, in the u.s. (ie sanders supporters discussing how to take over democratic party). not sure i have the time to write it up myself, but would offer a hand to anyone willing to give it a go.

fingers malone
Jul 23 2016 08:46

Ok, money for all those things would be great, and there's nothing wrong with the plan, but....

In my experience of fundraising it's really difficult to raise even a few hundred quid. I have experience of raising money for the hardship pay when we go on strike and it's really difficult, to get small amounts of money takes loads of work. I don't know why people give money to some things more readily than others but there obviously is a reason.

The bigger problem with grassroots direct action is actually more then involvement than the money, and I think it's worth asking some questions about this.

Possibly a big factor is that people really want the 'buzz' they want to feel part of something big and exciting, which is getting media attention and which their friends are talking about and involved in, sometimes grassroots direct action is a really serious slog, with small numbers of people and lots of hard work and it doesn't necessarily give you that hit very easily (sometimes it does, which of course is brilliant.) Grassroots direct action also tends to involve a lot more personal risks, either materially (arrest, sacking, violence) or emotionally (having arguments and confrontations with workmates/neighbours/family, being disapproved of)

Nothing wrong with your analysis or your proposal and I think your tree analogy works but I do think we need to ask more about why the response to grassroots direct action and to the labour party thing is so massively different.

Red Marriott
Jul 23 2016 11:21

This was posted in the other thread; but is related to some points raised here;

This article, though from a Labour leftist viewpoint, does make some relevant points on the ‘Party-as-social-movement’ Corbynist claims;

...When Corbyn was first elected, many people (including myself) believed that given none of the other candidates looked like winning an election in 2020 — particularly after the implementation of pro-Tory boundary changes — it was worth ‘playing the long game’. Only the most naïve thought someone like Corbyn could win an election in the face of a rabidly rightwing media and distorted FPTP electoral system. Rather, this was a ’10 to 15 year project’ — a chance to rebuild Labour from the bottom up, to turn it into a living, breathing ‘social movement’, a 21st century party of the radical left, ready to take power when the next financial crisis hit and the scales fell from Tory voters’ eyes.

The ‘social movement’ argument is the key to understanding why so many people see Corbyn as the only option for Labour, the reason why no other politician in the party is regarded as capable of anything except a collapse into reheated ‘Blairism’ and outright racism (never mind the fact that Jo Cox — targeted by a fascist for her explicit support for migrants — co-wrote an article calling for Corbyn’s resignation a month before her murder, indicating that Corbyn does not have a monopoly on anti-racism within the party). The gargantuan size of the new membership is constantly invoked — 300,000, 400,000, perhaps a million one day! Whatever Corbyn’s failures as a leader — his lack of policy proposals, his tepid public appearances, his catastrophic media management — the fact that so many people are joining the party is a sign that British politics is changing. If only the party could get enough members, enough boots on the ground, it can counteract the power of the media, build concrete connections with local communities and activist groups, and fundamentally shift the terrain of politics — the very meaning of ‘electability’ itself — for good.

That’s the theory. The practice is rather different. My own CLP doubled its membership during Corbyn’s leadership campaign, with 300 people signing up. In the past year, I would generously estimate that perhaps 10 of those 300 has had any concrete involvement with the party (going to meetings, canvassing, delivering leaflets, taking up positions in the local party, running for council). The local Momentum group has had a little more success in turnout, though the majority of people attending were already involved in other campaigns, and the most that has been organised has been a few fundraising socials and the odd pro-Corbyn demo. This indicates that Momentum will be most effective in areas which already have a wide range of activist groups and networks (ie places with a high density of population due to a strong local economy) but far less so in places further away from the urban centres of capital accumulation, where existing political activism is thin on the ground, if not non-existent.

The point here is not to bash people for lack of activity — there are all sorts of reasons why participation might be difficult, from lack of time to the labyrinthine structure of the party rulebook, to the deeply, deeply dull nature of most political work. It is merely to say that simply pointing to the numbers of new members says nothing about the existence or quality of a ‘social movement’. For the vast majority of ‘new members’, joining the party was not a promise of future activity, but a gesture of general support — perhaps similar to signing a petition — for whatever they thought Corbyn as Labour leader symbolised.

In this sense, Corbynism has been (at least up to now) as much of a top-down mediated phenomenon as anything under Blair. It is rather a simulation of a social movement — a form of clicktivism, of gesture politics based on an identification with ‘what Jeremy stands for’. It makes people feel like they are part of a ‘social movement’ without having to engage in the tricky, boring work of actually building one. This is why the figure of Corbyn himself is so vital, why his tenacity in holding onto the leadership trumps questions of whether he is actually able to wield it in parliament. Because if Corbynism actually was a social movement that had developed over time and culminated in, rather than started with, Corbyn’s leadership victory — if Momentum really was the rebirth of Militant, with well-organised new members embedded within their local parties, taking up positions of power, standing for office — then the importance of Corbyn himself would be correspondingly reduced. The fact that everything rides on Corbyn staying in power testifies precisely to the lack, the weakness, of the ‘social movement’ of which he is the supposed avatar. (On a related, if slightly tangential note, this is also why it seems slightly disingenous to frame the exclusion from the leadership electorate of those who have joined in recent weeks specifically to support Corbyn as an issue of ‘party democracy’. Those 200,000 are, at present, merely a segment of unusually vocal and politically engaged floating voters (perhaps from the Greens or 2010-era Liberal Democrats). The idea that the views of someone who signed up online a week ago should be immediately equated with a longterm member who has been delivering leaflets for years is one dripping with entitlement. It is another clicktivist delusion. On the other hand, the bizarre decision to give those who can afford £25 the chance to buy a vote is genuinely outrageous.) ...

Bambuľka kvantová
Jul 23 2016 13:10

Great ideas Joseph!

I was thinking along the same lines since Brexit and the coup. I think Corbynism reflects an understandable mass reaction to decades of weakness and defeats in our workplaces, communities, in the value of our social wage etc. People are flocking into the political arena in huge numbers, because it seems to them like another avenue has been opened, let's give it a go! That's why I am active in Momentum. I just want to explore the potential in this situation, because it's a new situation, so we can't just mechanically apply some lessons from the past. As the materialist saying goes, you don't know the reality's limits before you ACT on the reality... So my only disagreement with you is that I think you've given up on that potential before you've tried to test it out first... I can assure you that there are a few more comrades in Momentum who feel like me and are here to test it out, to advocate for Momentum putting its resources to support autonomous community and workplace campaigns. To the Labour party members we're saying that building an independent strong social movement against austerity and divisions is also good for the Labour party: it will make Corbyn appear the reasonable voice of the Left and his support will grow. Of course, what we are not saying to them is that we actually wish that the class struggle movement overgrows its initial sponsor Momentum and will make Momentum obsolete.
This article is very powerful on that matter (the whole blog is very interesting):

I think Brexit and this Corbynist movement are accelerators. Both UKIP-right and Labour left feel they need to seize the time. The potential next UKIP leader Steven Woolfe seems dangerous to us: working class from Manc, mixed-race (to claim Ukip no racists), has got a good story to tell to the Daily Mail about the new class war of the rich against the poor, and that we need our British dream back: social mobility for the likes him, a mass people's party, welfare state etc... I am mentioning all this just to explain why I feel that time is running out. We are lucky that this country unlike other European countries has no pro-working class far Right party yet, but the project has already been copy pasted here and if UKIP fails, then Aron Banks has got enough money to start anew. (A possible disastrous effects of a possible looney attack(s) on British civilians is another matter, that would make our position yet more dificult again)..

the button
Jul 23 2016 17:20
fingers malone wrote:
I do think we need to ask more about why the response to grassroots direct action and to the labour party thing is so massively different.

As well as the reasons fingers identifies, I think another reason why the Labour Party has the edge in terms of appeal is that it actually exists. Not only that, it exists everywhere, even in Tory heartlands. It's stable, has structures and established ways of doing things -- something that's possible to get involved with.

Other than a few examples, that's not true of grassroots direct action groups, and even then, they're patchy. None has a nationwide presence. So when we invite people to get involved in grassroots direct action politics, we're mostly inviting them to set something up, rather than join something (even if we can offer support to help them do that). And as anyone who has ever set up a group knows, it's hard, and it can take years to get stability in terms of membership and activity. This being the case, it's not hard to see how popping along to your local CLP might be a more attractive proposition.

the button
Jul 23 2016 19:22

Also, anarchists have had it easy for the last 25 years, because the THEY'RE ALL THE SAME argument has been an easy one to make, on the basis of massive programmatic agreement between political parties, and a shared managerialist model of what politics is. So as soon as they're not ALL THE SAME, even when the point of distinction is neoliberalism vs the corpse of social democracy, a lot of erstwhile anarchists have lost their shit.

Serge Forward
Jul 23 2016 19:46

True. That said, I know people who were anarchists back in the 70s (ex-ORA, I think) and who you'd think would know better but have also lost their shit and gone full Corbynista.

Jul 23 2016 19:59
the button wrote:
Also, anarchists have had it easy for the last 25 years, because the THEY'RE ALL THE SAME argument has been an easy one to make, on the basis of massive programmatic agreement between political parties, and a shared managerialist model of what politics is. So as soon as they're not ALL THE SAME, even when the point of distinction is neoliberalism vs the corpse of social democracy, a lot of erstwhile anarchists have lost their shit.

Really good point

the button
Jul 23 2016 20:28
Serge Forward wrote:
True. That said, I know people who were anarchists back in the 70s (ex-ORA, I think) and who you'd think would know better but have also lost their shit and gone full Corbynista.

Was there a similar outbreak of enthusiasm over Bennism, I wonder? I kind of remember Bennism, but I was just a crazy mixed up kid in rural East Yorkshire with a subscription to Black Flag, so I don't really know what impact it had.

Serge Forward
Jul 23 2016 20:41

There was always the odd anarchoid who found a home in the Labour Party or Young Liberals but I don't recall any proper anarcho-communist chucking in their lot with Benn or the LP under the Foot leadership.

the button
Jul 23 2016 20:55
Serge Forward wrote:
There was always the odd anarchoid who found a home in the Labour Party or Young Liberals but I don't recall any proper anarcho-communist chucking in their lot with Benn or the LP under the Foot leadership.

Obviously people are allowed to change their minds about shit, but one of the odder features of this particular debacle has been people who self-define as anarchists joining the Labour Party and still self-defining as anarchists.

This is either the traditional problem of low barriers to entry (i.e. anyone can call themselves an anarchist) or something else. Possibly related to my earlier point about an apparent break in a neoliberal consensus and a definition of anarchism (never articulated but simply assumed) that the name of the game was opposition to a certain kind of capitalism and State power, rather than capitalism and the State *period*. Given that assumption, the opportunity is opened up for some bizarre model of popular front against neoliberalism where you can get involved in party politics and still call yourself an anarchist.

Jul 23 2016 21:01

That's a series of great posts, the button. Well put.

the button
Jul 23 2016 21:04
Khawaga wrote:
That's a series of great posts, the button. Well put.

Ta. I should clearly drink beer more often.

Jul 24 2016 02:37

The only member of the AF I've ever known was recruited while in the Labour party, and yes the guy who helped him join knew about this. He eventually chucked both of them for the SPEW, and was eventually kicked out of that over some issue. The last I saw of him he had attempted to burgle his neighbour.

S. Artesian
Jul 24 2016 01:15

Could somebody please explain what the title of this thread means?

Jul 24 2016 01:39

It's a play on a saying/meme: "do you even lift bro?" or some version of it.

Serge Forward
Jul 24 2016 08:13

And there was me thinking it was just a lost verb typo. You live and learn.

Jul 24 2016 09:26
Could somebody please explain what the title of this thread means?
It's a play on a saying/meme: "do you even lift bro?" or some version of it.

What does "do you even lift bro?" mean?

Jul 24 2016 13:43

Perhaps it's worth reading Bk's response above again for some clues as well, particularly their ''what's good for us is also good for the labour Party'' line and their justification for involvement in Momentum since they otherwise seem to wholeheartedly agree with the originating text of this discussion. That text in some of it's wording, if presumably not it's intent, seemed to potentially mix up a political pro-revolutionary from an openly politically reformist understanding of exactly what we understand about the nature, function and potential of 'reforms' today. Certainly some anarchists still perceive 'austerity' and the current social-economic crisis as purely a result of the wrong government policies and to that extent share leftist illusions in the possibility of a return to something akin to the social-democratic era given enough pressure from below.
Time perhaps to resurrect some of the older discussions on this site under the 'Are Reforms possible' heading as well.

Noah Fence
Jul 24 2016 14:28

Maybe I'm missing something here? Since when have Labour been of the left? It's all relative I guess but FFS, look at these recent quotes from Jezza's right(or should I say left) hand man and chancellor in waiting;

'We are the party of business'

'We are an entrepreneurial party'

Come off it already, this will be the same as ever if they get in. I don't care how genuine Corbyn is, I mean one man against the global capitalist system. LMFAO! The pink faces of the Tory party had far greater potential for creating radicalism than the slimey Labour charlatans since there is no veneer of being for the poor, the workers or whatever. Now Labour come along and hoodwink those that may finally have had enough of all this bullshit and get them right back on side with capitalism and parliamentary people power. Dirty fucking bastards. Christ, I fucking hate Labour!

Edit: Sorry, I realise that my post doesn't much relate to this thread, it's just as soon as I see Labour mentioned in relation to radical politics I go into meltdown and start ranting.

Chilli Sauce
Jul 24 2016 15:57

I don't know Noah, while I totally get your response on a gut emotional level, the Labour party does have an active left-wing contingent and, at times, the Labour party has taken left-wing positions and instituted social democratic reforms.

To boot, there are a lot of solid militants active within the Labour Party and some Constituency Labour Parties and Trades Councils (who are affiliated to the party through the Trade Unions) hold pretty radical positions. Even the Parliamentary Labour Party itself is adept at co-opting class struggles precisely because they're willing to use the language of conflict and social change

Given that, I don't mind chucking the Labour Party in with the left. Rather, I think we're better off having a critique of "the Left" that spans from its social democratic incarnations to its Leninist ones.

Serge Forward
Jul 24 2016 17:19

Steady on with your protesting too much about Labour, Noah. You're showing your blue-rinse roots there fella. While it is a shit party we rightly oppose, Labour does have a radical element and a history of leninist/trotskyist entryism makes it somewhat different from the Tories. Also, thousands of people join the Labour Party because they mistakenly believe it's a way to make the world a better place. Compare this with the many people who join the Tories because they are utter cunts with no redeeming features.

Reddebrek, I'm a bit shocked by your earlier anecdote. PM me with the details please.

Noah Fence
Jul 24 2016 17:48

Chilli old chap, I realise that I don't have a very sophisticated view of this or even a very knowledgable one but after 34 years of studying parliamentary politics in the UK I know what I've seen. The only real change I've noticed is the erosion of workers ability to protect themselves from bosses. This has continued under both Labour and the Tories. I believe that Labour and their cozy back scratching arrangement with the Unions has helped drive this at times.
Ok, so there's good guys in the Labour Party, even radical good guys, well big fucking deal, they're wrong, plain and simple. If someone however well intentioned through stupidity or delusion decides it's a good idea to kick me in the nuts, it's still gonna hurt and I'm going to be hard pressed not to punch them out. And deluded is what these people are if they think they can effect change by jumping into bed with fucking capitalists. In my view that makes them at best a dick and at worst a capitalist collaborator.
Anyways, there are also good guys in the Tory party, some with way more progressive views on homophobia and misogyny that is often displayed on Libcom. Should we then line up with them? Nope, of course not, their overall political view is too far off to connect with them. The same should be true of the radical lefty(lol) members, yes MEMBERS of the CAPITALIST Labour Party. Fuck them all, ok? Except we have to fuck the Tories harder because, er, why? Pure fucking prejudice. We're anarchists right, aren't we aware that the 'left' of liberal democracy is every bit as important to the maintenance of capitalism, as is the right.
Fuck these people, just fuck them, left, right, Labour, Tory, fuck them all. As people, well whatever but the position they take is damaging and counter revolutionary and for that I hate them.

Edit: Lol, cross posted with Serge. You got in too late there comrade. Anyway I'm probably done, I ordered a large bag of bombast from Amazon earlier but until that arrives I'm all out.

Noah Fence
Jul 24 2016 17:58

One more thing though;

Compare this with the many people who join the Tories because they are utter cunts with no redeeming features.

What, and no Labour members joined for their own personal gain? And nobody joins the Tories with honourable intentions? Come on mate, it's way more nuanced than Tories bad, Labour mistaken. I don't have blue rinse roots, I just think that their is hypocracy in the way the two sides of the same coin are viewed.

fingers malone
Jul 24 2016 18:28

Back to this fundraising thing, the cleaners campaign raised thousands for strike pay, and I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that Sussex Uni were successful with online fundraising for their strike fund. So fundraising for direct action isn't impossible.

Possible problems:
Ok I do know that part of the reason my branch have trouble fundraising is because we're not actually very good at it, but if us and loads of other workforces massively raised our game and did effective online fundraising with a paypal account and stuff, wouldn't people quickly get compassion fatigue and ignore us? Isn't there limits on the 'buzz factor' and also isn't there a practical limit on how much spare cash people actually have available that they are prepared to donate to a strike fund?

Just using strike fund for an easy example, the same could be said of HASL or Sisters Uncut or any other DA group that could use the cash.

fingers malone
Jul 24 2016 19:34

I'm not going to go on about strike funds anymore.

So, people like:

joining groups that are already up and running, in their part of the country, rather than setting up new ones

being involved in something that their friends and workmates are talking about and interested in

seeing the thing they are involved with on the telly

being involved in something that is getting bigger, with new people turning up

(these conditions can apply to direct action grassroots politics, I have experience of it myself, in the anti roads movement, in the anti poll tax movement, and also in the miners strike. The crucial factor here is that all these movements were very big.)

more problematically, people also like:

being involved in a way that you feel involved but don't need to actually do much (pay a few quid and you are a LP member, you don't need to ever attend any meetings or do any work)

being involved in something where you don't get thrown down flights of stairs by the police, don't risk losing your job or your liberty, and where you can go to the football at the weekends instead of getting up really early and doing political things.

being involved in something where you don't have to spend years getting good at it and having constant pressure as other people are depending on you not to fuck it up (something that really bothers me as a trade union rep.)

Ok so people like all these things, which is understandable. But what do we do, because direct action grassroots politics can't necessarily be like that?

Serge Forward
Jul 24 2016 19:40
Noah Fence wrote:
One more thing though;
Compare this with the many people who join the Tories because they are utter cunts with no redeeming features.

What, and no Labour members joined for their own personal gain? And nobody joins the Tories with honourable intentions? Come on mate, it's way more nuanced than Tories bad, Labour mistaken. I don't have blue rinse roots, I just think that their is hypocracy in the way the two sides of the same coin are viewed.

Straw man there, pal. I never suggested that Labour wasn't full of self-serving twats. I just can't imagine anyone joining the Tories to make the world a better place. People do join Labour for that reason, however wrong I think they are.

Noah Fence
Jul 24 2016 20:32

Haha! Give em enough rope!!! I think you've hung yourself there matey. Just coz you can't imagine it it don't mean it ain't so. That's as straw a man as anything I've said. Of course some people join the Tories to make the world a better place, just as they join the SWP, the Church of Scientology, the scatty arsed liberal vegan movement or a dozen other things. If you think that everyone that ever joined the Tories is an outright bastard then I really don't know what to say.
And how about my broader points about the effect of Labour?
Come on mate, lets duke this one out! Only this afternoon. On the phone to another Libcommer I said 'I'm really digging Serge at the moment'. Their response was 'yeah, he's straightforward and honest, he isn't a condescending pretentious dick like some people on there'.
High praise indeed, and every word of it true, therefore I'd consider it an honour to have a few rounds of keyboard fisticuffs with you. Be warned though - anything less than a knock out blow will be swept aside with a curt 'oh well, you can't win an argument against prejudice'.

Jul 24 2016 20:35

leftists outside the party almost universally consider labour to be part of the left, although to their right. The idea that labour had fundamentally changed with blair/new labour was quite popular up until Corbyn became leader, which many people saw as an opportunity to "retake" the labour party and shift it back to the left. A lot of people still consider it the parliamentary vehicle of the left.
now this is not a vary good analysis on there part, but if we don't understand this i don't think we can understand the left in the uk

Although i don't like Novaras current focus on the labour party i think the idea that the idea that Bastani was going on about, that the parties in a two party system are coalitions of various different political interests, is basically correct.
So while i was initially inclined to say labour is a the far right of the left, its probably more accurate to say it consists of various centre to right wing leftists with liberals/neo-liberals.

Jul 24 2016 20:39

This is kind of why i don't think morals/ethics are all that useful for understanding politics, especially not when it focuses on the morals of individual people. The private motivations of the members of the tory or labour party, are impossible to determine and tell us vary little about what they do