We seem to be in a period when the Labour Party will, again, start pretending that it can protect people from the ravages of a crisis-ridden capitalist system.
This is a place to collect arguments and articles about the futility of such a project.
The best arguments against the Labour Party will arise when strikes, occupations and street protests start happening - and then the Labour leadership distances itself from them.
But until then, here are some arguments from history:
1. The Labour Party actively supported the First World War and encouraged millions to fight in the trenches of a conflict that led directly to the disasters of Stalinism, fascism and then another World War.
2. In 1929, the Labour Government introduced labour camps for the unemployed:
See a fascinating documentary on these labour camps HERE.
3. In 1945 the Labour Government did introduce the welfare state. But the welfare state was also advocated by many other politicians. This was not because they were sympathetic to the Labour Party, but because capitalism required a healthy workforce and, as the influential Tory, Quintin Hogg, said: ‘If you do not give the people social reform they will give you social revolution.’
4. The leader of that 1945 government, Clement Attlee, also authorised the dropping of the US atomic bombs on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (F.Williams, Twilight of Empire p71-4, K.Harris, Attlee p278)
The Attlee Government then manufactured the first British atom bombs and set up NATO.
5. In the 1970s, the Labour Government imposed severe cuts in both wages and welfare and oversaw the reintroduction of mass unemployment - so beginning the process of ‘neoliberal’ austerity that continues until today.
6. Some claim that because Corbyn voted against Blair in Parliament hundreds of times, this shows he will be different from previous Labour leaders. But, in the 1970s, Neil Kinnock voted against his party leaders 84 times and he still shifted Labour strongly to the right when he became leader.† Even the Tory stalwart, Ken Clarke, says that Corbyn is less left-wing than Michael Foot.†
7. Others claim that a Corbyn-led Labour Party will energise people and create ‘space’ for activists to organise. But the reality is more likely to be comparable to what happened in London in the 1980s when people kept looking to Ken Livingstone's administration rather than taking action themselves. The result was demoralisation when Livingstone backed down from confronting Thatcher over tube fares and local rates.†
Then, when Livingstone became Mayor, he did everything the City of London wanted, including opposing tube strikes and repressing street protests.† Significantly, Corbyn has now employed the same spin-doctor as Livingstone.†
8. Still others claim that the Labour Party could become the new Syriza. This is a more likely outcome but hardly a good one. Again, Syriza persuaded people not to take action themselves but to look to politicians to protect them from EU-imposed austerity. These politicians then betrayed every single one of their promises.
As the Syriza leftist, Stathis Kouvelakis, now belatedly admits:
‘The whole negotiation process [with the EU] by itself triggered passivity and anxiety among the people and the most combative sectors of society, leading them to exhaustion.’