Corbyn and struggle for material resources of government

Submitted by Lionsafterslumber on August 2, 2016

If Corbyn is re-elected Labour leader and even as prime minister, while potentially Blairites are still present within the party, there will likely be a physical conflict over the material resources of government: buildings, office space, etc. I may be wrong but it seems like there is a real issue here about who will take part in this struggle on either side. Would it be a feasible idea that a black bloc could be arranged to secure these resources for Corbyn? But done so of course in return for a policy of nationalisation that rejects directorships, democratises the board that runs industries, and enables co-operatives to run social housing and the like.

Serge Forward

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Do you disagree that there will be a conflict for material resources with Blairites?

Noah Fence

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why would anarchists want to do anything to support the leader of a capitalist party or a government?

Serge Forward

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Do you disagree that there will be a conflict for material resources with Blairites?

It's possible. But why would we be interested in defending a leftish faction of the Labour Party against a rightist faction? Why should we, as libertarian communists, be interested in nationalisation or the democratisation of the board of any prospective nationalised industries (should Corbinism actually get anywhere)? I think you're asking the wrong people and have a misunderstanding of the general political orientation of Libcom users and what this site is all about. Feel free to have a look round though.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was careful to stipulate that it would be nationalisation that rejected directorships, facilitating therefore much more worker horizontal self-management. More broadly, there was a proposal from the RMT union for publicly run railways where the industry was run by a board: a third of which would be elected by workers, and a third by passengers. The remaining third would be reserved for Government representatives. This would allow for common solutions that would benefit those who worked on and used the railways, as well as keeping in mind the long-term interests of society as a whole. Co-operatives running social housing would also replace the former bureaucratic handling of council housing which later enabled Thatcherite selling of such housing under the appeal of personal control. While of course not the end goal, this modified socialism with a focus on 'social ownership' and the injection of more horizontal forms of self-management as compared to directorships, could only be a good thing for an anarchist movement that would feed off the limited but significant cultivation of the ability for democracy, and perhaps the generated yearning for more.

S. Artesian

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What makes anyone think that Corbyn would want, accept, tolerate an extra-juridical, extra-legal, external to the party, "seizure" of property by the so-called "black bloc." Has he proposed seizing property anywhere? Taking anything, without compensation, without the backing of parliament, from the City, from any portion of the ruling class?

Doesn't seem to be in Corbyn's MO, does it? Sounds worse than wishful thinking to me. Sounds like magical thinking.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Then who is going to secure party property for the Corbyn faction of Labour?

Noah Fence

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lionsafterslumber

Then who is going to secure party property for the Corbyn faction of Labour?

This is not the place to asked this question. We are anarchists, this is meaningless to us.
Why not email Jezza? He'd be better placed to answer your question.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As Chomsky says: "in my opinion the immediate goal of even committed anarchists should be to defend some state institutions, while helping to pry them open to more meaningful public participation, and ultimately to dismantle them in a much more free society". This certainly corresponds with what ive suggested above in terms of a modified nationalisation

factvalue

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes. Chomsky's not an anarchist.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sounds like all of you are adopting a false dichotomy of massimalism or minimalism. We should understand them as non-conflictual, and that they should form simultaneous arms of struggle at different levels. In other words slow reform can and could actually be necessary for the coexistance with effective and expanding off-grid bottom up activism and initiatives.

Noah Fence

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lionsafterslumber

Sounds like all of you are adopting a false dichotomy of massimalism or minimalism. We should understand them as non-conflictual, and that they should form simultaneous arms of struggle at different levels. In other words slow reform can and could actually be necessary for the coexistance with effective and expanding off-grid bottom up activism and initiatives.

Ok, I guess you're right. Roll on the next election so I can cast a vote. Hopefully the natural law party will be standing in my constituency - they have as much chance of helping the working class as the RULING CLASS CAPITALIST Labour Party but at least I'll learn to fly and with bubbling bliss being in short supply these days you gotta get it where you can.

https://youtu.be/438UKM1Av1g

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What a ridiculous straw man with that natural law party bullshit. Getting back to the actual debate, at what point did I say nationalisation of any form was the end goal or even place focus on voting? Pressuring for nationalisation without directorships, generating more horizontal worker self-management, and for boards granting participation to the public and workers in decision making on industry, and for co-operatives replacing the bureaucratic handling of council housing, all constitutes reform that would nevertheless start to cultivate the human nature and the yearning for pure anarchist democracy. Anarchists should not pretend that the actual conditions shaped by the balance of power between state and capital play no part in the likelihood of building an effective anarchist movement of direct action, and more specifically we shouldn't reject the potential catalysing significance, while being insufficient, of carving out a particular form of nationalisation and social housing etc.

Noah Fence

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Aw come on, lighten up already, I was just fooling around. Maybe others will disagree but in my view engaging with the ruling class when your basic political position is the desire to destroy them is just plain fucking daft. Dress it up how you will but it's clear enough to me you're barking up the wrong tree.

Natural Law Party a straw man. That's fucking priceless.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The video did make me laugh! But while a joke it was still implying I was talking absolute nonsense when this is a legitimate debate within anarchist circles. I still believe its highly problematic for anarchists to think the conditions shaped by the balance of state and capital power and potential nature of participation via the state are irrelevant to the cause of ultimately smashing the state and capital. It does strike me as naive to think that somehow enough people will turn to direct action and for that to be effective no matter what the context is, brutal neoliberalism or insufficient but potentially catalysing socialism with a modified nationalisation and co-operative control of things like council housing. There is also a concrete economic/sociology of work problem. Worker self-managed industries in Argentina, for example, while of course a brilliant thing to establish more democratic workplaces, suffer from the fact that collective decision-making is weakened by their the need to compete in the market as it leads to a centralisation of workplace power. Therefore the insufficient and ultimately antagonistic bandage of the state from the logic of profit would enable in the short term the development of a more powerful subjectivity for direct democracy within a particular form of non-directorship, (partly) democratised industrial board nationalisation and co-operative control of other institutions, a subjectivity that would then be turned against the state. Without engaging in any of this seems ridiculous.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"The lessons from the Bolivian experience are that WSM in a single sector (mining) is vulnerable if it does not form alliances with other popular sectors; that a Popular Constituent Assembly without the backing of the state or of popular militia is vulnerable to a coup. The third lesson is that the statification of worker-controlled factories may result in petit-bourgeois technocrats and bureaucrats taking control away from the workers and centralizing it in the state apparatus, and running the public enterprise like a capitalist firm".

Taken from an article on libcom...

Spikymike

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is the first time I've heard that any of this muddled and persistently failed Trotskyist style programme is ''...a legitimate debate in anarchist circles..'' or in the debates of any other of the various Left, Council or Autonomist communists that post here. It's the sort of dreamy scenario I put together on my own when I voted (twice) in my secondary school mock elections for the Wilson lead Labour Party only to realise soon after that a) it wasn't going to happen and b) it wouldn't undermine let alone replace the dominant state supported capitalist market economy. The left leaning rhetoric of Corbyn and Owen is just that and is a thowback to an earlier era that ignores the realities of modern global capitalism and the current economic and social crisis generated by that.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You think out of brutal neoliberalism of dense pockets of unemployment in deindustrialised communities and the proliferation of precarious work that has depoliticised many from any sort of labour unionism (especially revolutionary syndicalism) is just the conditions that anarchists should face to enact bottom up change, we shouldn't for example think that the revolutionary potential of Ecuador, with it's completely different nature of state power, is favourable http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv13n1/ecuador.htm

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

This is the first time I've heard that any of this muddled and persistently failed Trotskyist style programme is ''...a legitimate debate in anarchist circles..'' or in the debates of any other of the various Left, Council or Autonomist communists that post here. It's the sort of dreamy scenario I put together on my own when I voted (twice) in my secondary school mock elections for the Wilson lead Labour Party only to realise soon after that a) it wasn't going to happen and b) it wouldn't undermine let alone replace the dominant state supported capitalist market economy. The left leaning rhetoric of Corbyn and Owen is just that and is a throwback to an earlier era that ignores the realities of modern global capitalism and the current economic and social crisis generated by that.

A return to conventional welfare state would be unfit for today's global capitalism but things like Universal Basic Income are not unaffordable or otherwise impossible because of the nature of global capitalism as you might believe. UBI would be incredibly significant (as long as we fought against a Charles Murray version that wants to simultaneously collapse public services). It would free people financially and through free time to engage in direct action. To just dismiss any of this because it involves short term engagements with an ultimately antagonistic state is naive.

Spikymike

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

UBI is a false promise which couldn't be delivered in the way that the Left envisages it's benefits though it might serve the Right well in some circumstances. There are several other threads on this site analysing this policy in a critical way if Lions.. want's to discuss this in detail.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

UBI is a false promise which couldn't be delivered in the way that the Left envisages it's benefits though it might serve the Right well in some circumstances. There are several other threads on this site analysing this policy in a critical way if Lions.. want's to discuss this in detail.

I'll have a look at that part of the forum. I guess the disagreement here is that for all of you belive an anarchist movement should never align with pressuring for conditions gained in a BROAD intersection of interests between workers and state, that can in the long term aid in direct action. Seems unlikely that there would never be a case when this is actually a valid pursuit. For example, with increasing automation and declining consumer demand in especially neoliberal countries like the UK, something like UBI will have to emerge for the interests of the system. Should we not engage at all in the nature of what this UBI will be? Let it turn into the Charles Murray vision where potential members of direct action initiatives are left bankrupt and incapacitated by the privatisation of the NHS?

radicalgraffiti

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

if we are in any position to be "securing resources" we should be doing it for ourselves not Corbyn

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Securing material party resources is very very different to then being able to use those offices and buildings as some sort of hub for a libertarian communist society, the latter has no real basis in the current landscape. However, engaging through force from the bottom up to secure resources for Corbyn would provide a glimpse of direct action to the mainstream public who have been attuned only to parliamentary politics. It would place bottom up movements symbolically in the picture and could embolden us to push for demands for worker self-management nationalisation, co-operative control of council housing, and UBI freeing people to engage in more direct action from the chains of precarity, time and material poverty, and curb the emotional draining of people from harsh neoliberal life that inhibits exactly the strategies anarchists promote.

Fleur

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Should Corbyn get elected to Prime Minister, then he would be legally entitled to both the physical materials and the funds allotted to fulfil this function. The same goes for party leader. As ridiculous as the Blairite MPs are, it is highly unlikely that they will be occupying buildings illegally, preventing the legally elected government from doing their job or hoarding the paperclips. You really think that a bunch of ambitious, self-serving politicians are going to risk salaries, jobs and risk arrest for what amounts to theft and obstruction of parliament? It's an absurd idea. They'll just meekly toddle off and start plotting another incompetent coup.

There seems to be no scenario that Labour government would ever need to call on a black bloc to facilitate their work. They would have the full force of the law and the state to enforce their will. I would sincerely doubt that they would want or need actual anarchists anywhere near them, not to mention the unlikely scenario that anarchists would want to risk arrest in order to facilitate the government.

It's a weird fantasy situation. If Corbyn wins the leadership he will be legally entitled to access the Labour Party resources and if he becomes Prime Minister he will have the government funds and spaces, not to mention that if he does become Prime Minister it will be business as usual and all these fantasies people have pinned on him like nationalisation, UBI, building more council houses, blah blah blah, will come to nothing.

I think you may be overestimating Blairite MPs. They're hardly going to go to prison for their principles. They're much more likely to go get a better paying job in the City or the non-profit sector. That's what they usually do when they don't get their way.

factvalue

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's just that there are certain class collaborationist lines which legitimise the system which communist anarchists can't cross, no matter what specious remedial sophistry the ruling classes offer to neutralise the dangers of widening social unrest resulting from the exploitation of labour within their class-dominated economy. Mindless incoherence only exacerbates general social amnesia and deepens the mystification. Reformism has been the most pronounced and damaging flaw in all movements for change. RG is absolutely right: whatever power people haven't taken for themselves is claimed by the state, including states in waiting in the form of political parties.

ajjohnstone

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

However, engaging through force from the bottom up to secure resources for Corbyn would provide a glimpse of direct action to the mainstream public who have been attuned only to parliamentary politics.

Can you define what you mean by "force"

Reddebrek

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Could you explain what you're actually talking about Lions? What exactly do you mean by a physical conflict? Like a coup?

And what exactly do you mean by securing physical party assets? The Labour party offices? The Labour party bank accounts? Its connections to the Mirror and the TUC?

And what exactly do you mean by force, street fighting? an armed occupation of Labour HQ?

And even if you are talking about coups and street fighting, why couldn't Corbyn's momentum be the basis for his own party militia?

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Regional offices and Labour HQ in London is apperently ambigious legally as to who owns them even under Corbyn leadership. Maybe even with legal work the Blairites could take hold of those assets, thought it was worth thinking about http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-party-assets-owns-jeremy-corbyn-leadership-a7121961.html

Reddebrek

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Okay, so all this is a squabble over party real estate, no a hypothetical squabble over party real estate. This is not an issue worth anyone's time including Corbyn himself.

Steven.

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, but I think people are being far too lenient here. The original poster is completely deluded. Black blocks helping battle for control of the Labour Party resources. You what?

Firstly Corbyn isn't going to be winning any elections, and if by some miracle he does, he's going to be implementing austerity like his counterparts in Syriza, Podemos, the French Socialist Party etc., not storming barricades with crusties.

Lionsafterslumber

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The problem with the likes of Syriza was the lack of harnessing outside mass movements. Corbyn seems more committed to (of course in an anarchist ultimate goal sense entirely insufficient) forms of potentially catalysing participation through the state, and even if he wasn't, Momentum could pressure him to. As for specifically some kind of bottom up defence of Labour party infrastructure when the NEC owns it, it's clear the NEC is capable of subverting democracy in opposition to Corbyn and if those assets were stripped and given to the Blairite faction that could be the end of even the above possibility.

jesuithitsquad

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

not storming barricades with crusties.

Thanks. Now I will have this image stuck in my mind all day!

Fleur

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For god's sake, Jeremy Corbyn has been an unremarkable member of the Labour Party since god knows when and isn't even particularly far to the left, although he's been made to look like he is because the PLP has drifted to the right and now occupies about the same place in the political spectrum as the Thatcher government did. And even if he was old labour as we are supposed to believe he is, old Labour was in power throughout most of the 1970s and it was hardly a workers' paradise then.

The massive amount of projection people have put on the man about how he's going to bring about socialism or whatever is beyond ridiculous and most of this stuff that people are swearing is going to happen under a Corbyn government, like nationalising the railways, sorting out the housing crisis, UBI etc is not going to happen. For one thing, no-one has promised these things, or are in a position to do so, give me a break, how are Labour going to form the next government anyway -Scotland's never going back, you know. And also since when do political parties actually come through with their promises after the elections anyway? Answers on a postcard.

Vote if you want, don't vote if you don't want, join Momentum, go to a rally, have a whip round for Jeremy's office supplies, but securing the position of the government is not exactly an anarchist concern. They have law enforcement for that.

So, looking down my list of things I'd be willing to get arrested for - sorry but I can't spot securing funds and nice central London office space, with full communications set-ups, regional offices and a nice fleet of cars to go with, for the use of Jeremy Corbyn and his hypothetical ministers.

Reddebrek

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lionsafterslumber

The problem with the likes of Syriza was the lack of harnessing outside mass movements. Corbyn seems more committed to (of course in an anarchist ultimate goal sense entirely insufficient) forms of potentially catalysing participation through the state, and even if he wasn't, Momentum could pressure him to. As for specifically some kind of bottom up defence of Labour party infrastructure when the NEC owns it, it's clear the NEC is capable of subverting democracy in opposition to Corbyn and if those assets were stripped and given to the Blairite faction that could be the end of even the above possibility.

You don't understand how the Labour party works do you.

For starters the NEC is dominated by Corbyn supporters http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/labours-national-executive-committee

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn MP
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson MP

Treasurer Diana Holland
Opposition Front Bench Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
Opposition Front Bench Jon Trickett MP
Opposition Front Bench Jonathan Ashworth MP
EPLP Leader Glenis Willmott MEP
Young Labour Jasmin Beckett
Div. I - Trade Unions Keith Birch
Div. I - Trade Unions Jim Kennedy
Div. I - Trade Unions Andi Fox
Div. I - Trade Unions Paddy Lillis (Chair)
Div. I - Trade Unions Wendy Nichols
Div. I -Trade Unions Andy Kerr
Div. I - Trade Unions Martin Mayer
Div. I - Trade Unions Mary Turner
Div. I - Trade Unions Jennie Formby
Div. I - Trade Unions Cath Speight
Div. I - Trade Unions Pauline McCarthy
Div. I - Trade Unions Jamie Bramwell
Div. II - Socialist Societies James Asser
Div. II - BAME Labour Keith Vaz MP
Div. III - CLPs Darren Williams
Div. III - CLPs Johanna Baxter
Div. III - CLPs Ann Black
Div. III - CLPs Ellie Reeves (Vice Chair)
Div. III - CLPs Christine Shawcroft
Div. III - CLPs Pete Willsman
Div. IV - Labour Councillors Ann Lucas
Div. IV - Labour Councillors Alice Perry
Div. V - PLP/EPLP Margaret Beckett MP
Div. V - PLP/EPLP Dennis Skinner MP
Div. V - PLP/EPLP Shabana Mahmood MP

Noah Fence

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm starting to think that The Natural Law Party's ideas are not really weird at all compared with the ones being proposed by the author of this thread.

factvalue

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lionsafterslumber, I think you 'd find the Anarchists for Jeremy Corbyn collective more amenable than us narrow sectarians.

Red Marriott

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It is important to remember that Jeremy Corbyn (Peace Be Upon Him) represents true independent working class organisation, such as the Labour Party.

The counter-revolutionary ultra-leftists at "Anarchists for Jeremy Corbyn" will have their day for their mockery will come back to haunt them. We have asked Comrade Jeremy to raise this at the Central Revolutionary Caucus (UK parliament). https://www.facebook.com/Revolutionary-Workers-Proletarian-Party-Marxist-Corbynist-958048834274470/?rc=p

jef costello

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lionsafterslumber

If Corbyn is re-elected Labour leader and even as prime minister, while potentially Blairites are still present within the party, there will likely be a physical conflict over the material resources of government: buildings, office space, etc. I may be wrong but it seems like there is a real issue here about who will take part in this struggle on either side. Would it be a feasible idea that a black bloc could be arranged to secure these resources for Corbyn? But done so of course in return for a policy of nationalisation that rejects directorships, democratises the board that runs industries, and enables co-operatives to run social housing and the like.

There will not be a physical conflict at all. If he is elected then the MPs will shut up and take positions in the cabinet. They might plot to take the leadership off him but that would be an internal thing and they'd probably have the sense to not try it against someone who at that point would have: won a leadership election, defeated a parliamentary rebellion, fought off a leadership challenge and won a general election.
If there were any physical challenge to Corbyn (surely that would be inspiring direct action too!) then he could call bailiffs, cops etc. and who is this challenge from? Are you talking about the Labour party feuding over its resources or are you talking about government buildings etc, in which case you're talking about something approaching a coup, which is pretty unlikely and in the event that anyone tried a coup then black blockers would be cut to pieces.
How big do you think that these black blocs are that they can demand all these things? How many people are you talking about on the streets to achieve this? And nationalistation of industry and housing would cause an international backlash and a complete collapse of the economy. Do you think that the EU and the US will allow the UK to nationalise things without compensation? And if there is compensation then how will they pay it? And more importantly how would that be any different from a business as the money would need to be printed (who would trust it?) or borrowed (who would lend it?) and in the second case which is the only one that is remotely possible then the interest etc would have to be paid, requiring those industries etc to remain profitable, so you would have self-managed exploitation.

Lionsafterslumber

Securing material party resources is very very different to then being able to use those offices and buildings as some sort of hub for a libertarian communist society, the latter has no real basis in the current landscape.

So you want people to fight for resources that they can't use?

However, engaging through force from the bottom up to secure resources for Corbyn would provide a glimpse of direct action to the mainstream public who have been attuned only to parliamentary politics.

Why would we use direct action tactics to defend representative democracy?

Lionsafterslumber

A return to conventional welfare state would be unfit for today's global capitalism but things like Universal Basic Income are not unaffordable or otherwise impossible because of the nature of global capitalism as you might believe. UBI would be incredibly significant (as long as we fought against a Charles Murray version that wants to simultaneously collapse public services). It would free people financially and through free time to engage in direct action. To just dismiss any of this because it involves short term engagements with an ultimately antagonistic state is naive.

A return to the conventional welfare state would be as possible as a universal basic income. Why would the government give an income designed to free people? One of the arguments against the dole was precisely that!
Either UBI would lead to a loss of benefits etc or it would be worthless. (Also no-one has ever explained to me how a leaningful sum of UBI wouldn't lead to rampant inflation, from a combination of extra money in the system (printing money is hardly frowned upon these days but for thee purposes...) and a burst in consumer demand and purchasing power.
In order to have the power to demand a meaningful universal income then you'd need a movement so powerful then you might as well just ask for communism.

You've used the word naive, this is incorrect. You are of the opinion that you can make massive demands of a state that will: grant them to its detriment, not realise that it will lead to more demands, will not react etc. It is not dismissed because it requires a deal with the state (although deals with the state are a bad move, the state only deals when it is in its interest, and, once again, if you think the state in the UK is in such difficulty as to agree to what a few hundred anarchists (at most) ask for then you really need to have a think about the power that it holds If the state made a deal it would be to protect itself and buy time for a counter-attack as pretty much every deal with the state ever has proved.