Letters from an encouraged Corbynite #13

Nick Cohen has penned an article in the Observer which is bizarre even by his extraordinary standards. Essentially, Nick seems upset that the Labour Party has made itself electable and that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have successfully, after two years of irresponsible and anti-democratic behaviour by some in the PLP, imposed a measure of discipline and responsibility upon the more fractious of his ranks, even establishing a measure of pragmatic unity over Europe.
He certainly hits the ground running when he says that: “Labour’s new leaders and Labour’s new members appear incompatible” when in fact, the picture is that they are more compatible than at any time in living memory, the whole point surely about the events of the last two years, but why let the truth get in the way of a good aphorism? He then seems to accuse the very people most opposed to Saudi Arabia and most active demanding it be held to account over Yemen (we were on protests about it last week, Nick, were you?) of being apologists for the country whose actions we so vociferously condemn.
He then meanders through mentions of Nazism (the refuge of the evidence-free scoundrel), Britain First and the Ku Klux Klan, the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party in a gloriously nonsensical multi-smear, inflating one man’s plea for George Galloway to be readmitted to the party into a thunderous condemnation of all things Left.
Then it is on to the ‘Brezhnevian regime’ in Cuba, Iran and Saddam Hussein’s ‘national socialism’ in Iraq.
The problem with all this is that it ignores real politicians’ true records. It was politicians of the Left such as Corbyn who supported protests against Saddam Hussein prior to the Iraq War. I am afraid right wingers were nowhere to be seen when socialists were protesting about the bombing of Halabjah. That terrible Mr Corbyn then had the temerity to be absolutely right that the West should not rush at breakneck pace into the most damaging foreign intervention since World War Two.
Nick then wants us to act as if every country in the world is a developed capitalist democracy, but what if it isn’t? Do you ignore them until they are? Politicians engage with all kinds of regimes that are not capitalist democracies and all kinds of movements that are quite dissimilar to Hamstead and District Green Party. On rare occasions you boycott regimes over specific issues (South Africa over apartheid for example). More commonly, you engage with them. Heaven forfend, you might call them ‘friends’ as Mrs Thatcher did when she harboured that nice Mr Pinochet or when Mrs May popped over to hobnob with Saudi princes just as they reduced Yemen to rubble.
Then there is the greatest of the Left’s crimes, its ‘Leninism.’ Now some of my old friends on the outside left might want more Leninism, but Mr Corbyn is a long-standing parliamentarian. He keeps getting elected by his constituents, his party grassroots and soon his country. His speeches are not peppered by references to democratic centralism or the renegade Kautsky. I don’t remember him arriving at the Finland station to change his party’s approach or organising the taking of the Winter Palace. All of this was done constitutionally through the monitored use of various ballot boxes and not those at the Stalybridge Soviet either. Still, facts don’t slow Nick in his intemperate, multi-faceted ranting. You see- and he says this endlessly in his incoherent essay- we socialists don’t understand. Oh, I see, it is our incomprehension that is our most damning flaw. Of course. The scales are tumbling from my eyes. Our political strategy is impractical. The country can’t afford it. It is dreaming, fantastical, quite incredible. The only trouble, he says, in his peroration, it might just put Corbyn in charge of the UK.
At this point my brows are entirely beetled. If our political approach is impractical and fantastical, why Nick are you so worried it might just get us elected?

The song of Boris Johnson

Me, me, me, me, me, MEEEE!
Me, stabba, backstabba, frontstabba,
me, Boris, Boris, MEEE!
Me, hate Tree, me, hate Phil-eeeee,
me, stabba, backstabba, frontstabba,
been a bit remain,
left a bit of a stain,
got to be a leava,
quite relieve-ahh!
Me, me, me , me, me, MEEEE!
Me, ho, ho, he, he, ha, ha,
cuddly, fluffy,
Boris, Boris,
ain’t he a larf?
Me, me, me, me, me, MEEE!
Me, stab, backstabba, frontstabba,
Knocks over kiddeess,
wears dirty skiddees,
me, Boris, Boris, MEEE!
Love to wreck a restaurant,
wealth I love to flaunt,
want to be a leada,
ruthless kind of bleeda,
Me, me, me, me, MEEEE!

Where to buy Winds of October

Here are two links via which you can purchase Liverpool Labour movement activist Alan Gibbons’ new novel, Winds of October, set against the background of the Russian Revolution.

Publisher’s link:



Amazon link:




Letters from an encouraged Corbynite #11:

Letters from an encouraged Corbynite #11:

A sign of the difficulties Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents have dealing with his rise and, much more importantly, the emergence of the movement around him, is the way they constantly shift their line of attack. The initial allegation was that he was unelectable. Unfortunately for those who put forward this view, Corbyn won two leadership elections and came close to winning Theresa May’s snap General Election, adding ten per cent to Labour’s vote share. Opponent Jess Phillips today admits in the Times that she nearly drove off the road when she heard the exit poll. Jeremy had, after all, saved her seat. There is a strong and plausible argument that Labour would have won had some of his internal critics not opposed him so vociferously.
They say he is too dogmatic then, in the same breath, too pragmatic. He is said to be too firmly attached to the principles of socialism, but too flexible about Europe. Here, there is an argument that his very pragmatism has been positive. People who say Labour should have been an insistently pro-EU, pro-second referendum party would do well to look at the performances of the Liberals and SNP in the election.
Then there is the pressure point approach. You choose an issue and employ the mass media and internal opponents to make it the latest moment of shame: Venezuela, Hamas, Ireland, allegations of anti-semitism, Traingate. The latest wheeze, a regurgitation of a theme that has run and run, is that ‘Corbynism’ is a cult, his supporters unthinking drones wailing ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ This view is pressed today in Murdoch’s Times. Columnist Nigel Farndale, a thinker of quite monstrous inadequacy, bemoans the fact that he was once virtually kidnapped to go on a Young Communist League trip to Russia. Yes, you guessed it, he sees parallels with today’s Corbynistas. Mr Corbyn’s support is made up of nineteen-year-old, wet-behind-the-ears Komsomol Pioneers who will one day grow out of their infantile obsession.
Poet, actor, novelist and performer extraordinaire Benjamin Zephaniah answers this nonsense well in today’s Guardian: ““It’s not about being a Corbyn fan. It’s not about the cult of personality. Corbyn is not even, in my view, a very charismatic speaker. People laugh at him sometimes, and say he sounds like a teacher, and he does, but what he says makes sense. It’s not about worshipping him; it’s about being desperate for something different. In terms of mainstream politics, he’s the best thing that’s happened here for a long time.”
This article, patient, considered and sensible, is the answer to the frothy nonsense of the anti-Corbynistas. Yesterday, these intellectual inadequates were opining in endless column inches that May would win the General Election by between sixty and one hundred and ten seats. She would annihilate the Labour Party for a generation. Instead, Labour became more electable than it has for years and in a manner continental left parties envy, leaving May dead in the water and the psephologists and armchair experts in Highgate, Hampstead and Hampshire looking rather silly.
Like many others, I joined the Labour Party because of Corbyn’s leadership bid. I have attended three of his mass rallies. The chants of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ are fun, often self-deprecating. His speeches are policy-driven. His appeal is based on a revolt against austerity. Few of the people I know who flooded into the Labour Party are starry-eyed or prone to cult worship. They are people who want an honest, policy-driven and consciously socialist politics. They were delighted with the Manifesto which, with some refinements, could see the party in office quite soon. Many criticise this or that aspect of the Corbyn project, but defend the movement fiercely because it is a break from caution, compromise and neoliberalism.
One final myth. During the last leadership campaign, Corbyn’s opponent Owen Smith said Jeremy was a campaigner, not a man whose attention was fixed on winning a General Election. That view looks pretty silly now.

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For Heather Heyer

This is what the mother of Heather Heyer said

About her daughter.

She said: somehow I almost feel that this is what she was born to be,

a focal point for change.

Nobody is born to hate

So Heather took a stand against hatred.

Nobody is born to see their fellow human beings

As other just because

Of the colour of their skin.

So Heather was in that street

With people as diverse

As the flowers in the field

To take a stand against racism,

Against fascism.

We will remember Heather Heyer

The best way we can, by taking our own stand

Against hatred,

By taking our own stand against racism,

Against fascism,

Because we are as diverse

As the flowers in the field.

We will remember what the mother

Of Heather Heyer said

About her daughter

Because this is what we were born to be,

Focal points of change.