Britain: A right-wing coup targets Corbyn

On July 2, tens of thousands of people marched across Britain in support of Jeremy Corbyn.

The vast majority of British Labour MPs — 81% — and their accomplices in the country's liberal media are attempting a coup against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The veteran socialist MP was elected by Labour's members only nine months ago with the largest mandate ever won.

He won because he had set himself apart from other Labour politicians throughout his decades in office by his commitment to working class interests — and especially by voting against the Tory's attack on the poor last year while 184 Labour MPs (88%) abstained.

Corbyn also voted against the Iraq War while his most prominent opponents in Labour were strongly in favour. He has also been a politically courageous advocate of Palestinian rights.

To have such a genuinely left-wing, anti-war leader at the head of a party that Tony Blair led to perpetrate the worst crime of the 21st century was going to be a huge challenge. A determined group of Blairite MPs have teamed up with the establishment media to attack Corbyn since the day he was elected.

Incidentally, anywhere from 500,000 to a million Iraqis would be alive today if anything resembling the shadow Cabinet mutiny against Corbyn had taken place against Blair. Then again, thanks to the establishment media, the British public has no clue about the death toll from that gruesome crime.

The politically and morally defunct David Cameron — the Tory leader who has already announced his resignation after the Brexit vote — also made an empathic appeal for Corbyn to resign.

Immediately after Corbyn was elected, in an effort to be inclusive and take away a pretext for a coup, Corbyn reached out to the faction of Labour that he had just crushed in the leadership election and gave many of them shadow Cabinet positions. They used those Cabinet positions to undermine the party's message.

Perhaps the most dramatic example was right-wing Labour MP Hilary Benn's speech in support of bombing Syria, which was joyously applauded by Tory MPs.

As Labour MP and staunch Corbyn ally Diane Abbott put it: “This is not the PLP (Labour MPs) versus Jeremy Corbyn; this is the PLP versus the membership.”

The right's strategy of staggered shadow Cabinet resignations, a rushed secret ballot vote of no-confidence by Labour MPs, and the liberal media's pressure were supposed to have made Corbyn resign by now.

A large proportion of the hundreds of thousands of new members whom he had inspired to join the party were to be driven away in disgust with Corbyn's betrayal. But Corbyn has held admirably firm and challenged the PLP to convince the members to vote him out.

Recent polls of the membership illustrate that Corbyn might very well slaughter any opponent in a leadership election. His enemies have no popular challenger and appear to have bet the farm on getting Corbyn to resign.

Their plan B, if you can call it that, would be to keep him off the ballot in any new leadership contest through legal chicanery — an even more repugnant attempt to win ugly.

Plan C may be to hope they can demoralise Labour members into voting against Corbyn. They may use the media to weaken Corbyn's support among Labour voters and hope it erodes his support among members.

However, recent polling of Labour voters (not only members) shows solid opposition to Corbyn resigning. Moreover, Corbyn's stunning leadership win months ago should have taught them the risks of overestimating the media's power.

Whatever rationalisations Labour MPs used to justify taking part in the coup attempt against Corbyn, or for abstaining rather than voting against Cameron's attacks on the poor, or for failing to launch any such mutiny against Blair to prevent the supreme international war crime, the truth is they do not offer a remotely adequate challenge to the rise of xenophobia and racism.

Nobody should scratch their heads over the rise of the far right when real progressive alternatives are relentlessly ridiculed and undermined.

Corbyn campaigned for the Britain to remain in the EU. Overall, the progressive case for voting to remain was stronger than the case against.

Corbyn made the case honestly and effectively, without glossing over the EU's grave shortcomings. He refused to even wink at xenophobia as Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee pilloried him in two recent op-eds for not doing.

If Corbyn wins a new leadership election, he should reorganise the party so that members need no longer fear being sabotaged. If his enemies believe in their popularity and self-professed political acumen, they should have no problem sweeping to power with another party.

Political courage is rare even in politicians who have decent impulses. If standing up to establishment vilification and ridicule were easy, the world would be a radically different and better place.

Thus far, Corbyn demonstrated such courage in spades by simply saying that his foes must oust him in a leadership election in which he is a candidate. His supporters rally in the streets while his foes rally establishment pundits and journalists.

A struggle for meaningful democracy is largely a struggle against the establishment media. Anyone who does not share the media's contempt for democracy and the left can only hope Corbyn continues to stand his ground.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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