20 October 2015

Antistatist think tank on Jeremy Corbyn

The Blog

How should left-wing antistatists and anarchists see Jeremy Corbyn, current Leader of the Opposition in the UK, who is considered "hard-left" in the media?

Looking at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) for commentary on Corbyn, you'll find only three articles mentioning his name right now. This is understandable, considering that Corbyn is a fairly new political animal for most people in the information media since his rise to leadership of the Labour Party.

Views at the the think tank, however, vary between quite enthusiastic support and expectations of severe disappointment to come if Corbyn doesn't turn out to be as radical as his supporters and detractors both claim him to be. The character of Jeremy Corbyn as someone who continually maintains his principles and fights for the public good against all the odds is not questioned, however, by either of these two competing viewpoints.

C4SS commentators Derek Wall and Kevin Carson both concurred that Jeremy Corbyn's success was a sign of progress. On 4 October, International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales Derek Wall, who knows Jeremy Corbyn, wrote at C4SS that he was "amazed" by Corbyn's success, pointing out that Corbyn was far from a mainstream figure and was "more popular with Greens than his own party".

Also mentioning Corbyn in his response to Wall - which was not directly concerned with Jeremy Corbyn but with points of political theory - Carson gave the following commentary:
I see a great deal of promise in Corbyn’s distinction between state and social ownership — perhaps even some hope of a partial move back towards Colin Ward’s vision of public services organized around mutuals and friendly societies instead of government and corporate bureaucracies.
An earlier article published at C4SS, however, quotes another anarchist blog at length, questioning whether Corbyn will really change anything in Britain's political landscape. Blogger Pete James from Whatever-ism had predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would disappoint his supporters in the way Syriza had disappointed the Greek people after promising to defeat austerity.

The above skepticism mirrors a similar view advanced by leading American social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein, stating that elections have little impact on the world-system. Wallerstein also weighed in on the inherent weakness of national governments in challenging a historical social system like capitalism, which is ultimately how Greece was defeated by the interests of European and international bankers.

However, with the UK being a major financial player in the world-economy and linked integrally to the US, the threat from a Corbyn-ruled Britain to the capitalist historical system would be much more severe than anything from a peripheral European country like Greece. Wallerstein himself also described Corbyn's success as part of a global revival of the political left.

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