Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Jeremy Corbyn is a social democrat


One of the most commonly occurring strategies in the mainstream media propaganda war against Jeremy Corbyn is the tactic of painting him, his shadow cabinet and the people who support him as a bunch of extreme-left fanatics.

If you want proof that they're not just consider the response of the Labour Shadow Business Secretary Jon Trickett to the BHS corporate pillaging scandal.
"The Prime Minister laments public cynicism about the corporate sector. But for as long as scandals like Sports Direct and BHS continue to occur, the public are justified in their impression that in Tory Britain 2016 there is one rule for the 1% and another rule for the 99%. Only a fundamental overhaul of corporate governance will restore their faith." [source]
Trickett's response clearly isn't a full scale anti-capitalist condemnation, it's a call for better regulation. Far from being a far-left battle cry, it's actually a classic demonstration of social democratic values.

In reality, hard-left people who have anarcho-communist or Marxist tendencies are extremely dismissive of the social democratic idea that the excesses of capitalism can be mitigated through corporate regulation and socialist policies (like operating health services, public transport and energy infrastructure as not-for-profit public services). Very left-wing people are usually very dismissive of social democracy because they see capitalism as essentially unreformable.

The debate between the centre-left social democrats and the diverse bunch of more left-wing political philosophies that for the sake of brevity I'll lump together as "anti-capitalists" is an interesting one. Both sides have good points to make. The social democratic post-war consensus period (1945 - 1979) saw a blend of regulated capitalism and state socialism. This ideological compromise resulted rising prosperity across all sectors of British society, decades of falling national debt and the longest period of economic stability in British history. It may not have been perfect, but it worked incredibly well while it lasted (that's why it's referred to as the "Golden Age of Capitalism").

On the other hand it is undeniable that the social democratic post-war consensus gradually weakened and was eventually torn down and replaced with the hard-right corporatist Thatcherise ideology that has infected the Westminster establishment club from 1979 to the present. The hard-right Thatcherite ideology resulted in the destruction of Britain's heavy industries and the communities they supported, the fire-sale of countless valuable public assets to private profiteers, severe house price inflation, the financial sector meltdown, ideological austerity and the iniquitous mess we have today. It's possible to argue that as long as socialist policy is only used to mitigate the worst effects of capitalism, then the public will eventually get complacent and hard-right corporatists will seize control and undo all of the good work.


It's certainly fair to argue about whether anti-capitalists have a valid point about capitalism being unreformable. What it's completely unfair to argue is that Jeremy Corbyn, his cabinet, and the majority of his supporters fall under the hard-left "anti-capitalist" banner when they're very clearly 21st Century social democrats (Otherwise Corbyn, McDonnell and Trickett would surely be using the appalling BHS and Sports Direct scandals to call for the overthrow of capitalism rather than better regulation to prevent such scandals happening again).

To anyone with the remotest sprinkling of political literacy, comments like the above quote from Jon Trickett are clear demonstrations of Corbyn's actual position on the centre-left. Such comments make an awful lot of sense to people with social democratic principles (the majority of the UK population), but they clearly don't go anywhere near far enough to appeal to the hard-left "anti-capitalists" they stand accused of being by the right-wing mainstream media propaganda machine.

Conclusion


Next time you hear or read someone talking about Corbyn as if he's a dangerous extreme-left anti-capitalist fanatic, you can be sure that they're either a political illiterate, or if they do know that they're deliberately talking crap, they're clearly taking you for one if they expect you to believe such transparent nonsense.


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