What if? Scenario planning for a Corbyn-led government

A Jeremy Corbyn-led government would inevitably face a variety of challenges as it attempted to implement policies that went against the grain of the last 30 years of neoliberal economics and policy making.

Ending austerity, bringing the railways, water and other utilities back into public ownership, blocking the outsourcing of public services, allowing councils to build social housing, creating an infrastructure bank, restoring the welfare state and curbing financial power are what Corbyn calls the “new mainstream”.

But when placed against the backdrop of the neoliberal policies carried out by Tory and New Labour governments over the last 40 years, they would mark a sharp change of direction that global corporate power and international financial forces would be dead set against.  As Benjamin Noys says in The Bad Enough State: “While this [Corbyn-type programme] might seem reformist we can note … that such reformist demands are revolutionary in the current conjuncture.”

Global economic and financial interests have created an economy that operates through governments and their institutions of power. The capitalist state has fused with the market, embracing neoliberalism as the ideology of this new world disorder.

Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell correctly describe this as a “rigged system” – rigged against the working majority, older people, those who need care and support and people struggling to afford a roof over their heads. But capitalism has always been “rigged” in one way or another. Modifying its behaviour is easier said than done, however, given four decades of corporate-led globalisation.


WHAT IF?
Scenarios for defending a Corbyn-led government
Planning event Saturday, June 30

Proposals from five workshops are here


Nevertheless, any attempt by a Corbyn-led government to curb capitalism and implement anti-austerity policies must be supported even though it should be accompanied by a health warning: big business and the financial markets will inevitably strike back. They will have the support of the UK state, which always put the interests of the capitalist system first regardless of who wins a general election.

As if the forces listed above weren’t enough to contend with, the scenarios outlined below must include the threat of sabotage by the Parliamentary Labour Party. A large section of this unreconstructed group remain opposed to Corbyn, despite last year’s successful general election campaign. They will gang up with the right-wing mainstream media against Corbyn.

A health warning “Any attempt to control and direct private capital flows, or to tax away excessive profits and salaries accumulating in large and successful private companies, will inevitably meet sustained resistance – intense pressure on an incoming centre-left government to abandon its social and political radicalism, the quicker to restore generalised rates of successful economic growth. Such constraints have defeated determined social democrats in the past, so there is no reason to suppose the outcome will be any different this time around, unless those lessons can somehow be learned and also left behind.” David Coates, author of Flawed Capitalism
While our scenarios are not exhaustive – reality has a way of throwing up surprises – they are enough to be getting on with! The folowing proposals often suggest radical, revolutionary ideas. They can become rallying points for the millions who would want to defend a Corbyn-led government, as well as policies that, if carried through, can transform our present system and lead to a real democracy for the many not the few.


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Read and comment on the scenarios

▶ What if there’s a ‘strike’ by the financial markets

▶ What if there’s a backlash from the generals and MI5

▶ What if there’s a revolt from within

▶ What if the media destabilises things

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