Neil FossParticipant8th January 2018 at 7:18 pmPost count: 2
The Real Democracy Movement cannot support or defend a Corbyn government.
The RDM is a new movement which must be independent of any existing political party.
Why should we support Corbyn instead of Conservative, Libdem, Green, SNP, BNP or any other.
We need to rise above party politics. That is not democracy. Labour refused to support the Democratic Alliance at the last election because it knows the current political status quo means it will get elected sooner or later. It is part of the problem not the solution.
If we get anywhere with the RDM we mus ultimately put up our own candidates in a future election to change the system.
Tim HartParticipant12th January 2018 at 12:41 pmPost count: 5
I agree with the sentiments of Neil’s comment, although I don’t think the answer will come from fielding candidates within the existing corrupt and bankrupt party political system. As for the prospect of a Labour Government, it will not be so much about defending a Corbyn government but salvaging any remnant of radical policy from it. There isn’t much left now and the Labour Party is not even in office yet! The resignation/sacking of Chris Williamson for having the temerity to suggest the rich should pay more council tax and John McDonnell apparently heading off to Davos, the epicentre of Corporate World Hegemony, doesn’t bode well for the prospect of anything other than Blairite MkII in a velvet glove.
If the Labour Party imagine they are executing a cunning plan to cosy up to the elite to win power and then try to change things once in office they are hopelessly naïve. When has such an approach ever worked? The elite are busy co-opting the Labour Party as insurance against the self-inflicted damage done by the continuing chaos amongst the Tories. Labour taking government will have less to do with any mass grassroots movements –although they no doubt will step forward to take the credit – but more about whether the corporations and the mainstream media, such as the BBC and national newspapers, back the Labour campaign, or at least don’t actively undermine it.
The corporate elite may well need to put the Labour Party in government for a while, especially to maintain the corporate friendly parts of the UK’s EU membership, but they won’t let them do anything significant to rock the boat and they will be declared unfit and out on their ear as soon as the Tories get their act together again. No. Party politics is a blind alley for anyone that wants to create a real democracy. You may as well put your faith in the Second Coming. The alternatives are difficult but, as they say, the definition of insanity is: ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’
PaulKeymaster4th February 2018 at 9:47 amPost count: 4
Sorry for missing this discussion until now. I don’t agree with Neil or Tim! It’s not a question of blind support for a Corbyn government. Many blogs, especially by Gerry, have proposed policies that are not in the Labour Party’s outlook but which would be necessary to take us beyond the present capitalist system. But in so far as a Corbyn government sets out to end austerity, outsourcing and bring services into public ownership, they should be supported.
The Corbyn group is discussing scenarios that would confront a Labour government that tried to implement even a modest set of policies that went against the grain of neo-liberal globalisation of the last 30 years. It is our estimation that the hedge funds, money markets and major corporations would strike back. They would be joined by the right-wing of the Labour Party (which still dominates the PLP) and the state. In that event, the RDM should campaign for a real democracy, a transfer of state and economic power away from the 1%. I don’t believe Labour would do this but we should nevertheless demand they do and build support for the RDM at the same time.
Robbie GriffithsParticipant6th February 2018 at 11:23 amPost count: 2
Any future Corbyn-led government does need to be supported whenever it proposes any anti-austerity policies. The very success of the ‘Corbyn’ movement has been because he has toured the country advocating such policies and he has drawn 100s of thousands into the Labour Party in support.
Many of Corbyn’s proposals are progressive – why wouldn’t we want to support them? Of course the state, media and the PLP would try any dirty tricks to undermine him. This is one reason why we need to have prepared scenarios to defend against such attacks and have plans to put them in place.
The other important factor is that the many people who have been drawn to ‘Corbyn’ would be greatly agitated by interference from the state/media/PLP and would be looking for a lead to mobilise against them.
Neil FossParticipant6th February 2018 at 5:29 pmPost count: 2
The two comments supporting the Labour party neatly sidestep the real democracy argument of non party politics. I don’t care what Cobyn promises. Politicians lie to get into power. So far he has done an abysmal job of getting rid of the red tories. They will all rise up under a Corbyn government and block any real socialist policies. They love the neocon, neolib Thatcher/Bliar credo and austerity. They live in the London bubble.
Robbie GriffithsParticipant7th February 2018 at 3:28 pmPost count: 2
Hi Neil – thanks for kicking off this discussion. It’s important that we have a handle on this as it is not inconceivable that Corbyn could be prime minister in the next year.
But I think you have misunderstood my comments above. I don’t support the Labour Party, but if Corbyn tries to implement such promises as stopping the drip privatisation of the NHS, cancels PFI contracts, brings the railways and utility companies into public ownership, then I will support that. I don’t think he is a liar – he genuinely believes in his anti-austerity politics and hundreds of thousands have responded to this.
Of course the right wing of the PLP will turn against him, but the point of the ‘scenarios’ is to have a plan to counter this. We can’t turn our backs on this fight, nor on the huge numbers of people who are coming back into politics because Corbyn’s politics inspires them. And being part of this struggle will put us in the position of showing the limitations of parliamentary democracy.
Dylan StrainParticipant10th February 2018 at 3:14 pmPost count: 2
With regards to Neil’s comment that, ‘So far he has done an abysmal job of getting rid of the red tories.’ I think giant strides have been made within Labour itself. In MSM daily there’s someone whinging that ‘Momentum have seized key positions’ here & there. It is all democratic victories however. 6 new Corbyn supporters on NEC.
Many right wing ‘Labour’ MPs will be de-selected I expect by their CLP for the next election. Again, local democracy.
Tim HartParticipant7th February 2018 at 7:54 pmPost count: 5
I have re- read all these comments, including my own. I still agree with Neil’s original post; apart from the idea of fielding alternative candidates. This is a bankrupt and destructive political system not subject to amelioration To support Corbyn on a pick and mix basis is the equivalent of preferring Hilary Clinton to Trump. or in the domestic circumstance Blair to Cameron. But I also accept that this is a broad, complex and contentious issue. On Neil’s second comment, regarding Paul and Robbie’s responses, I also agree. Neither mine nor Neil’s comments were made with the contention that either of us asserted that the original piece was advocating ‘blind support for Corbyn.’ That was not the substance of our arguments and to frame the criticism in this way is, to use one of Jimmy Dore’s favourite terms, a variation of ‘gaslighting.’ By presenting the rebuttal in such terms side steps the substantive aspects of the comments made.
Gavin BarkerParticipant8th February 2018 at 5:51 pmPost count: 7
I guess it is difficult for me not to be partisan – I am after all a paid up member of the Labour party! My question is how far do we get if we simply abandon party politics completely? We neither engage with Labour, nor any other political party, nor stand candidates? What exactly would we achieve? I think the system would continue to function quite happily without us.
In the end I believe we need to take the pragmatic approach; we know our politics is broken but Labour is the only game in town. My inclination is to work within the Labour party while linking up with networks and causes whose common ground is a new democratic settlement – and I see RDM is a key player.
At the moment Labour is bent on winning power and isnt looking much further. We need to persuade them that none of its legislative agenda of re-nationalisation, a restored public health service, human rights is sustainable without the protective framework of a written constitution. Moreover a written constitution, designed by ordinary people at citizens conventions, must secure a real transfer of power to local people and communities.
Critically Labour has yet to fully understand that the only way to break the power of the centre is to devolve it to the regions. We must put an end to parliamentary sovereignty, a whitehall hegemony and the economic dominance of the city. An economic democracy must mirror the emergence of regional assemblies, community and publicly owned local banks, funded through a Peoples Quantitative Easing programme that circumvents the shareholder capitalism, and invests in new co-operative and community owned enterprises.
Dylan StrainParticipant9th February 2018 at 1:03 pmPost count: 2
I wholeheartedly can support Corbyn’s Labour and RDM. Corbyn himself and Momentum have not strayed from the path of offering democracy to its members and of course it would be a GIANT leap forward to the UK if a Corbyn Govt could get power and implement it’s manifesto.
With the threat of climate change, we have to support what Corbyn and allies are trying so hard to do over these last 3 years.
There’s a feeling by many that I share, that the left must unite to throw off the shackles of neo – liberalism that’s so urgently needed across the world, coupled with the threat of climate change.
Gavin BarkerParticipant12th February 2018 at 5:01 pmPost count: 7
With regard to the different scenarious, I am going to add to the controversey 🙂 not deliberately, not maliciously but simply in emphasising a cautionary real politic:
1) give the armed forces more money to shut them up for the time being! They are being vigorously cut like everyone else and they are likely to respond positively to a generous handout – and think twice about undermining their own interests. That still leaves Trident: defer this conversation, put it on the back burner and come back to it when a Labour government is stronger and more confident because it has made real headway in restoring public services, promoting a progressive tax system, and the like
2) Put the whole issue of the monarchy on the back burner for the same reasons. Be aware that we are dealing with a nascent English nationalism and a fragile sense of national identity that people are desperate to hang on to. The NHS is one of the chief state bodies that people see as defining what it means to be British.
So is the monarchy. If you take that away from people you add to the sense of an unmoored identity in a globalised world and with it, an increasing anger and blame. It could unleash a new level of extremism and Xenophobia – a general lashing out at any group, migrants, people, politicians who are deemed ‘un British’. It could get very nasty.
We first have to build a new sense of identity on different foundations; the sense of connection to local people and places and with it, the democratic structures that enable people to build on these connections as full citizens in shaping their own future. Only then can we talk about the monarchy….
3) Thirdly, we circumvent the financial sector through a parallel community banking system whose purpose is to fund small businesses, co-operatives, mutuals, and community rights to land and housing. At the same time, local government and new forms of neighbourhood power are fully funded. So is a massive Green infrastructure programme in the face of climate change. In all these cases we do this through a People’s Quantitative Easing in which the Bank of England creates new money – out of thin air! Not borrowed, not raised through taxes, just digitally printed and as much as is needed.
I know this sounds mad but it has already been done. The Quantitative Easing programme recently undertaken by the Conservatives created £450 Billion with little inflationary knock on effects; that is over three times the NHS annual costs. The trouble is all that money was given to the banks who in turn invested in yet more complex financial assets instead of the real economy which was the purpose behind this scheme. The government is very quiet about this and with good reason – it completely contradicts its neoliberal agenda.
Most people will say this is nuts because we’ve all been told by this government again and agan that there is no money or that the state has to borrow money from the money markets or raise taxes. No and again no! There is an alternative. Take a look at this brief explanation of Modern Monetary Theory. It is a bit clunky but this guy knows what he is talking about and he is far from being the only economist who is now pushing back on neoliberal theory of money: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/02/09/modern-monetary-theory-in-a-nutshell/ Also take a look at the comments underneath the blog post by a guy called Simon Cohen
Or take a look at this article which I have just come across https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-modern-monetary-theory-72095
Tim HartParticipant13th February 2018 at 12:47 pmPost count: 5
I had hoped that the matter of the RDM’s support for a Corbyn led Labour Government would be up for debate, but from the comments in this blog it is already a settled issue. As I have explained I believe support for an establishment party that seeks to ameliorate the worst excesses of a pernicious and bankrupt capitalist system is counter-productive. I expect there to be a general election soon and I cannot participate in a group that is championing such a counter-productive cause.
PaulKeymaster13th February 2018 at 1:14 pmPost count: 4
At the inaugural planning group meeting in London in October (“Towards the RDM – preparing for a Corbyn government”), it was agreed to set up a working group to investigate scenarios that might confront a Corbyn-led government (among other working groups that had everyone’s support, including a charter).
That group is continuing its work and will produce a draft (which I am preparing) for discussion among RDM supporters and the planning group with a view to its publication.
So at this point, the RDM has no “official” view despite the fact that supporters have expressed their own viewpoints here and in personal blogs. The RDM itself has yet to establish a proper decision-making process and this is one of the challenges we face as we try to build the movement into a significant force.
Tim’s viewpoint is a valid one, though I don’t agree with it, and should be discussed openly. Tim saying he won’t participate further in the group makes this difficult to achieve and I hope he will reconsider.
Neil FossParticipant13th February 2018 at 2:20 pmPost count: 2
Tims attitude is childish and counterproductive in the extreme. Are RDM to be held hostage to one person trying to impose his view over the entire movement. Surely the true and utter contradiction to democracy that always plagues groups such as this.
PaulKeymaster13th February 2018 at 2:38 pmPost count: 4
Neil, imo we should steer clear of language like “childish”, which is personal and unhelpful. Tim can defend himself but just for the record, he has taken an extremely active part in the charter group and made compromises to move the work along.
Just to repeat my view, it’s not about giving a Corbyn-led government a blank cheque but formulating policies that relate to the substantial movement around him which at the same time raise in an explicit way the issues of power, the state and capitalism and how to make a transition beyond the present system. Why don’t we wait and see what the Corbyn working group comes up? Then we’d have something more concrete to debate.
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