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.
Scenarios for defending a Corbyn-led government
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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.
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