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A very British coup: Jeremy Corbyn and the battle for Labour's future

 

 

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's message to party members

 

July 8, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The British Labour Party has been rocked by an attempt by the majority of Labour MPs to depose Jeremy Corbyn, who won a party-wide leadership vote last year. Many have dubbed this a battle between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the membership. Links is republishing a number of articles looking at this crucial battle. They include articles by Shadow Chancellor and Corbyn backer John McDonnell, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) general secretary Manuel Cortes, and Charley Allan writing in the Morning Star.

 

‘We’re standing up for democracy in the party – for the members to choose the leader’

 

 

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell sits down with Aaron Bastani to talk #CorbynCoup,
freedom of movement and the purpose of the Labour Party

 

By John McDonnell

 

July 8, 2016 -- Red Pepper -- When Jeremy got elected last year he got elected on 59.5 per cent of the vote – the highest mandate that any political leader of this country has ever received from their own membership. It was overwhelming in individual members, the affiliated group and also the new supporters. In every category he won.

 

When we got back to Parliament he tried, in his own quiet way (I’ve known Jeremy 35-40 years and he’s one of the most caring, compassionate people I’ve met), to work with people, put them together. He created a Shadow Cabinet of left, right and centre, he tried to hold it together. And when he did that he tried to work with the Parliamentary Labour Party all the way through. But there’s been a group within the PLP who consistently refused to accept his democratic mandate and consistently undermined him in every way they possibly could. To be frank, I don’t know how he’s borne it. I’m just so proud of him, to be honest, for what he’s done.

 

We knew at that time, that for some time they were plotting to see if they could have a coup at some stage. We knew that. We knew all the way along. The thing about it is they’re not particularly good at it. We had people in meetings where they were discussing who would be the candidate they would run, etc. And so we got intelligence on a regular basis.

 

False arguments about electability

 

And their first attempt was the Oldham by-election. What they tried to say was 'It’s not political this, it’s not his policies we disagree with, it’s the fact that he can’t win elections.' So the Oldham by-election was the first test. If he had lost the Oldham by-election that might have been the opportunity for some form of coup or to start the first stages. We went to Oldham. Jim McMahon was a fantastic candidate but what we got was the best of both worlds: a good local candidate and the Corbyn supporters' enthusiasm. And we has a massive victory in Oldham. So they backed off.

 

So the next one was going to be the local government elections. That was the excuse for the next plot. We got to the local government elections and they said again 'You can’t win an election with Corbyn'. We won every mayoral election we contested – every one. We won the seats in terms of local government, councils we were expected to lose, we won every one.

 

We reached in our first six months the highest level of support that Ed Miliband got all through his term of office. Now that was not something that we thought was wonderful but it was better than anyone thought possible. And in every parliamentary by-election that’s taken place, we’ve increased our majorities on every occasion.

 

When Jeremy took over as leader in September we were 14 points behind in the opinion polls. We are now ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls this week, even post-Brexit. And here’s the irony – it’s just extraordinary – on Monday the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting was one of the most disgraceful meetings I’ve ever attended. It was like a lynching without the rope. It was appalling. MP after MP got up calling on Jeremy to resign: 'We can’t win elections under you.' And here’s the irony, the first item on the agenda was to welcome the new Labour MP for Tooting who had doubled Labour’s majority.

 

I don’t accept that this is about Jeremy not being able to win elections. I know how tough it’s going to be to defeat the Tories but also we know that we’ve been building a solid base of support. Why? Because we’ve changed the political direction of this party within nine months. When we went into the last election we were austerity-lite. We had voted for tuition fees, we had voted for wars in Iraq, and all the rest of it. We transformed ourselves. We’re now an anti-austerity party, we’re now in favour of scrapping tuition fees, we’re in favour of building council houses again, we favour trade union rights and also, in the week before Chilcot is published, under Jeremy Corbyn we are now a party that will never again go on a military adventure that cost 500,000 lives as happened in Iraq under Blair. Never again.

 

That’s why they’re coming for Jeremy. This isn’t about electability. This is about policy and politics.

 

The referendum campaign

 

They told us that it was about the European referendum, because he hadn’t done enough. So let me just explain what happened on that because I’m gutted that we lost it. I’m sad that we lost it. But what happened way back in September was that Jeremy and I met with Angela Eagle and Hilary Benn and they said they wanted to run the European campaign and we said 'fine'. But at that point in time we said that we need to agree the politics of this. We said that we can’t just go out there as simple Europhiles because, to be frank, there was a need for reform in Europe. And at that point in time they were trying to argue that we should unanimously support Cameron’s deal in Europe. We refused.

 

So we said 'get on with the campaign and call us in when you need us, we will do all that we can to support'. Jeremy toured round this country – the stamina of the man is unbelievable. Thousands of miles, meeting after meeting. Both of us spoke in virtually every major city in the country. But we campaigned on the basis of ‘remain but reform’. And that is where most of the British population are. They agree that there needs to be reform. It was no use going out there just arguing that the European Union was perfect. It was remain and reform.

 

We also said, to be frank, as soon as you start appearing on platforms with Tories, Farage and Boris Johnson ironically will call you 'the establishment'. And that’s exactly what happened in Scotland and that is exactly what happened in Northern cities in particular across this country. So we believed that the tactics of the campaign were wrong. Nevertheless we worked really hard. But when the result came out they wanted a scapegoat, they wanted to blame Jeremy. They wanted to use this as the excuse for the coup.

 

The plot unfolds

 

And what happened I’ll briefly tell you. On Saturday night last Jeremy was contacted by a sympathetic journalist. He had been briefed that Hilary Benn was going round the Shadow Cabinet urging people to urge Jeremy to stand down or threaten resignation. Jeremy contacted him and asked if it was true. Would he be happy for a statement to be put out saying it was an error or that Hilary withdraws from his actions? He refused. What else could he do but ask him to stand down? There was no other option.

 

What we then discovered, because they just leak like I don’t know what, was that there was a plan that what would happen is group after group of individuals, frontbenchers, would resign, in batches. Because it was to destabilise. It was on the basis that one group resigned – we could accommodate that, settle down for a few hours – and then another group would resign. It went on like that.

 

So what Jeremy had to do was to put together another Shadow Cabinet and that’s what we’ve done. And we’ve brought in, yes, lots of the new young people into the Shadow Cabinet. I tell you, listening to some of their speeches this week has been thrilling and they are the heroes and heroines of this movement.

 

Finally, let me just say where we’re at now because we’re getting to the point where it becomes farcical. What they did, to try and divide me and Jeremy, they briefed the media that I was trying to challenge him. And today Tom Watson has given an interview saying its John McDonnell who’s forcing him to stay. You can’t have it both ways.

 

So what I’ve said today is, straightforwardly, if Jeremy wants to remain the leader of the Labour Party I will support him wholeheartedly, I will chair his campaign committee again. It’s his decision and he’s made that decision. He’s staying.

 

I think this is a tragedy what’s going on now. At a time when, to be frank, our country’s facing some of the severest economic problems we’ve had in a generation as a result of the referendum, when the Tories are in disarray and this is virtually no government there whatsoever, this is the time the Labour Party should have held together and stepped up its campaigning. Parliamentary pomposity this is not. This is not just for the sake of the party. It’s for the sake of our country and the people we represent because they’re the ones that will be hit the hardest as a result of this result from the European referendum and the economic instability.

 

What we’ve said is Jeremy is staying. If someone wants to challenge him, fine. I spoke to Tom Watson and said if a candidate comes forward let’s have a democratic election of the leader, but let’s do it as comrades, as friends, it doesn’t have to be like this. We should be able to act amicably in this party and not in the way that people have treated Jeremy in the Parliamentary Labour Party.

 

They’re falling out among themselves as to who should be the candidate. It looks as though Angela Eagle, we’re told by the BBC, will announce she will become a candidate tomorrow [this turned out to be delayed -ed]. Fine, fine. I’ve said we will convene an urgent NEC, have a short leadership campaign timetable in order to match the Tories and get our leader in place so that we can then challenge the Tories and if there is a general election then we’re ready to go with the leader.

 

Debate as comrades and hold together

 

But, above all else, now at the moment, what we need people to do, whichever position they come from, is just to hold together in the party, just basically to treat each other with some common decency.

 

So where we’re at at the moment is that we think there will be a candidate coming forward, the NEC will set up the timetable for the leadership election and we’ll have what we’ve always wanted really, a democratic debate. Jeremy will stand again and tour round the country setting out his policies and we’ll hope that he gets re-elected.

 

We’d welcome it – if you’re not a member of the Labour Party at the moment, we need you to join. If you are a member of the Labour Party let me just say this. What we’re witnessing at the moment is a very British coup. If we don’t face this down what will be the point of being a Labour Party member, voting for a leader that you want and then having the Labour Party MPs exercise a veto? That is unacceptable.

 

There has been a recent modern invention by the Greeks. It’s called democracy. What we’re standing for in this period now is democracy in the party – the ability of rank and file members of the Labour party to choose the leader that they want and the policies that they want. And if we lost that, if we allow this coup to destroy Jeremy Corbyn, they destroy our party. I am not going to allow that to happen and I hope that you don’t.

 

So I’m urging you, pleading with you now, as we go through this period, let’s be comradely to whoever comes forward in the other campaign and let’s stand firm in the interests of democracy. And I appeal to you to support the person who actually did get democratically elected nine months ago, who transformed our policies into becoming a socialist party once again, and right the way round the country gave people hope of a new form of politics, caring and compassionate but socialist above all else.

 

So I say to you, if this election comes, stand with me and support Jeremy Corbyn. Solidarity.

 

This speech was given by John McDonnell on Wednesday at a Stand Up for Labour event in West London. Recording and transcript by David Pavett, first published on Left Futures.

 

Jeremy is the leader Britain needs – He’s the only one keeping his cool

 

By Manuel Cortes

 

July 5, 2016 -- Morning Star -- They say a week is a long time in politics. The last 10 days have proven this old adage.

 

We’ve had David Cameron announcing he was going after his EU gamble spectacularly backfired.

 

Boris Johnson, the man who ditched any semblance of principle in a bid to become PM, was favourite to take over until Michael Gove stabbed him in the front — killing both their leadership bids dead before they started.

 

Our country is now worryingly rudderless at a time when we face the huge challenge of negotiating our EU exit.

 

So you would have thought Labour would be making hay while the sun shines.

 

Instead, 172 self-indulgent Labour MPs have decided now is the right time to declare war on our leader.

 

Let’s face it, it’s not just their wisdom that is under scrutiny, this banal behaviour brings into serious question not just their political loyalty but their political judgement.

 

Our country is crying out for political leaders who show real courage, confident leadership and fresh ideas in the face of Brexit.

 

Tory ministers are bolting or infighting, making it unbelievable to watch Labour MPs plunge our party into needless crisis. Our voters are not taking kindly to their childish behaviour.

 

Far too many Labour MPs are absent without leave when we need unity most to hold this weak, deeply divided Tory government to account.

 

Our political class appears in complete disarray. Yet the extraordinary challenge our nation faces calls for cool heads.

 

Yes, the people have spoken and deserve to know the exact terms of exit. We must ensure that the more than 33 million who voted in the referendum aren’t kept in the dark.

 

They have given politicians their mandate and they must be the ones who approve any deal. Nothing else will do. We can’t have secret closed-door deals which replicate what is being done over TTIP.

 

Sadly, far too many within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) have created panic and pandemonium and it’s outrageous that Labour’s top quitters have the gall to accuse Jeremy of lacking leadership when he’s the only one showing any mettle.

 

Let’s face it, he is about the only person keeping their cool. He hasn’t blinked in the face of Brexit.

 

He and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell are the only leaders now capable of negotiating an exit settlement which works in the interest of ordinary people.

 

The real problem with the PLP is that far too many don’t like what Jeremy represents.

 

They hate the fact that Labour Party members overwhelmingly voted him leader against most of their wishes.

 

Some also appear to dislike our newly swollen membership who share his socialist vision. They also don’t get why Jeremy is of the membership and for the membership rather than PLP convenience.

 

Jeremy stands for a fairer Britain — a properly funded NHS, publicly owned railways, free education and tax justice.

 

He will put in place a national investment bank which will fund major public infrastructure programmes to create skilled jobs and brighten the prospects for all, but particularly our young.

 

Jeremy is also the only political leader with the courage to say that we need to undo Thatcher’s political settlement by building a new economy.

 

Theresa May’s entry into the Tory leadership battle cloaked in Thatcher’s political mantle makes Jeremy’s plan for a new economy all the more vital.

 

The reason people in our former industrial heartlands feel angry and politically disoriented is because our service-based economy has left them and their families way behind.

 

For most, low-paid, insecure jobs beckon and the prospects for their children are abysmal.

 

Jeremy has rightly called out austerity for what it is — a political choice not an economic necessity. However, he can’t undo 30 years-plus of market fundamentalism and neoliberal policies in nine short months as shadow leader.

 

Frankly, the Establishment isn’t attacking Jeremy because it thinks he is hopeless and incapable of winning.

 

From the Daily Mail to the Mirror, they attack because they can see him as PM. They see the end in sight for the gravy train of the richest 1 per cent.

 

Jeremy is seen as extremely dangerous because he represents a radical shift from the prevailing economic orthodoxy. It’s why market-fixated zealots have been against him since the day he made it onto the leadership ballot.

 

This clearly tells me he is on the right track. Let’s face it, not one of the mutineers has anything remotely new to offer, never mind the courage to challenge the economic settlement which has seen the 1 per cent gather untold wealth at our expense.

 

Contrary to media reports, there hasn’t been a coup in the Labour Party. For that you need a decapitation — which has failed to materialise.

 

The squeaky exit from Labour’s front bench was an act of petulance and grave political misjudgement — nothing else. At a time when we could have done with all hands on deck, some good people have succumbed to panic, lost their nerve and abandoned ship.

 

In the meantime, Jeremy has shown great courage and determination under extreme duress and remains a steadfast hand is on the wheel of our Labour Party, continuing to chart a winning course through incredibly choppy waters.

 

The membership and the labour movement is strong, united and ready to serve and defend our ship, our captain and our progressive course. Let’s hope our MPs see sense and reunite behind Jeremy.

 

Manuel Cortes is general secretary of TSSA.

 

Chicken coup rebels are running out of room

 

By Charley Allan

 

July 4, 2016 -- Morning Star -- If you're confused about last week’s botched coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn, just remember what Tony Blair said about fighting a general election.

 

“I wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform,” he told Labour-right faction Progress during last summer’s leadership race. “Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn’t take it.”

 

Since then, three distinct currents have developed in the party – Corbynistas, Blairites and “centrists.”

 

Corbyn has strong grassroots support but not among MPs, as last Monday’s Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting made clear.

 

Labour MPs took turns trying to crush Corbyn’s spirit while 10,000 supporters rallied outside Westminster with just a day’s notice.

 

Similar shows of strength have sprung up across the country and scores of local Labour branches have pledged their solidarity.

 

While 172 MPs expressed no confidence in their leader on Tuesday, a solid 40 voted against this showboating motion and four spoiled their ballot.

 

And only a couple of dozen of those 172 rebels are Blairites.

 

The balance of power is held by centrists, who dominate the PLP but are a minority among members — think the 40 per cent who voted for Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham last year.

 

Much has been made of a supposed slip in rank-and-file support for Corbyn, but the opinion poll this claim is based on paints a more complex picture.

 

YouGov’s survey shows some soft support turning hostile but his core following is holding firm, even expanding under an influx of 60,000 new members last week.

 

Another new poll shows over half of Labour’s voters, 54 per cent, think Corbyn should not step down, compared to 35 per cent who say he should resign.

 

Tellingly, Tory voters are over three to one for Corbyn quitting — and when our David Cameron joins the chorus, you really have to wonder who’s setting the agenda.

 

The answer is likely Blair. He knows Corbyn could win a snap general election, although Michael Gove’s stunning double-cross of Boris Johnson makes an early poll less likely.

 

More pressingly, Wednesday is set to see the Chilcot Report savage Blair over Iraq — and the last thing this former “peace envoy” wants is for his party to join calls for him to be indicted for war crimes.

 

That’s one reason why the plotters are demanding Corbyn’s head on a spike now rather than later — if deputy Tom Watson takes over it means less blushes for Blairites.

 

The other factor is that everyone knows Corbyn would cruise to victory in any leadership contest.

 

Blair just wants to destroy the left, but centrists only rebelled on the understanding that it wouldn’t involve a poisonous and pointless civil war.

 

If Corbyn resigned and stood again he would need an unachievable 50 nominations to make the ballot, but under a constitutional challenge he’s automatically a candidate, according to legal firm Doughty Street Chambers.

 

The slew of resignations at the start of last week, which the New Statesman revealed were “co-ordinated” by a “close ally of the deputy leader” — was meant to maximise Corbyn’s humiliation but instead fuelled widespread outrage.

 

Corbyn stood firm, most affiliated trade unions backed him and with Momentum mobilising members on social media, the centrist stooges began to get cold feet.

 

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell took to the airwaves, insisting that Corbyn wouldn’t betray the movement by resigning — so it was time to wheel out a challenger, or at least pretend.

 

With the Watson caretaker plan off the table, next in line was “unity candidate” Angela Eagle.

 

There was just one problem — she didn’t seem that enthused.

 

The backlash began when her Wallasey constituency party announced it “was overwhelmingly behind Jeremy” and called on her to “make a clear public statement of support for him.”

 

And Eagle’s tearful TV protestations about her “agonising decision” to resign looked even more cynical after blogger Phil Maylor reported that angela4leader.org was one of three domain names snapped up by a Blair-era special advisor a day before the coup began.

 

She’s still “considering.”

 

Attention later drifted to Owen Smith, who had just stepped down as shadow work and pensions secretary. Smith was seen to have one advantage over Eagle – he hadn’t voted for the Iraq war or Syrian airstrikes, making him possibly more palatable to Corbynistas.

 

But he wasn’t keen to become the public face of treachery either. And people soon remembered that less than a year ago he had abstained on the Tory Welfare Bill.

 

“I was elected as a Labour representative, not as an independent delegate, and the leader of Labour sets our position,” he explained at the time.

 

“The only people who would have benefitted from such a massive split in the Labour Party are the Tories, Nationalists, Lib Dems and Ukip.”

 

He might be right, but then why would he now take a leading role in splitting his party over Corbyn?

 

Watson waved a white flag on Friday, reportedly “urging colleagues to step back from the brink,” warning that a leadership election with Corbyn in it could “cause untold damage to the party.”

 

Who knows what damage this debacle has already caused, but it looks like the centrists were bluffing after all, even if the Blairites weren’t.

 

Both blocs have exposed their biggest weaknesses and there’s bound to be bad blood for some time.

 

In contrast, Corbyn has shown extraordinary courage and resilience in the face of unfriendly fire, betrayed by comrades of decades’ standing.

 

He emerges with kudos, new strength and a clear moral mandate. He’s won respect across the country for not panicking under pressure.

 

If the plotters and their parliamentary patsies want to avoid deselection by party members — or “dogs” as one MP called them last Monday — they should get their excuses in early as Labour reunites.

 

Maybe they could blame it on “midsummer madness” — as McDonnell says, there’s always room for a repentant sinner.

 

The centrists “have been seduced by sinister forces,” Unite leader Len McCluskey told the BBC yesterday, and “should allow the trade union general secretaries to broker a peace,” insisting that “the coup has failed.”

 

Labour coups rarely succeed, so perhaps this screw-up is no surprise. But it’s been useful to glimpse everyone’s true colours, even as we now return to our regular shades of red.

 

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Richard Seymour: Anatomy of a Failed Coup in the UK Labour Party

Anatomy of a Failed Coup in the UK Labour Party
By Richard Seymour
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Anatomy-of-a-Failed-Coup-in-the...

As the Chilcot Inquiry report is released to the public, those MPs attempting to depose Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn—their leading lights inescapably sullied by having supported the war—are suing for peace. Over a week of high-profile resignations, statements, demands, pleas and threats have seemingly done little but consolidate Corbyn’s position. In record time, it has gone from being a coup to a #chickencoup to a #headlesschickencoup.

This could be the biggest own-goal in the history of British politics. Journalists steeped in the common sense of Westminster, assumed that it was all over for Labour’s first ever radical socialist leadership. How can he lead, they reasoned, if his parliamentary allies won’t work with him? This, in realpolitik terms, merely encoded the congealed entitlement and lordly presumption of Labour’s traditional ruling caste. Even some of Corbyn’s bien-pensant supporters went along with this view. They should have known better.

The putschists’ plan, such as it was, was to orchestrate such media saturation of criticism and condemnation aimed at Corbyn, to create such havoc within the Labour Party, that he would feel compelled to resign. The tactical side of it was executed to smooth perfection, by people who are well-versed in the manipulation of the spectacle. And yet, in the event that Corbyn was not wowed by the media spectacle, not intimidated by ranks of grandees laying into him, and happy to appeal over the heads of party elites to the grassroots, their strategy disintegrated. This was not politics as they knew it.

The befuddlement was not for want of preparation. From even before his election as Labour Party leader, there were briefings to the press that a coup would be mounted soon after his election. And in the weeks leading up to the European Union referendum, Labour Party activists reported that they were expecting a coup to be launched after the outcome was announced, regardless of what the result was. This seemed like a half-baked idea—there was still no overwhelming crisis justifying a coup attempt—and so it turned out to be.

Undoubtedly, part of the rationale for hastening the attempted overthrow was the looming publication of the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry, which was expected to be harshly critical of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, of the justification for the invasion of Iraq, and of the relationship with the Bush administration. Given the role of the Parliamentary Labour Party in leading Britain into that war, against fierce public and international opposition, and given its role in supporting the subsequent occupation, this was a bad moment to have Corbyn at the helm. In the event, Corbyn survived to make a dignified statement apologizing for Labour’s role in the disaster and promising to embark upon a different foreign policy—one quite at odds with that supported by the pro-Trident, pro-bombing backbenchers.

As the grim analysis of Chilcot spooled out into the public domain, backbench Labour MPs stood by their fallen leader. Ian Austin, a Blairite MP from Dudley, heckled during Corbyn’s speech to exhort him to “sit down and shut up”. As for others, "good faith" was the cri de coeur: Mr. Blair never acted in anything but the best of faith. Indeed, no one ever does. Blair, for his part, criticised what he described as an “addiction” to believing the worst about everyone. Here, indeed, is a man who has been able to see the good not only in President Bush, but also in Mubarak, Putin, Nazarbayev, even Qadhafi for a while. Under other conditions, Saddam Hussein would undoubtedly have been "a force for stability." This is the problem with "good faith": it can justify any contortions of morality or logic, and any body count. But there is little doubt that Blair emerges hugely damaged from the Inquiry which, in stressing that the invasion of Iraq was a war of choice, opens the possibility for a war crimes prosecution. And by the same reasoning, all of those MPs who supported the war, or voted to prevent the Inquiry from taking place, are discredited.

To understand how the coup failed so badly, finally screeching to a halt under the shadow of Chilcot, is to understand something about the crisis of politics. The puzzle, when Corbyn was first elected leader, was how could it possibly be that Labour would choose a hard left leadership for the first time in its history, at a time when the British Left was historically weak? On every count, the Left was doing badly. It had been eviscerated during the Thatcher years, losing in numbers and organisation, its publications folding, and had entered a dismal diminuendo thereafter. The organized labor movement, the bulwark of the Left’s hopes, was in a similar bad way, as union density and strike rates had declined year-on-year.

However, the decline of the Left’s fortunes and the rampant success of the neoliberal centre was also concurrent with a growing crisis of representative democracy, as more and more of the state’s functions were taken out of democratic control and handed over to Quangos, businesses, and unelected bodies. Millions of people, no longer seeing much real choice on offer, began to boycott the electoral system. Party elites retreated into the state and into the manipulation of news cycles, having less and less to do with mass politics.

In the context of the Labour Party, the result of this was that a generation of political leaders emerged who were experienced as special advisers, think-tankers, policy wonks and spin doctors, but had little real understanding of how to motivate activists and communicate with the broad public. In government, they were all too often advocates of state policy against their own popular base—tendency peaking with the Iraq war. And after years of having been embedded in the failed New Labour experiment, they were badly discredited among Labour members and among young people radicalizing in response to post-credit crunch austerity. Corbyn emerged in 2015 as the only leadership candidate who still understood how Labour politics was done, while also having a sense of how to fuse these methods with social media communications. And so it has proved again. The coup plotters knew all about how to manipulate old media, but they were at a loss when Corbyn stood firm, ignited his base, and thousands hit the streets in his defense, from London to Hull.

What a strange time in British politics. The outcome of the attempted overthrow of Jeremy Corbyn is thus a hugely improbable and unexpected strengthening of the Left. Since the EU referendum result, 200,000 people have joined the Labour Party, the great majority of them supporting Jeremy Corbyn. Total membership is now approximately 600,000. The shadow Cabinet has become more left wing, more multiracial, and more female. Corbyn’s own standing, having withstood the extraordinary barrage of attacks and even some friendly fire, has emerged greatly strengthened. The coup plotters, weak and disorganized by their own miscalculations, disgraced by their links to and affinity with a discredited past, are an undignified mess.

Worst. Coup. Ever.

Richard Seymour is a London-based author and broadcaster, most recently author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics. He has a PhD from the London School of Economics, and is online editor of Salvage

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