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How the Left Can Win in the U.K. and Elsewhere

Shyam Habarakada / CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the lessons of Jeremy Corbyn’s election to the head of the British Labour Party, writes Richard Seymour at Jacobin magazine, is that the “entrenched, institutional power of the Right” can be undone only by combining the passions of disparate social groups in a broad populist movement.

With clocks ticking toward the primaries in the U.S., that means candidates like Bernie Sanders must rapidly convince black and minority voters that they would be better off with him in the White House.

Seymour writes:

Corbyn has said that his campaign is about turning the Labour Party into a social movement. That’s the only chance he and his supporters have. The era of tribal party loyalties, in which powerful bureaucracies were articulated with organized masses has been displaced. The social basis for Labourism, if it is to be revived, will be polyglot, and its supporters will be politically polyamorous. This is what Labour’s purgers failed to understand.

In the future, Labour’s supporters will have had a variety of political fealties in the immediate past, be it the Greens, or the nationalists, or the Trotskyists or some independent campaign. People work wherever it is useful to do so, and align with whoever it is helpful to work with. The concept of the party as an inclusive, ecumenical social movement, implies an awareness of that.

This would be the only possible counterweight to the entrenched, institutional power of the Right.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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