The politics of Jeremy Corbyn, elected by a landslide Saturday to lead Britain’s Labour Party after its defeat at the polls last May, are part of the global revolt against corporate tyranny. He had spent his long career as a pariah within his country’s political establishment. But because he held fast to the socialist ideals that defined the old Labour Party, he has risen untarnished out of the ash heap of neoliberalism.
Makes you realize how far left politics in Europe is from here in the U.S. where the best Corbyn could do is be elected as a city councilman and that in a liberal city like Seattle or Minneapolis.
It is strange that in 1980, in both the UK and US, in the leading conservative parties, Thatcher and Reagan were elected and able to begin the trashing of democracy and the initiation of fascism.
It is strange that today, in both the UK and US, in the leading neoliberal parties, after decades of extending the trashing of democracy and the initiation of fascism, men of the left, Corbyn and Sanders, have suddenly become popular.
What can account for these lockstep coincidences in the UK and the US?
An excellent article as ever by Chris Hedges.
Corbyn certainly has an uphill struggle on his hands. His enemies are not the people but the sheer inertia of the brainwashers-in-charge and their brainwashed robots in the media. It is chilling to see how no matter how much this story screams that a new political fire has already been lit, the hacks and pundits religiously keep banging on about how he is an unelectable outsider. He, more than anyone in decades, has attracted huge numbers back to the Labour party and is doing much to undo all the credibility damage of the Blair & Co. Thatcher-lite mob.
This gets to the heart of the media sickness. It seems perfectly acceptable for a supposed expert to sit in a TV studio and tell the audience how the future of politics will unfold - in stark contrast to what the evidence clearly indicates. Moreover, given that one vote every four or five years is the meagre crumb that is thrown to the masses in the name of democracy, is it not in fact BLATANT PROPAGANDA to allow anyone to TELL these voters that any candidate is a likely loser or likely winner? Isn't the whole purpose of the election supposed to be to let people choose FREELY? As if!
I am so cynical about politics I could write several fat books on it. I don't vote. But reading Hedges and thinking of Corbyn - even Sanders - I happily accept that I am but 1 in 7+ billion of us and, if others still retain faith in politics, well the future is in all our hands - no single person. In that respect I can only say that Corbyn has more integrity in his little toe than Blair could ever recognise - even if he spent all his very substantial and ill-gotten gains to change that.
Hedges is of course right -- and putting Sanders, who is not nearly as progressive on the spot. We do have people like Corbin but none would stand a chance of running in any way that you would hear about. Our actual socialists have been sidelined and locked out by a media inseparable from the CIA and corporate oligarchy.
... coincidences? National borders and nations increasingly only serve to distract the masses and keep the global oligarchs who pull the strings behind the stage scenery.
This article makes you realize just how much Bernie and Corbyn have in common and how little Hillary and Jeb do. We have our own Corbyn in Bernie Sanders and while there are differences, the reality is that we are not Britain and we do not have a strong socialist party or a tradition of socialist politicians being elected.
We will have one of two choices and to elect the right again in this country would be a return to the corrupt and incompetent cronyism of Bush/Cheney and more war.
So we face the reality that it is a race (as yet) between Hillary and Bernie. It is not a matter of courage simply to face facts about the flaws in American politics. The progressive left often pretends that it is more influential and is more widespread than it really is. Nevertheless for the first time a progressive independent politician - a democratic socialist - has a very real chance of winning. The alternative to his winning leaves us with only Hillary or Jeb (most likely) to vote for.
No magical upsurge of socialism will erupt from the masses Chris. No sudden epiphany of Marxian analysis will come to the 99% as they head towards the polls. No collective will to socialism exists in America although that could possibly change if Bernie can show people that socialism is not godless communism and that a little socialism might be better for America than will be oligarchy and neocon foreign policy.
It is unfortunate that fantasy has become a big part of American socialism. The extremism of the pure - the no compromise totality of all or nothing is a luxury typical of socialists in the American Left. They have grown so used to being sidelined by American politics and in fact dismissed and excluded by both the media and the public that they have evolved a fantasy presence in left publications far beyond their actual presence in the public's mind.
It takes a long time to develop an actual presence in the political scene rather than only a decades long, if not eternally, potential presence that never gets beyond token numbers. Chris accuses with the word courage and it must be asked just who is being accused of not having any?
Is it that he feels that the American public should be rising up to mount a socialist challenge to the two party system? Well yes he is asking that but why don't we? We aren't ready for something that most people have no familiarity with. Americans barely understand the policies of the parties they already belong to. Americans aren't used to voting by a party's programs and policies. We don't know them actually. The Republicans are this way and the Democrats are the same way but not as much.
So along comes someone who could change things from the exclusive dominance of the two parties and ... he isn't perfect. Well then Chris seems to be saying that America can't get all the good things that Bernie could do (and give the country a chance to see that the word socialism is not a bad thing like the oligarchs say) because he isn't perfect.
So from the rarified atmosphere of the intellectual purist, Chris would throw us into the arms of Hillary or Jeb. We not only don't get all the benefits that Berne would bring (including most likely appointing new Supreme Court justices) but it doesn't matter to Chris that Bernie opposes the oligarchs and didn't take their money. Why doesn't that matter? In fact no one asks Chris these questions as to why he acts the purist while knowing that Hillary or Jeb would be far far worse for the 99%? Chris accuses but never has to answer for his stance. What happens when Hillary or Jeb wins (with Chris's help by default)?
Tell us Chris should we have the courage to let Hillary or Jeb win? Is that what you mean by courage Chris? Of course not but that will be the end result of discouraging people's support for Bernie. You may want that intellectually remote purity, a neo Sartre up in his lofty heights and fame, Chris but we want the good things that Bernie would bring down here in the real world. We don't want only words written about us, good words though that they may be. We want the free tuition, the better soc sec and Medicare, the alternative energy, the changes in the tax structure, the social programs...and all the rest that Bernie the imperfect can bring. You can have your purity but it is only a fantasy at that? Can you face that Chris? No compromise is reactionary ... and not very much common sense.
And you pay taxes too, don't you Chris? I mean for purity's sake ... for perfection's sake... actually you shouldn't be but fighting the pure fight in the courts... purity means no compromise after all.
The problem with the Left in Stateside USA shows up in the Comments that are posted here: a complete lack of get-it-togetherness (this is also true in the Comments posted on TruthDig, but somewhat lesser there because its posters seem, to me at least, to be more international).
The responses to Bernie Sanders shows what would happen should a Jeremy Corbyn begin to get media attention in the US -- Leftist Libral Progressives would immediately form "The Circular Firing Squad," with supporters and critics trying to one-up and out do each other. Organizing a united front would never manage to happen.
A unified Left response would require people with an already existing media forum to articulate why this would be the way to go. It would need dozens of local volunteer organizers to to the drudge work of putting together mailing, address, phone and email lists to do "get out the vote" work, and printers for flyers and pamphlets, donors willing to put money where the Leftist mouths are, computer geeks to track which candidates are on board with the Front Man, and (unlike Candidate Obama) actually meant what they were saying.
Once any and all of that starts happening back in the US of A, I will give the Left a chance.
I can't see the relevance of such a comment? Who cares if Clinton said those words about someone else if he ever said them? They are ordinary words and said by lots of people. So ridiculous to throw that in?
That was a Bill Clinton line wasn't it? "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
You bet it was Clinton's line. All the way to the bank(sters).
Good little DNC dupes parrot it to this day.
"Polly want some populism? Can't have it! Awwwwk!"
"He is acutely aware of the problem of male violence against women. He would halt the government’s closure of domestic violence centers for women, fight discrimination against women in the workplace and bolster laws against sexual harassment and sexual assault. He says his Cabinet would be 50 percent women."
From a political perspective, Corbyn IS the return of the messiah!
He's what the Vegetarians want.
He's what those who oppose war want.
He's what those who oppose Israel's apartheid want.
He's what those who oppose CEO salaries and the engineered redistributions of wealth (to the tippy top of the pyramid) want.
He's what "walk your talk" types want... insofar as his not driving a car.
He's what advocates for "the commons" want in pushing back the privateers.
He's what environmentalists seeking to protect lands from Fracking and the Arctic from drilling want.
And so much else.
I can see why (with this far more glorious menu of options) some people would see Mr. Sanders as pale in comparison.
Some differences between U.K as a nation (and in terms of its citizenry) are as follows:
- The U.K. public is FAR more literate than U.S. "viewing audiences"
- The U.K. has directly experienced WAR on its own shores and therefore has a more enlightened attitude about the whole ungodly affair
- The U.K. is no longer the world's primary empire, nor does it have a military machine that produces weapons faster than Monsanto taints crops
If Trump is placed on one side of the spectrum and Mr. Corbyn on the other, Sanders would be just past the center point. It's STILL better than anything else running; and it could be that in attempting to move the Titanic- militaristic-uber-shock-doctrine-capitalistic U.S. infrastructure around, the entire gargantuan vehicle could only be turned by degrees. To try to turn it all too quickly could implode everything or flip it over.
My fear is that what would pass for a revolution in the U.S could result in primacy granted to the most dominant gun-toting Neanderthals... the same ones who hate Blacks, want Mexicans out, and think women belong in the kitchen, laundry room, or bedroom. In other words, the old dominators will merely be replaced by the next generation without any SERIOUS shift in Consciousness--the vital ingredient to REAL and lasting change--in place.
Too many are too inculcated to Fundamentalist--"hate other!" views and/or kill 'em all Fox News fallacious spectacles of faux patriotism. Toddlers can't suddenly run the Olympics. The U.S. has lots of "political toddlers."
Bernie caucuses with the Dems but he has ever been an independent. It seems that many people don't understand that word. Do you remember when many democrats caucused with Bush? Bernie is an independent and btw labels don't matter really. It all about his voting record. What matters is whether you want this country to face a race between Hillary and Jeb or you would rather it be a race between Bernie and Jeb. Whose policies would you prefer?
"Bernie's" record is one of collusion with the warmongering pigs of the DNC, and is simply shameful.
Of course Counterpunch...and only counterpunch. You'll need to do better and telling me to go read something is kind of lazy because saying it in your own words would allow me to respond to your points directly. Take a guess how many times people tell me to go read something. I'll put yours on the list...lol
Of course Counterpunch...and only counterpunch.
Nope. Not only Counterpunch.
There's Black Agenda Report. There's Chris Hedges, on TruthDig, obviously. There's Consortiumnews.
I see no reason to reiterate the many points made in the article which I cited.
I respect Chris Hedges in all his work. However, I am surprised he did not even mention Bernie Sanders. True, Sanders is not as far left as Corbyn but we know he would not be elected if he was.
Unless Hedges knows something we don't know about Sanders, I think it would have helped the cause to mention all the hard work Sanders has and is doing.
Sanders and Corbyn are kindred spirits in my mind and they have been watching each other's campaigns.
Come on Chris, give credit where credit is due.
Good for you so you made no points of your own. Anything else?
Akin to California, the political fires are certainly spreading. Add in much of South America as its people and leadership have opposed neo-liberal shock doctrine policies as much as they can.
"Corbyn, like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, is part of the new popular resistance that is rising up from the ruins of neoliberalism and globalization to fight the international banking system and American imperialism. We have yet to mount this battle effectively in the United States. But we, especially because we live in the heart of empire, have a special responsibility to defy the machine, held in place by the Democratic Party establishment, the war industry, Wall Street and groups such as the Israel lobby. We too must work to build a socialist nation."
Just as the terms Liberal and Progressive have been tainted, so too has the term Socialist. I know two college-educated people (granted, they live here in the Bible belt where they are surrounded by a church-funded black hole of ignorance) who think Socialism is akin to Hitler's shock troops marching. THAT is their understanding.
From the days of our earlier education-indoctrination, most of us were taught that Communism and Socialism were both systems of control, and systems that eradicated personal freedom (along with our understanding of the rule of law and its Constitutional protections).
Also, it pisses me off that Hedges always takes his best shot at Democrats and Liberals. He knows better than anyone that Big Money (and that includes Media control, the purchase of Congress, and massive military muscle) controls the political show in the land of the not exactly free. With that being the case, it's patently obvious that BOTH parties and lots of bureaucrats who, like the rest of us, must make accommodations to feed and house our families, have been largely FORCED to go along with policies that are decided in places higher than those held by govt. officials.
Call it The Deep State, or as Catherine Austin Fitts puts it: that the U.S. government has become a subsidiary of corporations. One of those is the military industrial complex. Since IT is the primary entity (along with the banks that must loan the govt. money to make war, and thus makes a killing on the interest garnered from these loans) that profits from war.
So Mr. Hedges specifying the Democrats without giving an iota of mention to the powerful fundamentalist Christian voting block which is primarily Republican/conservative... is unfair, inaccurate and weird in its particular prejudice.
When I think about these issues, humble as my thoughts may be, I operate from the context of United States history. I appreciate what's happening in the U. K. and other places, but there will always be important differences in agendas based on a nation's history. My, oh my, socialism, why the word socialism can't even be uttered in the United States, while it has been part of European and U. K. history for a century or more. And you would think Bernie would be given credit for standing by the word and by so doing giving it a rightful place in the national conversation, but, no, tsk, tsk, not a word from Hedges, or his elite circle of secular clerics. Bismarck, for pete's sake, brought national health care to Germany in the 19th Century. While Chris Hedges is wondering "Where is Our Jeremy Corbyn," makes for a nice rhetorical flourish, the answer is found in United States history.
Bernie is bringing ideas and policy proposals to light that haven't been seen since McGovern in the early Seventies, that is good, and the more he is heard the more likely it is he will succeed, Chris Hedges and Sour to the contrary notwithstanding.
Mr Hedges is advocating Socialism as it was first proposed by the people like Eugene Debs, here in Canada by Woodsworth and in the UK by the progenitors of the labor party.
Mr Sanders is not a socialist. He is still a Capitalist.
That failure to support Sanders means the election of a trump is not the focus of the article. Mr hedges is asking "Where are our Socialists".
He is not talking about perfection, Socialists leaders of thepast are not perfect. He is talking about true Socialists rising to power and visibility in the USA. He is pointing out it has still not happened and that it needs to happen. Is Mr Sanders a pathway to that goal? Perhaps but Mr Hedges is correct to point out he is not the endpoint and Sanders initiatives particularily on foreign policy and Militarism are no improvement over what the USA does today.
It his assessment and that of many others that it that foreign policy and Militarism happening outside the US borders that aid in the rot of the USA from within.
Now what Mr Hedges fails to acknowledge is that Sanders does in fact open the dialogue on Socialism in the USA. Even though he not truly a Socialist the word is no longer as villified as it once was and people are listening to his message and exploring the possibilities of a dramatic move towards that goal and are sitting around discussing how to get there.
When these same people understand what real Socialism is and understand Sanders not yet that it only right and proper that they lobby for yet more than what Sanders can offer. This is the proper role of a citizen inside a democracy. They do not just accept what is offered by those in power because "it could be worse if the other guy gets in"