As a self-proclaimed cultural Marxist & someone who is normally labelled a “leftist,” it may come to most people’s surprise that I’m not a Labour voter & never have voted for our very British, Red party. What will shock people who know me even more whether in real life, or through my online aliases, is that I am also not a huge fan of Jeremy Corbyn. Before I go on and explain my argument, I should clarify. Any observer of politics can see that Corbyn is a figure both under fire from the right and hailed by the left. I have nothing against Jeremy Corbyn as a man, I agree with a lot of what he says, and even what he stands for. However, I do not support him nor has this Labour reform really changed my mind about voting for them.
I can see now the flock of Corbyn disciples rushing in to defend their “personal Jesus”, but hear me out before group mentality sinks in, and you sweep me under the umbrella of “Corbyn haters”. I do not support Corbyn, not based on his values, but based on his position within mainstream politics. I do not personally see him as a vessel of change as so many of the UK’s ‘left’ do. This inherently lies with me considering myself more of a radical rather than a liberal. The difference between the two, being that most liberals believe they can change the system through ideology, normally through education. They hope that if a population becomes enlightened systematic change will happen. A radical on the other hand believes that only after the destruction of existing power structures & constraints can change & progress really happen.
To look at an example of why I personally do not throw myself at jezzer, we need only look to our European neighbours in Greece and the SYRIZA political party. Founded in 2004 by a coalition of leftist parties, SYRIZA was anti-capitalist, democratically socialist and seen as the hard left . The party itself was labelled as radical, unrealistic and mocked as ideological nonsense by mainstream media outlets as well as centre & right political figures (not too dissimilar to how the papers and pundits view Corbyn today). Despite this, the party was praised and hailed by anarchists, lefties and progressives all across Europe as a positive movement of real drastic change. The party was meant to help Greece break out of Europe’s class wars with the banking system and direct it away from the Americanization and potent corporate threat that plagues Europe. Greece, like many others, was a country hit hard by the 2008 global economic crash caused by Wall Street. By 2010, Greece had to avoid bankruptcy by taking a bail out from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank. However, these came with strict austerity measures (Here). The price of this austerity hit pretty much instantly, and throughout 2010 several demonstrations sprung up around the country. These protests grew in mass and were provoked by the cuts to public spending and rise in tax. Protests and the anger behind them carried all the way up to 2014. The left relied on SYRIZA, and in 2012 began to throw itself behind the party hoping for a surge of socialism throughout Europe. This did not happen… Despite all the fancy words, violent clashes and anarchist mentality the party has been crushed by the blockades of capitalism & current politics. Despite its best efforts, the cries for cancellation of it’s debt from this “hard left” party quickly shifted from an ultimatum, to a debate and now lingers in political bureaucracy. With the exception of Ireland and Spain,
Greece is one of the few rare European societies that has had a hard left ideology drilled into its populace. Yet despite a huge anti-austerity backing and a history of being anti-fascist, the country was unable to bypass the ‘barriers’ of our modern political systems. Where are those leftists now? Well, without the party, riots have stopped, protests are much smaller & change has yet to come for Greece. A contributing factor that I believe is overlooked within the Greek Crisis is this blind faith in one icon, and lack of diversity in the political movements that Greece had. This has led to the stale mate in negotiations that SYRIZA is currently embroiled in. The anti-capitalist movements have crumbled and the anti-austerity protests have been quelled. This is because there was no other viable choice around to grab the movement, and once the party had failed or slowed down, those behind it began to have their faith shaken. The left soon disbanded and Greek citizens returned to their homes still discontent, yet, like a victim of beatings they had become silent in face of their abuser. I fear Corbyn may mean the same for the British public. The hysteria that surrounds him seems appealing to those disenfranchised with politics, or those on the fringe of it, but despite Corbyn’s views being socialist he himself is a bureaucrat. Yet again there is the tendency to throw ourselves behind a messiah figure regardless because the left seem so rare in mainstream politics. But no matter how hard we wish for it, Corbyn will be faced with those same barriers that SYRIZA came across in its confrontation with austerity, and will arguably crumble in the same fashion. It all boils down to whether one truly believes that change can come from within the system. I personally find this notion insulting. I’m not saying changes don’t happen from within, but true change arguably does not. To put this into perspective we don’t ask domestic abuse victims to try and change the relationship with their partner “from within” – we tell them to leave that partner and report them to the proper authorities. So why do we assume we can barter with abusive political systems? As if we ask nicely enough through the proper channels, that the same system that abuses so many will stop? Appealing to our oppressor’s humanity is an oxymoron in itself and I do not believe that without revolution that we will ever have true change. For me personally Corbyn becomes irrelevant to the fight against austerity, and capitalism as a whole, and despite being a bishop for the UK’s left he’s still a chess piece in a fixed game.