Owen Jones is wrong to oppose mandatory reselection
Owen Jones has released a new video where he gives his latest thoughts on the Labour leadership election contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.
Jones has caused considerable controversy in recent weeks with his less than full support for Jeremy Corbyn and is willingness to seek a compromise with the Blairite wing of the Party.
Unfortunately his latest video lives up to his recent form, whilst offering no way forward in the fight for a democratic and socialist Labour Party.
The right wing of the Labour Party, working hand in glove with the establishment media and behind it the capitalist class, is using every trick in the book to try and discredit Corbyn and the movement around him. They are doing this because they fear, quite rightly as it happens, that their domination is being threatened, that their pro neo-liberal (i.e. pro capitalist) orthodoxy is being threatened by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions who are being enthused by the Corbyn campaign.
The very latest attack has come today from Richard Branson in #traingate and whether Corbyn sitting in the gangway of a train was a stunt or not. As many have pointed out, Branson has a material interest in ensuring that Corbyn loses the leadership election – he fears that the renationalisation of the railways and healthcare threatens his enormous wealth and profit. This is just a small example of what Corbyn and any movement that threatens the establishment will face.
We have a situation where Labour MPs have consistently worked to undermine the elected leader, from the staged resignations from the Shadow Cabinet in the wake of Brexit to the heckling in Parliament whilst Corbyn was attacking the Tories. As an aside Jones states that Labour is doing badly in the polls – has he considered that Labour may be down in the polls due to the possible appearance of ‘chaos’ causes by the right wing sabotage of Corbyn’s leadership?
It is truly astounding that in the current context Jones opposes the mandatory reselection of MPs. This should be a basic democratic process in any working class organisation – its representatives should truly represent the views of the membership and be able to be held to account. Significantly UNITE, the largest union in the country voted at is recent conference to support reselection.
Furthermore Jones suggests that there needs to compromise with deputy leader Tom Watson who has been actively opposing Corbyn and leading a McCarthyite Red Scare campaign against current and former members of the Labour Party. Occasionally Jones acknowledges the fact that there is a civil war taking place in the Labour Party, so what is his advice? Bring these enemies of Corbyn back in to the fold! The likes of Watson and the many MPs who support Owen Smith are firmly committed to keeping Labour safe for the establishment, i.e. committed to trying to keep out any progressive, socialist policies and getting rid of Jeremy. That Jones wants to compromise with these people is a strategy for not ending the civil war, but losing the fight for the direction of the Labour Party.
Jones raises what he thinks are suitable economic policies and slogans. He states that Labour needs to be ‘The party of investment. The party of growth. The party of opportunity.’ Are these enough though to solve the crisis that working class people face?
The Socialist Party believes that we do not need platitudes but firm and bold socialist policies. We do think that Jeremy and John McDonnell need to go further. It is a great step forward that Jeremy today talked about bringing the whole NHS in to public ownership. But let’s not stop there. There needs to be widespread public ownership including of the banks, financial houses and major industries so we can start to plan the economy in the interests of ordinary people, so we can truly get the fair society that everyone in the Corbyn movement wants to see. That means breaking with capitalism and fighting for socialism. We outlined our position in this article.
A fighting, socialist Labour Party could play a key role in that but it won’t be achieved with the strategy put forward by Owen Jones. The time is not for compromise with the representatives of the establishment in the Labour Party, the time is for mandatory reselection and bold socialist policies.
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