I’ve just been reading China Mieville’s October, his account of 1917 in Petrograd, and wondering about what it might mean to attempt a socialist transformation of British society in the face of the inevitable oppostion.
Assuming Corbyn would face a concerted effort to derail or destroy a Left government, what should we do to avert that? I think we all realise that we need, not just an election followed by a Labour Government that ‘gets on with governing’ old style, but a supportive mass movement outside parliament. That’s easier to say (or write) than do, though. Such things aren’t grown overnight, but there are signs from the last campaign, and before, that that could grow.
But we do need to avoid magical thinking and the incantation of slogans.
Comrades who self describe as on the ‘revolutionary left’ talk of getting people onto the streets. Well, yes, under some circumstances that’s exactly the right thing to do. But I think Owen Jones, Paul Mason , Aaron Bastani and J Corbyn might all agree with that. I suppose what lies behind my question is the further one of just what, under the concrete conditions of 2017-8 would be a viable approach from a revolutionary perspective that would very different from the line pursued by, say, Momentum? What are the practical steps that would need to be taken?
It is certainly true that any quasi or actual socialist government needs a mass movement, outside and beyond parliament, and it will be necessary to push Labour leftwards – we need, IMO, to go beyond the (very welcome) left social democratic policies currently on offer. The first priorities, though, are achieving power, keeping it and then doing progressive things with it. There’s a lot of agreement there: but the unanaswered question is how we do this. What would we do, and would there be a big difference between what different currents on the left could meaningfully propose? This isn’t Petrograd in 1917, but the bad guys are certainly going to come at JC, at Labour, and by extension, at the rest of us if he gets in.
What would we do?