People do not understand how the Labour Party could elect Jeremy Corbyn as their leader and then how he could be re-elected when he was challenged. But at this point, what we the public should be asking is what does Corbyn stand for?
In an age when the government seems to care more about internal politics, tax cuts and keeping their friends happy, the nation is in a mess. There is the greedy capitalism, where a CEO can get a £78 million bonus, whereas some people are being paid a living wage only if they are lucky. We have rampant banks, while they close branches, it is unfortunate that the only bank that has any growth is the foodbank. There is not enough money for the police to safely protect towns, while the NHS is being sold of to Americans and Virgin against the people’s wishes.
Academics Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts have taken a critical approach to Corbynism and managed to capture some of the essence of the new political doctrine. Corbyn has always been an enthusiastic internationalist, anti-EU, pro-trade unionist, anti-capitalist, pro-peace campaigner, which all go to make up his world view. Their critical approach looks at his beliefs and aligns them with the broader modern political and economic shifts that are continuing to happen.
There are some very interesting chapters in this book that will terrify some and electrify others, and they may argue for and against the idea that Corbyn sees the world’s humanity built on a negative baseline of the universal fear of cruelty. I think Corbyn wants all human’s to be equal without the need of cruelty, as that is what has destroyed relationships between us all.
Both the authors have sensibly used Marxist critical theory to analyse Corbynism, especially as he is the face and leader of the popular left in Britain. What we do learn is that Corbynism is diverging from many of the key traditions of the democratic left. Whether he thinks we need to look at the class struggle through a different prism is very debatable.
Since his election as Leader of the Labour Party and the Official Opposition in the House of Commons, Corbyn has regularly been dismissed or derided by the right. Who can forget the mauling he received for not singing the national anthem asking God save the Queen, when he is a republican. No sensible explanation that as a republican it goes against his personal, and that of many, belief in the queen or the monarchy she heads.
This is an excellent volume which tackles Corbynism from a Marxist view point without the petty ignorance of the right. This is a proper look at Corbyn’s world view and therefore much of his political thinking. If you do not understand Corbyn or the new left, then this book will open your eyes.
Then you too will start questioning what state the UK is in!
Paul Diggett 4/5
Corbynism: A Critical Approach by Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts
Emerald Publishing Limited 9781787543720 pbk Sep 2018