Historically the left wing in politics has always been divided. There are so many variables in left wing culture that there will always be differences of opinion.
If there was one thing you could normally take for granted from the left however is that nearly the entire left spectrum is often found to be anti establishment and anti capitalist. Or at least that’s what you would expect.
For those on the centre ground it’s been a confusing time of late as Labour is reinvigorated by the Corbyn effect. For years Labour supporters have considered themselves on the left of politics, as the ‘real’ left wing spent years in the wilderness, rarely engaging in the political process so naturally the centre ground in Labour took up the mantle of the left wing in the politicial sphere. The result of this was Tony Blair. It’s why all the three main parties gained the title ‘LibLabCon’, they were all much the same.
To the shock of many, Corbyn’s nomination for Labour leader sent a shockwave through the left wing movement. Suddenly we had the possibility of a real left wing Labour MP leading the party and then out of the depths of obscurity came the floating and disengaged voters. They came from Left Unity, The Green Party and of course non voters made their voices heard too. Suddenly Labour was a force again, even if the PLP was strangling itself just to make a point.
The centre ground either sat quietly to see what would happen or they vociferously condemned the influx of the radical left. This is where the crux of the problem now lies for that radical left. Many of the people that joined Labour or began to back them from the moment Corbyn joined are having to battle the centre ground and to do so the game of politics is having to be played. It’s caused many to forget why they are protesting and how to do it. They are trying to do battle with the politicians on their own turf and the truth is the radical left wing can not fight them there. The political system wasn’t built for a battle. It’s designed to defend against infiltrators with aplumb. It’s a capitalist system, not a radical one.
The EU referendum then has made stark the divides of the left.
So who in Labour voted to remain in the EU referendum? The Labour right and Labour centrists who long backed the likes of Tony Blair and the long disenfranchised Labour voters who felt that Labour wasn’t quite to the left of centre enough. These are the same people who are defending the financial institutions, justifying the treatment of the establishment against the Greek people and those that are oblivious to the fact that the EU can not be reformed. If they were on the radical left then they would never have voted to remain in the European Union. These are also the same people who believe that campaigning for more housing, raising wages and stopping austerity are their top priorities for a Corbyn Labour government. Never mind radical.. these people just want reform, not realising that reform tends to happen in every government and just helps the status quo to continue.
Instead we have had Jeremy Corbyn who was blackmailed by the PLP to back remain with those same disenfranchised voters following him like the pied piper. Corbyn’s heart though wasn’t in it and the PLP are baying for blood and as for the Labour voters they are laying blame with the radical left who unsurprisingly voted leave in the referendum.
Here though is the curious thing, both the radical left and the disenfranchised left prior to the EU referendum were often championing the same things, they were calling for Cameron to resign back in April this year, calling for the end to the dominance of the financial institutions, the redistribution of wealth, the end to austerity, the death of Capitalism, the end to the EU and calling out the elite, establishment and the 1% and in one fell swoop on 24th June 2016 that call was answered. The people of the UK collectively voted to leave the European Union. It was a blow to the financial institutions and the elite, a blow to Capitalism and a blow to David Cameron. He has now served just 13 months as prime minister of a controlling government. Everything that the left championed has been achieved in the space of 24 hours.
So even more curious then that the left are now seemingly at war with each other.
The original working classes who used to vote for Labour seem to have voted for leave along with the radical/far left, it’s these groups that are representing the working person in reality and with Labour having been in the wilderness for so long as the working persons party is it any wonder that it’s alleged that UKIP is fast becoming the party of the working people. Rightly or wrongly. Smaller far left parties like the Socialist Party and the TUSC appear to have attracted the far left in fairly large numbers.
If Corbyn can not hold on to his reign as Leader or if Labour will not field other left wing candidates then the membership will dwindle back to previous Corbyn numbers. Labour will be finished. Perhaps this is why Labour can never be considered the working persons party every again. Their left wing element, the workers element, is almost done with.
What the radical left along with the disenfranchised and original Labour voters should do is Unite elsewhere, at the very least in the future when Corbyn has gone. Either under a new party or with the likes of the TUSC or SP or perhaps even Greens, but even the Greens showed that they still suffer from the one-issue effect when their whole stance on the EU was decided by environmental issues, never mind the working person.
It’s unlikely to happen though but if the left want to take on UKIP they need to offer the working man and woman something. An alternative, before the right wing UKIP takes them all under their wing.
It’s one thing to engage in the political process to make things better than the status quo, but taking on capitalism and fighting for the common cause will not be won by a vote to remain in the EU. It also won’t likely ever be won at the ballot box, but if that’s the way people want to do it, via the ballot box then we at least need to be backing a party that truly wants to take on the capitalist elite. After all, for those that voted remain who consider themselves left wing… it should be a cold day in hell before you’re ever seen sharing anti-capitalist sentiment again.
Regardless however it’s imperative that the left finds a way forward together, somehow.
(Video Below: Sat 25th June, are UKIP the working man’s party?)