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Friday, 2 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn on What's Radical

In August 2015, Jeremy Corbyn said that “[w]e can win an awful lot of people into the political spectrum, by offering something that is radical”.

A Labour leader using the word “radical” is nothing new. It's been used many times before by virtually every Labour Party – usually just before an election. It was even used by Tony Blair and his supporters. Mr Blair (in 1997), for example, said: “I am going to be a lot more radical in government than people think.” And even the Telegraph once had the following as a headline: 'Margaret Thatcher: Radical visionary who rescued Britain'.

Of course many socialists think that socialism is by definition radical; rather than the outdated 19th-century political religion (with totalitarian components added to it in the first half of the 20th century) that it is.

It's also strange that Corbyn believes that he'll “win an awful lot of people into the political spectrum” by being radical. I would say that the exact opposite is largely the case. Corbyn attracts mainly middle-class/professional Marxists, Trotskyists and communists with his talk of being radical. Most other people are frightened off by his words. And that includes the average Labour Party supporter. They know, as do many others, that radicalism and revolution usually lead to hell – to oppression, poverty, bread-cues, a police state and a (universal and strengthened) “no platform” policy.

In any case, you can take a radical position on almost anything. (You can have a radical position on the price of bread.) It's therefore meaningless to talk of being radical in the abstract. So that means that Corbyn is radical in very specific ways. That is, he's offering the British public radical socialism. And isn't radical socialism another name for communism?

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