who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. If Jeremy Corbyn victory
was an incredible political
achievement, it was the easy
2. What does Jeremy Corbyn
3. Jeremy Corbyn hails huge
mandate as he sets out
Corbyn: ‘Britain can’t cut its way to prosperity.
We have to build it’
5. American Media Freaks Out
After Socialist Wins UK
6. US War Theories Target
This is a Nederlog
September 13, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. It is not a quite normal one, because 5 out of 6 reviews
are about various aspects of Corbyn's winning the Labour Party's
but then again I think this is an important event. Item 1 is about an article by Owen Jones on The
Guardian; item 2 is a good article on what Corbyn
(but you have to read the original if you don't know); item
3 is by two Guardian journalists; item 4 is
about an article by Jeremy Corbyn; item 5 is about
the American main media's reactions to Corbyn's election; and item 6 is a good,
long and frightening article about the Pentagon's new "Law of War".
As I said, there is a lot of Jeremy Corbyn in today's Nederlog.
My main reasons are that I think his election is important beyond
England; because he is the first
genuine leftwing social democrat to be elected party
leader of an important social democratic party in a long time;
and because I like most of his program.
Apart from that I also uploaded a new version of the crisis index, which now is
updated until yesterday: I wrote 971 (plus 10) Nederlogs about the
September 1, 2008, which means I reviewed something like 4000 to 4500
1. If Jeremy Corbyn victory was an incredible
political achievement, it was the easy bit
The first article today is by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
The first two paragraphs
are quite correct, as indeed is the third, though I don't quite see the
need for putting in a "disclaimer" when almost everyone writing in the
papers is a propagandist - but it is fair.
It must surely rank as
the greatest against all-odds victory in British political history. Jeremy Corbyn began this contest as
beyond-rank-outsider. He was 200-1, and that was one of the most
favourable odds offered. Outside the campaigns he most passionately
champions, barely anyone knew who this mild-mannered backbencher and
his award-winning beard was.
After the most open and
democratic contest in Labour’s history – an election run by rules
introduced to appease the party’s Blairite right, who wanted to dilute
the unions’ influence – this man now has the biggest mandate of any Labour leader in history.
A disclaimer: I’m someone
who has actively backed his campaign, and spoken at some of his
rallies. At the outset, the campaign had one clear purpose - to help
set the terms of debate and put policies on the political agenda.
Here is Owen Jones' analysis of why Corbyn won:
I don't agree with
treating the left and the right on a par, but I agree with the second
paragraph: Social democracy has been in a crisis since Clinton and Blair
So how did he win? The
Corbyn phenomenon has to be put in the broader context of surging
disillusionment with political elites across the western world which
finds its expression in support for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump,
Podemos and the Front National, the SNP and Ukip.
Social democracy is in
crisis because it accepted the underlying principles of austerity, and
therefore has little to say. A vacuum was left, and the Corbyn
phenomenon filled it. He offered an optimistic hopeful vision that
resonated, and his rivals failed to do so.
pronounced their support for the "Third Way" (<-
Wikipedia), which was a fraud
from the start.
This is William
K. Black (<- Wikipedia) on the "Third
William K. Black said that "Third Way is
this group that pretends sometimes to be center-left but is actually
completely a creation of Wall Street--it's run by Wall Street for Wall
Street with this false flag operation as if it were a center-left
group. It's nothing of the sort."
I agree: it was all propaganda
which also worked for careerists:
The Clintons now have tens of millions of dollars; Tony Blair has
between 20 and 80 million pounds; and that is what the "Third Way" was good for: It hugely
enriched the political careerists who popularized it, but it did almost
nothing for the very many poor it helped create.
Then there is this, which is also quite correct:
But have no doubt.
If this was an incredible political achievement, it was the easy bit.
The challenges now faced by a Corbyn-led Labour party are absolutely
Yes, indeed. Jeremy
Corbyn may fail for many reasons. Here are some of the things
Jones thinks are necessary (excerpted as points):
I don't know about the
last point, simply because austerity is baloney, but I agree with the
rest, though again this will not be easy.
- A vast and vibrant
grassroots movement has to be built
- his leadership must also
reach out to middle-income and middle-class people.
- On immigration, he must
rebut the scapegoating of migrants and refugees
- The economic strategy
must not simply be anti-austerity, but pro-something else (...)
What does Jeremy
next article is
by Nadia Khomami on The Guardian:
This is a good
article that you should read all of if you don't know Corbyn's position
on the following subjects, that are all quoted, but without any text:
It so happens I agree with
nearly all of it but planning is easier than doing, and Corbyn won the
leadership of Great Britain's biggest opposition party, and not of the
On the economy
On public ownership
On the monarchy
On the arts
On gender equality
On foreign policy
hails huge mandate as he
sets out leftwing
next article is
by Toby Helm and Daniel Boffey on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, but one of the hard
fights he will face is with the careerists who
were the top of Blair's
(<- Wikipedia). He has beaten them in the leadership election, but
(yet) politically, although I agree most non-prominent members of
Labour like Corbyn's genuinely leftist politics.
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that Labour voters
would “want and expect” all senior figures in the party to rally round
and work with him after he pulled off a historic victory to become
leader of the party.
Speaking to the Observer
minutes after it was revealed that he had trounced Andy Burnham, Yvette
Cooper and Liz Kendall, Corbyn said he had won a “huge mandate” from
across the party for his leftwing anti-austerity programme. “That is
what is important about this. It is a huge mandate for a new democracy
in the party,” he said.
“I think the membership and
supporters will want and expect members of the parliamentary party to
cooperate with the new leader and let us develop an effective strategy
for opposing the Tories on the issues I outlined in my speech: welfare
reform, trade unions, budget and so on. We will be constructing a
shadow cabinet later today and tomorrow.”
There is also this, which I quote as a phrase:
.. Corbyn –
arguably the most leftwing leader in Labour history ..
Perhaps, but part of the
reason is that he opposed the most rightwing leaders of the
"New Labour Party".
Then there is this:
In an appeal to
those who think his politics will alienate middle-class voters, he
adds: “We understand aspiration, and we understand that it is only
collectively that our aspirations can be realised. Everybody aspires to
an affordable home, a secure job, better living standards, reliable
healthcare and decent pension. My generation took those things for
granted and so should future generations.”
I agree, though it will be
hard to secure these, especially when the Tories are
Finally, there is this response from the Blairites:
But his election
prompted a flurry of senior resignations, including those of shadow
chancellor Chris Leslie, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt,
shadow communities secretary Emma Reynolds and shadow work and pensions
secretary Rachel Reeves.
I'd say: "Good riddance!", but
I agree Corbyn must remake the Labour Party
into a genuine leftist party, and this will be quite difficult.
4. Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Britain can’t cut its way to prosperity. We
have to build it’
next article is
by Jeremy Corbyn on The Observer (part of The Guardian):
This starts as follows:
election has been an extraordinary demonstration of grassroots
democracy and public participation, which has turned the conventional
wisdom about politics on its head. We have drawn in hundreds of
thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds from across the
country, far beyond the ranks of longstanding activists and campaigners.
Who can now seriously
claim that young people aren’t interested in politics or that there is
no appetite for a new kind of politics?
Above all, it has shown
that millions of people want a real alternative, not business as usual,
either inside or outside the Labour party.
The hope of change and
bringing big ideas in is now back at the centre of politics: ending
austerity, tackling inequality, working for peace and social justice at
home and abroad. That’s why the Labour party was founded more than a
This election has given
that founding purpose a new force for the 21st century: a Labour party
that gives voice to the 99%.
I agree. I don't quite
agree with the following bit:
The most important
message my election offers to the millions who we need
to vote Labour and turn the Tories out of office is that the party is
now unequivocally on their side.
No. Corbyn was voted
the new Labour leader because many ordinary people liked his leftwing
politics, but this does not mean that "the party is now unequivocally on their side": Most of the former leadership still
hold positions of power or influence.
For the Conservatives,
the deficit is just an excuse to railroad through the same old Tory
agenda: driving down wages, cutting taxes for the wealthiest, allowing
house prices to spiral out of reach, selling off our national assets
and attacking trade unions.
That is true. Here is the
last bit I will quote from this article:
The human response
of ordinary people across Europe in the past few weeks has demonstrated
the thirst for a different kind of politics and society. The values of
compassion, social justice, solidarity and internationalism have been
at the heart of the democratic eruption in Labour’s hugely expanded
Yes, but one
important problem for Corbyn is to keep the positive interest
alive now that he has become party leader.
5. American Media Freaks Out After Socialist Wins UK Labour
next article is
by Adam Johnson on AlterNet:
This is from the
Jeremy Corbyn, a
self-described socialist, outflanked his opponents to the left on many
issues, including militarism, immigration, unions - breaking ranks on a
whole host of centrist orthodoxy that Labour had embraced since the
media, perplexed as to how someone labeled with the dreaded “s" word
could not only capture a major party nomination but do so with the
largest mandate in the history of the party, went into full smear mode:
This is followed
by a list of propagandistic titles, which you can find in the original
if interested. But here is one more bit, indeed with some of the titles:
The reality is
Corbyn's win isn't just a rejection of standard neoliberal orthodoxy --
it's an indictment of it. For years we've been told the will of the
people is to be anti-union, pro-austerity, and pro-corporate take over
of pensions and education. Now the tide is shifting dramatically and
the cognitive dissonance of those in charge of our media is too great
to compute. They must at once report on Corbyn's record victory while
insisting he's fringe.The goal of cheap smears like "Karl Marx admirer"
(not that there's anything wrong with that, but the goal is to
red-bait) and "far left" and divisive" is the same as those leveled
against Bernie Sanders: "unelectable", "socialist", "far left".
That seems mostly
true, and indeed "the will of the people" is not "to be anti-union", not "pro-austerity", not "pro-corporate take over of pensions and education".
6. US War Theories Target Dissenters
The last article today is
by Todd E. Pierce, who is a retired major from the U.S. Army Judge
starts as follows:
When the U.S. Department
of Defense published a new Law of War Manual (LOW) this past summer,
editorialists at the New York Times sat up and took notice.
Their concern was that the manual stated that journalists could be
deemed “unprivileged belligerents.” The editorial explained that as a
legal term “that applies to fighters that are afforded fewer
protections than the declared combatants in a war.” In fact, it is far
more insidious than that innocuous description.
Here is the manual’s
definition: “‘Unlawful combatants’ or ‘unprivileged belligerents’ are
persons who, by engaging in hostilities, have incurred one or more of
the correspondingcareerists liabilities of combatant status (e.g., being
object of attack and subject to detention), but who are not entitled to
any of the distinct privileges of combatant status (e.g., combatant
immunity and POW status).”
The key phrase here is
“being made the object of attack.” For slow-witted New York Times
editorialists, that means journalists can be killed as can any enemy
soldier in wartime. “Subject to detention” means a journalist deemed an
unprivileged belligerent will be put into military detention if
captured. As with any enemy belligerent, however, if “capture is not
feasible,” they would be killed if possible, by drone perhaps if in a
Currently, most U.S.
captives deemed “unprivileged belligerents” are imprisoned in
Guantanamo although some may be held in Afghanistan. It must be noted
that the United States deems as an “unprivileged belligerent” anyone
they target for capture or choose to kill.
a whole lot more in the article, which is both good and
that I leave to your interests.