Corbyn, Brexit and the politics of the radical left

Τhe election of Jeremy Corbyn as head of the British Labour Party has confirmed the existence now of a deep movement of “radicalism” inside both European and US opinion, completely unsatisfied, for fundamental reasons, from the way traditional political elites, right or left, are managing the huge economic and social threats towards western societies. His election was a real shock for the British establishment with Army Generals threatening to intervene if Corbyn would put into threat British national interests!

Such infringements to democracy are very rare in post-War western Europe and tell a lot about the depth of the crisis. Greece is put under a clear albeit indirect neocolonial rule, in Portugal the President of the Republic refused to give the government mandate to a coalition supported by a majority of voters, in France they enshrine a permanent status of emergency situation, invoking the terrorist threat.

But the Corbyn victory did not surprise only the establishment, it surprised also the winners, the British Radical Left, which is facing now a huge challenge. How to transform a protest movement into a power politics force (what were able to do Tsipras in Greece and also Le Pen in France), without betraying its very principles like SYRIZA did in Greece.

It is this deep current which brought to the fore left radicalism in poorer Southern Europe (SYRIZA, Podemos, Portuguese Left) but also Britain (Corbyn) and USA (Sanders). In richer countries, “radical right” (Le Pen, or Tramp in the States) seems more successful. The answers they give to the crisis may differ greatly, but everywhere the voters are looking for ways to challenge the “oligopoly” of political elites which governed Europe, more or less applying strictly what the Finance and Washington was asking from them.

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In the same time, the perspective of the referendum on Brexit bears a quite explosive potential for the ongoing nearly existential crisis of the European elites. It is also a great challenge for Corbyn himself, potentially a great opportunity or a great threat.

Follows an anthology of recent articles about Corbyn and Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn vows to form left-wing alliance in Europe to roll back David Cameron’s EU re-negotiations – 28.02.2016 (Independent)

Corbyn forges new European left alliance to oppose Cameron’s EU stance – 28.02.2016

What Corbyn really thinks about Brexit: Labour leader backs ‘a social Europe for everybody’ – 26.02.2016

Cameron’s Statement, Corbyn’s response & full EU debate on Brexit (Video) – 22.02.2016

Boris Kagarlitski explains in the following article the difference between Jeremy Corbyn and Alexis Tsipras