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Corbyn: Against All Odds

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The future of the Labour Party: coups, elections − rebirth?

British politics has been moving at a staggering pace in the last few weeks. As if the resignation of David Cameron, swiftly followed by arguably the weirdest leadership election in Conservative Party history weren’t dramatic enough, a section of Labour Party MPs chose this extraordinary moment to attempt to topple Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. Led by members of the shadow cabinet, they instigated a planned coup attempt against him, beginning with a strategic series of resignations from people who by and large had never supported the leadership. Once it became clear that this was not going to force Corbyn to resign, Angela Eagle launched a formal leadership bid, quickly followed by Owen Smith, who eventually knocked Eagle out of the race. As we enter a fresh leadership election, it is worth considering the question: what is at stake here?

Corbyn: Against All Odds presents a new essay from Richard Seymour, in which he examines this bizarre, and thus-far unsuccessful, coup attempt, and attempts to outline Corbyn’s prospects in such unpredictable and turbulent times, alongside an extract from his new book Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics.

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  • Should we support Mélenchon?

    From the 27 January edition of Daniel Mermet’s Là-bas si j’y suis. Translated by David Broder. Based on French transcript



    Frédéric Lordon:
    Well, the upcoming elections… There is something weird. For me, the prospect of this election awakens very mixed feelings. Very contradictory feelings.

    I should say that as the years have come and gone — and it is a while since I stopped voting — I have truly come to consider the Fifth Republic’s institutions’ electoral pantomime as something empty, a dead end.

    And from a certain point of view, what happened with Nuit Debout was the expression of this same frame of mind. Playing the game within these institutions is either a game lost in advance, or an entirely senseless one. And the only political question…

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  • Under the Sign of Saturn, a Movement is Born

    This piece first appeared at Lenin's Tomb.



    I.


    There has been non-stop chaos in the American state since Trump took office. This is partly, but not primarily, a matter of incompetence. There is no doubt that these moves could have been prepared for a lot better by the incoming Trump team.

    Yet, I think it is also a deliberate offensive, the chaos a welcome element in the attempt to disorient enemies within the state apparatuses and, by forcing a rupture in which normal rules are suspended, change the balance of forces condensed in the state. The promotion of Bannon, a mere fascist propagandist before he had Trump's ear, to the National Security Council is an extraordinary manifestation of this. The joint chiefs of staff and director of national intelligence are being sidelined. The State Department has been purged of figures likely to impede Trump's objectives, even at the cost of leaving the bureaucracy dysfunctional. Clearly, the administration inner circle is looking to assemble their allies within the deep state quickly, both to forestall any challenge to their own operations and to advance their countersubversive goals. The New York Post gets the idea: "A clean sweep may mean some chaos — but a new start has virtues of its own."

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  • Leveller! The political insult that never dates

    The Levellers have recently taken on a sudden political topicality. First, Theresa May accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of being a Leveller, and then UKIP's only MP Douglas Carswell attempted to claim the Levellers for the populist right. How can we situate the legacy and contemporary relevance of the Levellers? 

    In this piece John Rees, author of the recently published The Leveller Revolution, looks at the history of this 400 year old political insult.

    The Leveller Revolution is currently 50% off as part of our end-of-year sale, with free shipping.


    Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Benn (centre) with John Rees and Cllr Rania Khan at the unveiling of the plaque to Leveller Thomas Rainsborough in Wapping, 2013.

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Other books by Richard Seymour