Corbyn and the Future of Labour: A Verso Report


Essays from Tariq Ali, Rachel Shabi, George Monbiot, Richard Seymour, Hilary Wainwright, and more.

The leadership election has come to an end with a huge victory for Jeremy Corbyn. He is given the mandate (again) to demand support from the Westminster rump that still resists his authority.

But even with this support, the future is no walk in the park. Since the attempt to force Corbyn to resign, followed by the extended contest, the polls have shown the electorate to be unenthusiastic about the Labour Party’s internal struggles. Widespread media coverage continues to drive home the message that the party will be unelectable in 2020 under Corbyn, when the next General Election seems most likely to occur. The collapse of the party in Scotland and the threat of future boundary changes make the prospects for success seem particularly dim. What is the Labour Party to do in order to present a credible alternative? There are no simple answers.

Corbyn and the Future of Labour looks back on an extraordinary year – in which the Labour Party and its membership changed almost beyond recognition – and offers a variety of prescriptions for what needs to be done. Already we have seen that the party is willing to move away from the centre ground for the first time in twenty years and beginning to offer an authentic alternative to the neoliberal doctrine of austerity. Perhaps the only thing the writers collected together here might agree on is that the road ahead is going to be hard.

Including contributions from Tariq Ali, Joanna Biggs, Rachel Shabi, George Monbiot, Jamie Stern-Weiner, Richard Seymour, Hilary Wainwright, Jeremy Gilbert, Alex Williams, Ellie Mae O'Hagan, Michael Rosen, Aaron Bastani, Lindsey German.

Also: download the ebook and within it you can activate a discount code to receive 40% off all the books on our Essential Labour Party Reading List.

Ebook Contents:

1. Corbyn’s Progress - Tariq Ali

2. At the Rally - Joanna Biggs

3. The Coup - Rachel Shabi

4. The Curator of the Future - George Monbiot

5. Labour’s Fabricated Anti-Semitism Crisis - Jamie Stern-Weiner

6. The Labour Right’s Year of Misery - Richard Seymour

7. From Ralph Miliband to Jeremy Corbyn - Hilary Wainwright

8. The Question of Leadership - Jeremy Gilbert

9. Corbynism and the Parameters of Power - Alex Williams

10. What Next? The Corbyn Moment - Ellie Mae O’Hagan

11. Instructions for the Next Labour Leader - Michael Rosen

12. Recruit, Re-Tweet, Renationalise - Aaron Bastani

13. The Alternative to Empire: A New Foreign Policy - Lindsey German


  • Emmanuel Macron, spasm of the system

    First published in Le Monde Diplomatique. Translated by David Broder.

    "I'm going to be very clear..." Probably ignorant of the basic logics of the symptom, Emmanuel Macron seems unable to see how this repetitive way of starting each of his answers betrays the deep desire to cover things up — or rather, to recover them — that animates his whole campaign. "Keep on bathing between vagueness and nothingness" — that is what we should take from each of his promises of clarity. In his defence, we will admit that deferring to the obligation to speak when one's intention is to say nothing at all is one of the curses of this "democracy" that we have still found no satisfactory antidote for. Some will object that most of the candidates end up accommodating to this long and difficult moment — a moment one simply has to go through — and that the campaign-season fib is a well-established genre which should no longer be able to surprise anyone. For Macron, however, the problem takes on unprecedented proportions: not just a matter of slipping across a couple of whoppers, even of the calibre of "my enemy is finance" [as François Hollande claimed before his election in 2012]: rather, his entire campaign, and even his very persona as a candidate, constitute an essentially fraudulent enterprise.

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  • The Windows of History

    First published in Le Monde Diplomatique. Translated by David Broder. 

    Mélenchon rally, Lyon, February 2017. 

    1. In the so-called "democratic" era, a system of domination is a paradoxical creature. It categorically refuses to recognise its own systemic character, precisely because this era purports to be "democratic." However, even to begin to challenge its vital interests immediately reduces this playacting to nothing, making its systemic character manifest again. Indeed, so much is this system a system, that it comes out of the register of denial only in order to fall into a register of hysteria. As soon as Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s presidential bid became a serious possibility, leaving behind his outlandish fringe-candidate status, all the pretenses of upholding democracy, all the restraints of reasonable objectivity, instantly collapsed, ultimately allowing the system’s true face to come to light: furious, and of one mind.

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  • Mélenchon: A Radical Reformist Against Mounting Oligarchy

    The Belgian philosopher Chantal Mouffe — a thinker who inspires French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon — defended her project in a column appearing in the 15 April edition of Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.

    Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s breakthrough into third place in the presidential polls has unleashed a campaign by defenders of the status quo trying to pass him off as a "communist revolutionary." After long having dismissed Mélenchon, part of the press is now working to destroy the credibility of his programme, presented as the "cloud-cuckoo-land plans of the French Chávez."

    Painted as a dangerous extremist, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is attacked by all those who think that there is no alternative to neoliberal globalisation. For them, democracy requires acceptance of the "post-political consensus" established among the centre-left and centre-right parties. Any questioning of this consensus must be the work of populist demagogues.

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