In the 2017 general election, Jeremy Corbyn pulled off an historic upset, attracting the biggest increase in the Labour vote since 1945. It was another reversal of expectations for the mainstream media and his ‘soft-left’ detractors. Demolishing the Blairite opposition in 2015, Corbyn had already seen off an attempted coup. Now, he had shattered the government’s authority, and even Corbyn’s most vitriolic critics have been forced into stunned mea culpas.
For the first time in decades, socialism is back on the agenda—and for the first time in Labour’s history, it defines the leadership.
Richard Seymour tells the story of how Corbyn’s rise was made possible by the long decline of Labour and by a deep crisis in British democracy. He shows how Corbyn began the task of rebuilding Labour as a grassroots party, with a coalition of trade unionists, young and precarious workers, students and ‘Old Labour’ pugilists, who then became the biggest campaigning army in British politics. Utilizing social media, activists turned the media’s Project Fear on its head and broke the ideological monopoly of the tabloids. After the election, with all the artillery still ranged against Corbyn, and with all the weaknesses of the Left’s revival, Seymour asks what Corbyn can do with his newfound success.
“Richard Seymour has a brilliant mind and a compelling style. Everything he writes is worth reading.”
“One of our most astute political analysts turns his attention to Corbyn, and the result is predictably essential: not just to make sense of how we got to this unlikely situation, but for his thoughts on what the left might do next”
“Seymour is an essential voice on the left, and this book is a necessary intervention, explaining this daunting political moment and bringing the focus back to strategy. Not so much a call to arms as a call to brains.”
“No one writes about politics the way Richard Seymour does. He takes a very British story of the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, with all its peculiarities and details, and turns it into a revelation of the international crisis of parliamentary democracy. Whether you love Corbyn—or Sanders or Podemos or Syriza—or loathe him (and them), you'll find here the most sophisticated diagnosis of why men and women across the globe are turning to the left and why their aspirations are so continuously being frustrated. Seymour is a magnificent explainer: pointed without being pedantic, funny with out being flip, and always insisting that we take in the whole.”
“The Anglophone left has been cheered by the surprising rise of Bernie Sanders in the U.S. and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain. Richard Seymour’s elegantly written book is a reminder of all the obstacles facing Corbyn. Even if you’re not as pessimistic as Seymour about his prospects, you really need to pay attention to this critique. It will make you a better fighter of the necessary class war.”
“Long after the Labour left was thought to be dead, Jeremy Corbyn’s emergence has inspired millions. There is no one better positioned than Richard Seymour to take a look at his emergence and whether Corbyn can actually turn Labour into a force for radical change.”
“Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics is the fullest and fairest account of Jeremy Corbyn’s rise released to date. In avoiding much of the rhetoric espoused in similar accounts focusing on Corbyn’s early career this book provides a frank account of how the unlikely leader took charge of the Labour party. It is a very readable account too. Richard Seymour writes plainly but effectively and his writing is both accessible and incredibly informative.”
“Richard Seymour’s Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics not only shows how, amid Labour Party decline, Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters challenged the neoliberal consensus, but also considers the possibility of success and what form that might take.”
“Laser-sharp analysis of British ‘Labourism’ and its contradictions … This book is terrifically astute.”
“Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics is the first serious analysis of Jeremy Corbyn's unexpected ascent.”
“A must-read for militants inside and outside the Labour Party.”
“Corbyn is not about Corbyn in much the same way that Richard Seymour’s earlier and much shorter book, The Meaning of David Cameron, wasn’t really about its eponymous anti-hero. Rather it is an analysis—and an astute one—of the socio-political conditions which have given rise to Corbynism, its future prospects and the substantial obstacles it will inevitably face.”
“The best, and the definitive, account of what Corbyn’s victory the first time round meant. One year on the essential summer 2016 read.”
“A brilliant and incisive analysis by a long-term watcher of the party.”
“It is a point of contention whether the politics represented by Jeremy Corbyn offers a pathway out of the crisis or we are instead witnessing the last hurrah of Britain’s harried and diminished workers’ movement. That is one of the questions Richard Seymour tries to answer in his excellent new book … Seymour’s analysis remains indispensable”
“The finest study of Corbyn yet written.”
“A witty and acute political and historical analysis from a position to the left of Corbyn...Seymour is utterly unsentimental in his analysis.”