By Isabel Ringrose
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2908

Corbyn campaign could inspire millions sick of Tories—and Starmer’s Labour

An insurgent campaign—with Palestine front and centre—could light up a general election dominated by the Tories’ and Labour’s right wing politics
Issue 2908
Jeremy Corbyn, alongside two other people, speaking at his campaign launch

Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the official launch of his election campaign (Picture: Ken Muller)

Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign as the independent candidate is underway with canvasing taking place across the Islington North this weekend.

“The political system is sadly no longer offering the hope for so many people that it should,” Corbyn said at his official launch in north London on Wednesday. “I will be an independent voice for equality, democracy and peace.”

Corbyn said he is “standing for democracy” because people in the constituency have been “denied the opportunity” to vote on their candidate.

He vowed to campaign against inequality, child benefit limits, restrictions on disability benefits and privatisation of public services such as the post and water. He also promised to fight for more council housing, more green jobs, safe routes for refugees and to defend the local Whittington hospital and wider NHS.

On the day of the launch, the BMA junior doctors’ union announced a five-day strike during the general election.

 “At the end of June, the junior doctors are planning to go back out on industrial action to get decent pay and conditions,” Corbyn. “I will be there alongside them.”

One of the most powerful speakers at the launch was junior doctor Rohi Malik, who grew up in Islington North and volunteers with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). “Jeremy has been on the right side of history for every issue in the last 40 years,” she said.

“We all reel from the unimaginable suffering in Palestine we see every day on our phones. We feel helpless that, despite all our efforts, our government and opposition remain complicit in the horror. But we can take some solace that our MP has spoken loudly for the Palestinian people his whole life.

“I feel so proud that it is our MP who is always one of the main and most respected speakers at the huge national demonstrations we have been on.”

Malik added that “while others may try to make us forget” the hope Corbyn gave to millions as Labour leader “we never will”.

Helen, a local resident who came to Corbyn’s rally, agreed. “I breathed a sigh of relief when he decided to run as an independent,” she told Socialist Worker. “When Jeremy became Labour leader, I already knew he had the politics to change things.

“He’s helped my family and my friends’ families in crises. His politics gives us hope. He has been great for Islington and he always gives a voice to the voiceless.”

Helen thinks a victory for Corbyn would “send a message to Keir Starmer” and the Labour Party leadership. “They have an obsession with Jeremy,” she said. “They have so much personal hate towards him.

“Starmer says he’s a socialist, but he doesn’t know what that means. Jeremy has always represented us. If he won, it would show the kind of politics and representation we can all have. I won’t give up campaigning for him.”

John is the local CWU union branch secretary, which has pledged to support Corbyn’s campaign. “Corbyn represents us,” he told Socialist Worker. “I’ve lived here for more than 20 years, and everyone knows him.

“Today, I called a meeting of our branch committee to decide whether we support his campaign. We agreed unanimously.

“Corbyn’s record speaks for itself. I’m a worker, we’re all workers. Jermey stands with and is always fighting alongside us.”

Anna came from Lambeth in south London. “I’m from Latin America, and Jermey understands our struggles. He speaks up for refugees and he sends a strong message about social movements too,” she told Socialist Worker.

“He is always fighting against war and knows what people need. He’s on our side. And I really liked what he said about housing rights today.”

So far, the emphasis of Corbyn’s campaign is his local record. He launched at a community centre in front of local constituents and promised to be the voice of people in Islington.

But a more insurgent campaign—with Palestine front and centre—could light up a general election dominated by Sunak’s and Starmer’s business as usual politics.

Millions of people want to kick out the Tories, but aren’t inspired by Labour’s right wing programme.  They would cheer if Corbyn took Starmer and Labour head-on for their crimes—and that could also boost the Palestine movement that’s rocked the British establishment.

We’ll need to fight a Starmer government, with its pro-boss, pro-imperialist, anti-worker, anti-migrant agenda, from day one.

Corbyn’s campaign could be an opportunity to build that resistance, boost the Palestine movement, and fight for a socialist alternative.

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