Labour’s national executive committee has voted by 18 votes to 14 tonight, Tuesday, that Jeremy Corbyn will automatically be on the ballot paper for the Labour leadership election.
His opponents had insisted that he would have to gain the signatures of 51 MPs or MEPs in order to stand. It was expected that Corbyn would find this near-impossible and therefore would have been removed as leader.
Much to their fury, his opponents were defeated.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted, “Jeremy on the ballot. Democracy prevails”.
Like the rest of the real left, Socialist Worker welcomes this decision. Now we want Corbyn re-elected.
The issue was never one of abstract democracy, it was about politics. The vote was really a decision on whether Corbyn’s leadership should be voted on by Labour’s 520,000 members or by a cabal of MPs.
Corbyn’s opponents knew that if he was on the ballot paper for leader he will probably sweep to victory, possibly with a greater vote than the 59.5 percent he won last year. The 130,000 people who have joined Labour in the last three weeks have mostly done so to back Corbyn.
So the right manoeuvred to block him. They failed, but they will not go away. They may go to the courts to try to reverse this vote, because for them democracy is acceptable only when it delivers the outcome they want.
Others may back Angela Eagle, wait for the election result, and then depart for a right wing breakaway. There must be no compromise with these wretched plotters.
They were prepared to deliver an arrogant snub to Labour Party members, the trade union movement and everyone who fights against the Tories.
Corbyn’s opponents are those who show great concern about a broken window at Angela Eagle’s constituency office but defend Tony Blair, who destroyed a country.
Tonight’s vote was a class issue. It was about whether Labour should be a party that backs struggle, opposes war, puts forward an alternative to austerity and argues against racism. This is Corbyn’s vision.
Those who want Corbyn out crave a pro-business, pro-Nato, pro-US power, pro-capitalist party.
The leadership election matters. If Corbyn is replaced by Angela Eagle or whatever other candidate now slithers into the light, it will drain the enthusiasm of most Labour supporters.
That will make the fight against the Tories tougher and be a gift to Theresa May.
But this episode has also underlined that the real struggles can be won only by strengthening and prioritising the battles outside parliament. And that we must build a movement that does not rely on MPs.
The majority of Labour MPs will continue to crush the hopes of those who want fundamental change.
Today the task for all of us, whether we are in Labour or not, is to build the movement against austerity, racism, imperialist war and climate change. But we must also do everything in our power to back Corbyn.
On Saturday the People’s Assembly and Stand Up to Racism have called a demonstration against racism, austerity and the Tories.
Everyone who hates the Tories and supports Corbyn should be there.
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