Note from the LeftEast editors: Now, in the aftermath of the defeat of the Corbyn-led Labour party in the United Kingdom, the left’s hopes for an electoral path to power using the vehicle of some pre-existing mass, centre-left party have been reduced to just one name: Bernie Sanders. His populist, common-sense account of the problems plaguing American society (and their root cause, capitalism) as well as his proposed solutions have not only legitimized the hitherto tabooed word “socialism” but have also inspired hope among millions of ordinary Americans. Bernie still has a steep hill to climb: he first has ..
Sinn Féin, a nationalist party that sits with the left/far-left group in the European parliament and from the 1970s to ’90s was attached to an armed insurgency in Northern Ireland, won the most first-preference votes in this month’s general election in the Republic of Ireland. It now has about the same number of parliamentary seats as each of the state’s traditional centrist “big parties”, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. This is an extraordinary development by any measure. However, with the party’s vote and seat share sitting just below one quarter, and with “the Left” in total, gener ..
A century ago a change began in Ireland but some radical change can take centuries. An Irish Countess (married to an undocumented polish immigrant) was elected Minister for Labour for Sinn Féin. This was a first as women had yet to gain the right to vote. The US-based Irish Republican Brotherhood had pushed through an unpopular rebellion even after leaks to the Empire’s Intelligence Services. The rebellion failed but the ensuing military punitive overreaction – executing all but two military leaders – ensured further resistance. De Valera, a Spanish-American catholic, and that same indomitable Countess Con ..
What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organize? By 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, I had already moved out of the UK after living there for 10 years. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I wasforced out by a series of expensive, exhausting and emotionally draining visa extension processes. So, as a non-EU migrant, I had already experienced institutional xenophobia long before the Brexit saga brought it into the mainstream. Residence status strongly affects one’s relationship ..
What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organize? The consistent left in Israel is mostly made up of Palestinian citizens, organized in the Communist Party and its front group Hadash/al-Jabhah, the liberal-nationalist Balad/Tajama’u (who both form part of the Joint List parliamentary formation) and smaller extra-parliamentary formations like Abnaa’ el-Balad. These have generally been sympathetic to Corbyn due to his support for the Palestinian cause, but I don’t get the impression that they have been following ..
What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organise? In the Central and Eastern European region, Romania stands out as one of the countries that has adopted some of the most radical neo-liberal reforms in the past three decades of post-socialist transformation. Starting with the shock therapies, economic restructurings and privatizations of the mid-90’s and ending with the structural reforms and austerity policies adopted after the 2008 financial crisis, Romania has become deeply entrenched in neo-liberal reforms ..
What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organize? What was at stake with this project was in equal measure painfully distant and painfully close to the contexts I am immersed in, and to an extent represent. In both the UK and in Bulgaria, I would be quite similar to the part of the UK Left that has been eating humble pie about the electoral loss: urban, university-educated, cosmopolitan left-wing voters. In both cases, this is a new Left with two further shared characteristics. First, we are fighting with ghosts fro ..
What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organize? I never thought of myself as a Corbynist/ Corbynista and found the early hype about him vaguely troubling. Don’t get me wrong: I very much like the man and his politics and certainly there is little reason to think he would ever “betray” the cause: he has stood on the right side of history for more decades than I have lived. But, granted I call myself a Marxist, I find it hard to think of a single person—rather than a set of principles—as my political lodes ..
What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organise? My political milieu is largely defined by anti-enclosures struggles and a group of progressive and radical left political initiatives in Croatia, which have emerged out of the university occupations and Right to the City movement and have recently started to contest elections. The attraction of the Corbyn project for that milieu would be primarily in the attempt to bootstrap a transformative political project built on a mass political mobilisation under the historica ..
Under the radical leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labour Party has been seen as a ray of hope and a model for progressive revival by many – though by no means all – leftists across Europe and the Atlantic world. Labour’s painful defeat in the recent general election is an occasion for thinking about the legacy of Corbynism, and the view from Eastern Europe, broadly defined (here including Israel and the diaspora) is particularly important given the role played by Eastern European migration, English nationalism, xenophobia and accusations of antisemitism in the run-up to this decisive setback ..