Sunday, 13 December 2020

Jeremy Corbyn Launches Peace & Justice Project: Could it Grow into a New Socialist Party?

Jeremy Corbyn has announced a new Project for Peace and Justice which will seek international co-operation to end war, climate change, and inequality. He plans a global conference on January 17th and will officially launch the project next month. 

You can find out more here.

Many on the left are inevitably calling for this project to develop into a new socialist political party. In all honesty, I doubt that is in Jeremy Corbyn's immediate plans, but maybe it's an option to be considered in the future. If this project gains widespread public support and the new Labour leader continues on his current trajectory, a new party may well be a possibility. I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

Corbyn said the following about the project to Jacobin:

"The Project for Peace and Justice is about ensuring that attitude toward international affairs is there in public debate, in research, in activism. But it’s also linked to the effects on the economy and life in this country. If we’re going to spend increasing amounts on armaments, don’t raise taxation at the top end, and pursue an economic strategy of repaying the debts incurred during coronavirus, then the only way forward for this government is wage freezes, cuts in health, education, housing, and all the other crucial budgets, and even more intense austerity than we had after 2010. This isn’t a new political party, but a space in which people can come together."

During the interview, Corbyn was critical of British foreign policy and the path Starmer's Labour is taking:

"The direction in which the British government is taking us, with increasing arms expenditure and decreasing foreign aid — and the Labour front bench in parliament accepting the increased arms spending, at least — is not necessarily the best of signs."

Corbyn had lots more to say to Jacobin, and much will be music to the ears of the left who are being disenfranchised by Starmer's Labour. I'm not clear at present whether this project will become an organisation that accepts members, but you can already sign up to a newsletter
My advice to the left is support Corbyn's project in any you can. This is an opportunity for us to amplify our voices, to say we will not be ignored.
If Starmer's Labour continues to disregard us, and the Project for Peace and Justice gains a groundswell of public support, then calls for a new party to grow from it will become deafening. If nothing else, Corbyn's move will force Starmer into a difficult position by exposing his conservative positions on key issues like economics and foreign policy. It will remind the public we once had a leader who was so much better.

If Starmer were to expel Corbyn, not only would he run the risk of the Labour right's dirty secrets being exposed in court, but he could face a challenge from a new left-wing party in 2024, and that would mean the end of his election chances. This is a smart move from Corbyn. It significantly strengthens his hand and gives the left something to rally behind. This is something we've been crying out for all year.

Here is the Project for Peace and Justice's mission statement:

"To bring people together for social and economic justice, peace, and human rights, in Britain and across the world.

"The Peace and Justice Project will back campaigns, commission reports and develop progressive networks in Britain and across the world.

"The Peace and Justice Project will work with labour and social movements and provide platforms to those campaigning for change for the many, not the few."

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