Corbyn’s Surprise Showing Offers Blueprint For Our Party, Say Left-Leaning Democrats


By Adam Gabbatt
The Guardian (6/10/17)

Progressive politicians in the US have hailed Jeremy Corbyn’s performance in the British general election “an inspiration” that could shift the Democratic party to the left in the run-up to the 2018 midterms.

Bernie Sanders was among those to praise Labour’s result, saying it showed “people are rising up against austerity and massive levels of income and wealth inequality,” while left-leaning members of Congress said the victory would have major implications for the future of Democrats.

The Labour party, running on a leftwing platform, gained 32 seats in Thursday’s election as the Conservatives lost their majority in the House of Commons. Corbyn and his progressive program had been derided for months but he defied expectations as young people voted in record numbers.

“The only way to beat phony rightwing racialized populism is with a bold anti-corporate inclusive progressive populism.” – Dan Cantor, Working Families Party

Corbyn’s achievement was part of a “global trend,” said Pramila Jayapal, a US congresswoman from Washington, “towards recognising that progressive policies are the answer to a lot of the inequality, and a lot of the issues that young people and working families across the globe are facing.”

“It’s a good sign for Democrats here in the United States,” said Jayapal, who endorsed Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and introduced a bill with the Vermont senator to make college tuition free in the US.

Jayapal said some Democrats “are still stuck in the frame of: I need to move to the center” – despite some recent wins for progressives at city and state level. “But I think the UK election and the current elections here show that that’s not actually the answer people are looking for,” she said.

Jayapal is among a number of high-profile Democrats appearing at the People’s Summit in Chicago this weekend. The event, organized by some of the most influential activist organizations in the country, aims to educate and galvanize the more than 4,000 attendees.

“Don’t ignore the base. The base isn’t going to come out for the status quo. They want a different country. A different world.” – RoseAnn DeMoro, National Nurses United

The British election result proved a positive start to proceedings on Friday, with politicians and activists encouraged by Labour’s performance under Corbyn.

“His disciplined campaign of positive populism and a bold vision resonated with young people and grassroots leaders across Britain,” said Ro Khanna, a US congressman foom California and member of Justice Democrats – a group that has committed to backing progressive Democrats to run against sitting, centrist members of their own party.

“That should provide inspiration to Democrats here,” Khanna said, as well as serving as a lesson to the more centrist Democratic establishment “that a positive populist message is not just morally right, it’s also strategically smart.” …

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  • What The UK Election Should Teach Hillary Clinton — And Democrats – “There’s a lesson there for the Democratic Party. It can be the party of the Good Aristocrats, or it can be the Anti-Authoritarian Party. But it can’t be both.” The international left is hailing the stunning performance of U.K. Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn in Thursday’s election as a political and ideological victory. It’s easy to understand the enthusiasm from self-described socialists: Corbyn’s controversial ascendancy to the head of his party was a dramatic moment in European politics ― the centrist, finance-friendly approach of George W. Bush ally Tony Blair had been upended, and Labour was returning to the populist thinking that defined it for most of the 20th century. But Corbyn’s victory is about much more than the internal dynamics of The Left. It is a critical event for anti-authoritarian politics more generally, one with implications that span the globe, and that carry a particular resonance in the United States in the age of Donald Trump. … Read the Rest

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to )


British Election Is An Important Lesson For American Dems: Truth Can Be An Effective Political Weapon

By Mark Weisbrot
The HuffPost (6/9/17)

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s Labour Party, has made a remarkable comeback after his political obituary had been written and widely accepted as recently as seven weeks ago. Although the Tories, led by Theresa May, will still have the largest number of seats, they have lost their majority, after calling the election in the belief that they would increase it. Labour has picked up at least 29 seats. The result is a hung parliament, and it is not yet clear whether a coalition government will be formed or new elections will have to be held.

Observers have pointed to various historical causes that have brought Corbyn to his leadership position and kept him there, such as the failure of the centrist, neoliberal project of “New Labour” to provide economic security or even much of a future for the party’s working class base; or Tony Blair’s deeply unpopular foreign policy, including the Iraq War and the lies on which it was sold.

Many have made the comparison to Bernie Sanders, who despite losing his primary bid last year is currently the most popular active politician in the US, and is especially well-liked among younger people. The appeal of these two senior citizens to youth is striking, and it bodes well for the future.

The “Labour Manifesto” was also an act of courage, sticking to the principles of economic and social justice that had long motivated the party’s base as well as most of its voters. … As with Bernie Sanders’ proposals for free college tuition, universal health care, and taxes on Wall Street, it has been a mass movement led by younger people that put these popular reforms on the political map.

But one of the most important lessons of the Corbyn comeback is that the truth, so often dismissed as the first casualty of politics, can be an effective weapon. After the Manchester terrorist attack, Corbyn said something that no party leader in the US would say during an election campaign:

“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.”

Corbyn opposed UK involvement in the wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a Trump-like buffoonish character with the moral compass of a sewer rat, responded in character, saying that Corbyn’s statement was “absolutely monstrous” and that it was “extraordinary and inexplicable in this week of all weeks that there should be any attempt to justify or to legitimate the actions of terrorists in this way.”

But these dishonest attacks, echoed by some of the UK’s largest media outlets, didn’t stick, because people knew that Corbyn was telling the truth. A poll this week for The Independent in the UK found 75 percent in agreement that “interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have made atrocities on UK soil more likely.”

There is an important lesson here: the only way to prevent the right from constantly capitalizing on, and perpetuating, the cycle of terrorism and foreign military intervention is to explain to people what is actually happening. …

(Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. The center’s website is worth checking out.)

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  • The Millennials Are Moving Left – Labour’s success in the British election is part of a growing trend across Western Europe and America. What’s motivating it? British Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to consolidate power has backfired. Her Conservative Party lost its governing majority in Thursday’s snap-election, forcing it to form a minority government with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, which gained 31 net seats while Conservatives lost 12, appeared to get its boost from young voters. That assessment, if accurate, confirms a trend in American and Western European politics toward a radical turn among young voters that could over the next decade further undermine the political center. … Read the Rest


Bernie Sanders ‘delighted’ By Jeremy Corbyn’s Results In Election Vote

By Matthew Weaver
The Guardian (6/9/17)

Bernie Sanders has congratulated Jeremy Corbyn on Labour’s performance in the general election. The Vermont senator – who narrowly failed to win his bid for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race for the White House – said he had watched the UK results coming in on Thursday and was very pleased about the party’s showing.

“I am delighted to see Labour do so well,” the Vermont senator said in a Facebook post, linking to a Guardian news story. He went on: “All over the world, people are rising up against austerity and massive levels of income and wealth inequality. People in the UK, the US and elsewhere want governments that represent all the people, not just the 1%. I congratulate Jeremy Corbyn for running a very effective campaign.”

Sanders voiced his support for Corbyn this month, drawing parallels between anti-establishment anger at both ends of the political spectrum in Britain and the US, and applauding the Labour leader’s efforts to reshape the party.

Organisers who worked on the Sanders campaign provided assistance to Momentum, the leftwing pressure group, in the runup to the election, coaching Labour members on how to canvass voters online and offline.

Erika Uyterhoeven, a 30-year-old from Boston, told the Guardian that the lessons had focused on getting Labour activists in the right places, and getting the vote out. She said of the Sanders approach: “The right can throw money at elections. We throw people.”

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  • Bernie Sanders Could Have Won. That’s The Corbyn Lesson For America – Had he been the Democratic party’s nominee, Bernie Sanders could have won the presidency. I’ve been waiting more than half a year to say this aloud, and today’s as good a day as any to get it off my chest. I’m not saying this just because Jeremy Corbyn’s amazing candidacy, inspiring perhaps more than 70% of 18-24 year-old British people to vote, skewered Theresa May’s trash austerity politics and imperiled her prime ministership. I’m saying this because it’s a good moment to reflect upon how, if the so-called left (especially the Labour party in the UK and the Democratic party in the US) rallied around candidates who supported actual leftist politics – a commitment to strong labor protections, a confidence in creating a robust safety net, an aversion to working for Wall Street, a distaste for fighting to get “centrist” votes, and an unwavering commitment not to back down to intimidation from the right – their candidates could win. … Read the Rest


Media Fail: The Day After Corbyn’s Surprise Surge, NPR Missed The Story By Focusing On Lord Buckethead

By Jim Naureckas
Fairness & Accuracy in Media (6/9/17)

There were 771 words in‘s lead day-after story (6/9/17) on the results of the British elections. None of them were “Jeremy” or “Corbyn.”

That’s odd, because surely one of the most noteworthy aspects of the election was the surprisingly strong showing of the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Widely expected to lead his party into an electoral disaster, the unapologetic leftist instead achieved the biggest gain in vote share for a major British party since 1945.

Labour’s surge caused Conservatives to lose 12 seats and their absolute majority in Parliament, forcing them into a coalition government with the far-right Democratic Unionist Party. If it weren’t for the Scottish National Party’s decline in popularity, which produced 13 new Conservative MPs in Scotland, the election would have been a rout for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, and we would likely see Corbyn moving into the prime minister’s spot today.

None of that, apparently, was found noteworthy by NPR London correspondent Frank Langfitt.

Corbyn’s name did come up a few times in a day-after story on NPR‘s blog The Two-Way (6/9/17). The post quoted 60 words of reaction from Corbyn—comparable to the 51 words attributed to German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth.

The Two-Way showed considerably more morning-after interest in another of Theresa May’s opponents—running a 400-word post (6/9/17), complete with two photos and a video, on a joke candidate named Lord Buckethood who ran in May’s constituency, winning 249 votes.

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Donald Trump’s State Visit To Britain Put On Hold

By Patrick Wintour, Diplomatic editor
The Guardian (6/11/17)

Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.

The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.

The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.

The conversation in part explains why there has been little public discussion about a visit. …

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  • So Trump’s Too Scared To Come To The UK. Who Says Protest Doesn’t Work? – How might President Trump react to a world leader who, afraid for his image, perhaps afraid for himself, refused to fulfil a promise to visit a loyal ally. He might fire off a tweet: “RAN from critics. A gift for crooked MSM. TOTAL pathetic loser!” But he won’t, because the loser is him. He got to hold hands with Theresa May when she visited Washington, but alas, that may be the high point of his cuddle-fest with her, and with us – because Trump, it now appears, is not keen on making his proposed state visit to Britain any time soon. He has apparently, in a recent telephone call to the prime minister, declared that he does not want to come if there are to be large-scale protests. The visit, we are told, is on hold. … Read the Rest