“There’s a real danger of civil war destroying the [Labour] party,” Owen Jones pleads. “Those both for and against Corbyn must damp down the rhetoric and concentrate on the issues.” But for those keen to heed Jones’ advice, you might do well to avoid Jones’ own example.
Jones’ most recent succinct Guardian article (August 15) might have contained the subtitle “Everyone needs to calm down,” but Jones wants to get one last thing off his chest, he want to ridicule those “irrelevant” Trotskyists on his left.
Jones’ first states that the Trotskyist groups are either “defunct,” “more irrelevant than ever,” or “shrivelled”. He is categorical: “The political significance of British Trotskyism is minimal.”
He is especially confounded that some Trotskyists berated him in the past for saying that the best bet for the future of the left would be to support the Blairite-dominated Labour Party. Subsequently he is even more confused that the same Trotskyists now berate him “for showing insufficient loyalty to the [Corbyn-led] Labour leadership.”
But here Jones is only highlighting his own political shortcomings, which is starkly presented when considered against the consistent political approach of his Trotskyist critics.
In the past Jones fought a futile battle against the Blairites Labour machine (hence he was criticised by the left), but soon after things start to look up for the left, with Corbyn’s totally unexpected victory, Jones starts to attack Corbyn (hence he is criticised by the left).
Jones even uses this article to repeat the Blairite misinformation about Corbyn’s “disastrous poll ratings” without noting that these are entirely due to the Blairite coup that is presently being waged against Corbyn!
Jones is of course correct that “Labour is in the midst of a civil war that threatens its future existence.” But this is a civil war that was initiated by the Blairites against a leader who still (rather naively) entertains the idea that he will be able to work alongside them in the future.
Irrespective of the one-side nature of the attack upon Corbyn, “All sides have a responsibility” to save the party says Jones: “And a start would be to calm down the rhetoric and stick to the issues.”
But the real problems are not Trotskyists or bad polls. Instead the real issue that Jones should be focusing his anger upon is the fact that the rightwing have no intention of abiding by any democratic or socialist principles and are intent on tearing the Labour party apart.
What I say is let the “freakshow” Blairites leave the Labour Party if they have no intention of supporting the democratic decisions of their hundreds of thousands of members. Then Labour can begin to focus on the real issues again!
This article is a response to Owen Jones’ article “Labour risks turning into a freakshow,” The Guardian, August 15, 2016. For an example of earlier criticisms of Jones’ see my article “Labour’s Enabler: Owen Jones and the Establishment,” Counterpunch, July 16, 2015.