Tim Evans, professor at Middlesex University came to deliver a talk for us at the Two Chairmen in Westminster. He tried to be as scholarly as possible. Cutting through the ideological debate and dealing solely with what the actors are thinking, not his own thoughts. He delivered his talk, below, in three sections. The summary here deals with the first section: on Corbyn.
Corbyn is an interesting character who is bound to be attracting the attention of the establishment especially generals and the secret service. Tim detailed Corbyn’s very left-wing upbringing to a middle-class couple who met at Conway Hall. He described Corbyn as an academic under-achiever who rose up through the trade union movement and local councils. He has an almost comically left-wing record of endorsing unsavoury left wing figures in public via Early Day Motions, however he has avoided becoming a member of the extreme or Stalinist left, unlike his friends and romantic partners from the Militant tendency. He is neither a Christian nor libertarian left winger but a “democratic socialist”. The distinction is at least as important as the difference between anarcho-capitalists and objectivists, for example, that is: the distinction is quite profound. For example Corbyn is more likely to be interested in worker councils than top down nationalisation.
One of the new Labour leadership team’s early pronouncements was to offer “the right to own” as distinct from the “right to buy” your home. The conservatives did not respond strongly to this odd message and this reminds Tim of how the Tories were unable to understand where Tony Blair was coming from during his early career as leader. He suggests the Tories must make an effort to understand where Corbyn is coming from if they want to deal with him effectively. Corbyn is predisposed to countries like Venezuela. Democratic Socialism is very different from Parliamentary Socialism such as that advocated by the Fabians (our former neighbors). Instead democratic socialists such as Corbyn “somehow” elevate institutions of worker councils, mutuals, and party democracy above the institution of Parliament.
Historically Labour has ended up “managing capitalism” for over 100 years i.e. “State Capitalism”. Corbyn’s associates therefore want to do something quite different. They are engaged in analysing the current capitalist power structures, central banks and the role of money. Tim suggests there is considerable overlap here with Libertarian Home audiences and other groups like Positive Money.
Tim also suggests the New Economics Foundation as a group to look at to understand the intellectual background of the Corbyn and Momentum axis (Momentum is a campaign group allied to Corbyn).
This group is sick of “triangulation” at least in so far as it is done to them. New Labour, which was partly constructed by the British American Project and known as the CIA Left, out manoeuvred, marginalised and out-triangulated. Therefore Corbyn and McDonnell will want out-triangulate everyone else. For example, citing the idea that helicopter money was suggested by Milton Friedman. However, it’s unlikely Corbyn truly believes he will be Prime Minister.
Rather he is developing institutions and a base for more left-wing ideas and moving the Overton Window leftwards in the way that Barry Goldwater moved the Overton window for Reagan.
Tim also believes that Corbyn’s team is not really working to win the next election but is building that base of institutions and activists and is developing the Overton Window in preparation for a longer term plan into the mid 20s. They are not likely to win the 2020 election but will see constitutional changes aimed at reinforcing Corbyn’s movement.
The Momentum campaign will be at the centre of this movement building effort drawing in the likes of Paul Mason and Yanis Varoufakis. While this is going on the Conservative Party must prepare the stay in power until after this new wave of left wing thinking has broken perhaps 30 years from now.
LATER: from Tim:
THE key book on New Labour, BAP and their role in the maintenance of the UK/US special relationship:
I hope this helps.