Thursday, 14 July 2016

Jeremy Corbyn and the Politics of Authenticity

“.....the most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love”- Ben Okri, cited by Jeremy Corbyn at his acceptance speech after being elected leader of the Labour party in September 2015.

“Can we still seek the lost angels / Of our better natures? … We dream of a new politics / That will renew the world / Under their weary suspicious gaze.”- Ben Okri, A New Dream of Politics

We cry for a politics of authenticity – that is what human beings want more than anything else – but when we have a figure like that, we are conflicted as well … We need to ask ourselves what we really want from them.”- Ben Okri .

When Okri talks about Corbyn in terms of the 'politics of authenticity', it could be that Corbyn is indeed authentic in the same way Chavez was, a figure Gabriel Garcia Marquez though was ambiguous in genuinely wanting social change to benefit the people and yet also somewhat of a populist who traded on hatred of the USA.

When Corbyn opposed Britain's 'humanitarian interventions', he opposed them all on the basis of 'anti-war' stances and 'anti-imperialism' rather than even trying to look at the complexities of such conflicts as those in Yugoslavia and Kosovo where non-intervention had arguably meant civilian deaths.

As regards integrity, many politicians within Britain's Parliamentary system are like actors who position themselves as theatrical impersonations of the types of being that appeal to the section of the electorate they wish to woo. There is, indeed, a market in Britain for 'anti-war' activism among students and radical London.

London as a microcosm of the globe has always harboured messianic radicals who believe that what happens 'here' is a sign of what will change the world later. Corbyn is heir to those traditions through his Islington fiefdom with his Latino wives and interest in 1970s liberation movements and threats of fascist coups.

Corbyn is courting intellectuals and writers like Okri for similar reasons why Chavez tried to woo Marquez as did Castro. It reflects a genuine interest in radical idea of a better world but also adds to his image as a Latin American style radical Líder Máximo directly and democratically ranged against the imperial order.

What relevance any of this sort of politics has for Britain, it is hard to say. Certainly London increasingly appears to be a city dominated by oligarchs and disconnected corrupt rentier elites rather like in Brazilian mega-cities. The settled middle class life it once had has vanished out more into the provinces.

Brexit too could dramatically polarise politics should Theresa May's new government fail to deliver on the verdict of the referendum, an economic recession kick in and Corbyn assert greater control over the Labour party to the point where the liberal-left centrists either split, resign or are purged by mass deselections.

In such circumstances, in a dysfunctional two and a bit Parliamentary Party system, Corbyn and Momentum, fired by street protests, strikes and agitation in Britain's cities could generate a tack of rightist Conservatives towards UKIP positions. Corbyn would be portrayed more and more as national security threat.

After all, with a more unstable global landscape, the rise of China in the Far East, of Russia reasserting control over its Near Abroad-and so gas and oil pipeline routes the West wants-Corbyn's challenge to NATO and to Trident would be seen as the ultimate systemic threat and so repressive police measures used to crush him.

May comes across as a snooping authoritarian obsessed with spying,monitoring and 'taking control'. As there seems to be no end in sight to the geopolitical struggles over pipeline routes and resources in the Middle East, there can be no end to British military intervention and so the threat of Islamist blowback.

With the migrant crisis unfolding further an the EU fracturing, Corbyn would be demonised by the Murdoch media in particular as precisely the sort of Salvador Allende martyr figure he already envisions himself as being. As a terrorist sympathiser. The scene would be set for his forcible overthrow by 2020.

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