Saturday, June 03, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn: "When radical social reconstruction gets a hearing, it finds an increasingly receptive audience."

Ireland. It's really looking good. EU member, English spoken.

Is Britain Also Feeling the Bern? by Robert L. Borosage (The Nation)

When bold populism gets a fair hearing, funny things start to happen.

On Thursday, Bernie Sanders will travel to England for sold-out speaking engagements to boost Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s candidate for prime minister in the snap election scheduled for June 8. Corbyn is surging in British polls, and running a populist campaign that pledges radical economic reform.

The conventional wisdom had Corbyn faring badly. Sound familiar?

Then the 2017 Labour Party Manifesto, “For the Many, Not the Few,” leaked to the press. A full throated, 24,000-word populist agenda, it was mocked as a “suicide note” by The Economist. The manifesto pledged to provide the equivalent of an economic bill of rights to guarantee basic security for workers—from education to housing to retirement security. It also outlined a plan to nationalize key utilities, thereby reversing the privatizations that have been driving up costs.

For reasons specific to the UK's elecoral system, it remains unlikely that Labour can achieve a parliamentary triumph, but remember: we're here to learn something.

The lesson should not be lost on Democrats. It isn’t enough to resist Trump’s excesses or expose the cruelties of his policies. Voters are looking for a bold new course and leaders with the integrity to champion it against the entrenched interests and big money.

Sanders’s surge was propelled by his call for fundamental reform. Corbyn’s populist manifesto was his invitation to the dance. In the United States, similarly robust policies are suddenly everywhere: a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, a green-jobs agenda, fair and balanced trade, tuition-free college, progressive tax reform, and a job guarantee. That agenda begins to offer people a choice. It won’t be easy to overcome the scorn of the establishment and the timidity of the political class. But on both sides of the Atlantic, when radical social reconstruction gets a hearing, it finds an increasingly receptive audience.

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