It is not that usual to read a Trotskyist journal overtly supporting left-wing popularism. However, Peter Taaffe’s article Corbynism and the rise of left populism, does just that. Today left populism at best means socialism in words, but without a socialist programme or action.

By ISL – UK.


Under the came of TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), the Socialist Party supported standing in elections against the Labour Party, but now they oppose this.

However, Taaffe’s explanation for the change in position is contradictory.

Taaffe explained that with the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) and the Socialist Workers Party, they contested elections to fight against the cuts which were being implemented by Labour and Tory councils. “To this end, we stood in a number of elections in opposition to Labour. But when Corbyn’s challenge was made for the Labour leadership we supported this.”

Now, after Jeremy Corbyn’s second victory, we have suggested to TUSC that preparations for future electoral challenges should be suspended, in order for the time to be given to carry through necessary changes – like reselection – to consolidate the victory of the left.

The International Socialist League completely rejects this line of thinking of pandering to and supporting reformists. Under Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party have agreed to continue cutting services and jobs. All Labour councils are led by the right-wing. Therefore, not to stand against them is to abandon the central political fight against austerity.

The SP harbours deep illusions in Corbyn’s version of socialism. But what is this type of socialism? Corbyn looks towards parliament to make some reforms. However, even the proposed reforms go nowhere near the reforms of the 1940s.

It has become clear that Corbyn does not seek to mobilise and lead any opposition against the destruction of public services.

Taaffe argues that the LP needs time to get rid of the right-wing. But the position of Corbyn and McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, is to keep the LP as a “broad church” that includes the right wing. Furthermore they oppose re-selection!

We do hear anti-austerity rhetoric but Corbyn’s economic pledges clearly seek the maintenance of capitalism, and are not a step towards socialism.

Since March 2016 McDonnell has been committed to reducing the current deficit to zero over a five-year planning horizon, another parliamentary austerity policy.

According to Taaffe’s article It would seem that the SP believe that Corbyn’s policies can the lead to the construction of a new workers’ party, and they have agreed not to challenge the LP. Their capitulation to Corbynism is complete.

In total disagreement with the SP, the ISL programme is to fight all austerity measures whether implemented by Tory or Labour councils, and to support anti-austerity candidates who stand against Labour.

All Labour political representatives including Corbyn supporters, will be voting for support council cuts in March 2017.


Originally published @ Socialist Voice N26.