Corbyn’s ‘reshuffle’ exposes weakness of left reformism

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LABOUR leader, Jeremy Corbyn, completed his first reshuffle of the shadow cabinet after a tortuous round of negotiations designed to keep the right-wing of the Labour leadership happy.

With the right-wing screaming that Corbyn was prepared to sack his foreign affairs spokesman, Hilary Benn, and the capitalist press gleefully predicting a bloodbath of ‘revenge sackings’, the final outcome turned out to be a damp squib.

Benn remains in his post of shadow foreign secretary while other right-wingers like the shadow defence secretary, Maria Eagle, have simply been moved. The only two to have been ‘purged’ were the shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher and Pat McFaddon, the shadow Europe minister. After that, Jonathan Reynolds, Stephen Doughty and Kevan Jones quit the shadow cabinet.

Dugher and McFaddon were easy for Corbyn to sack. Dugher was regarded as useless at his job, accused of being personally abusive towards Corbyn at meetings and running off at every occasion to the capitalist press, attacking Corbyn and the Labour Party conference decisions.

McFaddon was sacked also on the grounds of ‘incompetence and disloyalty’. But what of these right-wingers who still happily roost in the shadow cabinet and carry on their plots to destabilise Corbyn and put two fingers up to the hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members who voted for him as leader?

Benn, the prime candidate for sacking, remains as shadow foreign secretary. Benn of course became the darling of the Labour right-wing and the Tories with his warmongering speech summing up the debate on bombing Syria. He brazenly defied both Corbyn’s leadership and official Labour Party policy decided by conference, on the grounds of putting the interests of British imperialism above that of the Party and working class.

Benn should be sacked not just from the shadow cabinet but expelled from the Labour Party for this act of class treachery, along with every other right-winger who voted for war and ensured the Tories the victory they needed if they were to survive.

Instead, Benn, along with Eagle and the rest of the right-wing supporters of imperialist war, remains in the leadership free to carry on propping up a divided Tory government and ensuring that despite their weakness the Tories can continue with their austerity attacks and privatisation strategy unhindered.

The reports that Benn was allowed to stay only on the condition that he stopped publicly rubbishing the leadership and Labour Party policy have been swiftly denied by Benn and his supporters. He intends to carry on as before, with Corbyn powerless to do anything about it.

Corbyn naively believed that he could tame Benn and prevent a split instead of driving this fifth column out of the party. Under the threat of mass resignations Corbyn simply caved in. This exposes the sheer bankruptcy of left-reformism with its fanatical belief in keeping unity with these class traitors at all costs.

While Corbyn bends over backwards to accommodate them, the right-wing are prepared to do whatever is necessary to keep the Tories in power and bankrupt British capitalism afloat. A whole section of this right-wing are openly talking about completely breaking with the Labour Party and setting up a new party that would enter some form of national government with the Tories to implement the most savage attacks on the working class and its unions.

Corbyn is utterly incapable of defeating this class enemy within the ranks of Labour MPs. Instead of using the powerful majority of members to beat them down and drive them out of the party through sackings and de-selection, he has chosen to accommodate them in his beloved ‘broad church’. Such a leadership is bankrupt and incapable of defending the working class from Tory attacks.

At a time when the lives of the working class and all the gains of the welfare state are being systematically destroyed to pay off the debts of the bankers, what is required is not a wishy-washy reformist leadership but a revolutionary party, utterly ruthless in its determination to smash capitalism and lead the working class to power through the victory of the socialist revolution.

Only the WRP and Young Socialists are building such a party and we urge every worker and young person to join us in this fight.