The significance of Corbyn
As a Labour Councillor in Staffordshire I served as as Chairman of each of these Authorities: Police, Social Services, Fire, Highways, Records/Museums, Personnel and worked professionally in Probation and Prison. I therefore feel qualified to express my anguish at the destruction inflicted on each of those Services by the government’s Cuts, Privatisation and Outsourcing programme. Hence I have investigated its motivation in some depth and offer this analysis for your consideration. You may check my Bona Fides by googling Mike Poulter interview by John Woodhouse or www.michaelpoulter.org.uk profile.
From Alderman Michael Poulter MBE
The Significance of Jeremy Corbyn .
Some acquaintances, assuming that I have some intelligence, express incredulity that I have voted (twice) for Corbyn. Since such incredulity needs a considered response several themes came to mind:
Ownership of the world’s wealth; its relationship to Multi-National
Corporations; Why does the Labour Party exist ?
The Attlee/Beveridge Revolution established the Welfare State, New Labour was part of the Counter-Revolution dismantling it.
When Working People feel thus betrayed they vote Right as in Brexit and Trump.
The potential/almost immediate disastrous onrush of Climate Change !
The significance of Corbyn; convergence of approach with Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders in the USA. Returning State power to the service of the people.
What is reality in the world today ?
In 1961 US President Eisenhower warned against the growth of Corporate Power http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html ,
saying “ the rise of an irresponsible Military/Industrial Complex would pose grave dangers. Its “potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist”. Others warned “it could subvert, coerce and through funding of politicians and control of the Media undermine democratic and legislative bodies “.
So who does own the world and the resources situate within it?
It is that Military/Industrial complex, now known as Multi-National Corporations within which 85 people own half the world’s wealth and the world’s richest 10% account for 85% of the planet’s total assets. David Rothkopf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rothkopf describes a group of 6000 power brokers who rule the world. Chief Executives, Partners in Hedge Funds/Private Equity, Media Barons and some National, Political and Religious Leaders control Money, Oil, Energy, Intellectual Property, Technology and the Mass Media. Utilising a network of 147 corporations their control of another 1318 organisations cascades entirely throughout the industrial/commercial world so as to control 80% of all transnational corporations and shape the decisions of hundreds of thousands of enterprises worldwide!
These 85/6000 people, who access the worlds’ wealth for their own use, contrast dramatically to the 7.4 Billion other people who inhabit our Globe.
Globalisation = 6000 people controlling world resources at the expense of the other 7 Billion . They are called ‘The Super Class’. ’The Transnational Capitalist Class’ or ‘The Network of Global Corporate Control‘. Yanis Varoufakis https://yanisvaroufakis.eu/books/the-global-minoyaur/ describes the functioning of The Global Minotaur.
Their control of the Mass/Cultural Media shapes the cognitive mindset of us all! They so invitingly persuade us to trust that their Corporate ownership of the world is the only framework which can possibly exist that it is very difficult to disengage from this received world-view. Thus the famous economist J.K.Galbraith https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kenneth_Galbraith ,suggests “the critical study of the activity of Global Corporations in Government and their exercise of power should be part of the education of the young,”
Hence the challenges posed by Corbyn and his supporters in the UK, Sanders and his followers in the US and indeed Pope Francis in the Vatican are a threat to this received mindset and thus profoundly unsettling !
The Mass Media, liberal commentators and genuine people within that mindset feel forced to oppose what people such as Corbyn represent. Hence the profound unease within the Parliamentary Labour Party and even The Guardian Newspaper. One can see the almost physical/ psychological distress caused by Pope Francis’ actions and words to the majority right-wing American Catholic Church and indeed to some of his Cardinals. A similar frisson of unease was caused by the Sanders Campaign in the Democratic primaries !
Pope Francis, the Pope from Argentina, is supremely well-placed to understand the trauma and the damage inflicted by Multi-National power on the South American continent and elsewhere.
Collectively 85/6000 people through their Corporate Power exploit the world’s habitat and its populations.
That collective power relentlessly squashes any resistance in their way.
Evidence of their activities is vividly described by: John Perkins in ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; Greg Palast ‘In The Best Democracy Money Can Buy’and William Blum’s ‘Rogue State’ which provides a ‘Concise List of United States Global Interventions 1945 to the Present’.
These interventions quell and smash those national Governments and populations which challenge and resist the power of Multi-National Interest in the struggle to control their own country’s resources.
This sample list is horrendous; massacres of over 500,000 in Indonesia, 200,000 in Guatamala, Interventions in Iran 1963, thence Dominica, Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela. The US inspired Pinochet coup against Allende’s Government in Chile is a stark moment in history. It shocked the world and resonates today! For Chile, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera’s moving Story Of A Death Foretold must be required reading ! I do not have to mention Vietnam, Afghanistan and the totally unjustified Bush/Blair adventure in Iraq, let alone other activities elsewhere !
So Where is the Labour Party in all this ?
In 1945 utilising Clause 4 of the Labour Party Constitution (Common Ownership of the Means of Production) and the Beveridge Report, Attlee began a real Revolution. Beveridge himself declared ‘a revolutionary moment in the world’s history is a time for revolution not for patching’
The startling proposition that Major Industries should serve the interests of the whole community led to the nationalisation of Coal, Railways, Iron and Steel, Cable and Wireless and the Bank of England.
By means of progressive taxation that great triumph the National Health Service was created—free access to all levels of medical treatment and social care. Then came free access to all levels of Education; a commitment to full employment and affordable housing. Secure Pension schemes sustained citizens in old age and ensured their continued spending should benefit the employment of others both locally and nationally. The entire enterprise became known as ‘The Welfare State’.
Attlee’s revolutionary achievement was the creation of a new society in which the State served the interests of its people rather than the Multi-National Corporations.
All this depended on the sustaining presence of Clause 4.
But Counter Revolution hid in the wings !
Post WorldWar2, as European Imperialism collapsed, populations were gripped by the sense of promise offered by de-colonisation and the advance of workers’ rights. The spread of the idea of the Welfare State throughout the world sustained the loyalty of electorates against the threat or promise of communism.
But Multinationals found this profoundly unsettling ! As the welfare state ideal spread throughout the world they lost control of profits from key industries and had to redistribute wealth through corporate taxation and steady improvement in workers’ wages.
They wanted a Counter-Revolution- narrative to reclaim their control of the State and to proclaim the Benefits of Freedom and Return to the unregulated capitalist economy. They chose Milton Friedman and the Chicago Business School. His ‘Freedom to Choose’ (against the overweening power of Government), was massively underwritten by the largest corporations; among them Getty Oil, Firestone, PepsiCo, General Motors and others. They sponsored a global network of Think-Tanks producing counter-revolutionary economics and disciples worldwide. Everywhere Politicians and other leaders were groomed to respond to this narrative.
For the UK, Ronald Reagan and Rupert Murdoch launched the ‘British American Project’ to groom ‘successor generations’ of our future leaders.. Among its Alumni were those who became New Labour Glitterati and important members of the Blair Governments.
Essentially the message was; Dismantle and remove regulation obstructing the ‘freedom’ to accumulate Profit; Sell off Public Assets to enable the Private/Multi-National sector to run them at a profit; Cut and Privatise Public Services; End State Control of Prices, releasing them to be determined by the ‘Free Market,
And of course, lift the burden of Taxation from the Rich.
(Remember that the words ‘Private’ and ‘Multi-National’ are inter-changeable !)
This was capped by the ‘New Public Management’regime. Market ideas/practices were imposed in the heart of the public sector. Managers were instructed to make services and personnel responsive to the dictates of ‘The Market’ rather than the needs of the Public they existed to serve. Hence the disastrous rise of Internal Markets, Outsourcing and Privatisation. We see the damage now caused to our hospitals, schools, prisons, Social Services and every aspect of National and Local Government provision. This became the transfer of wealth and power to the rich via privatisation. PFI and Public Private Partnership in the Public Sector transferred ownership and control of much of our Economy’s infrastructure to private/ Multi-National business. George Monbiot describes it as ‘the Corporate takeover of Britain’. http://www.monbiot.com ,
The profits from many PFI have actually ended up in Off Shore Tax Havens. Privatisation has massively benefitted firms like Centrica, Amey, G4S, McKinsey et al. Jaques Pirreti’s excellent T.V article ‘Who Is Spending Britain’s Billions’ makes the point explicitly. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0803b0s .Alongside we have seen the destruction of Trades’Union power and the hollowing out of the Labour Party; turning ‘New Labour’ into a vehicle for corporate interest and the marketisation of local and national government.
Herein lies the crucial importance of New Labour’s demolition of Clause 4, the attack on Attlee’s Revolutionary Belief – that State and Industry are the servant of the people !
By demolishing Clause4 New Labour surrendered the ultimate threat and deterrent and sacrificed the protection it gave to the public against the overweening advance and power of the private /Multi- National interest. This Multi-National ‘Freedom to Choose’ was used to wreck the Welfare State. It was adopted by ‘successor generations’ of politicians throughout the world , by Thatcherite Tories and notably New Labour in Britain but also much more violently in Chile, South America, Indonesia and elsewhere. Whatever protection workers and their families had managed to win, whatever Service the State provided for its own people ,all public services and nationalised industries must be transferred to the Private Sector on principle !
Consequent world-wide de-regulation of Banking and Finance unleashed an almost demonic greed. That greed almost destroyed the world’s economy in 2008, a replica of the crisis leading to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
It was only the dramatic use of Public /State financial power (Brown/Obama) that restored the world’s economy by massive input of public money. It was the use of that power in 1945 which created the Welfare State. But in 2009 the Tory-Lib.Dem Government manufactured the false myth that the only way out of the Crisis was an enhanced Austerity programme to further dismantle the Welfare State, to cut, outsource and privatise our public services, even more recklessly pursuing their agenda of support for the Multi-National interest.
The apparent success of their drive to impose Austerity across the Globe has encouraged the Multi-Nationals even further in their relentless and ruthless exploitation of the world’s habitat and populations. But their reckless opportunism is provoking another gigantic reaction, a far greater threat than that of 2008. Even the Natural World is in revolt as Climate Change threatens the very basis of civilised life on Earth. The Economist Nicholas Stern calculates the economic effect of unchecked Global Warming will exceed that of the Two World Wars and The Great Depression. “Climate Change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has ever seen” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Stern,_Baron_Stern_of_Brentford
A recent Maryland University study for NASA ‘Collapse or Sustainability of Societies’ suggests that we have five decades before everything we know will end. KPMG and UK Government Office of Statistics Reports warn that the convergence of food, energy and water crises could present a perfect storm within about 15 years.
Pope Francis’ Papal Letter to the whole world ‘Laudato Si’ describes the “relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment”, for which he blames the “reckless pursuit of profit and political short-sightedness” and warns of the unprecedented and imminent destruction of ecosystems. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html . .
Trapped Greenhouse Gases place the entire Population in an unpredictable danger zone(UN Panel on Climate Change). Runaway melting of the Artic Sea; Methane gas release from melting permafrost, violent hurricanes, Mega- droughts creating deserts in America and China, melting Greenland and Antartic ice sheets posit the inundation of riverine cities (such as London and worldwide) washing over Nuclear Power stations and toxic waste dumps in low lying areas. Since 70% of world population lives on coastal plains, the multi-metre rise in sea water will create social disruption and economic consequences of devastating proportions. Mass migration and economic collapse would make the present influx from Africa and the Middle East look puny indeed. Such economic stress could make our planet ungovernable and threaten the very fabric of our civilisation ! In British terms recent devastating floods throughout the country will become repetitively worse ! Riverine villages, towns and cities will face increasing threat.
We are living on borrowed time !
The present world order –the power of the Multi-nationals and the Elite 6000 – has unleashed such dramatic extremes in our climate as to threaten the continued existence of our Human Species. ‘Their’ Economic System and ‘our’ Planet’s Eco-System are now at war with each other. But the scale of economic planning and management to re-assert some normality is outside the scope of our ruling ideologies ! The International Energy Agency warns that failure to get emissions under control means that our fossil fuel economy will ‘lock-in’ extremely dangerous global warning very soon ! Trump’s election will worsen that !
But that dismantling of the Public Sector, the destruction of our military and Naval capacity, the weakening of Police Forces, the Emergency Services; the downgrading of our Health and Social Services provision and the hollowing out of National and Local Government’s capacity, competence and power brings with it fatal weakness in the face of the existential threat posed by Climate Change.
Naomi Klein asks http://www.naomiklein.org/main “How can societies provide massive investment in zero carbon public services when the Power of the public sector is systematically dismantled and auctioned off ? How can the Renewable Energy Sector receive support and protection when ‘Protectionism’ is a dirty word ?”
Action is required to avert the collapse of our civilisation and to build new forms of Society.
Given that much of our political system owes allegiance to the Multinationals, who is going to provide the catalyst for the change which will challenge their power ? Here I refer to the significance of Corbyn in the UK, Berni Sanders in the US and the multi-national influence of Pope Francis.
They and others like them can become Beacons, even Lighthouses ,warning of pressingly imminent dangers unless collectively we change our course !
Out of the shock and debris of the 20th century wars our forbears, (against the interests of the Major companies) created the publicly-owned Welfare State which defended them against unemployment, ill-health, ignorance,environmental and civil disaster and provided supportive care from the cradle to the grave. It was the creation of a new society in which the State served the interests of the entire community rather than those of the Multi-National Elite !
So too in the face of looming Environmental Cataclysm we must recreate that form of society and its capacity to protect its citizens from disaster through public control of Services and Utilities both nationally and locally. We need to reform and rebuild everything ripped out by Privatisation. All shades of political; social, cultural and religious spectrum; the Greens, Trades’Unions, Liberals and the Labour Party, concerned Tories, small business in our communities, every caring person and organisation need to unite in a major co-ordinated campaign in a Progressive Alliance to awaken the consciousness of the British people to the immediate danger from Global Warning and Climate Change brought upon them by unregulated Capitalism.
A great example of community activity has occurred in New York where they perceive a grave threat from Climate change. NY Renews seeks a new energy economy to create thousands of good-paying jobs, protect front line communities, strengthen and provide economic opportunities for all New Yorkers and get Law- Makers to invest in rebuilding infra-structure, expanding public transportation and moving towards clean renewable energy.
Clearly this community activity in the peoples’interest must outweigh the interest of any Multi-National. It can be done here.
New Labour was complicit in the advance of Multi-National Interests at the Public expense ! George Monbiot says “Governments will reassert their control over Corporations only when the people reassert their control over Governments “.
It is the threat of that reassertion of control that so frightens the Multi-Nationals and those politicians who support them !That is the significance of Corbyn !
It is people like Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis who Beacon-like show the way to a better, sustainable future. In Britain we need Corbyn and the Progressive Alliance to be given the opportunity to wrest Captive State Power away from Multi-National interest and return it to the Service of the People !
Alderman Michael Poulter MBE.