by Randolph T. Holhut
Chief of American Reporter Correspondents
September 22, 2015
SOCIALISM: IT'S NO LONGER A DIRTY WORD
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- The fight against global austerity gained a new powerful new ally with Britain's Labour Party electing Jeremy Corbyn by a landslide as its new leader on Sept. 12.
Corbyn, a longtime member of Parliament who has been on the outs in Labour ever since Tony Blair and his ilk abandoned the socialistideals of the party in favor of tepid centrism, won in a landslide.
Unlike most U.S. politicians, Corbyn is willing to stand up to corporate domination and mindless militarism at home and abroad.
In his victory speech. Corbyn asked his supporters to "be a force for change in the world, a force for humanity in the world, a force for peace in the world, and a force that recognizes we cannot go on like this, with grotesque levels of global inequality, grotesque threats to our environment all around the world, without the rich and powerful governments stepping up to the plate to make sure our world becomes safer and better, and those people don't end up in poverty, in refugee camps, wasting their lives away when they could be contributing so much to the good of all of us on this planet. We are one world. Let that message go out today."
The Tories wasted little time trying to demonize Corbyn. The day after Corbyn92s election, Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that "The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family92s security."
And the Blair-ites are also trying to tearing apart Corbyn. Blair himself said that Labour would face "annihilation" at the polls if it backed Corbyn for prime minster.
But they are all barking up the wrong tree. 46rom Syriza in Greece to Podemos in Spain to the groundswell of support that Bernie Sanders is receiving in his presidential campaign, people are rallying around the idea that socialism may the only thing that can stop the destruction of our democracy, our ecosystems, and our humanity.
Labour forged the post-World War II welfare state in Britain. It created the National Health Service and a cradle-to-grade social safety net that brought expanded social and economic democratization to what was a class-bound nation.
The Tories, led by Margaret Thatcher, shredded the social safety net when it took power in 1979, and Ronald Reagan and the Republicans followed suit when they took the White House in 1980.
Thatcher famously said that "there is no alternative." Conservatism was the be-all and end-all. Big government was dead. "Let the marketplace decide" was the new cry. The "third way" center-right politics of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, represented the meek acceptance of the ideas of Thatcher and Reagan.
But after thirty-five years of growing inequality, of unfettered capitalism, of dubious military adventures abroad and disastrous economic policies at home, people on both sides of the Atlantic want something different and finally see Thatcher's words as the steaming pile that they always were.
The stench of failure is rising from both the Tories and Republicans, from both New Labour and the New Democrats. Politics as usual is not going to cut it anymore. A new course is needed.
It is clear that the only ones willing to defend democracy, to fight austerity and inequality, to represent the interests of many over the few, are the socialists. That's why the young, the working poor, and everyone else who has been handed the dirty end of the stick are flocking to support Sanders and Corbyn.
This is not to say that a victory for democratic socialism is going to happen. Like every victory won by the left over the past 150 years - from the abolition of slavery to women's suffrage to Social Security and Medicare to same-sex marriage -- it has taken time and much struggle, but victory has always happened.
In the battle of hope against fear, I'll always bet on hope.
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is an award-winning journalist who has worked in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at email@example.com.