Jeremy Corbyn is clearly heading for victory in the British Labour leadership election. All the signs suggest he has an unassailable lead over his challenger Owen Smith and will probably win by a landslide.
This is despite truly extraordinary attempts by the anti-Corbyn Labour NEC to suspend, expel and refuse to register huge numbers of existing and would be Labour members.
Normally political parties try to attract members, not so the Labour NEC. They would rather shrink the Party than allow in potential Corbyn supporters. The excuses used have been truly farcical: ‘You once tweeted support for the Green Party’. ‘Your Facebook postings show you don’t share Labour values’ meaning show signs of left wing ideas and so on.
Those expelled include veteran trade unionists and people who have been members all their lives.
Despite this sickening witch hunt the Labour Party has grown massively since Corbyn became leader and now has 500,000 members making it probably the largest political party in Europe.
And it is on the basis of left wing ideas and grass roots left wing enthusiasm. The main feature of Corbyn’s campaign has been huge public rallies all over the country, including some in the most unlikely places: for example 3000 in Ramsgate in Kent, normally thought of as UKIP territory.
The Corbyn phenomenon fuelled by rage at the Tories’ vicious austerity and excitement at the possibility of an alternative is infuriating and perplexing the establishment, the media and the Labour Blairites. Not for a moment have they stopped flinging mud at Corbyn.
But so far nothing has worked and Owen Smith has proved an inept and unpleasant opponent.
Unfortunately this doesn’t make it all plain sailing for Corbyn. Even if he secures a resounding victory on 24 September the Parliamentary Labour Party will not drop their opposition and they may either sit their sabotaging him in Westminster or alternatively organise an electorally damaging split.
And if Corbyn wins a general election the British ruling class and state will really set about undermining him.
So for British socialists the key task is to back Corbyn up with mass resistance – real people power – on the streets and in the workplaces.- and to involve his supporters in ongoing grassroots campaigning.