Corbyn’s Socialism in One Country

Социализм в одной стране or Turkeys vote for Xmas


There is a problem with the Corbynite Left. Actually there are many problems with the ‘grassroots’ non-Parliamentary left, but I will focus on just one.

They are an unpredictable danger for the In-camp in the EU Referendum. The reason for this is that the condemnation of the EU as a neoliberal, pro market Leviathan, may lead significant numbers of young, newly energized voters (by the Corbyn effect) to vote for Brexit. They may do so thinking that this enables more discretion and more options in their attempt to re-balance the state-market relationship in Britain.

The idea that a Britain outside the EU may allow socialist type alternatives is a fallacy for two reasons.

Reason one is that Socialism in One Country (Социализм в одной стране in Stalin’s words) does not work. The theory held that given the defeat of all the communist revolutions in Europe in 1917–1921 except Russia’s, the Soviet Union should begin to strengthen itself internally. That turn toward national communism was a shift from the previously held Marxist position that socialism must be established globally (world communism). The British hard left seems to think that while leftist movements have failed in Europe (Syriza abandoned its leftist pretenses in Greece, Podemos is fizzling out etc), a left alternative could be built in Britain, starting with Corbyn taking power in 2020.

It will not, because Corbyn cannot and will not win in 2020. No pollster, or betting shop or academic who has looked at the numbers think that Corbyn has a better chance of winning than a snowball materializing in hell.

Reason two is that in the short term defeat in the EU Referendum and Brexit will launch the country sharply to the right. In the mayhem that will ensue, the left message will be lost in the nationalist fervor and right wing anti-immigrant, racist politicking that will dominate between 2017 and 2020.

As Corbyn will have forfeited the higher ground (pro-immigration, pro-internationalist) by not supporting clearly and unequivocally  staying-in, he will suffer even worse in the General Election.

Voting for a Britain outside the EU for the working class is equivalent to turkeys voting for Xmas. Voting for Britain outside the EU is voting for a 1000 year Tory rule (if you will excuse the unpleasant analogy).

Does the working class really want to align itself with the Hedge Fund managers who will support the Leave campaign out of unashamedly expressed self interest? Really?

Now is the time for the working class, the left, to come out strongly in support of the EU.

Thinking people of course do not like what the EU has become. Nonetheless, the interests of the working class and the left are best served by Britain staying in and working for a better future for everyone.

Socialism in One Country did not work too well for the Russians either.




7 thoughts on “Corbyn’s Socialism in One Country

  1. Hang about. How is supporting the EU “pro-internationalist”? Internationalism as far as I understand it is about the working class uniting across borders. The EU is no such thing – it stands for the free movement of goods, capital, people etc. in order that they might be better exploited by rich economies where they need them – it has nothing to do with internationalism and everything to do with globalisation. The EU allows Britain, Germany etc. to more easily siphon off the cash and labour of poorer member states. I see no possible benefit for the working people of Europe in staying in a union that is designed purely and simply to allow big economies to exploit weaker economies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This assessment is based on what the EU has become recently. It was not like this and does not need to be in perpetuity. Also, it does not change the fact that the Tories will create an environment worse for working people post Brexit.


      • Its not what the EU has become recently. The EU developed from the European Coal and Steel Community and is therefore essentially and fundamentally rooted in the interests of capital – its not some recent thing. It was founded with the intention of promoting European big business – the principles of free movement were developed to service these industries, not for any high-vaulted ideals of working class internationalism. Let’s not be revisionist about it. In the early days Labour was dead against Britain joining the EEC because they saw it for what it was and has always been.

        On the subject of whether the Tories would make everything worse if we left – I’m not sure. Who knows what would happen after such a big shake-up. If Labour reorients itself as an anti-EU, pro-working people party then it could steal the thunder of the right wing Eurosceptics. The key issue is breaking the right wing hegemony over the idea of Euroscepticism. Like I said, let’s not forget that many of the early Eurosceptics were socialists.

        If all else fails, at least we would regain some of our national sovereignty and give an boost to other less powerful countries who have had their own national sovereignty and democracy trampled over by the interests of European capital.

        Liked by 1 person

      • if, as you admit, Stalin has nothing to do with Corbyn, isn’t it a trifle misleading to put a picture of Stalin at the top of an article about the Labour leader? And is Corbyn on record anywhere specifically advocating “socialism in one country alone” as Stalin did? Feel free to quote him.


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