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The day John Smith died, I was on the phone to a friend in Jeremy Corbyn’s office. I forget why I rang – probably to add to Jeremy’s workload of supporting every worthy cause in the world that sought the endorsement of a British MP, while simultaneously toiling to help his many deprived constituents. Despite ‘Islington’ being media code for effete liberals, half its children live in poverty.
Anyway, in light of the day’s news, I asked how things were in the Labour Party. My friend replied simply, ‘Tony Blair is being manoeuvred into power.’ I’m not sure what all the manoeuvres were, but she seems to have been proved right. Certainly, I don’t remember months of energetic campaigning and debate with a slate of candidates, rallying thousands of passionate and enthusiastic supporters and bringing an underdog outsider to a landslide victory. I know there was a deal in a restaurant, but I don’t know how inspired the waiters were by it.
However, after winning an open contest with massive support, Corbyn has been accused of ‘seizing power’ and ‘taking control’. MPs who sneer at him and threaten to oust him feel ‘bullied’ by the majority who voted for him. They ‘fear’ members of their local parties choosing to be represented by someone other than them. By resisting attempts to unseat him and not responding to insults and briefings, Corbyn is ‘tightening his grip’. By facing down those scheming to replace him, he is ‘plotting’ to remain in the position to which he was elected. The history of his supporters is scrutinised by New Labourites who used to be in the Communist Party. And there is faux outrage at any suggestion that the use of nuclear weapons is insane, while those old Stalinists cheerfully tell any available hack that Corbyn is a ‘nutter’.
Marienna Pope-Weidemann explains why decades of occupation and oppression have led some people to call Israel an apartheid state.
International Women's Day is set to be marked by strikes from "paid work in offices and factories, or unpaid domestic work in homes, communities and bedrooms."
Laurie Laybourn-Langton writes that measuring the economy is political - and economic measurement dominates politics.
David Scott argues that our prison system represents a human rights disaster, and reformist solutions can't tackle the root problems.
A deeper engagement with culture can strengthen our democracy, taking political projects beyond electoral impact and festival memes into a whole new world of radical, lasting change.
Ruth Tanner writes that revelations about Oxfam's behaviour in Haiti are shocking, but not surprising.
The actions of Oxfam officials are horrendous - but gutting foreign aid funding just puts more people at risk, writes Daniel Gibson.
Dr Laura Basu explains that the media allowed politicians to re-write history, erasing the true causes of the economic crisis.
Outsourced cleaners are on the front lines of the battle for workers' rights. By Emiliano Mellino
Power to our beloved comrade and friend, Mehmet Aksoy, a hero of Kurdistan and the internationalist struggles against capitalism, colonialism and fascism. This tribute was authored by Mehmet’s family and friends.
For All, By All
The latest issue of Red Pepper asks - how do we invite, support and nurture greater public participation so that our cultural capabilities are empowered beyond the crushing logic of market fundamentalism?
‘We are hungry in three languages’: The forgotten promise of the Bosnian Spring
Ruth Tanner looks back at a wave of protests which swept through Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
It’s time for a cultural renewal of the left
Andrew Dolan writes that we need to integrate art, music, films and poetry into our movement, creating spaces where political ideas are given further room to breathe.
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes