Tuesday, July 05, 2016
The suppression of Corbyn and the suppression of truth
I’m recently back from Brazil where a powerful elite mounted a semi legal coup d’etat to depose an elected president and block further investigation into their crimes.
It is a bit strange to come back here and find the same thing happening.
And see the Parliamentary Labour Party forget even their most basic duties in its obscene panic driven haste to vilify and remove its elected leader.
Remove him before the publication of the Chilcott report into the Iraq war.
Perhaps it is a bit absurd to compare the diminished and contemptible members of the PLP with the far more powerful and sinister and effective criminals who now form the government of Brazil.
Its true that if these individuals’ criminality goes unchecked they can potentially impoverish an entire continent; and, in the process, destroy the ecosystem of the Amazon and the ecosystem of the entire world.
But then Brazil is a country that really matters.
Great Britain, in comparison, is insignificant.
And so the crimes of its Labour party’s elite seem correspondingly petty.
Until you remember the millions killed in the Iraq war and the atrocious suffering of its consequences.
Unless and until the Labour Party can find the courage to look honestly at its role in these crimes it will never be able to function effectively as a force for justice and for peace.
Of course for them that must be such a hard and painful and almost impossible thing to do.
Perhaps that’s why they are so desperate to silence Corbyn: because that effort is implicit in his call to them to wake up, unite, and behave like decent human beings.
But then it's not just up to the Labour Party: these are crimes in which we are all complicit and all must answer for.
My own grandfather was very directly involved in the first British bombing campaign in the Middle East. Way back around 1919.
He sat in the passenger seat of a biplane and dropped bombs onto Kurdish villages.
He did this directly, by hand.
Dropping the bombs over the side of the plane.
He wrote about it afterwards to his mother. He said it was jolly thrilling.
But I don't think he was an especially bad man. He believed very passionately in the so-called civilising mission of the British Empire and I'm sure he was doing it all for the best.
I carry his genes in my blood and his memories in my body.
I’m sure all of us have similar stories, if we were able to look back and find them.
It is as if we need some kind of individual and collective truth and justice commission to get to the bottom of it all.
So we can acknowledge that the comparative prosperity of us few is built on the poverty of so many.
Acknowledge that the capital for the industrial revolution that made us “Great" came from the suffering of millions of African slaves.
These are painful things.
There is a powerful urge to deny them.
The urge is to build walls that block them out.
The kind of walls Farage would have us build to keep out the alien and the dispossessed.
To keep out all those we fear will overwhelm us. Those who plague us with terrifying guilt.
But that response is bound to fail.
There is no wall high enough or wide enough or deep enough to keep this suffering out.
Instead we have to tear down the walls.
The walls in our frontiers.
The walls that maintain the grotesque inequality and injustice of our economic system.
The walls in our imagination and the walls that divide our hearts.
Corbyn made a speech over the weekend, a speech that was predictably unreported, in which he said:
“The xenophobia within our society will not build one house. Will not educate one child”
I repeat his words because they are worth hearing and because of the increasingly desperate and concerted attempt being made to silence him.
He went on to say “Inequality will fail to educate one child. Will fail to provide the housing that we need.
Let’s build something better. Build something stronger.”
And we have to do that.
We mustn’t give up. The stakes now are far too high.
We have to use whatever talent or strength is at our command.
Build something better.
Build it brick by brick by brick.
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