Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the British Labour Party should not be exaggerated or minimized. He is certainly not your average politician hence the long daggers drawn out against him.
“Corbyn is everything that a modern professional politician shouldn’t be: crumpled, scruffy and principled.” This is what Andrew McFadyen, the program editor for the Qatari regime’s news channel Al Jazeera wrote after Jeremy Corbyn was elected to lead UK’s Labor Party. He demonstrates humility and simplicity in personal life. He neither smokes nor drinks; he is a vegetarian and he does not own a car, preferring to ride his bike or take the public transport to go to work or ride home from work. And he does not wear a tie!
Having principles is not one of the usual characteristics of Western politicians, who are often praised for their flip-flopping. This is labeled as “pragmatism.” They are also completely artificial, with their plastic smiles in front of cameras even while they are busy stabbing people in the back.
Corbyn’s victory is definitely an important milestone on the European political scene. His principled and reasonable position on many issues should delight all those who have suffered from British imperialism and neo-colonialism, both within the UK and abroad. Nevertheless, Corbyn’s stunning electoral performance should not be exaggerated or underestimated.
Let us look at the exaggeration aspect first. Corbyn will not be able to alter the strategic neo-colonialist and cut throat capitalist pillars of British politics within the next few years. Western regimes are not personality-based; the real power wielders operate from behind the scenes. Also, the electoral process in the UK and other Western societies is a sophisticated PR exercise that creates the illusion that people have some influence by allowing them to let some steam off during election time.
Most people would be familiar with the Electoral College type selection system in the US and the Canadian electoral system where Stephen Harper and his supporters have a long record of abusing democracy through such tactics as robocalling. Many people believe the 2011 election in Canada was stolen by the Harperites through fraud. The truth is that the broader British public is unaware of the reasoning behind Corbyn’s positions on many crucial issues.
Taking the above points into consideration, Corbyn’s leadership victory should not be underestimated either. The British ruling elite is already trying to convince the British public that Corbyn is “unelectable” as prime minister; this is clearly a sign that they are worried. However, this narrative is only partly true, as the ruling elite will do its best not to allow Corbyn to become the next prime minister and if he does, they will make sure that he fails to deliver on his promises. Nevertheless, the biggest achievement of Corbyn at the moment is that many of his reasonable ideas will now be debated in the mainstream media and will reach the wider British public.
Let us list some of Corbyn’s positions. He is anti-war. In fact, he is one of the founders of the Anti-War movement in Britain. He opposed Britain’s participation in the US-led war against Iraq in 2003 warning of disastrous consequences. His warnings have sadly come true not only in the form of the destruction of Iraq but the rise of the takfiri terrorists in the Levant.
He is opposed to nuclear weapons and has publicly stated that he would abolish Britain’s nuclear weapons if he were elected (He suffered a setback on September 27 when the Labor Party rejected his proposal to do so. Even the trade unions that had supported his leadership bid, opposed him for fear of losing jobs!). He is a strong advocate of protecting the environment, fully aware that greedy industrialists in cahoots with the politicians have already caused immense damage and will cause much more making life virtually unsustainable in the near future. Most of his positions run contrary to the views of the establishment. This also explains why he voted more than 500 times against his own party in his 32-year parliamentary career.
Another significant ramification of Corbyn’s victory will be felt in other European countries where his type of thinking has historical and traditional roots. Using the Western political lexicon, it can reasonably be predicted that movements of the left in Europe will be reenergized in pursuing their political vision.
The best political strategy Corbyn can now put into action is the incorporation of wider European leftist movements into his activities. Why? Corbyn can only succeed if likeminded organizations and individuals become influential in other parts of Europe. Even if Corbyn is elected as prime minister in Britain, in the current European political climate he will be squeezed and isolated like the Syriza Party in Greece and its former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
When it comes to Muslims, the best strategy they can pursue in assisting Corbyn’s work to free the British people from cut-throat capitalism and imperialism is to realize that they will not agree with Corbyn on all issues. Corbyn is not a Muslim, so he will naturally have different views on some social issues. It will be naïve for Muslims to focus on those natural differences. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) did not focus on differences with Mut‘im ibn ‘Adi, but focused on his commitment to social justice. Muslims in Britain and abroad should focus on working with Corbyn on many crucial issues they agree on and agree to disagree on others. The main obstacle to this formula will come from Saudi sponsored ritualistic obscurantists. Wearing an ‘Islamic’ mask they will attempt to discourage Muslims from assisting Corbyn in many of his noble causes by waving the “flag” of haram, bida‘ and of course the ever-present bogey of shirk.