Are there really more people politically active now than there was before Corbyn entered the Labour Leadership race?

Is Corbyn really sparking working class political engagement or was it already there? Has Corbyn been a unifying leader, a symbol to rally behind? Are there more people politically active now because of Corbyn? Are there more people interested in, researching, debating political issues? Or is it the same people that were already politically engaged but now have a common cause? Does it therefore appear as though more are involved as people continue to research and debate but now include a Corbyn related hashtag in their tweet? The masses that have attended and spilled out of Corbyn rallies, are these people new to the scene or people that have been waiting for an opportunity to attend such an event? 

Personally, I rarely venture from our socialist/left wing bubble, on occasion when I do debate with those of different views it usually ends up quite messy, either I become impatient at being unable to explain why someone else is wrong (as obviously they always are!) and then I become condescending or I end up receiving a large and unpleasant amount of abuse, abuse I am unfortunately not able to simply dismiss as I would like to and should. I’m yet to interact with people of different views that have then changed their mind or I myself change my mind, occasionally I have some interesting debates but I’ve never been able to convince a Tory/RW supporter to see the light and neither have I been able to convince those not supporting Corbyn to support him (*update* – I have succeeded in convincing people to support Corbyn a few times now). This could be a reflection of my level of knowledge, lack of debating skills or the difficulty of debate over Twitter but from speaking to others I’m not alone in being unable to ‘make’ people see things from our point of view. So the hysteria surrounding Corbyn, in my limited experience, hasn’t come from convincing others of opposing views to Corbyn to support him, rarely have I spoke to people new to politics that have become engaged because of Corbyn. I appreciate this is purely anecdotal, it is just my experience, but my worry is that there hasn’t been and nor is there a surge in political involvement like what was seen in Scotland prior to and following the referendum on independence.  

What if there hasn’t been a surge? What if those attending Corbyn rallies and posting online were already politically active? If this is the case then it is both good news and bad news. The good news is that in Corbyn, all of us that were spread out throughout the nation, spread out online and spread out by different specific political and social issues, now have a unifying leader – something which was significantly lacking in all of our various travails. We are monumentally stronger as a collective, our individual causes are monumentally stronger as a collective and even if (God forbid) Corbyn wasn’t to win, the effect of being brought together, just like as happened in Scotland, will have a lasting effect, regardless of whether Corbyn wins, the fact that so many of us are now intertwined will make all of us and our causes a hell of a lot stronger.

The bad news is if there hasn’t been a huge surge in political engagement, it would mean the majority in society are still a mixture of apathetic, ignorant, uninformed, misinformed, manipulated, individualist/selfish, oppressed – by various means and ways, usually by our government/mainstream media and by ‘popular culture’. If this is the case then we, those politically engaged and socialist/to the left, are still the minority, we are still the underdog, still the ‘extremists’, the weird ones that are going against the norm. 

The size of and importance of whether or not there are new people actively engaged matters. Just like with the polls prior to the election, if those of us against the Tories, against corporate capitalism and against our individualistic culture aren’t as big as appears then there will be an air of disappointment even if Corbyn is to win. Obviously a Corbyn win will be huge, please don’t think I’m dismissing the importance of a win, the lingering disappointment will be that we’re not as big or as potent a force as we thought we were. Even though we would be and are stronger as a collective we wouldn’t be as strong as we thought, just like with the misleading election polls we have not made the level of progress as we thought we had and our challenges will, although smaller, still be at a significant size that will leave a bitter taste in the mouth and that might lead to some caving in under the sheer weight and difficulties of the challenges ahead. 

I hope that there has been a surge, that there really is a significant rise in the number of people politically active, but even if there hasn’t been a significant rise, all of us backing Corbyn are stronger united, regardless of whether there has been a rise or regardless of whether Corbyn wins, what has happened recently will have lasting effects and will give us the belief that change is possible and that the tyranny of capitalism is coming to an end. What has happened cannot be stopped, we cannot be stopped.

Please share your experience of the last few months, have you been to some of the events? Did you meet people new to politics? Are you yourself new to politics? Do you now talk about politics with your friends and family? At work? In the pub? When did you become politically active? What was it that sparked your interest? Please share your story.
Thanks for reading, looking forward to hearing your experiences and stories.

Follow me on Twitter – @PoliticalSift


7 thoughts on “Are there really more people politically active now than there was before Corbyn entered the Labour Leadership race?

  1. Enjoyable piece.

    Think there are multiple reasons for Corbyns support.

    Traditional lefties like myself, have come back to a party that we had begun to see no longer as centrist, but worse than this, right wing.

    But there are other reasons. For instance, I have seen many people who campaigned online tirelessly for Miliband, now campaigning for Corbyn. Those same people who criticised those of us who could not vote Miliband because he was too centrist, are now telling us to vote for the type of leadership we wanted all along.

    It doesnt help that people love a winner, and Corbyn is starting to look like a winner to me. Whilst he will be supported by Left wing thinkers, he will equally be supported by the hangers on, and those tribal voters who would vote for Katie Hopkins, if she wore a red rosette.

    Corbyn can be a solid, and unifying force for Labour, and I truly hope he wins. Only Skinner would outshine him in my book. But he isnt the Messiah, and on some issues I disagree with him. My hope, is that we see a surge in Left wing MP’s now, and come the next leadership election, we have several Left wingers to choose from, and not just one.

    Peace brother. Loved the article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a member of the Labour Party albeit one that is losing hope of them ever becoming a party representing its membership, I love the fact Corbyn is doing so well. At first I was against him as even I had swallowed the well spun unelectable tag that is thrown at anything left wing, I now embrace him as the start of change in my Party, hopefully in the country, for far too long we have sat back thinking maybe we were wrong and Labour slavishly following Tory doctrine will work out well in the end, well it hasn’t, millions more in poverty, debts creeping up remorselessly for the country and its citizens, wages dropping relentlessly, pensions being attacked, the NHS falling apart and the rich reaping the benefits and increasing their wealth by the day, Yes it has worked for our MPs who live in their well subsidised bubble and why would they change anything? Corbyn is different, he is different, he wants another way and seemingly so do many others including myself, Good luck to him but I can’t help feeling the Right have too much of a grip in the Labour Party he will be stifled, but Jeremy you have started something real, if there is no success in the party we love, we can move on, start again and leave Labour to the wipe out it surely will receive if they don’t change anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to be honest with you, I’d pretty much given up on UK politics completely before I found out about Jeremy. I was really excited about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s main rival for the leadership of the Democrats, and someone told me that their was a very similar guy in the Labour leadership race.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It would be great if with Corbyn as leader, Labour won in 2020, but I believe it would be more immediately important to have a strong left wing opposition! Who knows what might be achieved alongside SNP! My bet is still on the Cameron government falling before 2020. And I speak as a Green voter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really good and read, relate to a great deal of the content.

    Like many others I had given up with the Labour party. Chasing the middle ground Labour have gone too far to the right IMO.
    Corbyn has actually made me become a member now (something I never was).
    Why the change? Hope I guess, see too me Corbyn isn’t that far left at all, further than me maybe but not far left.
    So hope? Yes hope, the party needs to move back to the left, oh God why!?! I hear people think, it’s simple really, this government is too far to the right even for the Tories.
    To get ballance you need a more left thinking party, still balanced but more socialist with a hint of capitalism rather than the way round it has gone.
    Corbyn gives me hope that this may now happen.

    So the question:
    Yes and no, he has given people the opportunity to act, act in a simple, easy and effective way.
    Where most of these people a ready politically active? Hard to say, I’d guess most had a little in them but some are definately new to it and no matter the numbers that’s good.

    Will anything change? Already has😊 if Corbyn loses I may not stick around, but there are signs of a shift and Corbyn has definately moved the Overton window a tad to the left, it’s potentially all that was needed, that and the need for something different may result in some big changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a Green Party member of 5 years Corbyn enthuses me in a way that no Labour leader ever has… I am somewhat nervous about the prospect of the 2020 election with him in charge but first and foremost I feel like Labour should be genuine opponents to the Conservatives, which recently I feel they have not been. Electing JC as leader would be a real wake-up call to those within the party, and I think if he is elected leader then a lot of their representatives will have to do some major soul-searching.

    Liked by 2 people

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