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.
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