A few weeks ago some of you will have seen through Twitter that @EmilyMaiden wanted to speak to Jeremy Corbyn supporters to ask a few questions regarding an article she was writing for the Morning Star @M_Star_Online, the article can be found here, well worth a read!
My answers weren’t used for the article so I thought I’d share the questions that Emily asked and my answers. I have left them as I wrote them, in draft, apologies for the grammar, I put off answering them and had to rush them but I thought I’d leave them as they are as they’re already long enough and if I was to edit them and go into more detail then I would probably end up writing a full book on them!
Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my answers?… and I’d love for you to also answer the questions by writing in the comments section. For those that are interested, I’d also welcome people to write a blog post regarding the topics covered to be published on this blog if they feel their answers would be too long to just post in the comments section. If you’re interested then please leave a comment and I’ll share my email address, or you can send me a direct message on Twitter – PoliticalSift
Looking forward to reading your comments!
What does socialism mean to you? Has your perception of socialism changed at all – either during the Corbyn campaign or before?
To me personally, ‘Socialism’ has two main meanings, to me there’s socialism as an entirely different system (economically and culturally) to capitalism and then there’s what we’ll call ‘capitalist socialism’ – where we still live within a capitalist system (economically and culturally). This ‘capitalist socialist’ system is one that is ‘fairer’ to the current right wing (free market leaning) capitalist system, one that isn’t as heavily favoured to the wealthy, the 1%, one that protects and supports the most vulnerable in society, that has a less regressive tax system, that doesn’t look to attack, scapegoat, vilify and blame migrants, the poor and the disabled, a less oppressive system, a system based more on evidence than ideology, a system with the ideology of a government that tries/looks to do right by all, not just the wealthy and or advantaged few, a system with less inequality and injustice, a system with more understanding and compassion that is more about the collective than the individual, one that doesn’t blame individuals but looks to/attempts to support, understand and ultimately work to solve structural problems in society that cause poverty and hardship rather than blame the individuals suffering hardship, a system where welfare is an actual supportive safety net, that understands that poverty isn’t just those currently unemployed, without shelter, food or warmth but that in today’s society people need more than just these basics, understands that people need transport, a computer and phone, the internet and so on, where welfare is given without unnecessary and expensive means testing for those with physical and mental health difficulties, where those receiving welfare are not seen as ‘lazy, feckless scroungers’ but as people suffering, sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently, that need support – genuine support, where a third, fourth, fifth, etc. child means just as much as the first two, a system that looks towards 100% employment availability instead of the unemployment levels that are intentionally manipulated to increase competition at the bottom to stagnate and suppress wages, a system with more public ownership of things such as health, energy, rail, water, etc.
My view of socialism hasn’t changed during the Corbyn campaign, I’m curious as to how socialist he would be if he was to become prime minister, whether he’d make the big changes needed in society or whether he’d just tinker (relatively speaking) with the current system, unlike the reports in the media, he isn’t no where near as far to the left as people portray, his principles are definitely left but his policies aren’t that far left at all, especially when one considers how far right our culture and system has come over the past 40 years.
Before Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership, what was your view of politics and politicians in general?
Politics is merely a means to an end for the ruling elite, the 1%, not for all in society. Politicians are mere puppets of the oppressive, megalomaniac ‘elite’. Politicians are PR figure heads, there to manipulate society, there to justify an unequal and unjust system. They have no decency or integrity, no compassion or empathy for their fellow man (and woman), their role is to not only to maintain our current system – through lies, spin, propaganda, fiddling statistics and various other such unscrupulous means, aided and abetted by our mainstream media, the other major puppets of oppression and control that work side by side with politicians to engineer division, individualism, conflict and rule by fear – but to also grow the level of inequality and injustice and shift ever more wealth and power from the exploited poor masses to the already obscenely wealthy tiny few, the 1%, especially the 0.1%. Not all politicians are puppets and tools of the 1%, Jeremy Corbyn isn’t, but the vast majority of our two main parties are (the Conservatives and Labour Party).
Has Jeremy’s campaign changed your view of what ‘left-wing’ means? Did you class yourself as being on the left previously?
Growing up I was fairly right wing, I had absolutely zero interest in politics but looking back I would have said I was right wing. I managed to have several ‘successes’ in life that I used to put down to my own ‘hard work’. But during college, where I studied sociology, psychology and business and while at university, studying psychology, I started to question my own ‘achievements’, I realised how much was in my favour growing up. I didn’t come from a wealthy background, my parents have always been grafters, they did anything just to keep a roof over our head, food on the table and to try and give me and my sister the best chances in life. Although I didn’t have the wealth of my parents as an advantage in life I did have lots of little things in life that did give me advantages over others. I realised while at university that it wasn’t hard work but lots of little things, lots out of my control that happened by chance that meant I was able to be relatively ‘successful’ in life.
This became even more apparent when by chance the entire opposite happened, just after finishing university I developed physical and then mental health difficulties that have slowly destroyed everything I had going for me and has left me several years later as someone, with our current attitudes and culture, that would be labelled a ‘scrounging welfare dependent’. Although in truth I’m more dependent on my partner than I am welfare and neither am I, like everyone else labelled so, a scrounger.
Now in my late twenties I am politically active, it’s my whole world, I write about, tweet about and discuss politics all day everyday. Jeremy hasn’t necessarily changed my view of what left wing means, I am probably a lot more to the left than Jeremy Corbyn, I share in his principles, especially of a government that works for all in society, but I support a gradual shift through capitalist socialism to a socialist system, one which acknowledges that there is more than enough know how, resources and means for all to have more than they could ever need or want, where we each have equal worth regardless of ability or lack of/in-ability that recognises we can perform roles/contribute as a collective rather than ‘work’ as individuals. I am realistic in that this would take time and is currently unthinkable, but believe it is possible through a slow and gradual shift, in the system itself and in attitudes and that Jeremy Corbyn is just the beginning. But, that being said, I am open minded about the actual system we live in, what is more important is that we stop the conflict, inequality and injustices and have a system where all are ‘content’ and ‘happy’, where no human benefits at the expense of another, where no one is in poverty or destitution.
What has your experience of Jeremy’s campaign been? How have people reacted to your support for Corbyn?
My experience of Corbyn’s campaign has been of excitement – at the rise in the level of political engagement, whether of different causes and groups, such as anti-austerity, anti-fracking or anti-bedroom tax, now having a unifying leader, that have come together and become stronger together and excitement at the rise of people new to political involvement. My experience has also been of hope, hope that we – all of us on the left, all of us regardless of political view, all of us regardless of our different causes, can bring about change and can introduce a fairer society with actual democracy rather than the faux, facade of a democracy that we currently have.
My experience has also been of anger, despair, disbelief and anguish at those, not just Conservative but especially current and ex Labour MP’s and supporters, that are attacking Corbyn and his/us supporters. Some of those that attack us are those wanting to maintain the status quo, maintain the current and growing inequalities and injustices, some that attack are those currently oppressed and brainwashed, people that should be supporting Corbyn and supporting our causes, some that would actually benefit massively from a Corbyn led Labour Party in government, I don’t blame these ‘brainwashed’ people that attack, I blame the oppressors, the politicians and journalists abusing their positions of power for their own selfish interests.
If Jeremy doesn’t win the leadership contest, do you intend to stay politically active?
Yes, definitely. We have to keep fighting injustice, we have to do what we can to change society for the better. I would probably no longer support Labour though, obviously I would be open minded and give the new leader a chance but unless the new leader is actually an opposition to the conservatives then I will continue to fight against all those that support the unequal and injustice filled system that we currently have, and based on what the other candidates have said it’ll mean that I/we would also be fighting against the Labour Party.
Apologies for how long my answers are! As you know my medication makes it hard for me to concentrate and be concise, I’ve tried to keep it as short as possible but it’s hard when there is so much that needs saying on all of those questions!
I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback and hearing the answers you would give to the questions presented by @EmilyMaiden.
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