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UK Peace Activist Leads the Labour Party
David Swanson   Sep 13, 2015   davidswanson  

I wonder if people in the United States understand what it means that the Labour Party in London now has a peace activist in charge of it. Jeremy Corbyn does not resemble any U.S. politicians. He doesn’t favor “only the smart wars” or prefer drone murders to massive invasions. Corbyn opposes wars, and he works to end militarism.

He was over here in Washington recently trying to get a Brit freed from Guantanamo. He chairs the Stop the War Coalition, one of the biggest peace organizations in Britain. He meets with foreign peace activists, like me, who can’t even enter the same worldview, much less the same room, with any U.S. leaders.

this essay is an excerpt from a longer essay here

When Corbyn and I both spoke at a peace event in London four years ago, he was introduced by Andrew Murray as working in Parliament with “a pack of war lords.” Corbyn agreed: Parliament is made up of war lords and war criminals, he remarked.

Corbyn at that point credited the Stop the War Coalition with having helped to prevent an attack on Iran in recent years, just as I believed the US peace movement deserved credit, and does so again this year.

Corbyn called the idea that more time was needed to finish a job in Afghanistan a “load of tosh.” He also pointed out that the two sides fighting in Libya could exchange parts for their rifles, because they both had rifles provided by Britain.

Corbyn doesn’t just call war criminals “war criminals.” He intends to see them prosecuted, including Tony Blair, whom Corbyn wants to see face charges for the 2003 attack on Iraq, which Corbyn of course opposed.

Corbyn doesn’t just oppose militarism rhetorically. He wants to shut it down. He opposes the Trident nuclear boondoggle and intends to withdraw the UK from NATO. What other NATO members might follow the UK’s lead?

Corbyn doesn’t just express nice sentiments about a distant future without nuclear weapons. He advocates unilateral disarmament by the UK, in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty.

Corbyn doesn’t just muse about non-military solutions in Syria but seeks to find them and to prevent military action that makes crises worse. He plans to halt British airstrikes from planes or drones in Syria. He also mentions the uncomfortable topic of “some of our supposed allies in the region” providing weapons and funding to ISIS—and proposes to cut that off rather than fueling the fire with more weapons and attacks.

Corbyn is even opposed to the steady buildup of hostility toward Russia, and faults NATO for expanding and the West for creating the crisis in Ukraine. He doesn’t excuse actual misdeeds by Russia, but faults U.S. and European aggression and hypocrisy.

To read the remainder of this essay, click here.

David Swanson contributed a chapter to "Why Peace" edited by Marc Guttman, January 2012. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.


He’s also open to basic income:

I wouldn’t get too excited about Jeremy Corbyn at this stage in events.. He’s also in favour of quitting the EU, (recently re-defined as “Re-shaping” UK relationships), quitting NATO, Unilateral disarmament, (presently this rhetoric is under review and as recently down-played by his new deputy Tom Watson)

and.. He’s not adverse to re-opening Coal mines, which I find even more alarming?

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn says mining could return to South Wales

Whilst I would agree towards some of his ideas towards Re-Nationalism by degree for UK infrastructure/industry, this seems mostly less than practicable unless Corbyn successfully wins any election and then applies his carefully “thought out” plans for QE?

What is most apparent and lacking in UK is any Politicians real understanding of Technology, progress, or looming Structural Unemployment, because of such Luddite tendencies both Left and Right!

ps How is Bernie Sanders getting on?


I agree that Corbyn’s foreign policy is screwy from my POV. I’m probably more of a liberal internationalist/interventionist than most IEET folks, and a strong supporter of the EU and NATO.  But I try to look at the silver linings.

@ James..

it’s not about being positive, it’s about being “too old school”. As has been proposed, presently the UK knee jerk reaction to appalling election defeat, is out with “Neo-Labour” and in with the old?

Beware of Socialist Luddites bearing gifts?

We shall see, however, I may be wrong, (hopefully)?

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