Left Unity applauds Jeremy Corbyn’s victory against the right wing, and their main article on his subject is entitled “everything is possible”. What LU means is that it is possible to put pressure on the Labour leadership to defeat austerity.
“Everything is possible” can, and has already created illusions of what the Labour Party can do even with a left leader. If everything is possible then Corbyn can remove the majority of proausterity Labour MPs or that the Labour Party can lead the fight against austerity, or that the Labour Party could become a mass revolutionary workers party.
The illusions created by this sentiment are very dangerous for LU, to such an extent that some members have left LU and joined the Labour Party.
A LU member had to caution, in trying to stop the flow from LU towards the Labour Party, that “simply declaring that we launch ourselves at the Local LP branch is a receipt for disillusion and cynicism”. That is true. History contains many lessons about such “everything is possible” sentiment.
On 27 May 1936, Marcel Pivert wrote a famous article with the same title. In it he said, “In the atmosphere of victory, confidence and discipline that extends across the country, yes, everything is possible for the daring” and said the “Popular Front of combat cannot be slowed down or betrayed”. In France at the time there was a growing revolutionary wave (1936-8). Within days of Pivert’s article strikes broke out again with redoubled force.
On 2 June many occupations of engineering factories took place and spread rapidly to other sectors. By 10 June over two million were on strike (see Tom Kemp’s Stalinism in France).
Trotsky rightly pointed out the massive strike wave was not primarily a vote of confidence in Blum and the Popular Front that swept into power, led by the Stalinist Communist Party and he said in his book Whither France, “The profound organic and genuinely revolutionary character of the strike wave is best of all characterized by the fact that the mass movement, though improvised, has acquired such vast scope and has exercised so great a political influence. …Without this, victory would be impossible. But all this is not enough for victory. As against the staff and the plan of the “200 families” there must be a staff and a plan of proletarian revolution. None as yet exists. But they can be created. All the prerequisites and all the elements for a new crystallization of the masses are at hand.” 9 June 1936.
Marcel Gitton (French Communist Party) answered Pivert two days later. He wrote in L’Humanite that not everything was possible and he meant that the Popular Front government would continue its class collaboration policies to fight Fascism and was against the revolutionary mobilisation of workers. On 5 June 1936 the CP called for an end to the strikes.
Today the ideas behind “everything is possible”, only serve to undermine the necessity of a clear programme and action against austerity. We have seen what happened to Syriza who went from anti-austerity to implementing it. In making these type of statements the Left Unity leaders are preparing their party to become part of the “Popular Front of combat” when Labour is in office. They are giving full support to Corbyn and the “new” Labour without making any criticism of him. No wonder that some members are getting confused and joining the Labour Party.