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Protestors at the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham, October 2016. Photo: Flickr/Jim Aindow

After Corbyn‘s re-election, we need to build a strong extra-parliamentary force that supports Labour – if it supports them

Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning victory has proved that the left now has a once in lifetime chance to transform politics in this country.

But the moment of opportunity is also a moment of great danger. This is a victory that needs to be secured. On the one hand Corbyn’s second victory proves that last year’s result was not just a flash in the pan.

His campaign has galvanised hundreds of thousands of people. Labour is now the largest party in western Europe. It has hundreds, even thousands of new members in every community in Britain.

These could be a campaigning force capable of sweeping all before it – if they are mobilised.

On the other hand, a real danger exists. And it’s not just the Labour right that poses a threat. The right are damaged by their failure in the leadership contest. But they could revive if the Corbyn left give them the chance.

Clive Lewis, the Labour defence spokesman, handed them a dangerous consolation prize just 48 hours after Jeremy Corbyn’s win was announced.

Lewis’ conference speech backed retaining the Trident nuclear weapons system. But Lewis went further. He boasted his full support for NATO, and full support for article 5 of the NATO treaty which commits us to war if any NATO member is attacked.

Lewis went on to confirm that no money will come from the defence budget to build homes, schools and hospitals because he will honour the US imposed NATO arms spending requirement of 2 percent of GDP.

All this is in direct contradiction to Jeremy Corbyn’s declared opposition to NATO and Trident.

The Labour right and the establishment will celebrate Lewis’ realism. Worse, some on the left will defend it.

This is the way to throw away a victory. It will demoralise the best supporters Jeremy Corbyn has. It will disorient good socialists and it will embolden the right.

The answer to all this is to build a strong extra-parliamentary force that supports Labour if, and only if, it supports them. We should put all our effort into strengthening the Stop the War Coalition, the People’s Assembly and CND.

This is the only way to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn’s victory is one from which the whole left and millions of working people benefit.

Victory is within our grasp – it must not be wasted.  

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