Letter from . . . November 2015
Leaping to the Left
What does the election of Jeremy Corbyn mean for both British and American politics?
Sounds good? Which American left-winger would you attribute this to? Or maybe it is Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of Britain’s major opposition party, the Labour Party? Well, no: it is George Lansbury, Corbyn’s predecessor as leader from 1931 to 1935. A prominent socialist, Lansbury was a pacifist who resigned rather than support sanctions against Italy after Mussolini invaded Abyssinia/Ethiopia in 1935. Lansbury is quoted in 1939 speaking in the House of Commons in opposition to the outbreak of war with Germany, a war in which gas was indeed used by Germany to massacre “little children” and millions of others, while, albeit on a far smaller scale, Mussolini’s forces had made extensive use of gas attacks during the invasion of Abyssinia. History, indeed, provides one way to consider today Corbyn and the Left in America and...
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