This is the fourth in a series of blogs examining the hard left groups that are supporting or influencing Corbyn and working to take the Labour Party to the left. It is too easy to relax and enjoy the prospect of a permanent Conservative government while Corbyn leads the Labour Party but we need to understand the resurgence of a hard left political class, to recognise some of their movers and shakers and to be aware of their tactics in grasping for power at any price.
Hugo Chavez was President of Venezuela from 1997 to 2013. He took over a country rich in oil revenues with a policy of spend, spend, spend on nationalisations, “participatory democracy” and expensive social programmes which left the country close to bankruptcy by the time he died. The country saw an increase in poverty, inflation and food shortages that seem to be the inevitable result of hard core socialist policies. Corbyn seems to have been a great admirer of Chavez and of his successor, Nicolas Maduro who has recently been defeated at the polls as his country grapples with financial ruin. and the failure of socialism.
Ted Honderich may not be known to many outside the ranks of the hard left. He is the University College London’s Grote professor emeritus philosophy of mind and logic. He has apparently condoned Palestinian acts of terrorism by saying “Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within historic Palestine against neo-Zionism. Terrorism, as in this case, can as exactly be self-defence, a freedom struggle, martyrdom, the conclusion of an argument based on true humanity.” Corbyn apparently accepted £5,000 from this academic who believes that Palestinians have a moral right to commit acts of terror. According to Guido Fawkes, Corbyn accepted the donation from Professor Ted Honderich, towards his campaign for leadership of the Labour party in September.
The Daily Telegraph (10 October 2015) reports that, for seven years running and while the IRA “armed struggle” was at its height, Corbyn attended and spoke at official republican commemorations to honour dead IRA terrorists, IRA “prisoners of war” and the active “soldiers of the IRA.” The official programme for the 1988 event, held one week after the IRA murdered three British servicemen in the Netherlands, states that “force of arms is the only method capable of bringing about a free and united Socialist Ireland.” Mr Corbyn used the event to attack the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the precursor of the peace process. The editorial board of a hard-Left magazine, of which Mr Corbyn was a member, wrote an article praising the Brighton bombing. In its article on the IRA attack which came close to wiping out Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet, the editorial board of London Labour Briefing said the atrocity showed that “the British only sit up and take notice when they are bombed into it.” According to an authoritative parliamentary reference work, Mr Corbyn was general secretary of the editorial board and wrote the front-page story in the same issue of London Labour Briefing.