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Lessons for Indian Opposition in Sanders–Corbyn Projects

Despite their electoral defeats, the consolidation of support behind the political projects articulated by Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn underscores the relevance of mass politics with clear ideological moorings. Opposition in India can take cues from these projects for its reconfiguration.

As I write these lines, the new leadership of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom (UK) is in the process of undoing all the remnants of Corbynism (ideas and policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn). Though Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that he is very much there to oppose all policies that he thinks are “anti-people,” but the leadership of his party is systematically discarding his policies and his supporters. In the United States (US), Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign and has endorsed Joe Biden for the presidential candidature of the Democratic Party. It is obvious that hope for the victory of the Labour left (in the UK) and democratic socialism (in the US) has been belied for now. In the recent past, the left-leaning media of both countries has been discussing the disappointments of the supporters of both leaders over their defeat. But this is only one side of the story.

The other side shows that this is not merely a story of almost similar electoral battles in two countries. But there is something in it that has long-term relevance. The larger ideological as well as political impact the story has left behind is already visible, not only in countries of Sanders and Corbyn, but also in many parts of the world. Or we may say that it is not a stand-alone story, but a part of a similar phenomenon that emerged in many parts of the Western democratic world. Wherein many new political forces have emerged, some of them ditched the hopes (like Syriza in Greece), some faded away after little sparkle (Jean-Luc Antoine Pierre Mélenchon in France), some are struggling to remain relevant (like, Unidas Podemos in Spain), and some are relatively more successful (like left parties in Portugal). The emergence of Bernie Sanders and Corbynism happened in the same period and under ­almost the same circumstances. Some common origins could be traced behind the emergence of all these forces.

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Updated On : 29th Jul, 2020

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