Springingtiger's Blog


Lumumba’s Ghost

Patrice Lumumba (photo: Spartacus)

I am enjoying BBC Radio 4’s excellent documentary series ‘Cold War: Tales From The Deep Freeze’ which today told of the overthrow of the Congo’s  first democratically elected government. It was feared by western powers and business interests that the Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba would nationalise the lucrative Uranium mines in Katanga Province. No sooner was the Congo independent than a CIA backed military coup overthrew the democratically elected government and murdered the Prime Minister.

As I listened to the treatment of Patrice Lumumba I couldn’t help but reflect upon the treatment being visited upon another man of the people, Jeremy Corbyn.

Before he became Prime Minister Lumumba was twice imprisoned on fabricated charges. Jeremy and his supporters are being subject to dishonest allegations of intimidation and violence which scrutiny of the evidence shows to have little foundation.
Like Lumumba, Jeremy is standing up to hostile anti democratic forces. Whole constituency parties have been suspended even though, as in Wallasey, the allegations against them are demonstrably untrue. However the enemies of Democracy know that the only way to beat Corbyn is dishonestly.
The anti-democratic wing of the party (aka PLP, Blairites, rebels etc.) Have imposed a £25.00 fee on new members and supporters because many of those who want to support Corbyn are among the poor and dispossessed, the low paid, and the unemployed the least likely to be able to afford £25.00. The Blairites want the party controlled by a middle class elite. People with money.

People with money like millionaire businessman Michael Foster who is attempting to use the court system to have the rules for the election of Labour Party Leader overruled by a judge and Owen Smith appointed leader leader unopposed without any election.
Just as businessmen feared Lumumba might nationalise the mines they fear Jeremy Corbyn will interfere in their ability to make unrestricted profits. They know Jeremy is committed to some limited nationalisation, what they fear is his restoring the rights to trades union members taken from them by successive Thatcherite and Blairite government’s.
They also oppose Jeremy’s adherence to fundamental Labour values like the maintenance of a National Health Service free at the point of use, indeed his challenger, Owen Smith supports a level of privatisation ( or as he describes it ‘choice’) in the NHS. Smith was, of course a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and a special advisor to the Blairite minister Paul Murphy a man notoriously opposed to any measure of devolution.

One of Lumumba’s problems was that the Congo’s uranium mines were essential to the production of nuclear weapons and so he incurred the enmity of western arms manufacturers. Jeremy Corbyn has always been an opponent of nuclear weapons, unlike Owen Smith who gave up his membership of CND when it ceased to provide an advantage in Labour Party politics and who voted for Trident renewal, although to give him his due, he did vote against air strikes on Syria.

Fortunately here in Britain we don’t, as a rule, murder politicians with whom we disagree although the threats on Jeremy Corbyn’s life must be a cause for concern. We are a civilised country that is content to subvert and pervert democracy rather than resort to military coup. As for business and the CIA trying to bring down an elected leader, surely it couldn’t happen here?

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