Jeremy Corbyn has announced his new project; Peace and Justice Limited. His new company has been busy gathering supporters personal contact details and selling monthly subscriptions.
This looks awfully like a new political party led by Corbyn ready for his inevitable expulsion from the Labour Party for his attitude to anti-semitism. It also looks a lot like the way the BNP operated under Nick Griffin.
For those who don’t remember Griffin transformed the BNP from a fringe group of cosplay Nazis into a real political force – winning 2 Euro MPs, dozens of Councillors and a seat on the London Assembly. At its worst Barking Council had 12 BNP Elected Members, Burnley had 7.
Key to this transformation was the use of a Belfast based call centre. Griffin controlled the BNP membership list which, although years out of date, contained the contact details of lots of people with extreme views, including the weird bloke who lives round the corner from me. This was the call centre’s customer list. Griffin would make crass and racist statements, and then when threatened with legal action, the call centre would contact the supporters on the list and ask for donations to fight the court case. Once the cash was in Griffin would quietly apologise and the action would be dropped.
It was this flow of cash into the party that helped fund their transformation.
The decline of the BNP was driven by some tough campaigning by Labour MPs such as Margaret Hodge, but also by the leak of the BNP membership list. Control of the list was essential to Griffin’s control over the party, and it’s flow of funds. Once it was freely available the party split into warring factions.
Membership data is a crucial asset, not just for campaigning, but for fund raising and commercialising campaigns.
When Corbyn fought his 2 leadership campaigns a similar data collection exercise took place, with this valuable customer list own by another private company, Momentum Information Ltd. This company is owned by Jon Lansman, who also owns Long Bailey for Labour Ltd, which collected the details of her supporters.
While all of this is going on a separate company has been set up called JBC Defence Ltd, which has crowd funded £360k towards the costs of Corbyn losing the libel battles that his supporters are certain he will win.
I joined some pro Corbyn Facebook groups to look into this, to see if they shared my concerns. They were perfectly happy with this turn of events, and many were enthusiastic about a new Corbyn party no matter how odd it’s financial structure.
I also found that despite the EHRC report too many people who support Corbyn are still sharing crazy conspiracy theories that cross the line into outright anti-semitism. And just like the Trump supporters I found the same mix of loneliness, mysticism and crazy fan art , but with a bit more overt racism.
Corbyn fan art isn’t as psychedelic as Trump fan art. In fact nothing is a weird as Trump fan art, the first unique cultural form of the C21st.
Mostly Corbyn art is the product of well meaning middle class art teachers, who clearly see Jeremy as some kind of saintly old man. I was almost surprised that the lettering wasn’t in Comic Sans.
Corbynism may not be the most pernicious secular gnosticism of our time, but it is the one with the best developed iconography, depicting Jeremy with the pious intensity of Byzantine Saint. Saint Jeremy Pantocrator.