ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Committed Democratic Socialist

Tony Benn (1925-2014)

For departed Labour Party leader Tony Benn, a liveable society could only be one which transcends capitalism and institutionalises a much more radical popular democracy in all aspects of life. He charted his own path based on this belief but was isolated by a Labour Party that was taken over by the right wing and still remains so to this day. Benn's passing away is also symbolic of the state of the democratic left in Great Britain today.

No British politician who has also served in government was ever subjected to as much hostility and calumny from the Conservative Party (the Tories), from the mainstream media, or even from senior colleagues in his own Labour Party (LP) as was Anthony Wedgwood Benn during the period stretching from the late 1970s to the end of the 1980s in Great Britain. Yet on his passing, tributes flowed from across the political spectrum and from the very media sources that had once loved to hate him. Is this to be completely dismissed as mealy-mouthed hypocrisy? Or as paternalistic condescension from dominant elites – the “British Establishment” – who no longer had to fear him as they once most definitely did? Certainly, there is a large measure of these attitudes but there was also a widespread recognition that a truly distinctive political figure had finally departed. If one phrase accurately captures the man and how he was perceived beyond all political disagreements, it is that Tony Benn was a man of remarkable moral-political integrity!

Political Influences

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