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INTERNATIONAL solidarity is “what matters” for victory, Jeremy Corbyn said on Thursday evening while delivering Liberation’s first Fenner Brockway lecture.
Speaking to a packed house at the headquarters of the National Education Union in London, the MP for Islington North made a plea for activists to understand the importance of internationalism.
As well as being one of the founders of Liberation in 1954, then called the Movement for Colonial Freedom, Lord Brockway also helped establish War on Want and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Mr Corbyn described him as “a brilliant organiser and a brilliant writer,” noting that even while held in solitary confinement during World War I, he started a prison newspaper.
Brockway would “write on prison toilet paper about events of the day inside or outside the prison and leave his notes behind the cistern for the next person to read and to add to,” the former Labour leader said.
He supported Indian independence from the British empire, partly because he had been born in Calcutta but also because of his passionate commitment to anti-colonialism.
In 1950, he was elected to Parliament as the Labour MP for Eton and Slough, a seat which he held until being defeated by a Tory candidate in 1964.
He lost by a margin of just 11 votes in an election marked by racist scaremongering about the area’s growing Asian population after World War II.
Unbowed by the ethnic hatred mobilised during the election campaign, “Fenner was in the advanced guard of the anti-racist movement,” Mr Corbyn said.
It was the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya that moved Lord Brockway to help set up the Movement for Colonial Freedom.
Mr Corbyn described how prisoners were “instructed to dig their own graves before being asked whether they would provide the information asked for. If they didn’t, they were shot.”
Closing his lecture, he said: “I recently met young gig workers setting up their own union to face the same employers as in the UK.
“The way we will all win is through solidarity. International solidarity is what matters.”
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