Jeremy Corbyn unveils digital manifesto… with help from top ‘cybernatic communist’
Left wing academic Richard Barbrook was tapped up by Team Corbyn to advise on digital plans.
Radical plans to democratise the internet were today set out by Jeremy Corbyn – and an academic who runs a group preparing for "the cybernetic communist revolution".
The Labour leader has said that if he gets re-elected then the party will use digital technology to fight “the most visible general election campaign ever”. Corbyn’s team is said to be especially keen to adopt techniques inspired by Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the US.
At the same time, Corbyn's new digital democracy manifesto sets out “how Labour would democratise the internet in order to rebuild and transform Britain”. Among the key proposals are high speed broadband for everyone, an online ‘knowledge library’, digital citizen passports and a digital bill of rights.
At today’s launch event, Corbyn praised the Sanders campaign, saying: "The presidential platform which Hillary Clinton is fighting the election will be radically different compared to what it would have been had she not faced the challenge of Bernie Sanders."
He added: “I have had long discussions with many people in Bernie Sanders’ campaign, and very interesting they are too, because of the way they have opened up the eyes of a whole generation who don’t see the descendents of the neo-con agenda of rolling back the state as the way forward."
And the Labour leader said he had an “open mind” about nationalising the broadband network in the UK.
Also speaking at the launch was Richard Barbrook from digital futures thinktank Cybersalon, who said that Corbyn’s team contacted his organisation some weeks ago to ask them to help prepare the digital democracy manifesto.
On Twitter, Barbrook describes himself as a "writer, academic and cyber communist". Of course, he also has a back catalogue of tweets that are unlikely to endear him to some of Labour's more centrist MPs...
Alongside his work at Cybersalon, Barbrook help to run Class Wargames, which describes itself “an avant-garde movement of artists, activists and theoreticians engaged in the production of works of ludic subversion in the bureaucratic society of controlled consumption”.
The group puts on participatory performances of subversive politico-military games and investigates gaming as a metaphor for social relations under repressive neoliberalism.
According to its website, the group also “trains the militants of the cybernetic communist revolution to come”.
Picture by: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images