Corbyn’s own words about ‘incredibly rich’ people blow absurd Tory smears into orbit

Jeremy Corbyn at CBI
Ed Sykes

Boris Johnson kicked off his election campaign with an absurd attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s moderate approach to increasing taxes on the richest people in society. Specifically, he compared it to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s murderous persecution of the kulaks.

Corbyn’s own words, however, expose this attack for the utterly ridiculous smear it is.

Tory logic: ‘when you’re losing the argument, resort to fearmongering smears’

Since Corbyn became Labour leader, hard-right media outlets have sought to stick images of Stalinist terror in the heads of anyone thinking about criticising capitalism. Corbyn aide Seumas Milne in particular has faced questionable attacks on this front. Johnson’s mention of the kulaks, however, took this a step further.

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.




Despite the Soviet Union’s key role in defeating Nazi terror in the Second World War, numerous left-wing sources have condemned Stalin for his “bloody rule” and use of state terror to consolidate power. And the treatment of the kulaks is particularly damning. The term kulak originally referred to newly-wealthy farmers who emerged from the Russian peasantry in the early 20th century. After the Russian revolution, however, some in power viewed these richer farmers as enemies of progress. And Joseph Stalin ordered a campaign in 1929 to “liquidate” them. The resulting period of repression, disease and mass starvation is estimated to have led to the deaths of anything between 500,000 and five million people, and the deportations of millions more.

Johnson claimed that Labour today targets billionaires “with a relish and a vindictiveness not seen since Stalin persecuted the kulaks”.

Labour’s response

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has made it clear that “in terms of income tax, we’ve said very clearly the top 5% will pay a bit more, 95% of the earners will be protected”. And Corbyn has responded to Johnson’s smear by tweeting: “The nonsense the super-rich will come out with to avoid paying a bit more tax…”

Marxist‘ is another term thrown at Corbyn and his allies. But even if they did agree with the theories of major thinker Karl Marx, that is not the same as proclaiming undying love for Stalin. In fact, Marx has received praise in numerous corporate media outlets, such as the New York TimesRolling Stone, the Independent, and the Financial Times.

Corbyn’s own words

As the Tories doubled down on their Stalin smear, one video of Corbyn started circulating on the internet again. And his own words blow absurd Tory smears right into orbit:

Talking about businesses making money, Corbyn said:

I don’t have a problem at all with that. Quite the opposite.

But he continued:

If they do become incredibly rich, then I invite them to be happy with their wealth but also to share it a bit by paying their taxes as appropriately so that our public services are there for them – just as much as they’re there for everybody else – so that we don’t have this horribly divided society.

So Corbyn isn’t about to start a wave of Stalinist repression. He’s simply asking the country’s wealthiest people, politely, to pay the appropriate amount of tax so that British society as a whole is happier and healthier.

In fact, if anything is ‘Stalinist’, it’s Tory fearmongering about Corbyn and his moderate proposals:

Ignore the smears

No matter what Johnson and his hard-right buddies tell you, Jeremy Corbyn and his party are not violent extremists. Corbyn has won numerous peace prizes, and he simply wants to make Britain a better and fairer place to live. And his own words about wealthy people make that abundantly clear.

Featured image via screenshot

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support
  • Show Comments
    1. Johnson forgets his own party’s vile attacks on the poorest in society and the money they’ve taken from them. I was originally awarded a lifetime minimal PIP award for an arm injury because it’s not strong enough to a lot of things with, but a year ago they got one of their ATOS quacks to declare it’s no longer crippled, and that cost me about £1100 a year not including a Christmas tenner and cold weather payments. A 20% cut in income, just like that.

      If Jeremy was talking about snatching 20% off the rich they still wouldn’t struggle and go without like we do.

    2. Johnson is nowhere near being a billionaire. Doubtless he is very well off by most people’s standards and perhaps shall improve his position somewhat, along with that of his chums, if he succeeds placing the UK irrevocably into USA style neo-liberalism.

      The gap between the Johnson’s of this world, and indeed ’employee’ CEOs (not entrepreneurs themselves), and the super-wealthy is not bridgeable (except perhaps through marriage, insurrection, and mega-illegality that would make even a Mexican drugs baron’s eyes water). Even ‘Killer Blair’, a more astute figure than Johnson, is unlikely to amass more than many tens of millions rather than hundreds of millions from his dealings with the planet’s most odious individuals.

      People not already near the billionaire bracket fool themselves by believing they and their families shall prosper long term under a continuing neo-liberal socio/economic regimen. They may be flattered by attention received from the super-wealthy and falsely come to believe they are valued as individuals rather than being merely somebody else’s means to an end.

      The wealth gap continues to widen even for people at the higher end of being very comfortable indeed. They are relegated to the proletariat but won’t be aware of it until the gap becomes set in stone and defines a new, crudely mannered, aristocracy. The billionaire class, this largely being mutually supportive or at least having a common aim, is throughout the world near the point of acretting actual power rather than just the influence currently gifted to them by fools and knaves. At that point Johnson, Rees-Mogg, the twerp Gavin Williamson, and others riding on the coat-tails of neo-liberalism face a shock: not immediate ruin, that could take a couple of generations, but arising from perception of irrelevance to their masters.

      The only hope for any of us, including Johnson, is through recognition of the implosion of market-capitalism now leading to a few concentrations of wealth along with its concomitant opportunities. Rebooting market-capitalism requires complete reversal of changes since the 1980s, disaggregation of conglomerates, eradication of rentier economics (physical property and so-called ‘intellectual property’, and enforcement of taxation, along with dissipating huge concentrations of wealth; the last not through envy but as necessity in releasing capital for fresh entrepreneurial activities.

    3. Thanks for the story about the Kulak’s persecution by Stalin for their refusal to obey. This ideological cleasning murdered just as many people in Georgia as what Hitler did to the Jews.
      It’s easy to see Boris Johnson’s neoliberalism isn’t far off in it’s desire to cleanse using fake smear campaigns.
      It isn’t dissimilar to what these meglomanics from our haunted past were up to in
      painting a terrible picture , and create an untruthful enemy to further ones domination of the political theatre.
      It’s a shame the mainstream is so shallow a place, and play us to be their fools
      The Jewish people who keep an accurate memory of these events will understand perfectly what is going on here with the smear campaigns.
      I’ve noticed humanity has achieved amazing progress in being social yet any politicalization of this is too freaky for these meglomanic rulers.
      They want all the benefits of our sociality bar none.

    4. A month out from a GE, this is now the acid test for Corbyn. We are on the cusp of 5 years of morally bankrupt extreme right politics which will be catastrophic for the vulnerable parts of society Corbyn and his followers aspires to speak for.

      Johnson has suffered failure and defeat after defeat in his short destructive tenure. It should be an open goal for a Labour opposition to provide the electorate with a credible alternative left wing progessive government. This is your moment Jeremy and your followers , do not let the vulnerable down by leaving a legacy of 5 years of Johnson and Mogg inflicted on us.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.