A young rapper has controversially come out in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour for the general election. But in doing so, he has issued a rallying cry for everyone currently sitting on the electoral fence. And speaking exclusively to The Canary, he has explained his reason for this change of heart, and his latest video.
Potent Whisper (aka Georgie Stephanou) has been making waves in the music scene since 2008. He comes from a single-parent, working-class family on a council estate in south-west London. And therefore it’s politics and social issues which shape Whisper’s music.
So, since 2015 Whisper has come into his own. From the grime-heavy anti-gentrification anthem Brixton First featuring Lara Lee from The Voice, to his collection of spoken word Rhyming Guides To… his artistry and ability to twist politics with music and words is fast gaining him a reputation.
The Rhyming Guide To… Voting
And now, Whisper has turned his attention to the general election. But with his latest piece, The Rhyming Guide To Voting he explains why we should back Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. Even if we don’t agree with all the party’s policies:
The Rhyming Guide To Voting is somewhat of a departure from Whisper’s usual political stance. In the past, he has been heavily critical of Labour; most notably regarding its councils and ‘social cleansing’ in London. He explains this in his spoken word piece Estate of War:
A change of heart
So The Canary spoke to Whisper about The Rhyming Guide To Voting. We asked him why he had had a change of heart regarding Labour:
I have spent the past two years doing what I can to defend my community against the violence that Lambeth, a Labour Council, inflicts relentlessly on its residents and those who work in the area. I have fought on estates, in the streets and at council meetings. But I have also witnessed the suffering of friends and neighbours behind closed doors, in their most vulnerable moments.
Whisper said the hardest part of his decision was “telling a friend that I would plan to vote for the Party that is threatening to make her – and thousands of others like her – homeless under the guise of ‘estate regeneration’…”. He said:
Making this decision to vote and campaign for Corbyn, and with him, Labour, has been extremely difficult. And it’s one that I have not taken lightly.
But he is under no illusions about our current political system.
Talking ’bout a revolution
He says we really need a “revolution” in the UK. Because politicians of all colours have left the public feeling “abandoned and betrayed”. But it’s this disillusionment which, Whisper believes, actually drives good people into politics:
Millions have sought change. Their approach has typically been to attempt to use the system, to beat the system. They invest their time and energy into “playing the game”; that is, engaging with mainstream politics, joining a party or attempting to get elected themselves. And they do this in the hope that they may, one day, get into a position of power, to make the change they seek. My view is that this approach is ineffective; at least to the degree that we require. The tragic truth is that the political system in itself seems designed, on all levels, to prevent any real change or true democracy from taking place.
A life dedicated to others?
But he believes Corbyn offers an opportunity to, in simple terms, change the system from within. He says that while Corbyn is not “revolutionary”, his politics are “radical in the current political climate”. And what’s key for Whisper is that the Labour leader’s words have “always been accompanied by action”:
Despite the criticisms that I do have of the man, the fact remains that he has dedicated his life to bettering the lives of those in his community. And has knowingly risked his own personal liberty in the process. I do not believe that we have ever had a British politician with such progressive views, who has been this close to getting into power. I am not sure we ever will.
These beliefs underpin Whisper’s argument. He says that if we all try to get Corbyn elected, and for whatever reason he fails, then surely we at least would know that the system is broken. And trying to change it from within will never work. He explained to The Canary:
It would not matter how Corbyn would fail; whether he loses the election outright or whether he wins and is then overthrown by New Labour MPs. It would not matter that ‘the media was biased’; that ‘May didn’t give him enough notice before the election’ or that ‘the whole establishment was against him’. If he were to fail, we would know then that this system and all of its arms does not and can never work for ordinary people. If I’m honest, that thought quite excites me.
What if Labour fails?
And what if Labour do suffer a crushing defeat on 8 June? What if the Corbyn ‘experiment’ is declared null and void? Whisper is hopeful:
Perhaps if Corbyn were to fail, it may not be the end of the left, but the regeneration of real effective resistance. It could bring new possibilities and spark the left’s interest in exploring new, more effective approaches to change, or indeed old ones that had simply just been neglected previously. Maybe then I would be able to move forward with the certain knowledge that I am acting as effectively and efficiently as possible, based on what I would then know does not work. The current system.
And Whisper is clear in his resolve to vote Labour. He sums up his decision by saying:
Corbyn is the best chance at change that we have, and will have, within this system. I’m voting for Labour because I want to know whether he can and will achieve his promises; to get some closure; to find out whether this system could have ever worked, or whether everyone has been betting on a horse that was never even born. My approach to this is quite simple. I will do everything I can to help Corbyn get into power. If he wins and is successful in bringing the change he speaks of, then we will all be one big step closer to achieving a society that works for everyone.
But of course we still won’t be there yet, and I will remain active. If on the other hand he loses, or if he wins but fails to implement his proposed policies for any reason, then I will, again, continue to remain active. Either way, the power is always with me. Nobody represents me. I have no masters, just a vote, a bit of hope and a chance to get some fucking closure.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
Featured image via The Canary
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