One of the underappreciated dimensions of the Corbyn era was that it forged a novel unity on the British left. This article explores how that unity was achieved, what it meant, and why it was so temporary. After tracing the variety of left ideas and factions that shaped the organizational and institutional dimensions of the Corbyn project, it argues that these were held together by three mechanisms: Corbynism’s annual campaigns, digital structures, and policy platform. These were insufficient to achieve lasting organizational change. In light of this, the article compares two metaphors—the leap and the federation—that have been used to characterize the formation and aims of Corbynism, and suggests that Corbynist unity was temporary precisely because it was achieved by leaps rather than by federation.

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