Tendance Coatesy

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Respect Mark ll Emerging ? Left Unity and Ian Donovan Unite to Back Rabina Khan.

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 Respect Mark ll ?

Following Left Unity extraordinary decision to unconditionally back Rabina Khan in the election to replace convicted frauster Lutfur Rahman as Tower Hamlets Mayor, Ian Donovan says, “Left Unity are to be congratulated on this brave and principled political stance.” He noted that this comes as a response to the “to a racist coup against the elected Mayor and council of Tower Hamlets, led by the Tory/Zionist minister Eric Pickles.

Ian Donovan was expelled from the Weekly Worker group after, “espousal of views that can only be described as anti-Semitic: in his opinion, there is a Jewish “pan-national bourgeoisie”, which has constituted itself as ruling class “vanguard” in key imperialist countries, and it is this that accounts for US support for Israel. ”

Socialist Worker reports today on the immediate background

Mass rally in Tower Hamlets backs Lutfur Rahman, by Annette Mackin.

TUSC and Left Unity parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green & Bow with Lutfur Rahman at the meeting

TUSC and Left Unity parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow Glyn Robbins with Lutfur Rahman at the meeting (Pic: Kelvin Williams)

Over 1,000 people came to a Defend Democracy in Tower Hamlets meeting in east London on Thursday of last week.

It was called after Lutfur Rahman was removed as mayor of Tower Hamlets after an islamophobic witch hunt.

Councillor Alibor Choudhury was also found guilty of “corrupt practices”.

Commissioners have been sent in to run the local authority until a new mayor is elected on 11 June.

Rahman announced that councillor Rabina Khan will stand as an Independent. He said, “The establishment could not win at the ballot box—37,000 residents’ votes have been overturned.”

Other speakers included Salma Yaqoob, Lindsey German from the Stop the War coalition, local trade unionist John McLoughlin, Weyman Bennett, and Andrew Murray from the Unite union.

Socialist Worker has given up bothering to contest in any rational way whether the decisions of the electoral court were based on fact.

It’s all “Islamophobia”.

No doubt all that will cease once the SWP runs voting, supervises the ballot boxes, and local government,  on the template they have set for internal party judgements in, say, the ‘Comrade Delta’ case.

East London Lines has its own take on events,

At a public event last Thursday titled “Defend Democracy in Tower Hamlets”, ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman introduced Khan as his Tower Hamlets First party’s new candidate for the position he had formerly held, until he was found guilty on April 23 of “corrupt and illegal practices” and removed from office.

This resulted in some confusion over which party Khan would represent, as Tower Hamlets First was delisted from the register of political parties last Wednesday – the day before the event.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said the party was delisted because the financial scheme it submitted at the time of registration was not being properly implemented.

However, some residents are sceptical about how independent a candidate Khan will be.

Writing on his website Love Wapping, Mark Baynes referred to Khan as a “puppet” of Tower Hamlets First, saying: “All the bloc votes that were previously used for the benefit of the ex-Mayor are directed towards the new ‘front person’”.

In his judgment in Rahman’s case, Electoral Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC wrote: “The selection of candidates was made by Mr Rahman personally on the basis of the prospective candidate’s commitment to Mr Rahman personally.”

At the event on Thursday, Khan stated that she originally became a councillor because Rahman “gave [her] the confidence and the faith that [she] could do it as a woman.”

Some residents believe electoral fraud has been a recurrent issue for Tower Hamlets.

Stephen Jones, 22, a research assistant from the area, said: “Tower Hamlets has always had problems with vote-rigging, whichever party the MP or mayor represents.”

However, Tower Hamlets resident Peter Perren, a business consultant, said: “If every infraction of [Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act] PPERA was acted on, there’d be no political parties in the UK.”

In a statement on her website, Khan pledged to fight for a style of politics that puts “women, families and ordinary people at the heart of policy and decision-making.”

New political party Left Unity have pledged their support for Khan. In a statement on their website, they said: “She is standing… at a time when the council is being taken over by Tory government agencies [who are] whipping up Islamophobic scare stories.”

Left Unity have called upon those on the political left to support Khan’s campaign.

Mitch Winehouse, father of late singer Amy, has also endorsed Khan’s run for mayor. A Twitter user called @LutfurForMayor tweeted a picture of Winehouse and Khan together today.

Ian Donovan’s views in Winehouse’s ethnic background are, so far unavailable.

Update: Is Tower Hamlets really an Establishment conspiracy?

Sacha Ismail makes, amongst others, this important point,

Rahman’s left supporters are very bothered about the law preventing “undue spiritual influence” in elections. Counterfire claims that this law was “introduced by the British in Ireland to stop Catholic preachers rallying the Irish! One doesn’t need much imagination to see how this legal relic will be used against Muslims.” In fact, it was introduced by Gladstone, as he was becoming a supporter of Irish Home Rule, and as part of a package of measures which also, for instance, outlawed bribery and checked employers’ ability to coerce their workers to vote a certain way.

Despite the oppressiveness of British rule in Ireland, the law was not used to repress Irish nationalists; cases were brought by more radical and anti-sectarian nationalists against less radical and more sectarian ones (by a Parnellite against an anti-Parnellite nationalist in the Co. Meath case referred to Mawrey). The Catholic Church in Ireland was not an anti-imperialist force! It waged war against the most radical and left-wing nationalists.

And here we come to the fundamental problem with the whole approach of the left. The fact that an organisation has its base in an oppressed community does not necessarily make it progressive. Counterfire (and not only Counterfire) make arguments that tend towards assuming Catholic = anti-imperialist. In the same way, they assume Muslim = anti-imperialist or in this case really left-wing. CF’s John Rees argues that Rahman has been prosecuted “not for what he has done wrong [making cuts], but for what he has done right”. The Socialist Party also implies that all would be well with Tower Hamlets council if only it fought cuts.


33 Responses

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  1. Ian Donovan’s Theses’ are not anti semitic.


    May 6, 2015 at 12:07 pm

  2. Yes they are, and you obviously feel comfortable with them as well.

    Which leads me to conclude…..

    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2015 at 12:12 pm

  3. to conclude wrongly from false premises.

    The may be a pan national Jewish bourgeoisie. this is either true or false.
    it seems to me to be true. in what way is it false?
    i’ve not come across any refutation, but merely calls of ‘anti semitism’.

    refute Ian Donovan’s theses, not my comments.


    May 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

  4. “Let me briefly summarise his argument by quoting from his Draft theses on the Jews and modern imperialism.1 According to him, “Of all the advanced capitalist/imperialist countries today, Israel is second only to the United States in the threat it poses to the future of humanity.” But the huge ruling class support Israel receives in the west has “a material basis”, over and above imperialism’s own interests. It is “explained by one salient fact: Jewish overrepresentation in the US and other ruling classes”. For example, in the US, “informed Jewish sources” claim that “between 40% and 48%” of billionaires are Jews.

    In my opinion, such ‘statistics’ say far more about the person quoting them than the people they claim to study. Even if we accept that those figures are accurate (a big ‘if’), then why would anyone consider them to be pertinent? The implication is that ruling class Jews are overwhelmingly driven by Zionism, whereas, of course, in reality there are many non-Zionists and even anti-Zionists among them.

    But what counts for Donovan is their common Jewishness. For him, “The Jews are not a nation, but they have a pan-national bourgeoisie …” In other words, they “constitute a semi-nation … under the hegemony of their own bourgeoisie”. This means that “There is a common ethnocentric project between the ruling class of Israel and the various hegemonic pro-Israel bourgeois Jewish organisations in a number of imperialist countries, centrally the United States.”

    So this “semi-nation” has some kind of ethnic commonality – Jews in Britain are apparently ethnically, or at least ‘semi-nationally’, related to Romanian or Ethiopian Jews. And this commonality – at least within the ruling class – drives Jews (or at any rate the overwhelming majority of them, presumably) to enthusiastically embrace Zionism. In fact such Jews are so influential that this “bourgeois current … plays the role of a kind of ‘vanguard of the bourgeoisie’ … Hence the ‘traditional’ imperialist bourgeoisie … to a considerable degree defers and follows the leadership of the Jewish/Zionist bourgeoisie.”

    Interestingly, Donovan notes that communist organisations, not least the Bolsheviks, have often featured a high proportion of Jews amongst their leaders, yet he draws no parallel anti-Semitic conclusions about the significance of this (the Nazis were more consistent in this regard, it has to be said).

    His amendment went so far as to “reject a separate category of ‘anti-Semitism’, distinct from and wider-cast than actual racism against other peoples”. For Donovan, “The term ‘anti-Semitism’ is unscientific (Arabs are Semites too).” And now that term has been taken over by the class enemy: “It has … undergone ‘definition-creep’ by Zionists and their apologists. Its current meaning condemns prejudice against all Jews, but also meaningful criticism, discussion and analysis, even by other Jews, of oppressive Jewish behaviour against others.” No, Ian, such criticism is what some Zionists would like to dub anti-Semitic, but to claim that this new “definition” has been generally accepted is just plain nonsense.

    Since we should “equally oppose racism against Jews, Arabs, blacks, Irish and all peoples,” continued the amendment, “The privileging [sic] of so-called anti-Semitism … is a violation of the principle of the equality of peoples and thereby a form of racism, and is also incompatible with communism.” So there you have it: to employ the term ‘anti-Semitism’ is to ‘privilege’ “racism against Jews” – you might just as well say that the use of the term ‘Islamophobia’ does the same in relation to Muslims.

    It is true, however, that, as his amendment stated, “criticism of the Jewish bourgeoisie for operating across national lines in oppressing Palestinians is equated with the Protocols of Zion”. That is because there is a genuine similarity in such “criticism” with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For both the Protocols and now Ian Donovan, it seems, everything can be blamed on the Jewish “vanguard of the bourgeoisie”, not on the system of capital itself.”


    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2015 at 12:30 pm

  5. If even the CPGB were sufficiently embarrassed by Donovan’s self-evident antisemitism to boot him out, why are any of the rest of us wasting valuable time discussing this rather pathetic (and mentally ill) individual?

    Jim Denham

    May 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm

  6. Where is the defence by any of these people backing Khan for Naz Shah? Nowhere.

    They aren’t interested in ‘defending Muslims’, just their pet Muslims. *That* is racism.

    Paul Canning

    May 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

  7. Trouble in paradise?

    5Pillarz is promoting an alternative Mayoral candidate http://5pillarsuk.com/2015/05/04/is-rabina-khan-the-best-mayoral-candidate-to-sort-out-tower-hamlets/

    This guy >> http://hurryupharry.org/2014/05/02/is-ajmal-masroor-an-extremist/

    Elsewhere, comment is made that Rabina Khan isn’t too keen on IFE.

    Paul Canning

    May 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm

  8. In his favour Donovan did some great albums in his heyday.

    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2015 at 3:53 pm

  9. Paul, we hope that supporters of Donovan – apparently a growing band on these comments boxes (already doubling in size, from 1 to 2) – go along to the suggested (Five Pillars) ‘Open Primary’.

    My own suspicion – helped by the news that Tower Hamlets First has lost its right to its name – is that there will be (yet another) ‘new party’ that will be launched for these Mayor elections.

    Kate Hudson, Socialist Action, possibly Socialist Resistance (we would welcome clarification on this point Liam), and Galloway’s remaining Little London Helpers look like candidates for those who would participate alongside Rahman’s own machine.

    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm

  10. http://www.politico.eu/article/galloway-bradford-elections-uk-ge2015/

    “A burly Asian man in a black suit and sunglasses rushes up and grabs me round the neck, pinning me to low perimeter wall. “Get out, you fucking Jew,” he shouts. I am being throttled as around ten Asian men surround me. My teeth chatter as a man in a tracksuit punches me in the head.

    “Delete, delete,” they shout at me, “delete the photos.”

    An older man in a shiny crooner’s suit is shouting. “Let’s call the police. Let’s get him arrested.”

    I fumble to delete the pictures and repeat over and over:

    “You’re frightening me. Please let me go.”

    The older man gestures for me to be released.

    I look back at the Respect officials: but they look away.

    I immediately drive out of Gallowayland.”

    Excuses in 5, 4, 3 …

    Paul Canning

    May 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

  11. Kate Hudson wrote an article in Feb in “International Viewpoint”.


    This may indicate a preference for working with SocRes than SocAct. The latter, I think, are still deep in the Labour Party. Aaron Kiely (NUS and SocAct) is/was a Labour Councillor in Thurrock.

    john r

    May 6, 2015 at 4:30 pm

  12. Judah’s evidence is with police.


    Note this

    Note Galloway’s immediate response of “provocation”.

    Paul Canning

    May 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

  13. Jim Denham calls Ian Donovan mentally ill, yet he’s a flaming zionist.

    If Muslims bloc vote, then so do others, including Sikhs, Hindus and Jews.
    Statistics cannot be wished away just because you dont like them, any more than with the case of asian grooming gangs.

    Ian Donovan is right! Ian Donovan is not an anti semite, he’s only pointing the out obvious fact that jewish politicians in the US and UK overwhelmingly support Israel. Is it a coincidence they are Jewish? Maybe.

    there are Jewish anti zionists too. but AIPAC, LFI, CFI etc give credence to Donovan’s theses.

    Amy Winehouse is ok in my book. She even sang Galloway’s theme song.


    May 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

  14. There are reports, based on fine analysis of the Judgement and material that came out about this, that Socialist Action have a “player” called SM involved with Rahman’s lot who’s a long lost IMG member.

    I note that in the Hudson article in International Viewpoint there is this,

    “In the context of the current general election campaigning—towards elections in May 2015—we are engaged in discussions with a range of other parties and organizations too, including Respect, TUSC, and the National Health Action Party. Our main intention is to avoid standing against other anti-austerity candidates and to have a good range of left candidates across the country.”

    I also note this (from El Pais today),

    Podemos olvida sus medidas más radicales en un programa difuso


    Podemos drops most radical ideas in program focusing on “citizen rescue
    Leader Pablo Iglesias promises to help people and small businesses deal with their debt.”


    There was also the recent resignation of the well known PODEMOS figure Juan Carlos Monedero, protesting against its “rightward direction”

    Hudson claims to follow every European left development (an ‘ambitious’ task we would say, unless she really speaks about a dozen languages at least) but she does follow what’s happening in Spain.

    It is not good news for a ‘left’ project but an indication of a shift that she and her allies may be pondering.

    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

  15. Extremely unpleasant, , ““Get out, you fucking Jew.”

    So that’s what the Galloway lot say given half the chance.

    Given what’s happening in Iraq and Syria this is racism with a genocidal edge.

    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm

  16. Andrew, it is worth also noting that TH council has new security procedures in place for tomorrow’s election, and one would assume the June one also. These include:

    “Obstruction-free, marked access to polling stations to prevent groups of people congregating and accosting voters.”

    Meanwhile Glyn Robbins is complaining about the count happening in the Excel Centre. This after the farce last time.

    Certain parts of the left have a issue with the tolerance of thuggery.

    Paul Canning

    May 6, 2015 at 5:36 pm

  17. Certain sections of the left (Not unrelated to above lot) see a Coup threatening:

    Counterfire joins calls to confront ‘Tory coup’ on the streets

    May 6, 2015


    We are moblising resistance in Ipswich as I speak!

    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2015 at 5:42 pm

  18. If that article by Ben Judah is true, it is unpleasant. Unless he went there to provoke a response. I dont know about it, but I would doubt many things that Paul Canning presents as he has a problem with Galloway.


    May 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm

  19. ‘Certain parts of the left have a issue with the tolerance of thuggery.’ Paul

    so do certain parts of every political tendency. the UAF and antifa could be seen as thugs by some. furthermore, it was the extremist JDL/associates that beat up Galloway. I’ve seen no apology from any part of the Jewish community for this act of thuggery and violence.

    certain parts of the Muslims have an issue with the tolerance of buggery.


    May 6, 2015 at 6:21 pm

  20. “certain parts of the Muslims have an issue with the tolerance of buggery.”

    You aving a laugh?

    ‘Provocation’ seems to be the line handed down by the great orator, with an Iman and local Respect politician taking the high road, by dramatic contrast. Having read Judah’s journalism for a long while he seems equally adept at ‘provoking’ Russian oligarchs, Tories and Labour politicians. In other words, he’s a great journalist. The Bradford story is one in a series written with an American audience in mind for the new Politico Europe. Compare this story to the other ones.

    Interesting that Jews should condemn the Galloway assault yet if others say ‘Muslims must condemn …’ that is Islamophobia. And – of course – plenty of Jews you managed to miss did (plus Louise Mensch).

    Paul Canning

    May 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm

  21. well, bugger me.


    May 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm

  22. I’d be very interested to read a reasoned refutation of this: http://www.workersliberty.org/node/25072

    Jim Denham

    May 6, 2015 at 10:07 pm

  23. And now, with the proposition that Ben Judah’s visit to Bradford was a provocation, the Tendance village idiot has completed full circle. Drinks all round.

  24. Jim D – I’m sure the weakly worker will oblige. They’ve already reasonably refuted all of the AWL’s main positions, this one shouldn’t be too difficult for them. Most political activists don’t have too much time to deal with cultish oddball political sects such as AWoL.

    Ian Donovan, on the other hand, has made an original and insightful thesis, which should be widely discussed. I personally think there is not only a pan national Jewish bourgeoisie, but also a pan national gay bourgeoisie, that also influences British and American foreign policy from behind.

    How else to make sense of the dastardly hounding of Robert Mugabe by the ever annoying Peter Tatchell?
    Why else would a Tory government legalise gay marriage when it wasn’t in their manifesto?
    Serious questions.


    May 6, 2015 at 11:32 pm

  25. “From behind” confirms the “thought experiment” troll status here, I think.


    May 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm

  26. Reading the above, it appears that Donovan is an adherent of ‘racial theory’ which would put him in bed with some very charming people. It also indicated a profound ignorance of the origins of the term antisemitism — there is no such thing as ‘semitism’. Antisemistism is a term invented sui generis by racists to put a ‘scientific’ gloss on Judenhass back in the days when imperiaism, racism and genocide were justified by pseudo-scientific bullshit.

  27. @Mike is like a cross between Philomena Cunk, Alex Jones. Dave Spart and Randy Boehning.

    Got to be a sitcom in here somewhere …

    Paul Canning

    May 7, 2015 at 12:26 am

  28. Apparently Mugabe is a hero for ‘anti imperialism’ because Tatchell. Would Counterfire agree? You betcha!

    Apparently Bob thinks 1m Zims are in SA because of the “big shops”. > http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_bobs-shock-reason-for-zim-exodus-to-sa/

    Apparently this is all Tatchell’s fault though they’re having a hard time pinning it on the Zionists. I say ‘they’, I really mean ‘western idiots who’ve never listened to or even read a Zimbabwean in their life’.

    Paul Canning

    May 7, 2015 at 1:12 am

  29. No, but I do think that British and US sanctions and attempts to hijack Zimbabwe have hurt the economy. Tatchell seems to like getting beat up. Whatever turns you on man. He provokes people to attack him and make him an issue.


    May 7, 2015 at 2:07 am

  30. “Mike” inadvertently outed himself some time ago as the poster who used the fake name “kimchee”.

    Which confirms to me that it’s an act.


    May 7, 2015 at 3:51 am

  31. @ Paul – don’t be dissing the Cunk

    We need the Cunk/ Gotta have the Cunk

  32. “I personally think there is not only a pan national Jewish bourgeoisie, but also a pan national gay bourgeoisie, that also influences British and American foreign policy from behind.” – mike

    We know where you live mike.

    john r

    May 7, 2015 at 9:12 am

  33. Mike is now on a blacklist of his very own.

    Andrew Coates

    May 7, 2015 at 11:15 am

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