Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

“Socialist Fight”: Political Confusionism from Ukraine, the Islamic State to the world ‘Jewish-Zionist Bourgeoisie”

with 55 comments

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty reported last year on this strange event.

Fake anti-fascism and fake trade unions

As many as 30 (thirty) people turned up to the most recent mass action staged by the so-called ‘Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine’ (SARU) campaign: a picket of the US embassy in London, backed by the equally misnamed ‘Stop the War Coalition’.

The comrade gave special attention, to a ‘Trotskyist’ speaker at this event:

Pride of place amongst the speakers belongs to Gerry Downing of ‘Socialist Fight’ and his delirious ‘anti-imperialist’ contribution in which he applauded the seizure of Debaltseve by Russian-separatist forces in breach of the recently concluded Minsk peace deal:

“The Ukrainian army suffered a humiliating defeat. That defeat is a defeat not only for American imperialism and its forces but also for Franco-German imperialism. We should salute that victory and be unequivocal about it.

It was a major victory and sets up the struggle for the next phase. And no doubt there will be a next phase.

We reject completely and totally the notion that Russia and China are imperialist countries. We have no dual defeatist position. We are unequivocally for the defeat of Kiev and European imperialism in this conflict.”

Unfortunately but understandably, an Everton fan who had once been to Ukraine to watch a game of football became so intoxicated by the protest’s politics that he used his contribution to launch into a diatribe against “Trots”.

The SARU chairperson gently admonished him, pointing out the difference between good “Trots” (ones who support Russian imperialism) and bad “Trots” (we who can tell the difference between police-state Stalinism and socialism).

The protest finished with the chant: “Obama, McCain! No more weapons for Ukraine.”

Of course, Obama and McCain have not actually provided Ukraine with any weapons. But such a basic factual inaccuracy can readily be excused on the grounds of poetic licence: “Lavrov, Putin!” neither scans nor rhymes with “Ukraine”.

Apart from apologising for Russian imperialism, SARU has also been busy in recent weeks pretending that there are real trade unions in the so-called Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).

This was of interest since Downing is known to many people on the left.

Not for his activism but simply, er, his presence.

And his org, Socialist Fight.

Socialist Fight is a supporter of one of the more exotic imaginary Fourth Internationals – or rather, to give it its full grand title Liaison Committee for the Fourth International.

It  is also known for this stand:

We defend the ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq against the bombing of US imperialism but do not ally with them against the Kurdish defenders of Kobane and Rojava (Western Kurdistan). We support the Kurdish nation’s right to self-determination and to their own nation state, even though they are scattered over four other nations now. The Islamic State is a reactionary utopia and has no legitimate right to self-determination. We do not object if the Kurds take advantage of airstrikes against ISIS to defend their own territory in a process of nation-building but we reject any strategic alliance with US-friendly forces on the ground, like the Free Syrian Army. The Kurds have every right to accept arms from Assad.

Socialist Fight supporter Iain Donovan also has a special political position on the “Jewish “pan-national bourgeoisie.”

Now – 2016 – we have this to confront.

This is the presentation that was given by Ian Donovan to the Socialist Fight public forum on 17th February 2016:

Zionism, the hegemonic Racism of Today.

There has been a major, revolutionary change in the position of Jews in capitalist society. No other ethnic minority has achieved such a tremendous turnaround. They have gone from an often feared and hated group that significant sections of the imperialist bourgeoisie were prepared to see persecuted and oppressed in a manner that in some cases became genocidal, to arevered minority whose bourgeois layers have a great moral authority among the imperialist bourgeoisie, which regard it as a priceless asset and vanguard. So now, instead of scandals about the Royals’ support for Hitler, we get the Royals’ involvement in child abuse scandals with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein and Alan Dershowitz, arch-Zionists.

.. the Jewish body politic became monopolised by the Jewish bourgeois caste in the imperialist countries.

That developing caste had, since the dawning of the age of imperialism in the late 19th century, sought to advance its ‘national’ project, Zionism, mainly by seeking sponsors from parts of the non-Jewish imperialist bourgeoisie. After WWII, after the genocide, it succeeded in establishing its own state, which further helped consolidate the Jewish people on a nationalist, increasingly right-wing trajectory.

It also produced a major shift in the attitude of the non-Jewish bourgeoisie towards that caste. The defeat of the Jewish left meant the destruction of the toehold of anti-Semitic ideology in the consciousness of the non-Jewish bourgeoisie. Over time, it led to the dawning of a very different consciousness, of the Jewish bourgeois caste embodying a culture rooted in commodity economy older and with more experience than the mainstream of the gentile bourgeoisie.

It also, with its broader international outlook, not bound to the traditional nation-state, helps the bourgeoisie generally to see beyond its older, traditionally territorially based chauvinism vis-à-vis each other. Thus as a vanguard layer of the bourgeoisie, its advantages for that class are similar, though in a degraded way, to the attributes that made the Jewish left a key part of the proletarian vanguard in the earlier period.


 So what conclusions do we draw from this about the importance of the Jewish Question, and Zionism, today? It is centrally this: the Palestinian struggle is of world historic import for the working class of the entire world. For without the Zionist project, the Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie, which is a key component of the vanguard of world capital, would have no unifying ethos to hold it together. This may be a vanguard, class conscious formation, but it is fragile. Without the Zionist project as a unifying focus, it would over time dissolve through assimilation into the various imperialist bourgeoisies.

Not everybody agrees with Donovan’s rantings.

This happened in 2014:

No place for anti-Semitism. Weekly Worker. 18.9. 2014.

A Communist Platform member has been shown the door. Peter Manson reports

The September 14 meeting of Left Unity’s Communist Platform saw a parting of the ways with a member of its steering committee, Ian Donovan. This followed comrade Donovan’s 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. Donovan says he intends to write a book laying out this ‘theory’ in detail.

Once this line of thinking had been fully revealed to other members of the steering committee, they urged him to step down from the CP. When he refused, the September 14 members’ meeting was called, which had before it a motion from comrades Jack Conrad and Moshé Machover stating that anti-Semitism is “incompatible with membership of the Communist Platform” (see below).

In response, Donovan put in an ‘amendment’ – of the ‘replace all’ type: it would have transformed the motion into something completely antithetical to the original. He announced that if this amendment was heavily defeated he would leave the platform. Not unexpectedly, his amendment received only one vote and, true to his word, he left the meeting – and the CP.

What are the present other political activities of this lot, we ask, rhetorically……


55 Responses

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  1. Excellent, Andrew, that you’ve drawn attention to these Putin-loving lunatics backed by Stop The War … but the event was actually very nearly one year ago …

    Jim Denham

    March 8, 2016 at 6:00 pm

  2. From twitter and thanks for pointing this out Jim.

    I have modified the text to highlight the main point: Donovan’s speech was made this February.

    Andrew Coates

    March 8, 2016 at 6:06 pm

  3. We would like to make it clear that we stand for political opposition to the Downing crew, not administrative means to exclude him from debate.

    Unlike this:

    Andrew Coates

    March 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm

  4. Ian Donovan is a plonker. There is no point in engaging with his self-important ‘theorising’. He is an irritating, yet trivial, curse on the left. His only virtue is that he smacked a Spartacist in the mouth.

    A pointless wanker.


    March 8, 2016 at 7:33 pm

  5. “We defend the ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq against the bombing of US imperialism”.

    How about condemning the genocide of the Yazadi’s Christians, different types of Muslims, Gays and the enslavement of women.

    What a bunch of complete idiots.

    Howard Fuller

    March 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm

  6. Hmmm – would these “groups” even exist, if there was nobody to perceive them? Perhaps Bishop Berkeley was right.


    March 8, 2016 at 8:27 pm

  7. The anti-fascists these lot + Stop the War Coalition’s leadership cheer on folks >

  8. “Contre l’antisemitisme” it says on that blackboard at the top of the page.

    Would that it were, would that it were.


    March 8, 2016 at 10:21 pm

  9. Ian Donovan told me some time back that he’s writing a book on the topic, using the same approach as Abram Leon. Somehow, I feel that he doesn’t recognise the difference between the social position and role of Jews in late feudal and early capitalist Europe and the social position and role today of some very rich businessmen who happen to be Jewish. Poor Abram Leon, that his name is evoked in such a manner.

    Dr Paul

    March 8, 2016 at 10:29 pm

  10. Donovan is an anti semitic prick.
    This has nothing to do with Putin.
    Putin is a great leader.

    Gerry Downing is just a confused Trot.


    March 8, 2016 at 10:46 pm

  11. The vicious right winger Guido Fawkes launches a vicious attack on Socialist Fight and Tendency Coatsey, that old Trotskyist renegade, joins in the witch hunt and then attempts to cover it up by saying that his readers should unlike the tweet from Guido demanding action from the Labour party.

    And then that appalling Zionist bigot Jim Denham joins in. Comrade Jim is a right wing embarrassment to the AWL, his latest diatribe was to support the Tory Prevent imposition on schools on the basis that it might catch some “terrorists”. FFS. Hitler got a few of them communists and Jews that way too.

    The last time I met Comrade Jim was in the Cock Tavern the day the NSSN split some years ago. I was downstairs, he stumbled down from the meeting upstairs, saw me and yelled “You are the most reactionary …(something inaudible)” and swung a haymaker at me, spraying my face with his outraged splutterings. He missed by a mile and his comrades had to help him stay upright and guide him out the door. That jabbering dipsomaniac doesn’t call his blog Shiraz Socialist for nothing.


    March 8, 2016 at 11:36 pm

  12. Paul Flewers wrote:

    “Ian Donovan told me some time back that he’s writing a book on the topic, using the same approach as Abram Leon. Somehow, I feel that he doesn’t recognise the difference between the social position and role of Jews in late feudal and early capitalist Europe and the social position and role today of some very rich businessmen who happen to be Jewish. Poor Abram Leon, that his name is evoked in such a manner.”

    This sits rather well with the passage quoted above:

    “There has been a major, revolutionary change in the position of Jews in capitalist society. No other ethnic minority has achieved such a tremendous turnaround. They have gone from an often feared and hated group that significant sections of the imperialist bourgeoisie were prepared to see persecuted and oppressed in a manner that in some cases became genocidal, to a revered minority whose bourgeois layers have a great moral authority among the imperialist bourgeoisie, which regard it as a priceless asset and vanguard. So now, instead of scandals about the Royals’ support for Hitler, we get the Royals’ involvement in child abuse scandals with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein and Alan Dershowitz, arch-Zionists.”

    In fact it sits so well that I can only conclude that Paul copied my point and tried to make it his own. Except for one point, and its telling: he writes of “very rich businessmen who happen to be Jewish

    In other words, the fact that they are Jewish is just incidental to the Zionist politics that gained them a similar audience with the Royals that the Nazis used to get. All that shows is that Paul is soft and squeamish about confronting ethnic bigotry when it is specifically Jewish.

    As indeed is the Weekly Worker. It waxes lyrical against those on the left who supposedly fail to analyse the class basis of Islamism and the like, but screams liberal-Stalinist-Shachtmanite Nazi-baiting nonsense when anyone tries to analyse the specific, concrete class basis of Zionist influence in Western societies. Apparently it is our ‘anti-racist’ duty to turn a Nelsonian blind eye and refuse to analyse the class basis of facts such as that 80% of Tory MPs support the Conservative Friends of Israel, or as to how Netanyahu managed to march into the US Senate and turn it into a weapon again a sitting American president.

    (Stalinism and Shacthmanism are not counterposed at all on this, as Shachtman/Draper were on the same side during the Naqba in 1948 – though Stalin provided Ben Gurion with the guns, whereas Shachtman and Draper merely cheered from the distant USA).

    I would add that allegations of anti-Jewish racism against me are legally actionable. You will note the references to the barbarism of the Nazi genocide and anti-semitism in my work, and the harsh condemnation of genuine anti-Jewish racism in terms that are completely orthodox Marxism. I would also note that the Disputes Committee of Left Unity conducted an investigation of Conrad/Machover’s smears and rejected them without even bothering with a full hearing, since there is zero evidence of anti-Jewish racism in any of my writings. I have also forced Blairites who have echoed such smears on twittter to back down when it was pointed out that their remarks were obviously libellous. I am not keen on libel actions within the left, but I would point out that Trostky himself sued Stalinists on more than one occasion – it is not an absolute principle.

    On the contrary it is the Weekly Worker who are soft on violent racism when carried out by Jewish/Zionist bigots, as is shown by their failure to condemn the extremely violent attack on George Galloway by the violent IDF groupie Neil Masterson in August 2014, when they were trying to get rid of me from their sponsored LU platform for being a genuine anti-Zionist and anti-racist. To their slight credit, the AWL did put out a statement condemning it, but reading the statement it appears that the motive was to deflect the likely assumption people would make from their previous polemics that they would have been cheering it to the rafters. Anyway, I’ll bet Jim Denham sank a few pints in celebration.

    This attack on Socialist Fight by you in concert with Guido Fawkes is typical, and shows mainly the political overlap between yourselves and Iain Dale. The common denominator is pro-imperialism and pro-Zionist racism. And old fashioned scabbing.


    March 9, 2016 at 12:25 am

  13. My question to Gerry Downing is this: why have you taken on board into Socialist Fight Ian Donovan, seeing that he’s been expelled from the Communist Faction in Left Unity for promoting views deemed to be anti-Semitic? That Moshé Machover, a recognised authority on the Jewish question, is one of those signing the Communist Faction’s statement gives the statement much validity.

    To take one example of controversy currently concerning Socialist Fight, that of giving critical support to forces fighting against imperialism, even if those forces have reactionary features, such an argument can be construed to be within the general framework of left-wing politics. However, ideas that are predicated upon ideas of ethnically-defined characteristics are not. There is a great difference between Abram Leon’s conception of Jews of late feudal and early capitalist Europe being a people-class with a specific social position within society, and Ian Donovan’s idea of a Jewish international bourgeoisie, as the former was based upon a materialist analysis and the latter draws from the arsenal of classic anti-Semitic ideas.

    I do not agree with the idea that, as imperialism is the main enemy, each and every force opposing imperialism should be supported. Firstly, working-class politics is not a zero-sum game; a defeat for imperialism at the hands of a reactionary non-imperialist force may well not, and frequently doesn’t, benefit the working class or other social forces seeking a progressive solution. Secondly, this concept is a product of the Comintern theory and practice in which the realpolitik of the Soviet state started to impinge upon the policies of the Comintern, and is something that needs to be reconsidered in the light of history.

    That, however, is something that can be debated within the arena of the left, and no doubt will be debated so long as such forces find themselves in opposition to imperialism. What I feel is outwith the arena of the left is the promotion of a schema that is predicated upon ethnically-defined characteristics.

    Ian Donovan is free to develop his ideas if he so wishes. Let him produce the book that he’s threatened to write. I’m sure that it will be easily disproved both methodologically and factually, and that if he wishes to continue with his thesis he’ll have to resort openly to classic anti-Semitic methodology and ideas. One hopes he will draw back somewhere along the line, and make a real reconsideration of where he’s reached. But whatever Ian Donovan may or may not do, I feel that it is quite unacceptable for any left-wing group to associate itself with the kind of views he is promoting on this question, and I feel that any left group that takes him on board, in the knowledge of what he is promoting, is utterly discrediting itself and all its members. His ship will founder; do you really want him to take yours down with him?

    Dr Paul

    March 9, 2016 at 12:46 am

  14. Ian Donovan’s comment appeared before I’d finished and posted my last comment. I am not stating that he has denied the Holocaust or the atrocities that have been committed against Jews over the years. Nor do I accuse him of antipathy towards Jews; I am not stating that he is personally anti-Semitic.

    However, I do think that his methodology that has led to him to consider seriously the idea of a Jewish bourgeois vanguard is one that is predicated upon ethnicity. This he denies: fair enough. However, should his idea of this bourgeois vanguard be refuted empirically, I believe that he would have to reconsider his analysis, as the only alternative would be to resort to openly ethnically-defined concepts.

    I wrote above that I hope that he will reconsider his whole conception should it — as I believe it will — be refuted. Thinking about it again, I hope that he will reconsider his ideas before that point is reached.

    Dr Paul

    March 9, 2016 at 1:16 am

  15. “My question to Gerry Downing is this: why have you taken on board into Socialist Fight Ian Donovan, seeing that he’s been expelled from the Communist Faction in Left Unity for promoting views deemed to be anti-Semitic?”

    My question to Paul Flewers is this: why are you repeating nonsense I was ‘expelled’ from the Communist ‘Faction’ of Left Unity, when even the narrative above says that I resigned from the Communist Platform of Left Unity when they failed to pass an amendment. Note that the amendment that they failed to pass is not reproduced. This is no accident:

    Here it is:

    1. The Oxford Dictionary Online contains the following definitions of racism: “1. The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races; 2. Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”

    Communists regard race as merely a social construct. Yet given that, the above is common to all racism. For us, all peoples are equal and all racism equally to be opposed.

    The term ‘anti-Semitism’ is unscientific (Arabs are semites too) and was coined by racists to describe themselves, but originally signified hatred of all Jews. It has since 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.

    E.g. criticism of the Jewish bourgeoisie for operating across national lines in oppressing Palestinians is equated with the Protocols of Zion, which posited a conspiracy of Jewish capitalists and communists to dominate the world. Bourgeoisies everywhere ‘conspire’ against their enemies, along and frequently across national lines, like “a real Freemasonry vis-a-vis the working class” (Marx). Such equations of analysis of normal capitalist behaviour with racist ‘conspiracy theory’ can only come from centrist agents of the bourgeoisie.

    Communists reject a separate category of ‘anti-semitism’, distinct from and wider-cast than actual racism against other peoples. We consider this a racist concept, giving representatives of one people a weapon against criticisms whose legitimacy no one on the left would question if made against other peoples. It is an ideological weapon against the Palestinians, preventing understanding of, and struggle against, their situation.

    We equally oppose racism against Jews, Arabs, Blacks, Irish, and all peoples, as defined above. All racisms share this definition – hostility to all in the targeted group.

    2. All forms of racism as defined above, including anti-Jewish racism, are incompatible with membership of the Communist Platform. The privileging of so-called anti-semitism, based on an entirely different definition as noted above, is a violation of the principle of the equality of peoples and thereby a form of racism, and is also incompatible with Communism.

    If you vote against that, you are voting against anti-racism and for the inequality of peoples. Which is pretty concrete when it comes Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians.


    (See http://commexplor.com/2015/08/06/left-unity-disputes-committee-exonerates-ian-donovan-of-anti-semitism-smear/)

    Why are you selectively reporting facts that do suit you, and not reporting facts that don’t, Paul?

    Is that because you comfortabe hob-nobbing with the Islamophobic scumbags, racists and even Loyalist bigots who habitually post here and on Shiraz Socialist?

    Paul Flewers also writes:

    “There is a great difference between Abram Leon’s conception of Jews of late feudal and early capitalist Europe being a people-class with a specific social position within society, and Ian Donovan’s idea of a Jewish international bourgeoisie, as the former was based upon a materialist analysis and the latter draws from the arsenal of classic anti-Semitic ideas.”

    Sorry, but that is nonsense. My concept of a pan-imperialist (not ‘international’) Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie is based on a materialist analysis. Even Moshe Machover was forced to admit that it was based on a materialist analysis (see this article http://commexplor.com/2015/06/03/moshe-machovers-foolish-dissembling-about-jewish-question-galloway/)

    Its obvious from Flewers’ meanderings above that he has not even read and studied my stuff on this and what I actually said, as opposed to what that mendacious maneouverer Jack Conrad and the ageing centrist and capitulator to Zionism Machover tried to portray. Well, the Left Unity Disputes committee, a genuinely impartial body, not like the minions of Jack Conrad’s cult-like regime, studied these difference in depth and concluded the allegations were false.

    Pathetic. The prejudice is all yours Paul. This is your port of call, with its nasty Zionist bigots who are all welcome here. This place, and Shiraz is a cesspit. Though occasionally you have to dip into a cesspit to defend yourself against the stench when it spills out.


    March 9, 2016 at 1:19 am

  16. Paul Flewers wrote:

    “However, I do think that his methodology that has led to him to consider seriously the idea of a Jewish bourgeois vanguard is one that is predicated upon ethnicity.”

    It is no more predicated on ‘ethnicity’ than Leon’s original idea of the people class was predicated upon ethnicity. Leon’s people class, incidentally, was also pan-national, it existed in several countries under feudalism. My conception is that the People-Class did not simply disappear without trace when it dissolved into other classes when feudalism dissolved. The fact that this formation had a centuries long accumulation of cultural capital (metaphorical), and to an extent also material capital gave the part of the Jewish population that was absorbed into the bourgeoisie an advantage, and a predisposition to inordinate success. It also bequeathed to them a pre-existing collective consciousness of sorts. Taken together these were the basis of further evolution in material terms.

    We are talking historically constituted formations where either classes, or castes within larger classes, coincide with peoples or parts of peoples. These are unusual phenomena. But so what? They exist. If you want to deny their existence because of your prejudices, then I can only echo Marx .. “facts are stubborn things’.

    To try to ban analysis of the class bases of particular social formations because they don’t suit your liberal-Zionist prejudices is treason against Marxism.


    March 9, 2016 at 1:38 am

  17. Earlier I wrote:

    “The fact that this formation had a centuries long accumulation of cultural capital (metaphorical), and to an extent also material capital gave the part of the Jewish population that was absorbed into the bourgeoisie an advantage, and a predisposition to inordinate success.”

    Just to expound this slightly further, the ‘cultural capital’ being referred to here involved being steeped in activities involving exchange value in a feudal society whose mode of exploitation was based on use value.

    Which is an enormous cultural acquisition and advantage in an emerging capitalist society based on the generalisation of commodity exchange and its extension into the sphere of mass production of commodities through the exploitation of wage labour.

    There is nothing mysterious about this. It is what Marx was addressing in his famous essay ‘On the Jewish Question; Leon was in this sense a completely orthodox Marxist, and I am in turn an orthodox Marxist-Leonist (and a Leninist as well of course).


    March 9, 2016 at 3:16 am

    • What is ‘metaphorical” about your claims about child abuse and Zionism?

      What is metaphorical about describing international “Jewish-Zionism” as a “people-class”.

      Socialist Fight are clearly stark raving mad – I would cite its statement on Charlie Hebdo as “”a right-wing libertarian magazine which promotes racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia. Whatever the origins of these journalists in the leftism 1968 and after since the 2001 9/11 attack they have become ever more the mouthpiece of French imperialism ” -which marked them as enemies of all progressive humanity.


      Now they welcome anti-semites.

      As for the bleating about Guido Fawkes “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.”

      Me, I do not tolerate anti-Semites.

      I wonder why anybody else has to.

      Andrew Coates

      March 9, 2016 at 2:00 pm

  18. I invited Ian Donovan to join Socialist Fight because I studied the dispute he had with Weekly Worker and Jack Comrade and Moshe Macover in particular and concluded the Ian was correct in that and they were wrong and were distorting his views. In fact he was talking a very courageous stance against the liberal Zionism of the soft left in Britain and globally.

    The wider community in Left Unity concluded that these charges of anti semitism were baseless and rejected them out of hand.

    Whilst having differences with Ian on other issues his acquisition has enormously strengthened Socialist Fight and given it a wider political base for intervention in the class struggle.

    The fact that we’re are both attacked equally by that Zionist bigot Jim Denham is only to our political credit. And Coatsey’s collaboration with the notorious pro Zionism and pro imperialism of the worst elements of the AWL reflects very badly on his own political orientation.


    March 9, 2016 at 8:35 am

  19. Reblogged this on Socialist Fight.


    March 9, 2016 at 9:40 am

  20. Coates is not hostile to anti-Jewish racism. If it ever becomes bourgeois flavour of the month again, he will embrace it. The clue to that is his defence of a movement riddled with Hitler worshippers in Ukraine. These Hitler worshippers have Israeli support. So they have Coates’ support also. I will observe that my key political inspiration, Abram Leon, on this issue died in Auschwitz. The inmates of this cesspit of bigots support the kind of people who put him there.

    Howard Fuller is Coates’ and Denham’s future. A fully paid up neoliberal scab and Zionist, and an enemy of Marxism. They belong with him.


    March 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm

  21. Ian Donovan was not expelled from Left Unity.

    Caliphate John Tummon was not expelled from Left Unity, despite this motion of his, “To show solidarity with the people of the Middle East by supporting the end of the structure of the divided nation states imposed
    by the Versailles settlement and their replacement by a Caliphate type polity in which diversity and autonomy are protected and nurtured and the mass of people can effectively control executive authority’.”

    “. Left Unity distances itself specifically from the use of intemperate, inaccurate and moralist language such as ‘terrorism’, ‘evil’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘viciously reactionary’, ‘murderous’, genocidal’, etc in discussion about the Middle East; these terms are deployed by people and forces seeking not to understand or analyse, but to demonise in order to dominate, and they have no place within socialist discourse. ft Unity Resolution.

    “We also distance ourselves from the Eurocentric brand of secularism that believes that the peoples of the Middle East must accept western terms of reference by consigning their religious faith to a separate part of their lives from their political aspirations, if they are to develop progressive societies.”

    Socialist Fight merely “defends” the Islamic Caliphate “against” imperialism,

    Ian Donovan talks of a ” developing caste”, the “Jewish bourgeois caste” at the ” key component of the vanguard of world capital”.

    Now he talks of the Ukraine and “These Hitler worshippers have Israeli support”.

    Ian Donovan is as barking as Caliphate John.

    Andrew Coates

    March 9, 2016 at 5:22 pm

  22. “Whilst having differences with Ian on other issues his acquisition has enormously strengthened Socialist Fight and given it a wider political base for intervention in the class struggle”.


    Boleyn Ali

    March 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm

  23. It has a certain unique charm, as people on Facebook have commented.

    I attach a rare daylight picture of cde Donovan:

    Andrew Coates

    March 9, 2016 at 5:44 pm

  24. Andrew,

    you say:

    “We would like to make it clear that we stand for political opposition to the Downing crew, not administrative means to exclude him from debate.”

    Your article didn’t spell it out, but Downing has been re-admitted to the Labour Party. Are you – and other posters – okay with this? How on earth can you expect decent human beings to vote Labour when it welcomes apologists for ISIS who use language and arguments about Jews that would be right at home in Mein Kampf?

    The stink from Corbyn’s Labour just gets worse.


    March 9, 2016 at 6:05 pm

  25. I think the point about Downing and Donovan being in the Labour Party is that they are of no consequence, Lamia. They at best can only disrupt their local party functioning, they plainly can achieve nothing, given their corrupted politics.


    March 9, 2016 at 7:04 pm

  26. How to Read “Socialist Fight”.

    “Zionist Islamophobic scum” – Anyone who condemns 9/11

    “Zionist, racist, pro-imperialist scabs”- Socialists we expect to defend our right to be in the Labour Party.

    “Zionists who like beer” – AWL

    Zionist – General term of abuse for anyone we don’t like, particularly Jews.

    But seriously folks…

    Pinkie may think that Gerry Downing is of “no consequence” and that might have been the case before yesterday, indeed, before Prime Minister’s Questions today but now…?

    Jeremy Corbyn is being asked if Downing should be allowed to be a Labour Party member. So far, he has not answered. The question will not go away and will be asked of him and all Labour Party spokespeople until it is. Google “Gerry Downing” and you’ll see how many news reports there are about him and Corbyn. Any Labour member who defends his right to be in the Party will be seen by many to be an apologist for him and his views, maybe even an apologist for 9/11. At the very least, they will be considered “soft” on the issue. That might be unfair but who said politics is fair?

    After all, if the Left Unity “Communist Platform” thought the views of Ian Donovan were unacceptable to their grouping, why should Labour be more amenable to the (very similar) views of Gerry Downing and “Socialist Fight”?

    John R

    March 9, 2016 at 9:07 pm

  27. I frankly don’t give a toss what the anti-Semitic loon and 9/11 denier Downing says (and certainly not what his anti-Semitic and equally unhinged pal Ian Dudley thinks), writes or thinks about me, but just for the record I did once tell him (Downing) what I thought about him and (especially) his role (such as it was) in Unite, and that may well have happened in the Cock Tavern on the occasion he describes, but he is lying when he says (a) I was drunk, (b) I took a swing at him. Point (a) has sometimes been true of me but wasn’t on that particular occasion and if (b) were true my only regret would be that it didn’t connect … but it isn’t true. The last time I was involved in any kind of political punch-up was many, many years ago with someone called Geoff Smith who I’ve since made my peace with. Note to Ian Dudley: I’ve never hit a woman -even a Spart woman.

    Jim Denham

    March 9, 2016 at 10:04 pm

  28. @ Pinkie

    “They at best can only disrupt their local party functioning, they plainly can achieve nothing, given their corrupted politics.”

    I’m afraid they can ‘achieve’ harm for Labour – they give strength to the impression that Labour is relaxed about having apologists for terrorism and rabid antisemites as members. They are toxic for the public image of Labour Party.

    I think that’s a really bad thing to let happen, both morally and politically. I worry about what seems to be becoming ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ among the Labour membership.


    March 9, 2016 at 10:21 pm

  29. Donovan/Dudley and Downing are both mentally ill: I mention this not in order to insult them but as a matter of straight fact that I believe comrades should be aware of. Donovan/Dudley had a mental breakdown some years ago, and this was exploited by the Spartacist League (which he’d briefly been a member of) in order to provoke him into assaulting a woman. Poor Gerry Downing was badly affected a couple of years ago by the death of his wife. None of this excuses their filthy anti-Semitism, but it does, perhaps, help explain their partiality to conspiracy theories and general paranoia. They are to be pitied rather than simply despised.

    Jim Denham

    March 10, 2016 at 1:35 am

  30. Sigh. With “Trotskyists” like these who needs Stalinists? Their ravings are like a Third Period that never ends.


    March 10, 2016 at 8:25 am

  31. Andrew Coates:
    “We would like to make it clear that we stand for political opposition to the Downing crew, not administrative means to exclude him from debate.”

    In which case I assume you’ll be moving a motion to reinstate Gerry Downing,through your affiliated UNITE branch, now that he’s been expelled once again.
    Especially it was probably you who was responsible for providing Guido Fawkes with his source material.


    March 10, 2016 at 10:05 am

  32. “Anon”, all anyone has to do is look at the “Stop the Labour Purge” website, google the names of the people expelled and read what they and their political co-thinkers have to say.

    In the case of Gerry Downing, his case takes prominence on the website as having been expelled and then re-instated. “Stop the Labour Purge” saw Downing getting his membership back as good news! It hasn’t been updated yet to report his more recent expulsion, though. Will “Stop the Labour Purge” launch a “Defend Gerry” campaign? Well, we wait and see.

    As to why Labour’s NEC didn’t just google and look at Gerry Downing’s writings before they re-admitted him, well, that’s a bit of a mystery. Maybe some just saw these expulsions as a covert attack on Corbyn and the “Left”, no matter the views of the individual or group concerned, should be supported against the Right.

    Pro-Isis, 9/11 “must never be condemned”, “the Jewish question” – it was only a matter of time before this came out. Those on the Left who thought that they could hide their heads in the sand regarding Socialist Fight’s views and support them against the Right were living in cloud-cuckoo land.

    To be honest, if getting in touch with right-wingers such as Guido Fawkes is what it takes to get rid of Downing, Socialist Fight and other Isis supporters out of the Labour Party, I would certainly do it.


    John R

    March 10, 2016 at 11:11 am

  33. Gerry to be on the telly (Daily Politics) later at 12.00.


    Christ, he should be happy! The Socialist Fight website must be getting a huge amount of views at the moment.

    John R

    March 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm

  34. Supporter of the ‘anti imperialism of fools’, close to the views of Third Position fascists – good riddance.

    ” Labour expels activist described by PM as ‘9/11 sympathiser’

    Gerry Downing punished for extremist views after David Cameron urges Jeremy Corbyn to throw him out of party.”

    Labour’s national executive committee has expelled Gerry Downing, a far-left activist who had only recently been reinstated, from the party after he was described by David Cameron in the House of Commons as a “9/11 sympathiser”.

    The NEC’s three-person disputes panel decided to overturn the party’s decision earlier this month to accept Downing’s appeal against his expulsion from the party, over claims that he held extremist views.

    In a statement, the Labour party said: “Following evidence that has come to light, Gerry Downing has now been expelled from the Labour party by the NEC panel.”

    The leader of a Trotskyist group called Socialist Fight, Downing had published a blogpost that appeared to explain the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center as resulting from western foreign policy.”


    Andrew Coates

    March 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm

  35. From his appearance on television:

    And we would be remiss not to mention this:

    “Though the material relating to the Sparts is apolitical and uninteresting, and really only serves to illustrate that they have long since become a megalomaniacal cult obsessed with alleged personal failings of those who left them to the point of absurd demonology, and evasive about anything that is really political.

    This is a reply by Ian Donovan to slanderous attacks launched on him by John Holmes on the Leftist Trainspotting elist. In discussing the ‘Sparts’ and their off shoots we got this:
    Posted by:
    “John Holmes” johndeweyholmes
    PS: Oh yes, forgot one splinter. The infamous woman-beater Ian Donovan and his one man band, now also gone Zionist I hear. Does he still have a group, formally at least?

    Oops! Serious blunder about Donovan, sorry!

    He was not a Zionist but was accused of anti-Semitism when expelled by Communist Platform. That Donovan defends Atzmon gives that some credibility.

    Of course, some argue that is ultimately the same thing.


    Posted by:
    “Geoff Collier” geoff_hull
    ian donovan recently joined the editorial board of Socialist Fight, the British section of some latin american-based version of the FI (life’s too short to remember exactly which one). I think it’s in the Morenoite tradition though.

    It’s surely slanderous to call him an infamous woman-beater. And pandering to the new feminism which is unworthy of the spartacist tradition. He was driven to one blow against a tirade of political lies on a Bloody Sunday commemoration march. This was all documented at the time and is no doubt available online for anyone who cares.
    geoff c

    Ian’s Reply:
    It is good to be defended by Geoff C, who is (or maybe was) an SWP member and seems like a decent guy. Though the material relating to the Sparts is apolitical and uninteresting, and really only serves to illustrate that they have long since become a megalomaniacal cult obsessed with alleged personal failings of those who left them to the point of absurd demonology, and evasive about anything that is really political.

    Holmes is an idiot, and appears ignorant even of the events he is ranting on about. There are several factual inaccuracies in Holmes’ rantings about the 1999 punch thrown in anger, and in fact what Geoff C says is more or less accurate.

    But what Holmes says shows he is aware of the underlying issues behind the incident, even though his attempt to construct a factual narrative is peppered with lies and/or ignorant errors. So here are some relevant facts.

    (1) In August 1983 I, along with 5 other SL/B members, got a job in London Underground with a view to doing trade union work.

    (2) In early March 1984 the miners’ strike began. It lasted for a year pretty much to the day, ending in March 1985. By the end of the miners’ strike, there were (I think) only two SL members still working in London Underground. I was one of them.

    (3) I ceased to work in London Underground in August 1986.

    (4) I resigned from the SL/B on Jan 18, 1987, during its national conference, nearly 2 years after the end of the miners’ strike.

    Those are all facts known to members of the SL/B who were active at the time. They show that Holmes’ contentions about my supposed conduct during the miners strike are outright lies, pulled directly out of his posterior. I will not dignify them by calling them accusations, as they expose his sociopathic nature and vindicate me.

    The dates are very clear. I did not resign from the SL/B during the miners strike. Nor did I cease to work for London Underground during the miners strike, but rather over a year later. So John Dewey Holmes, who claims to know all about my history, either does not know basic facts, or chooses to lie about them.

    Knowing the SL and its cult mentality, I suspect it is a rancid mixture of mendacity and pigshit-ignorance that is involved. Holmes lies because in his own demented mind he believes that this kind of bilge will appeal to his fellow cultists and show how in tune he is with their pathology. I am not interested in appealing to his intellect or his better nature, as I do not believe he has significant intellect and his nature is unremittingly corrupt and foul. I only make these points as to draw others’ attention to this.

    According to Holmes, the offending blow was struck in Jan 1999 because the ‘victim’ shouted at myself about something that allegedly happened 15 years earlier (but in fact did not happen, see chronology above).

    This begs a rather important question: what kind of a person would it be who, on a demonstration in 1999, were to start ‘shouting’ at an ex-member of their political organisation about something that supposedly happened 15 YEARS EARLIER. Particularly when, as demonstrated in the above chronology, this ‘something’, in the form Holmes renders it at least, is provably, obviously untrue?

    The answer to that question as to what kind of person would be shouting about such a thing is also quite clear. Such a person would be regarded as an insane maniac by any normal person.

    In fact, however, MacDonald’s shouting was not about that. It was as Geoff C says, about accusing me of being an ‘RUC supporter’ on a Republican demonstration. It was aimed at fooling others to take physical action against me on the grounds that I was some kind of communal-sectarian enemy of the march. That was the aim of the provocation and much more dangerous therefore. If MacDonald had been shouting about something to do with the miners’ strike this would have been outlandish and incomprehensible, rather than dangerous.

    Holmes’ narrative is a fantasy. However it does contain one element of truth when it states the following:

    “The Spartacists were dead serious about trying to spread the miners strike to a general strike, vastly more important than his personal health considerations, and Donovan, in a position to try to do something about it, finked out at the key moment. Why shouldn’t she have shouted at him?”

    The reference to ‘personal health considerations’ shows that Holmes is aware of the underlying issues, but is trying deliberately to distort them. They also show that he, like MacDonald, is a sociopath.

    Let us examine why. First of all, at the time of the miners strike beginning, our people had only been employed in that industry for a matter of a few months. The idea therefore that a few rookies could lead workers on the Underground out on strike in solidarity with the miners by sheer voluntarism, is simply insane. It could only be put forward by people completely ignorant of how trade unions work. It takes decades of patient base-building to even be able to consider the possibility of doing something like that. So the whole idea is fantasy politics: anyone who claims to believe in such thing is either a naive fool, or a cynical fraudster.

    It is true that I had ‘personal health considerations’ during the time I was employed on London Underground. In particular, for reasons of unsuitable sleep patterns and metabolism regarding swing-shift work, I was unsuited to be working in that industry. However, for reasons of political duty, I kept up with this not only during the strike, but quite a long time afterwards. I became for a few years addicted to prescription sleeping tablets as a result. Organisational pressure was applied, most centrally by MacDonald and Len Meyers, the two leading figures in the SL/B there, to keep me there. This was not only done to me.

    There were a number of other comrades in the SL/B at that time, including several women, who had health problems of various sorts and who were being ‘run’ extremely hard, too hard, by that leading duo, and had those health problems exacerbated as a result. One particularly notorious incident happened in late 1986 when a woman comrade who was head of the circulation department resigned from that position for reasons of ill-health. A special meeting was held in which a succession of Spart hacks got up one after another to denounce her, and in some cases (MacDonald being a case in point) to actually SCREAM ABUSE at her for daring to resign her internal post. This led to her being driven close to suicide.

    It is also a fact that I was the person who exploded with rage when this incident happened (in Nov 1986) and basically went into factional warfare mode against these lowlife, writing a series of angry and very damning attacks on this conduct which actually forced Robertson to intervene and reshuffle the central UK leaders (MacDonald and Meyers) out of Britain, in effect sacking the British leadership. This all happened at the end of 1986/beginning of 1987, not during the miners strike. The severe stress in running such a single-handed political struggle certainly had an impact on my personal health, since virtually all of the other cadre were either too weak and cowardly to fight about these things, or too degenerate to care about them,

    I had a nervous breakdown after this episode and left the SL/B in Jan 1987. In took me several years to get back on my feet after this, but I have remained politically active as a Marxist and I consider I have developed considerably further politically since breaking with the Spartacist League, rather a long time ago now.

    In the light of the above, people can judge what is signified by John Dewey Holmes’ contention that my ‘personal health considerations’ really did not matter in the light of the importance of the SL/B’s supposed fight for a general strike in support of the miners in 1984-5. It certainly was true that the miners needed a general strike to support them to defeat Thatcher’s attacks; it is also true that the SL/B’s chances of leading one were totally non-existent as it had no roots of any significance in the rail industry and in fact only one moderately rooted trade union militant in the entire country (Pat Sliney) who was in a realistic position to even try to deliver any solidarity. And he was sacked after signing his name to a leaflet that would have been better issued anonymously or under a collective banner, basically on the say-so of the same SL/B leadership that had a callous disregard for others’ ‘personal health considerations’.

    So actually, far from being something laudatory, these people were incompetent, pathetic and brutal both during and after the miners strike, setting up their own people to be victimised by the bosses, or actually worse. The idea that my health considerations were worth nothing, while saying that it is so terrible that MacDonald was ‘injured’ when trying (in a more subtle manner than the idiot John Dewey Holmes makes out) to exploit this years later on an Irish demonstration in 1999, shows his real view of ‘leadership’ – that the leadership has the right to abuse the ranks and basically do what they like to them.

    Gerry Healy had a similar conception. He thought it OK to beat people up internally who criticised his leadership. The Sparts generally prefer psychological abuse to physical violence. But actually, some forms of psychological abuse are worse than physical violence, more destructive and more insidious and long-lasting. Anyway, there is a reason why Gerry Healy employed a full time heavy as his bodyguard. It was never to protect him from the state, but to protect him from angry people his abusive ‘party’ had damaged and brutalised, or in some cases even raped (apparently), and/or their friends and relatives.

    So tough, if you ill-treat working class people and damage their lives, there can be blowback. You might get a punch in the face (perhaps). In other countries the abuser might have reason to fear something much more severe. The moral is very straightforward: if you do not do as you will be done by, there is a danger that you might be done by as you did.

    As for the Sparts’ politics, I do not consider myself in any sense part of their diaspora or extended family. Their claim to be the ‘continuity’ of a revolutionary tradition is nonsense. They are a chauvinistic, deformed sect not really organically linked to the labo(u)r bureaucracy in the US, but rather to ‘declassed’ sections of the petty bourgeoisie, something they have actually produced psuedo-Marxist theses to rationalise and make a virtue out of. Their origins are in Shachtmanism, but with their own further petty-bourgeois twist.

    Thirty years of the Spartacist League/Britain

    And here I have to abstract from what conventional wisdom would have it as the main feature of Shachtmanism; its rejection of Trotsky’s position that the USSR remained a ‘degenerate workers state’ after the core of the Communist Party and the Red Army’s officer caste were physically wiped out in Stalin’s Great Purges/’preventative civil war’ in the late 1930s. What distinguished Shatchmanism was not particularly rejection of Trotsky’s view of the defence of the USSR and political revolution after this. In fact, even the partisans of the Left Opposition in the labour camps in the USSR were deeply divided on this: read the article on ‘Trotskyists at Vorkuta’ published in Workers Vanguard for the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1977.

    No, the main problem was not the Shachtmanites’ heterodoxy on the USSR under Stalin, It was that they were a chauvinist tendency in a fairly straightforward way, and not their lack of clarity on the USSR (in my view only Walter Daum and the US LRP have come close to providing a coherent analysis of this question), which drove them to the right.

    But on a key question, the SL shared the Shachtmanites’ chauvinism and never broke from it. That being over the Middle East. Their support for the Israeli side in the 1948 war was a position they maintained until 1973, when Yossi Schwartz wrote a series of Workers Vanguard articles on the ‘Birth of the Zionist state’ that de-facto committed the SL/US to repudiate Shachtman’s position of support for Israel in favour of the US SWP’s view, that of neutrality between the Zionist armed colonists and their Arab nationalist opponents. Unfortunately, neutrality, or even ‘defeatism on both sides’ between the ethnic cleansers on the one hand, and the Palestinians being ethnically cleansed (and their treacherous half-hearted Arab bourgeois allies), is not a principled position, as I have concluded from years of reading and studying around this question. Neutrality between the oppressor and the oppressed is never a principled position.

    Anyway, the Spartacists claim to represent ‘revolutionary continuity’ in the post war period, apparently uniquely. Yet they hold a position on what it is now becoming clear is a central question of our epoch, the Middle East-Palestine-‘Israel’ question, that is chauvinist and neutral between the oppressor and the oppressed. For over a decade, they inherited from Shachtman/Draper an even worse position that supported the Zionist oppressor against the oppressed, and basically amounted to support for the Naqba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, only renouncing it in 1973.

    From this flows many examples of the Sparts anti-Muslim chauvinism. Robertson’s original remarks about Albanian ‘goatfuckers’ come from this chauvinism; he attempted to blame Marx for having said something like this, but was never able to produce the reference.

    In fact, he may well have been referring obliquely to a remark by Engels I came across a while ago that referred to Montenegrins, not Albanians, as ‘sheep stealers’. No sexual slur there, just a social commentary which may or may not be justified. The fact that Montenegrins are changed to Albanians is significant, as Albanians are Europe’s only Muslim nation, and the depiction of Arabs and Muslims as goat-fuckers is a classic racist Western slur.

    Yet they claim to represent ‘revolutionary continuity’ uniquely. Their claim is crap, and hypocritical, megalomaniacal crap at that.

    Meanwhile in 1970, as part of their search for the Holy Grail of being ‘uniquely correct’, they adopted a position on the relationship of bourgeois workers parties and popular fronts that really makes it impossible to carry out Marxist tactics such as entrism and critical support for reformists either within such parties, or against class enemies in the external world, or even in most cases to draw a meaningful line against popular frontism in any case. See my original Revolution and Truth article on this from 1998.

    Taken together, the political deviations of the Sparts make their claim to represent ‘revolutionary continuity’ a sick joke.

    Regarding ‘Zionism’, it is typical degeneracy for Holmes, who defends the ‘right to self-determination’ of the ‘Hebrew speaking people’ in the Levant, to attack Gilad Atzmon as a Zionist. Atzmon has on the contrary declared himself to be a ‘Hebrew-speaking Palestinian’ and is utterly opposed to any ‘self-determination’ of the Zionist oppressor. Self determination of this artificial non-nation can only mean the maintenance of the Palestinians’ forcible exile, and is utterly anti-democratic. This support for Israeli ‘self-determination’ is itself either an American chauvinist position, or else a Jewish chauvinist position, or likely a blend of both.

    As to my work on the Jewish question, I have it is true been witchhunted for it by anti-communist Zionists, semi-Zionists and their ‘left’ lackeys. For Holmes to solidarise with this is natural, But if anyone has anything substantial, political and Marxist to say, some of my most important material is now available as part of a Socialist Fight pamphlet, which can be read here. And there is more on the website Communist Explorations, http://commexplor.com.

    And finally, Socialist Fight has nothing to do with the Morenoites. Both SF, and its co-thinkers elsewhere, aspire to build something better than such centrist figures as Moreno.

    Ian Donovan


    Andrew Coates

    March 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm

  36. ‘sake

    Paul Canning

    March 10, 2016 at 4:12 pm

  37. Andrew

    “The NEC’s three-person disputes panel decided to overturn the party’s decision earlier this month to accept Downing’s appeal against his expulsion from the party, over claims that he held extremist views.

    In a statement, the Labour party said: “Following evidence that has come to light, Gerry Downing has now been expelled from the Labour party by the NEC panel.””

    The Labour Party are being disingenuous. The information was easily available on the internet and either the NEC did not make even a cursory effort to check up on Downing, in which case it was culpably negligent, or it was aware of the evidence but had no problem with it.

    How many more of these scumbags have been allowed to join Labour? We’ll no doubt see more completely avoidable cases like Downing’s in due course.


    March 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

  38. Hey, is Ian Donovan a member of Labour?

    Maybe he can put forward a motion advocating “tactical military support” for Isis at his local Labour Party ward meeting right after the discussion on Council rubbish collection.

    Gerry on the telly –

    John R

    March 10, 2016 at 4:52 pm

  39. What a bare-faced lying turd that man is.


    March 10, 2016 at 5:36 pm

  40. “bleating about Guido Fawkes”

    The beloved Coates hasn’t denied that he was the source of Staines’ soiled underwear – sorry article- which appeared the day after this site posted allegations about Downing, which were then picked up by the capitalist press via an almost identical article by Staines which appeared on March 9th.
    Couid this explain why the beloved Coates continually refers to himself as “We” ?

    If Gerry Downing is a 9-11 apologist, then the beloved Coates is an apologist for TAK, the “Kurdish Freedom Hawks” who killed 26 Turkish soldiers in Ankara the other week in revenge for the hundreds killed in Jizre, Sur and Silopi.

    Had the beloved Coates supported the Kurdish demonsration in London last Sunday, he might have spotted some people there carrying posters of the man who did it!
    But as we know, the reason for the non attendance of the beloved Coates was not political, but due to the viccisitudes of the train journey and the prospects of taking a relief bus.

    The fact is that Downing is a member of Unite, a union affilated to the Labour Party.
    If the beloved Coates is “against Administrative measures”, as he claims, will he be moving a motion against Downing’s expulsion through his Unite Branch?


    March 10, 2016 at 6:41 pm

  41. “If the beloved Coates is “against Administrative measures”, as he claims, will he be moving a motion against Downing’s expulsion through his Unite Branch?” I should bloody well hope not: anti-semites have no place in our movement.

    Jim Denham

    March 11, 2016 at 12:22 am

  42. …except when they’re Ukrainian fascists and antisemites, in which case Mr Denham will form a solidarity campaign with them!


    March 11, 2016 at 10:41 am

  43. The person bravely posting about the Kurdish demo – John, for that is his name – has voted for Downing’s ‘anti-imperialism of fools’ motions at LRC conferences.

    He is a member of the Labour Party, so why doesn’t he put forward a motion from his rural branch in chocolate box Suffolk, bravely backing the right of people to express the view that ‘Zionism’ is at the vanguard of promoting austerity and that “double nationality’ of these people, not to mention the rest of Downing’s views on the Jewish Question.

    As for doing anything myself , any residual pity I had for Downing (to be honest the real reason why I opposed these measures) has evaporated after seeing his raving on the Politics Show about the role of ‘Zionism’. .

    This incidentally is his past:

    Andrew Coates

    March 11, 2016 at 12:25 pm

  44. Trotskyites are attracted to the Labour Party for exactly the same reasons that cymothoa exigua is attracted to fish…


    March 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm

  45. Some think Downing was following the warning from a special message sent through the ether from Trotsky,

    “Trotsky. Some Advice to a British group.

    March 7th 1936.

    “As against this, your group appears only as the left wing of the Labour Party, i.e. , as a vague centrist trend. You have recruited hardly any new elements. It would indeed be hard to do this without a program, without a political banner. The fact that many comrades from your group occupy positions in the Labour Party or the trade unions is without revolutionary significance, because these comrades represent no definite program, but have been elected only on the basis of their individual activity.

    All historical experience teaches that this is the shortest way to get absorbed into the reformist bureaucracy. To the question which I put, you have replied that you are certainly in principle for the Fourth International but that you consider it impossible to make propaganda for it inside the Labour Party. This standpoint is hard to understand, let alone to approve. The Labour Party and Trades Union Congress bureaucracy is nothing else than the political police of capital within the working class. When revolutionaries do only what the police let them, then they are not revolutionaries.

    Obviously, in carrying on the fight with the thoroughly corrupted blackguards who lead the Labour Party, one must act with prudence and foresight. That concerns only the technique of revolutionary work, not its content. How one carries on propaganda for the Fourth International inside the Labour Party is a question for yourselves. If one renounces the carrying on of this propaganda, then one surrenders directly to the Second International.”

    Andrew Coates

    March 11, 2016 at 1:45 pm

  46. It goes beyond Gerry Downing and Socialist Fight though, Andrew. Gerry Downing’s case is still being held up as the good news story on the “Stop the Labour Purge” website.

    “GERRY DOWNING (Brent Central CLP) – EXPELLED AND REINSTATED!” is the rather triumphant headline. As victories go, it will a pyrrhic one of massive proportions for the Left in the Labour Party. While the views of Socialist Fight on Isis and 9/11 might not have been well known among even on the Left, the views of Ian Donovan certainly were. Alarm bells should have rung loudly when Gerry Downing declared his solidarity with him and his writings on the “Jewish Question”.

    So, why the solidarity with Downing against the Labour Right? Is it, “he’s a Pro-Isis, 9/11 must be understood, anti-semite but he’s OUR Pro-Isis, 9/11 must be understood, anti-semite!” reasoning? “We must defend a fellow socialist against the Right!” Oh, and “let’s hope no-one reads anything he and Donovan have written!”

    By the way, the Gerry’s page hasn’t been updated to reflect recent developments.


    One final note, Downing’s views and the solidarity (Stop the Labour Purge) towards him and indulgence shown his group (LRC, I’m looking at you) make me more and more feel like this guy –

    Now, where’s that Compliance Unit application form?

    John R

    March 11, 2016 at 1:56 pm

  47. He has no backing from Jon Lansman who, like other leading Labour left-wingers, welcomes his expulsion.

    Andrew Coates

    March 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm

  48. Andrew, the news about Jon Lansman’s views on Gerry Downing is definitely welcome as is the comment Jim Denham made above.

    However, we have the thorny issue of the signatories on the “Stop the Labour Purge” page. Whether they like it or not, they will be seen to be “Downing supporters”, if not of his views, but of his right to be in the Labour Party. Gerry is still the main poster boy there, after all.

    One of the main signatories is still the Labour Representation Committee of which Jon Lansman is a leading member, I think it’s fair to say.

    More recently, Socialist Fight (Issue 20 Autumn 2015) had an article written by Graham Durham (LRC London Organiser) who will also be speaking at the Socialist Fight debate on the EU referendum this Sun March 13 (see links). Mr Durham is a former Brent Labour Councillor from the 80’s. I’ve no idea if he’s a member of SF but he’s obviously happy to write and debate with them.



    There’s also one more thing. Being expelled from Labour does not stop Gerry Downing and Socialist Fight from participating in either Momentum or, in particular, the LRC. Other non-Labour organisations (e.g. New Communist Party) are affiliated to the LRC. Can you imagine an LRC AGM this year, chaired by John McDonnell, where Gerry and Socialist Fight turn up to put forward motions? Media attention, I’m sure, would be immense.

    Before that, though, there is the proposed Momentum Conference. Brent LRC (where Gerry and Graham are based) might well send a couple of delegates.


    John R

    March 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm

  49. There are certainly those who’ve backed the motions of Socialist Fight, and even spoken for some of the most lunatic, pro-Donbass, pro-Assad, pro-Putin, etc of them, like the ‘anonymous’ person I replied to above who was very loud supporting this particular fantasy about the Ukraine, to point of embarrassing a lot of people.

    Durham, or the ‘Brent Soviet’, is also an issue.

    Believe me they have been warned of these problems: https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/how-to-be-topp-of-the-left/

    Andrew Coates

    March 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

  50. First, the fuckwit states ‘race is a construct’ then ‘Arabs are semites too’. Well, no they are not, no more than Jews are ‘semites’ and none of that has nothing to do with *antisemitism*. ‘People-class’ my arse!

    redkorat☭ (@red_korat)

    March 12, 2016 at 4:49 am

  51. Re. Coates on Reg Freeson

    Personal comments made above by Coates are the product of his imagination.
    I’m not in political agreement with the programme of “Socialist Fight”, but would defend Gerry Downing against expulsion and the oppose Tory orchestrated witch-hunts.


    This was written by Charlie Pottins, a member of the Jewish Socialist Group ( who the beloved Coates professed to be sympathetic to, prior to his death last year)

    It concerns the late Alf Filer, who was a Jew, a member of the Labour party & the UCU and, like the beloved Coates, an ex-member of the IMG.

    Alf played a key part in getting the Ken Livingstone elected as an MP in Brent, for which he came under sustained attack from Herut supporters (right-wing zionists) in Brent. I witnessed them disrupt a solidarity meeting after the invasion of Lebanon and was sworn at for just being there!

    “ I was asked to help him steward a Labour Party public meeting in Brondesbury with both Livingstone and his predecessor Reg Freeson speaking. When Alf had stood as a council candidate in Cricklewood, the Zionists ran a campaign against him. During this Brondesbury by-election the Tories produced an eve-of-poll leaflet aimed at Jewish voters, saying “A Vote for Labour is a Vote for the PLO!”, attacking Alf by name even though he was not the Labour candidate. The election was actually fought on issues like nursery places and Kilburn baths, and Labour increased its majority by eleven per cent. The Palestinian general delegation in London did not take up my suggestion of a press release saying “11% Swing to PLO in Brondesbury!”

    At that meeting, Alf had suggested I join the Brent East Labour Party. I found this piquantly amusing, as I’d been expelled in that very constituency, and ward, in 1964, Reg Freeson having been among my antagonists”

    Based on Coates’ McCarthyite debating style, I can only assume he would have joined in the witch-hunt against Alf Filer too.


    March 18, 2016 at 1:21 pm

  52. What has Alf to do with this?

    More to the point, which part of Downing’s resolution in 2014 that you spoke in favour of do you now disagree with?

    Andrew Coates

    March 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm

  53. The LRC should have listened to Andrew Murray, the Chief of Staff of UNITE.

    It should have accepted the position that the TUC adopted at its 2014 Congress:-

    “Congress is concerned that the crisis has witnessed attacks on trade unionists and the empowering of fascist groups, including the Odessa massacre which saw that city’s trade union centre burned to the ground.”
    “In light of the dangerous and urgent situation in Ukraine, Congress calls for: the general council to hold an urgent meeting to consider how best to support those fighting for trade union rights and against fascism in the Ukraine; an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Ukraine and a peaceful, negotiated settlement and opposition to the use of British forces in the Ukrainian conflict.”

    Instead, the LRC adopted the arguments of dubious sectarians and has consigned itself to political irrelevance.


    March 18, 2016 at 8:33 pm

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