Tendance Coatesy

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Gerry Downing Expelled from Labour Representation Committee for Anti-Semitism.

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Gerry Downing Unanimously Booted out of LRC.

Gerry Downing was this afternoon expelled from the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), by unanimous decision of the national committee, on grounds of his antisemitism.

From D. O. Saturday 2nd April.

Now that Downing has been kicked out, not just from the Labour Party but from the left-wing LRC, where does his campaign stand?

His pretend Fourth International has called for a united campaign to defend him.

This is their latest statement.

Statement by the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International on the Expulsion of Comrade Gerry Downing from the British Labour party. 22-3-2016

Tony Greenstein partially defended Downing, on narrowly democratic grounds, while solidarising with the witch-hunters on the substantial allegation of ‘anti-semitism’ despite testifying that our comrades are not ‘personally’ racist. This inherently contradictory stance, which coincides with the capitulatory politics of the CPGB whose sympathiser he is, nevertheless did not save him from being witchhunted himself. We welcome his support as far as it goes but continue to demand a proper united front campaign with full freedom of propaganda for the left tendencies to argue their views.

We reject all restrictions by self-appointed ideological censors on the freedom of Marxists to analyse ruling class politics, including those of the parts of the ruling class that are of Jewish origin. Anyone seeking to restrict freedom of historical materialist analysis in this way is crossing class lines, and siding with bourgeois politics against Marxism. We defend Tony Greenstein despite these important political differences

We reject all restrictions by self-appointed ideological censors on the freedom of Marxists to analyse ruling class politics, including those of the parts of the ruling class that is of Jewish origin. Anyone seeking to restrict freedom of historical materialist analysis in this way is crossing class lines, and siding with bourgeois politics against Marxism. We defend Tony Greenstein despite these important political differences.

He is the latest victim of the renewed onslaught by the supporters of Tony Blair in the Parliamentary party and in the bureaucracy of the Labour party. Whatever our political differences with him for over thirty years he has been the foremost advocate and fighter for the cause of the oppressed Palestinians against their Zionist oppressors in the British labour movement.

This document usefully highlights the fact that now it’s the case of Cde Greenstein that is coming to the fore:


Telegraph 1st of April.

Activist who derides critics as ‘Zionist scum’ admitted to Labour in latest anti-Semitism scandal to hit Party

Labour admitted a previously barred activist who refers to his critics as  “Zio idiots” and “Zionist scum”, and claimed that Jews supported the Nuremberg laws, it has emerged.

Tony Greenstein, a prominent campaigner from Brighton, was barred from entry to the Party last summer when vetting of new applicant was stepped up during the leadership contest to prevent a surge of “entryism” from groups who did not share the “aims and values” of Labour.

However, following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader, Mr Greenstein slipped back into the party unnoticed.

Evidence compiled by Labour’s compliance unit when Mr Greenstein attempted to join the party last summer, seen by The Telegraph, included his claims in online forums Margaret Thatcher was an “obviously legitimate” target for the IRA and that “Zionists collaborated with the Nazis”.

John Mann MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Committee into Anti-Semitism said that it was “hugely inappropriate” for Mr Greenstein to have been admitted to the Party.

For those on the left who have not been in a cave five hundred metres underground for the last ten years Tony Greenstein is a familiar figure.

He writes for the Weekly Worker, almost entirely on Zionism and Israel.

Although that paper has many articles worth reading – and I say this not just because many of the authors are friends – Greenstein’s obsessive works are not amongst them.

Greenstein’s activities, as an ‘anti-Zionist’, but more significantly within the labour movement and left have earned him an impressive number of enemies over the years. Those who cordially loathe him include not only union ‘bureaucrats’ (hard-working and respected employees of the TUC and Northern Unemployed Workers’ Centres), but also people from every section of the left right up to a  members of an array of anarchist and libertarian groups.

About his only admirers appears to be New Left Review. In 2013 published a strange article, denying that anti-Semitism was a problem in France, and giving a long list of people with Jewish names who are apparently the intellectual ‘gatekeepers’ of the country’s media. It  cited Greenstein’s blog (Tony Greenstein’s Blog) as an authority on something to do with Israel (Gabriel Piterberg Euro-Zionism and its Discontents.)

Greenstein, to his honour, does not deny that anti-Semitism is a problem and that some people can use the issue of Israel for a racist anti-Jewish agenda.

He has campaigned against the ‘anti-Zionist’   Gilad Atzmon precisely on this issue.

On the Downing case he has had this to say (last week).

I have no doubt that neither Downing nor Donovan are anti-Semitic in a personal sense and that is why I would not support their expulsion. But at a time when the anti-Zionist left is under attack in the Labour Party and I am under threat of expulsion personally, I would want to have nothing to do with any campaign Gerry might mount against his expulsion. His behaviour and his politics are insupportable and have weakened the position of anti-Zionists in the party, myself included.

Weekly Worker.

The Times and the Telegraph are therefore completely off the ball.

Recently Cde Greenstein joined the Labour Party.

Because of his past -standing as a candidate in Brighton local elections against Labour,  and ‘difficult’ (to say the least) relations with Brighton Labour Party, not to mention the kind of antagonism outlined above, it is hard, even with the best will in the world, which I do not have,  not to see this as a self-serving stunt.

We intend to treat it as such, and could not care less about the outcome of the Labour Party’s internal review of his membership.

To get involved is to to get entwined.

More importantly it is to divert attention from the cases of serious left-wing activists caught up in attempts to remove them from the Labour Party.

Compare and recall:

Tony Greenstein on Andrew Coates:

However none of that is to justify Andrew Coates chauvinism and racism either. Coates has repeatedly given support to the Israeli state and its claims there on the basis of some Biblical ‘return’. In other words he justifies the colonisation of the West Bank in much the same way as he justifies Israel’s colonisation of Israel behind the Green Line (which has long since been eradicated).”

The Left https://www.facebook.com/groups/869685873109930/? 25th of March 2016.

Let me be clear, I do not support the ‘Zionist state’: I support the right of the Jewish people to exist in the Middle East.

The problem with anti-Zionism in its present form is that many of its supporters are aligned with people who deny that right.

Further discussion on the issue of Israel – its past and present wrongs – has to begin from this observation.


14 Responses

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  1. I love Brighton and being a few miles down coast would be well within likely fallout zone, but if the only way to be sure we’ve removed Tony Greenstein from our national conversation is to nuke it from orbit then that may just be a price worth paying.

  2. There are quite a few people of that opinion Roger.

    None of the above is exaggerated – it’s not exactly a secret.

    If Greenstein attacks, which he may well do, however ill-advised it would be in this territory, there are immediate response defence rockets in place.

    Andrew Coates

    April 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm

  3. Something rare happened to me yesterday…had a long conversation with an old friend who I’d not seen for years about Israel (inspired by the fact I’ve been to Tel Aviv recently). He made very stringent and convincing criticisms of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs…but guess what…no talk of the Zionists under the bed….Zionist control over the media….Zionist bloodlust. Just measured and well researched criticisms using the language of universal human rights. It’s not that difficult people!

    Alex Ross

    April 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm

  4. “His pretend Fourth International has called for a united campaign to defend him.”

    is there a real Fourth International?


    April 3, 2016 at 9:56 pm

  5. Letter to Labour Representation Committee

    For the Attention of: Norette Moore, Secretary.

    Dear Ms Moore,

    The following two tweets from yesterday have been brought to my attention:

    Andrew Coates (@Pabloite):
    Gerry Downing was this afternoon expelled from the Labour Representation Committee, by unanimous decision, on grounds of his antisemitism.

    David Osland (@David__Osland):
    Gerry Downing has today been expelled from the Labour Representation Committee, on account of his antisemitism. Correct decision.


    Andrew Coates

    April 4, 2016 at 11:22 am

  6. This is an interesting comment on the above:

    Stephen Diamond
    04/04/2016 at 00:18

    Considering the issue’s weight, both Greenstein’s main argument and your response have been extremely cursory. Greenstein says the logic of your position is to call specifically for the defeat of the international Jewish bourgeoisie. This may be the only logical thing Greenstein has said in his entire life. And you do! “Defeat the Jewish vanguard of the international bourgeoisie by Palestinian victory” is implicit in your analysis; you’ve acknowledged the same.

    But it’s certaintly insufficient to say in argument against an attack on the logical implications of your position that you refuse to take that step. This is doubly true when you do take that step.

    Andrew Coates

    April 4, 2016 at 12:42 pm

  7. What is the point of the LRC these days anyway?


    April 4, 2016 at 3:08 pm

  8. Excellent question.

    I am glad you asked it.

    Next question please….

    Andrew Coates

    April 4, 2016 at 4:13 pm

  9. Reblogged this on Redvince's Weblog.


    April 4, 2016 at 5:04 pm

  10. Has there been any official statement from the LRC though about Gerry Downing’s expulsion? When the Labour Party expel or suspend someone, they usually send a letter or an email.

    On the face of it, it seems “unconstitutional” to be informed through someone else’s tweet (at least without a hearing).

    LRC Constitution –

    “Exclusion of members

    9. The national committee will have the right to exclude members from any or all of its meetings for a specified period of time for disruption or violent behaviour subject to;
    (a) the right of the member to a hearing before the national committee prior to any decision to exclude them;
    (b) the member having the right of appeal to the AGM.”


    On the LRC website, there is even a statement from “Stop the Labour Purge” with a suggested amendment (“A disciplinary code that meets standards of natural justice”) to be put forward to Labour Conference.

    “Those members must have written notice of the charges against them, adequate time to prepare a reply, and a hearing at the NCC [National Constitutional Committee] or a panel of the NCC…”


    It does seem a bit odd if the LRC are supporting changes to Labour’s Constitution that they don’t carry out themselves.

    John R

    April 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm

  11. I agree and Downing has a point.

    Andrew Coates

    April 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm

  12. Andrew Coates

    April 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm

  13. Well it seems you owe me an apology for the above article, comrade Coates for not taking the elementary step of checking your source.


    April 9, 2016 at 9:25 am

  14. I repeated what I’d been told.

    I await your aologies to the Syrian and Iraqi people.

    Andrew Coates

    April 9, 2016 at 11:39 am

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