Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Gerry Downing, “I now repudiate the use of the term “the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’” and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes.”

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Image result for andrew neil gerry downing antisemitism

“I now repudiate the use of the term “the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’” and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes.”

Narked on Nietzsche, Angst on Amazon, the world Trotskyist Movement has been torn asunder in recent days.

Note: 

To be honest, from what this Blog hears and can see, Gerry Downing is what he says. 

Is he a lost sheep returning to the fold?

That is less clear, but this is a welcome step in the right direction.

The issue of anti-semitism can lead came on the BBC only last night.

In France the weekend saw this event:

Réunions le vendredi 14 et le samedi 15 février à Paris 13e : Le négationnisme et la gauche, un mensonge antisémite pour la cause ?

Meetings on Friday February 14 and Saturday February 15 in Paris 13th: Holocaust denial and the left, an anti-Semitic lie for the cause?

The meetings went into not just holocaust denial on the ‘left, but the wider issue of left-wing anti-semitism.

…il existe un négationnisme de gauche. Porté depuis 1945, par des militants dont l’histoire politique a commencé dans le camp des progressismes et des révolutions sociales, dans les avant-gardes politiques et culturelles, et dont l’antisémitisme a été nié, toléré, et même approuvé, parfois largement. De Rassinier à Dieudonné, en passant par certains courants d’ultra-gauche qui ont finalement abouti aux mêmes horreurs que les courants staliniens qu’ils prétendaient critiquer, le négationnisme a trouvé divers prétextes pour tenter de s’imposer comme allié de gauche : le pacifisme, la dénonciation de l’antifascisme comme suppôt du capitalisme, l’antisionisme.

Holocaust denial exists on the left. It’s been borne, since 1945, by activists whose political history began in the camp of progressivism and social revolution, in the political and cultural avant-garde, and whose anti-Semitism has been denied, tolerated, and even approved, sometimes widely. From Rassinier to Dieudonné, passing through certain ultra-left currents which ultimately led to the same horrors as the Stalinist currents they claimed to criticise, Holocaust denial found various pretexts to try to assert itself as an ally of the left: from pacifism, the denunciation of anti-fascism as a support for capitalism, to anti-Zionism.

Now we learn:

On the Crisis in Socialist Fight and my own responsibility for it

By Gerry Downing 17 February 2020

Gerry Downing took the only principled stance a revolutionary Trotskyist could take in that interview.

Extracts: I accept the central line of the document below by Alonso from France that sets out my responsibility for the crisis in SF.  I also accept his judgment on Ian Donovan’s lurch to the right since 2015:

When the fusion in 2015 only took place, I did not examine too closely the politics of Ian’s Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism  in 2014, which I now repudiate. [1] The second mistake was to accept too easily, again without serious examination, the assurances Ian gave me that Gilad Atzmon was not antisemitic and was indeed only a left wing Jew who defended the Palestinians by denouncing his own ethnicity. I made no political concessions in the interview with Atzmon in January 2018 and I was entirely correct in the first paragraph but no longer agree fully with the ending of the introductory statement to the article.

After a far closer examination of his politics I now think he has no place in the struggle against Zionism and can only do damage to the cause of the Palestinians by painting opponents of Zionism as fascists. I now believe he is not only racist and antisemitic but also a left fascist ideologically.

……..

I made the ill-considered concession because I had lost two Trotskyist militants from SF who were politically educated in the history of Marxism but who capitulated to the right wing pressures. I desperate needed someone who understood the history of the Marxism-Leninism-Trotskyism, at least to a certain level and so made that alliance with Ian, which I now recognise as opportunist. It is in general impossible for Marxist theoreticians to encounter another that agrees with him or her on every detail; Marx and Engels had differences and so had Lenin and Trotsky, nonetheless the former had close enough agreement to found the science of Marxism and the latter enough to lead the Russian Revolution to victory.

Subsequent arguments saw Ian defend Atzmon’s admiration for Ku Klux Klan man David Duke. He wrote to me on Facebook:

“If you understood why Political Zionism is worse than Apartheid and Jim Crow you might gain some insight. Clue: read Moshe Machover on different types of settler colonialism. If you understand that, you might understand why (Alan) Dershowitz (arch Zionist) is worse than David Duke. Some forms of colonialism are genocidal. Some are not.”

In September 2019 I encountered a post forwarded by one Devon Nola which contained the following sentence:

 “One of the first new laws created by the Jewish Bolsheviks when they took over Russia was to make “antisemitism” punishable by jail or death. Despite its freedoms, the United States is now following in Russia’s footsteps, with Jews like Chuck Schumer leading the charge.” [3]

The subsequent defence of this outrageous fascistic post, the notion that the Russian Revolution was a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy and other far rightist positions, many that repeat the propaganda of the White Armies and the Nazis against the Russian Revolution, by Devon Nola and Gilad Atzmon demonstrated to me that they were enemies of Trotskyism and socialism in general. [4] This shock and subsequent acrimonious debates with Ian and his Trotskyist Faction convinced me that this political current was, in fact, left Strasserite-Mussolini fascists. Ian Donovan and his Trotskyist Faction made it an absolute principle to defend this fascistic current.

Here he declared himself a fascist. As these arguments developed it became clear Ian had developed a full blown ideological outlook in lockstep with Atzmon

Gerry Downing states,

Draft Theses on the Jews rejected now repudiate the use of the term “the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’” and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes.

More: Alonso’s comment from France

It was not that anybody followed the Socialist Fight “line” in the first place, but the way it reflected the existence of a Red-Brown trend that concerned people.

The further evolution of Donovan will be of interest.

This is his immediate response:

This has to be the most pathetic, humiliating document I have read in many years in politics.”

..

There is nothing new about this behaviour. All revisionists and betrayers of Marxist politics always behave like this. You will be exposed just the same way as previous betrayers.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm

12 Responses

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  1. This may well upset those who once shunned him for being too (obviously) antisemitic: the Weekly Worker/ CPB/ Labour Against the Witchhunt /the LRC / Labour Left Alliance etc. Now they may well shun him for not being antisemitic enough.

    Jim Denham

    February 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm

  2. Another candidate in Labour’s national executive committee by-elections – Graham Durham – has been suspended from the party, LabourList can confirm.

    The news of a fresh suspension related to alleged antisemitism follows confirmed reports that Jo Bird has been reinstated as a member. She was also suspended whilst running for Labour’s NEC.

    Durham – a resident of Brent Central, who gained 13 local party nominations from across the country after declaring his candidacy on January 30th – is currently ineligible to stand for the ruling body.

    LabourList understands that his suspension is related to comments made at a meeting and reported by the Jewish Chronicle in mid-January.

    According to the JC, Durham criticised Rebecca Long-Bailey, saying: “She has been cuddling up to the Jewish Labour Movement and the Chief Rabbi, a well-known Tory. We should not be allowing that.”

    On Sunday, Durham tweeted: “I am not to my knowledge suspended but, whilst anti-racist to my core, I did call the Chief Rabbi a Tory ..are facts illegal now”.

    When contacted by LabourList today, Durham described the JC report as “inaccurate”, adding that “luckily there were 150 people present, most of whom applauded the points I made in critical support of Rebecca Long-Bailey”.

    https://labourlist.org/2020/02/another-nec-by-election-candidate-suspended-as-jo-bird-returns-to-party/

    DEFEND JEREMY CORBYN, DEFEAT THE COUP, FOR A LABOUR PARTY GOVERNED BY THE MEMBERS
    Graham Durham Brent Central CLP, Ed. Socialist Labour.

    Left-wing anti-semitism is a bogus category; it does not exist!
    Gerry Downing.

    Reinstate Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone, Gerry Downing,
    and all the Muslim Labour councillors and every other victims of
    this racist Tory, Blairite right Labour, Zionist Labour Friends of
    Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement witch hunt.

    Andrew Coates

    February 18, 2020 at 4:51 pm

  3. “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of St@lin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

    ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

    Thought for the Day

    February 18, 2020 at 6:01 pm

  4. “The revolution died a self-inflicted death in 1918 with the establishment of the Cheka.”
    ― Victor Serge

    “Il rêvait stupidement d’un lit, avec des draps, un édredon, un coussin pour la nuque – ces choses-là existent. Qu’a-t-elle inventé de mieux notre civilisation? Le socialisme même n’apportera pas de perfectionnement au lit. S’étendre, s’endormir, ne plus se réveiller… Les autres sont tous morts, tous! tous! Combien de temps faudra-t-il à ce pays pour que notre nouveau prolétariat commence à prendre conscience de lui-même? Impossible de forcer sa maturation. On ne hâte pas la germination des graines dans la terre. On peut la tuer par contre, mais on ne peut (c’est une certitude rassurante) ni la tuer partout, ni la tuer toujours, ni la tuer complètement…”
    ― Victor Serge, The Case of Comrade Tulayev

    Andrew Coates

    February 18, 2020 at 6:09 pm

  5. It’s taken quite some time, but finally Gerry seems to have escaped the thrall of Ian Donovan’s ideas. Ever since he started coming up with this nonsense, Gerry has had to face strong criticisms: I was at a Weekly Worker meeting quite some time back where Moshé Machover said that Socialist Fight’s ideas were drawing on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Tony Greenstein really had a go at them, and I pointed out that if we boiled down SF’s theories, one could only conclude that the Jewish minority of the capitalist class was able to persuade the non-Jewish majority to act against its interests by some sort of magical powers on the part of the former. The SF people at the meeting had to engage in a political high-wire act, promoting their conspiratorial line whilst denying that it could possibly be anti-Semitic.

    How someone with Gerry’s long history could get mixed up with such appalling ideas is a mystery. I’ve been told that he tends to look to theoretical types for his ideas and gets pulled along by such people, but these ideas were so obviously into the realm of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories that we were truly amazed at his adoption of them. Still, the Bible says we should welcome penitent sinners, and I’m glad that finally Gerry has seen sense.

    Dr Paul

    February 18, 2020 at 7:02 pm

  6. “Anti-Semitism” is why we can not criticize Jews or Jewish actions anywhere in the world or at any time in history.

    larryzb

    February 18, 2020 at 7:43 pm

  7. ““Anti-Semitism” is why we can not criticize Jews or Jewish actions anywhere in the world or at any time in history” which is clearly why no-one ever criticises Jews, Zionism or the state of Israel, eh?

    Jim Denham

    February 19, 2020 at 11:26 am

  8. I’m glad socialists don’t take sides in the Israel-Palestine. We hate the fact that workers are divided against themselves.

    Steven Johnston

    February 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm

  9. I loved the bit where he explained how his relationship with Donovan, as a “Marxist theoretician”, was similar to Marx and Engels or Lenin and Trotsky. Disputes among the Lilliputians might be a more apt analogy.

    Stuart King

    February 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm

  10. I agree Stuart, why are we even discussing this chap, if not for a cheap laugh.

    Steven Johnston

    February 19, 2020 at 3:22 pm

  11. This just about as offensive as things can possibly get:

    Andrew Coates

    February 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm


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