Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

As the Weekly Worker Group Prepares for Split Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity, Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan) Battle it out.

with 12 comments

“This is a temporary phase of course, reminiscent in some ways of the days of Marx and Engels, but it is where we are at today.”

As the Weekly Worker (CPGB, Provisional Central Committee Group prepares for a major split its mighty organs are silent on the dispute.

The Labour Party Marxist is said to be in turmoil

The future of this faction, central in running Labour Against the Witch-hunt (LAW), a campaign backed by Tony Greenstein, Noam Chomsky, Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and others, including Jackie Walker, may be in doubt.

Will LAW survive the turmoil?

Fight the Weekly Worker Purge!

By contrast this week’s, late, issue of the Weekly Worker publishes this letter by a Cde Ian Donovan.


In a measured he tone explains the background to the split between Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan)….

Gerry Downing’s pathetic letter claiming that the ‘Trotskyist Faction’ including myself were ‘expelled’ from Socialist Fight is pure fraud (February 27). He does not have a majority of full members of SF willing to vote for such a measure. No meeting of members has or will be called to do so. Nor has he been able to exclude our supporters from the international forums of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International. When he tried to do so, in defiance of the most basic tenets of workers’ and party democracy, his actions were repudiated by other comrades internationally and our supporters were reinstated. This ‘expulsion’ is dead in the water.

It is just about Gerry Downing farting out his denunciations on a stolen website, using a stolen banner. The joke is that a “unanimous vote” in his fantasy version of ‘Socialist Fight’ is when Gerry Downing, Ella Downing and his race-baiting, Islamophobic, white South African crony, Gareth Martin, each put up both of their hands. Their six hands outvoted all the members of Socialist Fight who failed to vote for Gerry’s pro-Zionist statement the last time Socialist Fight had a genuine national vote, in January. And he calls that “unanimous”! That’s where Gerry’s ‘majority’ comes from.


His fascist-baiting, mendacious half-quotes are designed to ‘prove’ that those in Socialist Fight who failed to salute his fascist-baiting attack on Gilad Atzmon are worshippers of the Ku Klux Klan. …

And so it goes….until it (mercifully) ends with this:

Well, we in the Trotskyist Faction don’t accept that move to the right and will fight it to the bitter end. Gerry may have stolen our website, which our subs paid for over the past several years just as much as his did. But we don’t accept his common theft – of our website, our publication or our name. The Trotskyist Faction has its own website up and running, on http://www.socialistfight.org, or alternatively trotskyistfaction.org, and in due course we will have our own publication to replace that which has been stolen. We will continue the politics of the old Socialist Fight. Renegades and capitulators to Zionism will not be allowed to steal our banner.

Ian Donovan
Trotskyist Faction, Socialist Fight

Key documents are only just emerging on the split between Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan)….

Published on the Trotskyist Faction site:

Trotskyist Faction takes on the mantle of Socialist Fight.


GD, was an oppositionist in the Healyite Workers Revolutionary Party at the time of its 1985 explosion and collapse, one of many active participants. He then went through various organisations: the Revolutionary Internationalist League, International Socialist Group, the Workers International League, Workers Fight with 2 other ex-WRP cadre with varied politics, then the Committee for a Marxist Party in alliance with the CPGB/Weekly Worker.

He then founded Socialist Fight in 2009 with two other ex-ISG cadre, whom he then split from over the issue of their defence of the film director Roman Polanksi, who admitted to statutory rape of a 13 year old girl and appears from the evidence to be guilty of actual rape. After breaking with his initial collaborators he then fused his rump group with some Brazilian and Argentinian Trotskyists groups in 2013 as part of an anti-imperialist response to imperialist intervention in Syria and Libya, to form the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI). This gave an international dimension to his politics that meant it was no longer his operation.

Ploughing through the documents, which include reference to Hannah Arendt, and many, many, others, we reach this key point, “all this is just a means to an end for GD. The real target of all this rancid pro-Zionist hate propaganda was the Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism.” “In conversation with Atzmon in 2018, GD rejected criticisms of its supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ as ‘Zionism’. But now as the concluding point of his renegade, pro-Zionist faction he writes:

“We 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. We will in future use the term ‘Zionism’ alone in describing the political tendency within the Jewish ethnicity that commits such dreadful crimes under international law against the Palestinian citizens of Israel and those expelled Palestinians primarily in 1948, ‘67 and ‘73, all of whom have the right of return.”

Donovan does score one major point.

However, GD had a problem even with this, as he had stood on a public platform at a joint Socialist Fight public meeting in July 2017, a rather large meeting attended by around 150 people, with Vanessa Beeley, a defender of the Syrian regime and an uncritical Assad supporter, speaking in defence of Syria against the US/UK/Israel backed jihadist destabilisation and proxy war. She has written regularly for Veterans Today for several years. So in denouncing ID for sharing material from Veterans Today calling into question the legitimacy of the result of the UK General Election, GD was also implicitly attacking some of his best known work. If it was impermissible to share articles from Veterans Today, then surely it was impermissible to share a platform with Vanessa Beeley?

For those who can be arsed to read it there is plenty more!

Here is Donovan’s nemesis, Gerry Downing giving his side of the story.

Socialist Fight, Ian Donovan and the Trotskyist Faction

We have been now forced to set up a new bank account because Ian and Turan have control of the Socialist Fight bank account and this, they believe, should give them control of the group. Ian has refused to accept the votes of the majority of the group. He has decided that John Carty is not a member and his membership subscriptions are ‘donations’ and not subscriptions. My daughter, Ella, Gareth Martin, and Charlie Walsh cannot join as candidate members for six months because he disagrees with them over what Gilad Atzmon’s politics are. He has refused to bank their subscriptions that I sent to him, said I was buying their membership and he was keeping the cheques as evidence of my ‘corruption’.

Let us not ignore the outright fascism of Gilad Atzmon: “Fascism, I believe, more than any other ideology, deserves our attention, as it was an attempt to integrate Left and Right: the dream and the concrete into a unified political system. … It was “overwhelmingly popular and productive for a while because it managed to bridge the abyss between the ‘fantasy’ and the ‘actual.’”

This row would not be complete without Tony Greenstein getting his oar in:

Socialist Fight Drops Its Support for Ian Donovan’s Anti-Semitic Theories about a pan-national Jewish-Zionist Bourgeoisie – or does it?


12 Responses

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  1. Hi!

    Where you saw the WW group is about to split? What is the disagreement between the factions?


    March 7, 2020 at 8:05 pm

  2. We have our sources.

    The division appears to be centred on the attitude towards the ‘Labour Left Alliance”.

    As Stan Keable notes,

    A vision of royal socialism.

    Stan Keable of Labour Party Marxists was among the London delegates at the Labour Left Alliance launch conference in Sheffield.

    “Nowhere in the constitution of the Labour Left Alliance, adopted at its February 22 launch conference, do the words ‘socialism’, ‘working class’ or ‘capitalism’ appear.1 That despite the fact that the founding objective of the Labour Party was working class representation, and socialism was incorporated into its constitution as long ago as 1918”

    That level of treachery at the top of the Corbynite camp brought about a spasm of individual resignations and the withdrawal of local groups from Momentum – and a positive response from the Labour Representation Committee leadership to Labour Against the Witchhunt’s overtures for a joint initiative by existing left organisations. Two and a half years after Momentum was ‘reduced to a corpse’, the Appeal for a Labour Left Alliance was published in the name of LAW and the LRC – Jewish Voice for Labour and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy could not be persuaded to come on board. Representatives from LAW and the LRC formed the LLA Organising Group (OG) – which then grew, with the addition of a delegate from each local Momentum or Labour left group that affiliated.

    By the end of October 2019 (when the LRC executive committee got cold feet and withdrew), the LLA was already up and running, with some 1,600 signatories (there are now nearly 2,000), 20 local groups (now 39) and preparations for its launch conference well under way.”

    Around 130 delegates attended the Sheffield conference, representing 36 local and national Labour Left groups. Given that the prescribed delegate/signatory ratio was 1:3, the “nearly 2,000” signatories to the appeal were very much underrepresented. The pre-conference local meetings were generally attended by only a small minority of signatories, and there was little or no competition for delegate places. Nevertheless, the keenest activists turned up and set the new organisation in motion.

    Thankfully, conference was not overloaded with top-table speakers, but we did welcome witch-hunt target and Labour expellee Jackie Walker, along with the newly reinstated ‘repeat non-offender’, NEC candidate Jo Bird.

    Read the rest:


    Andrew Coates

    March 8, 2020 at 2:25 pm

  3. Does anybody actually care?

    Dave Roberts

    March 8, 2020 at 3:29 pm

  4. If nothing else, its a useful reticule for measuring how much of a wreck Gilad Atzmon is.

    The heart of the split is Ian Donovan’s inability to see Atzmon’s antisemitism, contrasted to Gerry Downing’s belated discovery of it. A decade ago Donovan determined he was willing to go down with the Atzmon ship. And so he did, twenty thousand leagues and counting.

    Donovan’s defense of, for example, Atzmon’s promotion of Holocaust denial is so incoherent it reminds me of the text you generate by repeatedly pressing the middle suggestion of your phone’s spell-checker. Ultimately you see that it is the from-the-gut need to defend Atzmon against any criticism that comes first for Donovan, and if that means defending Holocaust denial, Donovan is game.

    If Atzmon’s pack of defenders on the left are down to pretty much to the Ian Shoutymans, then it’s no wonder Atzmon’s now thrown his lot in with the alt-right. Donovan will join him soon enough.

    Sven Golly

    March 8, 2020 at 4:12 pm

  5. Which alt right group is he wit. I thought he was SWP.

    Dave Roberts

    March 8, 2020 at 5:50 pm

  6. Among others, Henrik Palmgren’s “Red Ice Radio,” an alt-right podcast on which he is a recurring guest.

    Sven Golly

    March 8, 2020 at 8:58 pm

  7. Judging by the results of the last general election I’d say that no one cares.

    Steven Johnston

    March 9, 2020 at 9:59 am

  8. Which one does the best Dave Spart impression?

    Steven Johnston

    March 11, 2020 at 12:03 pm

  9. Since when does 150 people constitute a “rather large meeting”?

    Steven Johnston

    March 11, 2020 at 12:40 pm

  10. That level of treachery at the top of the Corbynite camp brought about a spasm of individual resignations and the withdrawal of local groups from Momentum

    Dave Spart would be proud! But then he would have added “With sickening predictability & showing their true class-collaborating colours”

    Steven Johnston

    March 11, 2020 at 1:51 pm

  11. Well what are Trot principles? Well their idol, Trotsky, shot women and children who disagreed with him.

    Steven Johnston

    March 13, 2020 at 11:14 am

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