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Roger Garaudy, Holocaust Denier, Gets Unearthed.

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US Islamist site, Garaudy “died persecuted and isolated⁠—all because he rejected the Zionist version of history.”

Like the Loch Ness Monster, though less beguiling, Roger Garaudy has been rediscovered. Roger Garaudy: Why This French Intellectual Remains Unknown. Hint: He Was Muslim headlines a recent piece in the US Muslim Skeptic. The writer, one Bheria, asks, “Who was this Roger Garaudy? Who was this individual that received one of the most prestigious awards in the Muslim world; and that too for his “Service to Islam”; and then also having shared this honor with the renowned Ahmed Deedat? (And how do you even pronounce his name?).”

Garaudy died in 2012. He was 98 years old. The US author laments, “He basically died persecuted and isolated⁠—all because he rejected the Zionist version of history.”

Roger Garaudy is pretty well known, and not just because he was one of “France’s leading intellectuals from the last century.”  He was (successively), a Communist (he joined the French Party in 1933), a Resistance Fighter, leading Stalinist Communist (he appeared for the French Communist Party (PCF) during the Kravchenko libel Trial in 1949, to stand with the USSR against the charge that it held concentration camps, as one of the witnesses of its ‘morality’, témoins de moralité), an ‘Official Philosopher’ of the PCF from the 50s to 60s, Marxist-Humanist (first during the Party’s opening to these ideas, to which a number of its intellectuals were attracted, such as the – serious – philosopher Lucien Sève), some-time Atheist, Christian-Marxist (Protestant, from youth he had an association with La  Réforme  in France, then Catholic) , Ecologist, and finally, in 1982, a convert to Islam.

One of Garaudy’s legacies is the Calahorra Tower in Spain. This museum, which he founded, celebrates the Arab colonisation of the Iberian peninsula, and suggests that the invasion under the Umayyad Caliphate and Muslim rule over their new subjects led to a “time of brilliant cultural, artistic and scientific achievement” between the 9th and 13th century”.

A more famous reason why Garaudy is remembered is this, which Behria cites:

Already in 1982 his miltant anti-Zionism led him to compare Zionism to Nazism.

In the 1990s he published The Founding Myths Of Israeli Politics, which argued, among a number of other controversial claims, that Hitler had ordered the deportation and not the extermination of the Jews and that typhus, not gas chambers, was responsible for the deaths of Jews in Nazi concentration camps.

After an outcry in the press, Garaudy was prosecuted under France’s tough laws against inciting racial hatred and denying crimes against humanity, to be found guilty in 1998.

He appealed against the judgement at every possible level but lost each time, with the final verdict from the European Court of Human Rights declaring that he had received a fair trial.

Garaudy died in Chennevières, in the Marne valley east of Paris, at the age of 98.

The Muslim ‘sceptic’ comments, “Yet another example of the sheer hypocrisy of freedom of expression—an un-Islamic liberal concept.”

I have little idea of who the chap who has rediscovered Garaudy is. He writes stuff like, “Holy Incest in Zoroastrianism” and Salman Rushdie: Neo-Orientalism and Western Hypocrisy He looks like an Islamic version of political confusionism, mixing appeals to the fight against ‘colonisation’ with this, ” The 19th Century Jewish Critique of Modern Liberal Western Degeneracy.” On second thoughts, he is a genuine fascist….”You can’t reject Western degeneracy selectively because you like this person’s poetry or that person’s painting. In order to be coherent you have to be “radical.””

The one-time humanist turned anti-Semite is not exactly forgotten in the Muslim world: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praises Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy as brave and tireless. (2019)

Garaudy’s development does raise the question of what kind of ‘Marxist humanism’ he ever believed in.

During the early sixties, stated no less a figure than Perry Anderson, “the values of humanism were extolled from the balconies of the French Politbureau by its major ideologue Roger Garaudy, while in the USSR Kruschev’s new party programme for the CPSU proclaimed ‘Everything for Man’.” (Arguments within English Marxism. 1980) The case of Garaudy, the erudite one-time New Leftist wrote, “was well known”, comparable to John Lewis in the UK”. Another writer, perhaps more familiar with French politics, once wrote of him as “formerly witch-hunter general, now dispenser of extreme unction, in quick succession champion of Stalin and defender of the Khrushchevite faith” (Gregory Elliott, Althusser – The Detour of Theory. 1987, hat tip, MHW))

Lewis, a former Ipswich Unitarian Minister who became a leading philosopher in the Communist Party of Great Britain, wrote in 1961 that “Stalin’s work tends to be undervalued today.” “The great creative statesman, however much he may have blundered in later years” expressed, the Soviet leader said, “the definitive objective of developing real freedom in the best sense of the term.” (Socialism and the Individual). He was in this respect a supporter of official ‘humanism’.

The French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser attacked this form of ‘humanism’ in Pour Marx (1965). He claimed that, Marx broke with an approach “based history and politics on an essence of man.” and an ideology, “(socialist) personal humanism”. His targets included the (unnamed) Lucien Sève  and Garaudy. Whatever the piece’s merits, it is hard to make sense today of Althusser’s talk of “the transition to communism, the end of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the withering-away of the State apparatus, presupposing the creation of new forms of political, economic and cultural organisation”. He was referring to the 1960s USSR and Eastern Bloc…

A more explicit clash took place with John Lewis in the pages of the CPGB journal Marxism Today much later, in 1972. This battle, generally considered to be substitute for the earlier attack on the PCF’s theorists, greatly exercised E.P.Thompson in The Poverty of Theory (1978). The labour historian and long term socialist humanist he declared that the École Normale supérieure  teacher was part of a “general police action within ideology” an “the attempt to reconstruct Stalinism at the level of theory”, when he asserted that it was not “man”, human beings in the abstract, but concrete class struggles by the masses that “made history”.

In appealing to the authority of ‘Marxism-Leninism’ Althusser was on shaky ground at the time, a floor that has collapsed for good since. He claimed that “The “Stalin deviation” was a deviation above all because it implied that the road to communism lay not so much through class struggle as through the development of the productive forces. That is why it can be characterized in terms of humanism and economism. But it is precisely Stalin’s humanism and his economism which Khrushchev did not touch, which he did not rectify.(Louis Althusser Essays in Self-Criticism. 1976.) And further, as Gregory Elliott has shown in Althusser: The Detour of Theory (2014) the theorist failed even to begin to deal with the history of Bolshevism, the shape of Marxist-Leninist ideology in the crystalised in the USSR state, the totalitarian crushing of class struggle and human rights, and its inability to develop the productive forces beyond the capacities of a ramshackle semi-militarised command economy.

But what, to his credit, Althusser and other structuralist ‘anti-humanists’ did was simple. They had little to say on ethics, less on the material reality of human rights created in the successive democratic revolutions of the last centuries. What they did was to question the idea that calling yourself a ‘humanist’ and criticising, a picture of the young Marx’s writings in which he ‘alienation’ of human beings caught up in externalised was both a hallmark of capitalism and a explanatory tool for historical change. Althusser may have been unfunny when he said of Lewis’s worldview that in it “man is a little lay god”. Yet he may well have had in mind the Khrushchev Soviet humanism which the British Communist had backed, one that is a cruel mockery of slogans that made human beings the centre of that society.

Humanism has a long and noble history. E.P.Thompson’s fight, begun under the banner in the 1950s, was against Stalinist Marxism, and the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution by Soviet Tanks in 1956 and the Soviet Glacis in Eastern Europe. Today the word can be a deeply felt rallying cry against injustice, certainly better and more unifying than anything that ‘god’ believers can offer. But as social and political theory? It is an ethical and political objective. There are too many humanisms to pin the word down to one approach to explaining the world, or to one form of politics.

Post-PCF Garaudy did not find an enduring home on the left. After expulsion from the Communists in 1970 for disagreements over the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the May student movement, he branched out. In his writings he advocated new political blocs and ways of organising on the left and the “non-alienated” socialism of “man as a creator” The Turning Point of Socialism (1970). Seeing what few would glimpse today the communist still had some hopes in the socialist camp, “As the Chinese Revolution has shown it is possible to proceed directly from an agrarian-feudal society to socialism without any intermediate capitalist phase.” Yet he plunged further into the sea of a new faith and “self-management” in The Alternative Future: A Vision of Christian Marxism (1976). The book looked to China as “radical alternative to that prevailing in western and Soviet Civilisation…”there are cities without banks, without advertising without drugs and alcohol, without private cars..”

Stability was to come after conversion to Islam he wrote, Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israélienne (The Founding Myths of Modern Israel), 1996. “In his book, Garaudy rejected many of the premises of the Jewish claim to a homeland in the Levant and to the legitimacy of the state of Israel as “myths,” e.g., the “theological myths” of the Bible; the twentieth century “myth of Zionist anti-Fascism”; the “myth of justice at Nuremberg” the “myth of the six million,” and the “myth of the land without people for a people without a land.” These and other myths, Garaudy’s book argued, had been used by world Zionists in a conspiracy to dispossess the Palestinians of their homeland.”

You can read Garaudy’s book on the site, Radio Islam, alongside articles by other people on subjects such as The Jews behind Islamophobia and Jewish Manipulation of World Leaders.

Forward to the Arabic edition of Garaudy’s The Founding Myths of Modern Israel (Shoah denial site, The Journal for Historical Review)

After the war, the legend of the Nazi Holocaust and its promotion, particularly in the US, attracted Reed’s attention. Reed’s approach in discussing this myth in practice was based primarily on demographic data and what they pointed to. Such data, Reed felt, do not lie. He cited the statistics of the League of Nations on the number of Jews in the world in 1938, the last annual report of this global organization before World War II. Then he compared those data with the figures found in the first post-war population statistics published in 1947 by the United Nations — the organization that replaced the League of Nations. The comparison revealed that the number of Jews in the world after the war of 1939-1945 was the same as it had been before the war — just under eleven million persons.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 30, 2022 at 1:52 pm

Beyond the Fringe: Fringe Left at Labour Conference 2022.

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One of the Stars at ‘Beyond the Fringe’ a “radical alternative” to the Labour Party Conference.

The Morning Star today publishes a Press Release, sorry, article about this event.

Activists plan ‘radical’ alternative to Labour Party conference 

“Speakers are set to include Stella Assange, who is the wife of jailed journalist Julian Assange, former Labour MP Chris Williamson, anti-racism campaigner Jackie Walker and Liverpool campaigner Audrey White who confronted Keir Starmer in a video which went viral.”

Beyond the Fringe producer Paula Drummond said: “We wanted a real alternative fringe rather than the sanitised and controlled meetings you usually get at the Labour Party conference.”

“So we developed the idea of a live online TV format, with interactive debate open to everyone, with a strong Scouse flavour. It’s vital that now more than ever the left, both inside and outside Labour, discusses the way forward and develops a real strategy.

From their own site:

REBELS LAUNCH “RADICAL ALTERNATIVE” TO LABOUR CONFERENCE

Rebel activists plan to launch a state-of-the-art radical alternative to the Labour Party conference in Liverpool autumn.

It will, the organisers claim, form a major offensive in a new leftwing fightback against  both the Tories and Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

“Beyond the Fringe – the Future of the Left”,  will be a three-day series of events running alongside the Labour’s Party conference in late September. 

Provisional Agenda.

  • You can’t say that! Racism, antisemitism, ID politics – are there limits to free speech? With David Miller, Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein;
  • The Middle Eastern revolution and the struggle for Palestinian rights. With Asa Winstanley, Huda Ammori, David Miller and Ronnie Barkan;
  • The war on woke and the war on the left. With Jackie Walker, Asa Winstanley and guests;
  • Reclaim Pride – 50 years of LGBT+ struggle. With Teddy Brown, Phil Maxwell and guests;
  • Has the Left got it wrong on race? With Jackie Walker and guests;
  • The Forde Report: Lessons of the Corbyn years. With Jackie Walker, Duncan Shipley Dalton and Tony Greenstein.

Others names associated with the event (on their site) include the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition TUSC candidate Dave Nellist, Howard Beckett, who still has something to do with UNITE, and Ian Hodson of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU).

Chris Williamson’s latest hobby-horse:

Chris Williamson Retweeted

The Labour Left Alliance is, insiders say, the main force behind this bean-feast.

The main Labour left group, the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) withdrew support from it back at the end of 2019.

It has had little public presence recently.

This is from a time earlier this year.

We hear that Tina Werkmann is still involved. Democratic socialists would not touch a body that promotes the likes of Tony Greenstein, David Miller, and Chris Williamson (to name only the most egregious cases) with a barge-pole. One wonders who role Jackie Walker sees for herself in all endless list of panels she is appearing in at this event.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2022 at 4:13 pm

Alice Walker, David Icke and the “United National Anti-War Coalition.”

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Alice Walker Gets United National Anti-War Coalition Backing.

Novelist Alice Walker is in the news after being ‘disinvited’ to events, “The Pulitzer Prize winning author was disinvited to the Bay Area Book Festival for her endorsement of a controversial author (Note David Icke) , who espouses antisemitic conspiracy rhetoric.” Jonah Raskin.

Peter Herman in the Jewish Journal continues,

After the San Diego Community College District announced that Alice Walker would be the keynote speaker for the new Chancellor’s installation, protests immediately followed. Various Jewish organizations wrote in protest, and the San Diego Union Tribune reported on the ensuing controversy. At least two opinion pieces (here and here) came out against the invitation. 

The United National Anti-War Coalition is an American body, small in size but large in its pretentions, who are probably one of the best known examples of the anti-imperialism of fools roaring on the planet. To be more exact, they are “a “peace” coalition dominated by the Workers World Party.” The WWP traces its founding back to Sam Marcy, (Sam Ballan (1911 – February 1, 1998), the original Trotskyist turned campist. As he put it, “The contemporary epoch is also characterized by the transformation of the world class struggle into a struggle of the world working class, the oppressed countries, and the socialist countries against the imperialist bourgeoisie.” (Imperialism and the growth of opportunism.)

To get an idea of their politics you only have to see their statement in March on Ukraine,

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) remains steadfast in its opposition to the United States/NATO imperialist project. The people of Ukraine are now suffering in a war zone because of the actions of the United States, beginning with the 2014 coup which violently ousted an elected president. The goal then as now was to use Ukraine as a weapon to target Russia militarily. We point out that the current conflict is not the first for Ukraine. More than 14,000 people living in the eastern Donbas region have died in an eight-year long war because they refused to accept the coup government imposed by the U.S.

They have now taken up this cause:

Stand with Alice Walker: Anti-Zionism is NOT Anti-Semitism!

“As censorship is becoming the norm in the United States, Alice Walker, a human rights fighter, antiwar activist, feminist and world-renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple has been invited and then disinvited to the Bay Area Book Festival. This was done because her consistent stand in support of Palestinian rights. This they claim is anti-Semitism.

Speakers include

Alice Walker

Chris Hedges

Susan Abulhawa”

Alice Walker and the Price of Conscience. Chris Hedges.

Alice Walker was disinvited to the Bay Area Book Festival after Zionist groups threatened to carry out protests. The public and presenters are complicit in her blacklisting if they attend.

Walker, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has been a very public advocate for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israel for many years. Her friendship with Icke has long been part of the public record. She hid nothing. It is not as if the festival organizers suddenly discovered a dark secret about Walker. They sought to capitalize on her celebrity and then, when they felt the heat from the Israel lobby, capitulated to the mob to humiliate her.

Organizers of the festival attacked Walker for her poem “It is Our Frightful Duty.” They accuse Walker of channeling Icke’s alleged anti-Semitism into her writing, as if Walker is unable to think for herself. The attack on the poem, which is a gross misreading of its intent, exposes the lie that Walker’s position on Israel and Palestine had nothing to do with her being disinvited.

“Unfortunately, Ms. Walker has not only promoted Icke’s ideas widely on her own blog and in interviews, but they may have influenced her own writing,” the festival wrote in a statement. “

This Blog, no doubt many will disagree, was neither moved by Walker’s celebrated book, The Color Purple, which chronicles the struggle of several black women in rural Georgia in the first half of the twentieth century, nor can even remember much of the 1985 film made of it. It is, nevertheless, for a large number of people, a landmark.

*****

Walker’s campaigning on the Palestine and Israel issue, and BDS, is her businesses.

But her admiration and promotion of David Icke – a far-right conspiracist close enough to us here to have organised a large public meeting in nearby Colchester and to have got involved in the nationally resonant anti-Vaxx anti-Lockdown movement in the UK – is of wider concern. Many people in Britain, including some I have come across who knew him in his Green Party days, do not just regard Icke as a lizard theorist nutter, and a ‘Covid Hoax’ confusionist but as full blown fascist. In this country admiring him would not just get you laughed at but shunned.

Here is the story,

Alice Walker, the beloved activist and author of The Color Purple, is under fire for promoting an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. Constance Grady. 2018.

Walker has flirted with anti-Semitism for years, but the public at large seemed to ignore it — until last weekend, when she took some time in her New York Times Book Review “By the Book” interview to admiringly shout out David Icke. Icke is best known for arguing that the world is run by a secret cabal of alien lizard people, many of whom are Jewish. While Walker has previously recommended Icke’s work on her blog, this is the first time her apparent affinity for him has gone quite so public. (Vox has reached out to Walker and Walker’s publisher, Atria, for comment.)

“In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about,” Walker said in the column, specifically noting And the Truth Shall Set You Free, in which Icke variously argues both that Jews funded the Holocaust and that maybe the Holocaust did not happen. Icke’s books, Walker says, are “a curious person’s dream come true.”

What The New Yorker Didn’t Say About a Famous Writer’s Anti-Semitism (29.4.2022.)

Why are Alice Walker’s vile beliefs about Jews treated so gently? Caitlin Flanagan

As my Atlantic colleague Yair Rosenberg has reported, since 2012 Walker has promoted the ideas of a repugnant person, David Icke, the author of a book called And the Truth Shall Set You Free. The book, Rosenberg writes, “mentions the word ‘Jewish’ 241 times and the name ‘Rothschild’ 374 times. These citations are not compliments.” Icke suggests that the Jewish people helped pay for the Holocaust themselves (if it even happened; he thinks schoolchildren should be encouraged to debate this). He says that the KKK is secretly Jewish, and he seems to be a big fan of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

It continues,

As recently as 2018, Walker praised And the Truth Shall Set You Free, during an interview with The New York Times. “In Icke’s books,” she said, “there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about. A curious person’s dream come true.” Who knows how many people she has introduced to this terrible thing.

Walker is a fierce critic of the state of Israel, and has refused to allow a Hebrew translation of The Color Purple. She has rejected charges of anti-Semitism as attempts to silence her support for the Palestinians, but the argument that Walker’s issue is only with the Israeli government, not with the Jewish people, is specious. In that poem, she describes the Palestinians as just the latest examples of the victims of an “ancient” evil perpetrated “with impunity, and without conscience, / By a Chosen people.” This is hate.

You can see why Workers World would like Icke..

Written by Andrew Coates

May 17, 2022 at 4:37 pm