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Factionalism in the Time of Cornavirus Part 5: Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

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“Either McDonnell must be removed as president or the LRC will be forced to throw out victims of the witch-hunt from its ranks” Labour Party Marxist.

Labour Against the WItch-hunt is effectively a bloc between the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committe), better known as the Weekly Worker group, and prominent (that is, 2 prominent people) of the Labour Left Alliance (LLA). Also included is the Tony Greenstein Party.

Greenstein has been barred from Twitter but is famous for, amongst many other things in the same vein, this Tweet:

Marlon Solomon on Twitter: ""The NEC's case is that Greenstein's ...

The LLA’s supporters include,

  • Tosh McDonald, former president Aslef, Doncaster councillor
  • Asa Winstanley, journalist
  • Jackie Walker
  • Graham Bash
  • Chris Williamson
  • Professor Moshe Machover

Have they gone to ground during the pandemic?

No.

Labour Against the Witch-hunt informs the world today

We are pleased to announce that Labour Against the Witchhunt, in cooperation with the Labour Left Alliance, is planning a counter-conference on the ‘leaked’ report. Confirmed participants so far include Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker, Prof David Miller, Asa Winstanley, Moshe Machover, Greg Hadfield and Tony Greenstein.

LAW’s sponsors include:

  • Alexei Sayle, comedian
  • Ken Livingstone
  • Professor Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist and founder of Matzpen
  • Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers Union
  • Ken Loach, film director
  • Noam Chomsky, author and activist

LAW’s honorary presidents are Ken Livingstone and Moshé Machover

The Labour Left Alliance reproduces LAW’s attack on Jeremy Corbyn,

…the conference will also look at the many mistakes made by the Corbyn leadership: The report shows that they decided to support the lie that the Labour Party is overrun by antisemites. They sought to appease the Israel advocacy groups and the self-appointed leadership of “the Jewish community” and behaved as though they believed this lie. In the process they displayed an inability to recognise real antisemitism, while eagerly trying to get rid of activists like Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone, Marc Wadsworth and Chris Williamson, none of whom can be accused of even a trace of antisemitism.

In preparation for the conference the Weekly Worker has this Friday published an attack on John McDonnell and the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) by the Labour Party Marxist, Stan Keable.

Keable is also the Secretary of LAW.

Run, run, run away

“Stan Keable of Labour Party Marxists fears that technical reasons are being used to hide rotten politics

The Labour Representation Committee’s executive has decided to ‘postpone’ the planned June 27 online conference till some time in September. Why?”

These are the key sections of the article,

…t is very likely that the real reason goes by the name of John McDonnell, the LRC’s president. The fear is surely that, if the conference went ahead, it would have been attended by many victims of the ‘Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt. To address such a conference could end McDonnell’s glorious political career in the Labour Party with his expulsion. After seeing what happened to fellow MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy, he knows that is a real prospect.

…..

John McDonnell has undergone a sickening political decay. He, like Momentum owner Jon Lansman, helped lever the Labour Party into adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s so-called ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism: a definition which equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Not only that: McDonnell supported the reactionary “zero tolerance” doctrine in the face of the blatantly dishonest witch-hunt against socialist and leftwing activists. Such treachery, such a failure to stand in solidarity with wrongly accused comrades, whose innocence he cannot have doubted, should not be passed over in silence. He certainly should have been stripped of his position as LRC president.

Keable concludes,

Keeping McDonnell as LRC president, as its figurehead, is like allowing Ramsay MacDonald to remain Labour Party leader after he had defected to lead the national (Tory) government in 1931. It will guarantee the LRC’s inability to struggle effectively for socialism (which does not appear amongst the LRC’s ‘Aims and objectives’, by the way4) or even for a “fully democratic” Labour Party (which does appear, in rule 2). As Keir Starmer’s new Blairite witch-finder general, David Evans, gears up as general secretary for a purge of the left likely to dwarf what the Labour right was able to get away with during the Corbyn period, either McDonnell must be removed as president or the LRC will be forced to throw out victims of the witch-hunt from its ranks.

Dodging this choice is impossible. It is either him or us.

For many people who know at least some of those involved this is sad more than anything else.

Some activists we still have respect for have got caught up in the eternal games of the Weekly Worker: the cycle of provocation/repression/recruitment.

In the meantime these tweets indicate continuing cause for concern about anti-semitism on the left.

The conference promises to interest many people with these views together.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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“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.

Pathetic

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.

Extracts:

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?

 

Far-Right Conspiracy Group ‘Keep Talking’ Involves: Piers Corbyn, Gilad Atzmon and Vanessa Beeley.

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Image result for keep talking far right

This Guardian report is deeply concerning.

UK left activists attended events with far right antisemites

Former Labour party members have regularly met elements of the far right to discuss and propagate antisemitic conspiracy theories, an undercover investigation has found.

Infiltration of the conspiracy theorist group Keep Talking found that Jeremy Corbyn supporters and confidantes of former Labour MPs have attended meetings addressed by Holocaust deniers.

During one gathering in London last year, suspended Labour supporters heard James Thring, an infamous antisemite linked to the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, speak openly and unchallenged about Holocaust denial.

A covert recording of Thring at the meeting captured him claiming that no deaths were recorded at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, where 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were systematically murdered.

Among ex-Labour members at Keep Talking events – though not the one attended by Thring – was Elleanne Green. Once a Labour member in Westminster, Green founded the secret Facebook group Palestine Live, exposed in 2018 as featuring Holocaust denial and theories that Israel was responsible for 9/11.

Corbyn and other senior Labour party figures had been members of the Facebook group at various points since its creation in 2013. Green, suspended by the party in July 2018, accompanied ex-MP Chris Williamson to court when he sued the party in an antisemitism row. Undercover investigators first noticed Green at a Keep Talking event in September 2018.

A number of names, familiar to those who’ve followed the issue, and recognise that Labour has indeed had a problem with some anti-semitic activists, appear in the article:

During the meeting at which Thring spoke, on 5 March 2019 at a Kentish Town cafe, ex-Labour party member Peter Gregson was the guest speaker with a speech titled: “The loss of freedom of speech on Israel, thanks to bogus antisemitism claims.”

Gregson, who was thrown out of the GMB union and suspended by the Labour party over antisemitic allegations, has founded a group called Labour Against Zionism and Islamophobic Racism (Lazir).

Also present in the audience was Ian Fantom, co-founder of Keep Talking and a 9/11 “truther”, who has appeared alongside Piers Corbyn, older brother of the Labour leader, at a Keep Talking event.

Footage taken during the Kentish Town meeting has also identified Gill Kaffash, former secretary of the Camden branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, whose membership application was rejected by the Labour party in 2016 because she had promoted Holocaust revisionism.

Other Keep Talking attendees include Holocaust denier and far-right activist Alison Chabloz, who the Jewish News reported in 2015 became a supporter of the Labour party and “declared loyalty to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in several blog posts”.

Chabloz was convicted of antisemitism in 2018 after publishing videos of herself singing antisemitic songs denying the Holocaust at a meeting of the London Forum, a far-right organisation with links to the US alt-right.

Another speaker at Keep Talking meetings was Israeli writer Miko Peled, who addressed the group after appearing at a Labour party conference fringe event in Brighton in 2019.

During a Labour party conference in 2017 he reportedly told a fringe event that: “This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum.”

The other co-founder of Keep Talking, Nick Kollerstrom, is a Holocaust denier who has referred to “storybook gas chambers” when describing Auschwitz.

There is one defender of Palestine Live around:

This might give a clue that this not an isolated fringe:

“Funded by disgraced academic and Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom. Speakers include conspiracy theorists and fellow travellers, such as Piers Corbyn, Gilad Atzmon and Vanessa Beeley. Suspended Labour members have rubbed shoulders with far right activists.”

Piers has well-known mental health issues, but as for Atzmon, and Beeley…

Chris Williamson promoted petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, who denounced ‘Holocaust religion’.

And,

Beeley is a regular on RT:

 

Vanessa Beeley is a regular on Russian state-backed media

 

Further Background 

 

Hope not Hate. 5.3.2018.

 

Keep Talking, run by Ian Fantom, is an obscure London-based group for conspiracy theorists of all types, ranging from Holocaust deniers, climate change deniers and 9/11 ‘Truthers’. The group had organised a series of six events at Conway Hall on Red Lion Square in London.

The first event in a run of six – due to take place tonight – was to feature contributions from the infamous Holocaust denier Nick Kollerstrom, who takes organising duties at the meetings. Kollerstom has called the 9/11 attack in New York ‘a constructed, fabricated event’ and argues that the 7/7 attacks in London were a ‘false flag’ terror attack.

However, he is best known for his denial of the Holocaust, after the publication of an article titled ‘The Auschwitz Gas Chamber Illusion’ on the website of the infamous denial organisation the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. In it he claimed that there was “never a centrally-coordinated Nazi program of exterminating Jews in Germany. Lethal gas chambers did not function in German labour-camps, that’s just an illusion.”

Here is more:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 23, 2020 at 1:08 pm

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

White Guilt. From Stickers in Ipswich to Identitarian Politics.

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Racist stickers found on streets of Ipswich

A council has taken down around 60 white supremacist posters plastered around a UK town over the weekend, authorities have said.

“It’s OK to be white” and “reject white guilt” were written on signs across Ipswich, according to images shared on social media.

Max Stocker, a council spokesperson, told The Independent they have been working to remove the posters, which also included the message “beware non-white rape gangs”.

Similar messages have been spotted around different parts of the UK in recent months, including Hull and Perth, according to local media.

Signs saying “it’s OK to be white” were also put up in Bristol city centre last week.

Some of these posters bear the mark of Hundred-Hands, a group encouraging the spread of posters containing messages of white supremacy over social media.

Sam Murray, an Ipswich resident, claimed she removed 10 signs in the town herself.

“This does not have a place here,” she told The Independent.

“Ipswich is a nice town,” she said. “It is diverse and normally people just get on with their lives.”

Bryony Rudkin, deputy leader of Ipswich Borough Council, called the white supremacist messages “deplorable”.

“This racist behaviour does not represent the people of Ipswich or our town,” she said.

“Council staff have been out over the weekend taking these stickers down.”

Police are investigating the posters and aware of similar reports in other areas of the UK, a Suffolk Police spokesperson said.

“It’s OK to be white” spread as a slogan across the US several years ago, and posters started appearing across American universities.

One of the few telling points in Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission (2015) was his invention of a group called “Indigenous European – a direct response to the Indigènes de la République which claims to represent “colonial subjects” on French territory.  This is not the product of the jaded writer’s imagination. I Identity politics is the mainstay not just of campus politics but also, in Houellebecq’s twist, of an influential section of the European right. Génération Identitaire claims to stand for Europe against the “Islamisation of Europe” and the “migrant invasion”. Hope Not Hate writes that the British offshoot, Generation Identity, has this basis.

Martin Sellner, de facto spokesperson for the movement, talks of the need to preserve “ethno cultural identity” which extends back to an ancient European heritage.

Houellebecq illustrates how identity politics have moved on from the time when Naomi Klein could regret that “The need for greater diversity – the rallying call of my universality years – is now no only accepted by the culture industries. It is the mart of global capital. And identity politics, as they were practiced in the nineties, weren’t a threat, they were a gold mine.” Hollywood and the media aside, these issues have shifted into national populism, fall out from the EU Referendum, and the efforts of those who failed to oppose the Hard Right Brexit project to throw a smokescreen about Labour’s election disaster. (1)

Now we have people putting up stickers spreading the right-wing identity message. Those there say that at the Farage rally to celebrate Brexit last Friday some also repeated other ideas from this quarter, the fight against “cultural Marxism” held responsible for the other side, in the argument, liberal identity politics.

This is not just a fringe movement.

Prominent Spectator writer Douglas Murray’s Madness of Crowds (2019) is a sally against the “religion of social justice” prompted by “identity politics”. His The Strange Death of Europe (2017) is a lament about the suicide of Europe through mass immigration. The Spectator writes ends with a plea against those politicians who wish to “change our home into an utterly different place.” In short, Europe’s identity is under threat from others. Murray anglicised Éric Zemmour’s complaints against post-68 ‘cultural Marxist’ attacks on “(famille, nation, travail” with Renaud Camus’s fear of Europe’s inhabitants being replaced by newcomers, the Grand Remplacement. (2)

During Brexit we’ve often heard that the ancestral inhabitants of Britain are under threat from metropolitan, and cosmopolitan, elites. The late Roger Scruton observed in 2017 that, “The question of identity is bound up with that of sovereignty: who governs us, and from where?” Spiked runs a profitable ‘anti-woke’ troll farm promoting national populist, and pro=Brexit,  identity politics under the mask of saying, “Identity politics is really for rich white people“.   This ‘question’ has received a left response: the ‘real’ working class, who struck a blow against the capitalist EU in the Leave revolt, is under attack from liberal identity politics. Some with no doubt admirable aims speak of “the caricature of the white working class as racist and culturally conservative”.  In Haringey Labour it’s been debated that the working class needs its separate party group (Haringey: Labour members call for ‘working-class section’ in bid to regain power).

Identitarians.

The identitarians, who have branches across Europe, including Britain, were founded in France. Struggling against ‘cultural Marxism’, affirming their culture and selves. Douglas Murray has talked about “desire to continue to feel yourself guilty..” for the legacy of Empire. This is an idea can be traced back to Pascal Bruckner’s Le Sanglot de l’homme blanc (1983). From disillusionment with Third Worldism, the belief that revolution would come from the global South, the French essayist has not stopped exploiting the theme. In La Tyrannie de la Pénitance he already observed, in 2006 Western “masochism”, the desire to apologise for the, very real, crimes of imperialism. Imprisoning people in their ethnic and racial identities, leads to individuals staking up a tally of resentments, not to free themselves as a collective group with universal right. Many will sympathise with Bruckner and his conclusion that “shame” should be replaced by a common search for freedom. But most people who read La Tyrannie would retain the diatribe against those protesting at past atrocities and injustices, and his mocking at the “agglomeration of tribes” standing against the common identity of Citizenship. (4)

There is a point at which identity politics on the left meets the far right and that point has been reached by the French Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR) The PIR’s spokesperson Houria Bouteldja offers a picture of the world in imitation of US Black Power. She melds attacks on ‘Whiteness’ (Blanchité) and laments for the decline in Arab virility. Bouteldja takes it upon herself to speak for the “nous”, the “Noirs”, the blacks to the ‘vous’, the ‘Blancs’, the Whites, and has some words of advice to the “vous”, the ‘Juifs’, the Jews. In the struggle for the voice of the indigenous she affirms a belief that commemorating the memory of the Shoah is, for whites, the “the bunker of abstract humanism”. Anti-Zionism is the “space for an historic confrontation between us and the whites”. She has been pictured with a placard reading “Zionists to the Gulag”. Bouteldja is fêted in Berkley and other ‘post-colonial’ academic quarters. She has been given space in the populist US left journal, Jacobin. A certain Richard Seymour has called her “admirable”. (5)

White Guilt.

Those now rushing to affirm working class identity should take note of that adventure. Those who wish to talk about a halt to White Guilt have more in common with their approach than they might wish. Both the side attacking some kind of inheritance of ‘whiteness’ and those trying to stand up for an indigenous, left-behind, working class share something with the right-wing ‘identitarians’. That is the immense weight they claim for the past. The enemy of human rights and the French Revolution,Edmund Burke, would be amused to find that political debate has become a squabble about the “Inheritance from our forefathers”, the ” partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”

This Blog prefers another side of the dispute altogether

Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.

Tom Paine.

 

 

  1. Page 115. No Logo, Naomi Klein. Flamingo. 2000.
  2. Page 320. The Strange Death of Europe. Immigration, Identity, Islam. Douglas Murray. Bloomsbury. 2017. Eric Zemmour, Le Suicide Français. Albin Michel. 2014. Le Grand Remplacement. Renaud Camus. 2011.
  3. Page 4. Where We Are. The State of Britain Now. Roger Scruton. Bloomsbury. 2017.
  4. Page 175. Murray. Op cit.
  5. Les Blancs, les Juifs et nous. Houria Bouteldja. La Fabrique. 2016.

As Crisis in International Trotskyism Reaches Breaking Point, Hold the Front Page: Gerry Downing, Ian Donovan and the Split in the Trotskyist faction.

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a complete decay of communist consciousness and the embrace of opportunism.”

 

Take your eyes off the bleeding ball for a minute, and all hell breaks loose.

““When I interrupted Ian to call out his insane rant about the Rothschilds’ he became outraged, shouted and threw his pen on the table..”

This was a complete pack of lies from start to finish. Another comrade who was there wrote:

“Sorry, E, I do not recall Ian raising his voice and shouting at all”

Looks like a duel at dawn between Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan.

In an effort to calm things down I have volunteered to mediate

Extracts: 

Trotskyist Faction statement on Communist financial norms, democratic accountability, security and membership standards.

This statement was already written when we discovered that on 30 Jan 2020 Gerry Downing fraudulently put out his statement denouncing Gilad Atzmon and some of his associated and co-thinkers, in the name of Socialist Fight, 13 days after a 17th January vote was taken in which he failed to get a majority. He now claims that one member who had clearly lapsed, JC, whose case is addressed below, was a full member all along, and that gave him a majority after all. This question was raised at the 17th January meeting and various arguments were made to the effect that JC should be treated as a member. This was never agreed and ratified in an endorsed set of minutes in any case.

Objections had been raised by comrade Donovan in the meeting on the grounds that JC had made not paid subs, only made sporadic donations and had not been to any meetings for well over a year. The draft minutes mistakenly recorded that it was agreed that he was a member, after a hue and cry from Gerry and his ‘candidate members’ whose presence was itself contentious, and unwanted as the meeting in which it took place had originally been booked and planned by the decision of full members as a private meeting for those full members only.

Harsh words indeed,

Followed by,

Thus comrade Downing has not only betrayed the consistent anti-Zionist positions he used to uphold, he has flagrantly betrayed the democracy of his own organisation by fraudulently and retrospectively rewriting the history of a vote he didn’t win; he has fraudulently declared an ex-member to be a full member in order to claim to have ‘won’ a vote he failed to win, and he has in the process totally betrayed the Bolshevik tradition on the party question.

All this indicates, as the statement below shows, a complete decay of communist consciousness and the embrace of opportunism.

It gets hotter,

There is the smear, also against comrade Donovan, by ED. After the branch meeting at the Lucas Arms on 17 January, which was booked on the understanding it was supposed to be a private meeting to resolve this issue among full members only, but which Gerry declared Open with a public email on the day, and then GW and ED turned up and Gerry inveigled them in, after that ED made the following accusation against comrade Donovan a week later. She wrote:

“When I interrupted Ian to call out his insane rant about the Rothschilds’ he became outraged, shouted and threw his pen on the table..”

This was a complete pack of lies from start to finish. Another comrade who was there wrote:

“Sorry, E, I do not recall Ian raising his voice and shouting at all”

To which comrade Donovan responded and pointed out that he had challenged Gerry a week earlier about Gerry’s shouting in the meeting:

“Indeed. I note that when I challenged Gerry about shouting, he justified it on political grounds. But he did not say ‘well Ian shouted too’ when criticised for it by [another comrade]. If I had shouted at E he would have condemned me and been angry.

“This alone corroborates that this is untrue”.

And it did. And do E was compelled to admit:

 “Hiya folks, maybe I misspoke…“

They conclude,

To reassert principled politics, we need to draw those boundaries properly, and to re-establish Socialist Fight on proper Communist organisational norms. These are difficult and reactionary times, and some basic discipline and good security is essential to ensure that we are effective going forward.

Here is the infamous ‘statement’.

Socialist Fight statement on Gilad Atzmon, Devon Nola, Ian Greenhalgh of Veterans Today, anti-communism, racism and antisemitism 25-1-2020

The minutes of the meeting of 17 January, taken by Ian’s supporter in the Trotskyist Faction, Turan, confirming the meeting’s agreement that John Carty is a full member of Socialist Fight. Ian now says it was only Gerry Downing’s suggestion, that it was never agreed and anyway the minutes were never agreed as a true record – pathetic!

Signed by Gerry Downing, Mick Artur, Paul Humphreys, John Carty (full members), Charlie Walsh, Ella Downing, Gareth Martin (candidate members), Wilhelm Specklin (Holland), Dov Winter (USA), (International sympathisers).

 

The Socialist Fight Statement

 

Socialist Fight unreservedly condemns as racist and antisemitic Gilad Atzmon, Devon Nola and Ian Greenhalgh of Veterans Today and most of the milieu they attract and those who support them. And Gilad Atzmon notoriously said: “I despise the Jew in me and detest the Jew in you”, clearly indicating he was antisemitic. Socialist Fight rejects the Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy theories they promulgate and identify them as irreconcilable enemies of Socialist Fight, Trotskyism in general and all who wish to fight for a socialist future. [1]

The public debate is still hotting up!

This is a disjointed drivel on nonsense. So the meeting agreed that John Carty was a member. Turan, Ian’s supporter, recorded the decision on which all, including Ian, agreed but IT NEVER HAPPENED. And the only reason it never hapoened was because Ian did not like it. Democracy how are you? That and the vile abuse heaped on me, Ella and Gareth and outrageous bureaucratic attempts to prevent new members joining, to prevent even a candadate membership and alleging I had “fraudulently” paid their dues so he would not bank the cheques.

Of course support for Gilad Atzmon and his defence of David Duke is the central crime here, calculated to do the maximum possible damage to Socialist Fight. Ian had moved sharply rightwards since the defeat of Labour on 12th December. Now he is openly proclaiming that the Jewish Zionist bourgeoisie is the main enemy and is totally incapable of answering the Socialist Fight statement. Unfortunately Turan and Dipak are riding with him from the margins to the extreme margins, always alibying open racist comments by the claim that Zionism is tge main enemy. Obviously Socialist Fight will not tolerate this defence of Holocaust deniers and far right kkk racists on the excuse that “the Zionists made them do it”.

The whole notion of “left-wing anti-Semitism” is a diabolical fraud created by fascist Zionist lobbying, the CIA and Western propaganda to topsy-turvy depict anyone for the Palestinian cause, the Arab world, anti-Zionism and socialism in general as racist or even fascist.

Peace and Love Cdes!

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Labour Contenders Back Recommendations from Board of Deputies of British Jews.

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Contenders voice support for recommendations from Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Labour’s leader and deputy leadership contenders have demonstrated their commitment to tackling antisemitism in the party by backing a series of pledges set out by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Within hours of the organisation launching its “10 pledges”, which include adopting the international definition of antisemitism with all its examples and clauses, the majority of hopefuls had given their support.

This included Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer, who served in the shadow cabinet under Jeremy Corbyn.

It is a welcome move that the Labour candidates have accepted that the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has to be sorted out.

Many of the ideas are good, above all the demand to resolve cases, and to make it clear that no quarter should be given to bigotry.

But there serious problems with this pledge.

The first is that training on antisemitism will be carried out the Jewish Labour Movement – the JLM is a pro-Israel group, with its own supportive  views on the issue of Zionism, which neither all people from a Jewish background agree with, nor all Labour Party members. 

There is equally the fact that the JLM expressed this factional view during the General Election (Jewish Labour),

We will not be campaigning unless in exceptional circumstances and for exceptional candidates, like our Parliamentary Chair Ruth Smeeth, and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who’ve been unwavering in their support of us. We will not be giving endorsements to candidates in non-Labour held seats.

This statement was elaborated,

Where and how will the Jewish Labour Movement be campaigning in the general election?

The Jewish Labour Movement only will be campaigning for exceptional candidates and in exceptional circumstances. This includes for our Parliamentary Chair Ruth Smeeth. We will not be replicating the scale of our campaigning activity that we undertook in 2017, where JLM organised more than 50 campaign activities across six electoral regions and nations and in marginal seats. No JLM Officers will be standing for election.

Are individual Jewish Labour Movement members allowed to campaign for any Labour candidate?

Our General Election Statement is the Movement’s position and reflects the collective will of our members. What individual members decide to do during the general election is a private matter for each to decide; no doubt this will be a very difficult decision for many.

Will the Jewish Labour Movement campaign against candidates that they do not see to have been sufficient allies in the fight against antisemitism in the Labour Party?

We will seek to highlight candidates’ shortcomings or failings in the fight against antisemitism. Where this is the case, they will not benefit from any Jewish Labour Movement resources.

A body which engages in this factionalism is not a good vehicle to offer sensitive or coherent courses on the complex issue of anti-Semitism.

If we can dismiss the response below then this, and other issues remain such as the idea that Labour Party affairs be settled by an outside “independent provider”. And who exactly will decide which Jewish community body is acceptable and which is not?  Is the Board of Deputies going to decide on this? ‘Community Groups’ covers a wide range, and, without a suffrage and elections,  nobody is clear how “representative”one is. The Board of Deputies is not the only voice around who can say.

It is therefore not only the Corbyn ultras – below – who will express concern.

A rally in support of left-wing Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey was marred by an attack on the “Tory” Chief Rabbi and the Jewish Labour Movement.

Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon and Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe both spoke at the post-general election gathering in central London on Thursday evening but Graham Durham, a Brent Central Labour Party member, was cheered by many in the audience as he ranted that Ms Long-Bailey did not deserve support because she was “cuddling up to the Jewish Labour Movement and the Chief Rabbi, a well-known Tory”.

Jewish Chronicle.

No, Rebecca Long-Baily, you SHOULD NOT sign up to the 10 pledges by the ‘Board of Deputies’!

Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 13, 2020 at 12:40 pm