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Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism and the Left: The Dreyfus Affair and Today.

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Open Anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus Affair.

Anti-Semitism and the Left: The Dreyfus Affair and Today.

 

“Many Socialists  – and Marxists in particular – view Jews not through the prism of race or religion but through that of class. Jews, in their eyes, are a white, rich powerful elite, unworthy have the solidarity or protection normally afforded to ethnic minorities.”

How Anti-Semitism Poisons Labour. Richard Verber. The ‘I’.

 

“Y a-t-il vraiment des races humaines? Je vois qu’il y a des homes blancs, des homes rouges et des hommes noirs. Mais ce ne sont pas là des races, ce sont des variétés d’une même race, d’une même espèce, qui forment entre elles des unions fécondes et se mêlent sans cesse…..  Les antisémites allument contre la race juive la colère des peuples chrétiens, et il n’y a pas de race juive.”

Are there really human races? I can see that there are white people, red people, and black people. But these are not races, but varieties of the same race, a same species, who between each other join in fertile relationships and who never stop mixing together. The anti-Semites spark the anger of the Christians against the Jewish race, and there is no Jewish race.”

Anatole France. Sur La Pierre Blanche. (1905)

Before The Protocols of the Elders of Zion there was Édouard Drumont’s La France Juive (1886), “Ever since the dawn of history the Aryan has been at odds with the Semite”. The book, which had 200 editions up to 1914, talked of the dream of the Jews to “reduce the Aryan into a state of slavery”, illustrated with figures such as the Rothschilds “tout puissant.” Before modern populism there was Boulangism (1880s), an anti-parliamentarian nationalist revolt, led by General Boulanger, with Drumont’s good wishes, and 48 MPS, including Boulanger for the Seine, elected in 1889. Absent from their official programme, in the Boulangist press attacks on Jewish financial figureheads, the Rothschilds and the Reinachs, flourished. The far-right anti-Dreyfus campaign of the next decades centred on claims of a Jewish-led ‘syndicate’ of treason manipulating politics, business and the affaire itself. It was a template of modern anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

 

The wrongful conviction for spying on behalf of the German army of a Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus in 1894, brought to the fore the issue of anti-Semitism in France. The French left reacted without glory. Jules Guesde, the leader of the self-proclaimed Marxist Parti ouvrier français (POF), has been accused of an “ambiguous” attitude towards Drumond. While waiting for the socialist revolution, he refused to defend the republic against Boulangism. Initially hailing Emile Zola’s J’accuse in 1896, and with some declarations against anti-Semitism, Guesde came to the conclusion that the innocence or guilt of Dreyfus was not a battle that “involved the working class.” Jean Jaurès in 1894 had talked of Dreyfus as part of “la caste des officiers de carrière”. He was not above attacking Jewish influence in finance, talking of the devastating effects of their “usury” on the country during a visit to French colonial Algeria in 1895. (1)

Both Guesde and Jaurès were embedded in the anti-Semitic climate of the time. They took it as an empirical ‘fact’ of the importance of “financiers juifs”; the “puissance juive” was part of capitalism. During the period, before Dreyfus marked out the rupture with nationalist anti-Semitism, there was little mention by either wing of the French socialist left, of poor Jewish migrants, or of the persecutions Jews suffered. If the capitalists were the problem, and there was no biological struggle between ‘Jews’ and ‘Aryans’, a fraction of capital was still marked out as Jewish. They were, as Verber puts it, part of an “elite”, the product of the capitalist system, but still agents within it.

Bernard Lazare.

The honour of the French left was saved the anarchist socialist critic, of Jewish origin, Bernard Lazare and his circle. Lazare’s l’antsiémitisme son histoire et ses causes (1894) talked of the economic bases of anti-Judaism, competition between a “non-assimilated” group and those in charge of industrial and financial capitalism. The Jewish community was described as a  ‘state within a state’ and their “facility at trading”. Yet this loose language was in the context of an atheist attack on religious exclusivity. This angle also explains why the author, noting a lack of certainty in the afterlife, praised the Jewish willingness to “fight tyranny” in this world. Above all in this work, and later, he began to defend humanity and internationalism against nationalism of all kinds.  Lazare sufficiently riled Drummont to fight a duel with him. He has been described as one of those who definitively classed anti-Semitism as an ideology of the extreme-right. (2)

Faced with the Dreyfus case Lazare took a stand, “They needed a Jewish traitor fit to replace the classic Judas” he  wrote, “a Jewish traitor that one could mention incessantly, every day, in order to rain his opprobrium on his entire race.” Working with Alfred’s brother, Mathieu Dreyfus, the critic badgered and cajoled every contact he could find to rally to the cause. Lucien Herr, the socialist librarian at the École normale supériere, became a notable ally and a bridge to the wider left. (3)

Jaurès was initially cold. But all this was to change. In speeches and, above all, in Les Preuves, (1898) the socialist leader stood with Dreyfus. This commitment was rooted in opposition to the nationalists of the right, and militarists, those who rallied to the army and the claim that its judgement against the Captain could not be wrong.

Defence of Dreyfus.

In defending Dreyfus Jaurès developed themes that continue to resound today.

The first of these is that the cause of socialism, based on class struggle against capitalism, is linked to that of humanity. In one of his most famous passages Jaurès said of Dreyfus, “I could answer that if Dreyfus was illegally condemned and if, as I will soon demonstrate, he is innocent, he is no longer either an officer or a bourgeois. Through the very excess of his misfortune he has been stripped of any class character. He is no longer anything but humanity itself, at the highest degree of misery and despair that can be imagined.”  (4)

The second is that Jaurès raised the banner of universal human rights and applied this to the legal system, “There are two parts to capitalist and bourgeois legality: There are a whole mass of laws aimed at protecting the fundamental iniquity of our society, and there are laws that consecrate the privileges of capitalist property, the exploitation of the wage earner by the owner. We want to smash these laws, and even by revolution if necessary abolish capitalist legality in order to bring forth a new order. But alongside these laws of privilege and rapine, made by a class and for it, there are others that sum up the pitiful progress of humanity, the modest guarantees that it has little by little conquered through a centuries-long effort and a long series of revolutions.” (Ibid)

Human Rights.

The defence of human rights, as part and parcel of socialism, illuminated by Marxist ideas of class, is illustrated – at length – in the Socialist History of the French Revolution. Could this historical event, a broad stream of thinking, the act of a specific people” asked Jaurès, “produce something of universal symbolical value? He noted the British conservative thinker, Edmund Burke’s scorn on such “metaphysics”, but that the fear of the British rulers was not of abstractions. Their worry was of the democratic reform that these ideas might inspire. (5)

The socialist daily that Jaurès founded was (and is) called l’Humanité. The title could be said to embody the ardent Dreyfusand Anatole France’s vision of anti-racism and Jaurès’ fight for justice. We have come a long way from that time, a century of greater injustices, including those carried out in the name of socialism, than Jaurès could have imagined. Yet there are those who believe that the fight for human rights, in a modern form, debated and rethought by thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, Claude Lefort, Jacques Rancière and others, is at the heart of socialism. The Marxist influenced Étienne Balibar has talked of “égaliberté”, tying concrete equality and freedom together, and the “illiminated” extension of these rights. (La Proposition de l’égaliberté. 2010)

Fighting anti-Semitism today is part and parcel of that socialism. The left that keeps to the line set down by forerunners like Jaurès does not bend an inch in that determination.

On the eve of the First World War Jean Jaurès was assassinated in the Café du Croissant, Paris on the 31st of July 1914. Just before, as fictionalised in Martin du Gard’s L’été 1914, (1936) the socialist leader was desperately attempting to avert the conflict by appeals to European socialists at a meeting in Brussels. The nationalist Raoul Villain, a sympathiser of the anti-Semite Action française, murdered Comrade Jaurès.

 

 

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  1. Chapter Four. Jules Guesde. Jean-Numa Ducange. Arand Colin. 2017. Chapter IX Jaurès Dreyfusand. Jean Jaurès. Gilles Candar Vincent Duclert. Fayard 2014. The Man on Devil’s Island, Ruth Harris. 2010.
  2. Lazare wrote, “À côté du patriotisme se place l’humanitarisme, à côté du nationalisme se place l’internationalisme, et la notion d’humanité acquerra bientôt plus de force que la notion de patrie, qui se modifie et perd de cet exclusivisme que les egoisms nationaux veulent perpétuer.” “Lazare fut ainsi l’un des artisans de la rupture qui marquera définitivement l’antisémitisme comme un positionnement politique d’extrême  Bernard Lazare, premier  historien de l’antisémitisme.  Jacques Aron
  3. Cited in Ruth Harris. Page 56.
  4. The Socialist Interest Jean Jaurès, Les Preuves. Paris, La Petite République, 1898. Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor.
  5. Page 390. Tome V. Histoire socialiste de la Révolution française, 1901-1908.“c’était la réforme démocratique de la Constitution, c’était la très large extension du droit de suffrage et l’abolition des privilèges.”
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George Galloway: My Name is Legion, “I am the ex-Mayor of Sunderland. I am Chris Williamson MP. I am Asa Winstanley. I am Marc Wadsworth. I am Jackie Walker. I am Tony Greenstein. I am Ken Livingstone…..”

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George Galloway Has Writ a Poem.

Hat-tip Heg.

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

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The Gadarene Swine.

Alas, there are many who would jest at Galloway’s Moving Poem.

George Galloway slammed for absolutely ludicrous tweet

Thanks R for the below:

 

We all know who Greenstein and most of the others are:

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "tony greenstein nazi bitch"

But the mystery of the appearance of one of these names is only now cleared up:

Labour suspends Electronic Intifada blogger Asa Winstanley, who called JLM ‘Israeli embassy proxy’

Mr Winstanley, who is prominent on Twitter, was suspended after it emerged he was a member.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 8, 2019 at 4:50 pm

From the Anti-Imperialism of Fools to Anti-Semitism?

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The Far Right, the Left, and Anti-Semitism

A Very Public Sociologist.

Phil was one of the first people on the left to signal out, in 2015,  the The Anti-Imperialism of Fools.

Its main feature was to support anything “against” imperialism, primarily the USA.

a certain intellectual dishonesty about their positions. Stop the War write op-eds that, let’s be generous, white wash the enemies of the US and UK, but do not link it with a clear intellectual framework for making sense of these position-takings. For the uninitiated, it suggests opposition to Britain’s wars is a gateway into apologising for some of the most disgusting regimes and terror groups on the planet. Therefore to understand the politics of Stop the War, one must delve a little into political history.

Yet Stop the War has more or less carried on as if none of this has happened, as if the USA is the only active agent in the world and – implicitly – the designs and manoeuvres of rival states and enemies are benign or, at least, less harmful. This is why Putin never gets as much stick as Obama, why leading members of its steering committee have occasionally associated with sundry undesirables, why the Kurds get no support while IS are clumsily and favourably compared with the International Brigades. It’s why it appears that authoritarians and totalitarians get a free pass while democratic countries are criticised and mobilised against.

Over the weekend he has developed this point, making clear his own opposition to “Israel’s racist despoiling of the Palestinians”and support for “pro-Palestinian politics.”

Phil begins by observing that,

“One thing very few people on the left seem willing to admit is that since 2003 the anti-war movement here has been subject to a process of infiltration by currents of opinion, and sometimes organised groups, behaving like the local representatives of the British far right.”

There is no doubt a lot more to say about  Netanyahu, and Israel.

But this is a post about the British left.

A key strand since 2015, and which this Blog has called, following the French example, “confusionism”, is the way that conspiracy thinking has crept into this “anti-imperialism”.

In 2003-5, this was mainly about opinions. In particular, there was a current of opinion within the movement, which grew stronger the occupation of Iraq went on, to say that 9/11 was an American inside job. That strand of opinion was assisted, inevitably, by the need for people – who were against the war – to find websites which would give an honest, objective account of what was actually happening in Iraq. This meant disassociating from mainstream media, going to anti-war news sites. In the US a large number of these sites were hosted by the so-called “libertarian” right and saw no reason against promoting conspiracy theories, 9/11 Truth accounts, etc. Movements such as Stop the War did try to keep these sort of opinions out – banning them from our platforms, etc. But this was a matter of silent gatekeeping – the left didn’t like to admit we had a problem in a movement we led – we would never say openly that we were worried about X or Y Stop the War group. The only time when the left in Stop the War came out publicly against the right was George Monbiot who in two Guardian pieces tore into the 9/11 Truth movement. In retrospect, that was a sign of the sorts of difficulties the left has been having in 2018-19: not least in the very many people who saw themselves on the left but posted in the Guardian comment threads criticising Monbiot.

That’s to say nothing of those in recent days ranting about the ‘Zionist’ media attacking Corbyn….

Or this, from conspi Rachel Swindon:

Phil then focuses on anti-Semitism.

Like the “conventional” far right, today’s anti-war anti-semites have grown through a process of individual activists building up a social media infrastructure which at a certain point they have monetised on YouTube, Patreon, etc, enabling previously isolated individuals to become full-time organisers on behalf of a certain political argument.

Probably most of my friends haven’t heard of them but that doesn’t meant they haven’t been able to achieve an influence much larger than they deserve.

A typical individual is Vanessa Beeley who was at one stage associated with an anti-war group in Frome, but has built up a Twitter following of 40,000 people which she uses to applaud dictators everywhere – Assad, Putin. And to say that the people she dislikes are in the pay of the Jews.

This, and Beeley to the fore, has been the subject of many posts here and on other critical left Blogs.

Williamson, who has praised Beeley, is a good example of indulgence towards this conspi thinking

The point about Williamson is that over the last 12 months he has liked the social media accounts of each of the four people/groups I’ve just mentioned, used his own social media to boost their profile, and treated them like the allies in a shared political project which he undoubtedly regards them to be. In so far as this part of the far right has a “shield” in official politics, he provides it.

Every time someone points out to Williamson that he is promoting anti-semites he goes through the same cycle of denial, insisting that his allies are good socialists being unfairly targeted for their views on Israel, belated admission, apology, promises not to do it again.

Perhaps some trying to justifying Williamson will disagree, violently, but to this writer it’s a fair summing up.

As indeed Comrade Dave Osler does in the Independent.

Once house room is granted to such relentlessly self-preening charlatans as Vanessa Beeley, Gilad Atzmon and David Icke, it’s a perilously short step to political judgments centred on the shoddy output of propaganda-driven state broadcasters, half-arsed alt-left websites and the crankier fringes of the Trot diaspora.

Before you ask, this isn’t a snipe from the right. I’m a long-standing lefty who has proudly donated to Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral efforts and knocked on doors for John McDonnell and Diane Abbott for many years.

Nor do I wish to exaggerate the extent of the problem. Thankfully this nonsense remains predominantly the province of a few hundred headbangers on social media, although even that minimal degree of traction feeds the Daily Mail with “vile Labour Twitter troll” stories as if by conveyor belt.

But branding the White Helmets Israeli stooges, or postulating a Rothschild Zionist grip on global central banking, is just the type of dimwitted aperçu that ensured antisemitism renewed circulation among radical young people during the anti-globalisation and Occupy movements, and sometimes emerge in the real world.

As Trotsky himself used to note, with a scratch comes the danger of gangrene. In a climate where 2.6 million Britons think the Holocaust was a myth, no potential Labour standard-bearer should get away with posting offensively photoshopped pictures of the gates of Auschwitz, on any pretext whatsoever.

Tom Watson is right to brand incidents like that a cause for deep shame. So it’s pleasing that Labour left figures such as Jon Lansman are on the case, as demonstrated by the excellent Rothschild Conspiracy Exposed video released by Momentum last week.

Meanwhile, matters are compounded in some quarters by wilful refusal to engage with current affairs, especially in other countries, which comes as an inevitable corollary of making the very words “mainstream media” a dread insult.

Put simply, the Beeb, The Economist and Financial Times have serious sources in Venezuela and Syria; one-man blogs written from bedrooms reeking of hamster urine do not.

Less of The Canary and more Marx: How Labour should deal with the conspiracism in its midst.

Confusion can naturally spread further as this indicates.

This is where ‘taking sides’ can lead.

But anti-Semitism seems to be at its heart.

Note this from the Gilets Jaunes protests this weekend.

The Left’s long history of antisemitism

The hard-Left’s division of the world into good and bad makes it blind to its own racism.

With ready-made tropes about Jewish world domination never more than a few clicks away online, populist ‘anti-elitism’ rhetoric – of either the Left or Right – easily lends itself to antisemitism. Portray capitalism as a sinister cabal of individuals controlling the economy, and antisemites invoke long-standing tropes about Jews controlling the banks.

As a recent paper on European antisemitism put it, prejudice against Jews is “residual yet perpetual”. A 2009 survey found that 31% of Europeans blamed Jews for the global economic crisis.

This is a good starting point, but the rest of the piece is not so easy to digest.

It is true that groupuscules who run bodies such as Labour Against the Witch-hunt have encouraged a climate in which anti-Semitism  and anti-Zionism (itself an ambiguous term) have sometimes run together.

But there is much to contest in the claim that there is some kind of “long history” to left anti-Semitism. We can begin from the fact that our glorious dead, Jean Jaurès onwards, fought tooth and nail against anti-semitism at a time when a parallel populist confusionism reigned in the minds of some on the left.

Nor can Corbyn be blamed for something with the deeper roots that Phil, and others (this Blog for example), have traced.

It was the Marxist, August Bebel who popularised the expression,  Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools,  (Der Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus der dummen Kerle”.

Today there are many on the British ‘hard’ left who are fighting anti-Semitism tooth and nail, and stand with comrade Jon Lansman on the issue.

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On the French left this spirit is very far from dead:

Le non-sujet de l’antisémitisme à gauche – Pour une critique radicale de l’antisémitisme.

BRENNI CamillaKRICKEBERG MemphisNICOLAS-TEBOUL LéaZOUBIR Zacharias

Weekly Worker Goes Martin Niemöller.

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Comrades! Spare a Moment to shed a Quiet Tear.

The Weekly Worker, organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), to give it its full august title, its front organisation, the Labour Party Marxist, a pillar and web page, with the Tony Greenstein Party, and Jackie Walker, of Labour Against the Witch-hunt, has been forthright in standing up for Chris Williamson in recent days.

Spotters have already noted that  they are now stirring up Labour Party motions in favour of Vanessa Beeley’s best friend.

Draft Emergency Motion: Reinstate Chris Williamson MP!

Resolutions and statements passed in support of Chris Williamson MP

Their old mucker, Gerry Downing, has not been idle either.

Proving that anti-semitism does not exist the latest Socialist Fight cries:

Reinstate Chris Williamson! Expel all Zionist racists from Labour!

“the presence of a significant layer of reactionaries with special privileges to abuse others on the basis of supremacism and racism is totally inimical to socialism and anti-racism. “

“it is supposedly ‘anti-Semitic’ to note the highly organised racist activities of very wealthy, racist Jewish-Zionist bourgeois in the West, loyal to Israel…”

“Jewish supremacism is every bit as disgusting and racist a threat to oppressed minorities and democratic rights as the white supremacism it allies with.”

“Tom Watson is now the leader of the racist, pro-imperialist fifth column in the Labour Party….”

” And what do we make of the grovelling specimen Owen Jones? A disgrace to his parents.”

These days are returning!

Forerunner of the Weekly Worker:

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Written by Andrew Coates

March 2, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Chris Williamson: a Disgraceful Record that Speaks for itself.

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Chris Williamson’s Record.

The news today:

Labour faces calls to suspend Chris Williamson over anti-Semitism comments

BBC.

Labour is facing growing calls to suspend one of its MPs for “deeply offensive” comments about the party’s handling of anti-Semitism.

Chris Williamson said Labour has been “too apologetic” in the face of criticism and was being wrongly “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”.

Deputy leader Tom Watson said the Derby North MP brought Labour into disrepute and should have the whip withdrawn.

 

This is his ‘apology’.

Shiraz sets the line: Chris Williamson is a disgrace

Comrade Bob from Brockley has been posting on this individual for some time:

I recently posted on Chris Williamson, the odious Labour MP who really needs to have the party whip removed from him. I didn’t think Williamson could stoop any lower than he has already, but today he signed a petition defending Gilad Atzmon, tweeted the petition, then deleted the tweet, and later wrote a half-arsed non-apology. (Atzmon had been banned by Islington council from playing there in the Blockheads. Not sure I approve of this ban, as when he is playing saxophone in someone else’s band he hasn’t got a platform for his politics. But given how toxic he is, I’m not going to complain about him being considered a pariah.)

If you don’t know who Atzmon is, here’s over 13 years’ worth of my blogposts about him. The short version is he is an Israeli-born jazz musician who long ago renounced his Jewishness, became a Holocaust revisionist and antisemite. He is not only denounced by anti-fascists like Hope not Hate but also by anti-Zionists such as As’ad AbuKhalil, Michael Rosen and Tony Greenstein.

Williamson’s apology to me reveals he is either more stupid or more dishonest than we already realised but either way confirming he doesn’t care at all about racism against Jews. Because either he saw a petition complaining about someone being accused of antisemitism and just assumed the accusation was false without bothering to research it (in which case he is remarkably stupid and irresponsible, as well as automatically assumes accusations of antisemitism are always false) or he’s lying.

And Williamson has a track record:

And there is this.

For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done is promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:

Williamson, who was attending the Beautiful Days festival, tweeted of his “privilege” in meeting Vanessa Beeley, a blogger who described meeting the Syrian regime’s war criminal president Bashar al Assad as her “proudest moment” and has waged a relentless campaign of lies and distortion to promote the Assad regime abroad.

This is not Williamson’s first dalliance with pro-Assad trutherism, having voiced doubts over allegations that Assad was responsible for the gas attack on Douma while addressing a protest outside parliament in April 2018. Williamson has been no stranger to causing offence to Jewish Labour members in recent months, so his endorsement this week of Beeley, who has also been accused of anti-Semitism, marks another new low for the Labour party.

Responding in kind to Williamson’s endorsement, Beeley said in a Facebook post “Hats off to Chris Williamson, Labour MP – a genuine human being.”…

Williamson’s tweet provoked immediate condemnation, drawing a strong response from James O’Brien, who called Williamson a “disgrace” and referred to Beeley as “Assad’s very own Alex Jones.”

The Washington Post’s Middle East correspondent, Louisa Loveluck, responded to Williamson’s endorsement of Beeley’s “reporting” with: “Beeley has justified the use of incendiary weapons against civilians, recycled and championed debunked conspiracy theories, and described a meeting with Assad as her proudest moment. This is cheerleading, not reporting.”

Noting that Beeley has viciously slandered the late Jo Cox (Beeley “has shamelessly accused her of being a “warmongering Blairite” and “al-Qaeda advocate” endorsing a policy of “wholesale devastation” on Syria.) Oz argues that the Labour Party has a choice between being the party of Jo Cox or the party of Chris Williamson.

 

Here is the latest from this source:

 

 

Here is one of Williamson’s last best friends.

 

At the moment Skwawkbox seems too occupied with trying the foment a Labour rebellion against party policy on a new vote on Brexit to post in Williamson’s defence…..

This is his last effort: RIGHT-WING ABUSE OF LEFT-WING MP WILLIAMSON SPREAD UNCRITICALLY BY MSM

Written by Andrew Coates

February 27, 2019 at 1:36 pm

John McDonnell, Moving “Towards a People’s Vote” on Brexit.

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McDonnell sticks to his Principles.

Labour ‘moving towards People’s Vote’: Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tells of party shift on Brexit

EXCLUSIVE: John McDonnell speaks about Labour shift on Brexit and calls for ‘fiercer’ action against anti-Semitism

He gave his strongest indication yet that Labour is close to backing a second public vote and said he would campaign for Remain if one is held.

“On the people’s vote, we’ve kept it on the table and we’re moving towards that,” he said.

He said an amendment calling for a public vote which is being tabled for debate next week by Labour MPs  Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson “could be a solution”.

The amendment, which was reportedly endorsed by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer at a planning meeting this week, would offer Theresa May’s deal an easy ride in the Commons if she put it to a binding yes-no vote of the public.

Mr McDonnell revealed the two backbenchers had been asked to redraft the amendment. And he said that if the Prime Minister’s deal was rejected by the public, Britain would remain in the EU by default.

“If we were going on a people’s vote based on a deal that has gone through Parliament in some form, if that got voted down then you’d have status quo, and that would be Remain,” he said.

….

Mr McDonnell said Remain should be an option in a referendum and said Labour was “moving into implementation stages around our conference decision, around the People’s Vote”.

Asked how would he vote, he said firmly: “I’ve said all along if there was another one I’d campaign for Remain and I’d vote for Remain.”

This is a genuine step forward for the internationalist left.

Comrade McDonnell also responded to chagres of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in a way which will resonate with many activists,

In the same interview, Mr McDonnell criticised his party for moving too slowly and softly against anti-Semitism. “We’ve got to be quicker, and we’ve got to be fiercer,” he said. “I think there’s been a lot of listening but not enough action. That’s the problem.”

I cannot underline too much how more comfortable I and many feel with McDonnell’s way of dealing with these issues then the official line so far.

That’s without the kind of recoil many of us feel at the hyper ‘anti Zionist’ reaction.

The story has echoed widely in the media:

 

The Evening Standard notes that Len McCluskey, leader of UNITE, is opposed to any such vote.

No doubt influenced by the charge that, with company after company announcing shifts in car production, decisions generally said to be influenced by Brexit, that McCluskey he has let his members working in the auto industry down, the UNITE chief is now squirming:

 

Cormade McDonnell has won praise:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Labour Split: Brexit and Beyond.

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” possibility that they have nothing to offer but anti-Corbynism and vacuous centrism..” (Labour List)

 

Labour split: Jeremy Corbyn faces major crisis as deputy leader warns more MPs are ready to quit party

Jeremy Corbyn faces a historic Labour rupture after being warned that more MPs are ready to follow the seven who dramatically quit his party on Monday.

The leader publicly appealed for unity while his supporters launched savage attacks on the MPs, branding them “cowards”, “traitors” and “splitters” and demanding they give up their seats.

But as the crisis deepened, deputy leader Tom Watson said other MPs are also considering leaving Labour, a party he admitted he sometimes no longer recognises, amid visceral anger over antisemitism, Brexit and Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

Independent

The first response to the 7 resignations and the creation of the Independent Group in Parliament should – this comes in the realm of the bleeding obvious – be temperate.

In this vein, “We at Open Labour view the split from the Labour Party as a step backwards for open politics within Labour, and for the communities our party represents. Many of those splitting away have served Labour for years, so we thank them for their work and wish them well, though we disagree with their decision.”

By contrast, the response  to the resignations shows some of the left at their worst.

Screams of ‘traitors’, as the Independent reports,  are likely to be welcomed by the new Parliamentary group.

They confirm their charge of intolerance and hatred.

The Napoleon of Counterfire, John Rees, writes,

Good that the splitters have gone, but this is a dangerous moment for the left, argues John Rees

What all this means is that the Labour left is faced with a choice: do you want a genuine left-wing workers’ party, or do you want to continue the losing battle to hold together a traditional Social Democratic party which contains right-wing, pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist, MPs?

No, NO!

This should be the moment when the entire Labour left, including the leadership around Jeremy Corbyn, decisively strikeout to recreate Labour as a genuine socialist party.

Perhaps Rees, experienced in creating a genuine workers’ parties, from the SWP to George Galloway’s Respect, should be appointed an adviser to Corbyn.

The next issue is to focus on the most important aspect: this break-away weakens efforts to stop the Tory Brexit.

Not only by grabbing attention for the split.

Concern at the influence of forces hostile to left-wing internationalism, that is, the pro-Brexit wing in Labour, can hardly have an effect outside the Party.

The damage caused by the looming threat of Brexit is already major:

Finally, is the controversy about anti-Semitism going to disappear?

The respected Mayor of London commented yesterday,

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is deeply distressed by the Labour split, but admitted the party has been “shockingly poor” at dealing with anti-Semitism.

The Labour Party has been shockingly poor at addressing the issue of antisemitism over the last few years. We know that there are members of the Labour Party who have joined who have clearly anti-Semitic views, or have been in our party for some time and have clearly anti-Semitic views, the Labour Party hasn’t acted swiftly enough to kick them out.

– SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON

But he said he believed the Labour divide will make it more difficult for the party to be elected to govern.

History tells us that when the Labour Party splits, it leads to the Conservative Party winning the next election and the one after that and the one after that. What people I care about need is a Labour Government. One thing that’s going to make that more difficult is Labour splits.

– SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON

It beggars belief that the Chair of  Luciana Berger’s CLP was capable of this without being caught out.

The chair of the Liverpool Wavertree Labour Party – which is facing claims of antisemitic bullying by local members against MP Luciana Berger – made repeated appearances on a current affairs show broadcast by conspiracy theorist David Icke.

Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, who is a member of the pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice For Labour group, has been a regular guest on the Richie Allen on David Icke.com show since 2015.

Chair of CLP accused of bullying Luciana Berger appeared on show broadcast by David Icke

At the moment most minds are going to be focused on the potential of the group in elections.

The Spectator states,

When asked in the survey who they would vote for if there was a general election tomorrow, 8 per cent of the respondents opted for ‘A new centrist party opposed to Brexit’ if one existed. If these results materialised in a general election, this would make the Independence Group the third largest party, behind the Conservatives on 39 per cent and Labour on 34 per cent. Revealingly, the majority of the new party’s vote share has come from Labour, causing the party to fall into second place, five points behind the Conservative Party.

The capacity of the group to keep in the headlines is underlined by speculation over new defections,

Will more MPs leave Labour and the Conservatives to join the Independent Group?

Stephen Bush

John McDonnell makes a  suggestion to deal with the difficulties Labour faces:

McDonnell: Labour needs “mammoth, massive listening exercise.

Statements: 

“IT IS THE LABOUR PARTY OR NOTHING” – OPEN LABOUR STATEMENT

We at Open Labour view the split from the Labour Party as a step backwards for open politics within Labour, and for the communities our party represents. Many of those splitting away have served Labour for years, so we thank them for their work and wish them well, though we disagree with their decision.

As as a principle of democracy, we believe that those MPs splitting from the party no longer represent the people who voted for them as Labour candidates on our 2017 manifesto. They should stand down and face by-elections.

We stand by Labour’s direction of travel on the economy and austerity, which alongside Brexit are the most important issues facing the country. Labour is the only party serious about fighting for a transformation of our broken economy, and all indications are that it will remain the only party offering such a platform.

We have sympathy with some of these MP’s concerns raised around party culture, particularly with regards to the long failure of Labour to tackle anti-Semitic abuse and a culture of bad faith or exclusionary rhetoric which grips some CLPs – these criticisms cannot be dismissed. But the cure offered does not remedy the problem. We firmly believe that leaving the party offers no way to improve Labour, to ease the suffering in our communities, or prevent even greater suffering as a result of Brexit.

Open Labour will continue to fight for a left which encourages pluralism and tolerates a range of traditions and groups in their right to exist and campaign. Without it, there can be no vibrancy in the party, splits become inevitable, and our democracy loses its purpose.

The path to making our ideas a reality is through Labour and its allies in the trade union movement.

We are sorry to see this happen and thank our leaving MPs for their service, but we look forward to campaigning for Labour candidates in the seats affected.

Labour for a People’s Vote: 

Today seven Labour MPs have resigned from the Labour Party and announced that they will form a new “independent grouping”.

We understand that these MPs have had concerns over the way that the party has handled Brexit, and over the way that antisemitism has been dealt with.

Antisemitism is a serious issue. We are committed to rooting it out of the party and hope all Jewish members will stay to help us do this. Racism of any kind has no place in our party or our country. Labour has always been against discrimination of any kind. Antisemitism must be no exception.

We understand too that Brexit is a national crisis, made by the Tories and designed only to create division and harm in our society. Labour is the only party able to stop the Tories achieving their ends – which is why we are so clear on the need for a public vote, and for Labour to campaign for our EU membership in that campaign. Anything else would let down the people of Britain who put their trust in us at the last election.

We believe however that this fight is best fought within the Labour Party. Only Labour can win a General Election and keep the Tories out of power. Only Labour can stop the Tories’ Brexit getting through Parliament, and win a parliamentary vote to get a new referendum on Brexit. And only Labour has the reach and authority to lead and win the remain campaign.

We believe that Labour has the answers to the problems Britain faces. Britain needs a radical Labour Government, able to sweep away years of Tory misrule and austerity, and restore fairness and justice to our country. This agenda is not served by splits or resignations.

Labour for a People’s Vote.