Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Fascism

Spiked, Frank Furedi, Unherd, and National Populism are Back in the Spotlight.

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RED TORY TO BLUE LABOUR How Spiked and Unherd are Keeping National Populism Alive

Jon Bloomfield and David Edgar

There have been a fair number of articles about Spiked, the ex-RCP Network, and national populism. This is one of the most important. For a start, not all have linked them to Unherd. An obvious connection, which this excellent piece does not mention, is that one Frank Furedi, former leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, is at the centre of Réseau Spiked, while his son, Jacob Furedi, is Deputy Editor of UnHerd. The area is a vast one. One should also add that Frankie is something of a full time publicist for the Hungarian national populist government of Viktor Orbán these days. (The EU wants to bring Hungary to its knees.)

The central issue is, as the authors write, that these forces “whose project is to deride the mainstream left and promote nationalist populism here and abroad” have a large audience, pots of money, influence in the Tory Party, and one could note, the far right Reform UK and a host of right-wing populist front-organisations on free speech, on ‘gender issues’, tame columnists, including Julie Birchill, and renegade leftists such as (from Class War no less!) Lisa McKenzie, and lots of air time, from Sky to the far-right alt-news programmes like GB News to Talk TV.

I note this, of interest. One of the author’s of the piece below, with extracts, David Edgar, the celebrated playwright, was the author of an influential pamphlet on the National Front in the 1970s, Racism, Fascism and the Politics of the National Front (Race and Class Pamphlet 1977). Widely read by anti-fascist activists at the time it helped alert a wide audience to character of the NF and its place within wider British politics. It would not be amiss to say that Edgar pointed to the kind of links between wider politics and the growth of John Tyndall’s party, that the present study makes between national populism, Spiked, and UnHerd.

“As the next general election approaches, will the Conservatives abandon the national populism which proved so successful in 2019? And what is the role of online ideologues – notably writers for the websites Spiked and Unherd – in the battle for the party’s soul?

We fear that the death of national populism – both praised and mourned in the brief moment of Trussite market ascendancy – has been much exaggerated. Despite the heartening – but whisker-thin – victory of Lula da Silva in Brazil, national populists have gained ground in Sweden, won power in Italy, and are edging closer than ever to the French presidency. While the American mid-terms checked the expected resurgence of Trumpist Republicans, the Grand Old Party remains heavily under the influence of conspiratorialist Trumpians.”

While many of us are very far from conceding that the Rassemblement National are edging closer to power in France, this is an important starting point.

Here are some further extracts.

The role of The Spectator is well-known but this article focuses on the profound influence of two websites: Unherd and Spiked

What makes these sites so significant and successful is that many of their lead writers originate not on the right but on the mainstream and indeed the far left, and now promote ideologies that seem contradictory but – in practice – are increasingly allied.

Or as this Blog has argued for some time, drawing on French studies and political interventions, confusionnismes are the birthplace of national populism and the present day far right. In La grande confusion. Comment l’extrême droite gagne la bataille des idées (2021) Philippe Corcuff argues that the word confusionnisme refers to, ““the current name of a relative disaggregation of political benchmarks previously stabilised around the left-right cleavage and the development of rhetorical bridges between extreme right, right, moderate left and radical left” 

By way of an introduction to the article below,

Imagine a country where a former extreme left party has recycled itself as a Tribune against Woke and publishes articles defending the national populist ruler of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. Think of a political scene, where this party- become-network, joined with members of a Communist Party committed to the fight against globalisation, and a wing of a social democratic party, nostalgic for the ‘real’ working working class. Imagine these defenders of the ‘somewhere people’ and the traditional values of family faith and flag, up in arms behind national sovereignty against the European Union. That they came together to fight for the right-wing side, of a Referendum. Think, if you can, of these old revolutionary girls and boys actively supporting a far-right party with a marked hostility to immigration and getting one their number elected as a MEP, and then given a Peerage…

September 2021. La grande confusion: Comment l’extrême-droite gagne la bataille des idées. The Great Confusion: How the Far-Right is Winning the Battle of Ideas. Philippe Corcuff. Review.

Bloomfield and Edgar,

The construction of this new divide has encouraged strange, paradoxical political alliances – exemplified in the mirroring of the Red Tory and Blue Labour tendencies within the two main political parties. Even stranger is the ideological overlap between the website of a formerly Marxist, now right-libertarian think tank and the main online home of anti-liberal communitarianism. So why – on the issues that are tearing Britain apart – do Spiked and Unherd appear to be bedfellows?   

Both are prolific sites supplying a daily flow of political and cultural commentary. Spiked is an outgrowth of the  Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), which developed an increasingly eccentric version of Trotskyism with its magazine Living Marxism, and was successfully sued by ITN over allegations of fabricating pictures of Serbian concentration camps and closed down.  

Unherd has more conventional origins within the Conservative party.  Its founder Tim Montgomerie  set out its stall in Prospect arguing for a “social Thatcherism,” which would re-balance “from a conservatism of freedom to a conservatism of locality and security.” Montgomerie argued that within the Tory Party “the magnetism of national sovereignty has finally overtaken the magnetism of free markets.” 

However, Unherd has also attracted former left polemicists, including ex-Labour-supporting, Prospect-editing and Demos-running journalist David Goodhart – now ‘Head of Demography, Immigration and Integration’ at the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange; academic turned national-populist advocate Matthew Goodwin; trade union activist and anti-woke campaigner Paul Embery; and the ex SWP-flirting, Tory-convert vicar Giles Fraser. 

Embery’s recent anti-woke polemic in Spiked adds him to a growing list of pundits who happily write both for the right-libertarian Spiked and the communitarian Unherd. As we write, Spiked is running a 45-minute conversation between Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill and Unherd’s Matthew Goodwin, both agreeing that Rishi Sunak is really a cultural conservative who understands the Red Wall electorate and its cultural concerns. Perhaps most strikingly, the right-libertarian Spiked has just run long extracts from the latest book by Blue Labour guru Maurice Glasman.

This is a key point:

The reason for this unexpected cross-fertilisation of ex-Trotskyites, traditionalist Tories and communitarian, socially-conservative Labourites is their ideological alignment on many of the key cultural controversies of the day. A fervent commitment to Brexit and belief in the unreformed UK nation-state are central, but what gives the two platforms their raison d’etre is the consistent vitriol directed at the mainstream Left and the new social movements that have emerged around it over the last few decades. A bitter animosity against social liberalism and a caricatured ‘woke’ Left is their most distinctive, current and common thrust. 

Neither website is short of funds. Both receive hefty support from key figures associated with the populist Right.  Unherd is funded by an endowment from Sir Paul Marshall, a senior hedge fund manager and ardent supporter of Brexit, who gave £500,000 to the Tories in 2019 and is a supporter of and for a short period chaired GB News. Spiked’s backing includes $300,000 from the Koch brothers, who have been one of the most substantial funders of Donald Trump.

 

Both have significant readerships.  In April 2022  Unherd’s monthly figure was 2.7 million while Spiked’s figure was 1.4 million (by comparison, the New Statesman’s monthly readership is 1.5m). But their main impact is the way their ideas – particularly on multiculturalism and the ‘woke agenda’ – have been eagerly lapped up by the mainstream right-wing media. 

Unherd editor Freddie Sayers wrote a set of columns in the Daily Telegraph throughout the COVID crisis attacking lockdowns, while Spiked deputy editor Ella Whelan has a regular column almost exclusively devoted to culture wars.   

Mick Hume, former editor of Living Marxism and then of Spiked,  is an established figure on the right-wing press circuit, having had a decade-long stint with The Times, as well as blasting off occasional polemics in The Sun and now enjoying a regular slot in the Daily Mail.

Read the full article.

This will be interesting: In Part 2 of this analysis, we’ll discuss how and why they agree and what the progressive left should do to oppose them.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 8, 2022 at 5:53 pm

Disgraced Academic and Toady of the Islamic Republic of Iran, David Miller, Attacks the anti-Fascist ’43 Group.

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Apologist of the Iranian Regime has a go at the ’43 Group.

Like many leftists of my generation I was heavily involved in the anti-fascist movement during the 1970s. Of our forebears we had heard of Cable Street in the 1930s and of the post-war actions of anti-Nazi groups. The 62 Group, or 62 Committee, was one of the most celebrated, formed in that year. It fought Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement, Colin Jordan’s National Socialists, and continued until after the end of the decade. It was a living memory, not least because Gerry Gable, known of, and to, many of us for his work producing the magazine Searchlight, was part of the group. It was the subject of a recent, well-regarded, BBC television series, Ridley Road .Jordan was still around in the West Midlands in the late 70s, when I lived there.

Another body, which we had only read about, was the 43 Group that was active between 1947 and 1949. It tackled Oswald Mosley and his immediate post-war attempts to revive the British fascists. It was created by Jewish ex-Servicemen and women.

Remembering the 43 Group

Marcus Barnett

Within months of the war’s end, fourteen fascist groups and at least three bookshops operated openly across the city. Newspapers with names like Britain Awake and The Patriot were readily available on street corners. Most alarmingly of all, fascists began staging outdoor rallies in the densely-Jewish East End once again. ‘Openly in the streets you had public meetings shouting out the same antagonism and the same filth as before the war,’ commando veteran Jules Konopinski recalled, ‘and now even worse – they were saying the gas chambers weren’t enough.’ Alarm spread among the Jewish community that anti-Semitism could find a foothold so soon after the defeat of the Nazis.

In February 1946, while driving for a pint in Hampstead Heath, four young Jewish ex-servicemen — the former Hurricane ace Alec Carson, Gerry Flamberg, Len Sherman, and Morris Beckman — witnessed a rally by the British League of Ex-Servicemen and Women, the organisation of Jeffrey Hamm. A familiar face of pre-war fascism, Hamm was interned for his loyalty to Hitler and was now seeking to rebuild Oswald Mosley’s movement. Addressing a sixty-strong meeting, Hamm chose his words carefully, denouncing the ‘aliens in our midst’ who ‘waxed fat in the black market’ while British soldiers died.

Pretending to buy a copy of Britain Awake, Sherman abruptly knocked two fascists unconscious by banging their heads together. Flamberg toppled the makeshift stage and knocked Hamm over. As the crowd scattered, an elderly German Jew stayed to shake their hands. It occurred to all four that they could face serious charges for their actions. ‘Well then,’ Carson said, ‘it’s about time they change the laws.’

Their action was widely supported, and an organising meeting at Maccabi House was arranged to push back the fascist threat. Thirty-eight ex-servicemen and five women turned up. The vast majority were Jewish, but the group also included non-Jewish socialists like Joe Zilliacus, a former Marine and son of left-wing Labour MP Konni Zilliacus. What united them was their conviction that the Jewish community must not be passive in the face of provocations.

Alec Black, a veteran of the D-Day landings, proposed establishing an organisation that could effectively fight fascism and anti-Semitism. He knew this would be a serious endeavour and emphasised that everyone involved would risk serious harm and jail time. Anyone feeling nervous about this activity could leave without any judgement or prejudice against them. No one moved an inch or said a word.

The organisation had two aims: to prevent fascist activities by physical force if necessary, and to pressure Parliament into making racial incitement a criminal offence. Since those present had few motivations beyond completing the tasks at hand, no grandiose names were suggested. It was decided they would be called ‘The 43 Group’, after the number of people in the room. But, by April of that year, the name seemed misplaced; over 300 people had bolstered the Group’s ranks.

More from Miller:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 4, 2022 at 5:43 pm

Cynthia McKinney, Former Congresswoman, 2008 Presidential Nominee for the US Green Party, Backs Kayne West.

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“Currently a professor in Political Science at North South University in Bangladesh.”

McKinney was a US Democrat Congresswoman, who served six terms. After losing her seat in 2002 she began writing about 9/11 conspiracy theories. Leaving the Democratic Party she joined the US Greens in that decade (which has no much more serious political impact than a mico-party with a few councillors, barely more than at the Parish Council level). She stood as their Presidential candidate in 2008, for which she got 161,797 votes (0.12%). At present despite a paper membership of over 200,000 they have none of the support and influence of European Green parties.

Unkind people have drawn parallels between McKinney and early British Green David Icke, one-time Green National Spokesperson, who ended up barred from the party in 1992. During her Green Party period she developed her conspiracy bent. One aspect drew wider attention. McKinney became linked with racist Islamists, notably the British convert David Musa Pidcock (1942 – 2021) who had founded the Islamic Party of Britain. A Muslim convert, Pidock was an extreme anti-Semite. Since that time her conspiracist diatribes, and increasing anti-Jewish racism, have got worse. Despite this McKinney appears to have remained a member of the US Greens until 2020.

FORMER DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN, CYNTHIA MCKINNEY, FLIRTS WITH HOLOCAUST DENIERS (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2009)

McKinney commented about the London conference in two postings on the Green Party’s website in which she praised Mahathir (“one of my heroes”) and also a man named David Pidcock, whom she called “my London friend.” A British-born convert to Islam, Pidcock is the author of an extensive collection of conspiracy-laden anti-Semitic works, including the 1992 work Satanic Voices Ancient & Modern, which blames most of the world’s current and ancient problems on a centuries-old conspiracy whose participants include Freemasons, Illuminati, “Luciferian Zionists,” the Rockefeller family, big oil companies and the Council on Foreign Relations. The principal Internet outlet for Pidcock’s writings is the website iamthewitness.com, which is devoted to fascist and anti-Semitic writings, prominently featuring The International Jew published by Henry Ford.

Wiki, Cynthia McKinney, gives a list with links to her later statements in this vein,

“In 2016 McKinney released a statement via Twitter accusing Israelis of conducting the 2016 Nice truck attack in France and the Würzburg train attack in Germany, she did not provide any evidence for either claim.[117] In May of 2020, The Algemeiner Journal and other medial outlets reported that McKinney released a series of statements via Twitter questioning the true number of Jewish people murdered during The Holocaust. In the tweets (in which she misrepresented an article from Haaretz) she stated: “So, the figure wasn’t six million after all?? What about those punished and even imprisoned for saying so?? Is this a “You can’t say, but I can” kind of thing??”.[118][119]The Jerusalem Post reported that on June 28, 2021, McKinney posted a meme to Twitter that depicted the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center as a puzzle with the “final piece of the puzzle” having the word “Zionists” on it. When adding that piece to the puzzle, the image read: “Zionists did it.” New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman condemned McKinney’s post as anti-semitic.[120] The ADL in a tweet objected to McKinney continuing “to repeat an offensive #antisemitic trope falsely blaming Jews/Zionists for the terrorist attacks on 9/11.”

She’s still at it:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 3, 2022 at 12:59 pm