Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fascism

London Protest Against Far-Right Italian National Populist Leader Salvini.

with 2 comments



London Protests Against No-Show Salvini.

Inspired by Italy’s anti-far right, and anti-Salvini movement, the Sardines, people protested in London yesterday against the visit of the Italian national populist leader to the British capital.

The fact that his flight was cancelled because of the Coronavirus did not stop people demonstrating.

This is the movement in Italy: Sardines against Salvini 

Socialist Resistance.

December 2019.

A few weeks ago four thirty year olds from Bologna were complaining about the victory of Salvini’s  hard right Lega (League) in the Umbrian regional elections and the danger of him winning their traditionally left of centre region in the January elections, writes Dave Kellaway. They then did something that is typical of angry thirty year olds. They went onto social media and cooked up the Sardines idea.

Put simply, it was to fill the squares of Italy with people against the Lega.  The reference to the sea was twofold. Firstly, small fish group together in massive shoals to defend themselves against predators and secondly Salvini was the notorious interior minister who was happy to let migrants die in the Mediterranean by closing the ports.

As sometimes happens, the whole idea exploded on social media and the squares of Bologna and other places across the region were successfully taken over by huge crowds. A majority were young but people of all ages came too.

On December 3 there were 25,000 in Milan and tens of thousands in Florence and Naples. The weather has been as bad in Italy recently as it has been here.  Given that the merest hint of rain on an Italian beach sees them emptied very quickly, this showed the strength of this movement as a sea of umbrellas covered the squares.

And:  New “sardine” movement in Italy. Hugh Edwards.


December 2019.

In the past few weeks, as if from nowhere, a new movement, calling itself “the sardines”, has filled the squares of Italy, originating from Emilia Romagna’s capital city, Bologna.

25,000 came out in Milan on Sunday 1 December, and there will be a mass national demo of all groups and organisational conference in Rome on 15 December.

Drawing in thousands of the young, and often very young, the dynamic of the mobilisation is focused against the reactionary racist extremism of Matteo Salvini and his party, La Lega nationale.

Radical anti-Fascists took part.

This is the Sardines UK.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 4, 2020 at 2:19 pm

Hope Not Hate Report: Brexit Helped Mainstream “far-right notions around immigration and identity”

with 27 comments

Image result for brexit day celebrations far right

Brexit has both marginalised the far right but also contributed to the mainstreaming of some far-right notions around immigration and identity.”


Brexit making far-right ideas mainstream, major report finds


‘Cordon sanitaire’ keeping far-right discourse out of mainstream politics has collapsed, Hope Not Hate says

Brexit is causing far-right views on immigration and identity to be drawn into the mainstream, a report has warned.

Research by Hope Not Hate found that Britain’s departure from the EU has fuelled discussions of loyalty, elites and patriotism, “drawing people who might have otherwise have been attracted to the far right back into the mainstream right”.

“The blurring of these boundaries has seen mainstream politicians and commentators using language and rhetoric that was previously found only on the far right [and] seen anti-Muslim prejudice, demeaning rhetoric on migrants and refugees and notions of a ‘cultural war’ against social liberalism increasingly being adopted,” the group’s annual report said.

“This is partly as a consequence of politicians co-opting far-right narratives to gain support and partly because of the newer far right engaging in wider issues.”

Hope Not Hate said the change was responsible for weakening traditional far-right street movements in Britain, seeing a decline in membership and events.

Its report noted that several extremist figures and groups, including Tommy Robinson and Britain First, had called for their supporters to support Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party since he became leader.

“Past and present far-right leaders even attended Brexit Day celebrations in Parliament Square,” it added.

“The ‘cordon sanitaire’ which once kept far-right groups and thought out of mainstream discourse has collapsed, both here and on the continent.”

Extracts from this important report: FAR RIGHT TERROR GOES GLOBAL.

Editorial Nick Lowles. 

This is partly the consequence of the far right engaging in wider cultural and identity issues, but also because centre-right politicians have tried to embrace far-right narratives to win support.

Who really needs far-right propagandists when you have more mainstream commentators like Rod Liddle, Richard Littlejohn, Toby Young and James Delingpole all weighing into the fray?

The ‘cordon sanitaire’ which once kept far-right groups and thought out of mainstream discourse has collapsed, both here and on the Continent.Belgium’s King Philippe has held an official meeting at the Royal Palace with the head of the far-right Vlaams Belang party. It is the first time a Belgian monarch has met a far-right leader since 1936. In Germany, a significant group of Christian Democrat politicians have called for a deal with the far-right Alternative for Germany Party.

The decline of the traditional far right has been happening for some time. As far back as 1999 the British National Party recognised that its strong racist and anti-immigrant message had decreasing traction in a multicultural society where some non-whites were already second or third generation British.

However, this decline has been quickened by the emergence of the internet and the rapidly evolving digital landscape, plus the loosening ties between political parties and people, which has given us all a far wider choice to move between causes and campaigns.

The far right has also been constrained by police action and social media deplatforming. Leaders of many of the more violent far-right groups have been imprisoned, while the action of some social media companies to limit hate speech has massively curtailed the ability of far-right figures to reach audiences and raise money.
But it has been Brexit that has really quickened the far right decline. Brexit has dominated the political discourse over the past three years and the traditional far-right organisations have struggled to get their issues heard amid the Brexit roar.

Figures such as Yaxley-Lennon tried to jump aboard the Brexit bandwagon, but after admitting that he hadn’t actually voted in the EU Referendum, he struggled to have any meaningful impact beyond complaining about Muslims and his own sense of persecution.

Last summer, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party was formed and topped the poll in the European elections all within two months. Along the way it claimed to have recruited 150,000 supporters and millions in donations. However, almost as quickly as it emerged it sunk, as Boris Johnson promised to deliver what Farage could only dream about.

This does not mean an end to the far-right. Just as anti-immigrant and anti “cultural leftist” people like Éric Zemmour  is part of the national political landscape in France, so have many of their far-right ideas become part of the British cultural and political terrain.

This may stand for the UK as well, “RaphaĂ«l Glucksmann described Zemmour as having “a very clear ambition, which is to erase the divide between the Republican right and the far right under the banner of the far right.”


The far right are enthusiastic and extreme participants in the culture war and have successfully sought to portray themselves as victims of political correctness, the liberal establishment and gender equality.
And in this they successfully tap into an anxiety and lack of control over their lives that many feel, especially those who feel most pessimistic about the future and those who have been top of the social hierarchies but now feel they are losing out to others.

The report explores how the ‘manosphere’ has snowballed into an ideology that has taken on a life beyond an online niche. Though its organised elements and online communities are still a fringe issue, it taps into broader reactionary attitudes towards towards women, feminism and progressive politics.


“….particular far-right tropes, especially those with a conspiratorial angle, have received attention from mainstream politicians. These include ‘The Great Replacement’ and other identitarian ideas influencing far-right European Parliamentary election campaigns, to Britain’s Nigel Farage using the antisemitic ‘globalist’ dogwhistle and Conservative MP Suella Braverman using another, ‘Cultural Marxism’. On some topics mainstreaming has gone even further. HOPE not hate polling released in June highlighted the worrying extent of British Conservative party supporters’ Islamophobic beliefs, including in once-fringe Islamophobic tropes such as ‘no-go zones’.


When it comes to resisting the spread of far-right ideas, the culture war over deplatforming those who spread hate continued in 2019, with doing so continuing to be framed, often cynically by the far right, in terms of a danger to freedom of speech.

Likewise, moral equivocating of the far right and antifascists continued, not least from Trump who in April reiterated a form of his ‘both sides’ response (that he gave when reacting to news of the murder of antiracist demonstrator Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in 2017).

Through our American newsletter, CARD, edited by Melissa Ryan, we also drew attention to  home of the narratives and conspiracies which have begun to gain more of a footing, including the antiLGBTQ+ and misogynist ‘Gender Ideology’ conspiracy which was central, for example, to the Polish far right’s parliamentary election campaigns.”


Amongst other issues the section on Labour and Anti-Semitism remains significant.

The relationship between between the Jewish community and the Labour Party was in pretty dire straits at the start of 2019. The summer of 2018 had been dominated by a row over Labour’s eventual acceptance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which occurred after the unprecedented ‘Enough is Enough’ rally led by Jewish community organisations in Parliament Square.

This stands out,

Chris Williamson.

The disgraced former MP for Derby North became a symbol of Jew-baiting and hatred, and caused an unnecessary saga that took far too long to resolve. Williamson came into 2019 still facing calls for the Labour whip to be suspended from him for sharing platforms with expelled members, denying antisemitism in the Labour Party and signing a petition in support of controversial jazz musician Gilad Atzmon.

Despite this, Jeremy Corbyn told Derbyshire Live: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not antisemitic in any way.”

Williamson further angered anti-racists in Labour by booking a room in Parliament to host a film screening in Parliament for then-suspended member Jackie Walker. In late February, footage was uncovered of Williamson saying that Labour was “too apologetic” over antisemitism. The party confirmed that he would be under investigation for a pattern of behaviour but would remain as an MP. However, after much anger from then-deputy leader Tom Watson, backbench MPs and a statement from HOPE not Hate, he was suspended.

Unfortunately, this did not prove to be the end of this sorry tale. In June, Williamson’s suspension was lifted by a three-person NEC panel and he was issued with a formal warning. It then took two days, and pressure from 120 MPs and peers, plus 70 Labour staff members, for his suspension to be reimposed. He unsuccessfully attempted to return as a Labour MP through the courts and after he was refused permission to stand as a Labour Party candidate in the General Election, he resigned from the party. He got his final kicking of the year at the ballot box, receiving just 635 votes and losing his deposit in Derby North. However, it should be remembered that his case was yet another that dragged out so long that Labour never had to take the final decision to expel him.

This is one response to the section that mentions one individual:

The Conservatives face this charge:

Limited disciplinary action, a membership riven by Islamophobic views and a leadership which has brushed off criticism – the conservative party’s approach to its islamophobia crisis is deeply disappointing writes Gregory Davis.

Last year there were growing calls for the Conservative Party to tackle the Islamophobia crisis within its ranks. A steady drip-feed of allegations emerged throughout the year of Islamophobic behaviour from individuals at every level of the party, ranging from the grassroots up to the very top with the leadership.

Yet the party has appeared reluctant to acknowledge the scale of the problem, which is the first step towards tackling any issue effectively. It has seemed, at times, as though the party was intent on repeating every mistake that Labour has made in its handling of its antisemitism crisis.

Despite the party’s claims that its disciplinary procedures were ‘transparent’, a consistent refusal to provide basic information about the number of complaints, or their outcomes, has made it impossible for outside observers to verify the actions taken or true scale of the problem. As it stands, the evidence we have already suggests that the problem is larger than the leadership cares to admit.

Identity Politics.

Brexit, it was predicted by some on the left, would lead to a ‘Carnival of Reaction’.

From immigration to national identity the right has gained an advantage by playing the issue of national sovereignty against internationalism and human rights.

There is another way far-right, or, national populist, ideas have shaped the terrain of political debate.


The rise of right-wing identity politics, and the inability of the pro-Brexit left to answer without claiming an identity politics of their own, based on the “real” working class, pro-Brexit opposed to “Metropolitan” pro EU “elites”, is striking.

The Morning Star and others, the Socialist Party, Blue Labour and the alliance between the sovereigntist left and the Brexit Party backers, the Full Brexit, have played this game.

Explaining Labour’s defeat Beck Robertson says in the Morning Star,

To win back the working class we must ditch identity politics

The right has seized on our insistence upon all things woke and have used this to parody our whole movement.

…..though Brexit was undoubtedly important, and Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity may have played a part, there is another long-ignored factor — identity politics and its role in the perception of the party as a vehicle for middle-class Islingtonites.


Traditional working-class Labour voters, who in their droves turned away from Labour this election, have long complained the party has become London-centric, middle class and out of touch, with too much focus on liberal identity politics.

Nobody is going to tackle national populism and the far right  by pitting the ‘left-behind’, the “Somewhere” working class against the imaginary London metropolitan left – a city with its own working ‘cosmopolitan;’ working class.

Their arguments serve only to reinforce right-wing views, not challenge them.

Not to mention that they sound like Toby Young whingeing about all that ‘identity’ intersectional PC, Woke, nonsense.

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.”

with 12 comments

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.


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 nĂ©gationnisme de gauche. PortĂ© depuis 1945, par des militants dont l’histoire politique a commencĂ© dans le camp des progressismes et des rĂ©volutions sociales, dans les avant-gardes politiques et culturelles, et dont l’antisĂ©mitisme a Ă©tĂ© niĂ©, tolĂ©rĂ©, et mĂȘme approuvĂ©, parfois largement. De Rassinier Ă  DieudonnĂ©, en passant par certains courants d’ultra-gauche qui ont finalement abouti aux mĂȘmes horreurs que les courants staliniens qu’ils prĂ©tendaient critiquer, le nĂ©gationnisme a trouvĂ© divers prĂ©textes pour tenter de s’imposer comme alliĂ© de gauche : le pacifisme, la dĂ©nonciation de l’antifascisme comme suppĂŽt 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 DieudonnĂ©, 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.

with 19 comments

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 IndigĂšnes de la RĂ©publique 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. GĂ©nĂ©ration 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).


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 PĂ©nitance 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 IndigĂšnes de la RĂ©publique (PIR) The PIR’s spokesperson Houria Bouteldja offers a picture of the world in imitation of US Black Power. She melds attacks on ‘Whiteness’ (BlanchitĂ©) 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 fĂȘted 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.

Sun Exposes Corbyn Extremist Links to Anarchist Federation and Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist).

with 6 comments

Image result for Interactive Network Chart Explore the Truth Hijacked Labour

Top Tory Paper, the Sun, Links to Impecable Sources to Expose Labour Extremism.

Why did the Sun publish a far-right conspiracy theory?

On Saturday, the Sun published an exclusive story by its political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, which announced that a group of former British intelligence officers had uncovered a “hard-left extremist network” at the heart of the Labour party. “HIJACKED LABOUR” declared the piece, which went on to claim that Jeremy Corbyn sits at the centre of a “spider’s web of extensive contacts” that stretch “from Marxist intellectuals to militant groups and illegal terror organisations”

The piece directed readers towards a website featuring a network map that it said had been compiled by ex-military veterans “in their spare time” to reveal “what they insist is now a party firmly in the grip of a hardline cabal”. Each of the 490 organisations or individuals listed was presented as a node on a network, with an attached fact file and further reading links.

But when readers began to inspect the map more closely, we found that several entries on the chart included extreme right wing material among their sources. One fact file recommended a “critique” of anti-fascism posted on the antisemitic conspiracy website the Millennium Report – which also features articles on such topics as “the Jewish hand in the world wars” and “exposing Jewish Zionism”. Another fact file pointed readers towards the website Aryan Unity – once the mouthpiece of the British People’s party, a defunct neo-Nazi group. These were presented without caveats, as apparently trustworthy sources.

Before the end of the day, the story had been removed from the paper’s website (note, I found the story on the Net still there) – without acknowledgement or explanation from Newton Dunn or his bosses. (The Sun declined to comment, and Newton Dunn has not responded to my questions.)..

Cde  Daniel Trilling shows the kind of sources the Sun relies on.

The Sun story goes,

JEREMY Corbyn is at the centre of an extraordinary network of hard-left extremists pieced together by former British intelligence officers.

The Labour leader’s spider’s web of extensive contacts stretch from Marxist intellectuals to militant groups and illegal terror organisations.

The project, dubbed ‘Hijacked Labour’, was drawn up by the ex-military veterans in their spare time to expose what they insist is now a party firmly in the grip of a hardline cabal.

The Hijacked Labour group declares: “Those planning to vote for the Labour Party ought to know what Labour now represents.

“It is no longer the patriotic party of Attlee or Wilson. Today’s Labour has been hijacked by Marxists. Vote wisely, Compatriots. Your Country Needs You to.”

Ex-SAS officer turned author Mark Bles, who leads the group, told The Sun: “This is an extreme network who are now very close to running the country, and we want everyone to know this”.

The network includes 490 different entries in total, each with their own interactive nodes detailing their histories and links on the group’s website, hijackedlabour.com.

Spotters will have noticed that the “shadowy network” is more than tenebrous.

Hijacked Labour’s Spider Webs are big and tangled.

They include ‘Postmodern neo marxism’, Michael Foucault Jean François Lyotard, Derrida, Richard Rorty, Fredric Jameson, the Anarchist Federation (Britain and Ireland), Socialist Organiser, London Labour Briefing, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist),   Royston Bull’s Economic and Philosophic Science Review, “election racket a giant fraud – only revolutionary overthrow of capitalism can stop austerity and plunge to war“) the Socialist Equality Party (standing candidates against Labour in the present election), the Communist Party of Great Britain, Provisional Central Committee, a “Marxist Leninist” group that publishes the Weekly Worker, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (which has stood candidates against Labour in the recent past), Socialist Worker, and…Class War.

It is said that Ian Bone is furious at being linked to Jeremy Corbyn…

More  fun to be had at the touch of a keyboard.

We have yet to find the Brexit Party supporting (European elections) Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist).

The Leftist Trainspotting Central Committee says: they  don’t make anti-semitic anti-Labour spooks like they used to.



Written by Andrew Coates

December 10, 2019 at 1:43 pm

L’Histoire refoulĂ©e. La Rocque, les Croix de feu, et le fascisme français. Sous la direction de Zeev Sternhell. Review: Fascisme Ă  la française?

with 6 comments

Image result for l'histoire refoulée


L’Histoire refoulĂ©e. La Rocque, les Croix de feu, et le fascisme français. Sous la direction de Zeev Sternhell. Les Éditions du Cerf.

Zeev Sternhell is a reference point amongst historians of Fascism. L’Histoire refoulĂ©e focuses on the Croix de Feu (CDF, a movement, originally largely of Great War veterans, led by Colonel François de la Rocque. In 1936, after anti-parliamentary street violence led to the dissolution of the “leagues”, they became the Parti sociale français (PSF) with membership of around three quarters of a million. Opinion has been divided about how far La Rocque’s troops were properly fascist, with some dismissing them as nationalist “boy scouts”. The contributions by Sternhell, “Anglo-Saxons” Caroline Campbell, Kevin Passmore and Chris Milligan with Laurent Kestel and Didier Leschi and Samuel Kalman aim to show that during the 1930s important parts of French society were tempted by “les aventures fascists” and that the CDF/PSF was not a “mass party of the right” but infected with fascist ideas.

Didier Leschi and Lauren Kestel refer to Michel Dobry’s claim that there is a consensus that France was “immune” and “allergic” to Fascism (Le mythe de l’allergie française au fascisme. 2003). In this view, taken up anew by Sternhell the minimising of the CDF/PSF is a case study in how a 1930s a fascistic movement is downplayed. Present targets include Michel Winock, who questioned this classification, noting that, apart from its backward looking debts to 19th century the Caesarism of Boulangism, has said in his own works, that the “term “fascism” cannot be applied to all movements supportive of right-leaning authoritarianism, the so-called national right, or the far-right” and that the “Croix-de-Feu and the PSF cannot be called a fascist party unless, of course, we disregard semantic precision altogether.”(1)

“RefoulĂ©e”, in psychological terms, is to repress, to push back into oneself, to refuse to acknowledge an impulse. The intention of L’Histoire refoulĂ©e is to bring out from this collective subconscious the existence of French fascism as an independent political force in the 1930s. It equally contributed to the National Revolution of the Vichy regime and the Collaboration. The importance of this task is highlighted, the authors argue, by the resurgence of a xenophobic extreme right that has reinvented a French nationalist tradition without fully recognising its debts to fascism. .

General readers, many of whom are familiar with the historian of Vichy, Robert O Paxton (La France de Vichy. 1973,  in English, Vichy France : Old Guard and New Order, 1940-1944) , will be surprised to learn that the domestic responsibility for the PĂ©tain regime continues to be ignored. Not long ago the polemical historian Éric Zemmour violently attacked the anti-Vichy ‘doxa’ (established opinion), also known as the « rĂ©volution paxtonienne », led by “notre bon maĂźtre”, the American (nationality underlined) in the best-selling Le Suicide français (2014). The far-right writer became instantly notorious for defending the care shown by Vichy towards Jews of French nationality. His claim that De Gaulle was a child of both the far right and left Catholic patriotism, “un enfant de Maurras et de PĂ©guy” could also be said to be attempt to blur the lines between fascism and French republicanism. L’Histoire consigns Zemmour to a footnote of the Leschi and Kestel Introduction – on his more recent Destin Français (2018).

The Revolutionary Right.

In La Droite RĂ©volutionnaire, (First Edition, 1978) Sternhell proposed that late 19th century and pre-Great War France was the cradle of fascist ideology. France was, in Sternhell’s eyes, an ideal field for studying pre-fascism, and, full blown, “neither left nor right” fascist thought. This developed earliest in the country with “exceptional intellectual quality. Ni droite ni gauche: l’idĂ©ologie fasciste en France (First Edition, 1983), surveyed anti-parliamentarian nationalism (the ‘ligues’), “planiste” sections of French social democracy (Marcel DĂ©at), the Monarchist and anti-Semite Action française, the mass parties of the later 1930s, the Parti Social français (PSF), the Parti Populaire français (PPF) of the renegade Communist Jacques Doriot, and a mixed bag of admirers of National Socialism and Mussolini. This indicated that fascism was a synthesis of socialist ideas and nationalism. An earlier work had marked out in the literary and polemical figure of the nationalist Maurice BarrĂšs and his appeal to La terre et les Morts, the homeland heritage and the living memory of the dead. (Maurice BarrĂšs et le nationalisme français. 1972). In the years preceding the Second World War these movements drew together calls to “workers of all classes” against banking “hyper” capitalism, drew on the romance of the nation, and opposition to the liberalism of the Enlightenment and the elites of the Third Republic. (1)

Culturally acute, plunging straight through the confusion reigning in European politics of the 1930s, Sternhell had an immediate and lasting appeal. It did not take long for his thesis to come under attack. The writer of a landmark study of George Sorel (L’illusion du politique.1984) Shlomo Sand was one of the first off the mark. Ni droite ni gauche was the “most completely a-historical than one can possibly imagine. The author never puts things in their context. He gives fascism such a vague definition that you can stick onto it anything whatsoever.” Sand goes into some detail on the faults behind this conception. His summary could equally stand for other critics. In L’illusion du politique the Cercle Proudhon, a key ‘red-brown’ movement for Sternhell in which extreme-right monarchists met syndicalists inspired by Sorels’ revolutionary anti-parliamentarism, was put into its real, marginal, barely noticed, context. Sorel ended his days an enthusiast for the Bolshevik Revolution, not nationalism. (2)

The meat of the argument against Sternhell is that, as a field of observation, France, like Great Britain, was marked by victory in the Great War, and did not know the crisis of regime that afflicted Germany. This has implications for any study of movements born amongst those who fought in the conflict. The Croix de feu, which had nobody with experience of anything resembling the far-right civil war fighters of the German Freikorps nor, as many argue, did its vaunted “dispos” (men ready for action), who wore no uniform but the occasional Trilby hat, resemble anything like the Sturmabteilung (SA). France neither knew the kind of turmoil and use of violence against the left that proceeded Mussolini’s power grab. Threatening a coup, but never united enough with the other major forces of the far right like the Parti Populaire français (PPF) to carry one out, was not the same carrying one out.

The major difficulty is that a broad sweep of far-right ideas, focused on intellectuals in countries where they did not control the state, ignores what for many historians is the crucial aspect of fascism and Nazism. They were  doctrines of regimes with totalitarian power.

Settling Accounts.

Many readers of L’Histoire refoulĂ©e will have these thoughts in mind as they open its pages. Sternhell pursues the ideological well-springs of fascism, and the ideological confusion of the 1930s, which drew some parts of the left towards the extreme right. ”. At the end of the 19th century France saw two traditions battle it out, the tradition of the Enlightenment faced a “tradition organiciste, antirationaliste, historiciste, nationaliste, antisĂ©mite, la tradition de la terre et les morts trĂšs proche de la tradition völkish en Allemagne.” (Page 40 – 50) This, he asserts, was the “motor” of Vicky’s National Revolution. The intellectuals prepared people’s minds; it was up to mass movements and the Disaster of the War, to give them life. The PSF’s call for Travail, Famille, Partie, became the motto of Vichy.

Sternhell does not always stay on this abstract plane. He peppers his contributions with revelatory attacks on liberals and moderate left wingers, like the ‘organic intellectual’ of the Radical Party Alain (Émile-Auguste Chartier), now known to have written anti-Jewish and pro-German comments in his war-time notebooks, Bertrand de Jouvenel (who launched a successful libel case against Sternhell in the 1980s for suggesting that he had been pro-Hitler), Maurice Duverger, the political scientist, dammed for his favourable writing for the Vichy government. His principal target is the already cited Michel Winock, a specialist in the same area, and author of the indispensable history of the journal Esprit (Esprit, des intellectuels dans la citĂ© 1930 – 1950). 1996). Once a supporter of Sternhell’s early work he is damned not only for refusing to accept that groups like Les Croix de feu were full-blown fascist but also for his tenderness towards the Director of Esprit, Emmanuel Mounier. In a contemptible attack Sternhell lets it suggested that the left Christian personalist and anti-totalitarian was an admirer of Hitler for brief favourable comments on the invasion of the Soviet Union. (Page 83)

The serious nature of these claims is obscured by their anecdotal presentation, which recalls Bernard-Henri LĂ©vy’s catch-all accusations of fascism in L’idĂ©ologie française (1981) rather than thorough historical research. This aspect of L’Histoire refoulĂ©e has led some to suggest that the book is intended to settle old scores (this review barely scratches the surface) rather than offer new insights into the history of French fascism. The final chapter, RĂ©ponse Ă  Michel Winock, which drags up grievances going back decades, does not diminish this impression. (4)

Sternhell should not overshadow L’Histoire refoulĂ©e. Laurent Kestrel tackles the issue of the PSF “republican” claims, La Rocque’s prejudices and dislike of freemasons, the presence of anti-Semitism in the movement, and compares it to Doriot’s PPF. Kevin Passmore compares relations with the German regime, always difficult given deep-rooted French nationalist traditions of Germanophobia, and Italy. He notes that he disappointed those who encouraged him to attempt a coup d’État. (Page 211). Carline Campbell explores both the way La Rocque defended the higher civilisation of France and melded it with racial ideas. Perhaps her most interesting pages develop research into the social basis of the CDF/PSF, its policies, and the way it became an astonishing large movement. Chris Millington reminds us of the violence between left and right in 1930s French politics, culminating in the Limoge shootings of 1935.

The quality of these, and other contributions, brings us back to the initial questions. Is this part of French history willingly forgotten? Is this because to talk about La Roque, the most “republican” of the 1930s far right, would be to tarnish the idea that France was “immune” to fascism? This is not just a conceptual dispute about the nature of fascism and French history. Readers of Michel Winock will know that far from denying the long-standing existence of a powerful extreme right in the Hexagon he is one of the foremost historians and opponents of “la tradition contre-rĂ©volutionnaire” and its present day “avatars” “national-populisme”. If there is one thing about L’Histoire refoulĂ©e that rankles it is an implication that suggests otherwise. (5)


  1. Revisiting French fascism, La Rocque and the Croix de Feu. Michel Winock Vingtiùme Siùcle. Revue d’histoire. 2006/2 (No 90)
  2. Page 405. La Droite RĂ©volutionnaire. Zeev Sternhell. Edition de Seuil 1978.
  3. Written in 1983 and cited Page 144. La Fin de l‘intellectuel français? Shlomo Sand La DĂ©couverte. 2016.
  4. Une guerre de trente ans  Sonia Combe En attendant Nadeau. Notably on, in her view, the “l’équipe Serge Berstein-Jean-NoĂ«l Jeanneney-Michel Winock qui continuait Ă  alimenter le mythe français dĂ©construit par Sternhell. “
  5. Page 297. Conclusion.Histoire de l’extrĂȘme droite en France. Sous La Direction de Michel Winock. Editions du Seuil. 2015 (New Edition) 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 18, 2019 at 1:51 pm

Socialists lead Spanish Election results, far-right Vox in 3rd place, Left Populist vote tumbles.

with one comment

Resultado de imagen de elecciones España Noviembre 2019 Seats

Vox is now the 3rd Largest party in Spanish elections.

Socialists win repeat Spanish election, Vox becomes third-biggest force in Congress

A poll that was meant to unblock the political situation in Spain has only served to complicate it, with losses for the left, a recovery for the PP and a huge boost for the far-right.

El PaĂ­s

The Socialist Party (PSOE) of caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sånchez won the highest number of seats but fell short of an absolute majority at the repeat general election in Spain on Sunday.

With around 99% of the vote counted, the PSOE had taken 120 seats – three fewer than the result it managed at the April 28 general election. The conservative Popular Party (PP) won 87 seats – a major gain from the 66 seats it secured in April, its worst result ever. But far-right group Vox saw the most significant rise, jumping from 24 to 52 seats, to become the third-largest party in Spain’s lower house, the Congress of Deputies.

Unidas Podemos – a coalition of United Left and anti-austerity group Podemos – retained 35 of the 42 seats it won at the last election, while the centre-right party Ciudadanos (Citizens) suffered a crushing defeat, losing more than 40 seats to be left with just 10.

For decades the PSOE and PP had taken turns in power, but the economic crisis spawned protest parties and Spanish politics have lately been defined by a lack of parliamentary majorities and the inability of politicians to reach governing deals. Sunday’s vote was the fourth general election Spain has held in as many years.

The leader of Cuidamos has now resigned: Albert Rivera abandona la polĂ­tica tras la debacle electoral de Ciudadanos

Vox, (Vox, stylised),  the voice of popular hatred, is a national populist far right party. Apart from expressing dislike against immigrants and specifically Muslims, and the ‘elites’ of the European Union, they are marked by virulent opposition to Catalan nationalism,  and express a strong strain of anti-feminism and claims to defend “the family”  not found in much of the electorally successful Western European populist right. With this social conservatism the party of Santiago Abascal has sometimes been compared to  Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) admired in Britain by some figures from Blue Labour.

The left populists of Podemos continue to decline. As Unidas Podemos (supported by other left organisations such as Izquierda Unida) they are down from the highpoint of 21,6% in 2016 and now stand at 9, 80% with 26 seats. The splinter from the party of Pablo Iglesias  led by his former comrade, ĂĂ±igo ErrejĂłn,  MĂĄs PaĂ­s, best known for its Green New Deal platform, won 3 seats (577,018 or 2,40%.)

Left populism now looks unlikely to ever make the expected breakthrough in Spain.

When he was a member of Podemos ErrejĂłn outlined his line of march in a widely read book,  Podemos: In the Name of the People, Chantal Mouffe in Conversation with ĂĂ±igo ErrejĂłn  2016.

We have taken steps to build  – culturally, affectively, symbolically – that new political identity, and to form the nucleus of a national-popular will that is capable of turning the turning the hopes and fears of those below into the hopes and fear of a new country, the foundations of a new historical bloc.”(Page  158)

There was a grand strategy  behind this, “We need to recover a sense of politics, and a passion for a democratic revolution, which we always born from ‘we the people’ – that is always the originatory (sic)  statement – construction of a people that demands sovereignty and a new social contract.”(Page 159) The “people” have yet to speak through the voices of Podemos and MĂĄs PaĂ­s let alone be “constructed” around their Charismatic leadership.

Chantal Mouffe, the theorist of left populism, claimed the task was the  “To turn heterogeneous demands into a  collective will it’s necessary to have a figure that can represent that unity.”(Page  109). Welding all kinds of aspirations, feelings and people in a country as complex as Spain, into a united wish to do something, through the vehicle of a diverse political party however ‘new’ struck many as the time, and since, as an almost theological hope.

Spanish left populism has, to few outsiders’ surprise,  failed to do this. Its weakness was in focusing attention on the faults of the ‘casts’ the political elite, the kind of thieving and manoeuvering seen in the 2018 Spanish film El reino (The Candidate). That this could be recuperated by forces like Voz is plain to see. Whatever either the Iglesias side or the ErrejĂłn one   had to offer in the way of countering their rise, above all in Andalusian politics, has been conspicuous by its lack of impact. The left populists in Podemos itself has strengths, such adopting a ‘pluri-national’ democratic approach to the issue of Catalonia and its national demands, without making concessions to the Barcelona bourgeoisie nationalists and their self-styled leftist allies. But that has not brought electoral success either.

Neither the Podemos brand of left populism, nor the MĂĄs PaĂ­s  more ‘open’ progressive stance, rooted in the (not unqualified successful) MĂĄs Madrid experience, had brought electoral benefits.

The response by ErrejĂłn’s party is particularity irksome, blaming abstention for their feeble performance:


It is left to the centre left  Spanish Socialist Party of the PSOE to work out how to proceed faced with a reinvigorated right.

¿Y ahora qué? ¿Le salen las cuentas al PSOE para formar Gobierno?

Meanwhile French Left populism faces virulent criticism from a former leading member in a new book juts out. The Fall of the house of Mélenchon Thomas Guénolé. La Chute de la maison Mélenchon. 

Image result for la chute de la maison mélenchon

Entre la France insoumise et Thomas Guénolé, la guerre est déclarée

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm