The latest episode in the efforts by PSC/Labour Party functionary Ben Soffa, and the PSC Executive, to defend their indefensible and unconstitutional behaviour in seeking my expulsion from PSC purely for my Marxist political views about Zionism, is immediately below my reply, which suggests some constructive ways out of the hole the PSC leadership has dug itself into over this case.
Below Soffa’s letter to me is an exchange between Soffa and Tony Greenstein which, in which, though it really does not solve the question, Tony makes some good points about the lack of natural justice of the PSC appeal process which asks the AGM to consider complex matters that would be better considered by an elected, impartial body. And Ben Soffa concurs, that this is a flawed process that basically denies natural justice in complex cases.
Be that as it may, breaches of natural justice and workers democracy must be fought in the here and now, and the attempts to evade this in Ben Soffa’s latest letter are obvious.
Reply to Ben Soffa by Ian Donovan, 20 April
I am sorry. There is a simple remedy for this problem. You must be aware that it simply is not even possible to encapsulate the complex political and constitutional issues involved in this case and to provide those considering the case with proof of what is said in the appeal in 400 words.
When the Labour Party did a report on multiple and questionable allegations that were made as part of a large-scale purge of this type, they ended up producing a report 850 pages long in PDF form. My appeal is 15 pages long in Word format. If it were in the desktop-published PDF format of that report it would likely be less, maybe only 10 pages. Why is such a small document so difficult for you to circulate? It’s hardly like the Labour Party report!
The text and appendixes contain evidence and context of your multiple violations of the PSC Constitution as well as explanations of the views of the LCFI on Zionism which I am being purged for. Referencing the existence of a longer text is simply not good enough since that longer text will not be circulated to the participants in the AGM and it is virtually certain that most of the participants in this AGM will not follow up footnotes references to an unfamiliar website.
This is a question of principle. It is simply wrong for evidence in an appeal of this nature to be excluded from what is presented to those judging the appeal. Particularly on the say so of the other side in a dispute of this nature. I gave you plenty of notice of the scope of my appeal, and time to refute me.
I did not drop it on you at the last minute before the 10-day deadline but sent it to you on 7th March. I gave you SEVEN WEEKS NOTICE! That was principled behaviour because I don’t believe in smears and gamesmanship. I believe in the need for workers democracy as a matter of principle. You have had plenty of time to formulate a response that refutes it in full. If you cannot, that is because your case is weak. And you don’t have any right to exclude evidence and argumentation because your case is weak, and in reality non-existent.
My appeal is not of book length. It is only 15 pages or less depending on format. You have no valid reason to suppress it. If you choose to do so the moral and political responsibility rests on you.
Even Tony’s intervention in this case does not properly address the questions of principle involved here. If the Executive breaks constitutional clauses as you stand accused of in my appeal, with considerable evidence and argumentation to back that up, it is a matter of principle that the AGM should hear the full evidence under clause 16. Not to allow that breaks clause 16, contradicts natural justice, and even more importantly puts the Executive in command of the AGM when in fact it should be the other way round.This is not my doing. You rode roughshod over democracy and the PSC Constitution at the previous AGM and part of my appeal is about holding you accountable for that.
If the AGM is to hear appeals, then it has to do it properly and allow proper consideration of the evidence in those appeals. If it does not do so and is not allowed to do so then this process is contrary to natural justice. You appear to have conceded this in your exchange with Tony on the AGM’s capacity to conduct such appeals.
And you should be aware that proceedings that are contrary to natural justice are also dubious in their legality.
An even simpler solution to the dilemma that you have put yourself in would be this: call off your purge. Simply withdraw the expulsion and allow the appeal without the need for any interruption of the AGM. I will pay the back dues to PSC over the past year or so since the incorrect and unjustified expulsion to maintain continuity of membership. And PSC should organise a proper, public debate or even policy conference of PSC members on the nature of the Zionist lobby (and what to do about it) later in the year, when hopefully the pandemic is over. I will help in organising it. There are so some powerful speakers on this who would no doubt be delighted to address PSC members, such as Norman Finkelstein, Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss perhaps, as well as Tony and myself. That will solve the problem of disruption to the AGM which has been caused by your appalling bureaucratism, not those resisting it, and begin to repair the damage you have caused.
Communist Greetings Ian Donovan
Ben Soffa email to Ian Donovan, 19 April
as you will have seen in my response to Tony, I am taking a very flexible approach in an attempt to facilitate your appeal. Despite the two previous deadlines having passed, I still stand ready to receive a statement of up to 400 words from you (which could reference the existence of a longer text) by noon tomorrow (Tuesday).
In the absence of that, the process will sadly need to continue without you putting your case directly to members – but that will be your choice.
Ben Soffa response to Tony Greenstein, 19th April
thank you for your email. I agree it is only correct to separate what is a fair process from the merits of any individual case. We are trying really hard to facilitate this and would still be willing to accept a statement from Ian of the appropriate length (I will email him further on this imminently).
As you may have seen from the correspondence Ian has published, we have now on multiple occasions encouraged him to submit a statement that can be distributed to members. We have extended the deadline when he rejected the initial request and been clear about how we would proceed were he not to make a 400 word submission.
Within the realms of the current constitution we have replaced the previous practice of a three minute speech (which as you know, caused issues for those less well equipped to speaking in such an environment) with a written statement of broadly equivalent length. With the statements being distributed ahead of the AGM this will give members the ability to consider the item more carefully and if they were to wish to, to seek out further information on the matter. I would suggest that this is not only a fairer, more accessible process, but probably acts somewhat in favour of most appellants.
I also agree that the AGM is not the most appropriate mechanism for appeals to be heard. Indeed back in 2012 we consulted on diverting appeals to a committee of three patrons. A small standalone committee elected by the AGM would also seem like a perfectly reasonable way forward. Hopefully this is something that can be resolved in the review we wish to undertake this coming year.
I would much rather be able to put both sides of the argument in front of members and have them decide than have any dispute about process, so I’d once again encourage Ian to submit an appeal of the requested length which we can distribute.
Many thanks, Ben
Tony Greenstein letter to Ben Soffa, 19th April
Dear Ben, I have only just seen this and I have read nothing of the proposed expulsion so I can’t form a view on it though I have my suspicions.
I do though have serious disagreements with Ian, as he knows, over his view on the ‘Jewish Question’.
However this is a question of democracy since Ian has the right of appeal. Clearly as you say the AGM can’t spend half the day considering this and 400 or 500 words is, on the face of it reasonable. If Ian wishes that people read a much longer document comprising 15 pages (which I doubt many will) the obvious answer is that the 400 or so word summary links to the longer document and that this is made clear in the documents sent out. That way people have a choice.
On the wider question. It is unsatisfactory that appeals should be heard by the AGM anyway, not least because they are not in a position to seriously consider them. Consideration should be given to the election of an independent appeals panel of 3, elected by PR and not consisting of employees or Executive members to hearing such appeals. That will of course require a constitutional amendment but that is the way to proceed in my opinion.
In the light of the previous chronicling of my case, as in yesterday’s article about the blatant conflict of interest involving an official of the openly pro-Zionist Labour leadership excluding anti-Zionist activists from PSC, and my original appeal itself, the latest letter from Ben Soffa on behalf of the PSC Executive blatantly tears up the PSC Constitution and all pretence that PSC is any sense a democratic organisation.
Reply by Ian Donovan to Ben Soffa, 18th April
Dear Ben Soffa,
Thank you for your email. But you already have my appeal. It was submitted on 7th March, long before any deadline or procedure that you artificially set to try to provide a flimsy pretext for this kind of malpractice on your part. It is up to you whether you rule it out of order in the same corrupt way you ruled out my motion asserting Peter Gregson’s right to appeal. In doing that you tore up article 16 on the right of the conference to ratify constitutional disputes.
Now you are tearing up the right to appeal in Clause 4, sub-clauses 5 and 6 of the Constitution. There is nothing in that clause about the right of the Executive to decide what the AGM is allowed to consider regarding the content and evidence contained within appeals.
This is a matter of principle and cannot be ducked. The constitution says that the AGM ratifies such matters and hears appeals, i.e., makes the decision on them obviously according to the rules of natural justice. If the Executive is allowed to veto evidence because there is ‘too much’ such evidence against it provided in an appeal, or to veto its content because it is objectionable to the executive, then it is the executive which is making the decision not the AGM and the right to an appeal that is not rigged, like the 2020 AGM was rigged, has been abolished.
I note that you do not specify what is ‘defamatory’ in my appeal, or who is being ‘defamed’. Is it the allegation that there is a conflict of interest between your employment by Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership as ‘Head of Digital Organising’, and being a PSC lay official, given Starmer’s widely publicised statement that he supports Zionism, the political force that dispossessed the Palestinians, ‘without qualification’? That is obviously true. Or it the allegation that Starmer himself is an enemy of the Palestinian people, given his support for Zionism ‘without qualification’? That is also true. Is it the allegation that Louise Regan is a member of Socialist Action, as are you, and that this whole purge is a factional act decided by Socialist Action in pursuit of its own interests and nothing to do with solidarity with the Palestinian people? This is also true. Or is it the allegation that the Palestinian members of the Executive are generally supporters of the Palestinian authority, which tortures Palestinian dissidents on Israel’s behalf and which the late Edward W. Said compared with the Nazi-collaborationist WWII French Vichy regime in its collaboration with Zionism? This is also true. Nothing here is defamatory. It is all true. You just find it objectionable for these criticisms to be made.
The only defamatory element in this affair is your smear that our politics represent hostility to Jewish people in general. Our views on Zionism are demonstrably based on the theories and work of Karl Marx and Abram Leon on the Jewish Question. Both for being Jewish, and for his Marxist views, Leon was murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz.
The idea that abolishing democracy in PSC is somehow in the interest of the Palestinian people is fatuous. The Palestinian people like all oppressed people have an interest in democracy, not in political corruption and anti-democratic behaviour within the solidarity movement and the left. The rights that exist in a properly constituted bourgeois court should be the minimum standard within the left and the workers movement, not something to be done away with on the pretence that this is in the interests of solidarity with the Palestinian people. If you did not want to take up the time of the AGM with this then you should not have broken the PSC Constitution in the first place!
Also, since you seem to be trying to put an ‘interpretation’ on the constitutional right to appeal that is novel, to say the least, I would point out that any dispute about the interpretation of what the Constitution says about such matters has to be ratified by the AGM according to clause 16. That means the AGM has the right to hear all evidence relating to this to decide under clause 16. So once again, you are in breach of clause 16 of the constitution in seeking to deny the right of the AGM to make an informed ratification of these matters, which means that the AGM must have access to all the evidence submitted. Since the Executive is one of the parties in the dispute, it is again contrary to the principled of natural justice for you to decide what can or cannot be given in evidence either in an appeal under sub-clauses 4.5 and 4.6, or clause 16.
This is clearly not being done in the interest of the Palestinian people. It is being done in the interests of the Zionist leadership of the Labour Party, the opportunist interest of the secretive Socialist Action group which I am informed you and Louise Regan are both members of, and that of the supporters on the Executive of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, which maintains friendly relations with the Zionists while supressing and torturing dissidents on their behalf. The Exec obviously wants similar relations with Zionist New Labour here and you are the link man as not only a member of this secretive group, but also a Labour Party official.
So, you have torn up Clause 4 of the PSC Constitution as well as Clause 16. You have torn up the PSC Constitution itself. And you have done it in full public view. The only defamation is of me, by yourselves and this will be publicised widely as will your tearing up of the PSC Constitution.
You are not even smart tactically. If you distribute a statement of your own dismissing my appeal, but not my appeal itself, it will be obvious to everyone in the conference that you are breaking the Constitution and denying the right to appeal. Because your statement is a response to an appeal that you are not allowing the AGM to consider. You will expose yourself in front of the PSC members and delegates splendidly and it will be all your doing.
As a Marxist, I am loyal to the historic interests of the working class, not any particular grouping that claims to be for solidarity with the Palestinians, or any political group or formation. If your group betrays the movement and its interests by subservience to the enemies of the Palestinian people, by acting as enemy agents (as you are) or by attacking labour movement democracy, then it needs to be exposed and replaced with something better.
I will not compromise on the issues of principle in this case; workers democracy is a core principle. My appeal is already online and has been widely circulated and read both on the web in general and in Facebook groups of the Labour left and Palestinian activists.
Your letter will also be online shortly with this reply. So I am quite happy for you to be seen clearly by the socialist public rigging the 2021 PSC AGM. You are exposing yourself as the anti-democratic Zionist stooges you are, and that exposure is progressive.
Ben Soffa response (17 April) to Ian Donovan’s Earlier Letter (16 April)
thank you for your email, the contents of which have been noted by the Executive Committee.
Whilst you are entitled to your views, I must stress that all significant decisions, including that to terminate your membership, are taken by the full Executive Committee of PSC and not by me personally. We are not dealing with a complaint made against me, with which I would have no dealings, but with your appeal against the decision of the Executive which stems from your published statements.
As you are aware, PSC’s constitution provides that the AGM of the campaign shall consider such appeals. Whilst you state “the text of my appeal is of reasonable length by legal standards”, the AGM is not a court convened for the purpose of considering a submission of a length of your choosing, but a gathering of members to take forward the campaign for Palestinian rights, with this being one item of many on the agenda.
In common with much AGM business, there is either a word or time limit. This allows each item to be reasonably engaged with by the hundreds of activists who take part in the AGM. I would strongly suggest many more members will be able to engage with a submission of up to 400 words than will do so with your current proposed 15 page submission which runs to many thousands of words.
We wish to properly facilitate your appeal and unless withdrawn by you, the item will be considered by the AGM this coming Saturday. Under the agreed rules, the Executive Committee will be submitting up to 400 words arguing that our decision be upheld. We wish this to sit alongside up to 400 words from you in support of your appeal. However, if you fail to make a submission under the rules of the process, regrettably the statement of the Executive will stand alone and will be the sole basis on which members will be asked to vote on your appeal. This is a situation we would much rather avoid, but as confirmed by today’s Executive Committee meeting, we will hear the item in any case.
As noted, given PSC will be distributing these documents to hundreds of people in a permanent form, these submissions must not contain defamatory statements.
I therefore would like to ask once again that you submit up to 400 words by noon on Monday. This will allow the two statements to be distributed to members in good time for them to absorb the arguments ahead on Saturday’s AGM.
This exchange of correspondence relates to my appeal against expulsion from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign over a year ago, to be presented to the PSC AGM, which this year will be virtual and online, on 24th April. The entire text of the appeal is available here. Amazingly, since much of the content of the appeal is a complaint about repeated violations of the PSC Constitution in which Ben Soffa appears to have been a prime mover, if not the prime mover, I am written to by … Ben Soffa, demanding that I shorten, and censor, my appeal.
With PSC, there is not even a pretence of due process or impartiality. The person handling the appeals process is the person whose violations of the constitution the appeal complains about. There is no even nominally impartial body handling this. Key people organising the expulsion of a member of PSC purely for views/opinions, are paid officials of a political party whose leadership is opposed to everything PSC is supposed to stand for and which supports the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. This is like something out of a novel by Franz Kafka.
Further developments will be documented here. If there was some pretence of due process, and some semblance of impartiality, I might not be rushing to go public with all aspects of this correspondence. But Ben Soffa’s involvement in trying to censor and change an appeal that makes serious allegations of unconstitutional behaviour and conflict of interest against himself, is so farcical that it cannot be treated as confidential. It is reminiscent of the conduct of Boris Johnson in ignoring all sense of basic procedure. In any remotely democratic organisation, let alone one that is supposed to operate as part of the left and the workers movement, it would be a scandal.
Reply to Ben Soffa, 16 April
To: Ben Soffa, PSC Secretary
Thank you for your email. I am again actually quite astonished to be hearing from you personally about my appeal, since you are the main person complained about and accused of anti-democratic, bureaucratic, and unconstitutional behaviour in my appeal.
In my appeal I complain at length about the conflict of interest in your being the Secretary of PSC and acting to expel anti-Zionist socialists and anti-racists from PSC, when you are also an employed national official of the Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer.
Starmer is an avowed enemy of the entire purpose of PSC, support for Palestinians, due to his public statement that he supports Zionism “without qualification” and his purging of numerous Labour Party members for their opposition to Zionist racism and support for the Palestinians.
A far as I am concerned this conflict of interest makes you to all intents and purpose an enemy agent and fifth columnist.
Your demand for a word limit on my appeal has no justification at all. It is an attempt to exclude evidence of my being victimised, by you, from my appeal. Since this appeal is also an indictment of yourself and the EC for violations of the PSC constitution, your demand that my appeal be re-written is an outrage and an attempt to censor the evidence of your wrongdoing. The text of my appeal is of reasonable length by legal standards, it is necessary to explain the full complexities of the case. The appendices consist of evidence of your misconduct and that of your associates, and commentaries that provide full context. They will not be removed, and I do not agree.
The claim that PSC will be the ‘publisher’ of my appeal if it is circulated is spurious. The only defamation involved in this case is your defamation against me, and this fraudulent purge. This is my appeal, not yours, and the membership of PSC have the right to read the full content of my appeal to fully judge the context. The only item that can be safely removed from my appeal and its accompanying evidence/appendixes is the full text of the PSC Constitution, which has now been replaced by relevant extracts. That reduces it from 20 pages to 15 pages, including the images which are also evidence – of your role as a functionary of Zionist New Labour and of the left-wing, anti-Zionist activism of Peter Gregson who you also purged and whom I was purged for defending from your anti-democratic behaviour. One page for each year of my membership of PSC before being purged by Zionist stooges. Not too much to ask.
You do not even have the excuse about trying to conserve paper, as this year’s AGM is virtual, and material will be circulated online. One modest sized email attachment is hardly excessive.
Apart from that, this is my appeal, and nothing will be changed. If you are planning to censor or refuse to circulate my appeal, then that will be another breach of the PSC Constitution by yourselves on top of the previous ones. Members have the right to be fully informed of ALL the circumstances of an appeal and ALL the evidence of any appeal. That is a basic principle of natural justice.
I am copying this letter to the Labour Campaign for Free Speech and the Left Legal Fighting Fund initiated by Chris Williamson, both bodies which I support, both of which deal with Zionist witch-hunting in the Labour Party and labour movement. Your purging of me is clearly part of the ongoing witchhunt in the labour movement against anti-Zionists, of which we are the most consistent trend, and I will not collaborate or submit to it in any way. This exchange will be made public immediately.
Letter from Ben Soffa regarding appeal, 13th April
thank you for your earlier notification that you intend to appeal against the termination of your PSC membership. I note the attached document runs to some 20 pages. Please could you provide a version of your appeal edited to be no more than 400 words in length and not including any images.
As we will be distributing the text of the appeal to those attending the AGM, PSC will in effect be acting as the publisher of your statement. We will not be able to publish any defamatory statement that would open up PSC to legal liability, therefore, to ensure your appeal can be distributed in full, please avoid comments that could reasonably be held to be defamatory.
If you could please provide the statement by 5pm on Sunday 18th April, we will be able to distribute it, alongside a statement from the Executive Committee, to delegates next week.
Starmer’s Zionist New Labour functionary in leading position in PSC, purging leftists!
Why does the PSC Executive show solidarity with racist Zionist oppressors and not Marxist Palestine Defenders?
Appeal against a corrupt, unconstitutional anti-left purge in Palestine Solidarity Campaign (with Appendices).
By Ian Donovan
I have been a member of PSC since 2005, i.e., for over 15 years. But in February 2020 I was expelled in what amounts to a proscription against the organisation of which I am a leading member, then called Socialist Fight, the British Section of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International, the latter being a left current with supporters in several countries and three continents, to which I am still affiliated as is the Trotskyist Faction/Socialist Fight, as the British LCFI section is now called.
There were two motives for my expulsion from PSC. The first was because I challenged the exclusion from membership of PSC of another comrade, Peter Gregson, a leading member of an oppositional trend in the Labour Party, Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism (LAZIR). I put a motion seeking to reaffirm what it says in the PSC constitution, that the Conference has the right to ratify decisions of the Executive denying membership to applicants. It is not possible for the conference to exercise that right without the person refused membership being allowed to appeal. That motion was moved by me and seconded by comrade Jenny Flintoft, another long-time PSC member who has tragically since passed away, a victim of the pandemic. It was put in order and in good time for last year’s AGM.
It was ruled out of order by the PSC Executive, in a manner that was a brazen breach of the PSC constitution itself which has a clause (clause 16) that means that such a challenge to the interpretation of the PSC constitution is explicitly protected by the constitution and must be decided by the AGM.
Conflict of Interest – To Say the Least!
I have since discovered that the key individual involved in this unconstitutional, and likely unlawful, ruling out of order of my motion is a high-level employee of the Labour Party and remains so under Keir Starmer. Ben Soffa is the Secretary of PSC, apparently. But he is also an employee of the Labour Party. According to his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles he is still the Head of Digital Organising for the Labour Party, and that has been so from 2015 to the present day. So, while in his spare time he is PSC Secretary, in his day job he works for Keir Starmer and the Labour Party leadership.
The same Keir Starmer who swore loyalty to the 10 demands of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and who stated his support for Zionism ‘without qualification’. Soffa was originally a Corbynite, and even mentioned as such in the leaked report on The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019. However, unlike most Corbynite functionaries he stayed on and works for the openly Zionist Labour leadership. He is evidently working both sides of the street.
The term ‘conflict of interest’ does not really quite capture how appalling this is. His employer, to whom he evidently owes primary loyalty, is a declared enemy of the Palestinian people and of everything PSC is supposed to stand for. When Starmer took over he purged virtually every individual from the Labour apparatus with even a morsel of socialist sentiment in their politics. Even Rebecca Long-Bailey, who like Starmer grovelled to the BOD and signed up for their demands, was purged. But not Ben Soffa apparently. He is part of an apparatus that is purging left-wing people and anti-Zionists from Labour right across the country. He is obviously bringing the Labour witchhunt into the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in his spare time.
After I was suspended without any reason given except ‘concerns’ about my conduct, PSC functionaries spent over a month trawling my writings online to try to find something to allege. It was supposed to take “a few days” to formulate: it took 34. They found nothing they could use without mendacious quote-chopping. Maybe these people could have taken lessons from the Israeli spy Assaf Kaplan, who also now works in the leader’s office and is likely to be working closely with Ben Soffa, as Head of Digital Organising. These are adjacent spheres, quite evidently, and the kind of methods Starmer expects Kaplan to professionalise in hunting anti-Zionists and and anti-imperialists in Labour have already been used in PSC by Ben Soffa, his Labour apparatus colleague. This is a major scandal in PSC: enemies of the Palestinian people evidently now have major input into its functioning.
Tearing up the PSC Constitution
Peter Gregson was refused membership in July 2019: he ought to have been able to challenge this at the 2020 AGM and have the Conference ratify whether his application for membership should be accepted or rejected, according to the clear wording of the PSC Constitution itself. This states in clause 4.5: “Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership – along with the issuing of invitations to sponsors – shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, to be ratified at the following AGM.”
But this was denied by the Executive, and when I authored a motion to simply reaffirm the constitutional right of the AGM to decide this question, not only was the motion ruled out of order, but a fake anti-Semitism allegation was concocted to remove me from PSC for raising it. Its perfectly obvious what the motive was for suspending me: to stop me from attending the 2020 AGM and challenging the unconstitutional ruling out of order of a watertight demand that the constitution be adhered to in the case of Peter Gregson. The wording in the constitution is so clear that a ten-year-old could spot that the PSC Executive’s actions are in breach of the PSC Constitution. What they must have been particularly afraid of is that I would have raised a point of order under Clause 16 of the Constitution, which mandates that questions of constitutional interpretation be heard by the AGM, which would have put my motion back on the agenda, as it fits clause 16 exactly.
The fake ‘anti-Semitism’ allegation attacks me for supporting a Marxist tendency that puts forward an analysis and attack on Zionism that the political trends that dominate the PSC executive do not like. It amounts to proscribing a Marxist trend in PSC. Presumably, any other Palestine defender who joins the LCFI or is persuaded of the LCFI position on Zionism will also face witch-hunting and exclusion. This is a new development, and effectively amounts to PSC adopting an anti-Communist exclusion clause for the first time, akin to the Labour Party’s one-time Proscribed List – a manifestation of McCarthyism in Britain. If the PSC leadership wants to proscribe particular left-wing organisations in this way, let us see them do this openly and justify this politically. Then the entire labour movement will know where the PSC Executive stands.
Their behaviour is simply an echo of the political collapse of the Corbynite left in the Labour Party, who supported the adoption of the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ and all of its ‘examples’ – a series of amalgams between Muslim and left-wing opposition to Zionist racism, with the anti-Semitism of Hitler and the Nazis. Many of the key members of the executive who take decisions on things like these exclusions, are members of the Labour Party, or of various factions within it, that have their own internal discipline, and pursue their own sectarian factional vendettas against others on the left who they disapprove.
Corbynites Throw the Left Under the Bus
It is an established fact, for instance, that Louise Regan, who ‘investigated’ me as the correspondence shows, is a long-standing member of Socialist Action, a deep-entryist, ex-Trotskyist faction within the Labour Party that sees its role as a group of ‘fixers’ for prominent left-wing ‘personalities’ and regard any attempt to openly win support for Marxist ideas and programme on their own merits as at odds with their strategy and something to be squashed. For at least the last 10 years, the PSC Executive has been known to be bureaucratically dominated by Socialist Action. Louise Regan was recently suspended from the Labour Party herself after raising objections within her own constituency Labour Party to the suspension and removal of the whip from Jeremy Corbyn. But in PSC she has behaved in the same way as the people who suspended her. So, while she should be defended against such a purge, she should also be condemned for doing similar things to others.
Then there is Ben Soffa, who is the person who both informed me (by telephone) that the motion to adhere to the constitution in the Peter Gregson case had been ruled out of order, that I was suspended and would be ‘investigated’ by Louise Regan, and who later wrote to me informing me of my expulsion from PSC (see Appendix G). See earlier for his role as functionary in the apparatus of Keir Starmer, who supports Zionism “without qualification”. Given that Louise Regan had worked with Soffa to purge anti-Zionist socialists who are long-time members of PSC, she is tainted by this also.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian executive members have been carefully selected by the bureaucratic pseudo-left forces that control PSC. They are pretty much exclusively supporters of the Palestinian authority of Mahmood Abbas, which pretends to speak for Palestinians, but in fact is maintained in power with Israeli support and jointly with them, has prevented any free elections in the Palestinian occupied territories since 25 January 2006. It also launched a coup in 2007 against the Hamas leadership that was clearly elected in 2006, declaring a state of emergency, in collaboration with Israel as well as other imperialist forces including British intelligence. It put elected Hamas legislators in jail and started a de-facto civil war that persists to this day, and has allowed Israel to further weaken the Palestinians and colonise the West Bank, and to crucify Gaza with repeated barbaric bombing campaigns and other atrocities, like the murder of Gaza protesters calling for the right to return. So, PSC is dominated by bureaucratic, opportunist and traitorous forces, and throws out people who oppose such treachery and fake opposition. Indeed, the late Edward W Said characterised the Palestinian Authority that grew out of the Oslo accord as akin to the Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis in occupied France.
It is no accident that Peter Gregson who the PSC Executive was so determined to keep out of PSC, was the leader of an organic trend within the Corbyn led Labour Party, LAZIR, whose whole purpose was to challenge Zionist anti-Muslim bigotry in Labour. Corbyn has repeatedly thrown the more radical anti-Zionist figures in the Labour Party under the bus, including prominent figures like Chris Williamson and Ken Livingstone. In the case of Peter Gregson, a much witch-hunted figure and target of Zionist rage, Corbyn denounced the supposedly ‘anti-Semitic’ LAZIR banner outside the 2019 Labour Party Conference and had the police remove it after Peter put it up.
But the banner simply reproduced an iconic cartoon by the pro-Palestine cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting Corbyn being attacked by Benjamin Netanyahu, piloting a jet fighter firing missiles of ‘defamation’ at Corbyn. Corbyn’s denunciation of the LAZIR/Latuff banner is a gross capitulation before the Israel lobby, that brought forth a sharp rebuke from Carlos Latuff himself (see images). As is the executive’s exclusion of Peter Gregson itself, and the hysterical and anti-democratic response by the executive to being challenged over this, deepening the witch-hunt. It is importing the surrender before racist Zionist witchhunters by Jeremy Corbyn into the PSC, not to mention behaving in a similar manner to the likes of Starmer and McNichol. Between them these witchhunters and those who capitulate to them have inflicted a serious defeat on the British labour movement and need to be held accountable for that. As do those bringing this into PSC.
Zionism and Imperialist Oppression
Our tendency analyses Zionism as having implemented a highly successful strategy over the last several decades to resolve the question of the oppression of the Jews in a reactionary way, at the expense of the Palestinian people. It has done this by creating Israel as a powerful imperialist state that is unique among imperialist powers because it has a strong base of support, based on ethnic politics and its racist citizenship laws, in the ruling classes of several other imperialist countries, in Western Europe and most importantly the United States.
Without the influence of the Zionist faction in the old imperialist countries, which is at its core a Jewish-Zionist ethnic faction with a material interest in Israel though its ‘law of return’, Israel would be only a minor imperialist state with a similar lack of world power as, say Denmark. But Israel is armed to the teeth by the Western powers due largely to the influence of the bourgeois Zionist faction or lobby in the US and West Europe. It is not really a world power, but its regional military power is comparable to medium level Western imperialist nations including Britain when its arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons is considered. The US militarist-conservative publication The National Interest rates Israel as “the Middle East’s Military Superpower” (https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/small-strong-israel-middle-east%E2%80%99s-military-superpower-173140).
The conclusion that we draw from this is that the historic oppression of the Jewish people that found its ultimate expression in the Nazi holocaust, is no more. Israel and its Zionist supporters now clearly dominate the Jewish political spectrum. Left-wing and anti-Zionist political forces are a small minority, and even if they were not that would not necessarily affect the material reality of the situation. Zionism’s successful strategy was to lead the Jews to join the world’s dominant peoples. Israel is imperialist, and political Zionism is an imperialist movement, not in any sense a movement of the oppressed, and it should not be indulged as such.
The PSC leadership says that our position amounts to anti-Jewish prejudice. The PSC Executive’s position amounts to pro-Zionist prejudice. If condemning Israel and its bourgeois supporters overseas as imperialist oppressors is equated with anti-Jewish prejudice, then logically opposition to US imperialism, British imperialism, French imperialism etc is anti-American, anti-British, anti-French prejudice. But even the apologists for the more traditional imperialist countries would not dare claim that. They would be laughed at!
The only way that the PSC leadership can justify this is by the most pathetic quotation-chopping and the technique of the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ – people are supposed to look at our words (in a collectively approved Socialist Fight leaflet from Jan 2018), look at its evaluation of the position of the Zionist-led Jewish people in today’s world order, and pretend to see some sort of racist abuse against Jews in it. But there is none and the accusation is a feeble lie. The technique is like the population in the famous story feeling obliged to pretend that the King was wearing a fine suit of clothes when in fact he was walking around stark naked (see Appendix F).
There is nothing anti-Jewish in the contention that Jews today under Zionist leadership have joined the imperialist ‘club’ of dominant peoples, and it is an insult to those who suffered real oppression in the past to pretend that there is. As well as an insult to Palestinian victims of Zionism’s imperialist terrorism. The factual, materialist basis for arguing this is irrefutable and the allegation that mentioning these facts is anti-Jewish is a piece of anti-Communist hasbara.
This then is the motivation for my appeal against expulsion from PSC. Only the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, which also forced the postponement of the 2021 PSC AGM, have prevented this from being aired earlier. This appeal is not aimed at the PSC Executive mainstream, but at ordinary PSC supporters many of whom will be outraged at Starmer-style purges being brought into PSC by people acting hand-in-hand with witchhunters in the Labour Party.
Appendices and additional commentary.
Appendix A) Motion to PSC
This was submitted on 25 November 2019 (Around 10 days after this, I was informed by phone by Ben Soffa that the motion was ruled out of order and that I was suspended. He said Louise Regan would be in touch about this).
Motion on Peter Gregson and Membership Appeals
This AGM notes that article 4.5 of the PSC constitution states:
“Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership – along with the issuing of invitations to sponsors – shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, to be ratified at the following AGM.”
This means that the constitutional position is that someone who applies to join PSC, and is refused membership by the executive, has the right to appeal to the AGM against refusal of membership.
There can be no debate about this: this is subject to ratification and therefore appeal at the AGM if the wording of the constitution means anything. If the AGM is denied the right to hear an appeal against such a decision, it is being denied the right to an informed ratification of the actions of the Executive.
We also note that Peter Gregson, of Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism, was refused membership of PSC in July by a decision of the PSC executive. When brother Gregson informed the executive of an intention to appeal this to the AGM, Ben Jamal replied:
“The provisions of 4.6 in relation to appeals is … only relevant to those who have successfully been admitted to membership of PSC and subsequently had their membership terminated or suspended. As your case has been dealt with under clause 4.5 you are not entitled to appeal this decision to the AGM.”
This AGM notes that if it is not able to hear the appeal of someone refused membership, it is unable to make an informed ratification of this issue as clause 4.5 of the constitution stipulates.
This AGM therefore resolves to hear the appeal of Peter Gregson, and notes that this is a clarifying precedent.
Proposed: Ian Donovan (London)
Seconded: Jenifer Flintoft (Meon Valley)
Appendix B: PSC Constitution
Introduction: Note that the relevant clauses are highlighted. In his letter to Peter Gregson, quoted in the motion in Appendix A above, Ben Jamal claimed:
“The provisions of 4.6 in relation to appeals is … only relevant to those who have successfully been admitted to membership of PSC and subsequently had their membership terminated or suspended. As your case has been dealt with under clause 4.5 you are not entitled to appeal this decision to the AGM.”
The problem with this cock-eyed reasoning is that clause 4.5 contradicts this, as it explicitly covers both “Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership” i.e.. both refusals of membership, and terminations (i.e., expulsions) and states that both decisions regarding admission and termination of membership are subject to being ratified at the next (ie. 2020) AGM.
Clause 4.5 covers both admission and termination of membership and explicitly states that the AGM has the right to ‘ratify’, i.e. hear appeals, regarding both. They are clearly linked in the same sentence. Clause 4.6 is about the power of the executive to suspend or expel members with a two-thirds majority. With regard to termination, therefore, clause 4.6 merely repeats what is already in clause 4.5, which already dealt with admissions and terminations and the right of the AGM to ratify them. The only new things in Clause 4.6 are the requirement for a two-thirds majority on the Executive for expulsions and suspensions, and the addition of the right to appeal to the AGM against suspension which is already present in clause 4.5 with regard to matters concerning admission to and termination of membership.
Thus, it is already clear that in refusing the right of Peter Gregson to appeal refusal of membership, the executive and its officers, in particularly Ben Jamal, breached clause 4.5 of the PSC Constitution.
It is also clear that in ruling out of order the motion put by myself and the late Jennie Flintoft on 25th November 2019, the Executive and/or its officers, in particularly Ben Soffa, blatantly violated clause 16 of the PSC Constitution. The motion we put was clearly protected by clause 16 and was placed in good order. It disputed the ruling of the executive and its officers about the interpretation of the constitution and the AGM had every right to decide on this dispute under clause 16. Ruling it out of order tore up Clause 16 and the PSC Constitution itself. This is proof of misconduct and unconstitutional behaviour by the PSC Executive and its officer here also.
As amended at AGM 2017
1. Name of Organisation
The name of the organisation shall be ‘Palestine Solidarity Campaign’.
2. Office location
The organisation, however registered, shall be in England.
3. Aims and Objectives
The aims and objectives of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign shall be shall be identical with those expressed in the Memorandum of Association of which this constitution is an integral part:
a) for the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people;
b) for the right of return of the Palestinian people;
c) for the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli state from the occupied territories.
d) against the oppression and dispossession suffered by the Palestinian people
e) in support of the rights of the Palestinian people and their struggle to achieve these rights
f) to promote Palestinian civil society in the interests of democratic rights and social justice
g) to oppose Israel’s occupation and its aggression against neighbouring states
h) in opposition to racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice and the apartheid and Zionist nature of
the Israeli state.
i) in opposition to Islamophobia.
4.1 Full Membership of the PSC shall be open to all those who agree with the aims and objectives of the Campaign and who pay the necessary annual subscription.
4.2 Paid up national members will be entitled to be members of their local branch and their details will be made available to bona fide (ie members of national PSC) branch officers for the purposes of PSC business only.
4.3 A member whose annual subscription is not renewed within six months of the renewal date shall be deemed to have lapsed their membership.
4.4 An honorary member is any person the AGM wishes to honour for services to the PSC or Palestine.
4.5 Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership – along with the issuing of invitations to sponsors – shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, to be ratified at the following AGM.
4.6 The Executive Committee may, by a two-thirds majority, terminate or suspend the membership of an individual member, local branch, or affiliated organisation found to have breached the constitution, subject to appeal at the following AGM or EGM.
4.7 A member may resign from the organisation in writing posted to, or left at, the registered office of the company.
5. 1 The Executive Committee shall have the power to grant permission for the formation of local branches.
5.2. All branches shall adopt the PSC name except where there are historical reasons for another name. In these cases the branch constitution should state that the branch is a branch of PSC.
5. 3. All branches should adopt a constitution, which must contain:
a) The PSC aims and objectives.
b) A requirement for elected officers to be members of PSC.
c) A requirement to hold an Annual General Meeting.
d) Procedures for electing officers.
e) The requirement to properly account for money received and expended.
6.1 The Executive Committee shall have the power to grant permission for the formation of groupings of branches into regional structures.
6.2 Branches are encouraged to organise regional events and, where it does not detract from local activities, create a regional structure.
6.3 In consultation with the Executive Committee, regional structures should be created at the request of at least two branches, within a region and after adequate discussion by branches of its usefulness and sustainability. The creation of such regional structures should be ratified at the following AGM.
6.4 Once a regional structure is created and sustained, its main purpose should be as contained within points (3 and 6.2). At least one regional meeting per year should be organised to consider how to co-ordinate the implementation of PSC policies and initiatives within the region.
6.5 Where a duly-constituted Region exists, the EC member for that region shall be elected by a regional meeting before the AGM. In the absence of such a regional meeting, regional members for the EC shall be elected at the AGM. Voting for such regional representation shall only be undertaken by those members who are from the appropriate region.
6.6 Where a formal regional structure exists and has sufficient strength it should, where appropriate and in consultation with the Executive Committee, consider the creation and development of new branches within its region.
7. 1. Affiliated groups or bodies must accept the aims and objectives of PSC.
7. 2. Affiliated groups or bodies must pay the appropriate affiliation fee but for all other purposes are autonomous and solely responsible for their conduct.
7. 3. Such groups must apply for affiliation to the PSC AGM or (in between AGM’s) to the Executive Committee.
7. 4. Affiliated bodies may send an observer to National PSC Forum Meetings and AGM’s in accordance with point 8.3.
7. 5. PSC reserves the right to refuse affiliation or to revoke affiliation of any group or organisation whose aims, objectives or practices conflict in whole or in part with the aims, objectives and practices of PSC. Such a decision must be carried by a 2/3 majority of the AGM or Executive Committee.
8. 1. Annual General Meetings
a) Annual General Meeting (AGM) shall be open to all national members and shall be the policy making body of the PSC.
b) PSC shall hold an Annual General Meeting once in each calendar year. Not more than 15 months shall elapse between the date of one Annual General Meeting and the next.
c) The Agenda of the AGM shall include:
i) The presentation of an Annual Plan for the coming year;
ii) Report of the work of the EC since the last AGM;
iii) The presentation of accounts;
iv) Membership and affiliation report;
v) Motions submitted by members, branches affiliates, the EC and any other committees.
vi) The election of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Trade Union Liaison Officer, the Campaign Officer, the Publications Officer, ordinary members of the Executive Committee and any other posts which are approved by the AGM.
vii) The Executive Committee may on behalf of the membership invite speakers to attend and address the Annual General Meeting.
d) The EC shall begin preparing for the AGM at least three months in advance of the scheduled date by inviting resolutions and nominations from branches and affiliates.
e) Resolutions and nominations for the AGM must be submitted in writing to PSC office at least eight weeks before the scheduled AGM. Amendments to the resolutions must be received in the PSC office at least seven days before the AGM.
f) Resolutions, the Annual Plan and nominations shall be circulated to branches and affiliated organisations at least six weeks before the scheduled date of the AGM.
g) All persons voting must be individual members of national PSC
h) Delegates from national organisations affiliated to PSC will have 3 votes (if they have over 100,000 members) or one vote if fewer.
i) All other affiliated organisations including PSC branches will have one vote.
j) All delegates, whether individual members or those duly nominated by their branch or affiliated organisation, must be registered with the PSC national office at least two clear days before the AGM.
8. 2. Notice of General Meetings.
a) An Extraordinary General Meeting or a Special General Meeting may be authorised by the National Executive Committee or an Annual General Meeting, whenever either body considers sufficient reason exists. Notice of why such a meeting is deemed necessary together with the resolution or resolutions to be considered must be given. Such Meetings can be called with no less than 21 days notice given to all members and affiliates. The EC shall convene an Extraordinary General Meeting on receiving a request to that effect signed by at least 5% of the full members having the right to attend and vote at General Meetings. In default those members requesting the Extraordinary meeting may convene one using the facilities and resources of the PSC.
b) Notice shall be inclusive of the day on which it is served and the day of the meeting.
c) A notice in writing may be made by email or post.
8. 3. Proceedings at Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings.
a) The Chairperson shall preside at every General Meeting. If there is no Chair or Vice Chair or if he or she is not present within 15 minutes of the time appointed or is unwilling to preside, the members present shall elect either a member of the EC, or one of their number, to preside.
b) No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting unless a quorum of members is present when the meeting is due to commence. A quorum shall consist of 100 members or 10% of the membership having a right to attend and vote at that meeting, whichever is the lowest.
c) If a quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the time appointed for holding the General Meeting, it shall be dissolved if it was convened on the request of members, or adjourned to such a day, time and place as the EC shall think fit.
d) The proceedings at properly convened General Meetings will be conducted as laid down in the Standing Orders of the PSC.
e) Each fully paid up member who has been a member of national PSC for three months before the AGM shall have one vote.
f) Delegates from national organisations affiliated to PSC will have 3 votes (if they have over 100,000 members) or one vote if fewer.
g) All other affiliated organisations including PSC branches will have one vote.
9. Executive Committee
9.1 The Executive Committee shall be accountable to the membership for the implementation of the affairs of the PSC.
9.2 The EC shall be responsible to the membership for the proper management of the affairs of the PSC.
9.3 The EC shall be responsible for decisions made between AGM’s. It shall be responsible for strategic decisions which need to be made between AGM’s.
9.4 The EC shall consist of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, Treasurer, the Trade Union Liaison Officer, 1 representative of the Student and Youth Committee, the Campaign Officer, the Publications Officer, 5 Regional members, 2 representatives of the Trade Union Advisory Committee and 8 other members.
9.5. The EC shall have the power to co-opt a further six persons if this is felt necessary to aid its work and deliberations.
9.6 The EC shall constitute the Board of Directors.
9.7 The EC shall meet not less than 6 times per year.
9.8 The EC shall publish the minutes of its meetings and make available on request to all duly constituted PSC branches. In doing so it will ensure that confidentiality will be respected.
9.9 Every duly constituted branch of PSC has the right to place an item on the EC agenda and to send an observer to the EC meeting at which it is discussed.
9.9 Members attending the EC meetings shall withdraw from any agenda item which causes or may cause a conflict of interest.
10. Officers Group
10.1The Officers Group shall be a sub-committee of the EC.
10.2 The Officers Group shall consist of the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Office Manager and up to two others to be elected by the EC.
10.3 The Officers Group shall be responsible for ensuring the implementation and decisions between Executive meetings.
10.4 The Officers Group shall be accountable to the EC.
10.5 The Officers Group must report its decisions to the EC at every EC meeting.
11. PSC Branch Forum
11.1 The PSC Branch Forum shall be a meeting for the interchange of information, discussion and training.
11.2 The PSC Branch Forum shall be open to branches, affiliates and individual members.
11.3 The PSC Branch Forum shall meet at least 2 times per year, at least once outside London.
11.4 The PSC Branch Forum may make recommendations to the NEC, which must be considered and given due weight.
a) The EC shall elect a Returning Officer who will supervise the conduct of elections and who will not be a member of the EC
b) Each fully paid up member who has been a member of national PSC for three months before the AGM shall have one vote.
c) Delegates from national organisations affiliated to PSC will have 3 votes (if they have over 100,000 members) or one vote if fewer.
(d) All other affiliated organisations including PSC branches will have one vote.
e) Nominations shall be open at least three months before the date of the AGM and any member who has been a member for at least six months before nominations open is eligible to stand.
f) Nominations must have the name of the proposer, seconder and candidate’s agreement.
g) Nominations shall close eight weeks before the date of the AGM.
h) All candidates may submit a statement of 100 words with their nomination.
i) The Election regulations shall be made by the EC and shall include advertisement of elections, receipt of nominations, confirmation of eligibility of candidature, candidature publicity, the election and counting of votes; procedure in the event of a disputed election; procedure for electing candidates to posts for which no nominations have been received.
j) EC members shall serve until the end of the AGM following their election. Retiring EC members are eligible for re-election.
a) The PSC is responsible for ensuring that funds provided to it are used only for those activities which are in accordance with its aims and objectives.
b) The EC is required to:
(i) Ensure that accounts and accounting records are kept, and that accounting information, in accordance with normal professional accounting principles is prepared.
(ii) Ensure the preparation of annual accounts.
(iii) Ensure that a normal system of internal financial management and control is maintained.
(iv) Plan and conduct its financial affairs so as to ensure that its total income is at least sufficient, taking one year with another, to meet its total expenditure and that its financial solvency is maintained.
(vi) Take responsibility for the determination of the pay, terms and conditions of service of any staff employed by PSC.
(vii) Independent examiners or auditors may be appointed by the AGM.
a) The EC shall make provision for regulations governing the following PSC activities:
(i) Terms of reference and Job descriptions for EC members, Disciplinary Procedure and codes of practice for EC members and paid staff.
(ii) Openness and accountability of the Executive Committees proceedings.
(iii) Standing Orders for Executive Committee meetings.
(iv) Procedures for compliance with EU and UK legislation.
Nothing in the regulations shall be contradictory to the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution
a) This constitution may be amended by resolution of the AGM passed by a two thirds majority of those present and voting in favour.
b) The regulations may be amended by the EC with a majority present voting in favour.
In the event of any unresolved dispute arising over the interpretation of the Constitution the matter shall be referred to the EC who shall make a ruling, which in turn should be ratified by the following AGM.
17. Winding Up
Clause 10 of the Memorandum of Association relating to the winding up and dissolution of the PSC shall have effect as if its provisions were repeated in this constitution.
Appendix C: Suspension letter from Louise Regan (10 Dec 2019)
Introduction: What is interesting about this letter is that it says that I had been suspended due to ‘concerns’ about my ‘conduct’, but the letter did not offer the slightest hint of what those ‘concerns’ were.
It is evident that the reason for this is that at the time the letter was written, the executive had not decided what their ‘concerns’ were. They had nothing. They had decided to suspend me without any evidence of wrongdoing, none at all. What corroborates this is that in this December letter she says that she will be in touch “in the next few days” but in fact it took them 34 days to come up with something. They had decided to suspend me because they did not like my motion, but it took them over a month, not a “few days” to concoct something, however feeble, to give them a fig leaf to hide their real motive.
In the meantime, they were copying their political masters in the Labour Party bureaucracy, trawling the internet and social media, looking for something to accuse me of. But they could not find anything. I have never denied the Nazi holocaust or the pre-WWII oppression of the Jews. I have never endorsed the Protocols of Zion or any similar racist propaganda against Jews. I have never racially abused Jewish people, or anyone else. They had nothing they could use to give them cover for the real reason they wanted to get rid of me. Which was to defend their blatant, corrupt breaches of the PSC constitution. What they eventually came up with was feeble indeed and insulting to the intelligence.
Following receipt of concerns raised regarding your conduct as a member of PSC I have been appointed as the investigating officer.
Following a preliminary investigation and in consultation with the Executive Committee a decision has been made to suspend your membership pending the outcome of the investigation.
The branch secretary and chair will be notified of this decision and you are therefore requested to cease any further activity in the name of PSC.
I will be in contact with you in the next few days to detail the process and to allow you to respond to the allegations that have been made.
Appendix D: Response to suspension letter by Ian Donovan (10 Dec 2019)
Dear Louise Regan,
I am in receipt of your letter dated 10 December 2019.
However I am somewhat at a loss to know what public activity in the name of PSC I am supposed to ‘stop’. Because although I support PSC and have done for many years, I have not to my knowledge engaged in any activity ‘in its name’ recently, if ever. I hold no elected position in PSC and would not presume to speak on its behalf.
You refer to ‘allegations’ without specifying what they are.
But circumstances make clear that your ‘allegation’ is that I put a motion in favour of the right to appeal against the denial of membership of Peter Gregson, of Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic racism, to the PSC AGM. This motion was submitted completely constitutionally by myself and another PSC comrade on 26 November, in time for the normal deadline.
The only objective of LAZIR is the dissaffiliation of the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel from the Labour Party. This is completely compatible with the aims and objectives of PSC and support for it is not proscribed.
I therefore take it that you oppose these objectives and support the affiliation of these Zionists to the Labour Party. That makes you a de-facto political agent of these Zionist bodies.
It’s perfectly obvious that the purpose of this suspension is to rig the January 2020 AGM and to stop this motion, which is completely in tune with PSC’s constitution, from being debated.
It is crystal clear that in denying the right of the conference to hear Peter’ Gregson’s appeal, the PSC executive is in breach of clause 4.5 of the PSC Constitution and is denying the PSC AGM the right to an informed ratification (or not) of its actions regarding Peter Gregson’s membership.
Therefore your suspension of me is an act of conference rigging and a direct attack on not only myself but of the right of PSC’s AGM to exercise its constitutional right of informed ratification of the Executive’s actions. The suspension itself is a corrupt act and the ‘investigation’ just a charade whose purpose is to defend the ‘right’ of the PSC Executive to behave in an unconstitutional and likely unlawful manner.
Therefore the ‘investigation’ is itself unconstitutional and a corrupt act. Any co-operation with this fraudulent ‘investigation’ would therefore involve complicity in a major breach of the constitution by the PSC Executive, which would itself be a breach of the constitution. Just by agreeing to ‘conduct’ this phoney ‘investigation’ you yourself are in breach of the PSC constitution and an abuse of office, which ought to render you, not me, liable to expulsion from PSC.
As I do not want to be complicit in such a corrupt breach of the constitution, I will not be cooperating in any way with this corrupt ‘investigation’. Anyone else who ‘cooperates’ or participates in this fraudulent ‘investigation’ in any way at all is likewise in breach of the PSC constitution and actively involved in AGM-rigging.
Any further attempts to contact me regarding this will not be replied to in a spirit of cooperation, but will be cited and published as further evidence of your corruption and AGM-rigging activities.
I note that your pretence of acting impartially is a fraud. I have it on good authority that you are a member of Socialist Action, which is a bureaucratic Stalinist cult around a renegade ex-Trotskyist known as John Ross.
Being ‘investigated’ by a member of such an outfit is like being ‘investigated’ by a body controlled by the thug Gerry Healy, the cult leader and rapist who abused the membership of the Workers Revolutionary Party for many years. If you think I will give any credence to the capacity of such a cult to ‘investigate’ anyone you are totally deluded.
Yours for socialism, not bureaucratic gangsterism
Appendix E: Complaint letter from Louise Regan 13 Jan 2020
Introduction: This is all they could come up with after over a month of searching for something to justify the suspension and threat of expulsion against me. Apparently criticising the creation of Jews-only groups on the left that supposedly fight for Palestinian rights separately from non-Jews by giving it their separate endorsement, is not allowed. That is what is implied, though rather weakly, since the passage is not highlighted. Since comparisons of Zionist Israel with apartheid South Africa are frequently made, it’s a reasonable question as to whether if someone had the idea of setting a group called ‘whites against apartheid’, and that was criticised for excluding non-whites, such criticism would be considered ‘anti-white racism’. That’s how bizarre this allegation is. But it is not made particularly strongly. The highlighted passage is obviously what they really are trying to portray as objectionable.
Apparently, to say that Jews have succeeded in escaping from the earlier oppression that they suffered before WWII and are now to be counted among the world’s oppressor peoples, is in some way a slur against Jews. That is an absurd contention that does not stand up to a moment’s scrutiny. It is a matter of empirical observation: is it true or not?
These people do not even bother to try to demonstrate that it is untrue. They should try to demonstrate to Palestinians, who have been dispossessed of their homeland for three quarters of a century by the Jewish state, that the Israeli Jews who have dispossessed them, are not an oppressor people. If they seriously believe that Israeli Jews are not an oppressor people, then logically they should not support a campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are clearly oppressed by Israeli Jews.
But that brings us on to the quotation-chopping. Because the feeble innuendo here is that this passage implies that every Jew on the planet is an oppressor, or that every Jewish community in every country is part of an oppressor people. If it did say that, it would hardly constitute racist abuse, but it would be mistaken. But the passage does not say that. Here is the passage which is emphasised, which appears to be the basis of the feeble non-charge of hostility to Jewish people, in full:
“Yet the CPGB and its allies deny that this phenomenon exists, and seek to deny workers democracy to those who draw attention to it. This is not an anti-racist struggle on their behalf, but a pandering to the nationalism and communalism of an oppressor people, as Jews have become today insofar as under Zionist leadership they manage to act collectively. [emphasis added by ID].
It is the flip-side of their anti-Muslim capitulations. Jews are the one people in the imperialist epoch that have comprehensively escaped from systematic oppression and joined the ranks of oppressor peoples in the imperialist world order (this emphasis added by Louise Regan). This is because the oppression that led to their persecution and attempted genocide in the mid-20th Century was rooted in feudal, not capitalist society.“
This takes account of the fact that the Zionist movement does claim, fairly accurately by all accounts, the allegiance of the vast majority of Jews in the imperialist countries. Anti-Zionist Jews are quite a small minority. Zionist Jews are organised politically in mainstream organisations that mobilise very effectively to support Israel against the Palestinians, and to witchhunt and suppress support for the Palestinians. Everyone knows this movement exists and is a potent force. Those Jews who support these movements quite clearly do politically support the oppression of the Palestinians. Since they do so on an ethnic basis they act as part of an oppressor people.
This does not include all Jews worldwide. It does not seem to include the Jewish community in Iran, for instance, whose leaders do not appear to support Zionism and the Jewish state. But those Jews who support Israel against the Palestinians clearly are oppressing the Palestinians. This should be the position of any Palestinian Solidarity Campaign worthy of the name. The fact that it can be cited as a reason to expel someone from such a campaign simply shows that PSC is led by capitulators to Zionism, at best.
Following my email to notify you that we had received a complaint regarding your conduct I am now contacting you with details of these complaints and giving you the opportunity to respond to these as part of my investigation. The complaint is:
That the following was published by you on the Socialist Fight website
https://socialistfight.com/2017/12/01/third-camp-stalinoids-bring-witchhunt-intolabour-against-the-witchhunt/ – ‘The CPGB’s bloc with Bundist-influenced Jewish socialists such as Tony Greenstein and Moshé Machover, who have played initiating or supporting roles in various Jews-only political campaigns, such as Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-Big), etc, only underlines this philoSemitic, Islamophobic bias … by emphasising their Jewishness, to ‘kosher’ the Palestinian solidarity movement and parry the inevitable smears of anti-Semitism that Zionists throw at it. These groups … tacitly accept a key Zionist notion that is hegemonic in today’s racist society: the notion of Jewish moral superiority; that anyone who opposes Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is guilty of anti-Semitism until proven innocent.
Jews are the one people in the imperialist epoch that have comprehensively escaped from systematic oppression and joined the ranks of oppressor peoples in the imperialist world order.’
To be clear the reason for your suspension is not related to the motion submitted to the PSC AGM. There is no suggestion that you were commenting in the name of PSC however behaviour by a member which contravenes the constitution is also reason for investigation when a complaint is raised. I also attach a copy of the complaint’s procedure. If you could please let me have any response to these concerns by Friday 24th January.
Vice Chair PSC
Appendix F: Reply to Louise Regan from Ian Donovan, 20 January 2020
Dear Louise Regan,
Would you like to explain what rule this article broke? It is an agreed statement of the Socialist Fight group, which I and others in PSC support.
If your innuendo is that this is in some way anti-Semitic, it certainly does not fit the definition of anti-Semitism in the dictionary. It certainly does not constitute “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group” as the Merriam Webster dictionary puts it.
I assume that PSC has not endorsed the racist, anti-Arab IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, with its numerous ‘examples’. But even if it had, it does not break that either, as “denying that Jews are currently an oppressed people in the imperialist world order” is not one of its ‘examples’.
So are you saying that Socialist Fight is a proscribed organisation in PSC? Or what? Are you proposing to prescribe particular left groups now?
I note that you are a member of the Labour Party which has adopted the IHRA definition. I have left Labour and cancelled my membership because I no longer an prepared to support a party that has rules that discriminate against Palestinians.
But you seem to be adopting the methods of the racist, anti-Palestinian right wing of Labour for use against Socialists and anti-imperialists in PSC. Shame on you! I regard any decision you make against me on the stated grounds as motivated by the racism of the party and opportunist faction you support and will expose you in front of the wider socialist public for this.
Of course the motive for this suspension is to rig the AGM and stop the obvious breach of the constitution the Executive committed, as detailed in our motion, from being discussed at the AGM. Your statement denying this is simply a lie. And your ‘case’ against me is a fraud, as the SF statement cited is in no sense hostile to Jewish people, only to those who support the oppression of the Palestinians.
Appendix G: Expulsion letter from Ben Soffa (PSC Secretary/ the Head of Digital Organising for Zionist New Labour)
Letter expelling me, dated 05/03/2020
Dear Mr Donovan,
On Saturday 29th February the Executive Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign considered the complaint made against you relating to statements which called into question your full support for the aims of the organisation – specifically the aim to campaign ‘in opposition to racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice’. It also considered your response to the complaint.
As stated in PSC’s constitution (point 4.1 in the attached), ‘Full Membership of the PSC shall be open to all those who agree with the aims and objectives of the Campaign’. The aims of the campaign include the requirement to be ‘in opposition to racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice’.
After considering this matter, the Executive Committee concluded that you are not in compliance with the aims of the campaign and are therefore not eligible for membership of PSC. The committee voted as per point 4.6 of the constitution, unanimously approving a resolution to terminate your membership of PSC.
This decision comes into effect immediately and you cease to hold any of the rights and privileges of PSC membership. The constitution does afford those whose membership has been terminated to make an appeal against the Executive’s decision at the subsequent AGM of the campaign, which is anticipated to be held in London on 30th January 2021. Were you to wish to exercise this option a minimum of two weeks notice is required. However you should be aware that The Executive Committee voted for this course of action with no votes to the contrary and would strongly defend its position to the wider membership who have always upheld the decisions of the Executive Committee in this regard.
You may also inform us if you wish to receive a pro-rata refund on any remaining portion of your membership subscription.
Whilst I appreciate this will not come as welcome news, I hope you are able to put the needs of the Palestinian people first in your considerations.
The public difference of opinion among comrades of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI) about the Trump insurrection on Jan 6th has given rise to a rather odd and self-contradictory polemic from Gerry Downing, the possessor of the stolen website of the now defunct Socialist Fight group, which very rarely publishes a serious article about current developments these days, being more a vehicle for Gerry to reblog whatever takes his fancy from elsewhere.
The polemic is so incredibly badly written that it can only be considered a product both of political degeneration and loss of logical focus. One unmistakeable example of this is that he repeatedly gets the names of the organisations that he claims, disingenuously, to be loyal to, wrong, and repeats these errors throughout the text. He at least gets the name of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International right when he spells it out in full at the beginning of the article, but then throughout the text he renders its initials as “LRCI”.
These are the old initials of another organisation, one that is defunct, the League for a Revolutionary Communist International (LRCI) that was once led by the British Workers Power group, also now defunct. Some of its surviving people set up a faction in the Corbynite Labour Party, called Red Flag, which appears to have sunk without trace. [Author’s Correction: this is partly erroneous. Red Flag is not defunct, its website can be found at www.redflagonline.org. It does have considerable continuity with the old Workers Power, though its original leading figure Richard B. broke with them quite early on and seems unfortunately to be influenced by the arguments of trans-exclusionists.]
This might seem like trivia. Except, someone who complains bitterly about being spurned and treated badly by an organisation when he can not even be bothered to get their name correct, repeatedly, is not serious either about his adherence or his complaints. It suggests unseriousness and playing games. He complains that:
“When the Socialist Fight split from the supporters of Ian Donavan almost a year ago, we were extremely disappointed that the LRCI and a few others in Britain effectively supported Ian’s position, despite differences.”
It is interesting that Gerry Downing now admits that he ‘split’ from half his own organisation ‘almost a year ago’. At the time, he claimed that I and my ‘supporters’ had been ‘expelled’ from Socialist Fight. His use of the word ‘supporters’ is illustrative of his mentality. In fact, the other members of SF who refused to accede to Gerry’s antics were not my ‘supporters’. They were comrades who still agreed with the political positions of Socialist Fight on Zionism that Gerry himself agreed with over the preceding five years and had even defended on the Daily Politics national television programme in 2016, against Andrew Neil, and Phil Collins of the Jewish Labour Movement.
An organisation with defined, coherent politics, does not have ‘supporters’ of individuals in the cult-like manner that Gerry implies. It has self-motivated people who can defend those politics independently, and just because one individual in the group changes his mind on a whim, do not change in sympathy like weathervanes. In fact, the Trotskyist Faction has the same basic politics as the old, pre-split SF. It is quite clearly Gerry’s politics that have changed.
The article headlined about our ‘expulsion’ is still on the website, even though Gerry now openly admits that he split the group. The petty despotism and casual confession to a lie is characteristic of the sloppiness that pervades the whole piece. And it underlines a very basic point about honesty in politics, as in life.
The point being – do not tell lies! Not only for moral reasons, but simply because if you publish lies, you must always remember what lies you told. If you later inadvertently admit to the truth, you stand exposed for the original lie. Publishing a lie on a stolen website does not make it the truth. Gerry now accepts that the international tendency rejected his attempt to exclude our faction. He tried to exclude our comrades from the LCFI’s internal forums, but the tendency rejected that. His exclusionist position was a small minority of the tendency, and in terms of full members, only he wholeheartedly supported it.
Regarding the latter, not only did the LCFI not exclude comrade Downing and his operation, but he was also invited to draft the statement. This was met by a non-committal answer from him and no draft statement. After a period of waiting in vain for a draft, comrades internationally realised we were being strung along and alternative drafting arrangements were made. This statement was then signed by both sections in Britain, though Gerry’s SF played no role in its production.
We do not demand full political agreement within the international tendency on all disputed questions. Part of our modus operandi as a tendency is the right to publicly disagree when significant differences of opinion arise and must be debated. We reject secretive debates about disputed questions and consider that the error that brought about that norm in the Trotskyist movement, inherited from the early Comintern but not the Bolshevik Party, has played an important role in the crisis and degeneration of the Trotskyist movement in the post war period. The struggle for programmatic clarity in the pre-1917 Russian revolutionary movement was never subordinated to false public unanimity.
Notwithstanding this, it became clear that Gerry was just not interested in the joint activities that the LCFI was undertaking, and his SF signature did not mean much. We do however ask for collaboration and openness where differences exist. The next major event we produced a statement on was on the Trump administration’s open endorsement of the Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley and whole swathes of the West Bank, in July. Our Statement on the Israel/Trump Annexation Plans in the West Bank was firm in its Marxist anti-Zionism and included some sharp characterisations that we knew full well that Gerry would not endorse, though he would have had no trouble endorsing them before his capitulation before the Labour Party witch-hunt against supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ at the end of 2019. He had made his views on the former SF view of Zionism clear months earlier and it would have been perverse and unprincipled to ask him to sign this.
For instance, the statement contained the following passage, which Gerry would have had severe difficulties with:
“Political Zionism always was a genocidal project, which modelled itself on the colonial-settler projects spawned by British expansionism in the early capitalist era, where the settlers took the country off the indigenous population of the territories they colonised, and subjected them to enslavement and extermination. The Zionist apologists who claim that the persecution and discrimination against Jews in the late Medieval period and the beginnings of anti-Semitism in the modern era somehow excuse that, overlook this affinity with the other colonial movements that drove that. This was always a movement, right from the start, that aspired to oppress and eliminate the Arab inhabitants of the territory it coveted.
“They overlook the specifically Jewish chauvinism that drove the Zionist movement from its beginnings in the later 19th Century, when it went about seeking sponsors among archaic great powers and modern imperialists alike, finally managing to get the support of the British Empire. The 1917 Balfour Declaration; the handing over of Palestine to a third-party colonial movement ultimately to expel its native population was among British imperialism’s most insidious crimes. Thus when we talk about the genocidal character of Zionism, we are talking about it in the same breath not only as National Socialism and the Hitler movement in Germany, of which it is like a mirror image, but also as the genocidal creation of the United States through the destruction of native Americans, of Australia through the destruction of black native Australians, and other such acts of barbarism.
Gerry rejects the comparison of political Zionism with Nazism, the view that its real logic points to genocide of the Palestinian Arab population. This is shown by some of the ridiculous smears against TF comrades in his article, where he absurdly writes:
“Ian believes that Zionism is a far greater danger to humanity’s future than fascism and no one in the ranks of the LRCI in the Americas publicly demurred.” .
Downing, ibid above
This is an outright lie, and a particularly foolish one. He does not quote any statement where either myself, the TF or the LCFI say that political Zionism is ‘worse’ than fascism. The statement above explicitly ‘talk(s) about it in the same breath’ as ‘National Socialism and the Hitler movement in Germany’ and ‘the genocidal creation of the United States through the destruction of native Americans’. We consider these things fundamentally similar.
His allegation is evasive and dishonest, as shown in the following smear. He writes that in a detailed discussion of the precise nature and limits of different forms of colonialism I wrote to him on Facebook:
“If you understood why political Zionism is worse than apartheid and Jim Crow, you might gain some insight. Clue: read Moshé 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.”
Apparently, this important nuance is supposed to show that I am an admirer of David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. What they really show is that Gerry is defending Zionists against charges of being a genocidal project. This is apologetics for anti-Arab racism from Gerry, disguised with the kind of smears the Zionist witchhunters in the Labour Party trade in.
Settler Colonialism: Genocidal vs Exploitative
The point about there being different types of settler colonialism, some genocidal, some not, is a basic distinction that was even known to Karl Marx. It was elaborated by the Israeli Marxist organisation Matzpen, as Moshe Machover relates, thus:
“Shortly before the 1967 June war, we in the Israeli socialist organisation Matzpen … making what we regarded as an elementary Marxist observation, drew the following distinction between two types of colonisation:
‘The Zionist colonisation of Palestine differs in one basic respect from the colonisation of other countries: whereas in other countries the settlers established their economy upon the exploitation of the labour of the indigenous inhabitants, the colonisation of Palestine was carried out through the replacement and expulsion of the indigenous population.’ (‘The Palestine problem and the Israeli-Arab dispute’, statement by the Israeli Socialist Organization (Matzpen), May 18 1967)
“By ‘other countries’ we meant the main contemporary arenas of liberation struggle by colonised peoples: Algeria, which a few years earlier had won its independence from France (then Israel’s main imperialist sponsor); and South Africa (whose apartheid regime was a close ally of Israel).
Naturally, we were aware that Palestine was by no means one of a kind: historically there had been other places – such as North America and Australia – where the indigenous people were displaced and for the most part excluded from the settlers’ political economy, rather than being exploited and thereby integrated as subjugated, but indispensable subjects.”
This distinction is straightforward, between a colonised people being potentially subjected to genocide, or not. Machover and Matzpen highlight the similarity of the Zionist colonisation of Palestine with the colonisation of North America and Australia. What happened to the Native Americans and Native Australians was such exclusion; these populations were expendable to the conquerors and in peril of genocide, which subsequently happened in some places. Machover himself distinguishes that from other situations, such as Algeria and apartheid South Africa where the indigenous population were “exploited and thereby integrated as subjugated, but indispensable subjects.”
Gerry pretends not to understand the basic distinction here, to smear his critics. He pretends that it is ‘anti-Semitic’ to make this point and amounts to “admiration for Ku Klux Klan man David Duke” because I said that political Zionists such as Alan Dershowitz and Dave Rich are worse than the Klan and the system of ‘Jim Crow’ segregation of black former slaves that the terrorist KKK instituted after the US Civil war
In contrast to the genocide that was carried out against native Americans, Jim Crow was a system of apartheid, like South Africa. The US black population was not indigenous to the Americas but had been kidnapped by slave traders and shipped from Africa, not just to the United States, but to many other parts of the American super-continent, in the preceding few centuries. These were terrible crimes, committed by European slavers, that killed many millions, one of the greatest crimes in human history, entirely comparable to the Nazi holocaust.
But Jim Crow was a specifically post-slavery form of racist oppression. It emerged after the abolition of slavery and the US Civil War, and its relationship with the subjugated black population fits Moshe Machover’s definition, where the oppressed population were “exploited and thereby integrated as subjugated, but indispensable subjects”. The Ku Klux Klan were not and could not be a genocidal movement, not because of any moral objection, but because the wholesale slaughter or even ethnic cleansing of the black population would mean that whites would have to do their work as “hewers of wood and drawers of water” which they were simply not prepared to tolerate. So, for all the subjugation and terror, the social base of the Ku Klux Klan needed the black population and could not exterminate them.
But Zionism can quite conceivably exterminate the Palestinians because the Zionist colonisation is that of the exclusion type, not the exploitation type, as Machover put it. Ronnie Kasrils, of the SACP and ANC in South Africa, was making the same point when he said that Zionism is worse than South African apartheid. It is also worse than Jim Crow. It is closer to Hitlerism for the genocidal threat it poses to the Palestinian people.
Gerry tries to make out that to make this point is some sort of endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. Utter nonsense and a pathetic lie whose obvious purpose is to excuse his citation of other smears and half-truths by the Zionists Dershowitz and Dave Rich in his smear-fest to justify wrecking Socialist Fight. Dershowitz, Trump’s lawyer, is possibly the most prominent Zionist Nakba-denying pseudo-academic in the United States, a genocidal racist whose apologias for the persecution of the Palestinians rivals David Irving’s apologias for Hitler’s persecution and slaughter of the Jews. His tract The Case for Israel was comprehensively torn apart by Norman Finkelstein in his work Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. Dave Rich is also a clear defender of the Nakba whose response to those who make comparisons between the Nazi persecution of Jews and the Zionist treatment of Palestinians is very clear:
“Comparing the plight of the Palestinians with the Holocaust performs several functions. Its political goal is to undermine the idea that the Holocaust provided a moral justification and a practical need for the creation of a Jewish state.”
The Left’s Jewish Problem, Kindle edition, loc 2875
Which is as clear a case of ‘moral justification’ (hardly ‘denial’!) of the Nakba in the name of the Nazi holocaust as you are likely to find anywhere.
Marxism and the Jewish Question
The real target of Gerry’s fulminations against the fact that we refused, and still refuse, to join in the charge of ‘anti-Semitism’ against the Israeli-Jewish renegade jazz player and confused thinker Gilad Atzmon, was not actually Gilad Atzmon. It was SF’s positions on the Jewish Question and Zionism. We have already dealt with Dave Rich’s mangling of Atzmon’s texts, which are typical of Zionist smears against anti-Zionists of Middle Eastern origin, whether Arab or Jewish, to portray them as Nazis, etc. Since Gerry endorses this, we wonder if he would endorse similar Zionist fulminations against other organic Middle Eastern figures like Nasser, the Assads, Arafat, Ahmedinejad, who also exhibit softness on fascist, as opposed to ‘democratic’ imperialism. The Western far right does get a hearing among the angriest anti-Zionists in and from the Middle East and all the Zionist-influenced fulminations in the world will not undermine that.
These views exist because democratic ‘imperialism’ was sponsoring the genocidal Zionist project before anyone had even heard of Hitler. And Rich provenly engages in quotation-chopping falsification of Atzmon’s writings to make the phoney allegation of ‘fascism’ that Gerry now endorses, after having defended Atzmon for years despite knowing full well the nature of his confused views for all that time. Rich’s own attitude to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is genuinely fascistic and genocidal. Nothing in Atzmon’s writings endorses any such crimes. The most you will find is some scepticism about the crimes of the Nazis, a widespread view in the Middle East among Zionism’s victims and their partisans, including a few Jewish ones.
Not that Atzmon is correct on many things or a model of clarity, but there is enough useful, indeed pioneering material in his writings on Jewish identity to make them worthy of study in seeking to understand the Jewish question and aspects of the Middle East, despite his many errors on other matters. Just as Hegel’s writings are worthy of study for Marxists even though Hegel admired the Prussian monarchy and Napoleon.
We have already replied to these falsifications, at length, almost a year ago in our first public statement as a faction (Trotskyist Faction takes on the mantle of Socialist Fight). Imitating Zionist propagandists writing in the gutter press, Gerry repeats Rich’s nonsense as if it had never been replied to or deconstructed, hoping no one will ever read the refutation. But now we come to the SF views that Gerry was really attacking – Atzmon was just a decoy. They are laid out clearly in the agreed July 2020 LCFI Statement on the Israel/Trump Annexation Plans in the West Bank. It spoke of the …
“need for active solidarity from the workers movement in the West, in countries like the United States and Britain that arm Israel to the teeth against the Palestinians and against other forces in the region seeking liberation from Zionist aggression. This is an extremely difficult task right now because of the very powerful position of the Israel lobby in most of these countries. This was shown graphically by the massive Zionist-led campaign to destabilise and destroy the very moderately pro-Palestinian leadership of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Labour Party over the last several years.
LCFI Annexation, op-cit above
…and then elaborated the Marxist explanation for the ‘very powerful position’ of the Israel lobby that was the public position of Socialist Fight (even defended by Gerry himself on the TV Programme Daily Politics in March 2016), highlighted in our propaganda between 2015 and the beginning of 2020, when Gerry Downing renounced it:
“There is an additional level of complexity and difficulty for socialists and revolutionaries in many advanced countries, particularly in Europe and North America, in delivering solidarity with the Palestinians. Not only do they have to deal with the ‘normal’ attitude of ‘their’ bourgeoisies to a liberation struggle against one of its allies, but they also have to deal with a specific faction within the ruling class, which based on its Jewish origin and an ethnocentric Zionist variant of bourgeois politics, regards Israel as ‘its’ state and fights just as hard for the interest of Israel as it does for the interests of the imperialists country in which it resides.
“This unique overlap of the ruling class of Israel with that of other imperialist countries creates a situation where it is doubly difficult, in current conditions, to deliver real, meaningful solidarity with the Palestinians in those countries as distinct from those engaged in ‘simpler’, more conventional struggles against one’s own ruling class, such as in Ireland or Vietnam in the past. Nevertheless, there is no evading this question, and the international movement has the right to insist that its sections in Israel’s imperialist allied countries address this difficult problem in their political material and agitational work.”
The whole of Gerry Downing’s series of smears against his own collaborators in early 2020 were aimed at repudiating this position, while covering this with a great big smokescreen about the alleged fascist sympathies of those who adhered to it. Thus, after weeks of fulminating about alleged creeping ‘fascism’ in Socialist Fight, he finally bit the bullet and renounced the position he had defended for nearly five years after he was won to it in 2015:
“We now repudiate the use of the term ‘the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’ and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes. We will in future use the term ‘Zionism’ alone in describing the political tendency within the Jewish ethnicity that commits such dreadful crimes under international law against the Palestinian citizens of Israel and those expelled Palestinians primarily in 1948, ‘67 and ‘73, all of whom have the right of return.
This in order to distinguish the right wing Israeli government under Netanyahu and its international supporters from all anti-Zionist Jews and Jews who strongly defend the right of the Palestinians under international law. Nor do we now agree that it is appropriate to continually refer to Jews such as Henry Kissinger and Milton Friedman as ‘overrepresented among the most strident spokespeople for capitalist reaction’ without openly recognising that they are doing so primarily as representative of the interests of imperialist capitalism as in the Pinochet coup in Chile against Allende in 1973 and not as any separate Jewish influence or conspiracy.”
So, Gerry attacked the political perspective he had been won to five years earlier as ‘anti-Semitic’. And to do so, he again had to tell lies. There is no instance in which Socialist Fight, or our Faction ever used the term “the world Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie” in any of its documents. Its inclusion in double quotes, which indicates a literal quote, is a literal lie. It is a crude piece of innuendo implying that we are sympathetic to Nazism, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But the genesis of our understanding of the importance of ‘overrepresentation’ of Jews among the bourgeoisie in the current world situation is to be found in Abram Leon’s seminal work The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation, where he talks about the overrepresentation of Jews among the NEPmen, the capitalist traders who were legalised under the Bolshevik regime in the period of the New Economic Policy in the early 1920s:
“… The example of the USSR shows that even after the proletarian revolution, the special structure of Judaism—a heritage of history—will give rise to a number of difficulties, particularly during the transition periods. During the time of the NEP, for instance, the Jews of Russia, utilising their traditional business experience, furnished numerous cadres for the new bourgeois class.”
“Numerous cadres” says Leon. Obviously, the reason these cadres were seen as ‘numerous’ is that they were out of proportion to the numbers of Jews in the general population. Otherwise, they would not have been seen as ‘numerous’, and their presence would not have been noteworthy. In other words, Leon noted that the overrepresentation of Jews among this particular bourgeois layer, a product of “the special structure of Judaism – a heritage of history” – “will give rise to a number of difficulties…”. It is indeed a ‘heritage of history” … and analysing the special complexities, or ‘difficulties’ such overrepresentation presents today is simply an application of the method Leon used in his seminal work.
This phenomenon produced ‘difficulties’ – arguably it produced in embryo a ‘Jewish’ social base for a potential threat of capitalist restoration in Russia (which may go some way to explaining the elements of anti-Semitism that surfaced when after 1928 the Stalinists bureaucratically abolished NEP in a blind panic). But it would be absurd to accuse those who report the facts about this phenomenon, of ‘anti-Semitism’. The overrepresentation of Jewish bourgeois, who are mainly Zionists, among the imperialist bourgeoisie likewise provides the social base for the strength of the Zionist faction/lobby in the imperialist countries. According to Downing, reporting the truth of this is an ‘anti-Semitic trope’ and a conspiracy theory. Reporting the facts is ‘anti-Semitic’. Nonsense! This is an attack on Marxism, not anti-Semitism, an attack on historical materialism itself driven by capitulation to Zionism.
The special class structure and history of Judaism is obviously key to understanding why Jewish intellectuals played a major, progressive role in the working-class movement in the early period of capitalism and imperialism. Though Jews were certainly an oppressed population in late medieval times and the earlier period of capitalism, and that certainly drove their radicalisation to the left, it was always the case that Jews, because of their ‘special structure and history’ (to paraphrase Leon) were considerably different to other oppressed peoples. They had a different culture and history, something driven not by considerations of ‘race’, but rather a different historical relationship to production: class.
The difference is shown by the different history and results of superficially similar movements to Zionism, movements like the ‘Back to Africa’ movement among former slaves from North America, and to an extent Britain, that created the states of Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa.
The ‘Back to Africa’ movements among the descendants of black slaves were not capable of overcoming the oppression and degradation that had been inflicted upon these populations for centuries. These states became impoverished semi-colonies after independence from colonialism with a history that has been worse in many ways than nearby African states that were not the product of such slave-descended movements. Israel, on the other hand, which had a superficially similar ethos of exile and homecoming, produced radically different results, as Israel is now an important imperialist power, such that the Jerusalem Post in 2015 boasted:
“Israel has the sixth most powerful army in the world, more than capable of destroying the countries around it, and most of its “power” does not stem from its massive manpower, but from its weapons. It could scale back 80% of its manpower and still have one of the most powerful fighting forces in the world.”
Obviously, there was a fundamental difference between these movements, and the reason is not hard to find. Leon puts his finger on the reason when he talks about “the special structure of Judaism—a heritage of history”. Through Leon never foresaw nor lived to see this, that special structure and history meant that unlike Garveyism and the like, Zionism was a viable strategy for the liberation of the Jewish people from their historic oppression. Whether or not the Zionist ideologues and pioneers were aware of it – something that needs more study – this is obviously true, as Jews in the advanced countries are now a population that has special protection from the bourgeoisie, not a pariah population (though residual anti-Semitism still exists among backward sections of the masses).
Unfortunately, Zionism’s strategy for liberation of the Jews also meant Jews joining the world’s oppressor peoples, something that was only possible because of what Leon called “the special structure of Judaism—a heritage of history”. Though Leon himself did not think this was possible – he believed that:
“capitalist decay—basis for the growth of Zionism—is also the cause of the impossibility of its realisation. The Jewish bourgeoisie is compelled to create a national state, to assure itself of the objective framework for the development of its productive forces, precisely in the period when the conditions for such a development of the productive forces have long since disappeared.
Leon was too much influenced by Trotsky’s one-sided and wrong view of the possibilities for the development of the productive forces under imperialism. The view of the 1938 Transitional Programme, that no real development of the productive forces would be possible after the coming imperialist war, was incorrect, contradicted by some of Trotsky’s earlier writings when he was perhaps under less extreme political pressure, and falsified by events. In fact, the growth of the productive forces in the new, albeit temporary, situation of imperialist boom after WWII did indeed allow (part of) the Jewish bourgeoisie to create and consolidate a kind of state, carved out of the living body of the Palestinian people. Not a genuine nation-state, but an oppressor, imperialist state that developed crucial links to a Jewish layer among the bourgeoisie in the older imperialist countries, which made it into an unusual, oppressor, imperialist state with an internationalised, ethnocentric social base and a longevity that has so far not been reversed in three quarters of a century.
In repudiating criticism of the specific elements of Zionist communalism that were a key part of the political makeup of major pioneers of neoliberalism like Kissinger and Friedman, he is saying that their role in the creation of neoliberalism and the rearmament of imperialism is completely accidental.
This implicitly condemns not only ourselves, but the whole historiography of those who have sought to explain the vanguard role of Jewish militants in the workers movement in the earlier period, the role of such as Marx, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Jogiches, Joffe, and for that matter Abram Leon. The vanguard role of Jewish militants was no accident, it was a product of the profound intellectual ferment generated by destruction of the Jews’ unique social position in medieval European society. It was as much a product of “the special structure of Judaism – a heritage of history” as its dialectical negation in the late 20th Century through the vanguard role of Jewish bourgeois intellectuals in developing neoliberalism. Which is linked to the ability of Zionism to transform Jews in radically changed and changing circumstances from an oppressed, pariah layer into one of the dominant, oppressor peoples, again a product of this special structure and history of the Jews.
But for Gerry, to address these questions as Marxists and to try to critically extend Leon’s method and follow in his footsteps, is to deal in “anti-Semitic tropes”. This implicitly condemns Abram Leon himself, and others like Deutscher who have touched on these matters. What utter degradation of the things Socialist Fight fought for before Gerry capitulated before the Zionist onslaught!
Downing’s Rump SF and the Pandemic
It is complete nonsense that our consistent anti-Zionist positions mean any softness by us on fascism or the conspiracy theories those adapting to it often espouse. Gerry has been trying to spread confusion about this for the past year, but in fact it is among the small group of his sympathisers that such nonsense took root, as personified by the Dutch sympathiser Wilhelm Specklin, who solidarized with all the worst smears against the Trotskyist faction about our alleged sympathy for ‘fascism’ and still repeats this rubbish to this day.
Specklin is now a virulent anti-vaxxer and anti-masker who dismisses the Covid-19 pandemic as a ‘plandemic’, denounces ‘backward’ trade unionists for demanding quarantine measures, PPE and temporary closures of schools to safeguard workers from Covid infection, considers that Covid-19 is a conspiracy waged by Bill Gates and the 5G mobile companies to control the world through vaccinations (others include Soros in the conspiracy), and in discussion has said that he regards Donald Trump as an ally of his form of ‘socialism’.
Specklin expressed support for the QAnon nonsense about how Trump is somehow fighting against a paedophile faction within the American establishment, which is particularly bizarre given the documented involvement of Trump and Dershowitz with the child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who was in the power of Trump’s Justice Department when he supposedly killed himself. Many reasonably suspect that he was killed because he knew too much. We excluded Specklin from our public Facebook discussion group on 21 September for inviting someone he knew regarded themself as a fascist to our group.
The irony is that Specklin has similar views to Gilad Atzmon on the pandemic, which he also sees as a ‘plandemic’. But Atzmon does not spend his time trolling the left about this. Specklin does. We not only expelled Specklin from our forum for his associations with (real) self-described fascists (not for his views on the pandemic per se). We also drew attention of Gerry to his positions and behaviour and fully participated with some of Gerry’s loose associates in combatting him in other forums. Eventually, on 2nd December, Gerry announced his ‘expulsion’ from his rump operation, undoubtedly on the same flagrantly arbitrary basis as his earlier announcement of our ‘expulsion’. But it took him a very long time.
So, Gerry’s antipathy for our consistent, anti-racist anti-Zionism did not stop conspiracy-mongering rubbish from seeping into his own rump, heterogenous milieu. Indeed, Trump’s virulent pro-Zionism may have had something to do with the reason why it was tolerated so long for Specklin to argue that he was an ally. After all, if Trump’s arch-Zionist lawyer Dershowitz could be a source of political ammunition against others on the left, why not Trump himself?
Political blocs versus Military Resistance
And now we have Gerry’s absurd polemic accusing the Trotskyist Faction of making a ‘Popular Front’ against Trump’s fascist forces simply by calling on those forces that were the target of Trump’s attempt to remain in power despite losing the Presidential Election, to use deadly force to crush the insurrectionists. Gerry seems to no longer understand what a popular front is. His whole polemic, from start to finish, confuses the question of military support to both openly bourgeois forces, and those of treacherous formations within the workers movement which are fundamentally loyal to capitalism, against fascist forces in both imperialist and non-imperialist countries, and against imperialist forces in semi-colonial countries, with political support to such forces.
Such is the confused melange that he comes up with that he manages to confuse the question both ways: in some cases, he advocates political support, i.e. voting, for outright bourgeois forces in semi-colonial countries. In other cases, by a feeble sleight of hand, he equates taking a side in an armed conflict with voting for a party in an election, as if they were the same thing. In both cases he is wrong:
Thus this passage is utter confusionism:
“The class independence of the proletariat must be maintained and defended all countries, in imperialist Britain no popular fronts with the Greens, the Scottish or Welsh Nationalists. But in semi-colonial Ireland and in South Africa, for instance, it was possible to critically support the IRA/Sinn Fein and the ANC/SACP as long as they directly fought imperialism. As soon as Sinn Fein crossed class lines with the Good Friday Agreement it was no longer possible to support them in any way. It was correct to call for a vote for the ANC in the first 1994 election where the black masses first got their elementary democratic right to vote but when Nelson Mandela supported the IMF’s neoliberal Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) programme of March 1996, then we were obliged to withdraw all support, critical or not.”
Downing, Donovan Errors etc, op cit
The problem is that the only trend advocating votes for, or political bloc with any bourgeois forces here, is Gerry. We don’t advocate any electoral support for the Greens, or the Scottish or Welsh nationalists, or the US Democrats, or even the social democrat Bernie Sanders, who tried to win the Presidential nomination of the bourgeois Democratic Party in the US. We only argue for votes, that is a political endorsement, however critical, for forces that stand in some defined manner for working class independence from all wings of capitalism. Bernie Sanders standing on a Democratic Party ticket does not add up to a vote for class independence: nor do candidates of the South African Communist Party standing on the ticket of the African National Congress.
There are sensitivities to questions involving oppression in situations like Ireland and South Africa, which have to be taken into account when determining electoral tactics. These might involve measures like declining to stand candidates against particular militant figures within such movements that symbolise the potential leading role of the working class in an element of the struggle against oppression, or even electoral support in exceptional circumstances where it is possible to make clear that we are supporting a struggle, not the programme of a party. Calling for a vote for Bobby Sands, for instance, in 1981, was support for a particular direct struggle against oppression, not support for Sinn Fein per se. Nevertheless, to call on the working class to cast their votes for parties that aim to represent a national bourgeoisie is a violation of class independence.
The logic of calling for a vote for the ANC, or Sinn Fein, is for would-be communists to enter the ANC or Sinn Fein … or the Kuomintang, as the misleadership of the Comintern under Stalin and Bukharin instructed the Chinese Communists to do in the late 1920s. It is a centrist position, that liquidates independent class politics, similar to the politics of Stalin and Bukharin in their centrist phase in the 1920s before the Comintern definitively became counterrevolutionary. This finally happened after Hitler’s victory and the consolidation of the Popular Front as a strategy of the Communist Parties forming coalitions with the bourgeoisie, whose purpose was to neutralise the possibility of revolution and hopefully convince the bourgeois that fascism was not ‘necessary’ to preserve its class rule.
So no, we will not call for votes for the Greens, or the Scottish or Welsh nationalists, in an election. But if a Green is elected, or a Scottish or Welsh nationalist, and fascists threaten the elected Green etc. representative, we will defend their democratic right to take office against the fascists. If fascists try to overturn by force the election of a Green, or a SNP or Plaid Cymru representative, we will defend the elected Green, SNP or PC representative against the fascists arms-in-hand if we have the means.
We will call on the working class to do so independently. And if state forces are in place, and formally they are supposed to defend the rights of the elected Green, SNP or PC representative to take office, we will demand they do so too. If they do not, we will condemn them. If the fascists launch terrorist attacks against the elected bodies concerned involving such people, we will demand that such forces use deadly force against the terrorists. If they fail to do so, perhaps because some of them are complicit with the fascists, we will condemn that.
Presumably, Gerry’s forces would sit there with arms folded and let the fascists get on with it, taking no side on the grounds that to defend the right of the elected Green, or Celtic nation nationalist, would be to join a ‘popular front’. Or they would insist that only independent workers militias should do this, even if there were none and they were in no position to create any right now. This would be a capitulation to fascism and a refusal to defend the democratic rights of the masses to elect a Green, or a SNPer, or a Plaid Cymru person, NOT any ‘principled’ opposition to popular fronts.
The same principle applies, writ large, in election in the United States, in an election under the leadership of a bourgeois party, with a somewhat undeserved liberal reputation, that nevertheless succeeded in mobilising the masses of black voters, of voters of various immigrant backgrounds, and those working-class voters with any modicum of partial class-consciousness who tend to support its minority, but significant, social democratic wing – the Sanders wing. A party that acts in many ways, as a popular front in the form of a party. Revolutionaries would not call for votes for them, not even for the social democratic, Sanders wing unless they take the minimal step of standing on an at least nominally independent working-class party ticket.
But if they win, in spite of our political opposition to them, and then fascists try to overthrow their victory, then the same scenario applies as in the hypothetical example of the election of Green, SNP, or Plaid MP’s elaborated above. If you refuse to defend the election victory of such a party against an attempt by fascist forces to overthrow it, you are not involved in any ‘principled’ opposition to popular fronts. What you are actually doing is refusing to defend the democratic rights of the masses who support the Democratic Party and hiding that capitulation with a great big load of abstract, pseudo-leftist verbiage.
This scenario at least has the benefit of being in tune with what actually happened. Most of the quotations that Gerry uses to justify his polemic are completely irrelevant to the issues in dispute, and light-years socially and politically from the situation that led to the Trump Beer-Hall coup. So, for the benefit of the reader who is trying to make sense of the issues at stake here, let us elaborate the real situation first in the 1930s, and today.
Fascism Before WWII and Under Neoliberalism
Fascism in the 1930s was the product of a counterattack by the bourgeoisie against strong working-class movements that threatened capitalism in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. Germany prior to Hitler’s ascent to power had the strongest labour and socialist movement in Europe, possibly in the world. It had a mass Social Democratic party that was originally Marxist in its inspiration and which had the loyalty of the bulk of the working class and a strong trade union movement, a Communist Party that was also a mass party and organised many of the most radical workers and had a strong base among the unemployed. The bourgeoisie’s support for fascism was quite straightforwardly based on fear of the revolutionary potential of this strong, class-conscious labour movement. We are talking about a situation where historically high levels of class consciousness existed, and fascism was seen by the bourgeoisie as the antidote to that.
All the quotes Gerry drags in on various revolutionary events in the 1930s are based on that reality. The Spanish Civil War was a direct fight between an incipient proletarian revolution and the fascist leadership of the Spanish military. The Popular Front was a class collaborationist agreement between the small bourgeois factions and the leaders of the pro-capitalist worker parties, the Spanish Socialists (i.e Social-Democrats, the PSOE), the Stalinised Communist Party, and integral part of the Comintern, dominated by the Stalinist regime which was hostile to working class revolution and sought to secure its own survival through deals with imperialism. The whole tenor of the world situation was dominated by the fact in any major political disturbance, the class consciousness of the masses put proletarian revolution pretty immediately on the agenda, while fascism was the chosen method of the bourgeoisie to inflict historic defeats on the working class and destroy that class consciousness by totalitarian repression.
That repression was a key danger to the working class as fascism aimed to mobilise a mass reactionary movement based on the petit bourgeoisie, the lumpen-proletariat and the most backward sections of the working class, primarily to crush the relatively powerful organs of working-class democracy that had grown up as a result of the rise of mass trade unions, and the Second and Third Internationals. It aimed to crush those independent workers organisations and atomise the masses by a repression that also had a counterposed, reactionary mass base. At the same time, as a matter of course, such a reactionary overturn would inescapably mean the crushing of virtually every democratic right or gain that the masses had achieved under capitalism, even those not directly embodied in workers organisations in a formal sense.
That is not the situation today. We live in a world where Stalinism has collapsed and taken with it not only the high level of subjectively revolutionary class-consciousness that activated many of its militants, but also as a knock-on effect of its collapse, it has undermined and de-radicalised much of the left-wing of Social Democracy that had previously been influenced both by the Stalinists, and to a degree by the broader current of revolutionary working-class sentiment that came from the inspiration of the Russian revolution. Elements of class consciousness still exist in the masses, but it is a partial, reformist class consciousness and even where it erupts, such as in the Corbyn movement in Britain, or in the various socialist-inclined ‘left-populist’ movements in South America, it tends to be oriented towards social reform not social revolution. Though revolutionary sentiments can and do find echoes in those movements, they are currently at a qualitatively lower level that in the period Trotsky, Felix Morrow and co were writing.
Not only that, but in the context of Stalinism’s decline and fall, in the advanced countries neoliberalism inflicted substantial defeats and weakening of the working-class movement to a considerable degree, without the need for fascism. This was epitomised by the wars against socialism, communism and trade unions waged in the 1970s by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and by the Pinochet regime in Chile. The latter had a fascist-like military regime but in fact used the Chilean masses as guinea pigs for an extreme free-market economic programme, very different from the fascist ‘corporate state’, supervised by neoliberal economists like Milton Friedman. Strategic defeats were inflicted on the British and US proletariat in this period, and though the continental core European Union countries have not seen this happen in the same dramatic way, similar processes have been happening there in a more molecular, gradual manner.
These were models of the neoliberal paradigm of capitalism that has spread throughout the world, both in the imperialist countries, where the result has been a major decline in manufacturing and the traditional industrial proletariat, and in key parts of the semi-colonial world where there has been a growth in the proletariat precisely through job migration from the imperialist countries, but this layer of the proletariat is subject to very heavy repression and has not, as yet, taken the position at the head of the world proletariat that its social weight objectively must lead to. Accompanying this migration of jobs out of the imperialist countries has been a growth in the importance and volume of labour migration into the imperialist countries, both in terms of a drain of highly skilled migrant labour from semi-colonial countries being creamed-off by high-technology Western capital, and more significantly, badly paid migrant labour brought in to do menial jobs that the native working class sees as too low-paid and refuses to do, and also to compete with and undermine the conditions of lower-status sections of the working class who retain some clout for the moment.
The fact that capital has inflicted major, strategic defeats on the proletariat without the need for fascism, does not mean that fascism has ceased to be a danger. Rather it is the case that in the qualitatively more right-wing political environment bequeathed by neoliberal imperialism, fascist-type movements can develop their own momentum and dynamic, without unanimous bourgeois support, feeding in large measure from discontent at the decline of the old proletariat and mobilising chauvinist and racist sentiments against migrant workers. They present a potent threat particularly to the rights of oppressed layers of the population who achieved gains in the past, under the previous political situation where there was a higher level of class consciousness, as well as a threat to the democratic rights of the mass of the working class itself.
The recent period, with Trump, Brexit, the rise of Orban in Hungary, Salvini in Italy, Kaczyński in Poland, etc, shows that fascist type movements can come to power and engage in potent attacks on democratic rights even without the project of crushing a powerful worker movement or an incipient socialist revolution. They often disguise themselves under more diffuse forms of right-wing populism, that remain within the framework of bourgeois democracy, but when such movements generate militant groups that use physical force against opponents and attempt to escape from the constraints of bourgeois constitutionalism, they become indistinguishable from fascism and just as dangerous. Such movements can best be described as proto-fascist, evolving from right-populism as a reactionary response to neoliberalism.
There is no subjectively revolutionary mass working-class movement today; revolutionary class consciousness resides in relatively small vanguard grouplets, many of them sects, and the task of bringing that class consciousness to the masses is a strategic task that must be carried out anew for the most part by these relatively small, vanguard groups. Part of this re-arming of the working-class movement must be the re-arming of the vanguard layers themselves, many of which have been polluted by opportunism themselves or engage in sometimes quite deranged sectarian and bureaucratic practices which do not help, but hinder, the rearming of the working class and its historic revolutionary class consciousness.
In summary, the proletariat is qualitatively weaker politically in Europe and North America than it was in the pre-WWII period and facilely quoting Trotsky calling for revolutionary mass action in the Spanish Civil War, for instance, is of little use in solving the concrete political problems we face today. Fascist attempts to take power must be resisted just as militantly today as when they try to take power to crush an incipient revolution. Defeating them is still a self-defence of the democratic rights of the masses, albeit in a different situation. Neutrality on such things when they are posed militarily is suicidal. Playing games and flirting with the idea of remaining neutral in the face of an attempt at gaining power by extra-constitutional means is a capitulation to populist ideology that has suckered part of the left, and indirectly therefore to fascism.
Centrist Confusionism and the Popular Front
Such neutrality is implicit in this piece of workerist nonsense from Gerry:
“A united front is between workers’ organisations only which allows the revolutionary socialists freedom to propagate for the revolution. Even when our forces are too small for a formal agreement, we use the transitional method to place demands on the existing leadership of the class to take action in defence of class interests. A popular front contains bourgeois forces, this is in breach of a ‘fundamental tenet of Marxism’ as Felix Morrow explains. This applies in all imperialist counties.”
This implies that the only difference between a united front and a popular front is the presence of bourgeois forces. Not true. In the United Front, we are not seeking a joint government with the forces we are temporarily allied with. It is a bloc for a specific, limited purpose only, e.g., to stop a fascist military action aimed at conquering power. Such a united front action can be with any force that is prepared, either actually or potentially, to join in the action that we want to do, in this case to defeat the fascists attempt to seize power. Once the action is concluded, either successfully or unsuccessfully the united front comes to an end.
If the bulk of the workers are led by a mass social-democratic party like the German SPD, then we make our demands on that organisation. But what if the workers are not led by such a party? What if they are led by people loyal to a liberal-talking bourgeois party, like the US Democrats, which has much in common with popular fronts in other places, but in a party form. What if the only groups that have a distinct, working class political programme even in a deformed sense, are tiny groups that are marginal to the bulk of the working class?
In that case, Gerry would presumably say that it is unprincipled to place demands on the force that the bulk of the working class is currently loyal to, that actually do lead and have the ear of the working class and the oppressed. Instead, presumably, the only ‘principled’ united front that would be possible is between the various marginal groups that do not lead the masses. There is one big problem with this though: a ‘united front’ between the Judean Peoples Front and the People’s Front of Judea does not have the military capacity to defeat the fascists and with the current political situation is not likely to gain such capacity any time soon. So, refusing to place demands on those who do have the ear of the workers means playing foolish sect-games and folding your arms while the fascists attack the forces that do have the military power to defeat them. And to expose to the masses that they need to take action of their own, as a class-conscious force, you must expose the forces that actually do lead them, by putting them to some sort of decisive test. It is not possible to test the ability to satisfy the objective needs of the masses of those who do not lead the masses, who are marginal, as they are not in a position to be so tested.
So, when Gerry sternly lectures our Latin American comrades that:
“The Franco regime and the Republican governments in Madrid and Barcelona were threatened by something far more terrible than ‘proletarian democracy’; they were confronted immediately by an actual socialist revolution which had triumphed on the ground and lacked only a leadership and a state to finish its task, as the Bolsheviks did in 1917. They had seized the factories, they had seized the land, they were clearly in the saddle in that first year of the revolution. True they lacked the developed soviets, workers committees (but these were there in embryo), that emerged in Russia in 1905 and 1917 but there were far more subjectively conscious revolutionary socialists there, originating from the ranks of the POUM and the Anarchists, who understood and heroically fought for that revolution in Spain than in Russia in 1917. And its victory would have had a far greater effect internationally had it won. The popular front was the ideological camouflage behind which the Stalinist counter-revolutionaries marshalled their assassination squads and their torture prisons for revolutionaries to grovel to the ‘democratic imperialists’ as Morrow explains above.”
.. he is engaged in fantasising and wishful thinking. Where was the revolution in the US in January 2021? Where were the factory seizures, where was the working class ‘in the saddle’ in Washington DC or anywhere in the US? Nowhere, because this was not a revolutionary situation. Instead of dealing with the struggle against fascism that actually existed then, Gerry is off fantasising about a non-existent revolution, in order to avoid dealing with what actually exists.
Yet in fact, he comes close to addressing this, only to dismiss the point with an absurdity:
“But there was a very obviously more than just a revolutionary situation in Spain in 1936, clearly there is nothing like that in the US in 2021. Surely the situation is more like that in Germany in the early 1930s, the forces of fascism is in the ascendent and we must learn how to defend before we can go over to the attack.”
And then he goes over to a monologue rubbishing our quoting of Trotsky’s An Aesop’s Fable when he ridicules the Stalinists refusal to call for a united front with the SPD to defeat Hitler’s Nazis:
“A cattle dealer once drove some bulls to the slaughterhouse. And the butcher came nigh with his sharp knife.
‘Let us close ranks and jack up this executioner on our horns,’ suggested one of the bulls.
‘If you please, in what way is the butcher any worse than the dealer who drove us hither with his cudgel?’ replied the bulls, who had received their political education in Manuilsky’s institute. [The Comintern.]
‘But we shall be able to attend to the dealer as well afterwards!’
“Nothing doing,” replied the bulls firm in their principles, to the counselor. ‘You are trying, from the left, to shield our enemies – you are a social-butcher yourself.’
And they refused to close ranks.”
re-cited in ibid
Gerry rubbishes the comparison, with the absurd point that:
“Trotsky did not propose a popular front with the Weimar Republic, still less the Centre Party, the German National People’s Party (DNVP) or the Bavarian People’s Party but with the ’social-imperialist German Social Democracy’ as Ian terms them, hoping we will miss the fact that this was the major party of the German working class for 70 years (founded in May 1863 in Leipzig) and contained the older, skilled but cautious and demoralized industrial workers.”
Here is Gerry’s confusion between the popular front and the united front in crystallised form. Trotsky did not call for a “popular front” with anyone, neither the Weimar Republic nor the smaller bourgeois parties like the Zentrum, nor even with the SPD. He called for a practical bloc with the SPD to stop Hitler from coming to power, a military bloc for struggle, not a political bloc or alliance, still less a coalition government!
It is laughable that Gerry can accuse the Trotskyist Faction of calling for a popular front, when he makes such an elementary error, showing a complete misunderstanding of what a popular front is. He may object that an unprincipled, liquidationist-reformist alliance and joint government of Communists with the SPD leaders would not have been technically a Popular Front, which is true, as it would not have contained an outright bourgeois component.
But the sense of Gerry’s absurdity remains: he says, to paraphrase … ‘Trotsky did not call for an unprincipled, anti-working-class governmental coalition with the Zentrum, the NDVP, or the Bavarian Peoples Party, but only with the SPD’. This is truly comical: no, he did not – he called for a practical bloc for mass-based resistance to the Nazis, to stop them gaining power with a particular regard for defeating their militias, primarily the SA, on the streets, and demanded the SPD mobilise their base to do this. He did not propose any kind of unprincipled non-revolutionary bourgeois governmental coalition with anyone, not even the SPD!
And of course, speaking hypothetically, if the mass of German workers had been loyal to one of the smaller bourgeois parties, instead of the SPD, and the Nazis had threatened to overthrow the Weimar Republic to crush those workers, it would have been just as principled to call on those forces to resist the Nazis, and to seek a bloc with them, as it was the SPD. Of course, that hypothetical scenario would imply a less conscious working class, a different balance of class forces, and thereby a rather different political situation from the one that happened in 1933, but nevertheless the events of Jan 2021 show that there is no absolute barrier to such a situation arising.
Sectarianism, Centrism and Opportunism
Gerry’s polemic is at the same time sectarian, centrist and opportunist. It is sectarian because its driving force is not an attempt to engage with the subject matter, the strategy of how to mobilise the working class to defeat fascism and to develop its class consciousness to the point of being capable of acting independently as a class and taking power. His purpose is rather putting the interests of his own rump grouping above all that and scoring points against political rivals who have not abandoned the Trotskyist politics of the old Socialist Fight as he has. The foolish lie that the Trotskyist Faction support popular fronts is inseparable from the absurd faux-pas when Gerry accuses Trotsky of advocating a ‘popular front’, but only with the SPD, not the smaller bourgeois parties. The lie is feeble and self-exposing, but there is a certain logic to it as he has previously tried to slander us as being sympathetic to fascism.
This lie has been exposed as absurd: if we had been remotely sympathetic to fascism, we would not be debating how best to defeat the forces of Donald Trump; we would have regarded Donald Trump as an ‘ally’, like Gerry’s erstwhile co-thinker and ally against us, Wilhelm Specklin, and would be inclined to join in with Trump. So, Gerry’s grotesque, Healy-like lie that we are sympathetic to fascism, a criminal lie whose purpose is consciously designed to set up people who support our politics, the politics Gerry himself defended for five years, to be attacked by leftists Gerry manages to fool, has been exposed as a complete absurdity. People with a ‘fascist’ political outlook, in the face of a putsch by actual fascists, would join in supporting the fascists, not publicly call for the fascist insurgents to be shot down and executed en masse without mercy. Perhaps some reactionary Trump supporter might call us ‘red fascists’ or ‘left wing fascists’ but any genuine socialist militant knows how to treat such crap. Gerry’s lie is exposed as the very opposite of the truth, and his desperate nonsense about our supposed support for ‘popular fronts’ is just another feeble lie to replace the previous, deceased lie.
His position is centrist, because it fits Trotsky’s description of centrism as ‘crystallised confusion’, as benefits a politics which still pretends to be revolutionary, and even to adhere to the international revolutionary trend which we support but acts in an erratic manner that can only confuse those who encounter Gerry’s politics and positions. And indeed, on some forums those questioning Gerry about where he stands have ended up scratching their heads. Crystallised confusion indeed.
And this is opportunist, both in theory and practice. His statement that Trotsky advocated a ‘popular front’ with the SPD, apart from being untrue, contradictory and at odds with the very definition of a popular front, betrays his own political appetites. Because in the end, his whole bending of the knee to Zionism comes from bending the knee to Labourism in a period when the Labour Party is moving rapidly to the right. Supporting a rotten, rightward moving Blairised, Zionised Labour Party is not exactly the same thing as supporting a popular front, but it is pretty close. Labour at present, unlike when Jeremy Corbyn was leader, does not in any sense claim to represent working class people as a class.
Gerry firmly denounces the idea that socialists should call on workers not to vote Labour, citing Lenin and Trotsky’s practice of critical support to put Labour to the test before the workers. But Starmer has already been put to the test in the eyes of many tens or even hundreds of thousands of militants who support the Labour Party. There is such disgust among former Corbynites that there is massive resonance for not supporting Starmer’s Labour in elections. The stabbing of Corbyn, the first Labour leader for several decades not to be a neoliberal enemy of the workers, has had a huge impact on the whole layer of hundreds of thousands who hated Blairism and joined Labour to support Corbyn.
Nor does it need to be ‘exposed’ to the ‘Red Wall’ layer of the working class who are like the demoralised layer that supported Trump in the US, who Starmer is now trying to appeal to by wrapping himself in the Union Jack. This is not a class-conscious appeal even at a very low level but an attempt to out-Tory the Tories. It is likely to fail only because people tend to prefer the real thing to a cheap copy.
All Gerry’s smears against us since he split with our comrades have been motivated by craven opportunism, the desire to ingratiate himself with sections of the left who capitulate to facets of Zionism, or at least elements of Jewish identity politics that overlap with Zionism to a degree. But the opportunist gyration that drives his latest smear has an erratic quality as it reveals a degradation in the understanding of Trotskyism and the popular front, and for all his fulminations about Trump fascism, a flinch from saying that Trump’s insurrection represented a fascist step beyond the constitutionalist status quo in the US and therefore the military defeat of Trump was the lesser evil.
This theoretical advocacy of a weird kind of ‘popular front that is not a popular front’ with social democracy, mixed with capitulation to populism might have some relationship with one of Gerry’s latest blocs. To give the rump SF somewhere to deposit any funds it manages to raise, Gerry is using the bank account of Socialist Labour, a bloc within the Labour Party that is run by left-wing supporters of Brexit. Though it was not unprincipled in the Corbyn project to work with such people as part of a broader intervention where views on Brexit were up for debate, we never previously got the functioning of our organisation mixed up with such a bloc. Since Lexiteering in Britain in recent years was in the real world an adaptation to right-populism, as the actually existing Brexit was a right populist movement, it appears that this bloc has put further pressure on Gerry to adapt in this direction also.
Anyway, whatever is behind this politically erratic behaviour, Gerry’s latest polemic just draws attention to his further sad political decline since he wrecked Socialist Fight, and much of the political reputation he had previously built up through at least trying to re-create a genuine Trotskyism, is going down the drain. That is quite sad really.
Zuckerburg’s racist crew funded Trump GOP right up to the Washington, DC attack
According to Facebook the comment below constitutes ‘hate speech’. ‘Hate speech’ apparently against fascist terrorists and Trump’s thugs who attacked the Capitol Building in Washington DC on January 6th. The author of the comment (myself) was given a ban from Facebook for 30 Days on 31 Jan 2021, supposedly for ‘hate speech’:
“The problem is that Trump is not separable from Johnson, Farage, Le Pen, Salvini, Tony Abbott, the far right wing regimes in Poland and Hungary, Bolsonoro, Modi, and all the rest in Europe and around the world.
American exceptionalism doesn’t make him supportable, defensible, or worthy of any sympathy in any way. It WAS an attempted coup. He attempted to stay in power despite clearly losing an election. They should have been shot down like rabbits. In fact only about two of them got what they deserved. For that, the cops should be condemned for complicity.
Trump never won the popular vote in 2016 either and that democratic issue as far as I am concerned was a concentrated expression of the undemocratic nature of the USA. His assassination would have been justified in democratic terms if anyone had managed it. His presidency was not.
I’m not in favour of ‘challenges’ to the ‘status quo’ that are worse than the status quo itself. If rednecks get angry about their loss of perceived superiority over others and demand their old status back (“make America great again”) that is not a class conscious revolt against capitalism.
That is a big “FUCK YOU” to the rest of the world’s population. These people deserve to have their faces ground in the shit, including by their ‘own’ bosses, to teach them that they are actually slaves, coolies, and not a superior race. As long as they believe they are a superior race they can fuck off and die.
I have the same attitude to Trump supporters swaggering around the US abusing the Black and Immigrant population as I do to Zionist settlers in Palestine. They only have the right to exist insofar as they treat others equally and with some basic humanity. If they don’t (and they don’t – that’s the understatement of the millennium!) then fuck them. Let them die.
The same goes for idiot ex-miners who support Boris Johnson. Thatcher destroyed the pits and steelworks and those who forget that and blame foreigners and migrants, and wave the Union Jack? They are fucking cretins who deserve to get pissed on. They don’t deserve any sympathy or solidarity. Not until they show some to others. Failing that, they can fucking starve for all I care.
I don’t see anything positive about the support for him. Just as I don’t see anything positive about Brexit. The gilets jaunes in France did actually tell the far right to fuck off and show some sign of real class consciousness in that regard.
But Trumpism and Brexit was about ‘we want our imperial status back’ and there was nothing good about it. In that it does bear similarity to Hitlerism which was about vengeance for Germany’s loss of imperial power. From part of the population that was intoxicated with that power.”
They are absolutely naked about this. This is censorship of political views that are held by many millions about the criminal nature of the Trump insurrection. The fascist and white supremacist nature of the mob that stormed though the US parliamentary centre is clear. They threatened the lives of politicians they disapproved of, everyone from Vice-President Pence leftward. “Hang Mike Pence” they chanted, calling for the death of the VP, who is politically similar to Ronald Reagan – on the right-wing end of the spectrum of bourgeois-democratic politics in the US. The threat was because he carried out his mandated duties and presided over the counting of electoral votes for the Electoral College, and refused to join Trump’s attempt to overthrow the election result against both the popular vote and Electoral College, and thus help create a while supremacist dictatorship in the US.
Violent Racism: A ‘Protected Characteristic’ for Facebook
It does not take a genius to figure out that if they wanted to “Hang Mike Pence” for not doing their bidding, what they would like to do to every liberal Congressman or Senator, every black, Latinx, gay, or any other representative of groups these fascists hate. The lives of all these people were in peril. Not to mention that they refused to wear masks or observe social distancing, as did their sympathisers and complicit politicians among the far-right Republicans some of whom are known to have infected with Covid-19 others who were forced into proximity with them in fear of being attacked while being evacuated away from the fascist mob.
Facebook, in saying this is ‘hate speech’, is saying that to say that these far-right terrorists deserved to be shot is in some way attacking a ‘protected characteristic’. Facebook have a long, convoluted definition of what constitutes ‘hate speech’ regarding ‘protected characteristics’, but the basic idea is correct – that no one should be attacked for their national origin or their race or ethnicity, religious affiliation or background, sex or gender, sexuality, religion, disability, or disease.
Unless being a violent racist is also included in this list of protected characteristics, it is very clear that not only is there no attack on anyone for their origin in the comment above, but the only people who are condemned in the comment are people who target others for their protected characteristics.
So, Facebook are clearly breaking their own Community Standards here, and supporting and protecting those who break them to attack others for their protected characteristics.
In fact, Facebook’s Community Standards contain a deliberate loophole that apparently allows bigoted attacks on people for their protected characteristics in certain circumstances. In its definition of ‘hate speech’, specifically under the heading of ‘Tier One’, it forbids:
“Content targeting a person or group of people (including all subsets except those described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offences) on the basis of their aforementioned protected characteristic(s) or immigration status with … Violent speech or support in written or visual form ….”
So according to this, it is permissible to target with ‘violent speech’ specifically that ‘subset’ of members of an ethnic or other ‘protected’ group who are ‘described’ as ‘having carried out violent crimes or sexual offences” “on the basis of their aforementioned protected characteristic(s) or immigration status…”
This appears to have been explicitly formulated to allow the far right to incite hatred. For instance, Trump’s notorious 2016 speech where he said that Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists”. His solution to this supposed problem was to “build that wall” and (among other things) the vile abuse of abducting children from their parents and deporting their parents without them.
So, Facebook formulated a loophole in its ‘Community Standards’ whose obvious purpose is to allow violent racists like Trump to incite hatred against those with ‘protected characteristics’ by focussing on ‘subsets’ of such groups that are “described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offences”. Everyone knows that such dog-whistles target entire oppressed groups and serve to incite hatred and violence against them.
But in allowing this, FB have a problem. If it is permitted to target ‘subsets’ of people “described” as violent or sex criminals on the basis of their … “protected characteristic(s) or immigration status” with “violent speech … in written or visual form”, then logically it ought to permitted to so target people who are so “described” not on the basis of any protected characteristic, but simply on the basis of their violent or sexual crimes.
This is where Facebook clearly shows itself to be a white supremacist outfit.
The attack on the Capitol was a violent crime. Everyone who set foot in the Capitol building as part of that insurrection on Jan 6th is a felon and a violent criminal, by definition.
But Facebook in practice, by this action (which was appealed, but they ignored the appeal), regards statements to the effect that such violent racists deserve to be shot, or die, or starve, not because of any protected characteristic, but simply because of their racist, often violent and hate-filled bigoted behaviour, as ‘hate speech’, and bans people for that.
So effectively, Facebook are saying that being a racist, indeed arguably ESPECIALLY being a violent racist, is a protected characteristic.
Of course, they won’t put that in their ‘Community Standards’. But that is what their practice means.
Because Facebook management, despite the bullshit in their ‘Community Standards’, are actually white supremacists. This must obviously include its head, Zuckerburg, as he is the man in charge.
As was revealed shortly after the attack on the Capitol, Facebook had been funding the Trumpist GOP for years. They, along with many other corporate bodies, ostentatiously announced the withdrawal of that funding after Jan 6.
What does this funding, and then its withdrawal, signify? Obviously, it does not signify any distaste for the racism, the voter suppression, all the despicable things the GOP have been doing to the oppressed in the US, long before Trump. It does not even signify any dissent from the criminality of Trump prior to 6 Jan.
The only thing it signifies is rats leaving the sinking ship. If it had not sunk, they would still be on board. If Trump had succeeded in overthrowing the election and establishing a white supremacist dictatorship, which was the purpose of the insurrection, then Facebook would still be on board.
Its clear that Facebook for all their hypocritical ‘Community Standards’ in fact supported Trump and white supremacy. They have also recently gone on the warpath against the Left. A number of Socialist and left-wing groups have been supressed, or such suppression has been attempted, by Facebook, including bans against the Socialist Workers Party in Britain and the World Socialist Web Site/Socialist Equality Party in the United States. This is in the aftermath of the failure of Trump’s insurrection.
It is possible that the impetus for this might be the result of pressure from the new Biden administration to crackdown on so-called ‘extremism’ – including too militant anti-racism apparently – except that there is no visible indication of this. And this action clearly involved defending the Trump insurrectionists. Frameup bans of the left on social media occurred regularly under Trump.
For Workers Action to Enforce Workers Democracy on Social Media
We are not free speech absolutists; we are in favour of supressing violent racists and fascists. But our strategy is not to rely on the bourgeois state or corporate bodies to do it for us. We are for independent working-class action, including the setting up of workers militias to defend the masses independently. Though if fascists engage in outright armed conflict with an existing, non-fascist government attempting to seize power outside of bourgeois constitutionalism, we consider their defeat by the existing bourgeois-democratic government and state forces to be the lesser evil and are in favour of a military bloc with them, through the use of deadly force to suppress the threat decisively.
The workers movement should not take censorship by Facebook and its corporate racist thugs lying down. Facebook, Twitter, and other such social media have social power over political discourse and should not be allowed to use it to suppress the working-class movement and the left. Not only do we advocate workers militias to suppress threats to the working class from fascists, it would be excellent if the workers movement were to create its own cyber-military organs.
There are many ethical hackers/hacktivists out there, with the relevant skills and sympathetic to the left, who could retaliate against Facebook and other such racist, anti-democratic outfits in an organised way, and even bring their operations to a halt if they insist on supressing labour movement discussions online. Labour movement organisations themselves need to bring this about using their collective strength. Industrial action and labour boycotts targeted at these social media outfits could also be used in tandem with more novel means of struggle. We also need our own organs, run on the ethos of workers democracy, but the left must take the initiative in forcing workers democracy and workers control onto the bodies that currently control the means of social communication, as a prelude to their expropriation.
The demise of Donald Trump in the US has put the spotlight on Johnson’s equally squalid and mendacious government in Britain. The contradictions of the situation in Britain, like that in the US, have been exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, there is the developing disaster of Johnson’s hard Brexit deal, which is already giving rise to protests, including by some that supported Johnson and Brexit. The economic consequences of Brexit are combining with those of the pandemic to create a perfect storm. Johnson’s original plan, to engineer a no-deal at the end of the transition period, was abandoned shortly before Christmas because it was too big a risk to the stability of his regime.
The Johnson regime is as dubious in its legitimacy as Trump’s was. Trump achieved the Presidency in the US by means of his party’s prolonged programme of voter suppression, barring layers of particularly black US Americans from voting through punitive red tape supposedly designed to stop fraud, but in fact to stop voting by the poor – victims of racism being disproportionately poor. This combined with the undemocratic electoral college system brought to power a far-right President in 2016 despite him losing the popular vote by 3 million. Trump struggled to repeat the trick in 2020 and his refusal to accept defeat led to the attempt by his hard-core followers to keep power by an insurrection against the voting population itself. But they overreached themselves and exposed their fascistic nature for all the world to see.
The Tories are up to similar games here. Trump’s insurrection against Congress had its prototype here in 2019 with Johnson’s illegal prorogation of parliament, which itself had something of the character of a coup. The referendum on Brexit in 2016 was completely unregulated and massively corrupted by huge funding of propaganda lies by far-right billionaires like Arron Banks. Brazen lies about funding the NHS from EU contributions (“£350 million a week”), and anti-migrant hate material from the likes of Farage, such as the ‘Breaking point’ poster depicting Syrian refugees, consciously modelled on a Nazi propaganda movie attacking Jewish refugees, epitomised the Brexit referendum. Johnson’s real plan is still to sell off the NHS as part of a trade deal.
Referenda can be useful to allow constitutional questions to be resolved in a democratic manner, but this was nothing of the sort. Britain in the EU already had ‘sovereignty’. Brexit was simply a xenophobic campaign aimed, successfully, at dividing the working class and setting workers at each other’s throats. It was called by an overtly racist government whose leaders were up to their necks in racism and abuse of minorities, epitomised by the Windrush scandal, and the killing of over 100,000 through austerity benefit cuts on the sick and disabled.
Yet Cameron was dismayed when the reaction they had promoted went further than they wanted and resulted in the Brexit vote. Their referendum was ‘advisory’; if it were legally binding then it would be subject to strict regulation as with a parliamentary election. But after the corrupt, unregulated hate-fest, which included the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a Brexit fascist terrorist, resulted in a narrow victory for the xenophobes, the far right insisted it was binding and their fascistic lowlife-thugs went rampaging. Anyone in public life who failed to bow down before their Brexit god was subjected to death threats and potentially the violence to match. Violent, fascist thugs like James Goddard harassed politicians who demurred from Brexit, hand-in-hand with the Tory media and Johnson purging the Conservatives of former mainstream types who refused to go along with his course towards no-deal. There is no difference between the violent Brexit elements like Goddard and the fascist terrorists who attacked the Capitol in Washington.
The General Election in 2019 also had considerable grounds for suspicion about it. After Corbyn came close to victory in 2017, destroying Theresa May’s majority, neoliberals both within and without the Labour Party were visibly shocked and mortified, and a cavalcade of dirty tricks set in motion to sabotage Corbyn’s Labour. The shock on the faces of right-wing Labour ideologues like Stephen Kinnock and Jess Phillips was obvious on election night 2017. In 2019, after Labour lost, the same Phillips was visibly delighted. Just as sinister were remarks from key ruling class figures about the possibility of a Corbyn government. At PM’s Question Time in December 2017, Theresa May simply said “we will never allow you to govern”. And Mike Pompeo, Trump’s Secretary of State, meeting in June 2018 with ‘Jewish leaders’ was recorded as saying of the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn becoming UK Prime Minister:
“’It could be that Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected,’ he said on the recording. ‘It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.’”
Pompeo has since proven that he is eminently capable of personal involvement in election fraud including within advanced capitalist countries, where the convention is that such things are off-limits (fraud and coups are practiced by imperialist governments of all stripes in semi-colonial countries as a matter of normal practice). Pompeo’s involvement in Trump’s attempt to hold onto power after overwhelmingly losing the 2020 Presidential Election is a matter of public record, when on 10 November he said to reporters at the State Department:
“there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
Pompeo only distanced himself from Trump’s attempts to stay in power after the failed insurrection on Capitol Hill on 6 Jan. His stated intention to “push back” against a possible Corbyn government, taken together with the political closeness of both Johnson and May to the Trump administration is obvious (on her first meeting with Trump she was even filmed holding hands with him while entering a press conference). The likely mechanism of fraud – modifying a result which many expected would result in a hung parliament as in 2017 – and canvassing responses on the ground in key areas including in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ indicated would be close – was tweaking the postal vote.
A detailed breakdown of postal voting in 2019 still appears unavailable – the House of Commons report on the election contains nothing about it (see https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8749/CBP-8749.pdf) – but immediately after the election Lord Ashcroft’s polling organisation reported a doubling of postal voting to 38%. Highly suspicious behaviour was reported at the time: two prominent Tory or sympathetic personalities, the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, and the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, appeared to have broken electoral law by talking about, and for that matter knowing about, the contents of the postal vote before it was even legal to count it.
The involvement of leading figures in the Trump administration, so close to Johnson and May’s administration, in the attempt to overthrow the popular vote and electoral college result in January 2021, casts further doubt on the democratic legitimacy of Johnson’s regime ‘elected’ in Britain in 2019.
Social Darwinism and Mass Killing
The result of far-right populists gaining power has been the astronomical death toll in the Covid-19 Pandemic. This the product of Social Darwinism, the ‘survival of the fittest’, applied to society. The policy of the British government has been ‘herd immunity’, allowing the disease to infect as much as the population as possible to generate a widespread immune response. But such immunity developing naturally can only happen through an enormous number of deaths, and the breeding out of the vulnerable parts of the population through their dying and being replaced by the descendants of the survivors. The whole point of developing vaccines is to avoid such carnage by artificially developing immunity in those vulnerable to diseases, so they cease to be at risk of death or disability from diseases like Covid.
That is the conception that drives the Johnson government, while having to repeatedly bow down to popular pressure and take lockdown and quarantine measures, to repeatedly sabotage lockdowns, ending them early, forcing children into unsafe schools as in September, and refusing a ‘firebreak’ lockdown also in September when government scientists themselves were demanding one to nip the second wave in the bud. The four-week lockdown in November kept schools open and so could not possibly be effective. It produced a limited dip in the infection rate but as soon as it was lifted the disease started spreading like wildfire again. Johnson was thus forced to ‘cancel Christmas’ by a massive rise in the Covid infection rate, that was entirely his own government’s doing, given its wanton sabotage of the quarantine measures forced on it from below over the whole period of the pandemic.
The emergence of a new, more infectious strain of Covid-19, which forced the government into its panicked third lockdown in early January is entirely the fault of the Johnson regime. It is down to it that Britain has the worst death rate per million inhabitants in the entire world.
An enormous factor in this has also been the long-term underfunding of the National Health Service, the creeping privatisation of healthcare provision and massive understaffing, the underpayment of junior medical, nursing and cleaning staff, which has meant that even though the government created extra ‘Nightingale’ hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic to handle extra demand, they have proven white elephants, since there are not the trained staff to run the extra intensive care facilities needed.
And the other recurring problem has been the lack of proper payment and welfare for those at risk, both of becoming sick, and of infecting others. The furlough scheme has some merits but is far too limited in its breadth and many fall through the gaps in it. And the very low, starvation level benefits (and the sanctions) for the low paid and semi-employed/jobless made it very difficult for those at risk to self-isolate to protect themselves and others, not to mention the continual pressure from many lower-paying employers for staff to risk coming to work. The measly £20 weekly rise in Universal Credit on an emergency basis since last April is due to end this coming April, and the government is resisting extending that, as it has resisted providing free school meals to the children of low-income families in the lockdowns.
The current lockdown is far laxer than last March; traffic on the roads and public transport is several times higher, as many employers are ignoring it and coercing their staff to work. The restrictions are not being enforced or are being avoided by falsely branding work as essential. This is also happening in schools, as the definition of ‘key workers’ whose children still attend has been made much more nebulous, and schools are much less empty than in March. And nurseries are still open, despite half of nursery staff saying that they do not feel safe. This is government policy, putting capitalist profit above the safety of working-class people.
The policy of ‘herd immunity’ was put forward by Johnson on breakfast TV, as well as by other government spokespeople including top government scientists such as Patrick Vallance, and the government’s ‘Nudge Unit’, right at the beginning of the pandemic. It was then modified somewhat, and the policy since has been called ‘punctuated herd immunity’, interrupted by half-hearted lockdowns or ‘mockdowns’, a point that bears repeating as this regime needs to be held to account. The ideological core of it was put forward by Johnson in his bizarre speech in Greenwich on Feb 2, 2020:
“…in that context, we were starting to hear some bizarre, autarchic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases like Coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation, that go beyond what is medically rational, to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment, humanity needs some government somewhere, that is willing at least to make the case, powerfully, for freedom of exchange.
“Some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles, and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion of the right of populations, of the Earth, to buy and sell freely among each other. Here in Greenwich in the first week of February 2020, I can tell you with all humility, that the UK is ready for that role.”
The combination of Brexiteering national-imperial conceit and callous disregard for science and rationality in pursuit of profit is grotesque. But this is not just a problem of this government’s malice, It is also the product of the inability of capitalism itself to cope with the crises, including disasters like Covid created by capitalist abuse of nature, that the profit system gives rise to. Faced with a disaster on this scale, a rationally planned economy would simply change the plan to accommodate the problem, with the welfare of the whole population the central aim of the plan. But capital cannot do this, so on top of the public health disaster is piled on massive economic dislocation and the threat of a major economic depression even when the pandemic ends.
This has its latest manifestation in the cavalier disregard for science in the administration of vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the first to be licensed, is a pioneering and necessarily fragile pharmaceutical product whose manufacturers are highly specific about the timing necessary to administer its two doses. They are supposed to be administered three weeks apart, with the first dose offering partial immunity, and the second acting to supercharge the immunity gained from the first dose. The plan by Johnson and Hancock to extend that to twelve weeks was condemned by the manufacturers, as there is no data to say that such a change in the administration of the vaccine would work. There is, however, reason to fear that the diluted vaccine being in people’s systems for a longer period may give a vaccine-resistant strain chance to evolve.
The government got this not-so-bright idea after the second, Astra-Zeneca vaccine, which has a more flexible dosing schedule that is backed up by data, of up to twelve weeks, was licenced. Extending this to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is, like the ‘mockdowns’, simply a shortcut to try to reduce the infection rate quickly and then hurry people back to work, to resume the process of money-making for capital. This is the baleful state of government on ‘Plague Island’ at the beginning of 2021.
Starmer: Johnson’s Lackey
What of the opposition from the working-class movement, or what purports to represent it? Under Keir Starmer, there has been virtually NO opposition to Johnson. Starmer has not opposed anything significant that the government has done. In the first few weeks of the pandemic, there was sharp criticism of the government’s callousness from Jeremy Corbyn and a degree of support from the Labour front bench for trade union resistance. Which may have played a role in the fact that the first lockdown, at least in its initial stages, was actually effective, though Corbyn stepping down took the pressure off Johnson.
After Starmer gained the leadership in April, such criticism stopped. The line completely changed to one of support for virtually everything the government did, with only minor demurral on questions of fine detail. In an interview in September, Starmer laid out his ‘oppositional’ strategy thus: “Whatever measure the government takes, we will support it” and to avoid misunderstanding he reiterated: “They make a decision, we will follow that and we will reinforce their communications because in the end this is not about party politics.” (https://labourlist.org/2020/09/sunday-shows-labour-will-back-whatever-measures-the-government-takes-on-covid-says-starmer/)
Starmer’s political priority is not fighting the government’s attacks on working class people in this pandemic and disastrous economic situation. It is attacking the left and moving Labour further to the right and into the bourgeois camp, as symbolised by his embrace of Zionism. This links him with the right-wing populists, with Johnson and Trump, and determines his character as their lackey. The fact that all the Labour leadership candidates swore loyalty to Zionism in the 2020 contest is significant in this sense. The body they made their pledges to, the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD), made clear their support for Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, and their condemnation of the Corbyn-led Labour Party in the December 2019 General Election.
The candidates swore to combat so-called anti-Semitism, according to the fake IHRA definition, which the Corbyn leadership had capitulated to already in the previous couple of years. This means not racism against Jewish people, but hostility towards Zionism and its oppression of the Palestinian people, and purging opponents of Zionist racism, including Jewish ones, as part of a generalised attack on left-wing activists and anti-racism, part of making Labour back into what it was under Blair – the alternative Tory Party. As part of the purge we have seen the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, its reversal and Starmer’s separate removal of the whip, which is now the subject of legal action (see article on page 6). Now Starmer has employed an Israeli spy, one Assaf Kaplan, previously known for waging cyber-warfare against Palestinians, to monitor his own members’ social media for signs of support for Palestinian rights and other forbidden ideas.
Under Starmer, Labour has not only embraced Zionism, but also Brexit: after Johnson achieved his last-minute deal at Christmas, Starmer whipped his MPs to vote for it, and then pledged to accept Brexit and not to try to reverse it, in pursuit of anti-immigrant votes. Thus exposing the cynicism of Starmer’s own campaign against Brexit before the 2019 General Election. It was not driven by principle, but just a factional manoeuvre to undermine Corbyn.
A seminal moment in Labours capitulation to Johnson over the pandemic was his sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey as shadow Education Secretary in June, amid charges of ‘anti-Semitism’ so risible that they are not worthy even of analysing. Everyone knew that the real reason was that RLB supported the main Teachers Union, the NEU, resisting Johnson’s reckless drive to re-open schools, first in June on a voluntary basis, then on a compulsory basis in September, with parents being fined if they withheld their children from school. This was a key cause of the second wave and likely the mutation of the virus to a more infectious strain when the first lockdown was being prematurely relaxed. Thus the blood of those who have died in the second wave, most of which were completely avoidable, is not only on Johnson’s hands but Starmer’s too.
Starmer’s conduct in the various ups and downs of the pandemic and lockdowns has been pathetic. Even when he has contradicted Johnson, such as when he called for the extension of the shambolic system of ‘tiers’ and effectively for a tier 5 lockdown over Christmas, he only dared because it was common knowledge that Johnson was considering exactly that. He was just Johnson’s echo for the whole period since he became leader.
We need a genuine workers party
It is evident that we need a party to fight for working class interests independently from the thoroughly bourgeois Labour Party, whose working-class component, as in the Blair years, is in the process of being driven to the margins. Out of the purges of the left new formations are being born, most hopefully that around Chris Williamson, who is spending a lot of time and energy putting together what looks like a party in the making, trying to draw together as many strands of the left as possible into something inclusive and democratic.
We support this perspective, of seeking to build a new party of the working class, one which is capable of developing both the mass base and the political programme to really fight capital and has the dynamism and flexibility to allow that kind of political development to happen. Unfortunately, one obstacle to this that has recently emerged is Jeremy Corbyn’s new ‘Project for Peace and Justice’ which aims to keep together his followers and campaign around a variety of anti-war, environmental and working-class issues without having the perspective of building a new party. It appears to have been set up as an alternative to a party, a fatal flaw in the whole project, which apart from the political problem of the reformism of Corbyn, is an additional problem that renders the project pointless for militants to join, something that can only act to give the Starmer-led Labour Party a left cover and act to corral votes for that party from militants who would otherwise oppose Starmer’s candidates and all that they stand for in elections in front of the whole working class.
The economic catastrophe resulting from the pandemic, the huge number of deaths particularly in countries run by far-right neoliberals like Trump and Johnson, and all the related issues of climate and ecological degradation, which as the pandemic has shown, is a potent threat to the lives of the working class and oppressed people everywhere, has accumulated a huge amount of social discontent and rage. This will inevitably burst out into the open when the pandemic does finally recede. There will be convulsive movements tending towards the left that grow out of this, as in some way is visible in the US with the huge popular surge to unseat Trump. There will be movements of the working class and poor, perhaps similar to the French gilets jaunes which started in a confused way, with attempts by the extreme right to control the movement, but which spontaneously pushed those interlopers out and moved towards the left in the struggle against Macron. After the pandemic, the accumulated contradictions are certain to find expression in similar, if not more explosive ways. Warmed-over left reformism is totally inadequate to deal with the objective problems that capitalist decay has brought to these masses today.
Ultimately, the working class will not come to power through bourgeois elections: the state and the ruling class will not allow that to happen. We need a programme that starts from the felt needs of today’s working class and points the way for our class to take power from the capitalists by our own mass revolutionary mass activity and action. The demise of the Corbynist movement, but the continued political activity of likely hundreds of thousands of its militants, provides an historic opportunity to build a genuine working-class party in Britain, that can develop such a programme and practice and lead our class to victory.
Communist Fight issue no 4 is now available as a PDF. It is not currently available as a hard copy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we do plan to print and distribute our journal as hard copy as and when circumstances allow.
This journal is a product of our commitment to maintaining a high-quality Marxist journal based on the politics of Trotskyism and the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI).
This issue addresses in some depth the fallout from the Trumpist attempted putsch at the Capitol on Jan 6th, and not only contains our statement on this, but also the positions of our international co-thinkers in the Americas, where some differences have emerged on how to respond to this event, and a response from ourselves that continues the debate.
As an international tendency the LCFI, of which we are a disciplined part, is committed to open debate on the most crucial questions of the workers movement, and following in the tradition of the Bolsheviks, that included when differences arise on matters of theoretical understanding with programmatic implications in our own ranks.
The issue also contains a comprehensive article on the issues posed by Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from Labour, the report of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into so-called ‘anti-Semitism’ in Labour, which we consider to be part of a Zionist and ruling class smear and disinformation campaign. This article deconstructs the central claims and smears made in the report, and is particularly relevant in the light of the legal action of Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley in seeking to challenge the smears in the report.
And to cap it off, the lead article goes on the attack against the Johnson regime in the light of the fall of Trump, points out the similarities of Johnson’s politics and following to Trump, and analyses the despicable social-Darwinist brutality and mendacity that has led to the UK having the worst death rate in the world from Covid-19. It also is unsparing of the treachery of Starmer and the neoliberal Labour right, which is now dominant, and offers some pointers as to how a new working class party can be built. Such a party is desperately necessary.
The graphics below are self-explanatory. For years Twitter allowed Donald Trump to incite racial hatred, misogyny and and all kinds of bigotry on its platforms. It allowed him to applaud naked police brutality against Black Lives Matter protesters, to promote hatred against Palestinians and applaud Israeli terrorism and genocidal policies against them. It allowed him to advocate and boast about torturing people. It even allowed him to openly threaten nuclear war, against Iran and North Korea, on its platforms.
So Twitter has not and never had any problem with extreme forms of violence and state criminality. It only developed a ‘problem’ with this very recently, when it began to suspect that its prize Presidential attraction was a loser. Only after his November electoral defeat did it start regularly putting warnings on his posts about the flagrant lies within them.
Twitter’s corporate owners made billions of dollars from Trumpism. Indeed they helped bring him, undoubtedly the vilest and most dangerous political figure in the politics of advanced countries since Adolf Hitler, to power. They, along with Facebook, through the simple method of lucrative paid advertising, also helped bring extreme right wing forces around Boris Johnson to power in Britain via Brexit, promoting racism and bigotry on an industrial scale.
The result is to be seen in the terrible death toll of the Covid-19 pandemic, where Britain and the US are among the deadliest Covid-ridden places to live in the world thanks to the far right thugs and killers the corporate social media giants helped bring to power.
That is why they allowed him to rampage unrestricted for many years. But Twitter also repeatedly banned and suspended anti-racists and socialists, whose right to free speech was never upheld on Twitter. Big money allows scum like Trump to turn the democratic potential of IT technology and social media into a tool for the mass incitement of racist murder and genocide. Which is why it is an imperative demand of the labour movement for social media such as Twitter and Facebook to be placed under democratic workers control, so fascists and anti-democratic, genocidal forces can be excluded while working-class, anti-racist forces can freely debate.
Twitter are stumped as the graphics below relate. A comrade from the Trotskyist Faction, while Trump’s forces were preparing, and then carrying out, the assault on the Capitol, pointed out repeatedly that Trump’s forces were fascist terrorists and tweeted to prominent opponents of Trump, including President-Elect Joe Biden, that these fascist terrorists should be shot. He also made the obvious comparison between Trump’s putsch and Hitler/Ludendorff’s 1923 Beer-Hall putsch in Munich, and demanded that Trump should be executed for this, noting that Hitler and Lundendorff should have been executed after Munich. It is obvious, to say the least, that if Hitler had been killed then it is likely that many millions of victims of his subsequent genocide would never have died.
Our comrade’s account was suspended on the grounds of ‘hateful conduct’. According to these imbeciles, by callling Trump’s people ‘fascist terrorists’ he had offended against the rule that : “You may not promote violence against, threaten or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious illness”.
The comrade appealed and challenged the Twitter liars to “Explain what ‘protected characteristic’ I attacked. Trump is a fascist terrorist. That is not a protected characteristic.”
They cannot reply, as it is laughable and criminally insulting to in any way equate hostility to fascist terrorism with racism, national hatred, homophobia, transphobic, ageism or anti-disabled bigotry.
In fact in censoring the demand for fascist terrorists to be treated as fascist terrorists, Twitter are defending the perpetrators of such vile bigotry in spades.
Twitter’s corporate leaders are Trump supporters, who have made a mint from Trump’s rantings. They have belatedly backed off from Trump now he is shown up to be a loser.
Our comrade’s appeal against suspension and the deletion of these Tweets is stuck, as Twitter cannot deal with the appeal. Because Twitter’s corporate executives, including its CEO Jack Dorsey, supported Trump for years. If they uphold our comrade’s appeal, they are upholding the right of left-wing militants to call for fascist terrorists to be shot. In fact the implication of the suspension is that calling Trump’s supporters ‘terrorists’ is in some way ‘hateful conduct’. But they have a big problem with this, as Joe Biden himself rightly called them terrorists.
And if they are terrorists, the question of whether they should or should not be shot is obviously a legitimate question of debate. They are hoist on their own petard, as Trump himself, on their platform, Tweeted about killing people he considered to be ‘terrorists’ without any objection from Twitter.
On the other hand, if they reject the appeal, they are clearly defending the perpetrators of the attack on the Capitol, who murdered people including a Capitol policeman, from pungent attack.
So Trump-promoting, Trump-supporting Twitter are sitting on this appeal like pathetic cowards. Normally such appeals are dismissed with the blink of an eye. Four days now since Trump’s fascist putsch and counting…
IHRA fake definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ is a modern-day Nuremburg Law
The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party, and removal of the Parliamentary whip, by the grovelling Tory-Zionist stooge Starmer, is an outrage that all socialists and class -conscious workers must condemn. The pretext for this is the publication of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHCR) report into so-called ‘anti-Semitism’ under Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party over the last five years. Of course, we must demand its reversal, and Corbyn’s immediate reinstatement. But it is a predictable outrage, and we would advise the left not to hold its breath waiting for the neoliberal Labour Party bureaucracy to relent. There are several possibilities: from Corbyn’s expulsion, to his capitulation, to a major conflict in Labour that destroys Starmer’s leadership, to a split of part of the left from Labour and the emergence of a new party.
The prolonged smear campaign is simply a stratagem by the enemies of independent working-class politics to hobble the working-class movement. In this regard, given the odious politics of the right-wing of the Labour Party on virtually every question you can name, from Blair’s crimes in Iraq, to anti-immigrant chauvinism, to support for Tory austerity, and reactionary anti-union laws, they hardly have the political authority to pull off something like this by themselves. They are too discredited. So, Zionists had to step in and play the vanguard role as a bourgeois fifth column within the labour movement, providing a threadbare, barely plausible justification for bringing down Corbyn.
The smears lack coherence; the only reason that they have achieved currency is because every media organ from the BBC to the Sun to the Guardian repeats them ad nauseum and any voice that condemns them is excluded from being broadcast or published on the grounds that even to demur from, let alone full-throatedly condemn, the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign, is itself ‘anti-Semitic’ and of course, ‘anti-Semitism’ needs to be banned. So, dissenting voices are banned from the mainstream media.
This is totalitarian politics, similar to the mentality of the worst Stalinists in the late 1930s Moscow Trials, who smeared the leading cadre of the Bolshevik Party as terrorists and collaborators with fascism, and banned all dissent on the grounds that to dissent from the lie was prima facie evidence of fascist and terrorist sympathy in itself. The Nazis lied just as profusely, indeed the technique used by Nazis, Stalinists and Zionists was pioneered by the Nazi Propaganda chief Goebbels in the notorious technique of the Big Lie – it has to be big; it must be repeated incessantly and it will either come to be believed, or people will be so terrified to contradict it that it will be accepted through its power of intimidation alone.
This needs to be challenged, both in terms of labour movement democracy, and ideologically. Zionist totalitarian politics are poisonous to labour movement democracy, and to democratic rights generally. Starting with the aftermath of Israel’s 1967 Six-Day War of conquest and the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1970s, and even more so since the collapse of the USSR as a perceived alternative to capitalist hegemony, and the renewed outbreak of predatory imperialist wars and conquests in the Middle East, Political Zionism has played a vanguard role for imperialist reaction.
This can be defined as the international bourgeois faction in the United States and several allied imperialist countries whose core is a disproportionately powerful layer (relative to the proportion of Jews in the general population) of racist Jewish bourgeois who have citizenship rights under the racist Israeli ‘Law of Return’, and adhere to the Zionist ideology of exile and homecoming, claiming ‘Israel’ from the Palestinian Arabs as their homeland, even as a ‘reserve’ if they don’t actually reside there.
Racist Zionist McCarthyism
Notwithstanding Corbyn’s chronic weakness when confronted with their lying offensive, his numerous retreats and concessions to them, they were never going to be enough as long as he did not declare his support for Zionism ‘without qualification’ as Starmer did before becoming leader. Any Labour leader that professes any support for Palestinian rights in principle will be subjected to the same treatment. Indeed, the Zionist campaign over this began before Corbyn became leader, against Ed Miliband, though it was constrained by the fact that Miliband was even weaker on this than Corbyn, and because the former is Jewish himself.
It is highly likely that Corbyn will win in court if the suspension is challenged there. But as Chris Williamson found in 2019 when his suspension was overturned by a court, the tactic of the neoliberals when such legal setbacks happen is usually simply to manufacture another suspension on another pretext. Williamson’s double suspension was the doing of the Corbyn-supporting former General Secretary Jenny Formby, who was supposed to be part of the left. Whereas Corbyn’s suspension was formally the work of David Evans, Starmer’s appointee, an anti-working-class Blairite thug who has openly said that there is too much democracy in the Labour Party as it is.
In Britain today, the ousting of Corbyn from the leadership of the Labour Party and then his suspension is symbolic of the rise of a form of anti-working class politics just as sinister as the era of McCarthyism in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s. While McCarthyism was not actually fascism, as it did not seek outright to crush the mass trade unions in the US that had grown out of the pre-war Great Depression, it sought to emasculate them by destroying their class-conscious elements through sackings and inquisitions organised from above, designed to deprive left-wing working class militants of the possibility even of earning a living through organised blacklists of socialists and communists.
The US working class, relatively quiescent at that point because of the considerable economic boom that was developing, was separated from its most class-conscious militants by this method. The neoliberal bourgeoisie and their vanguard, Zionist right, are trying to achieve something like this in Britain today. However social and economic conditions are considerably different here today from the McCarthy era and if the Labour left and the many tens, even hundreds of thousands of militants who have either been hounded out of the Labour Party, or left it in disgust, were to organise themselves politically to defy this, it could backfire in a big way.
Though it is a forlorn hope for the left to look to Corbyn himself to lead resistance to the new Zionist McCarthyism. This is shown by his response to his own suspension:
“I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me. I’ve made absolutely clear that those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.
It’s also undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of antisemitism, as polling shows: that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem.
I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism. And I urge all members to stay calm and focused – while this problem is resolved amicably, as I believe it will be – to defeat this awful government, which is further impoverishing the poorest in our society.”
This is pathetic. One again, there is not one word in defence of any of the many lifelong anti-racist and socialist militants who have been smeared in the Goebbelsian manner by organised Zionist racists in the Labour Party, while he witters on about how he “believes” that this “problem” will be resolved “amicably”. Corbyn is not so “amicable” towards the anti-racist, anti-Zionist left. Throughout his leadership, when leftists came under attack, he threw them under the bus. This reached its nadir at the 2019 Labour Conference. When an excellent cartoon, depicting the Zionist campaign to destroy him, by the acclaimed pro-Palestinian illustrator Carlos Latuff, was displayed outside, on a banner by Labour Party members, he bizarrely and libellously denounced it as ‘anti-Semitic’ and supported its removal by the police. But he wants to “resolve” things “amicably” with Starmer, who supports Zionism “without qualification” including the mass expulsion and massacres of the Palestinian people.
It is right to condemn the suspension, but this should not translate into any call for the left to seek to rectify the situation in the Labour Party. Corbyn’s capitulation and grovelling to organised Zionist racists in Labour above should illustrate why. That is a forlorn hope, a labour of Sisyphus. The hold of Blairite neoliberals over Labour, its bureaucratic machine, the Parliamentary Labour Party, its forces in local government, and much of the local apparatus around the country, is overwhelming and that was not overcome or really dented much by Corbyn’s five-year spell as leader, or even the hundreds of thousands of members who joined to support Corbyn. The rise of Corbyn to the leadership was the result of a tactical miscalculation by the right wing that is very unlikely to be repeated, and it is pointless to bank on anything like this happening again.
IHRA Pseudo-Definition: A Totalitarian Set of Amalgams
The EHRC of course was fully on side with the right-wing and Zionist campaign to enforce the fake, Zionist-inspired and racist, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ on the Labour Party. This definition, especially its accompanying ‘examples’, sanctions the dispossession of the Palestinian people in the 1948 Nakba by defining the view that Israel is a ‘racist endeavour’ as ‘anti-Semitic’.
There is a degree of sophistry in this ‘example’ that implicitly recognises how appalling that is, by using the formulation that defining “a state of Israel”, not “the state of Israel” as a “racist endeavour” is “anti-Semitic, leading some to disingenuously try to argue that it is the idea of Israel that is being protected from criticism, not the existing state. But that is absurd deception: no one believes for a single moment that this example is talking about some other state of Israel in a parallel universe where its foundation did not dispossess another people. In practice the Zionists in Labour treat criticism of Israel as a racist state as ‘anti-Semitism”, and thus it is that to speak out against the racism of Israel and its supporters is to court expulsion from the Labour Party. Since gaining the Labour leadership, Starmer has massively accelerated expulsions of supporters of the Palestinians.
The IHRA definition is thus an anti-Arab rule, that defines the Palestinian Arab victims of Zionism as inferior people with inferior rights. Various other ‘examples’ of ‘anti-Semitism’ accompanying the definition make the same point, e.g. “Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” This is really a joke, since Israel is not a ‘democratic country” even formally, as three quarters of its indigenous Arab population were violently expelled from the country within living memory; they and their descendants are the legitimate majority in that territory. If Israel adhered to basic democratic norms it would not be ‘Israel’ at all, but Palestine, an Arab country with an Arab majority.
Then there is “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” But Israel has a racist law, the Law of Return, that gives every person born Jewish anywhere in the world, the right to Israeli citizenship, while denying that right to non-Jews, i.e. Palestinian Arabs, who were born there, and those born to these victims since the crime.
Israeli law says that all Jews have an interest in Israel, on a racist basis. Thus, it is not unreasonable to question Jews, who have what the Zionists themselves call ‘birthright’ in Israel, whether they support this racist privilege, or not. Of course, it is also reasonable to suppose that a great many anti-racist Jewish people would regard such racist laws with abhorrence. But then comes the example of “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel”. It would obviously be unreasonable to hold anti-racist Jewish people who reject this atrocity responsible for Israel’s actions. But what of those who do not reject it? They do bear responsibility for it, just as white people who supported white supremacist South Africa on racist grounds bore responsibility for the actions of that state.
And then there is “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”. But one policy of the Nazis that was notorious was the Nuremburg laws, which deprived Jews born and raised in Germany of Germany citizenship on grounds that they were Jewish. Israel has deprived millions of those expelled in 1948, and their descendants, of citizenship of the land it now occupies, because they are not Jewish. This is equally racist.
The set of ‘examples’ that accompany the IHRA ‘definition’, and is really essential to it, is a series of amalgams, that attempt, not particularly subtly, to equate criticism of Zionist racism with the politics of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Its main target is the pro-Palestinian left. But in passing, before it gets on to the main meal, so to speak, it has an obvious swipe at Muslims: “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion“ is a sign of ‘anti-Semitism’ it seems.
But of course, this does not mention the ethnic cleansing and forcible taking away of a people’s home country, justified by a claim of ownership based on the idea of “the Bible as a title deed”: a claim to land based on largely mythologised stories in a holy book much of which supposedly refers to events several thousands of years ago. It would be singularly appropriate to describe political Zionism as “calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Arabs in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.“ Some might observe such behaviour tends to create its own complement or nemesis. But the IHRA definition amalgamates that nemesis with the Nazis, in passing.
And there is the crowning point of the amalgam. Attacking the Zionist project as a “racist endeavour” is placed alongside “Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)” and “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.”
So, to say that Zionism is a racist endeavour is to put yourself alongside “National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II”. That is the real message that comes across from this list of putative “examples”.
In fact, the example of “Accusing … Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust” treads on very dangerous territory for the Zionists. For while it is difficult to exaggerate something of the magnitude of the Nazi holocaust, the deliberate genocide of several million Jewish people by the devotees of a paranoid, inhuman and racist ideology generated by capitalist imperialism at a particular phase of its evolution, nevertheless the fact is that the Zionist movement has exploited the genocide for political gain in its own racist campaign against supporters of the Palestinians.
Zionism and Anti-Semitism: Twin Brethren
That is a key part of the totalitarian structure of the IHRA definition, and it is a prime specimen of the genre. In the first few decades after the Second World War, only neo-Nazis denied the Nazi genocide occurred, and their reasons for doing so were transparent and odious. That is no longer true today, because for decades the Zionists have exploited it to justify their own crimes. Because of that, a considerable number of those disgusted by these ongoing crimes, quite comprehensibly, at the very least are open to the suspicion that the obvious use of the genocide to justify todays crimes means that the event itself is questionable.
This is an example of the self-incriminating slander, a variation of the self-fulfilling prophesy. For if anything is responsible for the growth of suspicions about the truth of the Shoah it is the Zionist exploitation of it to justify their own crimes. The IHRA pseudo-definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ is a prime example of this. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that the IHRA pseudo-definition is itself an incitement to anti-Semitism.
We hope it does not succeed in that incitement, but it would fit in perfectly with the history of Zionism, in collaborating with genuine anti-Semites from the Tsarist minister Vyachelav Von Phleve, one of the key figures who inspired the anti-Semitic forgery and propaganda caricature of Zionism, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, whose purpose was a hate campaign against Jews in general. In August 1903 the founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, met with Von Phleve in St Petersburg, to discuss “the establishment of Zionist societies in Russia” and to propose “a Russian government request to the Turks to obtain a charter for Jewish colonisation of Palestine.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vyacheslav_von_Plehve)
This was 30 years or so before the Zionists sought a similar deal with the Nazis, titled the Haavara Agreement, in August 1933 when in a financial deal to hand over emigrant property to the Nazi regime, the Zionists secured the emigration of around 60,000 German Jews to Palestine between 1933 and 1939. This agreement broke the boycott by leftist and (at that time) non-Zionist bourgeois Jewish organisations against the Third Reich.
This Zionist campaign, and the IHRA pseudo-definition, are not directed against anti-Semitism at all. It is purely and simply a campaign against socialism using Goebbels’ Big Lie. If the left really were anti-Semitic, the Zionists would embrace them, as anti-Semitism is useful to the Zionist project. As the founder of Zionism, Theordore Herzl, stated in his Diaries:
“In Paris, as I have said, I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism.”
And in their scheming of the founder of Zionism anti-Semitism is seen to be positively helpful:
“It would be an excellent idea to call in respectable, accredited anti-Semites as liquidators of property. To the people they would vouch for the fact that we do not wish to bring about the impoverishment of the countries that we leave. At first they must not be given large fees for this; otherwise we shall spoil our instruments and make them despicable as ‘stooges of the Jews.’ Later their fees will increase, and in the end we shall have only Gentile officials in the countries from which we have emigrated. The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”
The whole point of this Zionist affinity for anti-Semites is that the latter are seen as useful tools to coerce and stampede Jews into taking part in the Zionist project. The founder of Israel, David Ben Gurion, made it very clear that in his view saving Jews from anti-Semitic persecution, and even murder, where it was an immediate threat as in the Third Reich, was not their particular concern. Sending colonists to Israel was the main objective even if many Jews died, who might otherwise have been saved, to achieve this:
“if the Jews are faced with a choice between the refugee problem and rescuing Jews from concentration camps on the one hand, and aid for the national museum in Palestine on the other, the Jewish sense of pity will prevail and our people’s entire strength will be directed at aid for the refugees in the various countries. Zionism will vanish from the agenda and indeed not only world public opinion in England and America but also from Jewish public opinion. We are risking Zionism’s very existence if we allow the refugee problem to be separated from the Palestine problem.”
The Other Israel,op cit
And Ben Gurion drew the conclusion from this that:
“If I knew it was possible to save all the children in Germany by taking them to England, and only half of the children by taking them to Eretz Israel, I would choose the second solution. For we must take into account not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel.”
Biography of Ben-Gurion by Shabtai Teveth, pp. 855-56, cited at https://www.truetorahjews.org/bengurion
So, in the face of real anti-Semitic persecution, Zionists not only ‘pardoned’ anti-Semitism and thought it ‘empty’ and ‘futile’ to combat it but considered anti-Semites their “most dependable friends”. In that vein they actively sought out deals and collaboration with Tsarist anti-Semitic persecutors and genocidal Nazis alike. The then-future founding Prime Minister of Israel actually said that he would prefer half of the children of his own people to die in an imminent genocide, than for all of them to escape to somewhere other than the Palestine he planned to seize by force from the Palestinian Arab people!
The “Anti-Semitism” Canard and Bourgeois Class Interest
Today, unlike in the circumstances before WWII, anti-Semitism is a rightly discredited and foul creed, discredited above all by the crimes of the Nazis. Real anti-Semitism is a fringe belief and hardly much of a threat to most Jews. The status of Jews in Western society was massively transformed after WWII from the pre-war situation where Jews were regarded as a semi-pariah population, where even the proportionately large layer of bourgeois Jews were excluded from the social circles of the bourgeoisie, or ‘country club discrimination’, to the situation described by Norman Finkelstein in his 2018 essay Corbyn Mania:
“Were popular stereotypes plotted along a spectrum from benign to malignant, most anti-Semitic ones would fall near the benign end whereas those of truly oppressed minorities would cluster at the opposite end. Yes, Jews must endure the reputation of being stingy, pushy, and clannish—but Muslims are profiled as terrorists and misogynists, Blacks are despised as chronically lazy and genetically stupid, and Roma/Sinti are loathed as dirty beggars and thieves. Nor do Jews suffer the losses attending actual victimhood. How many Jews qua Jews have been refused a job or flat? How many Jews have been shot dead by police or railroaded into jail? Whereas being Black or Muslim closes doors, being Jewish opens them. If whites occupying seats of power discriminate in favor of other whites, and men occupying seats of power discriminate in favor of other men, it would be surprising if largely successful Jews didn’t discriminate in favor of other Jews. Not only is it no longer a social liability to be Jewish, it even carries social cachet. Whereas it once was a step up for a Jew to marry into a ruling elite family, it now appears to be a step up for the ruling elite to marry into a Jewish family. Isn’t it a straw in the wind that both President Bill Clinton’s pride and joy Chelsea and President Donald Trump’s pride and joy Ivanka married Jews?”
But though anti-Semitism is today a marginal and obsolete form of racist ideology, the Zionists pretend it is still rampant, as it is very useful for their own racist project. If they can somehow convince Jewish people that they are in some way at risk from slavering Jew-hating leftists, then that suits their agenda. Never mind that the idea of left-wing anti-Semitism, or any other kind of ‘left-wing’ racism, is an oxymoron. Anyone who harbours racist animosity towards any people, no matter how left-wing they flatter themselves to be, on that question is politically on the right.
However, the creation, by smoke and mirrors, of the belief that there is an ‘anti-Semitic’ threat from the left to Jewish people is an essential lie to Zionists. For two reasons: to try to find some kind of justification to themselves and others for the non-stop atrocities Israel commits against the Palestinians with their support. And two, to create a ‘circle the wagons’ mentality among those Jews they do influence, a fear of criticism and engagement, again to cement their domination over Jews because of fear of a supposedly anti-Semitic ‘other’.
What needs explaining is why this effort in deception gets such widespread bourgeois support. Why the entire bourgeois media, from the right wing Tory media such as the Sun and Daily Telegraph, to the Guardian and Independent, to the BBC and other publicly owned media who are formally under some kind of legal obligation to be impartial, join in promoting the fairy-tale that left-wing support for Palestinian rights and opposition to the racism of Zionist Jews against them is driven by racial antagonism to Jewish people.
There is only one explanation that is logically coherent. It is to be found in our Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism from 2014, which explains the extraordinary influence of Zionist politics in Western countries, to the point that representatives of virtually every single bourgeois party pay tribute to Israeli ‘democracy’, in the following way:
“There is a common ethnocentric project between the ruling class of Israel and the various hegemonic pro-Israel bourgeois Jewish organisations in a number of imperialist countries, centrally the United States. This pan-imperialist Zionist bloc within the bourgeoisie plays an active role in the oppression of the Palestinians. This bourgeois current, which extends from the ruling class of Israel to penetrate deeply into the US ruling class (and to a lesser extent the ruling classes of several European imperialist countries also) has some of the attributes of a national bourgeois formation without a single territory exclusive to itself.
“It is therefore both a powerful imperialist formation, and deeply unstable. In this epoch of declining capitalism, it plays the role of a kind of ‘vanguard of the bourgeoisie’ – not quite the mirror-image of Marxism but with aspirations along those lines. It has been instrumental in pushing the nationally limited imperialist bourgeoisies to partially transcend their own national particularisms. Hence the ‘traditional’ imperialist bourgeoisie, based on the nation-state, having overcome their previous fear of the supposedly proletarian-internationalist role of the Jews as a result of the outcome of WWII, now regards Jewish ‘cosmopolitanism’ and bourgeois semi-internationalism as a good thing, and to a considerable degree defers and follows the leadership of the Jewish/Zionist bourgeoisie.
“But this is unstable, and depends for its coherence on the maintenance of Israel as a Jewish state. Without that ethnocentric entity in the Middle East, the Jewish layers in the ruling classes in the imperialist countries would have no focus to unite them; their ‘internationalism’ (in reality tribalism) would collapse, and the Jewish bourgeoisie would simply over time disappear through assimilation into the national ruling classes of the imperialist countries. This bourgeois caricature of internationalism would collapse.
“Hence the rabid support of Israel by the bourgeois Jewish-ethnocentric fractions in the imperialist countries, their ability to maintain broader bourgeois support, and the failure of more seemingly rational voices in the ruling class to prevail over them. This represents a kind of bourgeois class instinct as to its interests against the proletariat, giving it additional political weapons against the genuinely internationalist aspirations of the working class movement. Unfortunately, due to inadequate political leadership, the left has until now failed to correctly deal with this problem.”
Therefore, the wider bourgeois support for the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear against the left for criticising Zionist racism is not arbitrary, it is driven by class instinct and class interest. Hence the phenomenon of attacks on the democratic rights of critics of Israel which is becoming a serious danger in all the advanced Western capitalist countries. It seems incredible that laws, legal judgements and political pronouncements are now commonplace forbidding a fairly distant, racist state from being criticised for its racism, equating such anti-racist criticism itself with racism, and demanding punishments from fines, sackings or even possibly imprisonment for such critics, in the West that frequently trumpets its supposed respect for ‘human rights’. But that is the reality of ruling class policy today. And the EHCR report on the Labour Party reflects that ruling class policy.
EHRC Report: Bourgeois Smears and Threats to the Right To Criticise Racism
In the detail of the EHRC report, there lie the germs of serious attacks on democratic rights that have implications beyond the Labour Party, serious sophistry that itself amounts to a rationale for attacks on the democratic rights of critics of Zionist racism. These are manifested in the two cases that the report does provide some commentary on, the cases of Ken Livingstone, who requires no introduction, and Pam Bromley, a councillor from Rossendale in Lancashire.
What is particularly egregious and dangerous to democratic rights is that the EHCR says that comments made by Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley, that they were disciplined for in the Labour Party, are not protected by the article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression. They say this in the context of condemning the Labour Party since, supposedly, as a member of the Labour Party NEC (in the case of Ken Livingstone at the time) and a Labour Councillor (as was Pam Bromley at the time) they acted as ‘agents’ of the Labour Party. That of course is the Labour Party’s business.
But the attacks on these individuals, who are no longer members of the Labour Party, having resigned (in the case of Ken Livingstone) and been expelled (in the case of Pam Bromley) are a threat to democratic rights outside the framework of the Labour Party. Regarding Ken Livingstone, the report states that:
“The comments made by Naz Shah [which Ken Livingstone defended in TV interviews after she too was accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ and confessed, showing political weakness] went beyond legitimate criticism of the Israeli government, and are not protected by Article 10. Neither is Ken Livingstone’s support for those comments, or his suggestion that scrutiny of them was part of a smear campaign by the ‘Israel lobby’.”
Regarding Pam Bromley, the EHRC report says:
“Some of Pam Bromley’s posts suggested that complaints about antisemitism in the Labour Party had been fabricated. We recognise Pam Bromley’s right, under Article 10 of the ECHR, to express opinions about her own experience of the presence or scale of antisemitism in the Labour Party, within the bounds of the law, as we explain in Chapter 3. However, her posts go beyond this by repeatedly saying that allegations of antisemitism were fabricated.
“Some of Pam Bromley’s social media posts suggested that Jewish people were engaged in a conspiracy for control of the Labour Party, which we consider to be an antisemitic trope (for example, the reference to a ‘fifth column’).”
“The Labour Party received a number of complaints about Pam Bromley’s conduct on social media. Labour Party members told us that her conduct, including the Facebook posts above, contributed to a hostile environment in the Labour Party for Jewish and non-Jewish members.”
“We therefore consider that the posts had the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for members, and prospective members, of the Labour Party, particularly those who were Jewish.”
Again, the report says that Pam Bromley had ‘gone beyond’ what is permitted in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This again has implications beyond the Labour Party. Because if these views are not protected by Human Rights law inside the Labour Party, then logically they are not protected by Human Rights law in British society as a whole. This is clearly an abuse of Human Rights law by the EHCR itself; if nailed down it is a license for state or public authorities to violate the democratic rights of anyone who holds similar views in wider society.
Let us look at the wording of article 10. It reads:
“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
“2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”
This is a bourgeois document, obviously, and a number of the qualifications of it are in reality protection of the ruling class against the masses, for instance “national security” or “territorial integrity” which can be used to justify crimes and violations committed by the state, such as the persecution of Julian Assange for revealing state crimes (‘national security’), or the elected government of Catalonia, which tried to lead that nation to democratically secede from Spain after a referendum (that is ‘territorial integrity’).
But notwithstanding the anti-democratic nature of those qualifications, none of them apply here. Other qualifications, such as “the prevention of disorder or crime” are clearly irrelevant, as is “the protection of health or morals” which might relate to the enforcement of quarantine measures in the current pandemic, or the prosecution of those producing child sex videos. “The protection of the reputation or rights of others” refers to defamation of character, or laws against those advocating racial discrimination or inciting racial hatred. This is not involved here, or at least the report does not allege that the criminal laws on this are breached by these views – if it did this would be grounds for criminal prosecution. Nor is this covered by “preventing the disclosure of information disclosed in confidence” (data protection law, basically) or “maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary” (which is about contempt of court and similar things).
So despite the EHCR’s statement that these political views, publicly stated at the time, are not covered by Article 10 of the European Convention, none of the caveats or exceptions in Article 10 bear any resemblance to the views of Ken Livingstone or Pam Bromley, stated at the time.
The EHCR report, which claims these views are beyond the pale in terms of Article 10, does not quote from Article 10 and concretely demonstrate which of these caveats the views of Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley, as expressed at the time, run afoul of. Because any literate person can see that they do not conflict with any of them. Indeed, nowhere in the report, neither in the text itself or in the footnotes, is the full wording of Article 10 reproduced. The reasons are obvious: sleight of hand. Article 10 is partially reproduced in footnote 6 on page 26, which elaborates on the statement that “speech that is within the scope of the right to freedom of expression in Article 10 may still be restricted, or sanctioned, where it is proportionate to do”:
“6. It may be proportionate to do so pursuant to Article 10(2), which provides that the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 may ‘since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, … for the protection of the … rights of others’.”
The list of derogations is conspicuously missing here since none of the views they are trying to proscribe even remotely fit them.
The report seeks to elide around this by roping in Article 17, which states the following:
“Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.”
The EHRC attempts to enlist this to justify the following:
“However, the ECHR does not protect racist speech that negates its fundamental values. The European Court of Human Rights has held that speech that is incompatible with the values guaranteed by the ECHR, notably tolerance, social peace and non-discrimination, is removed from the protection of Article 10 because of Article 17.4. This may include antisemitic speech and Holocaust denial.”
They go on to quote various cases in Europe where individuals have been prosecuted under laws prohibiting ‘Holocaust Denial’ which the European Court of Human Rights have failed to overturn, and then claim that these have some relevance to the views of comrades Livingstone and Bromley:
“Furthermore, speech that is within the scope of the right to freedom of expression in Article 10 may still be restricted, or sanctioned, where it is proportionate to do so. In the case of harassment, conduct may be regarded as unlawful, and action taken on it, where this is proportionate to protect the rights of others not to have their dignity violated or to be exposed to an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”
And this is the basis of the EHRC’s claim that the views of Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley were in some way unlawful, that their expression constituted ‘harassment’ supposedly of Jews on the grounds of ethnic origin in and around the Labour Party, and that the Labour Party was responsible for the alleged consequences of their views being expressed as they were its ‘agents’.
These views are laid out as follows regarding Ken Livingstone:
“In April 2016, while he was a member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Ken Livingstone made statements about antisemitic social media posts by Naz Shah MP, which we explain below.
“Naz Shah’s social media posts included an image suggesting that Israel should be relocated to the United States, with the comment ‘problem solved’, and a post in which she appeared to liken Israeli policies to those of Hitler. Naz Shah apologised for her comments in Parliament on 27 April 2016.
“In media interviews between 28 and 30 April 2016, Ken Livingstone denied that these posts were antisemitic. He sought to minimise their offensive nature by stating that they were merely criticism of Israeli policy at a time of conflict with the Palestinians. He also alleged that scrutiny of Naz Shah’s conduct was part of an apparent smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to stigmatise critics of Israel as antisemitic, as well as being aimed at undermining and disrupting the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn MP.”
And that’s it! What the report mysteriously does not mention is that Livingstone was also denounced, rabidly, as ‘anti-Semitic’, for talking extensively about the issue of Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. This was one of the charges against him when he was initially suspended in 2016 and in his re-suspension when he reiterated his views shortly before the end of his initial suspension and it was effectively extended for another year. So, this is a rather odd ‘blank space’ in the report. The reason for this may be that the authors of the report were afraid of overreaching themselves if they characterised references to this historical event, as in some way unlawful. They would be treading into the same territory as Nazi genocide deniers, as the Zionists’ dealings with the Nazis are very well documented.
Regarding Pam Bromley, we have the following litany of supposedly ‘anti-Semitic’ utterances on social media:
“‘Some time back I got hammered for posting an anti-Rothschild meme. However here they are again. We must remember that the Rothschilds are a powerful financial family (like the Medicis) and represent capitalism and big business – even if the Nazis DID use the activities of the Rothschilds in their anti semitic [sic] propaganda. We must not obscure the truth with the need to be tactful’ (post, 8 April 2018).
• ‘A huge sigh of relief echoes around Facebook’ (comment accompanying a shared BBC News story with the headline ‘Israeli spacecraft crashes on Moon’, 12 April 2019).
‘This is what’s behind all the false accusations of antisemitism. This is what, despite international condemnation, Israel does to its neighbour Palestine … All hidden behind a fog of fake accusations of antisemitism’ (comment alongside a post about injuries in Gaza, 12 April 2019).
• ‘Looks like fake accusations of AS [antisemitism] to undermine Labour just aren’t working, so let’s have Chris Williamson reinstated’ (post, 20 April 2019).
• ‘Are you losing the argument? Or is it that you have nothing of value to add? Why not call your opponent an… anti-semite! This will make you feel like you have won the argument and you wont [sic] need to provide any evidence’ (post, 15 May 2019).
• ‘My major criticism of him – his failure to repel the fake accusations of antisemitism in the LP [Labour Party] – may not be repeated as the accusations may probably now magically disappear, now capitalism has got what it wanted’ (post, 15 December 2019).
• ‘Had Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party pulled up the drawbridge and nipped the bogus AS accusations in the bud in the first place we would not be where we are now and the fifth column in the LP would not have managed to get such a foothold … the Lobby has miscalculated … The witch hunt has created brand new fightback networks … The Lobby will then melt back into its own cesspit’ (post, date unknown).
The problem with this is that none of the above can be demonstrated to involve hostility, or any advocacy of discrimination, against Jewish people, at all. Proof exists, in The Lobby, an 2017 undercover journalistic investigation by Al Jazeera Television, that pro-Israel elements in the Labour Party conspired with an Israeli state agent, Shia Masot, to undermine Corbyn’s leadership by making false allegations of anti-Semitism against party members. They were filmed doing it. Masot and leading figures in Labour’s pro-Israel factions were filmed laughing and joking about £1 million of funding made available to them by the Israeli state for that purpose.
In this context, the allegation that Pam Bromley’s remark about a ‘fifth column’ in Labour “suggested that Jewish people were engaged in a conspiracy for control of the Labour Party” is simply a smear, as they referred to specific political trends composed of both Jews and others involved in undermining Corbyn, not Jews in general. All the remarks above about fake accusations of anti-Semitism are fully justified against those people, a mixture of Jews and non-Jews. None of them are directed against Jews in general. There is nothing anti-Semitic about a joke about a failure in Israel’s space programme, self-evidently, since the writer considers that state persecutes Palestinians. Even the link to the article she shared, which does contain material from a dubious, conspiratorial source about the Rothschilds, is qualified by her own commentary where she compares the Rothschilds to another example in history of a powerful banking dynasty, the Medicis, who were not Jewish. She is not therefore attacking them for being Jewish, whatever she may or may not think of their behaviour, either historically or contemporarily.
This statement therefore also contains a smear:
“One of the social media posts used an obviously antisemitic trope, namely that Jewish people control the world’s financial system. In her response to this investigation, Pam Bromley said that she was making general criticisms about capitalism and a legitimate political argument. In our view, this post goes beyond legitimate comment, referring to antisemitic Nazi propaganda.
Mentioning ‘anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda’ while making an argument cannot by any normal logic be said to equate with agreeing with it. Pam Bromley’s argument was clearly that despite the Nazis making use of their activities for propaganda purposes to condemn all Jews, It is still legitimate to criticise this dynasty for what she evidently believes are their activities in support of capitalism and the racist state of Israel. To imply therefore that she was supportive of ‘Nazi propaganda’ is another deliberate smear.
The icing on the cake of this is when the EHRC says of Ken Livingstone “Furthermore, the Labour Party accepts, in its representations to the investigation, that he was acting as its agent in the specific circumstances identified”. In Pam Bromley’s case, since she is not a nationally known figure, they could not reasonably even say that.
But given the smears, self-serving omissions, and dishonesty about the above from the EHRC, its allegation that the sum total of these views, expressed legitimately by these two Labour Party leftists, constituted ‘harassment’, is also a smear. It contradicts itself blatantly when it writes first of all that “We find that Pam Bromley’s comments were unwanted conduct related to Jewish ethnicity, which, whether viewed individually or together with other relevant acts of Labour Party agents, had the effect of harassing Labour Party members” (p110) and then follows that up with “ Labour Party members told us that her conduct, including the Facebook posts above, contributed to a hostile environment in the Labour Party for Jewish and non-Jewish members” (p111).
So what was this ‘hostile environment’ Pam Bromley is alleged to have contributed to, “together with other relevant acts of Labour Party agents” (i.e. Ken Livingstone, the only other named) “related to Jewish ethnicity”, or did it contribute “to a hostile environment in the Labour Party for Jewish and non-Jewish members”? Was it based on ethnic discrimination, or not?
This contradiction in the text is simply explained by the fact that the hostility they expressed was to supporters of the racist state of Israel, both Jews and non-Jews. It was hostility to Zionist racism, not hostility to Jews. That the Labour Party ‘concedes’ this in the case of nationally known figure Ken Livingstone simply reflects the views of its leader, Keir Starmer, who has publicly stated that he supports Zionism ‘without qualification’. Its of a piece with his conduct over the libel case by Zionist so-called ‘whistleblowers’, including those directly involved with smearing Corbyn in the notorious BBC Panorama programme fronted by Muslim-baiting ‘journalist’ John Ware, where Starmer conceded and paid damages in a case that Corbyn had earlier had solid legal advice advice that Labour would win, for reasons that Corbyn himself said were politically motivated.
Fight and Deconstruct the Smears, Don’t Grovel Before the Smearers!
There have been some unfortunate and misguided attempts to defend Jeremy Corbyn against Starmer’s suspension by evoking passages in the EHCR report that appear to chime in with what he says, such as where it says:
“Article 10 will protect Labour Party members who, for example, make legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government, or express their opinions on internal Party matters, such as the scale of antisemitism within the Party, based on their own experience and within the law. It does not protect criticism of Israel that is anti-semitic.
And about Pam Bromley it says:
“We recognise Pam Bromley’s right, under Article 10 of the ECHR, to express opinions about her own experience of the presence or scale of antisemitism in the Labour Party, within the bounds of the law, as we explain in Chapter 3. However, her posts go beyond this by repeatedly saying that allegations of antisemitism were fabricated.”
But as pointed out earlier, accusations of anti-Semitism were fabricated by pro-Israel elements in the Labour Party in concert with an Israeli state agent, Shia Masot. When his activities were exposed, Masot was recalled to Israel because of the diplomatic storm the affair provoked. This is proof that accusations were fabricated in the Labour Party in a systematic manner.
So when Corbynites plead that Corbyn was only speaking from his experience about the scale of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party being inflated, and accuse Starmer of ignoring that even the EHCR report sanctioned the kind of difference Corbyn raised, they are legitimising this fraudulent report and allowing themselves to be gaslighted by the smear merchants who authored the report, who claim the right to say what is allowed and what is not allowed on the basis of … no objective criteria or proof whatsoever.
The statement by the EHCR that Article 10 “does not protect criticism of Israel that is anti-semitic” is totally dishonest, since they claim that saying things that can be proven to be true, on film, is ‘anti-Semitic’. For the EHCR, proven facts can be anti-Semitic. So presumably, in order not to be ‘anti-Semitic’, it is necessary to tell lies. This is another example of the totalitarian aspect of Zionist politics intruding into the politics of the labour movement. If facts are ‘anti-Semitic’, and citing those facts is also ‘anti-Semitic’ then we are getting into the realm of Newspeak from George Orwell’s 1984: ‘Truth is lies, war is peace’, etc.
The EHRC says that ‘criticism of Israel that is anti-Semitic’ is forbidden. But they do not define anti-Semitism. They do say of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism:
“The IHRA definition is not legally binding. To identify any unlawful acts by the Labour Party we need to apply the definitions contained in the Equality Act 2010. This is the approach that we have taken throughout this investigation. We do not comment on the IHRA definition for other purposes.”
The problem that they have is that the Equality Act 2010 contains nothing to determine whether any kind of criticism of Israel, a foreign state, is ‘anti-Semitic’ or not. How could it? It is not about criticism of foreign states. It is about matters connected with equality and discrimination affecting people who live in the United Kingdom, where the legislation applies.
So, in aiming to determine that criticism of Israel is ‘anti-Semitic’ or not, the EHRC are in practice working with the kind of material in the IHRA’s examples, which have already been analysed earlier.
Instead they say “We note the approach of the Home Affairs Select Committee, namely that it is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, to criticise the Israeli government, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.” (p116)
Well we also note the statement that Israel is a ‘liberal democracy’ which is not the experience of the Palestinian people that are its indigenous population. It is an ethnocracy that suppresses them. This is part of the IHRA definition. It is to be noted that there is no definition of anti-Semitism in the Equality Act 2010, which however defines ‘race’ as including “(a) colour, (b) nationality, (c) ethnic or national origins.”. Which is totally useless in deciding whether criticism of Israel is ‘anti-Semitic’ or not.
However, the Oxford Dictionary defines anti-Semitism as “Hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people.” Mirriam Webster defines it as “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.” These definitions, unlike the IHRA Definition which explicitly says it is not legally binding, do have force of law. There is nothing in refusing to lie that Israel is a ‘liberal democracy’ or any of the other lies, amalgams and smears that litter both the IHRA pseudo-definition, and the EHRC report, that remotely fit those definitions. Which is evidently why they are not even mentioned in the report.
So, when the EHRC conclude that
“We are satisfied that the unwanted conduct we identify … meets the definition of harassment without reference to the IHRA definition and examples. But we are also satisfied that it would meet the IHRA definition and its examples of antisemitism.”
they are in fact engaging in sophistry and in practice using at least elements of the IHRA examples as the basis for their smear. They do not mention the definitions in authoritative dictionaries, they point to a putative definition in the Equality Act that does not exist. What they are actually doing is subliminally, by stealth, smuggling in the same approach as in the IHRA pseudo-definition, to brand critics of Zionism and its racism as ant-Semitic, and again by stealth, seeking to put those critics and their views outside the protection of Freedom of Expression protections as codified in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This is an attack on the labour movement, on the anti-racist movement for Palestinian rights, and on democratic rights more generally.
Threats to Democratic Rights
This is serious, because the EHCR is a state body that purports to define what is permissible for the whole of society, not just about the Labour Party. It is possible that sophistry of this kind could be used to build the basis for anti-democratic state repression against the left, for instance against a left-wing party that rejected the capitulations of Labour, including under Jeremy Corbyn, to Zionist racism, and which campaigned openly as a militant anti-racist and therefore anti-Zionist Party.
This is not at all far-fetched, as is shown by a variety of repressive measures against left-wing critics of Zionist racism passed, or proposed, by a variety Western bourgeois legislative bodies. For instance, even the ‘respectable’ bourgeois Human Rights Watch reports that in the United States:
“Twenty-seven states have adopted laws or policies that penalize businesses, organizations, or individuals that engage in or call for boycotts against Israel. The laws or policies in 17 of those states explicitly target not only companies that refuse to do business in or with Israel, but also those that refuse to do business in Israeli settlements. Some states whose laws do not explicitly apply to settlements have also penalized companies that cut settlement ties.”
Then you have the US State Department, led by Mike Pompeo, who are proposing to label such tame NGOs as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam as ‘anti-Semitic’ simply for criticizing Israeli abuses.
Similar things have happened in France, with Macron’s sponsorship of a motion passed by the French parliament last year that says that:
“Criticising the very existence of Israel as a collective composed of Jewish citizens is tantamount to hatred towards the Jewish community as a whole; just like collectively holding Jews accountable for the policies of the Israeli authorities is an expression of antisemitism”
Another manifestation of this in Britain today is the very difficult legal action being undertaken by the expelled Labour Party Jewish socialist Tony Greenstein, who was smeared as a ‘notorious anti-Semite’ by the so-called ‘Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’ (CAA), a virulent Zionist body that aggressively targets opponents of Israeli racism with smears. The CAA is a registered charity that blatantly breaks the rules and extensively campaigned to smear Labour Party members during the entire period of Corbyn’s leadership and since. Rather than campaigning against anti-Semitism, in reality its political activity is a continual hate campaign against those who support the Palestinian Arab struggle against ethnic cleansing, to the extent that a correct name for the CAA would be ‘Campaign Against Arabs’. In In the recent hearing of Greenstein’s case, the CAA successfully applied to have Greenstein’s case struck out not on the grounds that their statement that Greenstein is a ‘notorious anti-Semite’ is true, but rather that it is their ‘honest opinion’. The judge agreed; it was struck out, and Greenstein has been landed with exorbitant legal costs.
This is how state racism and racism in the legal system has evolved. Israel is a state created though the expulsion of three quarters of the indigenous Arab population of ‘its’ territory, a monstrous act of racism that renders its claim to be any kind of ‘democracy’ a sick joke. Yet a ‘definition’ of ‘anti-Semitism’ is propagated throughout Western society that states that it is obligatory to treat Israel no differently from any other ‘liberal democracy’. And yet those who oppose this racism can be smeared as ‘anti-Semites’, even though the authors of these smears do not even dare to claim that these abusive insults are actually true, with the blessing of racist judges and the ruling class as a whole
This is grotesque racist abuse against the victims of Zionism, it is similar to the ‘Dredd Scott’ judgement in a court in the United States shortly before the mid-19th Century US Civil War, when a judge ruled that black people had “No rights that the white man is bound to respect”. That is state racism, and all this paraphernalia: the IHRA pseudo-definition, the EHCR report smearing Labour Party members, the corrupt judiciary that brazenly allows racist fake charities like the CAA to lie about anti-racists with the audacity of Goebbels, without even pretending that their statements are true, all this amounts to treating the Arab victims of Zionism as effectively sub-human, to justify Israel’s genocidal crimes, criticism of which the Zionists and their supporters among the wider bourgeoisie aim to criminalise throughout the West.
Zionism: A Far Right Trend That Instrumentalises the Old Far Right
Yet another example of this concerns the role of far right, overtly racist forces in Western societies. As long as they are pro-Zionist, they are allowed to run riot, or at least treated with kid gloves. There is scarcely a far-right party in the West that does not pay obeisance to Israel. In Britain you saw the odd spectacle of the Labour Party being upbraided for so-called ‘anti-Semitism’ by the likes of Nigel Farage, whose entire political career has been built on inciting racism and xenophobia. In the print media we saw similar denunciations of ‘anti-Semitism’ from racist human garbage like Richard Littlejohn, who has long raved hatred at immigrants and rejoiced at every sadistic abuse of asylum-seekers from New Labour and Tory governments alike.
This kind of thing parallels Trump’s denunciation of the left-wing layer of minority and Muslim/Palestinian Congressional ‘Squad’ Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, as ‘anti-Semitic’, for vocally opposing some Israeli crimes. Some of Trump’s cohorts, like Stephen Miller, are Jewish and overtly pro-Zionist, both Jewish supremacist and white supremacist. Steve Bannon, who was the publisher of the alt-right portal Breitbart, which played a major role in Trump’s rise to the Presidency in 2016, described himself as a ‘proud Zionist’. Indeed the founder of Breitbart, Andrew Breitbart, was himself both Jewish and a fervent Zionist. Richard Spencer, another white supremacist and basically neo-Nazi, who is also part of the alt-right and was close to the Trump regime particularly at the beginning, describes himself as a ‘white Zionist’, and while he displays some classic old-style anti-Semitic views about Jews supposedly undermining white America, he was reported by Haaretz in 2017 as saying:
“In an August 2010 article called ‘An Alliance with the Jews,’ published on his Radix Journal website, Spencer argued that Israel could become an ally of white nationalists in the United States. He wrote that in the face of the threat of nuclear weapons in countries hostile to Israel, there would be ‘hard-liners’ in Israel who would prefer to see the extreme right in the White House.
Thus far right trends that were historically anti-Semitic, or even ones that still echo this kind of verbiage, are tolerated as long as they are pro-Zionist. You can see this in Hungary, where the far right populist regime of Victor Orban is one of the few such governments that still indulges in hostile rhetoric against a Jewish bourgeois, George Soros, who for all his sins is not exactly a fervent Zionist. In 2019, at the European Elections Orban was supported by Yair Netanyahu, son of the Israeli PM, who wished him ‘good luck’, calling his party “true friends of Israel and the Jewish people”. Meanwhile in the Ukraine, Ukrainian state forces, who include open Neo-Nazis such as the Azov Batallion, are armed and funded by Israel. These forces look to Stepan Bandera, whose forces were overtly anti-Semitic nationalists, and committed atrocities against Jews, Poles and Gypsies while fighting alongside the Nazi invaders of the USSR during WWII. But they are just fine for the Israelis to arm, as they are fighting against Russia, and no doubt their historical dislike of Jews does not preclude them from admiring Israel’s single minded, overt racism.
In Greece, however, the overtly anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi Golden Dawn movement has been violently suppressed by the bourgeoisie, eight of its leaders jailed for in excess of 13 years for involvement in murders. Similar murders have happened in Ukraine, indeed the Nazi forces there carried out a massacre of trade unionists in Odessa in 2014, which never deterred NATO powers from supporting them or the Israelis from funding them. The difference is that Golden Dawn eschewed relations with Israel. Indeed, its propaganda at one point involved broadcasting film of the burning of Israeli and US flags. So, they were stamped out with the utmost ruthlessness, not for being Nazis or similar to Nazis, or even for being killers, but for being overtly hostile to Zionism.
We shed no tears for Golden Dawn, though such suppression by a bourgeois state does set a precedent that the left should be wary of. A genuine working-class government would treat the likes of Golden Dawn even more harshly – putting them in front of a firing squad would be a fine remedy! But the same is true of the Zionists’ many far right friends and supporters. More to the point is that the Zionists attitude to far-right groups, even overtly Nazi ones that are politically very similar to the movement that massacred millions of Jews in Europe during WWII, is purely instrumental. If they play ball and collaborate with Israel, they are indulged, helped, funded, even armed to the teeth, by Zionists with full support from the wider bourgeoisie. If they are mavericks who take their adherence to Nazism to the point of contempt for the Zionists, then, and only then, are they crushed in blood. This is because in essence, political Zionism is itself a far right, racist movement that makes use of a wide variety of collaborators but will not brook competition.
The statement in the IHRA pseudo-definition that its amalgams and anathemas are ‘legally non-binding’ is a temporary tactic. Already various social media platforms are either volunteering themselves, or being coerced, to remove ‘anti-Semitic’ ‘hate speech’ based on the IHRA pseudo-definition. The direction of motion is toward the gradual whittling away of the ‘legally non-binding’ caveat in favour of more and more blatant criminalization of anti-racist criticism of Israel’s crimes. The end product of this that the Zionists have in mind is a new version of Hitler’s Nuremburg Laws, this time directed against Palestinian Arabs and anyone who dares to defend them and condemn their ongoing persecution and ethnic cleansing; the ongoing Nakba that began in 1948 and still continues.
So, the labour movement needs to learn to see political Zionism from all angles, as a movement as dangerous to us, in its own way, as neo-Nazis are. We need to prepare a counter-offensive, to defend our democratic rights, to ensure that supporters of this racist movement are excluded rigorously from new working-class formations set up to regroup after their wrecking activities, and to drive them out of the traditional organisations of the labour movement.
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