Reply by Ian Donovan to slanderous attacks

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26/11/2015 by socialistfight

 

spartacist league trotskyists communists

Though the material relating to the Sparts is apolitical and uninteresting, and really only serves to illustrate that they have long since become a megalomaniacal cult obsessed with alleged personal failings of those who left them to the point of absurd demonology, and evasive about anything that is really political.

This is a reply by Ian Donovan to slanderous attacks launched on him by John Holmes on the Leftist Trainspotting elist. In discussing the ‘Sparts’ and their off shoots we got this:

Posted by:

“John Holmes” johndeweyholmes

PS: Oh yes, forgot one splinter. The infamous woman-beater Ian Donovan and his one man band, now also gone Zionist I hear. Does he still have a group, formally at least?

Oops! Serious blunder about Donovan, sorry!

He was not a Zionist but was accused of anti-Semitism when expelled by Communist Platform. That Donovan defends Atzmon gives that some credibility.

Of course, some argue that is ultimately the same thing.

-jh-

Posted by:

“Geoff Collier” geoff_hull

ian donovan recently joined the editorial board of Socialist Fight, the British section of some latin american-based version of the FI (life’s too short to remember exactly which one). I think it’s in the Morenoite tradition though.

It’s surely slanderous to call him an infamous woman-beater. And pandering to the new feminism which is unworthy of the spartacist tradition. He was driven to one blow against a tirade of political lies on a Bloody Sunday commemoration march. This was all documented at the time and is no doubt available online for anyone who cares.
geoff c

 

Ian’s Reply:

It is good to be defended by Geoff C, who is (or maybe was) an SWP member and seems like a decent guy. Though the material relating to the Sparts is apolitical and uninteresting, and really only serves to illustrate that they have long since become a megalomaniacal cult obsessed with alleged personal failings of those who left them to the point of absurd demonology, and evasive about anything that is really political.

Holmes is an idiot, and appears ignorant even of the events he is ranting on about. There are several factual inaccuracies in Holmes’ rantings about the 1999 punch thrown in anger, and in fact what Geoff C says is more or less accurate.

But what Holmes says shows he is aware of the underlying issues behind the incident, even though his attempt to construct a factual narrative is peppered with lies and/or ignorant errors. So here are some relevant facts.

(1) In August 1983 I, along with 5 other SL/B members, got a job in London Underground with a view to doing trade union work.

(2) In early March 1984 the miners’ strike began. It lasted for a year pretty much to the day, ending in March 1985. By the end of the miners’ strike, there were (I think) only two SL members still working in London Underground. I was one of them.

(3) I ceased to work in London Underground in August 1986.

(4) I resigned from the SL/B on Jan 18, 1987, during its national conference, nearly 2 years after the end of the miners’ strike.

Those are all facts known to members of the SL/B who were active at the time. They show that Holmes’ contentions about my supposed conduct during the miners strike are outright lies, pulled directly out of his posterior.  I will not dignify them by calling them accusations, as they expose his sociopathic nature and vindicate me.

The dates are very clear. I did not resign from the SL/B during the miners strike.  Nor did I cease to work for London Underground during the miners strike, but rather over a year later. So John Dewey Holmes, who claims to know all about my history, either does not know basic facts, or chooses to lie about them.

Knowing the SL and its cult mentality, I suspect it is a rancid mixture of mendacity and pigshit-ignorance that is involved. Holmes lies because in his own demented mind he believes that this kind of bilge will appeal to his fellow cultists and show how in tune he is with their pathology. I am not interested in appealing to his intellect or his better nature, as I do not believe he has significant intellect and his nature is unremittingly corrupt and foul. I only make these points as to draw others’ attention to this.

According to Holmes, the offending blow was struck in Jan 1999 because the ‘victim’ shouted at myself about something that allegedly happened 15 years earlier (but in fact did not happen, see chronology above).

This begs a rather important question: what kind of a person would it be who, on a demonstration in 1999, were to start ‘shouting’ at an ex-member of their political organisation about something that supposedly happened 15 YEARS EARLIER. Particularly when, as demonstrated in the above chronology, this ‘something’, in the form Holmes renders it at least, is provably, obviously untrue?

The answer to that question as to what kind of person would be shouting about such a thing is also quite clear. Such a person would be regarded as an insane maniac by any normal person.

In fact, however, MacDonald’s shouting was not about that. It was as Geoff C says, about accusing me of being an ‘RUC supporter’ on a Republican demonstration. It was aimed at fooling others to take physical action against me on the grounds that I was some kind of communal-sectarian enemy of the march. That was the aim of the provocation and much more dangerous therefore. If MacDonald had been shouting about something to do with the miners’ strike this would have been outlandish and incomprehensible, rather than dangerous.

Holmes’ narrative is a fantasy. However it does contain one element of truth when it states the following:

“The Spartacists were dead serious about trying to spread the miners strike to a general strike, vastly more important than his personal health considerations, and Donovan, in a position to try to do something about it, finked out at the key moment. Why shouldn’t she have shouted at him?”

The reference to ‘personal health considerations’ shows that Holmes is aware of the underlying issues, but is trying deliberately to distort them. They also show that he, like MacDonald, is a sociopath.

Let us examine why. First of all, at the time of the miners strike beginning, our people had only been employed in that industry for a matter of a few months. The idea therefore that a few rookies could lead workers on the Underground out on strike in solidarity with the miners by sheer voluntarism, is simply insane. It could only be put forward by people completely ignorant of how trade unions work. It takes decades of patient base-building to even be able to consider the possibility of doing something like that. So the whole idea is fantasy politics: anyone who claims to believe in such thing is either a naive fool, or a cynical fraudster.

It is true that I had ‘personal health considerations’ during the time I was employed on London Underground. In particular, for reasons of unsuitable sleep patterns and metabolism regarding swing-shift work, I was unsuited to be working in that industry. However, for reasons of political duty, I kept up with this not only during the strike, but quite a long time afterwards. I became for a few years addicted to prescription sleeping tablets as a result. Organisational pressure was applied, most centrally by MacDonald and Len Meyers, the two leading figures in the SL/B there, to keep me there. This was not only done to me.

There were a number of other comrades in the SL/B at that time, including several women, who had health problems of various sorts and who were being ‘run’ extremely hard, too hard, by that leading duo, and had those health problems exacerbated as a result. One particularly notorious incident happened in late 1986 when a woman comrade who was head of the circulation department resigned from that position for reasons of ill-health. A special meeting was held in which a succession of Spart hacks got up one after another to denounce her, and in some cases (MacDonald being a case in point) to actually SCREAM ABUSE at her for daring to resign her internal post. This led to her being driven close to suicide.

It is also a fact that I was the person who exploded with rage when this incident happened (in Nov 1986) and basically went into factional warfare mode against these lowlife, writing a series of angry and very damning attacks on this conduct which actually forced Robertson to intervene and reshuffle the central UK leaders (MacDonald and Meyers) out of Britain, in effect sacking the British leadership. This all happened at the end of 1986/beginning of 1987, not during the miners strike. The severe stress in running such a single-handed political struggle certainly had an impact on my personal health, since virtually all of the other cadre were either too weak and cowardly to fight about these things, or too degenerate to care about them,

I had a nervous breakdown after this episode and left the SL/B in Jan 1987. In took me several years to get back on my feet after this, but I have remained politically active as a Marxist and I consider I have developed considerably further politically since breaking with the Spartacist League, rather a long time ago now.

In the light of the above, people can judge what is signified by John Dewey Holmes’ contention that my ‘personal health considerations’ really did not matter in the light of the importance of the SL/B’s supposed fight for a general strike in support of the miners in 1984-5. It certainly was true that the miners needed a general strike to support them to defeat Thatcher’s attacks; it is also true that the SL/B’s chances of leading one were totally non-existent as it had no roots of any significance in the rail industry and in fact only one moderately rooted trade union militant in the entire country (Pat Sliney) who was in a realistic position to even try to deliver any solidarity. And he was sacked after signing his name to a leaflet that would have been better issued anonymously or under a collective banner, basically on the say-so of the same SL/B leadership that had a callous disregard for others’ ‘personal health considerations’.

So actually, far from being something laudatory, these people were incompetent, pathetic and brutal both during and after the miners strike, setting up their own people to be victimised by the bosses, or actually worse. The idea that my health considerations were worth nothing, while saying that it is so terrible that MacDonald was ‘injured’ when trying (in a more subtle manner than the idiot John Dewey Holmes makes out) to exploit this years later on an Irish demonstration in 1999, shows his real view of ‘leadership’ – that the leadership has the right to abuse the ranks and basically do what they like to them.

Gerry Healy had a similar conception. He thought it OK to beat people up internally who criticised his leadership. The Sparts generally prefer psychological abuse to physical violence. But actually, some forms of psychological abuse are worse than physical violence, more destructive and more insidious and long-lasting. Anyway, there is a reason why Gerry Healy employed a full time heavy as his bodyguard. It was never to protect him from the state, but to protect him from angry people his abusive ‘party’ had damaged and brutalised, or in some cases even raped (apparently), and/or their friends and relatives.

So tough, if you ill-treat working class people and damage their lives, there can be blowback. You might get a punch in the face (perhaps). In other countries the abuser might have reason to fear something much more severe. The moral is very straightforward: if you do not do as you will be done by, there is a danger that you might be done by as you did.

As for the Sparts’ politics, I do not consider myself in any sense part of their diaspora or extended family. Their claim to be the ‘continuity’ of a revolutionary tradition is nonsense. They are a chauvinistic, deformed sect not really organically linked to the labo(u)r bureaucracy in the US, but rather to ‘declassed’ sections of the petty bourgeoisie, something they have actually produced psuedo-Marxist theses to rationalise and make a virtue out of. Their origins are in Shachtmanism, but with their own further petty-bourgeois twist.

Thirty years of the Spartacist League/Britain

And here I have to abstract from what conventional wisdom would have it as the main feature of Shachtmanism; its rejection of Trotsky’s position that the USSR remained a ‘degenerate workers state’ after the core of the Communist Party and the Red Army’s officer caste were physically wiped out in Stalin’s Great Purges/’preventative civil war’ in the late 1930s. What distinguished Shatchmanism was not particularly rejection of Trotsky’s view of the defence of the USSR and political revolution after this. In fact, even the partisans of the Left Opposition in the labour camps in the USSR were deeply divided on this: read the article on ‘Trotskyists at Vorkuta’ published in Workers Vanguard for the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1977.

No, the main problem was not the Shachtmanites’ heterodoxy on the USSR under Stalin, It was that they were a chauvinist tendency in a fairly straightforward way, and not their lack of clarity on the USSR (in my view only Walter Daum and the US LRP have come close to providing a coherent analysis of this question), which drove them to the right.

But on a key question, the SL shared the Shachtmanites’ chauvinism and never broke from it. That being over the Middle East. Their support for the Israeli side in the 1948 war was a position they maintained until 1973, when Yossi Schwartz wrote a series of Workers Vanguard articles on the ‘Birth of the Zionist state’ that de-facto committed the SL/US to repudiate Shachtman’s position of support for Israel in favour of the US SWP’s view, that of neutrality between the Zionist armed colonists and their Arab nationalist opponents. Unfortunately, neutrality, or even ‘defeatism on both sides’ between the ethnic cleansers on the one hand, and the Palestinians being ethnically cleansed (and their treacherous half-hearted Arab bourgeois allies), is not a principled position, as I have concluded from years of reading and studying around this question. Neutrality between the oppressor and the oppressed is never a principled position.

Anyway, the Spartacists claim to represent ‘revolutionary continuity’ in the post war period, apparently uniquely. Yet they hold a position on what it is now becoming clear is a central question of our epoch, the Middle East-Palestine-‘Israel’ question, that is chauvinist and neutral between the oppressor and the oppressed. For over a decade, they inherited from Shachtman/Draper an even worse position that supported the Zionist oppressor against the oppressed, and basically amounted to support for the Naqba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, only renouncing it in 1973.

From this flows many examples of the Sparts anti-Muslim chauvinism. Robertson’s original remarks about Albanian ‘goatfuckers’ come from this chauvinism; he attempted to blame Marx for having said something like this, but was never able to produce the reference.

In fact, he may well have been referring obliquely to a remark by Engels I came across a while ago that referred to Montenegrins, not Albanians, as ‘sheep stealers’. No sexual slur there, just a social commentary which may or may not be justified. The fact that Montenegrins are changed to Albanians is significant, as Albanians are Europe’s only Muslim nation, and the depiction of Arabs and Muslims as goat-fuckers is a classic racist Western slur.

Yet they claim to represent ‘revolutionary continuity’ uniquely. Their claim is crap, and hypocritical, megalomaniacal crap at that.

Meanwhile in 1970, as part of their search for the Holy Grail of being ‘uniquely correct’, they adopted a position on the relationship of bourgeois workers parties and popular fronts that really makes it impossible to carry out Marxist tactics such as entrism and critical support for reformists either within such parties, or against class enemies in the external world, or even in most cases to draw a meaningful line against popular frontism in any case. See my original Revolution and Truth article on this from 1998.

Taken together, the political deviations of the Sparts make their claim to represent ‘revolutionary continuity’ a sick joke.

Regarding ‘Zionism’, it is typical degeneracy for Holmes, who defends the ‘right to self-determination’ of the ‘Hebrew speaking people’ in the Levant, to attack Gilad Atzmon as a Zionist. Atzmon has on the contrary declared himself to be a ‘Hebrew-speaking Palestinian’ and is utterly opposed to any ‘self-determination’ of the Zionist oppressor. Self determination of this artificial non-nation can only mean the maintenance of the Palestinians’ forcible exile, and is utterly anti-democratic. This support for Israeli ‘self-determination’ is itself either an American chauvinist position, or else a Jewish chauvinist position, or likely a blend of both.

As to my work on the Jewish question, I have it is true been witchhunted for it by anti-communist Zionists, semi-Zionists and their ‘left’ lackeys. For Holmes to solidarise with this is natural, But if anyone has anything substantial, political and Marxist to say, some of my most important material is now available as part of a Socialist Fight pamphlet, which can be read here. And there is more on the website Communist Explorations, http://commexplor.com.

And finally, Socialist Fight has nothing to do with the Morenoites. Both SF, and its co-thinkers elsewhere, aspire to build something better than such centrist figures as Moreno.

Ian Donovan

 

 

24 thoughts on “Reply by Ian Donovan to slanderous attacks

  1. An interesting tangent, Ian – how did you get Holmes’s trainspotters quote? Trainspotters it itself a vile, secretive gossip cult. You get expelled (as I was) for revealing anything that goes on there. They’ve even adopted (if you recall it) the “Fight Club” admonition. (You’re aware of the Expeller in Chief: David Walters.)

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    • “It’s surely slanderous to call him an infamous woman-beater. And pandering to the new feminism. . .” – Geoff Collier

      I commend and join this principled defense. On both points!

      [Not so sure about “the [nonpandering] Spartacist tradition.” They pandered a lot – particularly to gays.]

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    • David Walters says:

      Only Stephen Diamond and his neo-Nazi friends from the dead 3 person club known as “APST” on google groups were ever banned on Leftist Trainspotters. Diamond is an anti-immigrant bigot disguising himself as a ‘socialist’, “dusty track” (he’s a chicken shit little wanker who lives in the Outback of Australian and is afraid to use his real name) and VGelis, a holocaust denier as are the other 3. None of them challenge each other on the openly anti-Jewish bigtory of dustry track and all are homophobes.

      I believe they are the only ones ever banned though I could be wrong. None of the editors of Socialist Fight are banned.

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      • The weasel libeler Walters implies that the editors of Socialist Fight participate in his secretive circle of defamers. (“None of the editors of Socialist Fight are banned.”)

        Is this true? If not, you should rebut the innuendo. If so, how do you justify participating in this reactionary gossip circle? Do you expose them when they slander someone who isn’t a participant? (You can see what Walters says about me in public. I can only imagine what he says in private.) The fact is, if you did this, you would be expelled. (Something the Walters Weasel fails to address.)

        Any principled communist will want to know.

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      • I suppose I need to include something in my own defense. Walters has repeatedly implied that I was expelled for “bigotry.” He’s said this before – and had to recant. (I can recover the admission from apst if necessary.) If I was a “bigot,” why was I allowed to join? (It is a list restricted to “leftists.”) [Dusty Track and V.N. Gelis were NOT expelled. Gelis never applied; Track was denied membership when he applied. Walters is a liar, as when he implies they were expelled.]

        Walters lyingly implies that I was expelled because of my having an unsavory ideology, which contains not the tiniest element of truth. I was expelled because I discussed trainspotters outside of trainspotters. This is banned – except apparently when it’s done in a sufficiently sleazy way by Walters himself.

        Now, the question is, do the editors of Socialist Fight actually participate in this sleazebucket game called trainspotters?

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      • Then, tucked away in his sleazy verbiage, there’s the groundless claim that I’m a “holocaust revisionist.”

        I’m a little peeved that the editors of Socialist Fight themselves didn’t take Walters up when he deploys this now-classic Jewish-chauvinist libel. And its deployment should provide readers some insight that there’s more involved here politically than meets the eye.

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  2. kazort says:

    Has there been a racist in the last ten years who, when called out for it, has *not* declared himself to have been an innocent soul being ‘witch hunted’?

    Donovan also misconstrues, possibly even unintentionally, Holmes’ comment on Atzmon. The charlatan Atzmon’s anti-Semitism is so firmly established, so blazing a beacon that, as Holmes notes, Donovan’s inability to wake up to it supports the argument that Donovan himself has slid into the anti-Semitic mire.

    Which, by all accounts but his own, he has.

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    • Which, by all accounts but his own, he has.

      Not by my account. To draw a political line against all (absurd) conspirativism (including “holocaust revisionism”) is to make a litmus test of a matter that is of prime importance only to Jewish chauvinists and Zionists.

      Only a Zionist parrot would claim that Donovan is an anti-Semite.

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      • kazort says:

        It’s quite simple. Holocaust denial is a neo-Nazi tool and has been for the last fifty years. It’s not a matter of a few odd historical ideas by a few fringe-dwellers, but anti-Jewish propaganda created and promoted by NF and BNP for the specific purpose of spreading anti-Semitism. Atzmon knows this; he doesn’t want you to know that he knows this, but we do, and that’s why his choice to keep spreading it, in all its anti-Semitic squalor, has thoroughly destroyed his reputation on the left except on certain exceptionally clue-deprived edges.

        When someone simultaneously claims (a) to be of the left and (b) that Holocaust deniers like Atzmon and Eisen are also of the left, then I know quite clearly that I’m dealing with someone starkly out of touch with political reality, deelpy out of his depth, and that would be Ian Donovan. Donovan’s mix of unreality and anti-Semitism have caused the left to disown him utterly, again except for a few corner cases of not-really-all-that-uncomfortable-with-anti-Semitism-now-that-you-mention-it.

        And if you are really so limited intellectually that you cannot grasp something that simple without reaching for the ‘Zionist parrot’ button, then you have my condolences, because you are exactly where charlatans like Atzmon want you.

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      • <blockquote<It’s quite simple. Holocaust denial is a neo-Nazi tool and has been for the last fifty years. – kazort

        Certainty that what your intellectual betters call the truth is simpleminded is the surest sign that you’re a fool.

        This is much like the argument that, since ISIS was a tool of the CIA, it remains so today. Ideas aren’t bound by their origins; the same ideas serve variegated causes – both false ideas and true. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is simply stupid.

        Today, anyone with eyes not in the service of Zionism sees that “holocaust revisionism” no longer is promoted primarily by Nazis. Because of the role of the holocaust in promoting Zionism, many anti-Zionists have tried to discredit, not their use, but the facts themselves. This is entirely understandable, although not the mark of great political intelligence. It is much like some truthers, who in opposition to the use that imperialists have put 9/11, deny the elementary facts.

        It doesn’t put them on the other side. But baiting socialists as anti-Semites, not even because they embrace “holocaust denial,” but just because they fail to demonize deniers, demonstrates a subordination of one’s politics to Zionism. That puts you on the other side.

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      • Apologies for not following this thread – my daughter fell ill on 9 December and had to go to hospital. It was quite a stressful time but she is recovering now.

        Just to clarify. I support Ian in this matter now that I have had some time to study and absorbe the points at issue. I have not seen Stephen Diamond’s “response to Kazort about the significance of ‘holocaust denial’ today” which he says “is very sharp and to the point, so much so that I wish I had thought of something as sharp.” and I would appreciate a link to that.

        I have just posted my review of IDOT 17 on the website. Here is the text:

        In Defence of Trotskyism No. 17, Zionism and Colonialism
        Review by Gerry Downing
        The central piece of this publication, Political Zionism: The Hegemonic Racism of the early 21st Century, by Ian Donovan tackles in cogently argued detail the position Zionism plays in modern capitalism. The basis claim that Ian puts forward was contained in the original work, also in IDOT 17, his Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism on 6-9-2014.
        The comrade was accused of being an anti-semite by the CPGB/Weekly Worker but exonerated by a Left Unity inquiry. Nevertheless such mud tends to stick unless it is comprehensively rebutted and the whole basis of the amazing political authority of Zionism globally is theoretically and politically exposed. This authority will persist even on the left despite its regular ‘lawn mowing’ genocidal mass murder of mainly defenceless Palestinians unless we do so. “Pro-Israel ideology has a similar level of hegemony to Cold War anti-communism among the ruling class” he observes and “Jewish organisations (outside Israel) support Israel with the same loyalty which communist parties accorded to the USSR for so long”. And he sets out the material basis for the power of the Israel lobby in the USA (and elsewhere),
        “for the United States, which is the most powerful state in human history, you can easily find informed Jewish sources that place the representation of Jews among billionaires, the most powerful elements of the capitalist elite, at between 40 and 48% – nearly half (for example see http://www.jewishworldreview. com/joe/aaron101007.php3). This is the only logically coherent explanation for the power of the so-called lobby.”
        This was the claim that set the ball rolling of charges of anti-semitism. But Ian refers to the book by the young Jewish Marxist Abram Leon (who died in Austerlitz in 1942), The Jewish Question and his materialist theory of the origins of anti-semitism in the ‘people-class’:
        “We must not start with religion in order to explain Jewish history; on the contrary; the preservation of the Jewish religion or nationality can be explained only by the “real Jew,” that is to say, by the Jew in his economic and social role. The preservation of the Jews contains nothing of the miraculous.” and quoting Marx, “Judaism has survived not in spite of history, but by virtue of history.” (https://www.marxists.org/subject/jewish/leon/ch1.htm)
        This is the standpoint that Ian adopts and elaborates so well. In the course of Political Zionism. He points to the genocide in the Congo by King Leopold (which cost between 10 and 30 million lives between 1885 and 1908 (see The imperialist rape of the Congo, p.26). These lives and those of the 10 million lost in the ongoing war in that unfortunate land do not merit the name Holocaust. Black Though, in the last essay in IDOT 17, expresses the outrage of the world’s indigenous peoples:
        “One may often wonder why the plight of the Jewish people has become so well known, so mourned over, and so thoroughly impressed into the global collective consciousness… And why is it that the innumerable casualties of Africans, Native Americans, Asians, and virtually all non-white ethnic groups of the world are deemed unworthy of tears, mourning, and remembrance. For them, a mere “sorry” must suffice for the tens of millions they lost, and the plight and suffering of their ancestors is merely swept under the rug, cast into oblivion—forgotten. While our school textbooks devote entire chapters to the subject of Jewish suffering, especially the Holocaust, other genocides, such as that of the Congolese, have not merited even paragraphs.”
        I witnessed the advance of right-wing, British chauvinist ideology when I was studying for my Open University Honours History degree. OU Professor Arthur Marwick was clearly a man of the right and this emerged clearly in the course on the English Civil war. Christopher Hill was marginalised and a tutor put a red mark through a quote I used from him writing, “I don’t agree with your source” across it. The world expert on 17th century England was dismissed as a discredited leftist.
        But it was the 20th century that was the worst. Germany was to blame for WWI, we were supposed to believe and explanations about equal culpability among competing empires we poo-hooed. Our tutor, John, who had been in The Militant, warned us not to do the question on the Holocaust if it came up. I got an inkling of why he was warning us when Ian Kershaw, professor at the University of Sheffield and author of volumes on the life of Hitler, appeared at a Channel 4 programme where I was in the audience.
        I noted he had not mentioned the German Labour movement at all and focussed his speech on Hitler’s hatred of the Jews as the explanation of how he came to power. I questioned this, were not the first victims the trade union leaders and the working class parties? Surely it was smashing the organised working class that prepared the Holocaust? Indeed no, the Zionist minder by his side assured the audience. The Jews were the target all along, it had nothing to do with the working class, these leaders were only sent to concentration camps, the Jews were sent to death camps.
        I could not resist the Holocaust question in the exam and I failed that very badly. Basically you were meant to balance your answer between the proposition that all Germans were aware of and approved of the Holocaust and the idea that it was the responsibility of the Nazi state. This was posed by reliance on Daniel Goldhagen theses in Hitler’s Willing Executioners that a particular death squad, Reserve Police Battalion 101, who exterminated Jews, did it eagerly and willingly and had no need of encouragement from Hitler. They were just evil bastards and that was that.
        I quoted from Norman Finkelstein’s A Nation on Trial and followed his lines of argument, which I had studied in detail, in systematically destroying Goldhagen’s outlandish reactionary arguments. You were supposed to give due weight to racism and not attempt to destroy their arguments. Those who praise the scholarship of Finkelstein’s work, and that of his co-author Ruth Bettina Birn, include Eric Hobsbawm, Arno Mayer and Ian Kershaw.
        The marking regime, which tutor John was aware of and so warned against, was surely guided by that Zionist minder who stood beside Kershaw during the Chanel 4 lecture.
        Finkelstein expressed amazement to me that Kershaw had allowed himself to be politically dominated by the reactionary Zionist man but I think that the essence of Ian Donovan’s thesis on Zionism was there on display, not just Zionist money but the guilt tripping over the Holocaust that gives Zionism the narrative that fitted the rightist agenda of the late Professor Arthur Marwick of the Open University and western bourgeois society in general. ▲

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      • kazort says:

        Let’s see. Atzmon swept aside for promoting Holocaust denial and other kinds of anti-Semitism. People falling over themselves distancing themselves from Eisen’s holocaust denial. Only a properly powerful microscope can find, on the edge of the margin of the fringe, the groupuscule of you and Downing and Donovan, who have no fundamental problem with Holocaust denial as long as you can blame it on ‘Zionism.’

        Just as one needn’t be Islamic to abhor Islamophobia or of African descent to abhor anti-black racism, one needn’t be Jewish (or ‘Zionist’) to find anti-Semitism of the Atzmon/Eisen/Donovan branch despicable. That you have found an idiotic pretext for defending it says something about you as well.

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      • kazort says:

        ‘Today, anyone with eyes not in the service of Zionism sees that “holocaust revisionism” no longer is promoted primarily by Nazis’

        Yes, it is now embraced by anti-Semites of various varieties, not merely the Nazi wannabes. Fortunately, around 2012 the left in the UK called it out for the anti-Semitism it is, recognized they had the moral duty to fight all forms racism in their own ranks, and – in a triumph of morality over cynical internal politics – purged the Atzmon/Eisen/Clark-Lowes branch.

        Only a few, clinging to the margins, found reasons not to see the obvious. They are unable to see anti-Semitism qua anti-Semitism, and therefore unable to understand their own self-induced marginalisation as the natural consequence of their travesty of an analysis.

        And this site is the little red ice floe they are riding out to sea.

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  3. Ian says:

    Fair point from Stephen Diamond. I have neglected to get involved in this thread possibly because it was prompted by an apolitical personal attack on me based on a vendetta from the distant past. Writing the post itself was not particularly pleasant either.

    But I’ve seen no evidence Stephen Diamond is a holocaust denier: I do understand that he is Jewish himself. There seems to be a plethora of people of Jewish origin being accused of anti-semitism these days, it’s becoming a very strange phenomenon when parts of the far left join in these kinds of attacks against a rather long and lengthening list of Jewish people. This phenomenon has also played a role in the witchhunting attacks on Corbyn and the Labour left by Zionists and other similarly minded scoundrels.

    On this issue the ‘far left’ Jewish chauvinists are sailing dangerously close to the ‘Friends of Israel’ many of whom in my view can be considered as being enemies of the left and the workers movement.

    The fact that this list is so lengthening should be a clue to the fact that this is a social phenomenon. of alienation of part of Jewry from Zionist crimes because of the cultification of the Holocaust to justify them, to the extent that a small but increasing layer of Jewish people have developed doubts about the truth of the historical event itself (as opposed to its depiction by the Zionists).

    So even if Stephen Diamond were to express such views (which I have never seen him do), I would still defend him against charges of racism (against himself and his own people of origin).

    I will defend Atzmon, who does have doubts, and even Paul Eisen, a self confessed revisionist, against charges of self-racism (both are of Jewish origin), from idiots like this kazort person, who as is quite often the case with such puffed up Jewish-chauvinist bigots, does not use a recognisable name). I don’t care about popularity with such people or those deluded by them. The allegations are fundamentally personalist, apolitical, and do not even attempt to explain why significant numbers of people of Jewish origin have such doubts or disbelief. In that regard, even if baiters of this type who consider themselves leftists do not believe or understand this, the method they are using is fundamentally the same as the worst Zionists. Subsituting demonisation for political explanation is always a sign of being wrong.

    Not that I agree with comrade Diamond’s views on other things, such as migration. But I would not equate him with his bloc partners on apst (Gelis and Dusty/Track) as unlike them, he appears to be still on the left, even if his views are flawed.

    Also worth noting that kazort, whoever he/she is, does not seem too bothered about the Sparts’ history of anti-Muslim/Zionist chauvinism, or the CPGB’s quirkly political profile as a more lightweight version of the AWL – which also necessarily involves anti-Arab chauvinism. No, his/her monomanical fixation is with those who refuse to join in a witchhunt against Atzmon and other disobedient Jews. It is characteristic of witchhunts, from McCarthy onwards, that a refusal to join in results in being added to the list. So the communalism and vicious bigotry that the cowardly kazort represents is pretty clear.

    Regarding Leftist Trainspotters, I am not a subscriber. I once was though I lapsed with my old yahoo account years ago. I thought it was pretty much dead like apst and usenet in general, but apparently it is the exception and has a couple of thousand of members. It is a leftist gossip site, but even gossip sites need monitoring. I would probably not pick a fight with the moderator of a gossip site, as it would be obviously be run by people with a bent for gossip for its own sake, but if the gossip contained useful things mixed with the chaff picking a fight like that would be merely denying yourself access to useful info. But that is a tactical matter.

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    • David Walters says:

      Ian, Gerry D. not your self, I believe is the subscriber for SF. He posts on occasion, about once a month. Like most, posting is fairly rare, maybe 2 or 3 posts a day by a variety of people. It’s available for anyone to join if you are vaguely on the left and can contribute. I believe the Strasserite “Dusty” joined under a false name at some point I don’t remember nor care too. As Dusty is a clear bigot, he banned him from the list (the funny think is Diamond’s contention that it is a “cult”…I mean…seriously? He makes a fool of himself with stupidity like this ‘accusation’ when the list is, well…a list.). There is a rule about not reposting to other forums if someone writes something on the Trainspotters list. Diamond reposted something to APST (there, exactly, 4 people who regularly view and post to this joke of a ‘newsgroup’). I actually never agreed with that rule but that’s the rule and I was asked to ban him for that.

      However, my contention that Diamond’s view of Homosexuality as a narcissistic disorder and that his view that the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of homosexuality as a disorder was “political” I think clearly puts him in the bigot category. I “withdrew” the accusation because I didn’t want him to cry and, it was somewhat subjective on my part (and that of every other list member who commented on it). Secondly, the fact that he never once stood up to the clear bigotry of the other two clowns (two of them believes that climate change is a function of *weather wars* wages by big countries on smaller ones. I’m not making this up! Diamond to his credit ignores that) on APST on this question when they made totally bigoted remarks says a lot about where Diamond stands. In fact, it says a lot that he never challenges them on their anti-immigrant racism either such as Dusty’s common remark the large 1st world cities are “3rd world hellholes”. In recent months Diamond may of changed his POV…but that’s for him to say. It’s been…2 years? Since he was banned from the list. He simply never differentiates himself from the anti-Jewish bigtory of Vngelis and the fake leftist-turned-anti-Semite “Dusty”. For me, he’s joined them. I doubt anyone else on the list wants him there.

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    • I would probably not pick a fight with the moderator of a gossip site, as it would be obviously be run by people with a bent for gossip for its own sake, but if the gossip contained useful things mixed with the chaff picking a fight like that would be merely denying yourself access to useful info. But that is a tactical matter.

      Ian, you’re neglecting to consider the key feature of this gossip site – it’s provision that everything that happens there must be kept internal. If this was used as a pretext to expel me for alleged “bigotry,” so much the worse for democratic norms.

      A site which delivers potential slanders to thousands as if the truth, but in general prevents the slandered from even knowing, is an anti-democratic cult. It’s an obstacle to transparency in the left, and a threat to the reputations of socialists. Walters even admits that the real reason for my expulsion was hidden from me (a remarkable admission, demonstrating the utter moral turpitude of comrade Walters); and the various comments were made about me in secret, the secrecy secured in part with the connivance of your comrade! (Who, incidentally, hasn’t deigned to comment, despite his being the representative of SF.)

      This kind of nauseating cliquishness is part of the inheritance of a left where Jewish chauvinism has gone uncriticized.

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    • kazort says:

      I find it more than a little hilarious to see you euphemise your way past any possibility of understanding the actual case against Atzmon, which is so substantial and so persuasive that his band of defenders has almost entirely dispersed, or else popped up on the other side in black shirts or Klan robes.

      In the real world, Atzmon has taken up and spread a neo-Nazi bag of lies called Holocaust denial.

      In Donovan’s world, Atzmon ‘has doubts.’

      And those who find Atzmon’s embrace of the neo-Nazi bag of lies repellent are – of course – ‘Jewish chauvinists.’

      But this is what one might expect from someone who considers Atzmon’s career-ending work of anti-Semitism, ‘The Wandering Who?’ to be ‘essential reading’ on The Jew.

      The problem, Ian, is not that you’re so obviously in quite a bit over your head, although you clearly are, flailing and floundering. The problem is that you think you’re an expert. The left decidedly does not share your assessment.

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      • Ian says:

        Just the usual dribble from a particular kind of cowardly troll who as is usual with this type, does not use a recognisable name. He probably believes that his comments are so profound that they they will be censored: in reality they are communalist bigoty dressed in ‘left’ verbiage. Anti-Muslim chauvinism? Who cares! Zionist misuse of the holocaust? Irrelevant! The only thing that matters is punishing disobedient Jews. Maybe should form an organisation to defend this. He could call it the ‘Jewish Defence League’. Oh, sorry, there already is one. Its just as far right as the BNP et al.

        His megalomania is shown by his final sentence “The problem is that you think you’re an expert. The left decidedly does not share your assessment.”

        No, I do not consider myself to be an ‘expert’. I consider myself to be a student. However what I am doing is studying and elaborating Marxist ideas on a neglected subject. Why that subject has been neglected can be debated. In my own view softness on Zionism and cowardice in the face of its social power has a lot to do with it.

        From this you can take it as read that I do not have a very high opinion of much of what claims to be ‘the left’. Though the fact that my material is published here, and I was exonerated of the pathetic smears of anti-Jewish racism emanating from the clique that runs the Weekly Worker by the rather more influential Left Unity, rather contradicts that view. I guess LU carries rather more weight than the likes of Kazort. After all, who knows who he is anyway? It is not possible to libel or slander an anonymous troll, that’s for sure.

        But what is really funny is his claim to speak for ‘the left’ in aggregate. If he did so speak, you would think he would be keen to highlight his leading position by using a recognisable name so he could at least take the credit. The fact that he does not just shows that he is not only a coward but also a non-entity.

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      • Just the usual dribble from a particular kind of cowardly troll… Ian

        The point, which you will not take, is that such dribble is the very currency of “leftist trainspotters.” If Gerry Downing supported the Jewish vanguard theory or defense of Atzmon on that site, he’d be expelled. Is it permissible to participate in their slanderous chit chat even on a monthly basis (perhaps remaining completely silent is tactically defensible) while not objecting to a rule that protects their slanders against rebuttal or reproach? I don’t think so. Active participation without protest is tacit approval of the rules.

        Kavort belongs on leftist trainspotters. And leftist trainspotters deserves the enmity of any principled leftist. Its active participants deserve scorn.

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    • Fair point from Stephen Diamond. I have neglected to get involved in this thread possibly because it was prompted by an apolitical personal attack on me based on a vendetta from the distant past. Writing the post itself was not particularly pleasant either.

      Leftist Trainspotters is a far greater threat to workers democracy than throwing a punch during a demonstration! If our movement contained workers, this would not be so unusual. To treat spontaneous, undisciplined, bits of individual conduct as if you “engaged in violence within the workers movement” is totally lacking in sense of proportion.

      Leftist Trainspotters is a libel-generating cult led by individuals like Walters who are totally without respect for truth. Consider only how he falsely accused me here of holocaust denial, showed no remorse or even acknowledged being rebutted, and then proceeded to pile on new accusations.

      Walters’s only interesting claim is that trainspotters isn’t a cult because it’s only a list. You have to experience it to believe it. But here’s a quick test. When he could settle some issues, why won’t Gerry Downey comment on this matter? He was probably aware of my expulsion and can clarify the details. (Walters continues to equivocate unintelligbly about whether it was for bigotry or releasing information, and on whether it was on Walters’s initiative or it was demanded of him.) He could clarify the circumstances wherein Holmes was encouraged to commit so gross a libel against you. He could clarify Walters’s stance toward Holmes’s slanders.

      He won’t do it because he’s embroiled in this cult. His failure to comment here indicates that he is more attached to Leftist Trainspotters than to his comrade co-editor. He hasn’t even denounced Holmes here! (Nor has Walters!) Leftist Trainspotters has a cultic attraction to a swathe of aging leftists who yearn for the days when they submitted to a cult leader. It’s hard to believe; you have to see it to believe it. Gerry Downing could provide a window.

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      • Ian says:

        Stephen, you are wrong factually about Gerry not having denounced Holmes, as he posted my material there which was trimmed by the moderators (one of whom is David Walters) for being a lengthy supposedly ‘ad-hominem’ reply. It is true that he did not denounce him in his own words, but I would not expect him to do so as he does not have the factual knowledge about the minuteae of the Spartacists to be able to do so effectively. Just as I probably could not do so in detail about some Healyite atrocity.

        But actually, without Gerry’s relying information to me about what Holmes’ was saying, and his encourgement, the above posting would probably not have been written. Because my inclination was to dismiss trainspotters as an unserious waste of space and to regard Holmes unpleasant rubbish as unworthy of being dignified with a response. So Stephen is wrong, and harshly so, in criticising Gerry over this. In a slightly unconventional way, this was the product of a collaboration and my response was solicited by Gerry.

        Regarding Atzmon, the Jewish question etc, if Gerry is confident enough to take this up on trainspotters in future, he has my full support. He has basic agreement with my positions as far as I can see, but he is not as yet their driving force. Really absorbing this takes time it took me years to arrive at my positions and for a whole period I only posted them using a cryptonymn, as I was not fully confident of them. Such is true of any new insight on the left into this very difficult question.

        I dont know if Kazort is a member of leftist trainspotters. I genuinely have no idea. I doubt it, as he seems to have picked up on this issue here, not on trainspotters. Maybe Gerry or Dave Walters may contradict me on this. But I doubt they are any the wiser as to who he is.

        No one has a complete monopoly of truth on all questions. Comrade Diamond is a case in point, His response to Kazort about the significance of ‘holocaust denial’ today is very sharp and to the point, so much so that I wish I had thought of something as sharp. Its slightly telling that I did not; comrade Diamond’s sharpness on this maybe comes from his Jewish background and therefore greater immunity from even remnants of social conditioning and guilt that sometimes even finds echoes with non-Jewish leftists like myself, despite my breach with the Jewish chauvinism currently highly influential on the far left. In this sense, Stephen’s response to Kazort was better than mine.

        The weak side of this kind of radicalised Jews (Atzmon is actually another example, with his praise for Orwell’s patriotism and nationalism) is a degree of softness on non-Jewish forms of chauvinism. E.g Stephen’s sometimes fraught association with Gelis and Dusty/Track, who notwithstanding the personalism of Dave Walters about them, are (in Gelis’ case) tragically social chauvinists, and in D/T’s case likely something far worse.

        As I see it Stephen’s softness on these things is the mirror image of the political pressures and influences that non-Jewish leftists are subjected to from the Zionist hegemony and social imperative from the besotted non-Jewish bourgeoisie and its ideologues that excuses Zionist crimes.

        Individuals can only imperfectly deal with these problem though effort alone; what is necessary is a collective so that these things can be examined and debated through all angles. So Stephen’s insights into the Jewish question are very welcome. We need to encourage the strength of people like Stephen, as well as counter the weaknesses mentioned, as well as being aware and combatting our own weaknesses. This is not going to be a simple process, it is likely to involve several strands and indeed in that sense to be somewhat dialectical.

        Stephen’s views on homosexuality, on the other hand, though I do not agree with them, do not appear to involve any hostility to the democratic rights of gays, but rather simply the advocacy of an analysis that many would find offensive and insulting. I.e the view that homosexuality is in some way an example of the deforming influence of class society on individuals in creating phenomena that would not otherwise exist.

        I disagree with this theory, but it something that can be legitimately debated on the left. It is not a new theory. It always amazed me that you could meet veteran Trotskyists who were very non-dogmatic and capable of serious analysis of dynamic events today, but swore by the views of Marx and Engels as expressed in their mutual private correspondence about matters like homosexuality. It was not only a weakness, it was an unconscious element of Marx cultism itself, ahistorical and damaging in its implications.

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      • Stephen, you are wrong factually about Gerry not having denounced Holmes, as he posted my material there which was trimmed by the moderators (one of whom is David Walters) for being a lengthy supposedly ‘ad-hominem’ reply.

        My apologies to Gerry. I now think I have a different view of the significance (and odiousness) of trainspotters than do you or Gerry.

        I regard it an obscenity needing thorough exposure that members of numerous tendencies consent to allowing an unelected “moderator” censor contributions using a blatant double standard. This is only the tip of that gatekeeper cult, which aims at defining the “left” – and defining the anti-PC out of it.

        The moderators spend roughly 30% of their time lecturing contributors that they are not to “polemicize.” Of course this standard is also applied with extreme bias favoring the moderators and their cronies. Trainspotters is a faint image of an obedience cult. I (perhaps subjectively) have trouble understanding how Gerry is willing to stomach this shit, which goes on all the time, and only protest when it involves his co-editor.

        The frivolousness is a scam – although they are even to some extent self-decieved. You don’t get important members of a score or more of tendencies participating avidly without a political motive.

        The gatekeeper function may be the invention of the Jewish-chauvinist left, which predominate on trainspotters: the goyim being viewed as too stupid to be allowed access to the truth.

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      • One additional important point. For some reason – which nobody has disclosed! – Gerry was allowed to reveal information that they prohibit. This allowance is not the usual operating procedure. The policy of secrecy (which you haven’t addressed) – actually hidden beneath the current revelation – is what makes trainspotters inimical to workers democracy.

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  4. Ian says:

    Gerry,

    The comment by Stephen Diamond in response to Kazort I was praising was as follows. Unfortunately the threading model on our site makes it difficult to find:

    “<blockquote<It’s quite simple. Holocaust denial is a neo-Nazi tool and has been for the last fifty years. – kazort

    "Certainty that what your intellectual betters call the truth is simpleminded is the surest sign that you’re a fool.

    "This is much like the argument that, since ISIS was a tool of the CIA, it remains so today. Ideas aren’t bound by their origins; the same ideas serve variegated causes – both false ideas and true. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is simply stupid.

    "Today, anyone with eyes not in the service of Zionism sees that “holocaust revisionism” no longer is promoted primarily by Nazis. Because of the role of the holocaust in promoting Zionism, many anti-Zionists have tried to discredit, not their use, but the facts themselves. This is entirely understandable, although not the mark of great political intelligence. It is much like some truthers, who in opposition to the use that imperialists have put 9/11, deny the elementary facts.

    "It doesn’t put them on the other side. But baiting socialists as anti-Semites, not even because they embrace “holocaust denial,” but just because they fail to demonize deniers, demonstrates a subordination of one’s politics to Zionism. That puts you on the other side."

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