19/03/2016 by socialistfight
Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, in the Sudan in March 1993.”No human being in the planet needs to die from starvation, dirty water, lack of health care or lack proper education to develop their potential to the full.”
Socialist Fight is grateful to Weekly Worker for its solidarity against the witch hunt against me and for publishing my full appeal against expulsion. And to Paul Bloom for correctly rallying against the witch hunt, whose target is the leftist surge that saw Jeremy Corbyn elected as leader. And to Jim Grant who rallies against the expulsion in a principled way but is opposed to “Gerry’s anti-imperialism” which is he thinks, “needless to say, confused in the extreme”. He sets out his own views of anti-imperialism which are, like Tony Greenstein’s, not anti-imperialist at all but based on various moral and political judgements which totally ignores the anti-imperialism of the masses as if no serious Marxist should address them self to that.
No human being in the planet needs to die from starvation, dirty water, lack of health care or lack proper education to develop their potential to the full. All the technology and all the means to deliver it to everybody on the planet exist right now. But it cannot happen because global imperialism centrally located in Wall Street and its European and Japanese allies must have its profits and so this cannot be organised and planned. That’s why it’s not the third world “terrorist” that cause the central problem for humanity but US world imperialism. So I will not lie and make the small terrorist the central enemy when it is the great USA terrorist and its global allies who are that problem.
It is futile to give us the long lists of how reactionary are those that imperialism now want to bomb and defeat are. History is full of these ‘Frankenstein monsters’ that imperialism sponsored at one point only later to turn against; Haile Selassie, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and Al Assad to mention just a few. We did know all about the CIA and the Saudis sponsoring Al Qaeda, and ISIS etc. All bourgeois nationalists and all past and present Stalinists are reactionary forces who only fight imperialism when they absolutely have to in order to stay in power or alive. The goal of their struggle is to forge a better deal with imperialism. Putin is doing that right now over Syria and he would sell out the Donbass in the morning if he could get a deal that secured his borders. Such forces have no principled opposition to imperialism so spare us the details of how bad ISIS etc. are Jim and Tony – we know.
The aftermath of the Rwandan 1994 genocide was that now they speak English, or rather American, and not French. Humanitarian leftism manipulated ideologically by the USA to allow its client Uganda to expand its base of operations in Africa.
But those who are fighting imperialism right now are by definition anti-imperialist and their struggle gains some legitimacy in the eyes of the masses they control because they see that struggle as genuine to some extent at least. Supporting your own imperialist power against ANY other force is pro-imperialist, Jim and Tony. No exceptions for truly nasty ISIS, Serbs, Hutus, etc. When those wars are over that some leftist supported on a ‘humanitarian’ basis, the USA is always the clear winner and the third world country the clear loser. And it is to the anti-imperialism of the masses we must orientate, to them the tactic of the anti-imperialist united front is pitched, from above AND below. Neither Jim nor Tony make a single mention of the masses, they do not assess the difference between the anti-imperialism of bourgeois nationalist ruling class or cast and the anti-imperialism of the masses or ever consider how to drive a wedge into that relationship to forge a new revolutionary leadership.
On the phrase the 9/11 hijackers “must never be condemned” the argument was that the cause of 9/11 was violence by the US in the Middle East and justified anger against it. I wrote “Only it is the justified outrage of the oppressed as opposed to the outrage of the oppressor, one violence is that of the slave and the other is that of the slave-owner. One is progressive, no matter how distorted its actions are, and must never be ‘condemned’, imperialism is the violence that holds the whole planet, or almost the whole planet, in thrall, and that violence can never be supported by serious Marxists in any circumstances.” I never condoned the killing of innocent civilians and never would. It is the causes to which I referred. I would not expect a ruling class ideologue to concur with that sentiment but it does deserve to get a proper hearing.
The assertion that Jewish millionaires and billionaires have extraordinary influence in the ruling classes of the US and Europe in general is obviously true. Why is not so clear but possible explanations we have advanced if divided loyalties as a result of dual citizenship of the own land of birth and Israel. Marxist hold that such national questions will be resolved when the exploitation of one class of human beings over another is ended. It is not antisemitic to believe this but it is definitively anti-Zionist.
Greenstein’s article is far worse than Grant’s on the question of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, making the direct equation between Nazism and Socialist Fight in his use of the phrase “the socialism of idiots”. I am not an anti-Semite and neither is Ian Donovan. I have never said an anti-Semitic thing since I became politically active and conscious in my mid 20s some 40 years ago. The understanding of the Jewish Question in the Marxist tradition is a long one since 1843 and I defend it and affirm I stand in that tradition. Most of the stuff about us is right Labour, Tory and Zionist distortions.
Socialist Fight has Black and Jewish supporters who will attest to my personal stances on this. We got better treatment than this from the outright Zionists of Community Security Trust, (CST) “a charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism and related threats” than some on the left give us:
“One of the curiosities of the Labour Party under its current leadership is that pundits need to familiarise themselves with Marxist theory that many assumed had become obsolete a long time ago. In that spirit, this blog post will provide a (very) brief guide to what Trotskyists mean by the ‘Jewish Question’.
This isn’t the same as the Nazi’s Jewish Question which led to the Final Solution. Trotskyists do want Jews to disappear, but not via genocide. Instead, they have theorised Jews out of history, and get upset that Jews refuse to go along with this theory and perform their historical function by disappearing.”
He is not accurate in his final remark, Trotsky did consider a homeland for persecuted Jews under socialism as a global system but always opposed the Zionist project. Here are his remarks on it in 1937:
During my youth I rather leaned toward the prognosis that the Jews of different countries would be assimilated and that the Jewish question would thus disappear in a quasi-automatic fashion. The historical development of the last quarter of a century has not confirmed this perspective. Decaying capitalism has everywhere swung over to an exacerbated nationalism, one part of which is anti-semitism. The Jewish question has loomed largest in the most highly developed capitalist country of Europe, in Germany.
On the other hand the Jews of different countries have created their press and developed the Yiddish language as an instrument adapted to modern-culture. One must therefore reckon with the fact that the Jewish nation will maintain itself for an entire epoch to come. Now the nation cannot normally exist without a common territory. Zionism springs from this very idea. But the facts of every passing day demonstrate to us that Zionism is incapable of resolving the Jewish question. The conflict between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine acquires a more and more tragic and more and more menacing character. I do not at all believe that the Jewish question can be resolved within the framework of rotting capitalism and under the control of British imperialism.
And how, you ask me, can socialism solve this question? On this point I can but offer hypotheses. Once socialism has become master of our planet or at least of its most important sections, it will have unimaginable resources in all domains. Human history has witnessed the epoch of great migrations on the basis of barbarism. Socialism will open the possibility of great migrations on the basis of the most developed technique and culture. It goes without saying that what is here involved is not compulsory displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos for certain nationalities, but displacements freely consented to, or rather demanded by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities. The dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community will find a sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered nations. National topography will become a part of the planned economy . This is the grand historical perspective that I envisage. To work for international socialism means also to work for the solution of the Jewish question.
You ask me if the Jewish question still exists in the USSR. Yes, it exists, just as the Ukrainian, the Georgian, even the Russian questions exist there. The omnipotent bureaucracy stifles the development of national culture just as it does the whole of culture. Worse still, the country of the great proletarian revolution is now passing through a period of profound reaction. If the revolutionary wave revived the finest sentiments of human solidarity, the Thermidorian reaction has stirred up all that is low, dark and backward in this agglomeration of 170 million people. To reinforce its domination the bureaucracy does not even hesitate to resort in a scarcely camouflaged manner to chauvinistic tendencies, above all to anti-semitic ones. The latest Moscow trial, for example, was staged with the hardly concealed design of presenting internationalists as faithless and lawless Jews who are capable of selling themselves to the German Gestapo.
Since 1925 and above all since 1926, anti-semitic demagogy, well camouflaged, unattackable, goes hand in hand with symbolic trials against avowed pogromists. You ask me if the old Jewish petty bourgeoisie in the USSR has been socially assimilated by the new soviet environment. I am indeed at a loss to give you a clear reply. The social and national statistics in the USSR are extremely tendencious. They do not serve to set forth the truth, but above all to glorify the leaders, the chiefs, the creators of happiness. An important part of the Jewish petty bourgeoisie has been absorbed by the formidable apparatuses of the state, industry, commerce, the cooperatives, etc., above all in their lower and middle layers. This fact engenders an anti-semitic state of feeling and the leaders manipulate it with a cunning skill in order to canalize and to direct especially against the Jews the existing discontent against the bureaucracy.
On Biro-bidjan I can give you no more than my personal evaluations. I am not acquainted with this region and still less with the conditions in which the Jews have settled there. In any case it can be no more than a very limited experience. The USSR alone would still be too poor to resolve its own Jewish question, even under a regime much more socialist than the present one. The Jewish question, I repeat, is indissolubly bound up with the complete emancipation of humanity. Everything else that is done in this domain can only be a palliative and often even a two-edged blade, as the example of Palestine shows. January 18, 1937
Comradely Gerry Downing