Gerry Downing: Defence of Daily Politics Interview

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13/10/2016 by socialistfight


There is no Jewish Question without a Palestinian Question

I have just reviewed this video of my appearance on the Daily Politics shown on 10 March 2016, as leader of the Socialist Fight group, for the first time in full. I have absolutely nothing to apologise for and am proud of the principles stance I took there in defence of revolutionary socialist internationalist anti-imperialist principles, i.e. Trotskyism.

Three points of clarification

  1. “Condemn” is a term I refused to use for the 9/11 bombers just as I have refused to use it for IRA bombers and Lenin never used it against his own brother Alexander, hanged in 1887 for the attempted assassination of Tsar Alexander III. On hearing of his brother’s execution Lenin proclaimed, “there is another way” and that is the road of mobilising the masses to make their own history, which is the Leninist/Trotskyist ideology which is opposed to all individual terrorist action, despite the justified outrage and heroism of the perpetrators.
  2. On the question of support for ISIS I caused some confusion. Lenin qualified his tactics on the British Labour party by saying he would support them “as the rope supports the hanged man”. That is in domestic and in international politics it was always necessary to identify the main enemy and, as Karl Liebknecht famously proclaimed in 1915 in relation to imperialist countries, “the main enemy is at home”. The difference between military and political support is somewhat confusing when obviously, unlike the USSR in 1920 when the distinction was initially made, small fighting propaganda groups like ours have no military capacity and only political means of struggle. So the obvious conclusion is that if a military formation existed in the Middle East dedicated to the world revolution it would identify the USA and its allied imperialist powers as the main enemy whilst watching their backs and never forgetting the reactionary anti working class positions of bourgeois nationalist and jihadist like ISIS and al Qaeda and so never subordinating yourselves to these politically. A brief interview was not sufficient to explain this complex question.


  1. On Zionism again there is nothing for which to apologise. I was accused of antisemitism for the use of the term “The Jewish Question”. It is the title of or contained in the title of many Marxist publications and polemics. Jewish State – The modern solution to the Jewish Question is the title of Zionism’s founder Theodor Herzl’s 1886 Zionist tract. That Hitler’s 30 January 1939 speech to the Reichstag is known as The Jewish Question speech and that he used it in the sense that he had the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” does not then entitle Zionists and their supporters to ban any further use of the term, which is and was used by Marxists and others in the same sense as “the national question” or “the Irish question”. As Wiki says, “The Jewish question is the name given to a wide-ranging debate in European society pertaining to the appropriate status and treatment of Jews in society. The debate was similar to other so-called “national questions” and dealt with the civil, legal, national and political status of Jews as a minority within society, particularly in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries., To accuse me of antisemitism for the use of this term, as Zionists and their supporters have done, is simply ludicrous. And on the strength of the Zionist/Jewish Lobby we can cite Norman Finkelstein, perhaps the world’s most prominent Jewish anti-Zionist, at the Communist University on 9-8-16. Answering contributions from the floor (video at 1 hour 30 mins) he defends Ian Donovan and Socialist Fight’s position on the Jewish question; ‘Jews have a lot of money and a lot of power and sometimes they use the money to serve their agenda.’ and in reply to Tony Greenstein just at the end on the same question, ‘I can’t deal with this politically correct denial of reality.’


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