The AWL’s Dale Street, Netanyahu’s and Trump’s shill, slanders Jackie Walker to sink Ken Livingstone

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26/02/2018 by socialistfight

By Gerry Downing 26-2-18

Image result for The AWL’s Dale Street imagesYet another scabby, pro-Zionist article from the AWL’s Dale Streel

The project of the AWL and the Jewish Chronicle

We have been obliged to include extensive historical background in this article and, in the notes, below. The current Zionist-led witchhunt equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has a long history which we must understand. The AWL are the champions of this offensive in the labour movement and they operate in lockstep with the Jewish Chronicle, as Netanyahu’s implicit and explicit spokespersons in Britain. We aim to make readers aware of the historical and contemporary political significance of the characters, plays and poems referred to in the article by Dale Street referred to below. The contemporary issues are, of course, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein. Greenstein has now been expelled and the other two cases come up shortly. The labour movement must continue to campaign for all suspended and expelled leftists and victims of the bogus left antisemitism witchhunt. And not forgetting my own case, which some of these would like to ignore.  But the chief task now is to defend Ken Livingstone, on whose fate hangs the fate of the whole of the expelled leftists.

In Solidarity, the Alliance for Workers Liberty’s paper, on 7 February 2018 Dale Street launched a scurrilous attack on Jackie Walker. By a series of guilt-by-association links, he ends up implying she is a Nazi sympathiser, or at least is quite comfortable in the company of neo-Nazis. Steet and the AWL, are, of course, ostensibly opposed to her expulsion, but supports the charges against her, thereby, in fact, supporting it, “We have come out against her expulsion, and we argue for expeditious and prompt processes; but also indicted (!) the unmistakable antisemitism around the counter-campaign by Walker and her friends.” [1]

On 26 August 2017, Solidarity published a 20-page supplement, Against left-wing antisemitism! Compiled by Sean Matgamna, the historic leader of the AWL and its predecessors. [2] And a page in the paper itself, The left’s ideology of “antizionism”, by Dale Street. That is 21 of 32 pages to prove that the left in the Labour party and the left generally, apart from themselves, are all antisemitic. The obvious purpose of the exercise was to form an alliance with Labour’s Compliance Unit and Labour’s then right wing General Secretary Iain McNichol to ensure the expulsion of Ken Livingstone and all the other anti-Zionists from the Labour party. This has been Matgamna’s project since the early 1980s. His Zionist protege Reg Freeson was eventually ousted as MP in Brent East in 1987 by Livingstone due to the struggles of the left-wing Brent East CLP and struggle within Socialist Organiser itself, a defeat which still rankles with Matgamna, as he revealed in an article in 2015:

“Livingstone was at this time trying to displace Reg Freeson as Labour candidate in Brent East. (He would win the seat in 1987). Freeson was Jewish. Denunciations of “the Zionist Reg Freeson” occupied much space in Newsline (the daily paper of the WRP – GD). Re-reading that stuff now what strikes me is that the sense of these denunciations of the Labour right winger Freeson — SO (Socialist Organiser, Matgamna’s group 1963-90) supported Livingstone against him —would better be conveyed by “the Jew Freeson”. SO, most of whose supporters had the same formal position on the Arab-Jewish conflict as Livingstone or the WRP, “a secular democratic state” (a tiny minority only of us were for a two state solution, and a much bigger minority rabidly “anti-Zionist”, the people who lead the ISG now [the USFI group now hiding under the moniker Socialist Resistance – GD]) — SO did not comment on this aspect of the anti-Freeson campaign.” [3]

Image result for reg Freeson MP images

Image result for reg Freeson MP imagesKen’s Livingstone’s defeat of Reg Freeson (above) in Brent East in 1985 was a high point for anti-Zionism no bitterly regretted by the AWL

So Matgamna denounces his own organisation as antisemitic in the 1980s, politically flagellates himself for his failure to turn it around back then, and is determined not to repeat the mistake.

The Jewish Chronicle’s Robert Philpot also regrets the deselection of Freeson in 1985 in an article on July 20, 2017. [4]

Only Freeson is no longer the right winger Matgamna admits he was but according to Philpot:

“Reg Freeson’s left-wing credentials were impeccable”.

Well in his youth:

“he opposed the timidity of the Wilson government’s stance on the Vietnam war, South Africa and immigration. A founder member of CND, he was one of the first five Labour MPs on the initial Aldermaston march. His sympathies were firmly with the cause of Irish nationalism, while he used his background in journalism to edit the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight and write for the house journal of the Labour left, Tribune.”

And his brother actually joined the WRP briefly. Philpot’s point is to try to prove that being left wing is completely consistent with being a Zionist:

“As well as standing in the way of the ambitious former GLC leader, Freeson, who died in 2006, had failed the hard-left’s most critical ideological litmus test. The grandson of Jewish immigrants, he was an ardent Zionist and co-chair of Poale Zion, the Jewish socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party. Though not an uncritical supporter of Israel — he opposed the 1982 invasion of Lebanon — Freeson’s unwillingness to abandon his principles cost him his political career. His support for Israel, said Freeson after his deselection, had led him to be branded “that bloody Zionist and Jew”. But the campaign was not just waged against high-profile parliamentarians. Hard left-dominated constituency parties passed resolutions attempting to disaffiliate Poale Zion from the Labour Party. One motion, for instance, denounced the “anti-working class and racialist nature of both the Zionist State and its ideological off-shoot in the workers’ movement”.”

Poale Zion has now morphed into the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and leftist motions like this which were passed at Labour party GCs, and trade union conferences are still correct; the left must do that work again, even though, or more correctly especially since it is so bitterly opposed by Matgamna and the Jewish Chronicle. We must expel the JLM from Labour and reinstate the principled anti-Zionist fighters.

Image result for The AWL’s Dale Street imagesThe Nazi-Zionist collaboration in a medal.

The AWL’s grovel to Zionism and Labour right

The scabby position taken by AWL supporters in removing Jackie Walker from vice-chair of Momentum is well known. As Labour Party Marxists reported:

“As is now well known, the two AWL supporters on Momentum’s steering committee, Jill Mountford and Michael Chessum, wholeheartedly supported the move by Momentum chair and company owner Jon Lansman to remove Jackie Walker from her position of national vice-chair – in fact, they proudly reported it online.” [5]

Of course, this appalling project will not secure the reinstatement of all AWL members, notwithstanding the recent reinstatement of Janine Booth. These were expelled by McNichol despite all their grovelling efforts to appease the right-wing Labour/Zionist alliance against Corbyn who now personifies, however inadequately, the leftist movement in the working class. The rest of the left knows, and surely most AWL members must also sense, that if they get Livingstone then reinstatement for any leftists is out of the question, and that includes AWL members. On the contrary, a new wave of expulsions will begin. It is difficult to believe that Matgamna does not understand that.

The entire supplement consisted of extracts from diatribes written by Matgamna over the last few decades apart from a short piece by Ruth Willis, Defend Jackie Walker, but not like this! Of course, like Street later as related above, the piece does not defend Jackie Walker at all, simply attacks her not-very-PC supporters and contains the excellent sentence, “The political hostility to any Zionist Jew no matter their political outlook is palpable and clear”.

What might be the position of any anti-Zionist Jew “no matter what their political opinion” was not worth considering, if such might be conceived to exist as a political category at all, apart from a self-hating entity?

The Berlin Meeting

The vehicle for this current attack is the fact that she and Moshe Machover spoke at a very dodgy meeting, Street informs us:

“at an event in Berlin entitled “In the Age of the Slanderers – An Ideological-Critical Intervention against the Instrumentalisation of Jews, Jewishness and the Jewish Catastrophe”, organised by the Project Critical Enlightenment (PKA). The PKA, created in July of last year, describes itself as “a merger of Marxist left-wingers from Germany and Israel … a counter-reaction to pro-imperialist tendencies and other leanings towards right-opportunism, above all on the German left.”

Ken Loach sent solidarity greetings, Street ominously informed us. And what were these people up to in Berlin? The theme of his piece is they were slandering and blackguarding all decent Zionists. Of course, any explicit antisemitism at the event would lead to immediate prosecution by the German authorities, given the very strict German laws on this. Never mind, when they say “Zionist” they are really mean all Jews and so are antisemitic. In his Zionist outrage against Eric Fried later he makes the standard McCarthyite association of communists with liberals and “pinkos” who tolerate and defend the democratic rights of communists, “Fried’s irreconcilable opposition to ‘Zionists’ (which effortlessly elided into hostility to “the Israelis” and “Jews”) contrasted with his conciliatory attitude towards contemporary neo-Nazis.”

Just to emphasise the logic of the witchhunt begun by the expulsions from the LAW the reactionary Zionist Andrew Coates comment on Jim Denham’s blog of dale Street’s diatribe on February 9, 2018

“So the people Walker and LAW are connected to are worse than Die Linke’s ex DDR wing, in fact total Stalinist nutters. And they got rid of Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan……”

 

Image result for Jim Allen Hidden Agenda imagesJim Allen’s collaboration over the years with Ken Loach is one of the great leftist combinations to attack the crimes of the capitalist state in Ireland and everywhere else, as in Raining Stones (1993), and Land and Freedom (1995). They are both slandered by the reactionary AWL campaign.

In full knowledge of what pushes the buttons of the Jewish Labour Movement and all true Zionists, Sreet reveals he mentioned Loach to have a go at Jim Allen:

“As a mere purveyor of solidarity greetings, Ken Loach has not been given an opportunity to add a statement of his own to publicity for the event. This has deprived him of the opportunity of highlighting his own record of ‘combating’ the ‘instrumentalisation’ of antisemitism – from his endorsement of Jim Allen’s antisemitic play “Perdition” in 1987 [6] to his refusal to condemn Holocaust denial in 2017 (only to say that his comments had, of course, been misrepresented).” [7]

Of course, Jim Allen’s play was a courageous denunciation of Zionism and its collaboration with the Nazis and not at all antisemitic. It is based on Lenni Brenner’s exposure of that collaboration [8]  between two far-right ideologies who had similar contempt for the poor and oppressed, not least the poor Jews who were the main victims in the Holocaust who were overwhelmingly Bundist and bitter opponents of far-right racist ideology of Zionism, so fanatically defended by Street and the AWL historical leader Sean Matgamna. Wikipedia reported that:

“Brenner was arrested three times during civil rights sit-ins in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent 39 months in jail when a court revoked his probation for marijuana possession, because of his activities during the Berkeley Free Speech Movement at the University of California in 1964.

He was an anti-war activist from the first days of the Vietnam War, speaking frequently at rallies in the Bay Area. In 1963 he organized the Committee for Narcotic Reform in Berkeley. In 1968 he co-founded the National Association for Irish Justice, the American affiliate of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.

In 2003, Brenner spoke at the inaugural meeting of Jews Against Zionism with his colleagues Alice Coy, Haim Bresheeth and Roland Rance who presented Brenner’s book, Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis. Brenner spoke at an Israeli Apartheid Week event in 2011 at Berlin, Connecticut. According to the Anti-Defamation League, at an event called “One State Solution” at the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, Brenner said that Jews were the largest donors to American political parties and that the Political system is as “crooked as a dog’s hind leg”. He also asserted that President Truman recognised Israel because of contributions from Jews.”  [9]

Image result for Lenni Brenner Trotskyist images

Having voted to expel Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan from Labour Against the Witchhunt on 6 January 2018 for far less “crimes”  Rance should now openly denounce his former self as Matgamna has done and denounce Brenner as an anti-semite. Brenner’s record of leftist activism is similar to Socialist Fight’s so that should be no problem.

But mentioning Loach and Allen was Street’s way of preparing us for the real target of the diatribe; Eric Fried.[10] And tying Jackie Walker in with Nazism the better to ensure Ken Livingston’s expulsion from the Labour party. He mentions one of Freid’s poems, In The Age of the Slanderers. That is unavailable online (censored?) but the following poem gives the flavour of the anti-Zionism which Dale finds so offensive:

Hear, O Israel!
by Erich Fried, 1967

When we were the oppressed,
I was one with you,
but how can we remain one
now that you have become the oppressor?

Your desire
was to become powerful, like the nations
who murdered you;
now you have, indeed, become like them.

You have outlived those
who abused you;
so why does their cruelty
possess you now?

You also commanded your victims:
“Remove your shoes!”
Like the scapegoat,
you drove them into the wilderness,
into the great mosque of death
with its burning sands.

But they would not confess the sin
you longed to impute to them:
the imprint of their naked feet
in the desert sand
will outlast the silhouettes
of your bombs and tanks.

So hear, O Israel …
hear the whimpers of your victims
echoing your ancient sufferings …

But the real genius of Street is not only to close his ears and harden his heart to the cries of Israel’s Palestinian victims but to assert that Fried is in reality a neo-Nazi because he visited one in prison in 1985 and talked to him for five hours to understand what made him tick. Street tells us:

“When Michael Kuhnen, Germany’s then leading neo-Nazi (although the prefix “neo-“ is largely superfluous), was awaiting trial in 1985, Fried visited him in prison and offered to appear in court as a character witness for him.”

According to Street, he agreed with Kuhnen’s politics and he supplies quotes to suggest a measure of sympathy. Quotes that imply political sympathy of this nature really do need to be sourced, but Street sees no need for that. These quotes are not online so his source is private, we must assume. But even giving him the benefit of the doubt, the quotes are no smoking gun but merely evidence that Fried was sympathetic and sought to discover what made this man what he was.  The unsourced quotes are that Fried said that Kuhnen was “in support of the SA but not in support of the SS.” – an account of what he said only and that it was “inconceivable that he should be branded a criminal.”, not good if true, but Fried is a liberal and humanitarian and the Nazi man was in prison, not posing a threat to anyone right then. He then goes on to produce quotes from Kuhnen to prove that he was a die-hard Nazi and manages to imply that Fried agreed with that too:

“In the same interview this person who had made such a “positive impression” on Fried said: “When we celebrate the 100th birthday of Adolf Hitler on 20th April 1989, we will bestow new glory on this clothing [i.e. uniforms]: the same material, the same brown as at that time…”

And he finishes his diatribe with the following:

“Choosing an ‘anti-Zionist’ poem by Erich Fried – and singling out his “In the Age of Slanderers” – for the title of this Saturday’s event therefore makes perfect sense: The politics of the poem and its author sum up the politics of the event.”

Dr. Manya Elrick’s 2013 Doctrinal Theses for Imperial College London Department of Humanities is entitled Erich Fried—Jew, Humanist, Socialist—A Study of Opposing and Complementary Aspects of his Identity as Reflected in his Work and the following extract shows what were the concerns of Fried in his interview:

“This unswerving faith in human nature is translated into Fried’s work easily. In Ein Soldat undein Mädchen Fried depicts a former Nazi concentration camp guard not as an otherworldly monster, but as a fictional human being tragically falling victim to the atrocities of the Second World War. Later in his life, Fried also attempted to understand rather than condemn another human seduced by ideology when, in 1985, he visited a convinced Nazi Michael Kühnen, a leading member of the German Neo-Nazi movement, in prison, spent five hours in discussion with him in an attempt to understand Kühnen and exchanged letters with him in an effort to maintain a dialogue.”

The above tendency of Fried can be easily related to a strand of humanism which offers an insight into oneself by looking through the prism of others. Understanding our own humanity is never as simple as seeing it as practised by those around us. The visual metaphor is of particular importance here, since it is visual impulse which inspires Fried onto his creative path. The outrage felt at the injustice committed against others sets him on a course of self-discovery. Fried trusts in the inherent humanity of all of us, concentration camp guards and neo-Nazis included. Fried’s courageous translation of The Merchant of Venice is another cry against misrecognition of the suffering and inequality of human beings.” [11]

Image result for Michael Kühnen nazi  imagesDale Street uses a few ill-judged observation by Erich Fried to build the case for the expulsion of Jackie Walker from the Labour party. These are the actions of a vile scab.

On 5 April 2017 in The Telegraph’s Asa Bennett observed that:

“Ken Livingstone has escaped expulsion from the Labour Party over his remarks about Hitler and Zionism. Although some might wonder why he hadn’t been kicked out ages ago. Mr Livingstone was editor of the “Labour Herald” during the 1980s, a time when the weekly published an article alleging that Zionists prevented the rescue of European Jewry from the Holocaust, and a cartoon depicting Mr Menachem Begin, then Israel Prime Minister in Nazi uniform, standing on a heap of corpses and giving the Nazi salute over the heading “The Final Solution”.”

The answer to the question, “why he hadn’t been kicked out ages ago?” is that the Zionists did not have the power than that they have now. Despite their best efforts, joined then by the Jewish Socialist Group, the Labour party ignored their demands and Livingston’s career was enhanced by his correct stance. An outcome the AWL is now determined to reverse.

The AWL supports the Kiev fascists

This piece would not be complete without contrasting the vitriolic attacks Dale Street and the AWL makes on principles anti-Zionist defenders of the Palestinians in Britain with their defence of outright Nazis in Ukraine.  Dale Street published an article online on 19 January 2015 Red on the Outside – White on the Inside: A Few More Things About Borotba and its Allies. In it, he attacks the Solidarity with Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine and Socialist Fight for defending Borotba against state oppression. He wrote:

“In fact, when four Borotba members were detained in Donetsk last December, “Socialist Fight” (an affiliate of SARU) likened this to the moment in the Spanish Civil War when Stalinists turned on anarchists and launched an armed attack on them.  It didn’t even dawn on “Socialist Fight” that if Borotba had been active at the time of the Spanish Civil War they would have been on the side of the Stalinists, not the anarchists and Trotskyists.” [12] [13]

Borotba carries the portrait of Leon Trotsky on their banner, a shooting offence in the Spanish Civil war by the Stalinists. And we have written elsewhere on those very peculiar “anarchists and Trotskyists” who battled side by side with the Stepan Bandera fascists in the Maidan until they were beaten up and driven off. Bandera what the Nazi collaborator who slaughter tens of thousands of Jews and Poles on his own behalf and to assist Adolph Hitler. Ukraine has granted him a national holiday to honour his achievements and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem was moved to protest very strongly when the Azov Battalion was granted funding by the USA because Bandera is their hero.

He had attacked Workers Power’s Richard Brenner in a previous scurrilous article. They had observed, quite correctly that:

“for the past three decades the AWL has adapted its policies “to the global outlook of their own country’s imperialist ruling class.” The AWL has had the wrong line on Iraq, Afghanistan, Islamophobia, Israel, Iran, Syria and Ireland.”  [14]

Unbelieve he defended the fascist outrage which was the Odessa Trade Union house massacre of 2 May 2014.  In the following passage he asserts that Borotba and the victims were to blame and the fascists were only reacting naturally. It is the most shocking piece of journalism masquerading as leftism we have ever read:

“Anyone who knows Ukrainian reality from within can only laugh at the headline above the interview: “They Hate Us Because We’re Communists”. “Hate” should read: “Despise”. And “Communists” should read “Borotba”. Kirichuk begins with an attempt to provoke sympathy by talking about the repression of which Borotbists are the victims.

But fact is fact: Not one member of the organisation is imprisoned. The “repression” goes no further than a summons to an appointment with the security services or the police. No Borotbist has even been detained for any length of time (he even references our article to give himself the lie – GD [15]).

Despite the close collaboration of Borotba with pro-Russian nationalists, in spite of its open support for armed paramilitaries, the authorities simply don’t even notice this garrulous Stalinist sect.

The death of Andrei Brazhevsky [in the Odessa Trade Union Building on 2nd May] is a fact, and certainly a tragic fact. But the people responsible for his death include those who pushed him into a provocation in the course of which gunfire was opened on a pro-Ukrainian rally.

Aleksei Albu is personally responsible for this death. It was Albu who called for participation in meetings with Russian nationalists and who collaborated with right-wing organisations such as Slavic Unity and Motherland within the framework of the Odessa People’s Druzhina [Militia]. The senseless aggression of the Russian ultra-right-wingers provoked the escalation of violence, and the fact that “left-wingers” were in its epicentre is the result of the criminal irresponsibility of their leaders, who are ready to build their careers on the corpses of their comrades.”

Image result for Andrei Brazhevsky dies in Odessa massacre   imagesAndrei Brazhevsky

At least 46 people were burned to death in the building that day. Their escape was blocked. A pregnant woman cleaner was hanged and when her death screams stopped, and her murderer appeared in triumph at the window the whole fascist mob cheered him. Sergei Kirichuk related what happened:

“Our comrade Andrey Brazhevsky died in the Trade Union Building. He jumped from the third floor of the burning building and survived, but the fascists had beaten him to death with sticks. His mother was there at the time as well. She saw that one of the guys jumped out of a window, saw that the fascists were trying to finish him off. She threw herself on him, covered him with her body and saved him. She did not know that her own son at this exact moment was being beaten by the fascists and that he would die from these beatings.” [16]

Comrades have speculated that after Matgamna dies the AWL might move back to the left on Zionism and imperialism in general to something like the stance they took during their Trotskyist Tendency entry days in the IS between 1968 and 71, in which Matgamna actually attacked Tony Cliff’s support for sending in the troops to Ireland in 1969. That is a long-forgotten anti-imperialist leftism on Ireland and on imperialism in general. But the continuing prominence of the likes of Dale Street and Jim Denham makes for a bitter struggle for the better comrades in the AWL, to repeat even the partial overturn of the early 1980s and support for Ken Livingstone. But we are confident they will do it one day.

Notes

[1] For a fuller expose of the politics of the AWL see, IDOT 19, Trotsky: “Only the other day Shachtman referred to himself in the press as a ‘Trotskyist’. If this be Trotskyism then I at least am no Trotskyist. With the present ideas of Shachtman, not to mention Burnham, I have nothing in common… As for their ‘organisational methods’ and political ‘morality’ I have nothing but contempt”, https://socialistfight.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/idot-19.pdf

[2] Sean Matgamna.  Against left-wing antisemitism! Submitted by AWL on 26 August, 2017, http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2017-09-22/against-left-wing-antisemitism

[3]Sean Matgamna,  The last time we were heresy-hunted, 9 March, 2015,  http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2017-07-26/last-time-we-were-heresy-hunted-0

[4]Robert Philpot, Jewish Chronicle, 2- July 2017, Labour: this is a repeat of the purges of the 1980shttps://www.thejc.com/comment/comment/labour-this-is-a-repeat-of-the-purges-of-the-1980s-1.441779

[5] Labour Party Marxists, October 13, 2016, Boycott the AWL’s “Stop the Labour purges” scab conference, http://labourpartymarxists.org.uk/boycott-the-awls-stop-the-labour-purges-scab-conference/

[6] Perdition is a 1987 stage play by Jim Allen. Its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre Upsairs in London was abandoned, after protests, because of the controversial and tendentious claims it contains.

Influenced by activist Lenni Brenner’s book Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (1983), Allen described Brenner’s book as “a goldmine source”. Perdition, according to Allen in an interview for Time Out at the time of the intended original production as “the most lethal attack on Zionism ever written, because it touches the heart of the most abiding myth of modern history, the Holocaust. Because it says quite plainly that privileged Jewish leaders collaborated in the extermination of their own kind in order to help bring about a Zionist state, Israel, a state which is itself racist”. According to him, during the Holocaust “the lower you went down on the social scale, the more you found resistance; but the higher you went up the social scale, the more you found cooperation and collaboration [with Nazis]”.

The play deals with a libel action in Israel a few years after the Second World War, which concerned alleged collaboration during the war between the leadership of the Zionist movement in Hungary and the Nazis, a narrative which has been described by historian Dave Rich (the Zionist head of the Communist Security Trust – GD) as being a “Stalinist lie”.

Its starting point comes from the trial of Rudolf Kastner, a leading member of the Budapest Aid and Rescue Committee, whose job it was to help Jews escape from Nazi-ruled Hungary. His libel trial in Israel was about an accusation that he had collaborated with Adolf Eichmann, one of the main SS officers in charge of carrying out the Holocaust. Though the initial trial found that he had indeed “sold his soul to the devil” by saving certain Jews whilst failing to warn others that their “resettlement” was in fact deportation to the gas chambers, there was a subsequent Israeli supreme court trial a few years later at which the findings were overturned. Perdition (play). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perdition_(play)

[7] James Allen (7 October 1926 – 24 June 1999) was a socialist playwright from Miles Platting, Manchester, Lancashire, best known for his collaborations with Ken Loach.

Allen was born in the Miles Platting area of Manchester, Lancashire, on 7 October 1926, the second child of Kitty and Jack Allen, Roman Catholics of Irish descent. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Allen left school at the age of 13 to work in a wire factory. He had various jobs during the war, before being called up into the Army in 1944. He joined the Seaforth Highlanders, and served with the British occupation forces in Germany. After leaving the army in 1947, he worked at a variety of jobs, including a builder’s labourer, a fireman in the Merchant Navy, and a miner at Bradford Colliery in Bradford, Manchester.

During his military service, Allen was imprisoned for assault and a fellow inmate introduced him to the ideals of socialism. Allen was a passionate socialist for the rest of his life, although he detested Stalinism and refused to be associated with the Communist Party of Great Britain. In 1958 he joined the Socialist Labour League (SLL, the forerunner of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party) led by Gerry Healy, a small group then pursuing entryist tactics within the Labour Party. The SLL objected to the close association between the CPGB and the National Union of Mineworkers, and Allen was a prominent campaigner for the SLL. In 1962 the Labour Party declared the SLL a “proscribed organisation”, leading to Allen’s expulsion from the party. He subsequently resigned his membership of the SLL but did not join any other party. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Allen_(playwright)

[8] Zionism in the Age of the Dictators is a 1983 work by American Trotskyist Lenni Brenner. The book makes the argument that Zionist leaders collaborated with Fascism, particularly in Nazi Germany, in order to build up a Jewish presence in Palestine. One edition of the book features on its cover a medal struck by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to commemorate a visit by Leopold von Mildenstein of the Nazi SS elite corps to Palestine as a guest of the Zionist Federation of Germany.

Zionism in the Age of the Dictators is one of two works by Brenner on the alleged collaboration between Zionism and Nazism. Brenner returns to this topic in his 2002 work 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis.

Criticism (the Zionist counter-offensive – GD)

Upon its initial publication the book received a positive review in The Times, with Edward Mortimer describing it as “crisp and carefully documented”. However, C.C. Aronsfeld was critical in a review published in the journal International Affairs, stating that “Brenner has produced a party political tract that unhinges the balance of history by ignoring too many difficulties, especially psychological. For once Stalinists will be pleased with the work of a Trotskyist”.

In the wake of the controversy regarding Ken Livingstone’s comments on Adolf Hitler and Zionism in 2016 (see below), the book attracted further critical comment. Social historian David Rosenberg argues that Zionism in the Age of the Dictators is “badly written and with poor scholarship – a piece of tabloid journalism glued together with selective facts and lots of conjecture”. Brenner has stated that American publishing houses were not willing to print his work due to its controversial nature, and that his publishers (Croom Helm Ltd.) “gave [him] an ultimatum”, saying “You are about to write the most controversial book imaginable … So there can be no mistakes. You must send us a photocopy of every document you quote.”

Thomas Weber, a professor of history and international affairs, argues that “Brenner’s book lies well outside academic mainstream. It is mostly celebrated either by the extreme left and by the neo-Nazi right”; among others, the Institute for Historical Review – defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist neo-Nazi organisation promoting Holocaust denial – has cited the book in their research. However, Brenner has criticised and condemned the use of his work by neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers.

Socialist writer Gerry Ben-Noah wrote a critical review in the pamphlet Workers’ Liberty. Ben-Noah argues that Brenner “creates a fantasy world in which the Zionists did wish for and expect the Holocaust, and in which the most fanatical Jewish nationalists were in reality, ardent anti-semites”. Highly critical of the argument that “Zionists saw anti-semites as nationalists like themselves with a common objective in the removal of Jews from Europe”, Ben-Noah asks rhetorically “where does one begin to review work like this?”.

Zionism in the Age of the Dictators found itself at the centre of the political scandal in the United Kingdom when in 2016 the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone made remarks arguing that Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s. Following these remarks Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party. Livingstone argued that Zionism in the Age of the Dictators “confirms there was clearly an ongoing dialogue [between Zionists and Nazis] even if the Israeli government now tries to pretend that none of that all happened”. Livingstone has indicated he intends to use Brenner’s work when appealing his suspension.

Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism_in_the_Age_of_the_Dictators

[9] Lenni Brenner, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenni_Brenner

[10] Erich Fried (6 May 1921 – 22 November 1988) was an Austrian-born poet, writer and translator. He initially became known to a broader public in both Germany and Austria for his political poetry, and later for his love poems. As a writer he mostly wrote plays and short novels. He also translated works by different English writers from English into German, most notably works by William Shakespeare.

He was born in Vienna, Austria, but fled to England after the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938 (after his father was tortured to death by the Nazis – GD). He settled in London and adopted British Nationality in 1949. His first official visit back to Vienna was in 1962.

Born to Jewish parents Nelly and Hugo Fried in Vienna, he was a child actor and from an early age wrote strongly political essays and poetry. He fled to London after his father was murdered by the Gestapo after the Anschluss with Nazi Germany. During the war, he did casual work as a librarian and a factory hand. He arranged also for his mother to leave Nazi occupied Austria, as well as helping many other Jews to come to the UK. He joined Young Austria, a left-wing emigrant youth movement, but left in 1943 in protest of its growing Stalinist tendencies, Erich Fried, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Fried

[11] Manya Elrick, Erich Fried—Jew, Humanist, Socialist—A Study of Opposing and Complementary Aspects of his Identity as Reflected in his Work, Imperial College London Department of Humanities, Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Imperial College London, https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/bitstream/10044/1/18310/1/Elrick-M-2013-PhD-Thesis.pdf

[12] Red on the Outside – White on the Inside: A Few More Things About Borotba and its Allies. http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2017-07-26/borotba-charlatanism-masquerading-socialism

[13] See IDOT No 8 for a fuller explanation of the struggle in Ukraine, https://socialistfight.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/idot-12.pdf

[14]  ‘Trotskyism’ in Wonderland: ‘Workers Power’ and Ukraine, http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2017-07-26/trotskyism-wonderland-workers-power-and-ukraine

[15] Brokering a sell out to Kiev  ¿Dónde está Borotba? Release the Borotba Four! 29 December 2014, https://socialistfight.com/2014/12/29/brokering-a-sell-out-to-kiev-donde-esta-borotba-release-the-borotba-four/

[16] Terror in Ukraine forces left wing organisation Borotba underground – interview with Sergei Kirichuk, 21 May 2014 http://www.marxist.com/terror-in-ukraine-forces-left-wing-organisation-borotba-underground.htm

 

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