Defend Tony Greenstein: left centrist under attack!

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07/03/2018 by Ian

Image result for Tony Greenstein imagesMoshe Machover; reinstated, Tony Greenstein; expelled. Cowardly NEC “lefts”.

Tony Greenstein was expelled from the Labour Party, as expected, on 18th February. As Socialist Fight have made clear in various forums in the events surrounding our own exclusion from Labour Against the Witchhunt by Greenstein, the CPGB , and others on the Labour left influenced by their misleadership, we defend Greenstein, Jackie Walker, the black activist Marc Wadsworth, and others falsely accused of anti-Semitism by the Zionist influenced right-wing of the Labour Party.

This also includes the former MP and London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has now been indefinitely suspended from the party as the last act of outgoing Blairite witchhunter and General Secretary Iain McNichol. Indeed the right and the Zionists are trying to interfere with the appointment of McNichol’s successor.

A Zionist-inspired smear campaign has been launched against Corbyn and McDonnell’s nominee for the post, UNITE official Jenny Formby, involving nonsensical allegations of ‘anti-semitism’. Arch- reactionaries such as Wes Streeting have not coincidentally been touting support for Jon Lansman, the dictatorial founder-director of Momentum, who has indicated his sympathies for Zionism and the witchhunt by purging Jackie Walker from Momentum’s leadership, as well as supporting the attack on Livingstone and disgracefully smearing George Galloway as anti-Semitic.

We totally condemn the expulsion of Greenstein and call for the dropping of charges against Walker, Wadsworth, Livingstone and all others on the Labour left who have been victimised either for phoney charges of ‘anti-Semitism’, or who have been auto-excluded for support to various left-wing currents.

Our comrade Gerry Downing was one of the latter, and was also smeared as ‘anti-Semitic’ both by the racist Tory blogger Guido Fawkes, as well as the bourgeois media and many capitulators to Zionism on the left, simply for putting forward a Marxist analysis of the Jewish question and the distinctive role and influence of Zionism within today’s imperialist capitalism.

Now that Tony Greenstein has been expelled, the capitulation to Zionism involved in our own purge from LAW is coming to light in a different way. The problem that Tony has is that for all his dislike for our politics, he is too outspoken, too virulent in his anti-Zionism, and too left-wing for many of the people he blocked with to purge Socialist Fight from LAW. Apparently Roland Rance and Jonathan Rosenhead, who are both involved in Free Speech for Israel, authored a statement which dissociated that body from Tony Greenstein. It was on their site for several days, until it was removed under protest from Greenstein and others. However, it is still available on the Google cache here: (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:wqvTIodnHG0J:freespeechonisrael.org.uk/tony-greenstein-abusive-yes-acerbic-yes-not-antisemitic/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk)

What can we say about this denunciation? When Rance/Rosenhead say:

“Tony has not been expelled for antisemitism (despite what you might think if you read what the Board of Deputies or the Jewish Labour movement say, reported faithfully in the Jewish Chronicle, Huff Post, etc). He was expelled for being abusive and offensive. No one can doubt that he was, and intended to be. This is not a style of politics that FSOI supports or practices. That his abuse was delivered with swingeing wit made it no less offensive.”

…the motive is clear: opportunism. It is spelled out here:

“Tony is not a team player. The Labour Party is a rather large and important team, with its own articulated rules and its own often dysfunctional procedures. The disciplinary processes that have been invoked to expel him have demonstrated over the past 2 years that they have consistently been deployed factionally – against the left in the party, and against critics of Israel. […] Tony has added another organisation to the long list of those he no longer works within.”

The subtext is that Rance, Rosenhead, and co are concerned that they will be seen as not ‘team players’ in Labour, but rather people who will rock the boat. As Greenstein noted in the material he has circulated in response, not all of which has been published yet, this is “the political equivalent of crossing a picket line”. They are clearly, and consciously, breaking with the basic principle that socialists defend all genuine fighters for the working class and socialism, irrespective of their individual views, against the pro-capitalist labour bureaucracy.

Image result for Roland Rance Trotskyist imagesLenni Brenner (left), a Marxist and civil rights activist from New York, is an expert on the suppressed history of Zionist collaboration with the Nazis and other Jew-haters. He is the author of “Zionism in the Age of the Dictators”, “The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir”, “Jews in America Today”, and most recently “51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis”. Roland Rance (right) has been a socialist activist in Israeli, Palestinian and British politics for many years. He was the editor of Return, a quarterly magazine “Against the Israeli Law of Return – For the Palestinian Right to Return”. 

This is 2003. By 2018 Rance was voting to expel Socialist Fight from Labour Against the Witchhunt for saying the same things as Lenni Brenner and justifying the expulsion of Tony Greenstein from the Labour party. 

Déja vu opportunism

The problem Tony has is that this has happened before, and pretty recently. On 6 January 2018 the same people broke with exactly the same principle when they voted to exclude Socialist Fight supporters, including victimised Labour Party member Gerry Downing, from Labour against the Witchhunt. This was for two things; one being one our own views on the Jewish Question and Zionism which we can and do defend in depth and substance – no one has yet demonstrated at all how our views are at odds with classical Marxism; and two, our defence of the right of the left to debate and engage with the Israeli-born and ethnically (but not ideologically) Jewish radical idealist thinker and Jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon.

You see the same opportunism in the statements of Greenstein’s and his closest allies in that purge in the juxtaposition of contradictory statements:

“although SF’s views irrevocably lead to the conclusion that Jews are “a problem”, SF leading lights Ian Donovan and Gerry Downing are not ‘personally anti-Semitic’.” (https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1185/building-up-steam/)

The trite gibberish in this, which contradicts logic and human agency in postulating that racist views can be formulated by militant anti-racists, reveals its real motive when earlier Tony himself said:

“It is now incumbent upon LAW to demonstrate clearly and unambiguously that it wants to have nothing to do with Socialist Fight. Not only because its positions are anti-Semitic, but because a campaign whose purpose is to reject the false anti-Semitism campaign of Iain McNicol, the compliance unit and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement cannot retain any credibility if it includes a group whose positions are anti-Semitic.” (https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1183/anti-semites-not-welcome/)

So we cannot associate with this anti-Semitic group led by people who are not anti-Semitic because the bureaucracy will accuse us of anti-Semitism. The strange separation between ‘personal’ and ‘political’ anti-Semitism is made because the authors know that given our decades of continuous anti-racist activity, such an allegation would discredit those making it, not the accused.

This concern about ‘credibility’ by Tony above is similar to the concern about being part of the Labour ‘team’ earlier. That is, it is about appearance, not substance, and adapting to backward consciousness in both cases. Or in some ways reflecting such backward consciousness in a contradictory manner themselves. It is clear that to some extent, understanding that our politics are at odds with his own melange of Marxist views with a self-identification as Jewish which he sees in political, not just biographical, terms, Tony and others like him have a similar contradictory consciousness to those who attack him for not being a ‘team player’ in Labour. Indeed Roland Rance for one has both.

We note that Tony Greenstein, together with some of those who have just stabbed him in the back, led the campaign to scandalise the SWP in the mid-to-late 2000s for giving a platform to Atzmon. This involved enlisting the de-facto ideological help of Zionists, such as Hope not Hate and others further right, and hence crossing a similar kind of class line to the one Tony is correctly accusing Roland Rance of crossing here. Indeed it is this kind of habitual crossing of class lines that the people who sought to persecute Atzmon, with their continual attempts to get meetings closed down, etc, engaged in, that provided good practice for such people when they decided to turn on Tony Greenstein.

This is not the first time this has happened. It is worth recalling that one of Tony’s most virulent supporters in his late 2000s anti-Atzmon, anti-SWP campaign was the ex-SWP and later Stalinoid Labour Party opportunist and blogger, Andy Newman of Socialist Unity. He eventually turned against Greenstein for his ferocious subjective anti-Zionism. More recently, he supported the purge of Jackie Walker from the Momentum leadership in the events surrounding the 2016 Labour Party conference.

Centrism of the left

What is really behind this is that Greenstein is the most left-wing and therefore the most contradictory of the left-wing purveyors of Jewish identity politics, and he often comes close to breaking with it or says things that logically mean that he should break with it completely. He acknowledges that Jews today are not oppressed, but in many ways a privileged minority, in the advanced countries. He acknowledges today that anti-Semitism hardly exists in the West; he has said that it is a merely ‘marginal prejudice’ held mainly by those subjected to racial oppression.

Yet in contradiction to that, he waged a major campaign aimed at rooting out this ‘marginal prejudice’ from the Palestine Solidarity movement and the left, and to boot, it turns out that on closer examination, that most of the people accused of this ‘marginal prejudice’ are of Jewish origin themselves. He rejects the entire concept that there is such a thing as ‘left anti-Semitism’, yet acts as a front-man for the CPGB and others on the left in a campaign against Socialist Fight as the supposed embodiment of just that concept; again, this is his acute contradiction. This kind of politics is what Trotsky called a left-wing form of centrism, the spectrum of political trends that vacillate between reformism and revolutionary politics (this has nothing to do with the current usage of the term in mainstream politics).

He is frequently so outspoken that he says things that are pretty close to what Trotskyists should be saying; his acknowledgement that our comrades are not ‘personally’ anti-Semitic is a contradiction for him, not ourselves. Others have noticed similar things about him; despite his loathing and the furious, and often very personal exchanges between him and Gilad Atzmon (on both sides), people around Atzmon have noticed that at times he actually sounds quite similar to Atzmon in some ways.

Zionists have noticed this and taunted him about it. And some of his own less radical Bundist comrades have begun to back away in embarrassment. That reflects the pro-imperialist politics of the pseudo-Trotskyist United Secretariat of the Fourth International that Roland Rance is a member of, that publishes material by Gilbert Achar virtually calling for a Western invasion of Syria to deal with Assad, and which supports the Maidan movement in Ukraine and the regime that came out of it, with the heavy involvement of outright Nazis, because of their Russophobia.

Much earlier, around 1988, this trend’s Stalinophobia led them to publish material glorifying the so-called ‘Forest Brothers’ in Estonia. Supposedly fighters against Stalinism, this movement actually fought the Stalinised Red Army in WWII along with Hitler’s forces, as did the Bandera movement in the Ukraine which the Maidan regime glorifies today. Their treatment of the large Jewish populations of these countries were what you would expect from Nazi collaborators – blood crimes and killings. But they are feted by ‘democratic’ imperialism today and so de rigeur for the fake left.

This pro-imperialist capitulatory politics has a lot to do with why individuals like Rance are predisposed to join in attacks on more leftist elements who are harder, more consistent opponents of Zionism. Though questions involving Bundism and their particular politics around the Jewish question are distinct from this and have some autonomy, these things cannot be said to be completely unrelated elements of their politics either.

Image result for Norman Finkelstein  images

It should be noted that the CPGB have moved far from their principled anti-Zionist defence of Norman Finkelstein in the late 1990s over his work The Holocaust Industry. They have moved to the right since then, in part shown through their failed attempt to fuse with the AWL in early 2000s, and now Greenstein, as a sympathiser, is on their left flank. On Zionism and some related issues, he is their phantom left-wing. He recognises, for instance, the need to support Iraqi resistance to imperialism in that conflict, unlike his comrades. But he shies away from defending the most difficult targets from imperialism, such as IS when it was being bombed, even though IS was really a product of the worst atrocities of imperialism in the Iraq war, the slaughter in Fallujah in 2004-5.

There are important programmatic lessons for socialists in this messy situation. Many will find it ironic that Tony has been banned from posting on the ‘Free Speech for Israel’ blog. That happened to us at the end of 2016! There really ought to be a better way for the left to operate than these idiocies. Observe workers democracy. Observe the principle that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ in the face of the pro-capitalist labour bureaucracy. Sharpen up our opposition to racist political Zionism to include all its dimensions. Consistent anti-imperialism. And revolutionary regroupment around a principled programme and organisation that embodies these things.

4 thoughts on “Defend Tony Greenstein: left centrist under attack!

  1. Chris Barratt says:

    Zionism and the foul crime of the theft of the land of the Palestinians in the epoch of decolonisation have to be combatted.
    But Tony Greenstein should not be “defended” since his attempted separation of Jewishness from Zionism constitutes a last-ditch defence of the occupation of Palestine, and effectively goes along with the con-trick that there is “left-wing anti-Semitism”.
    Here is an extract from EPSR 1526 (2 Jan 2018; see epsr.org.uk) about the fraud of “left-wing anti-Semitism”, which was part of a much longer lead article on the same topic. Later sections in this extract talk about how the CPGB Weekly Worker and Socialist Fight handle the issue.
    From EPSR 1526:
    The point is that it is not some revival of 1930s anti-semitism that is underway at all but a deep running and entirely rational hatred of the fascist occupation of Palestine which has stolen away an entire peoples’ land and of the barbaric terrorising, blitzing and smiting oppression imposed by this artificially imposed “state” on firstly the seven million Palestinians themselves, driven out of their own homes, farms, land and countryside, and then on the whole Arab nation around them.
    It is not “racism” (now “adopted by Muslims” as [the Guardian’s regular French reactionary columnist Natalie] Nougayrède’s twisted account has it) which drives this along but anti-imperialist hatred by hundreds of millions of little people against this Jewish takeover, and against the imperialism which they see supporting it.
    But, says Nougayrede, there are attacks on synagogues and the like in Europe, does this not show its racist side?
    Some hoary myths are buried in such sly and disingenuous questions.
    First, that there is separation between Jewishness and Zionism and as soon as hostility spills onto the Jews outside Israel it must be because of old style “racism” just as in the past.
    But that is a gross lie.
    Conditions in the early 21st century are very different and primarily because of the existence of “Israel”.
    Early in the 20th century (particularly poorer) Jews were certainly victimised, pogroms were repeatedly imposed and eventually the horrors of Nazism. Many were against the whole Zionist project.
    But the modern Jewish diaspora, almost universally well-off middle-class, is completely interconnected with “Israel”.
    Nearly all of them go along with the existence of “Israel”, accept their passports and the “right” to go there at any time and settle (on whose land?), and indeed their own “special status” as part of a “chosen people”.
    Surveys indicate that 9/10 see their identity as “bound up with Israel”.
    And while many claim to be “anti-Zionist” (and even some in “Israel” itself) this is no more than an argument about how best to hold onto what has been gained so far; the “liberals” believing that the more fanatical aggressiveness of the rightwing overt Zionists and “greater Israel” settlers, will threaten everything, precisely because it cannot but stir national or even socialist revolution and regional hostility. They think it better to be content with what has been “achieved” which is to say with the 80% of Palestine already taken over.
    Some may even be dismayed by the crudeness and the atrocities of the Israeli regime and its torturing, death squads, civilian punishments, endless “collateral” damage and inhuman siege impositions on Gaza (causing a constant toll of sick and dying with sewage in the streets, no electricity much of the day, no medicines, limited supplies etc etc etc).
    But even those who renounce their “Right of Return” etc, in the main still support the existence of “Israel” and certainly do not stand up and fight for the ending of this gigantic imposition in the Middle East which is the only non-Zionist position possible; by continuing to declare themselves “Jewish” they accept an entire philosophy of separateness and a “promised land”.
    This is essentially true even of those who are “secular” Jews, who even so continue to enjoy and remained connected to what is a giant religious freemasonry within capitalism, one of many such self-preserving groupings looking out for their own interests at the expense of the rest of society in this system, and a very successful one.
    As many times analysed (EPSR 1207 eg), no-one is obliged to be Jewish, or remain in this grouping once they have achieved adulthood; like Catholicism, or any other religion or cultural grouping, it is a matter of choice (unlike being female, or black for example); there is no genetic or even national commonality in this population.
    Remaining Jewish is solely a political decision and one which leaves no essential difference with Zionism.
    From which the spilling over of generalised hostility to “Israel” into anti-Jewish hostility becomes obvious.
    But does not such anti-Jewishness become anti-semitism when it makes no such political distinctions (such as excepting those who declare against the existence of Israel as a few do, for example)?
    Perhaps so, just as the raw nascent hostility of the Third World currently arises as anti-Americanism, or anti-Westerner in general and with sometimes equally unfair, random consequences.
    But the positively campaigning anti-Israel Jewish exceptions are an extremely tiny minority to begin with, and even then, this modern crude generalised hostility is still not the same thing at all as the deliberately whipped-up scapegoating capitalist “racist” hatred of the past.
    That remains true even though some of this growing world hostility borrows and uses the “tropes” of the past such as becoming entangled in such past fabrications and hate-forgeries as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or in “Holocaust denial” or questioning, or wilder conspiracy theories that “the Jews run everything” rather than the more objective assessment that their freemasonry has a disproportionate influence within capitalist ruling circles as part of capitalism.
    Raw visceral anti-imperialist sentiment over “Israel” expressed this way may yet be a long way from a conscious grasp of the real enemy as the monopoly capitalist ruling class but to denounce and condemn it as “anti-semitism” on a par with that deliberately and systematically fomented by the most aggressive and powerful sections of monopoly imperialism in the past is to renounce and betray all hold on revolutionary understanding.
    It has roots in emerging anti-capitalism.
    If it is yet confused and misdirected then blame that on the philosophical vacuum left by the failure of revisionism (and its Trotskyist alter ego) to maintain revolutionary perspectives and grasp in the world.
    But moralising condemnation? That is on a par with “condemning terrorism” as the whole fake-“left” does, permanently marking them as opportunists and class collaborating mountebanks, complete “revolutionary” frauds and ultimately a deadly danger to the working class.
    Hitlerite anti-semitism, whatever barmy “theoretical” notions abut Jewishness the Nazis may have subscribed too, is something else, objectively part of big capitalist power victimisation of a wide variety of scapegoats selected semi-randomly according to past societal separation (medieval hostility to usurers etc or to Roma “gypsies” on the edge of communities); or mentally and physically disabled people; or homosexuals; or for ruling class-war purposes such as, from the beginning, trade unionists and communists.
    All were part of deliberate intimidation, inflaming of divisions and terrorising for maintaining capitalist rule and whipping it into the hate-frenzy of the Second World War.
    Seeing only superficial appearances of phenomena is blinkered petty bourgeois philosophy which misses what is really going on in the world and, in the case of such reactionaries as Nougayrède deliberately muddies the waters out of class interest.
    The picture currently is further confused by the revival and use of actually backward reactionary Nazi anti-semitism, part of the stirred up deep-south US civil war chauvinism and white-supremacy racist diversions being re-heated by US imperialism now for the same war-hate reasons as German Nazism.
    But while this causes further confusion, it also gets into great tangles itself, since there remains such universal horror at the memory of the capitalist warmongering Nazi “final solution” and such a useful role for current reactionary Zionism, that the old game cannot be played – instead the Muslims, associated with a great wave of anti-imperialist revolt, are now the main scapegoating targets.
    All kinds of contradictions beset the loopier of the throwback Nazi groups now, struggling to explain that they “hate Jews” but simultaneously support the Zionists.
    But instead of clarifying workers the “left” groups go along with similar nonsense too about Zionism not being the same as Jewishness.
    Lead among them has been the “intellectualism” of the Weekly Worker CPGB, former revisionist “rebels” and long barely distinguishable from Trotskyists in their billious petty bourgeois outpourings against the Soviet Union, written off as a supposed “hell hole” of relentlessly grey and repressive near-slavery (without the Brie and burgundy that these mountebanks long ago declared the British working class was grazing on in their “well stocked supermarkets”).
    To keep its “left” credentials intact it obviously cannot support the atrocities and brutalities of “Israel”, nor the Jewish supremacism of the effectively apartheid-racist “state”.
    Hence an endless series of long-winded articles pour out in the WW denouncing the Israelis and their barbarities, even more vigorously than most, with some ripe language and robust descriptions in places of the worst excesses of the smiting onslaughts.
    Much righteous indignation against the Israeli right wing and the racist nature of the “state” of “Israel” is expressed.
    All well and good. But they never ever take on the central question of why should this colonialist intrusion exist at all as an alleged “country” or what should be done about it.
    And why not? Because they are essentially “left” Zionists themselves, supporters of the existence of “Israel”, under various specious justifications (such as that it is all “too late now” to change things back – an appalling defeatist copout that matches all their defeatism about imperialism, and the supposed “impossibility” of revolutionary change).
    To maintain this tricky balancing act, they are obliged to spend reams of paper “proving” that Jewishness is nothing to do with Zionism – a total nonsense as already spelled out above.
    It is nothing whatsoever to do with Marxism.
    Its purpose is to cover up their acceptance and collusion with the status quo, and their total betrayal of any revolutionary understanding and leadership.
    It is entirely on a par with their “entryism” into the Corbynite Labour Party, fooling and misleading the growing disquiet in the working class and heading it away from any true revolutionary perspective.
    But this has a more tricky purpose; by declaring there to be a “difference” – and a fundamental one, between Zionism and Jewishness they find a way to capitulate to the Zionist onslaught while pretending to oppose it.
    Instead of exposing the lying “left anti-semitism” propaganda racket for the twisted special pleading of the Jewish occupiers that it is, they pretend that “opposing Zionism is a very different question to being anti-Jewish” and that “yes there are left racists”.
    What a totally disgusting and sinister betrayal of various activists struggling to grasp these questions!
    The sickest part is that this is then dressed up as a campaign for justice in itself to reinstate various expelled or suspended Labour members – “Labour against the Witchunt” – unsurprisingly including assorted CPGBites themselves or their regular associates, a hall of mirrors distortion that also provides for further diversionary posturing around Labour keeping Corbynism propped up, when it deserves only to be totally exposed for the class collaborating treachery it is.
    Actually, an even sicker aspect of this Weekly Worker dissembling is that it then takes up the “left anti-semitism” cudgel itself, laying into the rival Socialist Fight Trotskyist group, long on the fringes of the WW, but at least taking a stab at understanding the interconnections between the Jewish freemasonry’s role within, and as part of, capitalist imperialism.
    But the rigidly Trotskyist Socialist Fight still ties itself in all kinds of formalistic knots its efforts, failing to understand the core question of the existence of the Israeli “state” too; it declares simply that most of the Jewish diaspora are Zionists, instead of grasping that even the supposedly “many” (?) “anti-Zionist” Jews fall on the counter-revolutionary side on that central question.
    And in the end SF is only battling this question out in order to remain within the LAW group anyway, continuing the illusion that the working class needs to enter the Labour Party itself!
    They are as much part of the problem thereby as the Weekly Worker-ites, misleading and fooling the working class and worse.

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  2. Ian says:

    There are elements of truth above, mixed with a stream-of-consciousness tirade that dilutes the good stuff with bombast. It is a matter of principle for Marxists to defend all leftists, irrespective of their views, from the pro-capitalist labour bureaucracy. In defending Greenstein we are not endorsing his politics, which are left-centrist, any more than in defending the left-reformist Ken Livingstone we are defending his. We defend workers democracy in doing both. This applies both in the trade unions, and bourgeois workers parties such as Labour.

    I largely agree that pre-war racist anti-Semitism is rare like Hen’s Teeth today. What appears to resemble it is driven largely by revulsion at Zionist treatment of the Palestinians, taking the Zionists claim of Jewry’s allegiance as good coin. However you are incorrect that no one has to be Jewish. No one has to be ideologically Jewish, it is true. But Jewishness is not synonymous with the Jewish religion, and equating it with Freemasonry does not work either. Jews are not and never were a bourgeois-revolutionary secret society. At times they have been dominated by a reactionary rabbinate, about as far from freemasonry as you can get.

    The Jewish question has an element of a national question about it, without Jews being actually a nation. They also have suffered major ethnic oppression and indeed genocide in the recent past but that has been reversed within living memory of older people. We cannot capitulate to the ruthless exploitation of the history of the Nazi holocaust and its precursors by Jewish racists and communalists today but neither can it be simply dismissed as a factor in leftists who support the Palestinians. We are hostile to Jewish communalism and supremacism in all forms, but you cannot simply say that all and every form of consciousness derived from Jewish identity is reactionary. It depends on concretes.

    And the Labour Party still has the allegiance of the class conscious workers. That is particularly important to understand as the Corbyn movement represents a reassertion of that class element after a period of three decades when the working class pole of Labour as a bourgeois workers party was buried under a mountain of dead dogs by neoliberalism. Refusing to recognise this shift in Labour is as wrong as the ‘lefts’ Lenin polemicised against in ‘Left-wing Communism’.

    Our orientation does not put us ‘on the fringes’ of the Weekly Worker, but they are an important opponent in terms of the recent history of some of our cadre. Exposing their fakery, not least to their own people, is inportant because they have a pretence of being for principled debate among Marxists. There was a time when that was genuine, but third-campism has rotted their top cadre to the point that there are self-conscious opportunists at their core.

    But they still have to be exposed through principled engagement and polemic. Just throwing rocks at them won’t defeat them politically. It lets them off the hook.

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  3. Chris Barratt says:

    I want to heartily agree with comrade Ian that engaging with other groups, by arguing with other groups, does not put you “on their fringes” in any way, especially in a pejorative way, for the reasons Ian gives. “On the fringe” should be used to describe hangers-on who are insecure in their allegiances or their politics. Socialist Fight argues with the WW and takes the fight to them at times (at the WW university and on their online Letters pages) and no slights are appropriate for describing such work.
    I think there are some valuable approaches in Socialist Fight’s efforts to denounce the Jewish lobby, counter the fraud of “left-wing anti-Semitism” and stand up for the Palestinian struggle.
    Nevertheless, the EPSR’s all-round attack on the politics and defence of Zionism is sharper, stronger and more scientific.
    I want to seriously suggest to Socialist Fight to never call the vile criminal seizure of the Palestinians’ land “Israel” without quote marks.
    Taking off the quote marks legitimises Zionland, and is a little nod to the acceptance by the stinking colonial Western world that “Israel” is a “legal country”, “recognised by the UN” (and by dunderheaded Stalinism in 1947-48). Are you bound by Western niceties or such fake “legalities”? Put the quote marks on to show that you do not accept that this fascist land-theft from its rightful population is to be accepted!!
    Zionland should be called that; there should be nothing but Marxist scientific description, insults and aggressive hatred for this land-theft by Western colonialism in the epoch of decolonisation.
    For the same reasons, this colonial armed camp on Arab/Palestinian land is NOT a nation, and given the Marxist definition of states, which comrade Ian provides, it is therefore NOT a state either. Or a semi-state, inside or outside its brutal Nazi cuckoo’s nest in the Middle East.
    Don’t make any such concessions to this villainy!! Don’t let scholasticism or academic thinking get in the way of full-blooded, human, and Marxist revolutionary political fighting!!
    What the Zionist lobby hates is the identification of the Zionist lobby as being exactly the same as the Jewish lobby, and that Jewishness in this modern world is the same as Zionism. The tiny number of Jews who do not defend “Israel” are totally politically insignificant.
    (And, yes, as the EPSR says, Jewry is a freemasonry in the useful sense of the word – not Christian and not medieval bourgeois but a modern capitalist protection racket for their fascist-colonial interests.)
    Zionism and the Zionist occupation of Palestine and its Nazi military onslaughts derive their power (and weaknesses) from the whole Western and US imperialist historic CRISIS period we are in – the West’s need to project its domination and need for monopoly-capitalist crisis warmongering.
    Their revolutionary downfall springs from the same circumstances.
    Therefore a far stronger investigation and all-round Marxist political attack on international and historic imperialist crisis is required, and explaining how the system is getting into deeper competitive trade war and heading for inter-imperialist shooting war would also greatly enrich all Socialist Fight’s efforts to denounce Zionism, the Jewish lobby and their “left” defenders – and highlight how Western colonial fascism HAS TO BE DEFEATED and overthrown by the masses of the planet. This understanding is the starting point for explaining why the “war on terror” is a total fraud and why “condemning terror” as the middle-class fake “left” does is a completely anti-Leninist deception of the working class.
    Such understanding is the greatest strength of the EPSR’s Marxist-Leninist analysis; while other fake “left” groups flounder around, because even when they get any immediate issue “right” (very, very rarely) it is treated purely as an isolated “episode” because they are not linking all class-war processes on the planet together by showing them as aspects of the GLOBAL, HISTORIC monopoly-capitalist crisis.

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  4. Ian says:

    It is simply wrong, and a denial of reality, to say that Israel is not a state. It is dominated by armed bodies of men and women that certainly have prisons etc at their disposal. It really would be news to the many impisoned, tortured and worse by the Israeli state that it is not a state.

    It is not a nation-state, that is true. But many states in history were not nation-states. Most feudal states. The Confederate States of America. The short-lived Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The Paris Commune. The USSR. None of these were nation states. But they were states, even if in some cases short-lived. There is no problem with calling any of these by the names they called themselves.

    We simply do not consider bourgeois legality when deciding what to call something. Nor does using its name imply approval or disapproval. You can use the word ‘Israel’ and at the same time point out its complete lack of legitimacy through its expulsion of the indigenous Arab majority. Calling it ‘Zionland’ does not add anything to that but it does add a barrier to people understanding what is being said.

    We need to discuss this question of ‘the crisis’ in depth and with some readings I think. This aspect of Chris’ politics is quite compatible with third period Stalinism but its concrete origins are in the politics of Gerry Healy. This is not to deny that capitalism is a crisis-ridden system whose crises give birth to opportunities for workers revolution.

    But what is wrong is an overarching concept of ‘the crisis’ that acts automatically and substitutes for concrete analysis and the patient building of Marxist organisation founded on programme and consciousness. That’s what Healyism gave birth to, and its a serious flaw.

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