In defence of Gerry Downing in Andrew Neil’s The Daily Politics of 10 March 2016


15/08/2018 by socialistfight



On 9 March 2016, during the televised Prime Minister’s Question Time, David Cameron identified Gerry as an enemy of the state because he had said, “The 9/11 bombers must never be condemned” and “we defend the Islamic state in Syria and Iraq”. He was expelled from Labour in August 2015, was readmitted in December 2015 on appeal and was re-expelled from the Labour party within two hours of that event.

Andrew Neil interviewed him on the BBC’s Daily Politics show the following day. [i] He was recently been attacked on a Facebook thread on this by two former leftists, David Broder and Barry Buitekant, based on that interview. Broder said:

“You very definitely did advocate military support for ISIS: Andrew Neil directly challenged you on this point and you explained that you were for this position in the name of driving out US imperialism.”

Barry Buitekant said:

“Your (sic) lying Gerry.  In Socialist Fight you advocated working class military support for ISIS. Just look at Socialist Fight No 20 Autumn 2015. In your Aims of the Socialist Fight Magazine point 16 you say “Whilst giving no political support to the… ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq” … we recognise US-led world imperialism as the main enemy of humanity and so advocate critical support and tactical military assistance from the working class to all those fighting for the defeat of imperialism as part of the perspective of Permanent Revolution. “

This is point 16 in the Socialist Fight Where We Stand. The italicised bit was quoted by Andrew Neil, which does give the context, which my two ‘left’ opponents failed to provide.

  1. We were and are for the immediate withdrawal and/or defeat of imperialist armies in wars like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. Whilst giving no political support to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Sunni and Shia militias in Iraq, Hamas or Fatah in Palestine, Gaddafi (as was) in Libya, Assad in Syria, the ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq, the theocratic regime in Iran or the Donbass leadership in Eastern Ukraine we recognise US-led world imperialism as the main enemy of humanity and so advocate critical support and tactical military assistance from the working class to all those fighting for the defeat of imperialism as part of the perspective of Permanent Revolution.

He is proud of the fact that he refused to grovel to Andrew Neil, the Tory man from Paisley, in that interview. The chickens came home to roost for the US over ISIS and the 9/11 bombers. he didn’t advocate military aid to ISIS against any force other than imperialism itself. He never did, or would, support them against the Syrian Arab Army or oppressed minorities like the Kurds, Yazidis, Christians or Alawites. He refused to endorse US bombing them and refused to condemn the 9/11 bombers because Socialist Fight will always identify the USA as the global hegemonic imperialist power and the main enemy of the working class and all oppressed everywhere. They caused the problems in the Middle East that led directly to the rise of ISIS and the 9/11 bombers.

The implicit stance of the two ‘leftists’ and many other pro-imperialist lefts and third campists and ‘civilisation mongerers’, is that the US was doing humanity a favour by bombing ISIS and we should all be in favour of that. He took the only principled stance a revolutionary Trotskyist could take in that interview.

The last part of the interview was on Zionism and the Jewish Question, in which he also held his own, despite the howls of outrage from those who refuse to seriously combat their own ruling class. We have dealt with the topic in Labour Against the Witchhunt but let us cite Dave Rich of the Zionist ‘charitable’ organisation the Community Security Trust, which we learned from a freedom of Information request to the Home Office by Mrs G Millward:

“Public money has been provided by the Government to the Community Security Trust as the Grant Recipient of the Jewish Community Protective Security Grant. The amount provided for 2015-16 (the first year of this Grant) was £10.9m. For 2016-17 and 2017-18 the funding for each year was £13.4m (including a £3.0m contribution from the Department for Education – DfE).

Charities are not supposed to engage in political campaigning but, although extremely politically

hostile to us, Rich politically identified the Socialist Fight stance more objectively and fairly than most leftists opponents. He rejects the lying slanders of our ‘leftist’ opponents here:

“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.”

So he admits that referring the Jewish Question is not antisemitic, as Andrew Neil implied and many other opponents have said openly. He goes on:

The key Trotskyist text is The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation, written by a wartime Jewish Trotskyist called Abram Leon. Leon wrote The Jewish Question while in hiding in Belgium during the Nazi occupation, before being caught and deported to Auschwitz where he was killed. The book built on Karl Marx’s original On The Jewish Question (written a century earlier) by coming up with the concept of the “people-class”: a distinct ethnic, religious or racial group, such as Jews, whose characteristics become effectively synonymous with their economic function in society. Using this theory, Leon explained that Jews survived in European history because they were traders and moneylenders and therefore had value in medieval society.” [ii]

And later

Leon’s book has proven enormously influential in Trotskyist thinking about Jews. Gerry Downing’s article on his Socialist Fight website titled “Why Marxists must address the Jewish question concretely today” draws extensively on Leon. Several other articles on the website do the same. The Socialist Workers Party pamphlet Israel: The Hijack State claims that “Leon’s book is today recognised as the authority on the Jewish question by both Jewish and non-Jewish opponents of Zionism” (emphasis in the original). Shlomo Sand, author of The Invention of the Jewish People, said “I feel that Abram Leon is my family” – politically speaking.”

So, there you have it. Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan are as bad as Karl Marx, Abram Leon, the Socialist Workers Party and Shlomo Sands on the Jewish Question. We’ll take that.


[i] Gerry Downing’s Daily Politics interview with Andrew Neil, 9 March 2016,


[ii] Dave Rich, Gerry Downing’s ‘Jewish Question’ 10 Mar 2016,

One thought on “In defence of Gerry Downing in Andrew Neil’s The Daily Politics of 10 March 2016

  1. Chris Barratt says:

    I watched the video in full. Not bad, Gerry – you gave a pretty good account of yourself. I think you were a bit flummoxed about the argument over Zionist influence over Western warmongering politics. Surely it would be easier to say that, in the modern world, it is pointless to try to separate Jew from Zionist, given 95% of Jews support “Israel”.
    That would sum up the “Jewish question” – see the EPSR anti-Zionist book I gave you. All the arguments on this issue are dealt with.
    When it comes to the 9/11 – your refusal to condemn the hijackers is excellent. But the reason for doing this is beyond the matter of the legitimate outrage of the Arab peoples at US imperialist domination of their lands – it is because the US Empire is trying to use bombing and blitzing of countries to reassert its top dog status in the world (in the light of the global “over-production” crisis) and therefore the massacring of Afghanistan and the Middle East has got NOTHING to do with “fighting evil terrorists”. The “war on terror” is a total lying fraud.
    In as much as it is connected to the Middle Eastern peoples, it is about the US Empire blitzing and torturing them to continue to DOMINATE them, to assert the Empire’s ability to continue to dominate the proletariat around the world. It was never, as the shallow “lefts” say, simply “a war for oil”.
    When it comes to ISIS etc, the correct line is surely “no political support” as you say, but also it is better, rather than saying “tactical military support” in the fight against imperialism, to stand for the DEFEAT of US and Western imperialism, from whatever quarter, and mock the Western “peace movement” for just bleating “No to War”, as if the West listens to pacifism.
    However, if you were influencing actual working-class forces in the Middle East, then the advice to them would be to follow Lenin’s line, and be ready to “strike together” with jihadist forces (or Assad) in the fight against imperialism and its stooge governments, but look out for serious back-stabbing from the petty-bourgeois anti-communist jihadist forces (while bearing in mind that in Lebanon, for example, the Lebanese Communist Party had to learn how to fight again from the Hezbollah forces, and that these disparate forces fought very well together against the Zionists, with Hezbollah being the major force).
    So, finally, it should be said that “condemning terror”, as all the Labour, Trot and revisionist “left” do is a sick joke against Marxism that HELPS imperialism get away with mass murder and continued brainwashing domination of the world working class.


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