Is Labour's Anti-Semitism "scandal" conclusive proof that the reformists will never be allowed anywhere near power?

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Mike Harman
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Aug 3 2018 07:02
ajjohnstone wrote:
What puzzles me is why there is little to no defence against the charges.

Well there's two things going on (more than two of course):

1. Right wingers (Jewish or not) trying to frame any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic

2. Labour figures responding to any accusation of anti-Semitism existing in the Labour Party as 'Tory/establishment smears'.

The latter has slowed down recently a bit, but last year and the year before it was all over the place.

Paul Mason can usually be relied upon to be all over the fucking place, so as an example:

September 2016:

If there’d been 1 incident of anti-semitism, misogyny or threats in 6 months of C4 undercover rushes, they would have shown it. Surely?

And another one:

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jeremy-corbyn-supporters_uk_57da7a5ce4b0d584f7eff173"I see what they’ve done all over the summer. The spurious allegations of harassment, the spurious allegations of anti-Semitism, the spurious allegations of sexism, all designed to drag Labour’s image down so that the polls tank. That’s what the Right in Labour is up to..... You show me a single Corbyn supporter who has been convicted of harassment, convicted of anti-Semitism. Show it to me.”

March 2018:

[url=https://twitter.com/paulmasonnews/status/980077401442054145]Good, well reasoned argument about why Labour must fight rising antisemitism & its reflection inside party ...

March 2018:
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/bbc-newsnight-presenter-paul-mason-explains-why-he-was-in-secret-facebook-group-antisemitic-material-1.460240

April 2018:

That’s the bigger story behind wave after wave of smears unleashed against Jeremy Corbyn - even if you accept, as I do, that he is an imperfect politician and that Labour has specific challenges with anti-Semitism, which it has handled badly.

So in 2016 we get grandstanding, "show me the anti-Semitism! Where is it?!?!?1", in 2018 it's "well I definitely accept that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism and hasn't handled it very well, but..." and also "someone added me to a facebook group with people I know in it, where there was a tonne of anti-Semitic content being posted, but I never check the group so didn't see any of it"
\ - of course I doubt there's an admission that Paul Mason handled the accusations badly in the first place back in 2016 in any of this.

An analogy would be someone says:

"The libcom forums have a problem with Islamophobia, one person on there went on to join Generation Identity and they published something by a UKIP member".

You could respond by saying that this is a smear! where's the evidence! etc., but then someone could point to this thread where Kingzog was pushing Islamophobic conspiracy theories for a couple of pages, and we recently found out he joined Generation Identity since. http://libcom.org/forums/news/migrants-sexual-violence-19042016

Now in that thread everyone was arguing with him, then he got banned, but nevertheless the comments are there and could be screenshotted by someone making that accusation in bad faith.

You could also show him here happily talking about left communism, Chartism and Bernie Sanders less than a month before he was banned:
https://libcom.org/blog/towards-anarchist-perspective-2016-primaries-25032016 or his posts in 2012 about Andrew Kliman and value theory: https://libcom.org/forums/theory/some-critical-remarks-klimans-proposition-increasing-workers-income-27092012 - so not a random person who joined and immediately started throwing racist shit around, but someone who posted on the site for years quite happily prior to that happening (I haven't gone back through their posts to look for early warning signs).

Or for that matter that we published something from a former Class War member who went on to join UKIP: http://libcom.org/library/british-islamism-towards-anarchist-response-paul-stott (of course it was published to be argued against, but the accusation in itself would not be false).

Or on anti-Semitism itself there's still posts around accusing libcom of siding with holocaust deniers because we removed a post about Gilles Dauve's dad: https://antigerman.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/gilles-dauve-jean-barrot-guy-dauve-la-vielle-taupe-pierre-guillaume-amadeo-bordiga-didier-daeninckx-not-bored-and-libcom/ and host https://libcom.org/library/auschwitz-big-alibi (some background on all that from the old John Gray site: https://libcom.org/library/john-gray-introduction-question-state).

So to deal with bad faith accusations around stuff like this properly, you'd need to be able to point people to what actually happened, what action was or wasn't taken, whether something could have been done better, not just dismiss the entire thing as right wing smears - and this can build trust for when something is just completely made up or taken out of context.

Mike Harman
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Aug 3 2018 09:25

Don't think it's been mentioned here, but on the more thoughtful end of things from a few months ago (at least in the context of 'people who actually care about what happens in the Labour Party'):
Matt Bolton and F H Pitts.
https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/03/combat-left-anti-semitism-corbynism-must-y change-way-it-sees-world

If like me you have a natural revulsion to the NS, FH Pitts wrote this, which is about machine-fragmentism (Virno, Gorz, Demanding the Future, Mason, Bastani) and is pretty good.
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2017.1397360 (academic site but open access PDF).

There's a response to it from the New Socialist, which afaict is mostly pro-Corbyn mostly Leninists, but for a pro-Corbyn/Labour publication it's the most critical one (i.e. unlike Novara which is completely uncritical of Corbyn and the rest of the shadow cabinet, preferring to take selfies with Emily Thornberry, or call pro-Iraq-war, pro-Modi, pro-immigration controls Barry Gardiner 'the people's gardiner').

https://newsocialist.org.uk/antisemitism-editorial/

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Red Marriott
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Aug 3 2018 11:59

It is pathetic that Corbynism has so easily given in to such crude smear tactics, even as they are slightly ahead in the polls. You might have thought that would have tempered a little their opportunist submission but they don’t even seem prepared to lose a minority of votes by insisting criticism of Israel (even by a Jewish Holocaust survivor) isn’t necessarily anti-semitism.

Of more importance for those radicals outside the Corbyn camp is the likelihood that similar tactics will, if necessary, be used against more radical movements and may achieve similar success. But then, as their acceptance by submission of obviously false slanders makes clear (with no defence given of their erstwhile ‘comrade’ Meyer the Holocaust survivor) such tactics could probably as easily come from a Corbyn government. For those who only care about what you can make people believe rather than truth - propaganda, PR and manufacturing consent is the road to power and if they play by those rules now they’ll rule by those rules.

Mike Harman
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Aug 3 2018 15:48
Red Marriott wrote:
but they don’t even seem prepared to lose a minority of votes by insisting criticism of Israel (even by a Jewish Holocaust survivor) isn’t necessarily anti-semitism.

Really seems simple to say 'holocaust survivors can say what they like about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians' and leave it there but then does the front bench even agree on this when the shadow foreign Secretary is connected to Labour Friends of Israel?
http://www.lfi.org.uk/emily-thornberry-visits-israel-with-lfi/

ajjohnstone
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Aug 4 2018 04:24

Corbyn defends himself and the Labour Party

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/03/jeremy-corbyn-antisemitism-labour-party

Forgive my cynicism but it appears to be "guilty as charged, promise to do better in future".

And the response?

Gideon Falter, the chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, dismissed what he called “a vague and meaningless article”. He said that Corbyn had “again preached to Jews that he is right to have rewritten the international definition of antisemitism” and was not taking on board the concerns of the Jewish community.

A spokesman for the Jewish Labour Movement expressed disappointment at Corbyn’s words: “Today, other than another article bemoaning a situation of the party’s own making, nothing has changed. There is no trust left. We find ourselves asking once again for action, not words.”

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jondwhite
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Aug 4 2018 04:30

Although you may stop short of regarding Leninism as a ruling class weapon, rather than just another stricter form of well-intentioned leftism sharing broad goals with socialists, Leninism is almost certainly a ruling class weapon.
One Leninist conceit is that anarchist or socialist opposition to Labour is indifference to the contrast between Labour and the Tories or petty ivory tower principle.
It's not. And there is more to Leninist attempts to parlay support for Labour into Leninism than you think. Where Labourism is strong and Leninism is not, Leninism uses lesser of two evils fallacy. Not fellow travelers so much as a cuckoo in the nest. At what point do Leninists stop calling for a vote for Labour and why?

A strong argument can be made that Leninism is a form of Social democracy, in particular the economics.

Why attacks on Corbyn should lead to abandonment of respectability, legitimacy or legality I'm not sure. How does this fit in with your notion of "the mainstream movement"? If you imagine there are shortcuts to socialism, there are not.

Having said that - Nymphalis' smug condescension can only serve to put people off, deter engagement, demoralise and damaging the cause. It is poison to those new to libcom. Bans should be for this belligerent demeaning attitude, not sincere questioning about Corbyn. After all, it is a discussion forum, not an echo chamber.

ajjohnstone
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Aug 5 2018 22:27

Another Corbyn apology
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-45077647

The Campaign Against Antisemitism criticised the video for being "insincere" and said Mr Corbyn had failed to address his own issues with anti-Semitism.

Gideon Falter, chairman of the group, said: "Jeremy Corbyn has released yet another bland statement devoid of any apology for his own anti-Semitism or promises of specific actions. In his Guardian article on Friday he called our concerns 'overheated rhetoric' and in this video he says that our concerns must not be dismissed. It is just another contradictory, hypocritical, insincere attempt to whitewash his own role as the author of this nightmare."

It appears from the accusation that it has escalated from anti-semitism of elements within the Labour Party to claims of personal anti-semitism of Corbyn himself.

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Vlad The Inhaler
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Aug 5 2018 23:14

It was always going to. Despite thinking that this is a cynical witch hunt to remove Corbyn and/or his supporters I can also believe that he has handled the whole thing like a typical cack-handed Social Democrat. When you want to be everyone's friend you're always going to get found out eventually because try as you might you can't be everyone's friend. If you stand with the working class then you can't stand with Capital at the same time. If you stand for oppressed minorities like the Palestinians then you cannot also stand for the pro-Israel lobby. They've picked a side, so must you. There's no version of kumbaya that is going to fix the fundamental divisions in society.

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jondwhite
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Aug 6 2018 03:37

Sorry but the notion that social democrats are cack-handed or ineffective and must pick a side or else are some sort of betrayers is typical Bolshevik. Labour picked a side no later than 1906 when at their conference, when they rejected the class struggle. Corbyn's speech to the city of London brings this defence of capitalism up to the present. This is no betrayal because this implies they stood for socialism in the first place. Supporters of one state solution (or two) in Israel-Palestine are not on our side.

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Vlad The Inhaler
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Aug 6 2018 07:43
jondwhite wrote:
Sorry but the notion that social democrats are cack-handed or ineffective and must pick a side or else are some sort of betrayers is typical Bolshevik. Labour picked a side no later than 1906 when at their conference, when they rejected the class struggle. Corbyn's speech to the city of London brings this defence of capitalism up to the present. This is no betrayal because this implies they stood for socialism in the first place. Supporters of one state solution (or two) in Israel-Palestine are not on our side.

I think you misunderstood. I was in fact saying the same thing.

ajjohnstone
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Aug 10 2018 02:10

This lengthy detailed article from Media Lens is well worth a read

http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/876-israel-is-the-real-problem.html

It includes some useful links that also make good reading such as this one

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/hijacking-victimhood-and-demonizing-dissent/

ajjohnstone
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Aug 12 2018 04:03

When asked if they believed Labour is an “institutionally antisemitic party”, 40 per cent of those polled said they disagreed, 23 per cent agreed and 37 per cent did not know.

The poll found that 35 per cent of people did not believe Mr Corbyn was antisemitic while 27 per cent did and 38 per cent said they did not know.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-antisemitism-party-jeremy-corbyn-majority-poll-ihra-a8487591.html

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Aug 13 2018 13:09

The OP say:

Quote:
As someone who has been part of the mainstream movement in and around Labour for years the nagging doubt that the closer we got to the levers of state power (as much as any government does, anyway) the more all the weapons, soft as well as hard, would be deployed against us.

Then s/he says

Quote:
I am not, nor have I ever been a Social Democrat. I have always subscribed to a version of revolutionary politics and rejected electoralism, gradualism and reformism.

And emphasises it with

Quote:
I. Am. Not. A. Social. Democrat. Or. A. Corbynista.

And yet no-one seems to have noted the contradiction here. Instead I get attacked for attacking his idiotic OP - which expicitly says s/he

Quote:
has been part of the mainstream movement in and around Labour for years

and talks of "we" getting closer "to the levers of power". Labour with a capital L (besides, the labour movement in the UK has been moribund for the last couple of decades or more), with which s/he associates himself with his/her "we".

If s/he seriously thinks s/he has been

Quote:
walking away from Leninism

and

Quote:
Returning to first principles

then I can't see it - because first principles would be to stop playing silly buggers with words and playing politics and say straightforwardly what s/he wants or does not want.

As for R. Totales

Quote:
is it only ok if they're the right kind of mistakes?

- there's a fundamental difference in just repeating the same old mistakes that have ended up reinforcing capitalism in various ways (and reinforcing confusion also) and making new mistakes which come from a refusal to adhere to any statist ideology - whether it be social democracy under a Labour "movement" disguse or under a Leninist disguise (Leninism being merely a form of social democracy adapted to countries where a reformist transition to a relatively independent national form of capitalism, and the development of the productive forces that is one of the main bases of capitalism, was impossible because the ruling class were wholly submissive to foreign capital).

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Vlad The Inhaler
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Aug 13 2018 14:08
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:

The OP say:

Quote:
As someone who has been part of the mainstream movement in and around Labour for years the nagging doubt that the closer we got to the levers of state power (as much as any government does, anyway) the more all the weapons, soft as well as hard, would be deployed against us.

My reasons for working with Labour people is simply because for all their illusions in Social Democracy they are the active and class conscious members of our class. If you only want to work with people at a similar level of political development as you then enjoy holding your meetings in a phone box.

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
Then s/he says
Quote:
I am not, nor have I ever been a Social Democrat. I have always subscribed to a version of revolutionary politics and rejected electoralism, gradualism and reformism.

And emphasises it with

Quote:
I. Am. Not. A. Social. Democrat. Or. A. Corbynista.

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
And yet no-one seems to have noted the contradiction here. Instead I get attacked for attacking his idiotic OP - which expicitly says s/he
Quote:
has been part of the mainstream movement in and around Labour for years
Quote:
and talks of "we" getting closer "to the levers of power". Labour with a capital L (besides, the labour movement in the UK has been moribund for the last couple of decades or more), with which s/he associates himself with his/her "we".

There is no contradiction, see my previous answer. My goal has always been to be where the working class are.

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
If s/he seriously thinks s/he has been
Quote:
walking away from Leninism

and

Quote:
Returning to first principles

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
then I can't see it - because first principles would be to stop playing silly buggers with words and playing politics and say straightforwardly what s/he wants or does not want.

and you think the best way to help me work through my political ideas is by writing me off as some kind of degenerate? if you're not interested in helping others to reach the same level of awesome class consciousness as you then dare I say it that propagation of your ideas is held in less esteem than virtue signalling.

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Aug 13 2018 15:33

Previous post sent by mistake.
Edit:

Quote:
My goal has always been to be where the working class are.

This is Leninist politics - the kind of condescending nonsense which has often been perpetuated by the SWP (and others) to justify their tailending of the Labour Party. It is also typical politics in general - trying to win people over from where they (supposedly) are in order to ...what exactly? After well over 100 years of the working class supposedly being in the Labour Party, a party that has constantly derailed any independent activity on the part of workers and proletarians in general, to repeat endlessly this Leninist desire to recruit or seduce or whatever rather than critique those who are in this party and their illusions is going to merely contribute to repeating your own illusions as well as others.

The working class is all over the place - saying that the working class is in the Labour Party doesn't even measure up to the facts - in January 2018, Labour had 552,000 members, not all of them working class, and obviously there are a lot more workers in the UK than 552,000. You clearly want to speak on behalf of "the working class" in saying this, in order to preserve some crappy Leftist role. If they were "class conscious" they'd be doing all they could to ppose the Labour Party.

There would be more to say but really, this kind of atrophied other-directed politics - a critique of which has been around for (I'd guess) most of your adult life - won't do anything to undermine your patronising role. Revolt begins by opposing such political roles, as it does roles in general. Either act for yourself along with others (even if they only fit into a phone box) or pretend to act on behalf of the working class and continue getting nowhere.

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R Totale
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Aug 13 2018 15:41

NA, will write a longer reply later, but just wondering: are you based in the UK or elsewhere?

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Aug 13 2018 15:43

Elsewhere - I used to live in England

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R Totale
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Aug 13 2018 18:05

Anyway, yeah, my longer reply is that, to the extent that you've been "attacked" - and tbh I think the response you've received has been not really that aggressive for the most part - I don't think that's because of you disagreeing with VTI's politics, or what you interpret VTI's politics as being. After all, Red M's posts on this thread have been pretty much equally critical of Labourism and no-one seems to have responded negatively to them at all.
I think it's more that your tone that people are objecting to - coming in with your very first post on this thread with a demand that VTI should be banned and suggesting that "the vast majority of those who post on libcom" may well be "those who never rebel at all" gives the impression that you're playing the role of the more-sussed-than-everyone-else specialist in ideas, dropping by to instruct the rest of us on how to reach the correct level of consciousness. Which naturally tends to put some backs up among those of us who are trying, however imperfectly, to develop our own perspectives.

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Aug 13 2018 18:12

I did NOT demand he be banned - I said, "any genuine revolt against capital would not allow a social democrat like Vlad the Inhaler to post garbage on their site. " If he posted stuff that was not garbage then fine - but he contradicted himself and I find his self-contradictions utter garbage. I'll get back to the rest of what you say tomorrow

ajjohnstone
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Aug 13 2018 22:04

As an SPGBer i have little time for left-winger such as Corbyn but my interest is in the manipulation of the media on this current "controversy" and the hypocrisy involved.
Rather than challenge Corbyn's policies which meet with the approval of the majority of voters the right-wing have sought other tactics to discredit him and add to this is the need to thwart a possible shift in UK foreign policy if he is elected in regards to the ME. I always believed that Robin Cook was displaced as Foreign Sec. because of his perceived position on Israel and the Palestinians and he too was accused of being an anti-semite by Israelis

Today part of the camouflage is finally off.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-45170622

Netanyahu, who has been voicing support for anti-semitic regimes in Eastern Europe, has attacked Corbyn directly, as a response to the Daily Mail story.

As an aside i note that Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger said: "Being 'present' is the same as being involved. "When I attend a memorial, my presence alone, whether I lay a wreath or not, demonstrates my association and support."

This is similar to the SPGB position on demos and protests. We attend them, standing on the sidelines selling our literature of leafleting...we do not participate by marching along with our party enemies.

I mention this in passing.

Mike Harman
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Aug 14 2018 06:02

On this wreath thing there's a photo of Corbyn actually holding the wreath.

There are massive double standards given the shadow cabinet itself has prominent Israel, and Modi supporters let alone every other MP's links to other countries, but Corbyn isn't an internationalist communist, rather a weird combination of social democrat and anti-imperialist. Hence sharing platforms with the SWP and Galloway et al.

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Aug 14 2018 07:11

This has some useful info for those, like me, who don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of which Palestinian militants are buried in which graves: https://mobile.twitter.com/YairWallach/status/1029036661458591745

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Aug 14 2018 16:55

R Totale:

Quote:
Red M's posts on this thread have been pretty much equally critical of Labourism and no-one seems to have responded negatively to them at all.
I think it's more that your tone that people are objecting to

The difference between my and RedMs and other people's posts can be seen in VTI's response to them: VTI didn't really respond at all to theirs (I am referring to those that deal with his apparent attachment to "the Labour movement", not those "On The Anti-Jewish Question"), but did to mine. Precisely because the disgust of my tone differed from the merely objective fact-based criticism of the others, which he ignores. This shows you that polite dialogue with someone who contributes to the most obvious of illusions, illusions which were critiqued years and years ago, and which continue to be critiqued all over the place, is so much water off a duck's back. At least s/he reacted to me, whereas to all the other posts re. the Labour Party s/he remains largely impervious - so what's the point in not being contemptuous?
It's not a question of "playing the role of the more-sussed-than-everyone-else specialist in ideas, dropping by to instruct the rest of us on how to reach the correct level of consciousness" - but more me trying to find a way to provoke people into revealing either their attempts to get to grips with confronting reality or avoind it by using convoluted ideas (and VTI's ideas are very convoluted). Perhaps I failed - and probably I shouldn't have bothered, but sometimes I get rightly angry, though this anger and disgust has fuck-all to do with any pretension to instructing the rest of you on how to reach the correct level of consciousness. Such a role would not be be an expression of consciousness at all, quite the opposite.

VTI pretends s/he is not a social democrat despite believing that " Labour people ... for all their illusions in Social Democracy... are the active and class conscious members of our class." They are not - and describing them as such is an insult to all those who for years and years have attacked the Labour Party from a radical perspective as well as an insult to all those who act for themselves without any clearly developed class consciousness. The only activity (as LP members) they are involved in is getting their precious party "closer...to the levers of state power" , as the OP puts it. Besides what influence does VTI want to have on them since s/he clearly has no perspective outside of desperately trying to influence people for years and years without any perceivable effect whatsoever. And it's as clear as mud what the content of his/her attempts are to influencing people who have not even begun to confront their submission to this society, at least insofar as their membership of the LP goes.

Any attempt to work with people who are not at a similar level of political development as you or me is inevitably hierarchical: inequalities in understanding there almost invariably are, but a basic desire to act for ourselves and to confront what we can confront can have nothing to do with those who aim or claim first of all to raise other people's levels of consciousness - we have to first of all develop (not raise) our own consciousness amongst people we know before we can pretend to contribute to influencing, say, 520,000 people (the current LP membership).

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Aug 16 2018 04:35

VTI:

Quote:
My goal has always been to be where the working class are.

and:

Quote:
I am trying as best I can to work through thoughts, ideas and feelings in the wake of walking away from Leninism.

Franz Pfempfert:

Quote:
In order not to lose touch with the masses, one must go wherever they are to be found. This is the axis around which all of the arguments in Lenin’s book* revolve, making the book a theory of manipulation

( https://libcom.org/library/lenin-s-infantile-disorder-third-international )
* Ultra-Leftism: An Infantile Disorder