Dissecting Bernstein: Bernstein in the 1910s.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/03/2018 - 12:54pm in



Last week we examined one of Matt's claims for the resurrection of Eduard Bernstein. Today we'll consider another one. In Matt's gospel, Bernstein had been a Pharisee. He, however, had an epiphany and converted Reformism. According to Matt, Bernstein heard the words "Eduard, Eduard, why persecutest thou me" as early as the "1910's".

Is Matt right?

The short answer:
It's a good legend, one that Bernstein himself may have contributed to create. The problem is that all evidence seems to contradict it. Bernstein is not a trustworthy source.

Let's proceed by steps. By now, careful readers -- even if they didn’t read Preconditions -- know that "as early as the 1910's" is another howler: Voraussetzungen was published in 1899. By this measure, you are over 11 years late, Matt.

Like in the literary executor thing, however, there's more beyond that. Unlike in the literary executor thing, Matt's latest brain fart has far deeper consequences.

Nowhere in Preconditions Bernstein mentions it (neither does Tudor), but in September 17-18, 1879 Marx and Engels wrote precisely about Bernstein’s reformism. They were seriously pissed off, too, to the point of threatening to publicly denounce the SPD, then underground. Yup, believe it or not.

By this second measure, you are late by some thirty years, Matt. Yes: 30.

Bernstein's omission is tantamount to a lie. As Engels' literary executor he was responsible for curating the latter's papers. He otherwise quoted them liberally when it suited his purposes, yet, that letter's text was only made public in its German original in 1931 (a "mainstream Marxist" initiative) and in its full English translation in 1984, with MECW vol. 24 (pp. 253-269).

[A]There's more. MECW vol. 45 (published in 1991) shows a paper trail starting at least the previous June. In it both Engels and Marx detail their increasingly harsh opinion of Bernstein. At least August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Nikolai Danielson, Friedrich Adolph Sorge, Johann Philip Becker and … Eduard Bernstein himself had been privy to that.

That material is copyrighted, but here is the partial text of Marx's September 19 letter to Sorge in Hoboken. "The Leipzigers" are August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht, among others. "Their Zürich allies" (variously referred to elsewhere as the "Zürich trio" or simply as "Zürichers") are Bernstein, his master Karl Höchberg, and one Karl August Schramm.

The sobering thing is that that lie may not be the most egregious in Bernstein's case.

The longer answer:
The short answer is not satisfactory, though. There’s heaps left out.

First a little background.

In October 1878 the Reichstag passed the Anti-Socialist Law, seizing SPD funds, closing a number of party publications and issuing arrest warrants against a number of militants. SPD deputies in the Reichstag, however, were left largely undisturbed. Indeed, over the law’s 12-year long duration, the SPD parliamentary group (the Fraktion) grew.

To replace now-closed Vorwärts (formerly the flagship of the socialist press) the party decided to launch Der Sozialdemokrat, based in Zürich, with official endorsement. Höchberg, a wealthy publisher, generously came forward to provide the funds and the editorship for the new publication. His team included 28-yo Eduard Bernstein, high-school education, no experience as journalist, and no demonstrated inclination for intellectual work (unlike Karl Kautsky, his close friend from this time, also in Höchberg's team).

It was an anonymous article coming from the Höchberg-Bernstein group that led Marx and Engels to threaten the SPD, as mentioned above. That article’s authorship has been the object of much speculation. Regardless of who its precise authors were one thing is clear: even if Bernstein only played a minor role in its composition (I’m not convinced of this), he knew of it, and at the time never gave any indication of disagreement with its content (or even of the knowledge required to disagree).

The three men met in November 1880, Bebel acting as moderator (it wouldn’t be the last time he had to cover Bernstein’s ass). Despite their 1879 agreement, Bebel now wanted Bernstein as Der Sozialdemokrat editor. To appease Marx and Engels, he and Bernstein had to rush desperately to London (someday I’ll write about the road to the Bebel-Bernstein Road to Canossa, as they called this episode).

How did that meeting go? Marx and Engels voiced their opinions, that much is clear: Bernstein himself described that. Otherwise he was exasperatingly vague.

Bebel’s own account reveals even less of substance. His own attitude about the concerns of Marx and Engels, however, is as cavalier as his understanding of the issues at play is appalling: in a nutshell, the “oldsters” -- Bebel’s description -- were making a storm in a tea cup, because Bernstein’s boss was a fair dinkum top bloke.

At any event, I checked MECW and couldn’t find anything from Marx and Engels about that meeting, which suggests they accepted Bebel’s assurances. Anyway, short of denouncing the SPD, what else could they have done? Both enjoyed a huge moral authority, but Bebel was in charge, not them.

In 1880 Bernstein wasn’t “drummed out” at all, Matt: Bebel got him the job. This was a serious mistake, as we’ll see soon: at best, a grossly unqualified simpleton, at worst a cynical careerist, was put in charge of what was arguably the most important publication of German social democracy. Either way, a loose cannon.

Marx himself wouldn’t live to regret that decision: he died less than 3 years later.

(In itself this episode contrasts with the myth, dear to anti-Marxists, of Marx as Allah and Engels as his Prophet whose every wishes were their faithfuls’ commands).

MECW does contain letters from Engels to Bernstein, though. As a result of that meeting, Engels apparently saw himself as a mentor. For years he followed Bernstein’s journalistic career as closely as circumstances allowed: by mail. In his first letters, addressing himself to “Herr Bernstein”, Engels explained things (the ills of reformism, among them) as a teacher would a student. With time, as the student progressed, the teacher’s trust grew. No longer it was a teacher supervising a student: “Herr Bernstein” became “Dear Ede”.

Until he died, in 1895, it’s apparent that Engels believed Dear Ede was one of them. With reservations, he extended that appraisal to the socialist leadership.

In what concerns Bernstein, Engel's belief would prove ultimately mistaken, but it wasn’t gratuitous. Whatever Dear Ede really thought, he behaved and expressed himself as a “mainstream Marxist”. The youthful no-frills reformist successfully re-branded himself.

That served him well, too. In two years the young bank clerk and part-time rank-and-file militant had become a full-time party employee and internationally-known newspaper editor. Not bad, uh? The best, however, was yet to come. From there, he rose to prominence within the German socialist movement as Engels’ protegé.

His ascension can hardly be explained by his intellectual gifts. His literary output at the time was the standard for a journalist. Characters as different as Bebel and Joseph Schumpeter could assess Bernstein's personality in surprisingly coincident ways: not much of a thinker, but a "lovable" one (in Schumpeter's words!!). His ascension seems more a matter of making friends and being in the right place at the right time. You know, on second thoughts, maybe he wasn’t a simpleton, after all.

Franz Mehring offers a tactful, bare-bones version of that episode. I had to dug out many of the details from a variety of sources (chiefly MECW, vol. 24, 27, 45-50).

The episode that follows is much better covered: Tudor’s account for one, Paul Hampton’s for another.

Fast forward to 1895. Engels was in for a rude awakening: at 74 he was dying of cancer. The newly legalised SPD commissioned him an article, specifying additionally that he should tone down the revolution talk: for the good of the party, they demanded, don't rock the boat. By that time, Bernstein had moved to London, where he networked like crazy with the Fabians. After the closure of Der Sozialdemokrat, he worked as a foreign correspondent for the new Vorwärts (the re-opened official SPD newspaper, no less), edited by Wilhelm Liebknecht, and for Die Neue Zeit, edited by Kautsky.

Engels reluctantly accepted the job. He also expressed in writing both to the party leadership and to close friends his unease about the whole business (he didn't know it and it certainly didn’t help him much then, but in the long run, that was a lucky decision).

The powers that be, however, were in a rush and the oldster was taking too long to die; moreover, they weren’t happy with his forced “moderation” and decided to adulterate his words to make him sound like a born-again reformist, who at last repented from his revolutionary sins. Without even awaiting for his death, they published a bowdlerised version behind his back, going beyond Engels’ forced concessions.

Guess where it was published? In … Liebknecht’s (and Bernstein’s) Vorwärts! (Interestingly, Ignaz Auer, an insubordinate reformist assistant editor who hated Liebknecht’s guts and wasn’t one of Engels’ fans, was infamous for taking liberties with texts).

We’ll never know who redacted Engels’ text and with who's authority he/she acted. Engels thought the buck should stop with Liebknecht, as editor (the letter he supposedly wrote him was never found). Another question impossible to answer is who was more surprised, Engels himself or hundreds of thousands of German socialist militants: decades-old truths allegedly were no longer so. Worse, German social democracy was the model for socialists worldwide.

Engels was aware the harm that would do to the socialist movement the world over, to say nothing of his own personal reputation: he had put that in writing to the party leadership. An old dying man had to fight one last desperate battle against his disciples. Things had changed from fifteen years earlier.

To Karl Kautsky’s credit, an unadultered version of Engels’ toned-down article was finally printed in Die Neue Zeit. By then, however, the harm was done: an article by Engels, no less, disavowing the revolution? The foreign socialist press could not possibly miss that, let alone the enemies of socialism outside the socialist movement.

Why didn’t Engels stick to his and Marx’s 1879 threat and denounce the SPD in public? One could speculate that the balance of power between the two parties had shifted, but we’ll probably never know for sure, so there seems to be little point in the exercise.

Engels died shortly after that. His person was spared the worst of the betrayal, too. Bernstein, however, didn't spare his memory.

Within a few years he came triumphantly out of the reformist closet. Conveniently his road-to-Damascus moment happened when his job was safe.

Again, Bernstein re-branded himself. He had found his anti-Marx champion: the Vorwärts-doctored version of Engels (apparently, even the toned-down Die Neue Zeit version wasn’t good enough). From 1896 on Bernstein published his revisionist articles professing not only his undying love for Engels, Marx and the socialist movement, but feigning an exceedingly unlikely ignorance of the events Hampton (and Tudor) related, chastising -- on top -- “mainstream Marxists” for not following Engels’ “example”. Engels, Bernstein claimed, had not only gradually moved towards reformism, he also knew (and presumably approved) of Bernstein's flip-flop.

I wish I could claim credit for discovering that. But I can't. I learned that from Tudor:

"[E]ven the text thus bowdlerised was capable of interpretations other than the one Bernstein proffered in his letter to the Stuttgart Conference. Rosa Luxemburg, for one, was able to detect its revolutionary intent; and she did not have the benefit of personal acquaintance with its author.

"In fact, Bernstein was well aware that he had put forward a onesided account of Engels's position." (p. xxiii)

Whether he realised it or not, it’s irrelevant: it took him over fifteen years, but Bernstein had his revenge. Once he had to crawl before the two oldsters to get a job. Now he was free to destroy their work, using Engels’ own name for that. Unwittingly, Matt ended up being right on something: “The world had changed in ways Marx had not predicted”.

History is not the morality tale Matt wants us to believe, but if it were, he would be on the wrong side.

Bernstein’s reformism wasn't the result of a positivist comparison of predictions versus facts. You have it backwards, Matt. He didn’t start from a “mainstream Marxist” stance or wait for facts to derive reformism. Much like you, Matt, Bernstein disliked Marxism viscerally, he just needed a rationalisation.

Reformism was older than Marxist socialism. Bernstein’s critique was crafted to justify his preferred conclusion and it would be more accurate to say that he somehow managed to have a 15 or so year-long outwardly Marxist phase (between around 1880 and 1896-97, a year or two after Engels’ death) within a 82 year-long life, where reformism was his default.

He owed his career to that outwardly Marxist phase.

This does it for Claim 2. Claim 3 (the spirit of socialism), and Claim 4 (the International and Bernstein) are next.

Image Credits:
[A] MECW Vol 24. p. 255.
[B] Source: Wikimedia. This image is in the public domain.
[C] Source: Wikimedia. Author: Akl. This work is in the public domain.
[D] "Erstausgabe der Zeitung 'Der Sozialdemokrat' (1879)". Source: Wikimedia. Author: Machahn. This work is in the public domain.

Dangerous Crops

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/03/2018 - 4:39am in

(To begin the embiggenation process, click the gimme cap in the cartoon below.)

Bizarro is brought to you today Trump Voodoo Doll.

There was a time when people were romantic about America’s “heartland,” as though it was where good, wholesome, moral, honest folks came from, as opposed to “big city folk”.  But to my mind these days, it seems to represent people who voted for and continue to support a racist White House that openly promises to take benefits away from poor children, the elderly, the disabled, the disadvantaged-in-general, while arresting innocent children who were born in the U.S. and throwing them out of the country because their parents came here out of desperation to make a better life for themselves and their children. (Don’t even try to tell me the immigrant issue is about jobs because there are no facts to back that bullshit up. And if you think it’s not about racism or jobs, it’s about the “rule of law,” let’s audit your taxes for the last ten years and see how law-abiding you are.)

If all of that isn’t enough to dissuade you from visiting The Heartland, consider that not one newspaper in Nebraska carries Bizarro, but all of them carry Marmaduke and Family Circus. There’s a reason they call these places “Flyover States.” Innumerable reasons, actually.

Disclaimer: If you are a decent, compassionate, open-minded person in The Heartland who thinks racism and bigotry have no place in our government, I’m not talking about you.

Disclaimer disclaimer: If you are a decent, compassionate, open-minded person in The Heartland who enjoys Bizarro but also really enjoys Marmaduke and Family Circus, and not in an ironic way, I might still be talking about you.

Hey! What’s my buddy, Wayno been cartooning about this week?…

The thing I like most about The Bible is that you can interpret it to mean anything you want. (Unless you’re what the rest of us call a “religious nut.”)  In this case, Wayno interprets the “serpent” to be a representative of Kellogg’s who is attempting to entice some friendly naked people into losing their souls while also promoting poor spelling.

All these years I’ve been avoiding snakes and it turns out toucans are the devil. And I guess that lump in the front of my throat is an “Adam’s Loop.”

Wayno writes about our week in cartoons every weekend, too, and you’ll find a link to that post at the end of this one. BUT… here’s a short, older post in which he describes the clever name he has given to the specific mechanism behind the Froot Loop joke above.

I hope he carries a really big towel to the gym to wipe off the machines when he’s done melting all over them. When he’s had a really good workout, he rewards himself with a slice of nose cake.

If you’ve not been to my mostly-new shop lately, please have a look. We sell products to help support our cartooning habits as newspapers continue to get smaller and fewer. Below is a poster I designed and illustrated specifically for your home, office, clubhouse, or bunker.

As a kid, I wasn’t particularly afraid of monsters under my bed but as an adult, I always check under my analyst’s couch before I lie down.

Lately, I’ve been indulging myself in what the Interwebs call, “Throwback Thursday.” Surprisingly, it does not involve pictures of fish that people have caught that are too small to eat––that’s called “Here’s a Picture of Me Torturing a Helpless Water Dweller Thursday”. Throwback Thursday is actually about stuff from the past, so below is a cartoon I did in 2003.

This is one of those comics that was based on my own experience during which I was trapped inside a small store in Kansas for 45 minutes while I tried to convince the other customers that the town was not closed, this was simply the back of a sign meant to be read from outside. “Then why ain’t it red?” was the reply.

This is what happens when entire states don’t carry Bizarro. I make mean jokes about them. Sometimes as I fly over them.

It took an embarrassingly long time but we are now finding out that women can do anything that men can do. Unfortunately, they still have to do it at a fraction of what men are paid to do the same job. (Especially white men.)

No, this does not mean we hate men or are ashamed to be men or white or want all white people, especially the men, to be rounded up and shot into outer space. We just support fairness no matter what color you are or what kind of plumbing you have. And no, America does NOT already have that kind of fairness.

In honor of women, Wayno and I are supporting a swell non-profit organization that helps educate girls and young women in technological fields, which are currently overwhelmingly dominated by men.  We recommend checking them out and possibly tossing a buck or two their way. Girls Who Code.

I prefer to participate in happy hour at home where the drinks are even cheaper and the atmosphere makes me a lot happier.  And yes, after the initial hour, I become all of those other things listed on the sign. Just don’t drop by my house unannounced after a certain time, that’s all I’m saying.

“Watson! We’ve invented something that will one day be used to take pictures of every plate of food we eat.” 

“Hmm. It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to do that, but okay. Whatever.”

Even so, here we are a hundred-and-some years later with phones that take pictures, answer questions, promote fake news, rig elections in favor of our enemies, and a thousand other things. And yet, most of the time, the reception on actual phone calls isn’t any better than Bell’s prototype. (sigh)

Until next week, my precious Jazz Pickles––be happy, be smart, be nice, and resist ignorance and fascism. And while we’re at it, our official Bizarro Jazz Pickle enamel pin is BACK IN STOCK after the initial batch sold out! Grab one now before it sells out again!

Wayno: Weekly blogTwitterInstagramWaynoVision

Piraro: Bizarro shop (enamel pins, a Hello Shitty shirt and more!) … Bizarro tip jar Signed, numbered, limited edition prints and original cartoon art …Piraro Instagram  Piraro Twitter Piraro coloring book

Update on Crimes of Empire Book

Last year I started work on a book about current western imperialism. How the US has interfered across the world to bring down democratically elected left-wing governments when they threatened American corporate power and put in place vicious, murderous right-wing dictatorships. All done in the name of protecting the world from the Communist threat, of course. The latest phase of this imperialism is George W. Bush’s and Tony Blair’s ‘War on Terror’, under which they invaded a country that was absolutely no threat to us – Iraq – just to loot its oilfields and state industries, all for the benefit of American multinationals, western big business and the Saudi oil industry. And the list goes on, through the continued occupation of Afghanistan, the funding of Islamist forces against Assad in Syria, and Obama’s and Killary’s staged, fake democratic revolution in Ukraine, which launched a government with real Nazis goose-stepping through the streets of Kiev, killing real leftists and chanting their very real hatred of Jews.

The book was suggested by ‘Florence’, one of the many great commenters on this blog, who was afraid of the lack of the understanding of the anti-imperial dimension to Socialist/ Labour party activism. She remembered the 1970s when many people became active in left-wing politics through campaigns against General Pinochet in Chile, for example. He was another real Fascist thug, who seized power in a CIA sponsored coup that overthrew the democratically elected Marxist president, Salvador Allende. The result was decades of Fascist terror, including horrific torture and rape, the internment and murder of radicals, and mass executions. Oh yes, and they stole left-wing activists’ children, to be brought up instead by good Fascist families. Pinochet was strongly influenced by the Chicago school of Milton Friedman and von Miles. The latter had explicitly turned away from democracy, because the masses would never accept his destruction of the welfare state, and state schooling, healthcare et. Pinochet was in power until the late 80s. And he ended up fleeing from justice to Britain, where he had a good friend in Maggie Thatcher. Pinochet is exactly the type of monster left-wingers in the ’70s and ’80s fought very had against, the memory of which might be lost unless more is done to show that monsters like Pinochet are still being installed and supported.

I’ve a few more things to do on the book before I send it off to Lulu. But I’ve worked out the chapters and their contents. Here’s the list:

Introduction and Florence’s request

General US/Western Interference

Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show Talks about US Crimes of Empire: Part 1:
Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show Talks about US Crimes of Empire: Part 2
Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show Talks about the US Crimes of Empire: Part 3
Secular Talk on Seven Fascist Regimes supported by America
The Young Turks: CIA Overthrows Democracies, But Can’t Get Rid of Dictators
William Blum’s List of American Foreign Interventions: Part 1
William Blum’s List of American Foreign Inrterventions: Part 2
Blum’s List of Countries In which US Has Interfered with their Elections
Lee Camp: New Docs Show America Knew about Indonesia Genocide
American State Censored TV Programme on American Nerve Gas Atrocity in Laos.
William Blum on the naïve Trust of Countries invaded by US
William Blum on Right-Wing Coups in Greece
Democracy Now on Hillary Clinton and the Right-Wing Coup in Honduras
Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger
Democratic Socialist on the Von Mises’ Institutes Lies About the Pinochet Coup
RT’s Lee Camp on What the US Military Is Doing in Niger
TeleSur English: CIA Planned False Flag Attacks in Miami
Telsur English: US Planned to Use Biological Warfare Against Cuba
Telesur English: Venezuela Drops Petrodollars, Threatens US Global Power
Jimmy Dore: Taliban Have Surrendered Several Times, Each Time Refused by America
Jimmy Dore Show: Obama Rejected North Korea Nuclear Peace Deal in 2015
Jimmy Dore Show: US Begins Bombing in Somalia Again, Because Oil Found
William Blum on the Abortive Prosecution of NATO Leaders for War Crimes in Yugoslavia
Jimmy Dore on the Church Committee Hearings of 1975 into CIA Corruption
Jimmy Dore: Hillary Wanted to Rig Palestinian Elections
Alan Moore on CIA Atrocities in Central America: Brought to Light
Financial Times Review of Book on Origins of American Financial Imperialism
Michael Moore’s New Film against US Miltitarism and Imperialism
Bernie Sanders’ Speech Attacking US Coups of Foreign Governments


The Pro-Israel Billionaires Pushing Trump towards Confrontation with Iran
Telesur English on the Similarities between Trump’s Action on Venezuela and the 1953 Coup in Iran
Redacted Tonight on How Trump Is Lying to Us About Iran and North Korea
American Comedian Lee Camp on the Real Reason Iran’s Been Put ‘On Notice’
William Blum on the Demonisation of Iran,
The Israel Lobby, Liam Fox and the Planned Bombing of Iran
Jimmy Dore: NBC Attacks Obama, Clinton, Silent about Reagan’s Treachery with Iran
Secular Talk: Candidate for Trump’s Secretary of State Wants War with Iran

Real Reasons for Iraq War

Comedian Bill Hicks on Gulf War I and George Bush Senior
The Case for Prosecuting Blair as War Criminal for Iraq Invasion
Spokesman Pamphlets on Blair, the ‘Dodgy Dossier’ and the Iraq Invasion
George Galloway and Peter Hitchens on Blair and the Iraq War
Vox Political: Youssef El-Gingihy on Western Imperialism in Iraq
An Iraqi Woman Describes the State of her Country before Bush and Blair’s Invasion
Counterpunch Article on the History of British Imperial Domination in Iraq.
Owen Jones on the Chilcot Report, the Iraq War and Tony Blair
Vox Political on Those, Who Believed Blair’s Lies about Iraq
1920s Iraqi Poem on the New Constitution and Order Imposed by and for Britain, Not Iraqis
Private Eye on the Western Firms Seeking to Grasp the Iraqi Oil Fields
The Young Turks on Report Showing Iraq Invasion Based on Lies
Brainwash Update on Lawlessness, Murder and Assassination by American Mercenaries Blackwater in Iraq
Young Turks’ Item on Pentagon Censoring Internal Reports Showing War Not Working in Iraq and Syria

Gaddafi and Libya

Telesur English on the Chaos Caused by the Death of Gaddafy
Colonel Gaddafy Predicted He Would Be Killed for his Opposition to Capitalism
The Death Toll from Italian Colonialism: Why Johnson’s Comments about Libyan Corpses Is Not Funny

Russia and Ukraine

HIGNFY Spreads More Lies about Russian Interference in American Election
BBC 2 Programme Next Week on British Forces in Ukraine and Estonia
Despite the Jokes, HIGNFY Is Fake News
Putin and Trump, and Bill Clinton’s Interference in Russian Elections for Yeltsin
Counterpunch Article Claiming US Spy Agencies Trying to Engineer War with Russia
Have I Got News For You and the Bias in BBC News Satire
William Blum on American Preparations for Nuclear War with Russia
More Military Tension between NATO and Russia; Pat Mills Right in ABC Warriors
Seamas Milne on the Dangers of Conservative Propaganda in the History of Communism
Counterpunch on Putin’s Non-Existent Threat to the Baltic States
Counterpunch on NATO’s Preparations for War with Russia


Syrian Uprising Directed by Saudi Prince and Other Foreign Governments
RT on House of Lord’s Opposition to £200 million Going to Syrian Opposition
Counterpunch on Saudi Arabia’s Influence on British Foreign Affairs
Jimmy Dore: Pentagon-Backed Rebels Fight CIA-Backed Rebels in Syria
Jimmy Dore Show: Putin Refutes Western Media Lies about Syrian Gas Attack
Secular Talk on Lack of Media Outrage for Syrian Rebels Massacring 126 Civilians
Jimmy Dore on Media Censorship of the War in Syria
Canadian Journalist Exposes BBC Lies over Syria
Boris Johnson Slapped Down By May for Telling Truth about Saudi Militarism
Deep State Lies about Terrorist Threat Produced Syria and Russia
Why Are the Tories Demanding Assad’s Overthrow?
More on the Real Reason behind Western Intervention in Syria
Jimmy Dore on the Real Reason for the Civil War and Western Military Attacks on Syria
Counterpunch on American Foreign Policy and Regime Change in Syria
More on US Military Funding of al-Qaeda and Islamist Militants
Syria Chemical Weapons Attacks Were ‘False Flag’ Operations Intended to Draw America into Civil War
Counterpunch on British Spies’ Recruitment of Islamist Fighters against Syria
What’s the Real Reason We’re Bombing Syria?
ISIS Is the Saudis’ Private Army for Control of the Oil Fields
Peter Hitchens Spearing BBC Anti-Russian Propaganda over Syria
Redacted Tonight: Mainstream Media Pushing War in Syria Hiding Connections to Arms Companies


BBC 2 Programme Next Week on British Forces in Ukraine and Estonia
America and the Manufactured Revolution in Ukraine
Global Research on US and EU Sponsored Fascist Regime in Ukraine
Counterpunch on the Washington Post’s Journalist Blacklist and the CIA, Eugenicist Nazis and Ukrainian Fascists
US State Department Supporting Fascism and Puppet Government in Ukraine
Private Eye on Britain’s Arms Sales to both Russia and Ukraine
Lobster on the Ukraine as Monsanto Trojan Horse
NATO and the Economic Exploitation of Eastern Europe

As you can see, it’s really a collection of articles from this blog, but I hope it will give people an idea of what’s really going on in the world in the name of democracy and freedom, and help get a few more people on to the streets, writing to their MPs or otherwise involved in combatting western corporate militarism and imperialism.

Dissecting Bernstein: Was Bernstein Marx's Literary Executor?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/03/2018 - 9:42am in


history, Marxism

According to Matt, Bernstein was one of Marx's literary executors. Is Matt right?

The short answer:
Wrong beard, Matt (Freudian slip?). Bernstein was one of Engels’ literary executors. Marx’s literary executor was … drum rolls, please … Engels!

I can, however, be generous to Matt. So, to save time, I'll put it plainly: that's just a brain fart, embarrassing, but by itself it doesn't demolish the whole of his argument. It does say something, however, of his and Bernstein's credibility.

I can afford generosity, because what's telling is how I learned the right answer. Rather funny, actually.

The longer answer:
To learn that Bernstein was one of Engels' literary executors (which I didn't know, to be honest) I did the unexpected, what workers are supposedly unable to do. I actually followed one of Matt's reading recommendations: I read Preconditions entirely.

First things first. Unless both Google Books and the Library of Congress online catalog are badly mistaken, there's only one English translation of Bernstein's 1899 Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie entitled The Preconditions of Socialism (there's another, earlier translation, entitled Evolutionary Socialism, published in 1907).

Published in 1993 by Cambridge University Press as part of the series “Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought”, Preconditions (ISBN: 0521391210, hardback; and 9780521391214) was edited by Henry Tudor.

With that established, I can say that Tudor contributed substantially to that volume: 49 of the 270 pages in Preconditions. He did his homework, too. Whatever you think of Preconditions, Tudor's work deserves praise. I’ll borrow Matt’s words: “Really very good and very unjustly ignored”. Particularly his Introduction, which provides “excellent discussion of this”, including the making of Preconditions:

“Starting in 1896, the year after Engels died, Bernstein developed these views, partly in a series of articles published in Die Neue Zeit under the tide ‘Problems of Socialism’ and partly in an extended polemical exchange with the English socialist, Ernest Belfort Bax.” (p. xxi).

Note the years.

A “very unjustly ignored” part of Tudor’s contribution is the timeline of Bernstein’s life. One of the events listed (p. xxxvii): “1895 Engels dies. Bernstein, with Bebel, named as literary executor.”  (See also footnote 12, page 7).

Clear as a day … to any who’s read the “really very good and very unjustly ignored” Preconditions.

Assuming Matt actually read it (he’s an educated critic and faithful interpreter of socialism’s spirit, yes?), he didn’t pay much attention to details. “Unjustly ignored” book, indeed.

That brain fart is not an isolated thing. In this series I'll document  a pattern of undiluted sloppiness characterising his two short comments (217 words altogether).

Bernstein's out of copyright Evolutionary Socialism (the older version of Preconditions) is freely available online. The Marxists Internet Archive has it (credits due to Edith C. Harvey, Ted Crawford, and Einde O’Callaghan). I haven't checked carefully, but it seems quite like Preconditions. Tudor explains the differences between them.

By themselves, I think those differences don’t justify buying Preconditions. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it.

I was serious when I praised Tudor's contribution. If you are a Marxist tired of pseudo-intellectual bullying and can afford the expense, his material, specially his Introduction, is worth it. You must read it with as much care as the care Tudor himself put in his work. I did and this series is deeply indebted to his insights.

Let’s talk now about one of those evidently absurd notions “mainstream Marxists” stubbornly entertain against their betters’ debunking: Marxists believe that debates -- the good ones, at any rate -- generally involve more than one party. Imagine that!

Matt’s one-sided account notwithstanding they further believe they actually replied to Bernstein. They call that the Revisionist Debates.

Delusional? Judge by yourself. Matt ignored it (justly, no doubt), but Tudor included a short list of “Bernstein’s critics” (p. xl).

Bernstein considered Rosa Luxemburg one of his ablest critics (p. xxxi and p. 200) and Tudor briefly contrasted their arguments. Further, it’s easy to get her 1900 Reform or Revolution. MIA also offers it (credits due to Integer and A. Lehrer) for free. If one were to keep things simple and picked just one champion for the “mainstream Marxist” side, she seems like a good choice.

So, MIA offers both sides of the debate. Talk about absurd “mainstream Marxist” notions, eh Matt?

I’m done with Claim 1. Time to move on to something meatier: Bernstein in the 1910s.

Secretary of Jewish Voices for Labour Libelled as Anti-Semite

Another day, another smear by the Israel lobby and their collaborators in the Labour party against another decent, anti-racist individual. This time the victim is Glyn Secker, the secretary of Jewish Voices for Labour. He’s been suspended from the Labour party because of allegations that he posted anti-Semitic comments on social media.

Mike posted up a piece about it, including the condemnation of Mr. Secker’s suspension by his colleagues in Jewish Voices for Labour on Wednesday. He pointed out that, whoever Secker’s accusers are, they waited a long time before accusing him because he hasn’t posted on Twitter since mid-2016. Mike believes it has more to do with alleged anti-Semitic comments Secker made at demonstrations and gatherings at which he spoke. One of these was at Grosvenor Square, London, on the 6th January of this year. Euan Philips in the Huffington Post, claimed that his speech was full of ‘anti-Semitic slurs’. But a recording of the speech, cited by Mike, shows instead just criticism of Israel.

Which is probably what this is all about. Mr. Secker is the Director and a member of the Executive Committee of the organisation, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and captained the Jewish boat to Gaza in 2009. So this looks very much like another smear by the Israel lobby and the Blairites against someone, who is very definitely not an anti-Semite, and whose only crime is supporting the Palestinians.

His fellows in Jewish Voices for Labour point out the unfair nature of the accusation. There is no accuser, the charges are vague, but nevertheless the head of Disputes, Glyn Matthews, is taking it so seriously that Secker has been suspended. Jewish Voices for Labour rightly state that these false allegations are bringing Labour into disrepute.

They state further

This is an absurd, politically-motivated attack on our Secretary and our organisation. We call on our supporters to move motions of censure in their branches and CLPs. To use allegations of antisemitism in this way is an abuse of power, and a degrading of the seriousness of actual antisemitism and other forms of racism. While antisemitism is monstrous – and, like all forms of racism, should be vigorously dealt with – false accusations of antisemitism are monstrous too. We call for the immediate lifting of these charges.

Mike in his article also wonders if the attack is motivated by the problems now facing the Jewish Labour Movement, who have finally called in the cops to investigate their head honcho, Jonathan Newmark. No Morals Newmark has been credibly accused of embezzling money from Jewish charities when he was head of the Jewish Leadership Council, although the Council didn’t call the rozzers in because of a desire to avoid a scandal. No Morals denies the charges, of course, claiming that he left the organisation due to health reasons.

This looks like an attempt by the Israel lobby to close down a rival organisation in the Labour party, and allow the Jewish Labour Movement to monopolise its position, casting itself as the only organisation speaking for Jews in the Labour party. Which means Jews joining such an organisation automatically have to support its policy of supporting Israel, and covering up the Israeli state’s 7 decades long campaign of massacre, ethnic cleansing and apartheid against the Palestinians.

Glyn Secker and Jewish Voices for Labour clearly present a threat to their attempts to establish this monopoly, by providing an alternative political outlet and view of Jewish identity regarding the treatment of the Palestinians. The Israel lobby can’t allow that, and so we have the fake allegations of anti-Semitism and the Kafka-esque perversion of justice. Just like Mike’s case, there’s no accuser, and the charges are vague. It’s another kangaroo court.

Mike’s article is at: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/03/08/jewish-man-suspended-from-membership-of-labour-party-for-anti-semitism/
Please read it.

I am heartily, heartily sick and tired of these smears and libels. To accuse decent people of anti-Semitism, and, in Mike’s case, Holocaust Denial, is to cast them as monsters of the same type as real Nazis like the banned terrorist group, National Action, and their grotesque conspiracy theories about Jews and vociferous demands for their persecution and extermination. And if it’s bad enough for gentiles to be labelled as such, I can only think how much worse it must be for those of Jewish heritage, because of the long history of their people’s persecution.

And I despise the skulking anonymity which protects the accusers’ identities. I dare say that if you challenged these organisations on it, they’d give you some glib twaddle about how it was needed to protect them, considering the work they do infiltrating and exposing anti-Semitism. This just looks like nonsense to me, as they seem not remotely interested in anti-Semitism per se, but just trying to silence criticism of Israel. And dictatorial regimes have always used anonymous spies and accusers to stifle dissent, ever since the Roman Empire.

Now’s the time to end this charade, beginning with the anonymity. If the people making these accusations aren’t prepared to do so openly, revealing their identity, then the accusation should be automatically thrown out as vexatious and mischievous. Also, definite charges should be made. Vague accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ should not be allowed to pass unquestioned. If they cannot produce substantial charges, then the accusation should be thrown out as an another smear.

I also believe this attack on Mr Secker was connected to another accusation of anti-Semitism, this time by the misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. They claimed that Labour MPs were posting on a pro-Palestinian website that was making anti-Semitic accusations about the Jews, and in particular about the Rothschild’s banking family. I think there was also some accusation that the site also denied the Holocaust. It looks like the Israel lobby was going in for a coordinated attack on pro-Palestinian groups, and that the smears against Mr. Secker were part of this.

I’ve had enough of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. They’ve done nothing but smear decent people for the benefit of the Israeli state and its friends in the British media. They’re a corrupt, sham organisation, who should have their charitable status rescinded.

It’s time to close down this witch-hunt. Anyone making further smears should be booted out of the party as a mischief-maker seeking to undermine party democracy, and a libeller.

Israel Lobbyists Smear Mike Again, Run Away When Refuted

Mike on Monday put up another piece, describing how he was smeared once again as an anti-Semite in an article, ‘Labour’s Anti-Semitism Problem’, by a couple of hacks called Kieron Monks and Gary Spedding. This was over what Mike had written about the belief that Blair had been unduly influenced by a group of Jewish advisers. Mike went on the attack to defend his reputation, and pointed out that he had not written what Monks’ claimed he had, and that he had in any case taken his words out of context. Monks tried arguing back, but when the force of Mike’s argument proved too much for him, retreated and went silent. He ran away, leaving his mate Spedding to try and defend his libel. Spedding didn’t fare any better either, and this resulted in Spedding not only abandoning the argument, but blocking Mike on Twitter.

You can read about the incident at: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/03/05/another-article-alleges-anti-semitism-about-me-author-refuses-to-acknowledge-his-mistake/

Mike makes several very good points in his article about it, not least that all the relevant information about these claims and accusations is up on his blog, if the writers of such articles would actually care to read what he has to say.

But they don’t, because they’ve already decided that Mike’s an anti-Semite. And it’s not because of any genuine concern for anti-Semitism. Monks’ real motivation in writing the article is clearly shown in the title, and in one of the people he hashtags at the bottom of his tweet about it, Dave Rich.

The title of Monks’ piece is the same as a book written by Dave Rich, and published last year by Biteback. This claimed that there was a rising tide of anti-Semitism on the Left, ever since the Liberal party had got involved in an anti-Israeli politics in the 1970s. I can’t remember where I found it, but I read a review somewhere that pointed out that Rich was another prominent member of the Israel lobby, and that what really concerned him was that the Left were taking the side of the Palestinians against Israel. In short, he’s another Zionist upset that people are criticising and protesting about the Israeli state’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and trying to shut them down by libelling them as anti-Semites. Ditto for Monks and Spedding, who obviously share his views.

As for the accusation that Blair was unduly influenced by a group of Jewish advisers, it is true that Blair received much funding during the run-up to the Iraq invasion from businessmen connected to the Israel lobby, though a campaign run by Lord levy and Peter Mandelson. John Booth describes this in his ‘Labour, Corbyn and Anti-Semitism’ in Lobster 74. He writes

In contrast, this is Jon (now Lord) Mendelsohn speaking to Jewsweek.com on 8 September 2002: ‘[Tony] Blair has attacked the anti-Israelism that had existed in the Labour Party . . .Labour was cowboys-and-Indians politics, picking underdogs. The milieu has changed. Zionism is pervasive in New Labour. It is automatic that Blair will come to Friends of Israel meetings.’ Mendelsohn was speaking during the build-up to the Iraq war. At the time Corbyn was indulging in what the New Labour fundraiser would probably style ‘cowboy-and Indian politics’ by helping create the Stop the War Coalition. 7 Mendelsohn was a close associate of Michael (now Lord) Levy in drawing down funds from Israel supporters, a programme also well described in Robert Peston’s Who Runs Britain?. The ITN political editor in his informative 8 chapter ‘Democracy for Sale’ makes clear that a good deal of that funding was not from Labour supporters, but from those, including previous Conservative backers, who identified with Blair and his support for Israel and the Iraq war.

He also goes on to discuss the connections between the Israeli embassy and the various Friends of Israel organisations, which have been making the accusations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn and his supporters.

Mendelsohn is a former chairman of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), membership of which, as he says, attracted many of the New Labour intake in 1997 and which resembled a passport to promotion for many of them. Not all have stayed in party politics since Labour’s 2010 defeat. Former Cabinet minister and chairman of LFI James Purnell is now a senior BBC executive and is talked of as a possible future director-general. LFI supporter Lorna 9 Fitzsimons, formerly Parliamentary Private Secretary to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, became chief executive of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) after losing her parliamentary seat in 2005. Most of the LFI supporters still in Parliament or subsequently elected to it were opposed to Corbyn’s 2015 election as leader and tried to unseat him the following year. From their ranks – some of them here supporting LFI chair Joan Ryan – have come many of the well-publicised claims of anti-semitic 10 abuse that has attended Corbyn’s rise. 11 As the Al Jazeera documentary series, The Lobby, exposed earlier this year, there is a very close working relationship between the Israel embassy in London and the Friends of Israel groups in Parliament, including the one chaired by Enfield North MP Ryan. 12 There is also a strong link between the embassy and the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) that has led criticism of Corbyn and was very active on the ‘anti-semitism’ issue at the Brighton conference. Two JLM officials, Jeremy 13 Newmark and Mike Katz, were backed by Yvette Cooper, a Corbyn rival for the leadership in 2015, when they unsuccessfully stood as Labour candidates in the general election.

And no, before anyone asks, Booth’s article is not remotely anti-Semitic. It begins by describing the warm welcome given to Jewish speakers at Labour’s Brighton Conference last year, including Naomi Klein, Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi, who declared that the party did not have a problem with Jews, and, of course, Ed Miliband. Wimbourne-Idrissi later that day went on to launch Jewish Voice for Labour, along with a number of other, very prominent Jewish activists, including a former member of the Israeli Defence Force.

The article also discusses the close relationship between the Blairites and the Israel lobby, and how the rise of Corbyn and the leftward turn of the party threaten the Thatcherite entryists, and their backers in the media, such as the Groaniad. It challenges their views on the neoliberal consensus, as well as their political careers. Hence they have resorted to smearing their opponents as anti-Semites. And before Booth talks about Mandelson, he writes about how Marek Edelman, a hero of the Warsaw Ghetto, was persona non grata in Israel because he supported the Palestinians. He stated that to be a Jew means that you always side with the oppressed.

Edelman’s a true hero, and Rich, Monks and Spedding are definitely siding with the oppressors. Hence their participation in the smearing of Labour members and supporters, who criticise Israel’s maltreatment of the Palestinians, or who, like Mike, simply defend those, who do, on grounds of historical accuracy.

Lobster 74 is at https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/issue74.php

Go and read the whole article to find out what these mendacious accusations are really about, and the noxious politics behind them.

The Leyden Hootenanny

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/03/2018 - 1:10am in


Books, history, Music

Channel 4 Report into Italian Hipster Fascists

After the Fascistic policies and behaviour of the Israeli state and its advocates over here, there’s the return of Fascism proper to Europe. I found this Channel 4 report into the Italian Fascist party, CasaPound, on YouTube. CasaPound is a miniscule Fascist party, which takes its name from the American Modernist poet and Fascist, Ezra Pound. Casa is Italian for ‘house’, so I suppose you could translate the party’s name as ‘Pound House’ or ‘House of Pound’. They seem to have been founded by an extreme right-wing rock singer, shown growling out his wretched songs at one of his concerts. The party holds rallies, at which their squadristi respond with the Roman salute. And the iconography of Italian Fascism – the Fasces – the bundle of sticks with the axe projecting from it – and Mussolini’s ghastly fizzog are everywhere.

The reporter is shown round their headquarters by a woman. On one wall, when you go in, are the names of various prominent Fascists, written in different colours and sizes. The reporter’s guide tells him that they have this put there, as their counterpart to the Roman household gods that guarded their homes. One of the names on the wall is that of the notorious British Fascist, Oswald Mosley. The building also acts as a hostel, putting up the homeless – but only if you’re Italian. By which, presumably, they mean ‘White Italian’. The party also runs food banks and provides free medical care, such as health check-ups and electro-cardiograms. Again, only for Whites. As the woman explains in the video, only full Whites can be members of the organisation. A White person married to an immigrant cannot be a member, each of whom pays a subscription to the organisation. Along with the names of prominent, infamous Fascists, there’s also their flags and insignia, including that of the infamous Golden Dawn, responsible for the beatings and murder of immigrants and leftists in Greece.

The reporter comments that the place is very military, like a barracks. And it almost goes without saying that Casapound is viciously anti-immigrant. There’s a clip of a rally at which one of their speakers states he wants two ships in the Mediterranean to intercept the migrant vessels and send them back to Libya. The reporter also makes the point that they are trying to exploit the death of a young girl for their political gain. It’s not certain whether the girl died of a drug overdose, or was murdered, but three immigrants were arrested in connection with her death after her dismembered body was found deposited in two suitcases. The next day, a man with very extreme right-wing views opened fire and killed six migrants. The stormtroopers of CasaPound state very clearly that they don’t want immigrants coming to Italy bringing drugs and crime, and that if they had been in power, the girl would still be alive.

At the moment, CasaPound are politically negligible. They need to get three per cent of the vote before they get anywhere the Italian parliament, and there are many other Fascist parties. But the video does show the return of the blatantly Fascist right into Italian politics, even though it’s currently at the fringes.

The video’s important, not just for showing the re-emergence of proper Fascism in Italy, but because it also shows and confirms some of the observations the American radical journalist, Chris Hedges, has made about the way Fascism returns after the liberal elite abandon the working class. Hedges stated that the new Fascism in America took the form of complete little worlds, in which a person could become completely immersed. He was talking about the religious right, and the megachurches, which provide a more-or-less complete environment separate from the secular world outside. CasaPound offers much the same. It’s a lifestyle, as much as a political party.

As well as watching the emergence of Fascism in America, Hedges himself saw it appear during the civil war in Yugoslavia. He states that when the liberal elite abandon the working class to pursue neoliberal policies, which benefit only the business elite, the working class not only turn against them, but against the liberal values of multiculturalism, anti-racism, feminism, gay rights and so on. And again, you can see that here. The welfare services provided by CasaPound for the racially pure show this clearly. Healthcare has been cut, so that many Italians cannot get a doctor. So CasaPound provides one. The party’s squadristi state that the Communist party used to do this, but they don’t appear in the communities any longer. And so their place has been filled instead by CasaPound. Again, the organisation is providing a total social environment, including welfare support, that the state and the supposed parties of the Left have retreated from under the assault of neoliberal free trade dogma. This also affected the Communist Party in Italy, which in the 1980s began to explore other paths to power rather than the methods dictated by Russian experience. In doing so, they became much less radical, despite their Marxist ideology. I can remember the Financial Times in the 1990s stating that they were no more left-wing than the SDP in Britain, the right-wing Labour splinter group that amalgamated with the Liberals to form the Lib Dems.

I don’t know how much of a threat Fascism actually poses in Italy. It’s certainly there, at the margins. But CasaPound are nowhere near as powerful as the Alternative fuer Deutschland, who are also real Nazis with a bitter hatred of Jews and immigrants, and which have just managed to get themselves into the Bundestag. At the moment the major populist force in Italy seems to be Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Party. But this does indicate the way the country could move, if something is not done to bring down the rise in xenophobia and anti-immigrant hostility on one hand, and destroy the neoliberalism that is impoverishing people across the world, and creating such anxieties on the other.

The CAA and JLM: Israel’s Counterparts to the Nazis’ Auslandsorganisation

Here’s another parallel between Nazi Germany and Israel, and it’s about the very nature and character of the Israel lobby itself, and how it interferes in British and American politics. Both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sought to promote Fascism and their national interests abroad through expatriate organisations. In Germany, the official department responsible for this was the AO, or Auslandsorganisation, or ‘Overseas Organisation’. The article on this in James Taylor’s and Warren Shaw’s A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton 1987) runs

A Nazi Party department responsible for German communities overseas. In many countries substantial numbers of citizens of German descent joined organisations like the German-American Bund or the Argentine Nazi Party. In the structure of the AO, countries with substantial German communities were considered as separate Gaue (political divisions). Substantial funds were devoted to these overseas organisations which often proved an effective cover for German political interference. In the 1940 US presidential election, the AO was deeply involved in the transfer of funds to Roosevelt’s (sometimes unwitting) opponents. (Pp. 38-9).

I am very much aware how much anti-Semitism is based on the notion that Jews care more about their own communities than the gentile people amongst whom they live, and that this suspicion became more acute with the rise of Zionism. The Soviet Union became increasingly anti-Semitic after the foundation of Israel, because they feared that it would create divided loyalties amongst their Jewish citizens.

Despite this, the Israel lobby in this country is acting precisely as a Nazi AO, mirroring official Israeli policy. Benjamin Netanyahu declared that all Jews, everywhere, were citizens of Israel. This has been mocked and rejected by very many liberal Jews. You can find an image on the net of a Jewish American fellow with a Palestinian friend. The Jew comes from Anchorage in Alaska, and he makes the point that it’s ridiculous that he can go and live in a place he’s never even seen, but the Palestinian, who was born in that land, can’t. And there are many more like him, including an increasing number of young Jewish Americans repelled by Israel’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians.

And Netanyahu himself is very choosy about which Jews he decides to let in. Left-wing or liberal Jews, and those, who have made the mildest criticism of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of its indigenous Arabs, don’t get in, but are turned away at the airport or deported. Clearly the Likudniks have taken the advice of the violently anti-Semitic Karl Von Luegerer, the 19th century mayor of Vienna, who nevertheless had many Jewish friends: ‘I decide who’s a Jew and who isn’t’. Quite. And Netanyahu has decided that Jews, who stand for decency and universal human rights aren’t the right kind of Jews for his country, for all his claims to represent the Jewish community worldwide.

And the Israel lobby in Britain – the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the Jewish Labour Movement and others – do interfere in Britain’s politics, as does AIPAC in America. There was the Al-Jazeera report a few years ago which showed members of the British Israel lobby conspiring with Shai Masot of the Israeli embassy to choose which Tory MPs they wanted in the British cabinet. This was a true conspiracy, but Mike was accused of anti-Semitism for describing it as such, on the spurious grounds that because he used the term, he must believe in the stupid and murderous conspiracy theories about the Jews. Like they control the world’s banks, and are out to destroy the White race. Mike doesn’t, and smearing him or anyone else because they call this real conspiracy with the Israeli embassy what it was, won’t alter the facts.

And there’s precious little evidence that the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism or the JLM are genuinely concerned to protect ordinary Jews from anti-Semitism. The people they have smeared as anti-Semitic include self-respecting, decent Jews, who frequently have suffered abuse and assault because of their religion/ethnicity. But because they’ve spoken out about Israel’s increasingly racist character, they’ve been libelled and smeared.

And in America it’s been pointed out that AIPAC and the funds it gives to the parties it wants to represent Israel’s interests, do come under the wartime legislation passed by Roosevelt to prevent the manipulation of American politics by foreign powers, like the Nazis. But no-one wants to recognise this, or do anything about it.

There’s a simple tactic going on here. Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians is a Fascist project of colonisation and ethnic cleansing, with some concessions of liberal ideas of democracy and representation. The organisations set up to defend and promote Israeli interests in Britain and America also resemble Nazi organisations. But because these parallels are also close to the traditional accusations and smears of anti-Semites, it allows the Israel lobby to smear their opponents. Even as the Israel lobby acts precisely in the kind of way anti-Semites have traditionally smeared the Jewish community.

It’s time to stop this. The CAA and JLM don’t represent Jews or really battle anti-Semitism. They are just concerned to promote Israel, and vilify and libel its critics. The CAA should have charitable status removed as the political organisation it is, and the political interference by the JLM and other branches of the Israel lobby here and elsewhere should be brought to light and very critically examined.

Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Palestinians and the Italian Fascist Colonisation of Libya

Yesterday I put up a piece showing the parallels between Israel’s seven decades long campaign of violence, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians and the Nazis’ annexation of Poland during the War, and their ethnic cleansing of the Poles and attempts to found German colonies in the cleansed regions.

I’ve no doubt that this comparison between the Nazis and Poland, what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, will be extremely unpalatable to the Israel lobby, who object that it is hurtful and anti-Semitic to compare them to the Nazis, the Jews’ mortal enemies. But however unpleasant and disturbing these comparisons are, they are there. And as the anti-PC right like to say, hurt feelings are no reason for covering up the facts or trying to shut down honest debate.

There is also another Fascist parallel to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, their campaign of colonisation through expanding, illegal Israeli settlements and the harassment and violence against the Palestinians themselves, and the seizure and destruction of their homes and property. It’s the Italian Fascist colonisation of Libya during the Second World War.

Italy had been trying to establish an empire in North Africa before Mussolini seized power, but had little success. Indeed, one Italian government fell because they were defeated in battle by indigenous African resistance forces. This was a massive humiliation for a European country, which considered themselves racially superior to the people over whom they sought to rule. Nevertheless, Italy continued to press for an empire, and the project was revived by Mussolini and the Fascists, who saw themselves as restoring the old Roman Empire. A brief description of the Italian Fascist occupation and colonisation of Libya is given in the article ‘Libya (Tripolitania and Cyrenaica)’ in Philip V. Cannistraro, ed. Historical Dictionary of Fascist Italy (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press 1982).

This states

The Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica became Italian possessions at the conclusion of the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-12. Patriotic rhetoric and a sensational newspaper campaign had described Libya as a ‘terra promessa’ (promised land) for Italy’s emigrants who were forced to settle in foreign lands. Italians soon found that they had acquired sovereignty over two vast desert territories, totally lacking in natural resources and thinly populated by a hostile Muslim population-scarcely an emigrant’s paradise. Nevertheless, for nearly thirty years, until the defeat of the Axis marked the end of Italian rule, Italy worked to create a “fourth shore” (to add to Italy’s Tyrrhenian, Adriatic, and Sicilian shores), a single colony, along the lines of Algeria, that would become an integral part of the mother country and would provide opportunities for emigrants to settle as small landowners.

Following the initial conquest, Liberal regimes, preoccupied with World War I and then with Italy’s postwar domestic crisis, made little attempt to establish control over the entire territory or to undertake colonisation. When the Fascists came to power in 1922, they embarked immediately on a campaign of military conquest. The repression took nearly a decade. Although Tripolitania was peaceful by 1924, the Sanusi-led rebellion in Cyrenaica lasted until 1931 and was particularly ferocious. According to official Italian figures, the population of Cyrenaica declined from two hundred twenty-five thousand in 1928 to on hundred forty-two thousand in 1931. Moreover, the livestock, the chief means of livelihood of the indigenous population, was decimated.

Under the governorship of Count Giuseppe Vulpi between July 1921 and July 1925, General Emilio De Bono between July 1925 and December 1928, and Marshal Pietro Badoglio between January 1929 and December 1933, the Italians experimented with various programs of land grants and subsidies to attract investors and colonists. Despite ever larger subsidies and increasing government regulation, the results remained unsatisfactory. Large plantations (devoted to almonds, olives and vineyards), worked by Italian labour, developed instead of a small landholders paradise.

During the last half dozen years of Italian rule, however, the outlines of a “fourth shore” began to emerge. Thanks to peaceful internal conditions, the eagerness of the Fascist regime to finance the colony’s development, and the personal energy and influence of the flamboyant Italo Balbo, governor from 1934 to 1940, the colony flourished. Colonisation companies, financed by the government and by social welfare organisations, were entrusted with programs of intensive land settlement. Balbo himself presided over two mass migrations of colonists (twenty thousand in October 1938 and an additional ten thousand a year later) chosen primarily from the Po Valley and the Veneto. Communications improved vastly with the completion of a 1,800-kilometer border-to-border highway inaugurated in 1937. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were united administratively into one territory known as Libya with a single governor located in Tripoli. Socially and culturally the coastal regions became an extension of Italy, as tourists flocked to special events such as car races and air rallies or to visit the newly excavated archaeological sites of Sabratha and Leptis Magna. By 1939 the transformation was given legal recognition when the four coastal provinces of Tripoli, Misurata, Benghazi, and Derna were incorporated into the kingdom of Italy.

The transformation of Libya, however, was very costly to the mother country. The colony never came close to self-sufficiency and remained heavily dependent on subsidies from Italy. Nor were the Italians successful in dealing with the indigenous Libyans, on whom they depended for labour. By 1940 the Italian population numbered about one hundred and ten thousand in contrast to a Libyan population of eight hundred thousand. The failure of a “separate but equal ” policy became clear when World War II broke out. Many Libyans rallied ot the Sanusi banner once again (in alliance with the British), and the Libyans rejected any claims for even a limited period of postwar Italian trusteeship over Tripolitania. Nevertheless, a sizeable Italian colony remained in Tripoli until its final expulsion in 1970. (Pp.305-7).

When Blair, Sarko, Killary and the rest were demanding Colonel Gadaffy’s overthrow a few years ago, one Tory MP put his head up to say that the Libyan dictator deserved it, because he was anti-Semitic. The MP’s father was Italian Jewish, and was one of those, who’d been expelled. It’s possible that anti-Semitism was a factor in his father’s expulsion, as there is a very strong current of it in the Middle East. But it’s far more likely that the man was expelled because he was Italian, and therefore one of the country’s hated colonial overlords.

I realise that the parallels between the Nazi occupation of Poland, the Italian Fascist colonisation of Libya and Israel’s own persecution and colonisation of Palestinian territory aren’t exact. Nazism and Fascism were both anti-democratic dictatorships. Israel is a multiparty democracy, and there are Arab members of the Knesset, as well as a separate Palestinian authority.

But Israel was born through the massacre of the indigenous Arab population, and has imposed a system of apartheid on those who remain, most similar to the former White South Africa, and presumably something like the “separate but equal” policy implemented by the Italian Fascists in Libya. While making noises about finding a two-state solution to the problem of Palestinian statehood and equal rights, Israeli policy appears instead to be to encourage the further expansion of their settlements in the Occupied Territories, intimidation of the indigenous Palestinians through aggressive policing and military action, and the seizure of Palestinian land and homes, as well as the destruction of Arab property, by militant settler groups. All while running schemes to encourage more Jewish and Israeli emigration to these areas. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, runs a business financing and building such settlements.

The comparison between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians can be pushed too far, but it is still there. And libelling those, who point it out as ‘anti-Semitic’ is no argument or defence against it. The truth often hurts, but honesty requires that history should be squarely faced and the horrors of the past and present confronted.