ireland

Philosophers Argue Against Equal Fetal Rights Amendment in Irish Constitution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/05/2018 - 2:12am in

A referendum is being conducted this week in Ireland over whether to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which declares that “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” In anticipation of the vote, a group of over 40 philosophers have published a statement urging the amendment’s repeal.

Here is the text of the statement:

The upcoming referendum asks us to decide whether the unborn should have constitutional rights. Many good arguments have been put forward in support of the idea that women and girls in Ireland should not be forced to travel abroad or face the threat of a 14 year prison sentence if they find themselves unable to carry a pregnancy to term. What has not been discussed much is whether a 12-week old foetus is a person entitled to constitutional protection. What makes this particularly problematic is that the issue hinges on a complex philosophical question that has no straightforward answer, namely ‘What is a person and when does a person begin?’

We can all agree that there are clear cases where a person does exist: nobody doubts that a seven year-old is a person. There are also cases where we can all accept that a person does not exist: neither a human sperm nor an unfertilized egg is a person. Some claim that a fertilized egg is a person. We think this is totally implausible: while it contains DNA that could belong to a person, the same DNA is also contained in the egg and sperm that combined to form that fertilized egg in the first place; it has merely been moved into a single cell. A fertilized egg has no feelings, no character, nothing that we value in each other as persons.

For most of European history, in fact, a person was not thought to come into being as soon as a fertilized egg was present. Influential figures like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas held that a foetus is not a person until it begins to move, which they took to be 40-80 days after conception. This is not a very plausible criterion for personhood either, since early movements are generated simply by muscle twitches that can occur even in muscle fibres detached from a body. A more plausible condition on personhood is sentience — the ability to have experiences including pain. But experiencing pain depends on brain functions that do not develop until at least the 20th week of pregnancy.

We grant that the question ‘when does a person begin’ is complex. But because the constitution is the backbone for all law in the state, it should be confined to highly plausible restrictions on the law that more or less everyone can agree with. The 8th amendment is not a legitimate addition to the constitution, because it binds the entire community to a highly controversial position on a complex question that could never find widespread agreement, with very serious effects for the health of many of the state’s residents. Our view is that the amendment should be repealed.

The letter’s signatories at the time of this post are Lilian Alweiss (Trinity College Dublin), Robbie Arrell (Wuhan University), John Baker (University College Dublin), John Barry (Queen’s University Belfast), Keith Begley (Trinity College Dublin), Keith Breen (Queen’s University Belfast), Liam Kofi Bright (London School of Economics),  Darragh Byrne (University of Birmingham), Brian Carey (University of Limerick), Maeve Cooke (University College Dublin), Aisling Crean (University of Oxford), John Danaher (NUI Galway), Oisín Deery, (Monash University), Cian Dorr (New York University), Heike Feldman (University College Galway), Graham Finlay (University College Dublin), Tim Fernando (Trinity College Dublin), Dr Brian Garvey (Lancaster University), Shane Glackin (University of Exeter), Elizabeth Hannon (London School of Economics and Political Science), James Jardine (University College Dublin), Richard Kearney (Boston College), Adam Loughnane (University College Cork), James Mahon (City University of New York), Neil McDonnell (University of Glasgow), John McGuire (University College Dublin), Conor McHugh (University of Southampton), Marie Moran (University College Dublin), Clare Moriarty (King’s College London), Cara Nine (University College Cork), Samir Okasha (University of Bristol), Felix Ó Murchadha (NUI Galway), Cathal Ó Madagáin (École Normale Supérieure), Mahon O’Brien (University of Sussex), Lilian O’Brien (University College Cork), Jim O’Shea (University College Dublin), Adina Preda (University of Limerick), Don Ross (University College Cork), Alessandro Salice (University College Cork), Markus Schlosser (University College Dublin), Andrew Shorten (University of Limerick), Damien Storey (Trinity College Dublin), Nick Tosh (NUI Galway), Elmar Unnsteinsson (University College Dublin), Joel Walmsley (University College Cork), and Alexa Zellentin (University College Dublin).

(via Joel Walmsley)

The post Philosophers Argue Against Equal Fetal Rights Amendment in Irish Constitution appeared first on Daily Nous.

Boris Runs Away from Questions on Gaza Massacre

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/05/2018 - 6:21pm in

This comes from Gordon Dimmack’s channel on YouTube. It’s his report and comments about Boris Johnson showing once again how massively unsuited he is to be foreign secretary. After the Gaza massacre, Labour’s Emily Thornberry rose to ask for the government’s statement on the mass murder, and how it would affect the peace process. As you can see from the video below, before Thornberry has even asked the question, Boris gets up and rushes out of the chamber almost as soon as Bercow announces that she is to speak.

The reason he does is, as Dimmack shows, parliamentary questions are tabled in a schedule given to MPs, so that they know exactly what questions they will be facing and which are going to be discussed. Boris therefore knew the question was coming, and definitely didn’t want to answer it. And so he did a runner.

And this isn’t the first time BoJo the Clown has run away from Thornberry. Dimmack himself says that he had a bit of Deja Vu when watching Boris. He then found that Boris had indeed done it once before. This was back in February, when Emily Thornberry tormented him by rising to ask a question about Northern Ireland. Johnson couldn’t – or wouldn’t – answer that one either, and so he fled.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Boris Johnson is massively incompetent, and it’s a real mystery why he got the post in the first place. This is the man, whose ill-judged and erroneous comments resulted in the Iranians adding more years to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sentence, who started reciting the ‘Road to Mandalay’ in Thailand’s holiest Buddhist temple, and who managed to increase tensions with Russia during talks to calm them down. I suppose one answer to how he got the job in the first place was because the Tories were impressed with the way he handled the Chinese at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But I think the real reason is simply Tory internal politics. Boris is an inveterate intriguer, who can’t be trust for an instant. May wants to keep in the government, where she can keep an eye on him, rather than exclude him from power and give him the freedom to attack her. It looks to me very much like a case of the old saying ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’.

But if that’s the real reason BoJo’s got the position, then it shows that Britain’s relations with the rest of the world, and issues of peace and international justice, are of much less importance than letting Tweezer cling on to power.

President of Ireland Bestows Philosophy Award On Student

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/05/2018 - 12:17am in

Michael Higgins, the president of Ireland, addressed students at the first Irish Young Philosopher Awards and called for more philosophy in college curricula, saying that “studying philosophy enables one to live with full capacity in solidarity and in cohesion with others, and that is just so very, very important,” and that “every subject that a university advertises itself will gain from its being integrated with philosophy,” according to The Irish Times.

The winner of the first Irish Young Philosopher Award is sixteen-year-old Luke Rickard, a fourth-year student at Gonzaga College Dublin. Here he is receiving the award from President Higgins:

Mr. Rickard’s entry, “Is it ethical for robots to be caregivers?”, raised questions about the appropriate division of labor between robot and human caregivers for the elderly and infirm.

Entrants to the competition, which aims to encourage students to engage with philosophical ideas, are required to create a poster (or similar visual display) about their project, in addition to the “final product,” which may be in one of a variety of formats (essay, film, podcast, cartoon, slide show, etc.).

There were nearly 200 contestants.

More here.

(previously)

The post President of Ireland Bestows Philosophy Award On Student appeared first on Daily Nous.

RT: Protesters Say Why They’re Against Trump’s Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Trump movement of the American embassy to Jerusalem has caused widespread protests. Palestinians in Gaza have gathered at the enclosing fence to protest. 59 of them have been killed by Israeli soldiers, and something like a further 200 injured.

In this short video from RT, the protesters state exactly why they are against the movement of the embassy. One young man says its because Jerusalem is a contested city, where 35-40 per cent of its occupants – the Palestinian Arabs – are under occupation. A young woman says that Trump is gambling with the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis, which he has no right to do. The journo then asks Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli parliamentarian, what he thinks. Tibi responds by stating that it is a licensed demonstration, but immediately it began they were attacked, he was attacked, because of the Palestinians, and they were pushed back. He states Jerusalem is occupied territory. It should be the capital of the state of Palestine. The video then shows someone pushing Tibi back, while a woman states that they have tried to arrest the head of the Palestinians in Israel. She goes on to say that they will not allow this, and goes on to insist on their right to protest.

Mike has written a superb piece about the shooting of Palestinian protesters by the Israelis, and the shameful attempts to excuse the Israeli state by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Labour Friends of Israel. He calls out the Beeb for remaining silent and not condemning this atrocity. And he puts up Tweets from ordinary people, including those whom the Board would probably describe as ‘the wrong type of Jews’, who have condemned the Israeli armed forces. He also shows footage of Israelis also protesting the move and the IDF shooting of Palestinian protesters.

Mike explains, despite the probability that the Israel lobby and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism will find this yet another reason to smear him, why Gaza can fairly be compared to a concentration camp. He talks about the Nakba, the Palestinian term for their persecution, massacre and ethnic cleansing when Israel was set up, and that the Israeli state is engaged in a campaign of genocide against them. And he cites and shows various Israeli politicians, who have not minced words and talked about the killing of Palestinians in very bloody terms. One of these is a female politico, who talks about not only killing terrorists and demolishing their homes, but also about killing their entire families. This has sparked condemnation from the people Mike follows on Twitter, which include not only Muslims like Aleesha and Nadim Ahmed, but also Jeremy Corbyn, Craig Murray, who compares the shooting of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers to the Yemeni kids killed by British bombs, as well as Tom London, Shlomo, David Clarke and the comic actor, David Schneider. A number of Labour and SNP MPs also stood outside Parliament in support of the Palestinians, though this is a mere handful compared to the larger number, who kept their mouths firmly shut.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and Labour Friends of Israel both issued statements blaming Hamas for putting the people of Gaza and the Palestinians up to protesting, thus causing them to get shot. These are nasty, weasel words. Others, including Tony Greenstein, long ago despatched that nasty excuse for Israeli atrocities. Palestinian society is split between a number of political factions. Hamas doesn’t have the absolute totalitarian control to move 40,000 people to the fence enclosing Gaza. What is driving the Palestinians is the simple fact that this is another assault on them, their national identity and their right to their ancestral homes. The Board and LFI also took those statements down when they found they weren’t convincing anyone, but people have taken screenshots of them.

And those trying to defend Israel have also brought back the old excuse that ‘Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East’. There are two answers to this. The first is that it isn’t. Lebanon is also a democracy. It’s different from Israeli and Western democracy, in that the various sects and religions are also guaranteed particular places in their parliament, according to the size of their population in a system known as consociality, but it’s still a democracy. The other argument is that it may be democracy for the Israelis, but it isn’t for the Palestinians. Yes, there are Arab members of the Knesset, and an Arab party is represented, but the Palestinians themselves live under an oppressive system of apartheid. And it shouldn’t matter whether a country is a democracy or not, atrocities are atrocities and the state or government which commits them is just as guilty as any other.

Mike makes it also clear that he feels the reason why no-one in the media is condemning these atrocities, or worse, they’re actually giving their support, is because they’re afraid of being libelled as anti-Semites. He states that these cowed journos shame us all. Mike’s a journalist, who prizes fairness and integrity, for which he was greatly respected by the people in local government when he was a local hack.

And he’s right about this. Norman Finkelstein has said in one of his videos that the Israel lobby has been smearing the country’s critics as anti-Semites since the 1980s. In fact he called them ‘a machine for creating anti-Semites’. And years ago, when the Israeli state started bombarding Palestine, a book came out entitled The Political Uses of Anti-Semitism. It was a volume of essays highly critical of Israel, half of which were authored by Jews. I also remember that one of the people, who spoke out against that was the thesp Miriam Margolies, who said she spoke as ‘a proud Jew, and an ashamed Jew’.

Shlomo, one of peeps on Twitter Mike has reblogged, urges everyone not to believe that Jews are somehow enemies within, who support Netanyahu 100 per cent, and that Jews are as British as anyone else. Shlomo isn’t the only Jewish Brit, who feared that Israel and its actions would result in British Jews being suspected as dangerous foreigners in their own country. Samuel Montague, in his famous memorandum, objected to Balfour’s decision to back the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine for precisely this reason.

As for Jerusalem, the UN resolution that recognised Israel stated that it should be a free city. As al-Quds, it’s the third holiest city in Islam, and so its occupation by the Israelis was bound to be bitterly resented. More than that, the Israeli paper Haaretz published an article a years or so ago reporting that hostility by the Israeli inhabitants against Arab residents was increasing along with calls for them to be expelled. The reporter was appalled at this, and called for a little more tolerance.

Mike’s statement that the Israeli state’s campaign of persecution against the Palestinians is genocide may well draw the ire of people like the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, but he isn’t alone in describing it as such. One of those, who includes the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians with other forms of genocide is the Israeli professor at Hebrew university in Jerusalem, who wrote a whole book entitled Genocide. This includes the Holocaust, naturally, though the Israel lobby hate anybody comparing the two. I’ve got a copy of the book on my shelf.

As for the Beeb’s silence, Lobster years ago commented that the corporation ties itself in knots trying to convince itself and others that it’s biased reporting is, in fact, impartial. Peter Oborne, in his Despatches investigation into the Israel lobby stated that off the record, many of the journalists and researchers in the Beeb’s news team complained that there was considerable pressure from management not to criticise Israel. This brings to mind the case of Danny Cohen, a very senior member of BBC management, who shot off to Israel a few years ago complaining of rising levels of anti-Semitism in Europe. Jews weren’t safe, and so should move to Israel. Which is the standard line of the Israel lobby. He’s since come back to Britain, which indicates that anti-Semitism can’t be that rife in Britain.

And then there are the geopolitical reasons, which might influence the Beeb’s culpable silence. Comparisons were made between the creation of Israel and the establishment of Northern Ireland by the Ulster Protestants, and it was suggested at the time that the British government was trying to create a little Jewish enclave amongst the Arabs in the same way that one of Ulster’s cities was a little Protestant enclave amongst the Roman Catholics. Which implies that behind this lies more British imperialism. Especially as Britain’s foreign policy in the region relies on two allies, the Israelis and the Saudis. The Beeb’s the state broadcaster, and it seems to me that it’s reporting reflects long term establishment views. And so they’re not going to be critical of the Israelis, in order to avoid alienating a valuable ally in the region.

And so, despite the horror of ordinary Brits and people across the world, the mainstream media remains silent about these atrocities.

For Mike’s brilliant analysis of the media’s silence and what’s happening, go to his post at https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/05/15/heres-why-people-are-afraid-to-denounce-the-genocidal-brutality-of-the-israeli-regime/

Arkush’s Demonstration against Labour Party ‘Anti-Semitism’ Attended by Supporters of Banned Israeli Racist Terrorist Organisation

Okay, I’ve published a number of articles about gentile, racist, White supremacist and anti-Semitic organisations. Now here’s a post about Israeli Fascists. I found this photo in an article by Tony Greenstein published a few weeks ago, accusing Jewish Voice for Labour of abandoning Marc Wadsworth. Wadsworth is the veteran Black activist and anti-racism campaigner, who were expelled from the Labour party because Ruth Smeeth accused him of anti-Semitism. This, as I’ve pointed out, is yet another anti-Semitism smear, as Wadsworth’s comment criticising her contained no reference to her Jewishness, and he has actually collaborated with the Board of Deputies of British Jews in reformulating the law of racial harassment as part of a campaign against the real racists of the BNP.

It’s a photo of the crowd being addressed by the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, at the demonstration organised by the Board, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism a few weeks ago, when they accused Jeremy Corbyn of allowing anti-Semitism to increase in the Labour party.

I’ve drawn a rough red circle around two of the crowd at the front, who are both wearing ‘Kach’ T-shirts. These are black, with a yellow star within which is a black raised fist. Kach was a far-right, racist organisation founded by the American-Israeli Orthodox rabbi Meir Kahane. It was banned in 1984 as a terrorist organisation. One of its supporters gunned down 29 Arabs in the Tomb of the Patriarchs. I’ve also seen articles linking it to the extreme right-wing paramilitary militias that emerged in America in the 1990s, which many people believed were a new Fascist threat to American society. Greenstein states that they’re members of the Jewish Defence League, a far-right islamophobic mob, who goose-step around with the English Defence League.

http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/jewish-voice-for-labour-surrenders-to.html

Greenstein has also described how members of a pro-Israeli crowd also wore Kach T-shirts, when that mob tried to disrupt a pro-Palestinian meeting and conference.

Arkush, the Board, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism are lying when they accuse Corbyn of promoting anti-Semitism. He isn’t remotely anti-Semitic, and neither are the very many decent, anti-racist people that have been smeared as anti-Semites by the CAA and its fellows within the Labour party. These include Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Greenstein himself, and Mike Sivier, my bro, over at Vox Political. And I’ve said, over and again, very many of those smeared are decent, self-respecting Jews.

Now if any other party or organisation had supporters turning up bearing the symbols of banned racist paramilitary organisations, like the young Nazis of National Action, or legal organisations connected with terrorism, such as Sinn Fein, there would be a massive scandal. Especially if the organisation was the Labour party. I can remember in the 1980 how Labour was vilified because some constituency parties supposedly were addressed by members of Sinn Fein, and the party was in favour of peace talks between the government and the IRA. This was at the same time Maggie Thatcher was in secret talks with the IRA herself. The Tories, as someone once said, are an organised hypocrisy.

The presence of those two should immediately have asked searching questions to be raised about Arkush and the demonstration he helped organise. It isn’t, because the Board of Deputies of British Jews is the official Jewish organisation, and so apparently exempt from criticism. And the Conservative media and the Blairites within the Labour party thoroughly approve of their attempts to smear and discredit Corbyn and his supporters.

I admit there is a chance that discussion of the presence of the two terrorist supporters at the demonstration could increase anti-Semitism by showing links between the Board and the Israeli far right. This could seem to corroborate all the stupid nonsense about Jews wanting to dominate the world and the Zionist Occupation Government. But not if it is done properly. Only 7 per cent of the British population have negative views of the Jews. If the reporting of Arkush’s toleration of supporters of Israeli terrorist organisations was handled properly, the story would discredit the Board and the other organisations, but not libel Jews generally.

There is no global Jewish conspiracy for world domination and the enslavement of gentiles. But there are extreme right-wing Israeli racist organisations, who support Arkush and the other pro-Israel organisations in their attacks and smears on the Labour party and genuine anti-racists and opponents of anti-Semitism. They are a disgrace, and Arkush and the other organisations behind the smears and demonstrations should similarly be discredited or the subject of very strong censure and inquiry for their association with them.

The Good Friday Agreement: our common ground must hold sway

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/04/2018 - 5:13pm in

Fintan O’Toole wrote about the Good Friday Agreement in the Guardian yesterday. I happen to think Fintan is probably the best journalist writing in the English language right now, so I strongly recommend a read of what he has to say. But I most especially wanted to consider this paragraph that he wrote:

The genius of the agreement was that it took an unanswerable question and changed it. The unanswerable question was: what are you prepared to die for? A United Kingdom or a United Ireland? They were mutually exclusive concepts. The new question was not what are you prepared to die for, but what are you willing to live with.

I think this astonishingly insightful. But extrapolate it just a little and you will see why those who now think the Good Friday Agreement has overstated importance are so wrong.

Implicit in Fintan’s exquisitely crafted paragraph is the idea that we can simultaneously be many things. Think of us as a Venn diagram if you like. Many interlocking identities overlap to make us the person we are. Frequently these identities might be in conflict. The paradox of living successfully is that we can embrace those differences. More than that, the tension they create adds poignancy to life. It is in their reconciliation as we negotiate our identity with others that much of life’s pleasure is to be found.

Now contrast that with the Brexit view. This says we have single identities. We are British, and not European. Or English and not British. We are isolationist and not partners. We are alone and not together. We control and do not cooperate. These are forlorn worldviews. It is as if no part of our Venn diagrams can, let alone do, overlap.

To return to Fintan’s suggestion; we need to be clear that this divisive perspective on identity is one that we do, afterall, reject. We have to. That’s simply because it does not reflect who we are. I am, for example simultaneously East Anglian, English, British, Irish, European and just one of seven billion or more on this planet. There is no paradox in saying so. Each is true. Just as I can accept fluidity in gender and sexual orientation so do I in my locational identity with all that also implies.

Simultaneously that means I accept that my neighbour has a different mix of identity, and places different weight on each from me. But to paraphrase Fintan, that demands that I ask ‘what can I live with?’ There will, I accept be boundaries. No society I know of is totally tolerant. Nor, I think, is that necessary. Societal norms do exist. They need to be respected. But Fintan’s point is key: they are not absolutes. They are instead points of negotiation in the vast majority of cases. And my point is that we gain from that negotiation.

Brexit takes us back to fixed identities that most of us cannot identify and do not want demanded of us. It creates conflict where none should exist by imposing a demand where none is required and only harm can result.

To ask what we can live with is so much more useful. And we know it can be done. All of us can see the flaws in those we know and love. We co-exist with them in most cases despite those flaws, precisely because the capacity to negotiate tolerable solutions is innate in us humans.

So too should it be in our politics. The Good Friday Agreement recognised that. Brexit does not. One then stands head and shoulders over the other and must hold sway. Our common ground is what we must still value, come what may.

Lobster Review of Pro-Jewish, Pro-Zionist Book Against Israel, and Against Israel Lobby In America: Part Two

Neumann then moves on to what Israel should do now in ensure its survival: it must leave the Occupied Territories.

‘with the acquisition of the
Occupied Territories in 1967,
Israel had a chance to make
handsome amends for the crimes
on which it was built. Saint-
lines or selfless optimism
were not required. Israel could
have sponsored and supported,
with true generosity, the
establishment of a sovereign
Palestinian state by backing
those amenable to reconciliation
and attacking those who were not.
This might not have been a just
settlement, but it would have
worked.’

American support for Israel following 1967 has made that possibility harder to achieve, and an exploration of this relationship is the subject of the book by James Petras. He dedicates the Power of Israel in the United States to Rachel Corrie, ‘US citizen and humanitarian internationalist volunteer in Palestine murdered by the Israeli military’. His style is that of the committed activist, in sharp contrast to the cool rigour of Neumann. There re times when his use of capitals, as in Terror Experts or Zionist Power Configuration, irritate. But while his writing is urgent, at times to the point of stridency, it is well sourced and invites the reader to inquire further into the areas he explores. Here is a flavour of the Petras style:

‘Through overseas networks the
Israeli state can directly inter-
vene and set the parameters to US
foreign aid in the Middle East.
The overseas networks play a major
role in shaping the internal debate
on US policy toward Israel.
Propaganda associating Israeli
repression of Palestinians as the
righteous response of the victims of
the Holocaust has been repeated
throughout the mass media. President
Ahmadinejad’s suggestion that
Holocaust victims might more properly
be compensated by land located in
Europe or in the countries that
victimised them was misreported, then
highly circulated to fuel, instead,
the notion of a rabid, anti-Semitic
Iran. From the height of the network
to the lawyers’ board-rooms, and the
doctors’ lounges, the pro-Israel
supporters of the network aggressively
attack as “anti-Semites” any critical
voices. Through local intimidation and
malicious intervention in the
professions, the zealots defend Israeli
policy and leaders, contribute money
organise voters, and run for office.
Once in office they tune in to Israel’s
policy needs.’

But hasn’t the United States always been subject to pressures exerted by those of its citizens with connections in other countries, be they links with Ireland or the countries of the former Eastern bloc? Petras accepts this, but answers:

‘The Cuban exiles in Miami
exercise significant influence
in both major parties. But in
no other case has linkage led
to the establishment of an
enduring hegemonic relationship:
an empire colonised by a
regional power, with the US
paying tribute to Israel, subject
to the ideological blinders of
its overseas colons, and launching
aggressive wars on its behalf.’

Who are these ‘overseas colons’? Petras has a very long line of ‘Israel Firsters’, people both inside Congress and electoral politics, and those unelected, such as Paul Wolfowitz and his friends in the Office of Special Plans driving the Iraq invasion, as well as many in the media. He tells us about the muscle asserted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations
with its Daily Alert (www.dailyalert.org/) prepared by the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs; the American Jewish Committee; the Anti-Defamation League, and the Zionist Organisation of America.

Petras looks critically at the four principal US sources of financial support for Israel he lists as:

‘1. Wealthy, Jewish contributors
and powerful disciplined fund-
raising organisations. 2: The US
government – both Congress and
the Presidency. 3: The mass media,
particularly the New York Times,
Hollywood and the major television
networks. 4: The trade union bosses
and the heads of pension funds.’

In addition there are well-organised fundamentalist Christian groups with close links to Israel. Petras also sees the emergence under President Yeltsin of the Russian oligarchs (most possessing Israeli passports and having major financial interests in that country) as in part being due to President Clinton’s closeness to the Zionist lobby in the United States.

At times Petras is a little breathless in his description of the activities of those close to Israel, especially the people against whom legal proceedings have been taken after spying for that country while holding important Washington positions. This seems to be a measure of his anger and frustration at his native country being drawn into conflicts that he believes do not serve its interests. While I prefer the cooler logic of Neumann I also recognise the value of an emeritus professor of sociology like Petras alerting his readers in matters they can then look into in their own way and about which they can reach their own conclusions.

If Attorney General Lord Goldsmith advises prosecutions over cash for honours we may learn something of the financial network to which Tony Blair’s Middle East ‘envoy’ seems so central, and then perhaps something of the extent to which the Israel lobby has been influential on the politics of New labour. Whether or not the Crown Prosecution Service gets to dig a little below the surface of our political life, Britain could use both a Neumann and a Petras
to provoke examination of the way our electoral politics is linked to the fortunes of Israel. We should not be distracted by controversy over the veil covering the faces of Muslim women: there are other forms of concealment requiring our more urgent attention.
(Pp. 40-2, Winter 2006/7).

The working class doesn’t need borders in Ireland – or anywhere else

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 28/03/2018 - 12:56am in

Tags 

brexit, eu, ireland

image/jpeg iconbrexit and Ireland.jpg

The ruling class in Britain is mired in problems of its own making. Ditching its own long-embedded choices, it stumbles towards Brexit and is abandoning half a century of its preferred strategy. [1] Predictably, an exceptionally intractable problem has developed about the national border in Ireland. The political factions that arranged and delivered the Brexit decision blithely ignored the fact that the border would become the frontier between the Irish Republic, a member of the EU (European Union), and the post-Brexit non-EU United Kingdom.

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George Galloway Documentary on British Fascism

Entitled ‘The Patriot Game’, and just under 27 minutes in length, this documentary British Fascism was post on YouTube on Friday. Presented by the former Labour MP, founder of the Respect Party, and now presenter with RT, George Galloway, this is a potted history of British Fascism. Some sensitive souls might want to skip some of this. This are vicious, ugly people, and the documentary includes scenes of violence where the Fascists are fighting the anti-Fascists and the police. There are also newsreel footage of the gas ovens in Nazi Germany to make a mute refutation of Martin Webster’s attempt to cast doubt on the truth of the conventional ‘narrative’ about the Holocaust.

It begins with the assassination of Jo Cox last year by Thomas Mair, and the all-too real Nazism and vicious anti-Semitism of Britain First. Not only did they want Cox dead, they also conspired to kill another female MP. From there he goes on to talk about Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists and the Battle of Cable Street. This was when Mosley and his goons attempted to march through the East End of London. They were opposed by a huge crowd of trade unionists, Communists and Jews, determined not to let them pass. Violence broke out, but the Fascists were, as Galloway says, ‘routed’.

He then goes on to the Notting Hill riots of 1961 and the murder of Conseil Cochrane, an Antiguan carpenter. Now a very exclusive part of London, Notting Hill was then a poor area of slum housing and rapacious landlords. During three days of rioting, thousands of White youths rampaged to beat and attack Blacks. Galloway notes that the Daily Heil asked at the time ‘Should they keep coming?’ referring to the Black and Asian immigrants, who were there being attacked. The area was a hotbed of racism, and Colin Jordan was there with his White Defence League. There is then footage of Jordan at the microphone stating that if coloured immigration continued, it would lead to a mulatto (mixed-race) Britain, the extinction of the White race, and the fall of our civilisation. This is followed by Enoch Powell and his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. Galloway mentions how Mosley tried and failed to get back into British politics, but the BUF’s place was taken instead by the National Front, led by John Tyndall and Martin Webster. After that collapsed, it was succeeded by Nick Griffin’s BNP, which in turn was succeeded by Tommy Robinson’s Islamophobic English Defence League. Robinson is shown at one of his protests against the Rotherham Asian grooming gang, holding up a Qu’ran and claiming that the rapists’ actions were based on ‘this manual’. This has now been succeeded in its turn by John Meighan’s Football Lads’ Alliance, which is also vehemently anti-Islamic. Meighan is shown arguing that they’re against all forms of extremism and racism. But Meighan himself is a former football hooligan, who was given a nine month suspended sentence for affray and banned from every football ground in the country. And John Sillitt, of Stand Up To Racism, describes how, when they tried to leaflet an FLA demo, they were met with cries of ‘We hope they bomb you!’. He states that they are not a non-violent organisation, and that their members hate Islam, not just Islamic extremism. He notes that for all Meighan’s talk, there wasn’t a Muslim speaker with him on the podium. He also stated that Portinari, another Fascist and gunrunner for the UDA, the Protestant paramilitary group in Northern Ireland, is a member of this wretched organisation. The documentary also shows Meighan with Tommy Robinson and other members of the EDL in a pub in Bristol, behaving like a gang of Fascist yobs.

During the documentary he talks to Prof. Matthew Goodwin of the University of Kent, Rob Hoveman, of the Central European University, Budapest, and Francis Beckett, the author of Fascist in the Family, as well as Martin Webster, the Black rights activist, Lee Jasper, and Mike Yardley, a security adviser. Goodwin, Hoveman and Beckett provide very brief definitions of Fascism. Goodman states that it differs from Conservatism in that, while Conservatism looks to the past, Fascism is all about national renewal and looks to the future. Hoveman describes how Fascism is marked by a defensiveness, a belief that society is being undermined, whether by Jews, Communists or liberals. Francis Beckett, whose father was another one of Mosley’s Blackshirts, defines it as being about the belief in an infallible leader ‘which is about as close to madness as you can get’.

Lee Jasper talks about the real fear the NF and other Fascist groups provoked in Black people, and their threat of violence, which could end with you losing your life. Matthew Goodman describes how contemporary Fascists, like the NF and BNP differ from the old style storm-troopers of Mosley’s BUF. Mosley had quite developed ideas about the kind of society he wanted to create and what he wanted to do with the economy. Contemporary Fascists don’t have any of that, just a crude racism and conspiratorialism, so that they are White supremacist organisations.

In his interview with Galloway, Martin Webster rants on about the need to preserve the White race from racial intermixing, drawing a rather spurious comparison with campaigns to save the whale. Galloway asks him how he sees Adolf Hitler. Webster doesn’t condemn him. He states openly that he admires him for some of the things he did, like giving the Germans back their sense of pride and overturning the Treaty of Versailles, and saving Germany from financial collapse and political decadence. Galloway then asks him the obvious question: what does he think about the Holocaust. Webster then replies that he isn’t a Holocaust revisionist, before going on to repeat their arguments. He acknowledges that Poles, Jews and Russians were brutally treated, but claims that scientists and engineers have produced a list of questions about the Holocaust, which are not discussed and for which you are jailed in Germany simply for asking them. But he states that he does not believe that there was a ‘machine’ for the murder of the Jews. As he makes this statement, the film shows footage from the death camps, of a human skeleton in one of the incinerators used to burn the bodies, and a mound of other human bones, all of which show very clearly that Webster is wrong and lying. Webster states very clearly that ‘any sensible government’ would send illegal immigrants back to their country of origin. When asked about non-White immigrants generally, he replies that they’re not happy here, and mentions the Black on Black violence in some of the ghettos. ‘Blacks’ he says, ‘are murdering each other at a terrible rate. He then talks about the failure of integration. This hasn’t occurred in the way ‘they’ wanted. He complains about the adverts with Black and Asian people, and especially bed adverts showing mixed, Black and White couples. These are supposed to be there to encourage the rest of us to follow their example where it is not occurring in reality. Galloway asks him what would happen to people of mixed race, like his children. Two of them are Arab, and two Indonesia. Webster doesn’t really answer the question, just says something about putting the nation first, and how he isn’t going to put off that by questions like that, Galloway’s children excepted. When pressed, he says he would make Black and Asian people an offer like the Godfather’s one ‘they couldn’t refuse’. The camera cuts to Galloway, staring daggers at him. As any loving parent would the person, who despises their children and wishes to harm them, or throw them out of their own country. As for the British people putting up with race-mixing, Webster maintained that they wouldn’t, citing the Leave Vote for the European Union as a demonstration of this.

Yardley makes the point that these Fascist organisations are racist and homophobic, and identifies one of the problems of trying to comb them. These organisations are constantly splintering, and then reforming. He also complains that the media pays very great attention to the threat of Islamic terror, while ignoring domestic Fascist terrorist organisations. The documentary does show the aggressively Nazi Britain First screaming ‘Hail Victory!’ and making the Nazi salute, and Amber Rudd’s speech declaring that they were now banned.

The programme shows these groups as exactly what they are: violent thugs with skinhead haircuts, marching, giving Nazi salutes and chants. The footage of an EDL march, or an FLA march, shows them chanting ‘There’s only one Oswald Mosley’. The young men in these organisations look very much like grotesques Kevin O’Neill and John Hicklenton drew as Terminators in the ‘Nemesis the Warlock’ strip in 2000 AD, which used fantasy to attack racism and bigotry.

It’s a chilling documentary. I found the newsreel footage of Mosley and his fellow thugs particularly disturbing, as this showed mass crowds all greeting him with the Fascist salute. It also has clips of Mosley speaking at the Olympia Palace. Waving his arms around dramatically in a chopping gesture, this shows how desperate Mosley was to copy Mussolini and then Adolf Hitler. Fortunately, he never achieved anywhere near their level of popularity. Despite the menacing tone of this documentary, it’s hard to know how much of a threat these groups pose. They are a real threat to the lives and property of ethnic minorities and left-wingers, whom they attack with extreme violence, going as far as murder. But these Fascist groups are also numerically small. I don’t think any of them has come close to having one of their members elected as an MP, despite the success of the BNP in winning a number of council seats in the 1990s. As for the Leave campaign, many of the voters were actually left-wing, and had an issue, not with foreign immigration as such, but with the stifling neoliberal policies of the EU. It also shows the success of the anti-racist campaigning of the last several decades that Fascistic groups like the EDL and FLA have to hide their racism, and instead project themselves as simply against Islamic extremism.

I am certainly not saying that we should be complacent about them. We shouldn’t. They are a threat, though at the moment this is being contained. But there is much racism in British society and racist violence outside of their ranks, which also needs to be tackled. And there is the grim possibility that if western governments continue to follow neoliberalism, and push more people into desperate poverty, more Whites will become attracted to racist groups as their rage seeks a scapegoat for their own anxieties and fears.

Lobster: Sunday Times Ran MI5 Smear Stories against Maurice Oldfield

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/03/2018 - 10:30pm in

It seems that the Sunset Times has a long history of smearing people for the powers that be, and that the libel about Mike being an anti-Semite and Holocaust Denier is just the latest of these vile smears.

I found this interesting little snippet in Lobster’s review of Martin Dillon’s The Enemy Within: The IRA’s War against the British (London: Doubleday 1994), in issue 30, page 41. It reads

Stories about Maurice Oldfield ’emanated from the ongoing conflict between MI5 and MI6… MI5 used RUC Special Branch to circulate stories about Oldfield going to the town of Comber to pick up young men (and) that the ageing spy chief was involved in the Kincora boys’ home in East Belfast. (p. 192). (This story, I seem to remember, was first run through the Sunday Times).

The Kincora Boys’ Home was the centre of a major scandal in the late 1970s, when it was revealed that the children in the care home were being sent out to be abused by high-ranking members of the Loyalist community in Ulster.

Going forward in time, it was either the Sunday Times, or its sister paper, the Times, that smeared Michael Foot, the former Labour leader, as a KGB spy, codename ‘Comrade Boot’. Foot did what Mike intends to do, and sued. He won. But obviously the paper hasn’t learned anything, and is still merrily flinging mud for the benefit of the Tories and the Israel lobby.

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