Argentina

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Ignore the Tory Flag-Waving: Labour and Socialism Represent Real Patriotism

It was announced this week that there are plans to set up two independent networks to rival the ‘woke, wet BBC’ as the Daily Mail decided to describe the state broadcaster. This has been described by left-wing bloggers like Zelo Street quite rightly as attempts to set up a kind of Fox News in the UK. And the name of one of these broadcasters shows you just what type of audience they want to appeal to: GB News. Two of its presenters have already been announced. They are Andrew Neil and Nigel Farage. It’s another example of the Conservatives and right Brexiteers laying the claim to be patriots defending Britain, its people and traditions. And it’s rubbish.

The Tories have been making this claim almost since they appeared in the 17th century, but the nationalism became particularly acute under Thatcher. She took over Churchill’s heroic view of British history and consciously modelled her style of government on Churchill’s. Or what she thought was Churchill’s. The result was headlines like one in the Sunday Telegraph defending the patriotic middle classes: ‘Don’t Call Them Boojwah, Call Them British’. World War II and the Falklands were invoked at every opportunity. The Tory party election broadcast was a particularly blatant example. It started with World War II footage of Spitfires zooming about the skies while an excited voice told us that ‘We were born free’. It’s a line from the 18th century Swiss advocate of radical democracy, Rousseau. His Social Contract begins ‘Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains.’ Obviously, you can see why the Tories didn’t want to include the last bit.

Thatcher passed legislation intended to make New Commonwealth immigration more difficult by revising British citizenship to restrict it only to those born here or who had been naturalised. Previously it had extended to anyone born in the British Empire. At the same time, the Tory press ran article after article attacking Black and Asian immigrants, warning of the dire threat of ‘unassimilable immigrants’. The riots of the early 80s were ascribed, not to Blacks protesting against real racism, but to the racism of the Black community itself. The Labour party was full of Commies and traitors supporting the IRA, a lie that BoJob repeated yesterday in an ad hominem attack on Keir Starmer. Britain was under threat, and only Maggie Thatcher, personifying the spirit of Boadicea and Winston Churchill, could save us.

In fact the reverse was true. We almost lost the Falklands War, despite all the propaganda, flag-waving and sabre-rattling, because of Thatcher’s defence cuts. The Argentinians waited until the British ship guarding the islands had sailed away. We only won thanks to American and Chilean support. Hence Thatcher’s friendship with the old Fascist butcher, General Pinochet.

At the same time, Thatcher was responsible for the destruction of British industry and its sale to foreign companies. She didn’t want the government to bail out ailing firms, and so they were allowed to go under. State-owned enterprises were sold to foreign companies, so that many of the railway companies are owned by the Dutch, French and Germans, while I think Bristol Water is owned by an Indonesian firm. This has not brought the investment Thatcher claimed. Instead, these foreign firms simply take the profits from British companies and concentrate on their own domestic operations.

At the same time, the deregulation of the financial sector, which was supposed to take over from manufacturing as the main motor of the British economy, resulted in capital flight. The Tories hate the free movement of people, except when they’re rich, but are very keen to make sure that the British rich can invest wherever they like around the world, even at the expense of British domestic industry. Hence Jacob Rees Mogg also has investments in a number of far eastern and Indonesian companies.

And the British Empire has actually also been a problem for British domestic industry. British capitalists took their money there to exploit cheap indigenous labour. Even now the City is geared more to oversees investment than domestic, with the result that British industry is starved of investment. Labour tried to solve that problem in the 1980s by advocating a domestic investment bank. That went out the window when they lost the 1987 election, and Kinnock and his successor Blair did a volte-face and turned instead to the financial sector with promises of ‘light touch’ regulation. Further reforms by Blair, continued by the Tories, have resulted the extremely rich taking their money abroad in tax havens like the Cayman Islands in order to avoid paying British tax. Yet the same billionaires still demand the British taxpayer to bail them out. We saw this a month ago when Beardie Richard Branson called on the government to bail out Virgin Airlines, despite the fact that he is resident in the Virgin Islands and his company is also registered abroad in order to dodge paying tax in Blighty.

The playwright and Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw called out the Tories on the fake patriotism nearly a century ago in his 1928 book, The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism. He wrote

So far we have considered the growth of Capitalism as it occurs at home. But capital has no home, or rather it is at home everywhere. It is a quaint fact that though professed Socialists and Communists call themselves Internationalist, and carry a red flag which is the flag of workers of all nations, and though most capitalists are boastfully national, and wave the Union Jack on every possible occasion, yet when you come down from the cries and catchwords to the facts, you find that every practical measure advocated by British Socialists would have the effect of keeping British capital in Britain to be spent on improving the condition of their native country, whilst the British capitalists are sending British capital out of Britain to the ends of the earth by hundreds of millions every year. If, with all our spare money in their hands, they were compelled to spend it in the British Isles, or were patriotic or public-spirited or insular enough to do so without being compelled, they could at least call themselves patriots with some show of plausibility. Unfortunately we allow them to spend it where they please; and their only preference, as we have seen, is for the country in which it will yield them the largest income. Consequently, when they have begun at the wrong end at home, and have exhausted its possibilities, they do not move towards the right end until they have exhausted the possibilities of the wrong end abroad as well. (pp. 133-4).

Shaw was right. In terms of practical politics, the Socialists are the only real patriots. The flag-waving nationalism of Thatcher, BoJob and Farage is to distract you from the fact that they’re not.

Don’t be misled by patriotic rhetoric, the fake controversy about the Proms, the attacks on immigrants and names like GB News. The people who really believe in Britain and all its great people are on the left.

Argentina: Past Industrialization Problems and Perspectives (in Portuguese)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/07/2020 - 11:14pm in

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Argentina

Interview with Fausto Oliveira, economic journalist that produces the channel Brazilian Industrial Revolution. For those interested in the process of economic development and its relation to the process of industrialization in the periphery (and speak Portuguese) I highly recommend it.

On Argentine debt restructuring proposal (in Spanish)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/07/2020 - 3:10am in

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Argentina

Short interview for an Argentinean radio show, in Spanish.

Course on the Argentinean Economy in Portuguese

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/06/2020 - 3:52am in

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Argentina

For those interested in the Argentinean economy, and that can understand Portuguese, I'm teaching a virtual course on the Rise and Fall of Argentina with my friend Paulo Gala. Some teasers are available here. Below the first class.

Btw, my suggestion is that basically there's no fall, if the economy never rose in the first place.

Debt default or negotiated solution?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 11:12pm in

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Argentina, default, IMF

An Argentinean default is neither new, nor a surprise, perhaps, even for a casual observer of the ups and downs of international bond markets. One may want to follow Oscar Wilde’s Victorian governess advice and omit the chapter on the fall of the peso as being ‘too sensational.’ But an Argentinean default now, after the Great Shutdown provoked by the coronavirus pandemic, would be the harbinger of a generalized sovereign debt crisis for emerging markets that would engulf the global economy, and make the recovery slower and more painful, including in the United States and other advanced economies. It may also undermine the US position in the global economy.
The Argentinean government’s debt restructuring proposal to the private creditors expired Friday, May 8th, with a limited number of adherents. In particular, large institutional investors did not accept the terms offered by Martín Guzmán, the finance minister, which would have implied a cut of about sixty percent of the principal, and a moratorium on payments for three years. This proposal, one might add, was for the most part designed before the coronavirus crisis, and the collapse of the global economy. The main preoccupation of the proposal was to put the external debt of the country on a sustainable basis, meaning in line with its ability to pay, which depends on its exports, the only secure source of dollars.

Black Rock, Fidelity, PIMCO and other investment funds that hold enough of Argentinean debt to preclude any rescheduling, want a cut of around forty percent, and have enough influence to hold out for a better deal (this guy here says Black Rock is the fourth branch of government). Since Argentina did not make a payment of interest of approximately US$ 500 million in April 22nd, today the country could be officially in default (grace period expires today, even if government extended negotiations). In the absence of a negotiated solution with the main bondholders the default is inevitable. The impasse is established, and the question is how can the stalemate be broken. Only the U.S. government holds the key for a negotiated solution.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United States government, and other international creditor groups like the Club of Paris have been unusually supportive of Argentina. The IMF that had lent US$44 billion to Argentina between 2018 and 2019, has openly argued that the Argentinean debt is unsustainable, providing support for the rescheduling proposal. The U.S. government that has been a harsh critic of center left governments in the region, has had good rapport with the new government of Alberto Fernández, and his vice-president, the ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with whom relations were considerably less friendly in the past.

As Jagdish Bhagwati famously implied with the notion of a Treasury-IMF-Wall-Street complex, the connections between the financial sector, the United States government and the multilateral organizations run deep. The current Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, as it is well-known, worked at Goldman Sachs, and he is the last of a long list of Wall Street connected government officials. Only the United States would have the clout to influence bondholders to come to the table with a reasonable counter offer. This would be of interest not only to Argentina, and its creditors, since a default would lead to years of litigious disputes that would only be sorted out by the courts, but for the United States and its global standing in the midst of the pandemic.

The collapse of international trade and of the price of commodities, the disappearance of remittances and revenues from tourism, coupled with the normal flight to safety will put other developing economies, that were not on the verge of collapse like Argentina, on unsustainable paths too. Most of these debts are denominated in dollars. The exorbitant privilege associated to the international position of the dollar comes with some requirements, as Charles Kindleberger famously noted. It requires acting as a global lender of last resort, providing counter-cyclical demand in times of distress. The U.S. is already doing some of these, with the Fed offering swap lines for central banks of a few countries, but it has blocked other initiatives like the expansion of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights. Certainly not enough, and debatable whether it is enough even for domestic purposes (let alone other problems noted here, like the notion that the federal government would allow subnational units to go bankrupt)

Even more important in the context of the pandemic, particularly for the U.S. global standing, would be to allow countries that are indebted in dollars to default. These countries need the international reserve currency for the importation of essential medical equipment and pharmaceutical goods. The crisis has, if anything strengthened the position of the dollar in the short run, but there are dangers.

A financial crisis in the middle of a pandemic could have enormous human consequences, and it could also create the conditions for an eventual reduced role for the dollar. The pandemic has exacerbated the dispute between the United States and China, and the latter has already expanded its global lending in renminbi for years. It is also trying to provide medical support for affected countries in the region, to reduce criticism about its role in the pandemic, and now has stepped in to provide medical support. Argentina too has received medical equipment from China. If the U.S. is perceived as unresponsive, it is not inconceivable that China, if it follows a more generous credit policy, could be favored by the crisis.

The best possible outcome would be a negotiated solution, which would probably fall somewhere in between the Argentinean government offer and what would make the big institutional investors not loose money in the short term. Somewhere between a forty and a sixty percent haircut. That would allow the Argentinean government to deal with what really matters, the pandemic, and perhaps expand its spending without fear of external consequences. The U.S. Treasury and the IMF should back more vocally such a solution. Time is running out.

Anti-Semitism Witch-Hunters Targeting Prospective Labour Politico for Something She Hasn’t Yet Done

As Asa Winstanley, another anti-racism activist falsely expelled from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism remarks, this is beyond thoughtcrime. It’s pre-crime. Mike in his article about Keir Starmer reprimanding the respected Black women MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy also mentions that the witch-hunters are demanding he censure their next target, Salma Yaqoob. Yaqoob is a prospective Labour candidate for mayor of the West Midlands, and a patron of the Stop the War Coalition. She is also due to appear in an online discussion from the Coalition about the new Labour leadership’s position on anti-war issues and Palestine on the 8th of this month, May 2020, alongside Paul Kelemen, the author of The British Left and Zionism: A History of a Divorce, and Tony Greenstein, ‘Jewish socialist and anti-war campaigner’. And it is his appearance on the panel that has sent the witch-hunters into a fearful bate, as Molesworth would sa. 

Greenstein is very definitely a Jewish socialist and anti-war campaigner. He a fierce, bitter opponent of Fascism and racism. This means that he also criticises Zionism for Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and the movement’s own crimes against Jews. He has pointed out again and again that throughout their history Zionists and the Israeli state have supported Fascists against Jews and other ethnic minorities when it has served their purpose. Israel sought out an alliance with another White Supremacist state, apartheid South Africa. In the 1970s and ’80 they also allied with Fascist regimes in South and Central America, including Guatemala during its dictatorship’s genocidal civil war with the Mayan Indians, and the neo-Nazi regime in Argentina, which targeted Jews for torture, massacre and murder. At the same time, the Board of Deputies of British Jews attacked the Anti-Nazi League in this country, forbidding Jews from joining it or allowing it to hold meetings in synagogues, because the founder was an anti-Zionist. Some left-wing Jews, who defied the ban and joined it nonetheless, like David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group, say that there were rumours that the Board opposed it for different, racist reasons: they didn’t want Jews joining the Black and Asian fight against racism.

Yaqoob’s appearance was picked up by Ian Austin, the former Labour MP complaining of anti-Semitism while the real reason was that Jeremy Corbyn had returned it to its socialist ideals. He has complained to Starmer and demanded Yaqoob’s suspension. Hence Asa Winstanley tweeted

This racist fanatic wants a prominent Muslim woman expelled from Labour for a future event with the “wrong” kind of Jewish person.

This is beyond Thought Crime, it’s Pre-Crime.

Jackie Walker, another Jewish anti-racism activist smeared as an anti-Semite and expelled from the Party, also commented: It’s open season on black women.

Kerry-Ann Mendoza, the mighty head of The Canary said

Corbyn’s Labour:

For the many, not the few.

Starmer’s Labour:

For us, not you.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/05/02/keir-starmer-has-turned-labour-into-the-party-of-hypocrisy-and-racism/

During the smear campaign a few years ago, the Board, Campaign for Anti-Semitism, Jewish Leadership Council and the other pro-Israel groups and their supporters waved placards at their protests bearing the slogan ‘Labour Party – For the many, not the Jew’. It was a play on Corbyn’s slogan ‘Labour – for the many, not the few’. According to Tony Greenstein, it was made up by British literary author, Howard Jacobson, when he was living in New York. It was supposed to show how anti-Semitic the Labour Party is. But the witch-hunters themselves have particularly targeted Jewish critics of Israel and pro-Palestinian activists. These entirely decent, self-respecting men and women have been viciously smeared as ‘self-hating’. The Board and the other pro-Israel organisations have also misrepresented themselves as standing for Britain’s Jewish community as a whole. They don’t. Board doesn’t represent Orthodox, Haredi nor secular Jews. It really only represents the United Synagogue. I find it very significant that when the I ran an article from a Jewish journalist denouncing Labour as anti-Semitic apart from their own columnist, Simon Kelner, that journo was always described as a member of the United Synagogue. As a Zionist organisation, the Board also doesn’t represent anti-Zionist Jews. The Board and the other organisations attacking Labour and Corbyn were also incensed when the Labour leader attended a Passover Seder with Jewdas, a left-wing Jewish group. This was another anti-Semitic affront to the Jewish community. They were the wrong kind of Jew! Which is itself a noxious, anti-Semitic gesture.

In fact the Board and the other witch-hunters targeting of Jews means that you could reasonably invert their slogan so it reads ‘Board of Deputies – For Israel, not the Jew’. 

It was Tony Blair’s administration that launched the invasion of Iraq, against which the Stop the War Coalition protested, and the Blairites shared the same goals as the Neocons. After George Dubya left office, and was replaced as President by Barack Obama, it was Blair and Sarkozy in France who really wanted an attack on Libya and the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafy. The result has been the destruction of one of Africa’s most prosperous states, which had a strong welfare system and was relatively secular. It has now been replaced in some areas by a hard-line Islamist theocracy, which has returned to slavery with Black migrants now being openly sold in markets. Before the appearance of Coronavirus plunged the world into lockdown, the American right seemed also to be preparing and agitating for a war with Iran. The Neocons also want that country’s regime overthrown because of its militant opposition to Israel, accompanied by frankly genocidal rhetoric, and its defiance of American hegemony in the Middle East. They and their Saudi allies also covet its oil reserves, which they also wish to seize, just like they did Iraq’s.

And there’s also a streak of islamophobia in the witch-hunters a mile wide. People have turned up at pro-Israel and anti-Palestine protests wearing Kach T-shirts. This is a far-right organisation banned in Israel for terrorism. They also wear T-shirts and wave placards for its successor, the Jewish Defence League, which is also banned. One of the witch-hunters turned up next to one anti-Palestinian demo two years or so ago next to Paul Besser, the intelligence officer of the infamous islamophobic group, Britain First. These pro-Israel demonstrators also include open supporters of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League and Pegida UK. One of the Board’s members even appeared with him in a video for Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian internet broadcaster.

It therefore very much seems to me that Austin and the other witch-hunters, by making this complaint against Yaqoob, are desperately trying to keep debate and criticism in the Labour party of Israel and its genocide of the Palestinians very firmly closed. They are also seeking to keep Blair’s Neocon agenda alive in Labour. And they are terrified of Muslims and Muslim influence in the Labour Party. There have been polls showing that 85 per cent of British Muslims support Labour. Muslims are one of the largest ethnic minorities in contemporary Britain. The Radio Times a few years ago covered a radio programme about Jewish comedy and literary festivals that were being held up and down the country. These festivals were open to the wider British population. According to the Radio Times, they were partly being held in order to encourage the broader population to support the Jewish community at a time when that community felt its respect was slipping away and being replaced by concern for other ethnic groups.

Now I’ve got absolutely no objection to such festivals, whether by Jews or any other religious or ethnic group. And with the Far Right on the rise in Europe, Jews do need the support and solidarity of non-Jewish anti-racism activists. But Austin’s complaint about Yaqoob, a Muslim patron of the Stop the War Coalition, suggests that the general insecurity felt by part of the Jewish population is shared by the Israel lobby. And they’re scared of competition from Britain’s Muslims for our sympathies.

The witch-hunter’s targeting of Salma Yaqoob is therefore about preserving the Neocon project and protecting Israel from criticism by silencing genuine anti-racism activists, particularly Jews and Muslims. It’s yet another example of the racism of the Blairite Right.

Disgraceful! Starmer Caves in to Board’s Racist Demands over Black Women MPs

Mike put up a piece on Saturday reporting that Labour leader Keir Starmer had caved in to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and reprimanded two leading and highly respected Black women MPs, Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

These two ladies offended the Board because they appeared in a conference on Zoom, whose audience included Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein, who asked questions. The Board objected, as Jackie and Tony were two of the many people smeared as anti-Semites and expelled from the party. One of the noxious Ten Pledges that the Board persuaded Starmer and the other leadership contenders to sign was that no Labour member would share a platform with someone expelled for anti-Semitism. Hence Marie van der Zyl, the Board’s current president, sent in a complaint about the incident to Starmer calling for him to deal with them.

However, the Board’s complaint is wrong for a series of reasons. Firstly, Jackie and Tony weren’t actually expelled from the party for anti-Semitism. And as Mike says, saying that they’re anti-Semites simply because the Labour party said so has less weight than gossip.

Secondly, the two women weren’t sharing a platform with the two accused. They were merely in the audience. The fact that the van der Zyl and the Board chose to attack the two women anyway not only shows their determination to attack them, but also their failure to understand how Zoom works. Perhaps they’re like the American congressman, who was so ignorant about the internet when it first emerged in the ’90s that he asked if you needed a driver’s licence to go on the information superhighway as it then was.

Thirdly, while Starmer and the others are free to sign anything they wish, decisions affecting the party as a whole have to be ratified by conference. And the Ten Pledges weren’t. Starmer’s disciplining of the two women is therefore constitutional.

The Board’s complaint also looks more than a little racist itself. Zionism has a long history of collaborating with real anti-Semites and Fascists so long as its purposes are served. And these are frequently against the safety and wellbeing of the Jewish people as a whole. The Zionists in Nazi Germany supported the Nuremberg Laws, which defined Jews as racially distinct and incompatible with gentile Germans and signed the infamous Ha’avara Agreement in which the Nazis sent Jewish emigrants to Israel. During the War, the head of the Zionists in Hungary, Rudolf Kasztner, also made a pact with the Nazis to send tens of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz just so that a few could be sent to Israel. Israel has also supplied weapons and expertise to a string of Latin American dictatorships, including Guatemala when that nation’s government was exterminating the Mayans. When a neo-Nazi government took power in Argentina in the mid-70s and began persecuting Jews there, the Israeli government did not scruple to supply them with arms. Arms that were used against us during the Falklands War.

The Board defines itself as a Zionist organisation. It’s also politically right-wing, although perhaps not all its members are members and supporters of the Tories. And the Tories have hated Diane Abbott ever since she entered parliament in the 1980s. She was a left-wing firebrand, one of the first Black women MPs, who was determined to attack anti-Black racism. Over half of all the abusive messages sent to MPs go to her. She was one of those racially bullied by the Blairite plotters, according to the leaked anti-Semitism report. Not only did the scumbags reduce her to tears, but they told journalists where she was crying. This is in stark contrast to the treatment of Black anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth, who was accused of anti-Semitism and reducing a Jewish woman to tears after he caught her passing information on to a Telegraph journo at a meeting at which he was speaking. Yet instead of suspending the plotters, Starmer instead has disciplined Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy.

The Board’s record when it comes to defending Britain’s Jews against Fascism is blotchy. In the 1930s when Mosley’s British Union of Fascists was marching through the East End of London in order to intimidate the Jewish inhabitants, instead of standing up to them the Board advised Jews to stay indoors out of the way. Fortunately many courageous people ignored it, and joined Irish people, trade unionists and Communists in blocking Mosley’s march and giving his storm troops a well-deserved hiding.

The Board also showed the same twisted mentality forty years later in the 1970s when the National Front was on the rise and trying the same tactics. Instead of attacking them, the Board turned its fire on their opponents, the Anti-Nazi League. Jews were forbidden to join the organisation or allow it to hold meetings in synagogues. This was ostensibly because its founder was an anti-Zionist, and they were afraid of Jews hearing anti-Zionist propaganda. But others suspect that it was because the Board itself had White supremacist views.

Tony Greenstein has written a piece on his blog taking the Board and Starmer to task for their treatment of Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy. He discusses the shameful behaviour of the Board towards British Fascism, and quotes Maurice Ludmer, the Jewish founder of the anti-Nazi magazine, Searchlight.  Ludmer wrote in issue 41 of the magazine

“In the face of mounting attacks against the Jewish community both ideologically and physically, we have the amazing sight of the Jewish Board of Deputies launching an attack on the Anti Nazi League with all the fervour of Kamikaze pilots… It was as though they were watching a time capsule rerun of the 1930’s, in the form of a flickering old movie, with a grim determination to repeat every mistake of that era. “

The-then secretary of the Anti-Nazi League, Paul Holborrow, also wrote that they were under attack from the Board. Tony is annoyed that genuine anti-racists like himself are smeared as anti-Semites for opposing and criticising Israel, while genuine racists, like Katie Hopkins, were given an invitation by the Zionist Federation to attend their gala dinner and meet the Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev. As for the Board, its previous head, Jonathan Arkush, welcomed the election of Donald Trump. Trump’s a racist, and his cabinet included real anti-Semites. However, he got a pass because he supports Israel.

Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy issued an apology for their actions. They had no call to do so, being blameless and actually the real injured parties in this sordid case. Greenstein in his piece advises them to stand firm and act like two of the heroes of the civil rights struggle in America, Paul Robeson and Angela Davies.

Robeson was a member of the Communist Party, and was thus hauled before the House Inquiry on Un-American Activities. When McCarthy asked him if he was a Communist, Robeson refused to answer, challenging the senator instead to stand behind him the next time he voted and fish his voting paper out of the ballot box to see. Greenstein also doesn’t mention it, but it is a significant fact here that Robeson was also an opponent of anti-Semitism. He gave a concert in Moscow after the War at the end of which he sang a Yiddish song by the Jewish resistance fighters against Nazism. This was not just to celebrate the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis, but also the millions of Soviet citizens murdered by Stalin.

Angela Davies is a Black American civil rights activist, who last year, 2019, was given the Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award by the Civil Rights Institute of Birmingham, Alabama. However, the Alabama equivalent of the Board got mightily offended and complained, because Davies is a critic of Israel and its persecution of the Palestinians, which she compares to the police’s maltreatment of Black Americans. The Alabama Board complained, and then issued an embarrassed retraction and apology for their own racism when Davies stood her ground and called them out instead.

And the British Board deserves to be called out on its racism. It includes as deputies individuals like Robert Festenstein, an islamophobe who appeared in a Rebel Media video with Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League and Pegida UK. Arkush and van der Zyl have also appeared at meetings in which members of the audience sported Jewish Defence League T-shirts. The JDL is a Judaeo-Nazi organisation, whose predecessor, Kach, is banned as a terrorist group in Israel. Unlike the majority of modern Jews, who strongly reject any idea that their religion makes them superior to anyone else, Kach was founded by Meir Kahane, an extreme right-wing rabbi. He really did believe that Jews are superior to gentiles, and urged Jews to arm themselves. He also absolutely believed that the Holy Land belonged solely to the Jews, and demanded the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people.

There’s a connection here to the militia movement that emerged in America during the ’90s. These were the successors to the Survivalists of the 1980s. They were arming themselves against the American government, which they believed had been corrupted by liberalism and was about to establish a murderous totalitarian dictatorship. According to their critics, such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the militias were White Supremacists with close connections to American Nazism and the Klan. However, according to Adam Palfrey’s Cult Rapture, an examination of American fringe culture in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing, there was also Jewish militia. This group also based their ideology on that of Kahane’s. Palfrey sees them, as well as the fact that the leader of one of the other militias was Black, that the movement as a whole wasn’t White Supremacist. I think he’s wrong, and it’s just that some parts of the movement were less strict in their racism than others, and were prepared to include Jews as fellow White Supremacists.

Now Arkush and Zyl did not meet the American Kahanists. But by speaking at meetings attended by their British cousins they have shown a culpable willingness to tolerate real Islamophobes with paramilitary sympathies. They deserve to be called out on this, as should the Zionist Federation for its endorsement of Hatey Katie.

Starmer should not be kowtowing to the Board and punishing real anti-racists like Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy. He should be backing them instead and holding the Board to account for their racism. As Angela Davies’ case shows, it can be done.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/05/02/keir-starmer-has-turned-labour-into-the-party-of-hypocrisy-and-racism/

https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-new-mccarthyism-zionist-board-of.html

 

Tony Greenstein on Anti-Semitic and Fascist Support for Zionism

In my last piece, I discussed Tony Greenstein’s examination of the leaked report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Greenstein shows that report still uncritically accepts the existence of mass Jew hatred in the party, and the necessity of conducting a purge of members accused of it. But he shows that these allegations and the witch-hunt were entirely motivated by a corrupt political establishment, including and especially that of Britain’s Jewish community, which simply wanted to oust Corbyn and protect Israel and its decades-long ethnic cleansing of the country’s indigenous people. His article is an effective expose of the witch-hunt, its smears against decent, anti-racist people, like Tony himself, and the absolute stupidity of Corbyn and his team in complying with the smear merchants’ demands. As part of his case, Tony shows how real anti-Semites, far from fighting Zionism as Zionist propaganda claims, actively supported and promoted it. Tony writes

‘Zionism has never fought anti-Semitism just anti-Zionism 

One thing missing from any discussion of the ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign is that Zionism has no interest in opposing anti-Semitism.

 ‘Maybe there was some kind of fiddling of the figures by the oligarchs who ran the TV stations (and who were mainly, as some lost no time in pointing out, of Jewish origin)

The above quote is from Boris Johnson’s book 72 Virgins published in 2004. As The Independent notes it depicted Jews as controlling the media, amidst a torrent of racial slurs and stereotypes. Yet the Board of Deputies and the Zionists said nothing. If their real concerns were about anti-Semitism then they would surely have said something?

Indeed when  Boris Johnson became Prime Minister  they fell over themselves to congratulate him. Johnson’s previous record as a racist, anti-Semitism included, was ignored. He was, after all, a strong supporter of Israel.

Imagine if Corbyn had penned such a book? Corbyn was criticised by the Zionists for not mentioning anti-Semitism when reviewing Imperialism by John Hobson, a standard academic textbook, because he didn’t mention that a few lines out of 334 pages were anti-Semitic. The hypocrisy of the anti-Semitism mongers is breathtaking but the authors of the Report never seemed to notice these double standards.

When Theodor Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, wanted to hold the First Zionist Congress in 1897 his choice of venue was Munich. The Jewish population promptly rose up in protest and accused the authorities of anti-Semitism. Why? Because the Zionist proposition that Jews formed a separate nation from other Germans meant that they were therefore aliens. This was exactly what the anti-Semites were saying.

Alfred Rosenberg, Minister for Ostland and the Nazi Party’s main theoretician, who was hanged at Nuremburg in 1946, wrote that

 ‘‘Zionism must be vigorously supported in order to encourage a significant number of German Jews to leave for Palestine or other destinations.’[Francis Nicosia, Third Reich and the Palestine Question, p.25]

As author Francis Nicosia noted, Rosenberg

‘intended to use Zionism as a legal justification for depriving German Jews of their civil rights’ and he ‘sanctioned the use of the Zionist movement in the future drive to eliminate Jewish rights, Jewish influence and eventually the Jewish presence in Germany.’ [TRPQ, pp. 25-26]

Francis Nicosia, the Raul Hilberg Professor of Holocaust Studies at Vermont University and himself a Zionist wrote that:

whereas today non-Jewish criticism of Zionism or the State of Israel are often dismissed as motivated by a deeper anti-Semitism, in Herzl’s day an opposite non-Jewish reaction, one of support for the Zionist idea, might have resulted in a similar reaction. [Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany p.7]

When Herzl sought the support of the Grand Duke of Baden, the uncle of Kaiser Wilhelm II, for Zionism the Duke’s

‘chief misgiving was that if he supported the [Zionist] cause, people would misinterpret this as anti-Semitism on his part.’ (Diaries of Herzl]

Zionism was unique as a movement amongst Jews because it accepted that anti-Semitism was the natural biological reaction of non-Jews to the Jews in their midst. As Herzl wrote in his Diaries:

“In Paris… I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism.” [The Diaries of Theodor Herzl, London: Gollancz, 1958, p.6]

This was in the middle of the Dreyfus Affair which culminated in the triumph of Emile Zola and the Republicans and a defeat for the clerical and military caste that wanted to restore the monarchy.

It was the Zionist acceptance of anti-Semitism as something that was natural, which could not be fought and only utilised, that was the basis of the collaboration between the Nazis and the Zionists. When German Jews and world Jewry were aghast at the assumption of power by the Nazis in January 1933 and instituted a boycott, the Zionists only saw a golden opportunity. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister saw Hitler’s rise as:

a rare opportunity to achieve the “Zionist solution”, the only true solution to the problem of the Jewish people.’ [Yechiam Weitz, Jewish Refugees and Zionist Policy during the Holocaust, p.355, Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 30, 1994 – Issue 2]

Dr Noah Lucas, a critical Zionist historian wrote that:

 ‘As the European Holocaust erupted, Ben Gurion saw it as a decisive opportunity for Zionism… Ben Gurion above all others sensed the tremendous possibilities inherent in the dynamic of the chaos and carnage in Europe… In conditions of peace,… Zionism could not move the masses of world Jewry. The forces unleashed by Hitler in all their horror must be harnessed to the advantage of Zionism. … (The Modern History of Israel, pp. 187/8)

Ben Gurion’s deputy, Berl Katznelson was even more explicit. The rise of Hitler was

an opportunity to build and flourish like none we have ever had or ever will have [Nicosia, ZANG, p.91]

Nor was this attitude to anti-Semitism confined to the pre-State days. When there arose in Argentina in 1976 a neo-Nazi Junta, the first in the post-war era, it targeted Jews. The most famous victim was Jacobo Timmerman, Editor of La Opinion. He was released and deported to Israel after having been savagely tortured. With the advent of the Lebanon War, Timmerman fell out of love with Israel.

The Argentina Junta murdered up to 3,000 Jews. According to Juan Pablo Jaroslavsky of the Barcelona-based Commission of Solidarity with Relatives of the Disappeared

“Jews represented more than 12 per cent of the victims of the military regime while constituting under 1 per cent of Argentina’s population,” See Jews targeted in Argentina’s dirty war,

What was Israel’s reaction? There wasn’t one. Instead it took the opportunity of the United States’s decision to cut off arms sales to this vile regime to increase its own arms sales. During the Falklands/ Malvinas war Israel became the Junta’s main arms supplier.

retired Argentine pilots and military figures who testified that in 1982 they secretly flew to Israel, where they met with representatives from the military and defense manufacturers and returned with their plane loaded with light arms, mortars, air-to-air missiles and anti-tank weapons.

Not once did Israel condemn the anti-Semitism of the Junta. Zionist organisations in the United States instead defended the Junta, minimising its atrocities. The Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires refused to help or grant visas to Jews that the Junta declared were subversives. The Knesset refused to discuss what was happening in Argentina during the 7 year life of the Junta.

An article in Ha’aretz, Argentine-Israelis Urge Israel to Disclose Past Junta Ties describes how Wanda Clara and Marcus Weinstein appealed to Israel concerning the arrest and disappearance of their son Mauricio. Weinstein said he felt the Israeli diplomatic representatives

“cared little interest about the disappeared Jews, including his son and a second Israeli citizen.”

This is the bastard ‘Jewish’ state that Lansman and the Momentum authors of this Report defend with the sterile accusation of ‘anti-Semitism’.’

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/04/pt-2-labours-leaked-report-sad-sorry.html

This is a lengthy passage, which I’ve reproduced in full because it is such a comprehensive refutation of a central ultra-Zionist claim. Ken Livingstone was smeared as an anti-Semite and suspended from the party because he correctly stated that Hitler supported Zionism. Which the Fuhrer did, initially, through the Ha’avara agreement. And my brother, Mike, was accused of anti-Semitism in turn because he wrote a piece, The Livingstone Delusion, showing that the Spartacist newt-fancier was correct. Mike is currently suing the party for breach of contract for their treatment of him.

And the Israel lobby and its supporters are still making the grotesque claim that somehow Zionism = Judaism and Zionists are the Jews’ friends. In her response to  the decision of a judge in her ongoing case against Laura Murray that Murray had made a factual statement, which had a tendency to be defamatory – but crucially did not rule that it was – Rachel Riley claimed that he had ruled in her favour. She concluded her tweet by thanking all her supporters, whom she claimed were opponents of anti-Semitism and the friends of Jews.

While Riley has been the target of real anti-Semitic abuse, I believe, many of the people she has accused of anti-Semitism were simply supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. She accused them, and Corbyn himself, of being anti-Semitic, because he was a critic of Israel. And it seems that she also subscribes to the absolutely false belief that Zionism = Judaism, and Zionists are the most ardent defenders of Jews against prejudice and hatred.

But they aren’t. Time and again Zionists have been supported by real, genocidal anti-Semites and Fascists, to the point where they have actively colluded in the murderous persecution and genocide of Jews, so long as Israel’s interests are served.

It has frequently been the case that the Jewish peoples’ real defenders – and their greatest heroes – have been anti-Zionists. And it is these people, that the self-appointed witch-hunters have smeared and libeled, and twisted history through lies and propaganda to misrepresent themselves as the real protectors of the Jews.

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/04/pt-2-labours-leaked-report-sad-sorry.html

Politics and Public Space in Contemporary Argentine Poetry

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/03/2017 - 11:26pm in

Book at Lunchtime event. This book addresses the connection between political themes and literary form in the most recent Argentine poetry. Ben Bollig uses the concepts of “lyric” and “state” as twin coordinates for both an assessment of how Argentinian poets have conceived a political role for their work and how poems come to speak to us about politics. Drawing on concepts from contemporary literary theory, this striking study combines textual analysis with historical research to shed light on the ways in which new modes of circulation help to shape poetry today.

The book's author, Professor Ben Bollig (Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford) explored the issues raised with:

Maria del Pilar Blanco (Professor in Spanish American Literature, University of Oxford)
Eduardo Posada-Carbo (Professor of History and Politics of Latin America, University of Oxford)
Leigh A. Payne (Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford)

The session was chaired by Bart van Es (Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford).

Argentine elections 2015: a shift to the right and the need for a popular response

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 24/01/2016 - 9:00am in

The electoral victory of Mauricio Macri in the Presidential elections in Argentina last year (22 November 2015) signifies a dramatic change in Argentine and Latin American politics. Despite Mauricio Macri’s campaign promise to ‘keep the good policies’ of the former center-left government, the reality of the first month in office is strikingly different. In this post, originally published on Trade Unions and Global RestructuringBruno Dobrusin analyses these changes as well as the reasons for, and broader implications of, the turn to the right in Argentina.

Reversing centre-left policies

There have been drastic policy changes during the first month. To name a few: devaluation of the currency by 40%; reduction in export taxes for large agribusiness; new cabinet full withformer CEOs of multinational companies; reformulation of Central Bank mandate to further its autonomy; elimination of import controls; liberalization of foreign exchange controls; reversal of the media law; revision of all contracts in the public sector signed since 2012; realignment with US foreign policy objectives, including the promotion of free trade agreements. This brief list highlights the main decisions taken in only a month in office and shows that Macri’s government has two main objectives: (1) liberalizing economic policy after years of intense state intervention in Argentina, and (2) becoming a reference point for the right-wing in the region, in view of defeating the wave of progressive governments of the previous decade.

Argentina1

The arrival of this right-wing project into government was a product of a combination of factors. In 2011, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner run for re-election and won by an outstanding 54% of the vote in the first round, with the closest rival at a distant 16%. This large popularity was a combination of distributive measures and high economic growth during the previous years, supplemented by Cristina Kirchner’s charismatic leadership. The electoral results—and the defeat of the center-left project—of 2015 was a product of different factors, several to do with Kirchnerism’s own limitations; while others were related to what we can call an ‘investment lockout’ on behalf of the business sector and the lack of access to foreign currency.

Reasons for the decline of Kirchnerism

During the second mandate of Cristina Kirchner, inflation remained high at an average inflation of 30% per year, while economic growth began to stagnate, with near zero growth in the 2012-2015 period. This coincided with a decline in the export of primary commodities as well as their prices in the world market. The redistributive measures implemented in the previous years (2003-2011), which focused on adjusting social assistance and pensions according to inflation mixed with collective bargaining agreements that generally matched inflation, were continued in this period, but with less impact on the overall economy than in the past. Employment generation in the private sector stalled, informal work stopped its decline at around 33% of the workforce. Unions increased conflicts in the last three years, and while the political relationship with the government of a majority of trade unions continued, a growing number of confederations and unions took a confrontational stance by carrying out five general strikes between 2012 and 2015. Moreover, so-called ‘second generation’ demands became more acute, especially in the field of public service provision. The train accident of 2012 in one of Buenos Aires’ main stations, Once, left at plain sight the mishandling and lack of investment in an essential service and the complicity between the State and the company in charge of the railways. Although the government reacted by nationalizing most of the urban services, this reaction was late and has only recently resulted in improvements of the service.

Argentina2A second element that influenced the economic condition of Argentina during the last Kirchner administration was the dispute with vulture funds that held Argentine bonds. During the 2001 economic crisis, Argentina defaulted on its debt with foreign bond holders. The default lasted until 2005, when the government of Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007)  renegotiated with 75% of the creditors a major cut in the debt—close to 75%—and the exit from default. In 2010, the government launched a new campaign to negotiate with the remaining 25% of the bond-holders, with the same deal as before. After both negotiations, 93% of the total debt was renegotiated with significant reduction of overall debt. The remaining 7% of bond-holders, many of these now in the hands of vulture funds, went to court in the hope of getting the full value of those bonds. This move by the vulture funds got a friendly judge in 2012, who ruled in favor of these hedge funds and blocked Argentina’s access to international markets. This added to an already-existing difficulty in accessing cheap credit, since the government had rejected any form of IMF intervention in economic policy. The lack of access to credit led to, among other policies, a firm exchange control that in turn affected economic investment—and expected returns by corporations. Argentina entered yet another period of foreign currency restriction, showing the limitations of the Kirchners’ project to overcome the dependence on the export of primary commodities, an issue that has affected all other progressive governments in the region.

A third factor to understand the defeat was the electoral campaign itself. The candidate chosen by the then-governing party, Daniel Scioli, had a tense relationship with Cristina Kirchner and this tension was expressed throughout the campaign, when there seemed to exist two parallel agendas for the same political project. Only in the second round did Cristina Kirchner firmly come out in support of Scioli. The right-wing ran a campaign based on ‘happiness and change’, not responding to attacks from Kirchnerism and avoiding mentioning any concrete economic agenda, as well as hiding their economic advisors—most of them with previous experience in the neoliberal administrations of the 1990s.

Argentina 3These three factors can partially explain the changes taking place in Argentina’s political direction. The economic measures implemented by the new government will affect mostly working people and redistribute wealth upward, towards concentrated capital and large agribusinesses. The new administration has decided to reduce the presence of the State, returning to the dogmatism that dominated the neoliberal decade of the 1990s. A central element in this new position is foreign policy, where the clashes with Venezuela have already begun. At the last Mercosur Summit in Paraguay, participating for the first time Macri engaged in a verbal confrontation with Venezuela’s foreign affairs minister. Moreover, the government has signaled its intention of joining the ‘Pacific Alliance’ (a free trade agreement between Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru and Chile) that intends to be incorporated into the Transpacific Partnership Agreement.

Continuing contestation and resistance

Despite these policies already implemented, the economic agenda of the government will not be easily taken. The trade union movement is beginning to mobilize more intensely, and when collective bargaining rounds start in early March, the level of conflict will certainly rise. In parliament, the Peronist party (which includes Kirchnerism) still remains a first minority in the lower-house and a majority in the upper-house. The firepower is large, making it possible to reverse some of the policies of the government and force it to negotiate with the opposition. Lastly, after the 2001 socioeconomic crisis, Argentine society has remained highly mobilized. Informal workers through picket lines on major roads, formal workers through trade unions, and the middle class have consistently gained improvements through mobilization. The public space remains an area of debate and dispute that governments cannot ignore. The capacity to challenge the new agenda will depend on the dynamic of these elements; especially on the impact that social mobilization can have on the government’s liberal agenda.

Argentina4Overall, what took place in Argentina, and a week later in Venezuela’s parliamentary elections, is an indication of changing times in Latin America. It is not definite, as the reversals of neoliberal policies from the 1990s show, but it has certainly produced a revival for the right-wing on the continent and a defeat for progressive movements. The capacity to create new alternatives will depend not only on the political forces’ actions in opposition, but also on the autonomous capacity of popular movements to mobilize and promote alternatives. This was key during previous struggles against neoliberalism and was generally lost in the region during the progressive administrations, especially after the defeat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in 2005. The reorganization, generally under the banner of the State, has created few spaces of autonomous contestation. Returning to those practices by organizing the base is a mandatory step for those movements, including labour, that were essential in reversing neoliberal policies two decades ago.