trade unions

Tommy Robinson Exploiting the Misery of the White Working Class

Last Monday, 13th May 2019, the great man at the Zelo Street blog put up an article explaining how Tommy Robinson was avoiding the more prosperous areas of northwest England to concentrate instead on the poorest, and those areas with the highest levels of depression. The virulent anti-Islam campaigner, late of the EDL, Pegida UK and the BNP, was avoiding towns like Crewe, Chester, Southport, Lancaster, Northwich, Winsford, Runcorn, St Helens, Ellesmere Port, Chorley, Wilmslow, Ashton-under-Lyne, and places like them. Instead, he was concentrating on towns like Brinnington, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Rochdale, Burnley, and Barrow-in-Furness.

Brinnington has the highest levels of clinical depression in the north and midlands. According to the Groaniad, it accounted for 23.6 per cent of all cases seen by GPs in the town. Four other areas with the highest levels of depression are in or near Birkenhead – Bidston Hill, Tranmere, Woodchurch and Birkenhead Central. Another two are in Fleetwood, near Blackpool. Robinson is due to visit that fair town, as well as Carlisle, which has another area with a very high incidence of depression. Three more areas are Rochdale, whose Heywood area Robinson was due to visit on Saturday. Robinson cancelled a visit to Blackburn, but turned up in Burnley, which has two of England’s most deprived towns near it. He also planned on visiting Barrow-in-Furness, which has an acute heroin problem.

Zelo Street concluded

And by pure coincidence, Stephen Lennon is favouring the area with a visit this week. All the while, The Great Man is waving his begging bowl, telling those amongst whom he comes that he needs their help. That they live on the margins of society, and he lives in the lap of luxury, does not seem to occur to those willing to cheer him on.

Living high on the hog while preying on misery. Welcome to the Tommy Tour.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/05/tommy-robinson-campaign-trades-on-misery.html

It’s not just that Robinson is exploiting the poverty and poor mental health afflicting the people of those towns, he’s also trying use their misery to distract them from the real economic and political causes of their problems. These areas have suffered from the decline of traditional industries, resulting in high unemployment rates. Which would also account for the massive rise in depression due to the lack of self-esteem, hopelessness and sheer despair. These are areas that have not been helped by the neoliberalism embraced and enthusiastically promoted by the Tories, the Lib Dems and Blairite Labour. Thatcher made it very clear that she did not believe in providing any help to failing industries or direct state interference in the economy. Failing companies were to be allowed to fail, on the grounds that state aid was inefficient and would prevent the operation of the market forces that would see new industries take off to provide work and prosperity.

This hasn’t happened. These areas are still poor and depressed. And it was situation made worse in the 1990s when the Tories decided to destroy whatever remained of the British mining industry. This was touted, again, as saving the country from supporting a failing and uneconomic industry, but the real reason was to destroy the NUM, which had overthrown Heath’s government in the 1970s.

But Conservative ideology prevents any discussion of the failings of private industry or the precious market forces, which the supporters of the free market are constantly telling us must be obeyed at all costs, and will ultimately bring back jobs and wealth. And so scapegoats must be found to explain why the free market isn’t working as it should, or to direct popular anger away the businessmen, think tanks and politicians pushing these policies. And so Fascists like Robinson accuse racial or religious minorities or outside groups of causing these problems. The Nazis made Jews synonymous with capitalism, and so claimed they had created a socialist Germany when they persecuted and murdered them. Capitalism, however, was retained and encouraged, although private industry was subject to a complex system of state planning. George Orwell described it as ‘the socialism of fools’. And right-wing populist politicians across the world, from Trump in America to the EDL, UKIP and the Brexit party in Britain are doing it today. Aided by mainstream Conservatives.

The right-wing press, and particularly the Heil and Speccie, have been telling their working class readers that their poor and underprivileged, not because of Tory policies that have decimated manufacturing industry and are destroying the NHS and welfare state for the profit of big business. No, it’s because high-spending Labour authorities and liberal ‘political correctness’ are deliberately diverting funding to undeserving groups, like Blacks, other ethnic minorities, gays and in the case of Tommy Robinson and his supporters, Scary Muslims.

The right have been doing this since Bacon’s Rebellion in 17th century. This was a revolt in Virginia where the slaves were joined by White indentured servants. The rebellion was put down, but to ensure that Blacks and poor Whites never united again to challenge the social hierarchy, laws were passed that separated Blacks from Whites, and gave Whites a higher social status. But crucially, these laws did not improve conditions for the indentured White servants. Materially, they gained nothing from these laws. Nevertheless, they had the psychological effect intended. From then on, White indentured servants didn’t make common cause with the slaves against their exploitation, or at least, not so much, because Blacks were now their social inferiors.

And it’s the same here. Robinson fully supports neoliberalism. Indeed, in his attack on a female academic at Liverpool John Moores University, he defended it against left-wing academics such as herself. He and his supporters offer precious little that will make the lives of ordinary working people better. The only thing they offer is more division and hatred.

There are issues with Islam, such as the continuing malign influence of the preachers of hate and the dangers of self-radicalisation for the young and disaffected through the internet. And authorities have targeted ethnic minorities for a greater proportion of aid because these groups are, or have been, more deprived, or have specific needs that can only be addressed through projects directed to them. Like the rape helpline for women from ethnic minorities, which Robinson so grossly misrepresented as deliberately excluding Whites and legitimising the assault of White women. It wasn’t the case, and his vile tweets about it resulted in the phone line having to be shut down because of the abusive calls they were receiving, thus depriving extremely vulnerable women of the help they needed.

Fortunately, Robinson’s tour of the northwest isn’t going as smoothly as he planned. A string of towns have made it clear that he is not welcome, there have been large counterprotests. And to cap it all, the internet platform, Stripe, that makes it possible for people to donate their hard earned cash to him, has thrown him off. Which makes it a bit more difficult for him to scrounge off the poor and misinformed.

Robinson poses as a member of the working class, defending them from the politically correct Left and militant Islam. He isn’t. He’s a very rich man, thanks to the money he’s been given by his followers. And he offers nothing to the working class except more neglect and poverty, but with racial hatred and suspicion added. He’s a disgrace.

This Thursday, those who really want to see working people’s lives improved should ignore him, and his lies about Europe and Muslims, and vote for somebody else instead.

Private Eye on ChangeUK MP Stephen Dorrell’s Role in Disastrous and Exploitative Tory Policies

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/05/2019 - 5:06am in

This fortnight’s Private Eye, for 3rd – 16th May 2019 has an article about the major role the former Tory MP Stephen Dorrell played in creating and promoting the disastrous Tory policies of rail privatisation, the Private Finance Initiative and the privatisation of the NHS. These are policies which the magazine speculates will make him unpalatable to those centrist Labour voters that ChangeUK hopes to appeal to. The article runs

The adoption of former Tory health secretary Stephen Dorrell as a Change UK candidate in the European elections may be a Tory too far for ex-Labour voters wanting to switch to the centrist cause.

Dorrell’s Tory CV harks all the way back to the dying days of the Thatcher era when he was a whip – a supposedly “wet” Tory helping push through her ultra “dry” policies.

Under John Major, he became a Treasury minister, active in the Rail Privatisation Group behind the sale of the railways. Against expert advice, Dorrell was one who pushed for separation of responsibility between trains and track – with dire results. Railtrack, the privatised track operator, eventually collapsed after lethal crashes caused by poor maintenance.

As health secretary it was Dorrell who began the 20-year disaster of the private finance initiative (PFI) in the NHS. “I am a strong supporter of the PFI,” he told the Commons, calling PFI “the best opportunity that we have had in the history of the NHS” to “deliver the best healthcare.” It wasn’t. And it didn’t.

Dorrell launched a failed bid for the party leadership in 1997 and never held a ministerial job again. Later, under the coalition, he was seen as a critic of Andrew lansley’s NHS reforms – but not too loud a critic.

Having left parliament in 2015, he has kept up his interest in giving corporations access to the NHS, chairing Public Policy Projects, a subscription-based outfit “focused on the big issues in health and social care”. His group arranges breakfasts and receptions for businesses to meet political and NHS insiders. Recent events have included meals iwth health secretary Matt Hancock, housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire, Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan and top NHS officials.

Dorrell has also worked as a healthcare and public services adviser to KPMG since 2014; and last year became an “associate” of Cratus Communications, a lobbyist for developers. If Change UK really wants to fix the UK’s “broken politics”, it may have to cast its net a little wider. (P. 7).

These are all very good reasons why genuine Labour voters shouldn’t vote for him. But they’re also reasons why traditional Labour voters shouldn’t vote for any of the former Labour MPs in Change UK. All of the so-called Labour ‘centrists’ are really nothing of the sort. They’re red Tories, as fanatically keen on privatisation and the dismantlement of the NHS for the profit of private healthcare firms as the Conservatives. Blair was responsible for the introduction of much of the legislation allowing the NHS to purchase services from private healthcare providers, including the operation of the health centres and polyclinics, which he hoped would be run by private firms. His health secretary, Alan Milburn, wished the NHS to become simply a kitemark for services provided by private healthcare firms.

The real centrists and moderates are Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, who wish to renationalise the NHS, the rail companies, water and part of the national grid. These are policies both the Tories, Change UK and the Labour ‘centrists’ loathe and detest. Just as they loathe and detest his plans to renew and strengthen the welfare state and give workers back proper employment rights and powerful trade unions able to defend them.

As Mike, Zelo Street and the various other left-wing bloggers have described on their sites, Change UK and its mixture of former Tory and Blairite Labour MPs shows that there really isn’t any difference between the two.

Private Eye’s article is thus a very good reason not to vote for Dorrell personally nor his wretched party in general. And the solid support for Blair’s own privatisation and destruction of the welfare state by Change UK’s former Labour MPs and their fellows still in the Labour party also demonstrates why working people need to see a genuine socialist Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn once again in power and winning elections, from the European all the way to Westminster.

Conservative MP to Attend Misogynist Men’s Rights Conference

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 28/04/2019 - 8:38pm in

Yesterday, Saturday 27th April 2019, the I carried a piece on page 11 reporting that the Tory MP Philip Davies was planning to attend a men’s rights conference in the US, alongside other far right notables like Mark ‘Nazi pug’ Meechan and Carl ‘Sargon of Akkad’ Benjamin. But he denied it was a misogynist event. The article, entitled ‘MP to attend ‘misogynist’ gathering, by Andrew Woodcock, ran

A Conservative MP has defended his decision to speak at a men’s rights conference in the US on the same platform as controversial figures.

Philip Davies said he intends to raise issues such as male suicides, boys’ performance in school, and the treatment of fathers in family break-ups at the Chicago conference in August. Other speakers listed for the International Conference on Men’s Issues include the Ukip MEP candidates Carl Benjamin and Mark Meechan, as well as Paul Elam, leader of the US group A Voice for Men.

Mr Benjamin has refused to apologise for tweeting “I wouldn’t even rape you” to Labour MP Jess Phillips. Mr Elam’s group, which once announced an “Annual Bash a Violent Bitch Month”, has been branded migosynist and male supremacist.

Confirming his plans to speak at the conference, Mr Davies said it was “nonsense” to suggest that his presence amounted to an endorsement of other participants’ opinions.

“I’m responsible for what I say. I’m not there to defend what anyone else says,” he said. “I’ve never heard of many of these people and I’m not responsible for their views.”

Philip Davies has been accused of misogyny himself. Apart from being a bog-standard, anti-welfare, tax the poor for the benefit of the rich Conservative, I seem to remember that a little while ago he caused controversy himself for his antics in parliament. If memory serves me correctly, he talked out a piece of legislation intended to protect women either from rape or FGM. Or both. As for the Men’s Rights Conference, one of them was held over here a couple of years ago, and was extensively critiqued by Kevin Logan. Logan’s a male feminist with a degree in 20th century history and politics, and puts up a series of videos attacking the denizens of the men’s rights movement, ‘The Descent of the Manosphere’. He states that the people – some of them are women, surprisingly – are attempting to reverse evolution and drag us all back into the sea. And it’s hard to dispute the fact.

These conferences aren’t really about men’s rights. Despite the accusations of activists like Paul Elam that men’s issues aren’t discussed by mainstream politicians, male suicide, boys’ performance in schools and so on have been debated in parliament. Logan even put up on one of his videos excerpts from the parliamentary journal, Hansard, to show that they were. He has also refuted Sargon’s claim that he sent his infamous tweet to Jess Philips because she was laughing at male suicide. She wasn’t. She was laughing at the claim that it wasn’t debated in the House, and replied to him informing him that she is consulting m’learned friends. Moreover, some of these issues could actually be solved by introducing left wing policies, that would benefit working people across the board. One of the issues is the low pay earned by certain types of male worker. But this could, as Logan states, be solved by strengthening trade unions and employees’ rights. But the people attending these conferences and those, who comprise the ‘manosphere’ generally, are on the right, very often the far right. And the mens’ rights movement itself will ignore these issues when it suits them. These conferences really are all about attacking feminism and trying to preserve the traditional male domination of society. Which can very clearly be seen by the hashtags used by Sargon when he sent his infamous tweet to Philips: #feminismiscancer.

Logan has also pointed out that some of the mens’ issues that Davies intends to present have even been discussed by feminists, citing a number of academic articles in feminist and gender-studies journals. I think part of the problem here is that most people have no contact with academic feminism, and depend for what they know about it from the press and public figures, some of whom are unsympathetic. I can remember reading a newspaper article a decade or so ago, where one of the female politicos – I think it may have been Baroness Blackstone or someone like her, but I’m not sure – was asked about boys’ declining performance in school. I can’t remember what her precise words were, but she more or less said that it was all the boys’ own fault. She simply wasn’t interested. Now it was probably unfair to expect the good lady to be concerned about this, as she had been talking about her campaign to improve girls’ performance in school and career prospects. But it and other comments like it leaves the deep impression that avowedly feminist politicians are deeply hostile to men.

Quite apart from changes in gender roles, and the demands for greater equality and opportunities for women in society, jobs and politics, the economic structure of society has changed so that traditionally male jobs in heavy industry and manufacturing have declined. The result has been an increased sense of threat and insecurity among some men, who have burned to the ultra-traditional, misogynist far right. The core support for the Republican party in America is angry White men, who feel under attack from women and ethnic minorities. This is the electoral base that turned to Trump and other politicos like him.

Issues like male suicide, the decline in boys’ performance in schools and greater access to children for fathers in marital break-up do need to be addressed. And there are some extremely violent women out there, as well. But the men’s rights movement and its members and activists behind this and similar gatherings aren’t interested in these issues so much as keeping women firmly in their places as subordinates to men. They are deeply misogynist, and deserve to be attacked and criticised. Just like Davies and the other politicos, who attend them.

Here are a few videos by Kevin Logan attacking the men’s rights conferences and some of the individuals mentioned above.

Carl Benjamin, alias Sargon of Akkad.

Paul Elam

The 2018 International Conference on Men’s Issues

Be warned that some of the views of these men’s rights activists are extremely unpleasant. Some of them do justify rape, or at least try to excuse it, and they also hold very racist views.

Wellsprings of resistance

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/04/2019 - 6:00am in

The question of who controls water and for what purpose makes water inherently political. Whether it’s water sources, water production such as desalination plants and waste treatment, or water services, private industry and financial markets are approaching water as the “it” commodity of the coming decade. Water grabbing is a form of accumulation by dispossession. Risk is shifted from private investors to the public whilst profits are siphoned off in the opposite direction.

Water management is becoming increasingly
technocratic with environmental economic models allocating water according to economic
efficiency, offering market-based solutions to complex social and political
problems. The rationale being that an effective price on water would result in
responsible consumer practices and reduction of water use. Instead, this has
commodified water (it now has a price, a way to measure its use, and a market)
and subsequently put downward pressure on those least able to pay – it is a
regressive form of taxation. Yet water is not like other commodities; if we
cannot afford to pay for it, we cannot survive.

Critically, commodification facilitates privatisation
and outsourcing of what should be essential services as investors can now see
the “value” of water and related services. Nominally public companies now
operate according to private law – profit, and efficiency rather than service
and equity. Yet, the full-cost of social and environmental impacts cannot be
captured in a market system; there is no adequate price for life.

As detailed in my recent report for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, communities are fighting back! Resistance has delayed and reversed privatisation, watered down austerity programs, protected eco-systems, and highlighted the interrelated racial, gender, and class dimensions of water infrastructure.

European-based water movements have been
critical in the global fight against water-grabbing. These movements have been
critical and central to anti-austerity struggles since the crisis, and in some
cases have pushed for critical discussion on what is the public under neoliberalism – demanding democratic,
transparent, and sustainable public management of water resources. Recent
struggles have included:

  • The water charges protests in Ireland that sparked the largest social movement since independence.
  • The Italian water referendum where a resounding 95% of the population voted to keep water services in public hands and the establishment of the Italian Water Forum and Naples Declaration.
  • Public water and remunicipalisation has been a central demand of the municipal movement in Spain, and different management models in Catalunya have proven that public management based on democratic participatory models can work.
  • The remunicipalisation of Paris’ water services in 2010 was a symbolic hit against the two largest global (French) water companies (Veolia and Suez). Remunicipalisations have continued across France.
  • Re-nationalisation of water services is back on the agenda of the Labour Party in the UK as research has consistently shown the failure – from a user’s perspective – of Thatcher’s privatisation program.
  • In Portugal, the town of Maffra has remunicipalised their water services, and the Portuguese trade union STAL has successfully negotiated a collective agreement for water service employees.
  • The Troika-dictated privatisation of water services was the target of the successful 2014 referendum in Thessaloniki, Greece, and managed to exclude water services from the general sell-off of public services. Public water worker unions across Greece have been reconnecting households that were cut off due to non-payment.
  • Activists across the Balkans have been organising communities and lobbying business and governments to protect the last wild rivers in Europe from hydro-electric power plants. In Serbia, activists have established the Right2water platform to link these ecological movements, with calls for public management and related health risks on polluted water sources.
  • Berlin has also remunicipalised their water services.

There are also regional campaigns and platforms
working to link these local and national campaigns. These include: the European
Water Movement, and the first successful European Citizens Initiative (ECI), Right2Water
that collected over 1.9 million signatures.

Whether responding to ecological threats or
privatisation, these movements are part of the global struggle for water
justice, a struggle that begins with water, but is not limited to it. The
demand for water justice captures and critiques environmental crises, health
concerns, energy demands, and the dominance of economic valuation over
everything else – it demands the transformation of our current system.

Activists have learnt that these movements
work best when they include broad alliances often overcoming the previously
assumed unassailable chasm between environmental activists and the union
movement. Alliances use water as the common denominator to bring together
different groups showing that water effects everyone. Trade unions have been
critical and in some cases water movements have linked with other left-wing campaigns.
Many movements have rejected direct alliances with political parties, instead
pressuring from the outside. Legislative or constitutional change has been a
common goal, but activists understand that such change can be temporary,
requiring constant monitoring and the establishment of transparent and democratic
management and implementation processes so that changes are not wound back. The
use of referenda and other public declarations have been important to show strength
and broad community support. However, these would not have been successful
without careful planning and research by activists, who could put forward alternative
models.

Ultimately, the Right2Water is framed as a
collective right that has concrete demands attached, rejecting the dominant
individualised rights discourse. It is this demand that holds so much political
potential. These movements are pushing beyond the accepted neoliberal narrative
that “There is No Alternative,” demanding that we come up with one and
experimenting with bottom-up and different conceptualisations of the public,
and democracy whilst doing so.

Water movements are going to the heart of
not just the quality and type of service and access we require, but what kind
of state – or public – we demand. Water struggles show that being “public” is
more than a state-based ownership model but must operate outside the profit
motive and financial markets. Movements such as those in Catalunya and Italy,
argue that public management must be transparent, accountable and democratic –
broadening our ideas of democracy beyond mere representational or electoral
forms. These movements emphasise that the pursuit of profit and a truly public
ethos are incompatible. The public should not only be exclusive of private
interests, but transparent, participatory, and governed according to social
need.

People are mobilised when their water is
threatened. Although such wins are never permanent, they help build community
power and political memory, feeding into future campaigns. But what does a
right to water concretely mean? For the European (and global) movements, this
is not just a transfer of ownership from private to public hands, nor a cheaper
water bill. A Right2Water is a challenge to neoliberal water management, the
market, and the increasing commodification of life.

The post Wellsprings of resistance appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Torygraph Predicts Labour Set to Win General Election

Ho ho! An article in yesterday’s I for Monday, 15th April 2019, might explain why the Sunset Times was so keen to try another anti-Semitism smear against the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn the day before. The article, entitled ‘Labour on course to win general election’ by Cahal Milmo reported the findings of a poll by the Sunday Torygraph that in a general election, Labour would defeat the Tories, taking 59 seats from them. The article ran

The Conservative Party faces being swept from power by Jeremy Corbyn with the loss of nearly 60 seats in the event of a general election, according to new polling.

Labour would become the largest party in the House of Commons with prominent Tories, including the Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and arch Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith at “high risk” of losing their seats.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the steep fall in support was being fueled by anger among Conservative voters at the party’s failure to deliver Brexit on 29th March, despite repeated promises by Theresa May that the date would not be changed.

Professor Sir John Curtice, president of the British Polling Council, told the paper that it appeared Leave voters were being drawn back to Ukip or Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

The “poll of polls” by Electoral Calculus, based on surveys of 8,561 people between 2 and 11 April, found that in the event of an immediate general election Labour would become the largest party with 296 seats against 259 for the Tories – a net loss of 59 MPs for Mrs May’s party.

But despite such a victory, Mr Corbyn would not automatically become prime minister – he could only form a government if he secured support from other parties such as the SNP.

“The Conservatives’ failure so far to secure Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is at risk of costing them dearly,” said Sir John. (p. 6).

While it’s refreshing to read a story that predicts Labour winning a general election, obviously it’s still incredibly biased. It comes from the Torygraph, and follows that rag’s pro-Brexit line. But while I don’t doubt that the Tories’ continued incompetence, factionalism and May’s stubborn determination to hang on to power and force through the same tired, discredited and utterly unwanted deal, there are other powerful factors that might bring about a Labour victory.

Firstly, as Mike has also pointed out this week, Remainer Tories are also being drawn towards the Tinge Group, Change UK, thus disproving their claims to be ‘centrist’ Labour. And secondly, Labour’s policies are massively popular. People want the health service renationalized and restored, electricity, water and the railways taken back into state ownership, the trade unions strengthened, workers given better employment rights and places in the boardroom, as well as the creation of a proper welfare state. All the policies that the Tories and the rest of the neoliberal establishment hate with a passion, and revile as just a return to the policies of the 1970s.

But Labour are very definitely ahead in the polls, but rather than admit that this is because the Party is genuinely popular and neoliberalism and Thatcherism are dead, zombie economics, the Torygraph is trying to spin this to discredit the ‘Remain’ camp within the Tory party. But hopefully it won’t be too long before there is a Labour election victory, and the entire Tory party is swept from power and kept out for decades.

Radio 4 Programme on Journalistic Impartiality

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/04/2019 - 9:15pm in

According to next week’s Radio Times, for 20th-26th April 2019, Radio 4 are due to broadcast a programme questioning the notion of journalistic impartiality, ‘Call Yourself an Impartial Journalist?’, hosted by Jonathan Coffey. The blurb for the programme by Simon O’Hagan on page 138 of the magazine runs

In a febrile political age, fuelled by social media, the BBC has felt the heat as possibly never before – guilty, in its accusers’ eyes, of failing to reflect the full spectrum of opinion over not just Brexit but such culture-wars issues as transgenderism. With the BBC due to publish a new set of editorial guidelines in June (the first since 2010), Jonathan Coffey explores the idea of impartiality and whether any sort of consensus around it is possible. Contributors include the Spectator columnist Rod Liddle, the BBC’s director of editorial and policy standards, David Jordan, and Kerry-Anne Mendoza, the editor of online media The Canary.

The programme’s on at 11.00 am.

I don’t think there’s much doubt about the Beeb’s political bias. Academics at the media monitoring units of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff universities found that the Beeb was twice as likely to seek the opinions of Conservative MPs and financial experts as Labour MPs and trade unionists. Barry and Savile Kushner also describe how the Beeb pushed the austerity agenda in their book, Who Needs the Cuts?, to the point that the opponents of austerity were rarely invited onto their news and politics programmes to put their case. When they were, the presenters actually tried to silence them, even by shouting them down. And years ago Tony Benn in one of his books said that the Beeb considered itself impartial, because its bias was largely slightly to the left of the Tories at the time, but way to right of everyone else.

There could be some interesting things said on the programme, particularly by the excellent Kerry-Anne Mendoza, but my fear is that it’s going to be like the Beeb’s programme, Points of View, and just be an exercise in the corporation justifying itself and its own bias. 

Book Review: Transformations of Trade Unionism: Comparative and Transnational Perspectives on Workers Organizing in Europe and the United States, Eighteenth to Twenty-First Centuries by Ad Knotter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/04/2019 - 8:58pm in

In Transformations of Trade Unionism: Comparative and Transnational Perspectives on Workers Organizing in Europe and the United States, Eighteenth to Twenty-First Centuries, available to download here for free, Ad Knotter offers a historical analysis of the development of the labour movement in European countries and in the United States from the eighteenth century up to the present day. This detailed, well-written and novel account should be on the shelves of anyone interested in the history of unionism, recommends Michele Fenzl.

Transformations of Trade Unionism: Comparative and Transnational Perspectives on Workers Organizing in Europe and the United States, Eighteenth to Twenty-First Centuries. Ad Knotter. Amsterdam University Press. 2018.

Find this book: amazon-logo

With few exceptions, all advanced economies have experienced a decline in union density and power. Many scholars have linked contemporary income disparities to this decline. Political economist Jonas Pontusson and colleagues find that stronger unions push towards wage equality. US economists have highlighted that since the 1930s, union members had higher salaries than non-unionised workers with similar education levels. In author Ad Knotter’s own words: ‘the weakening of union density and power was one of the main causes of the steady decline of the wage share in advanced capitalist countries since the 1970s/1980s’ (12). The book Transformations of Trade Unionism is a historical analysis of the development of the labour movement in European countries and in the United States, covering case studies on unions during the eighteenth century through to their recent developments in the late 2000s.

Transformations of Trade Unionism builds upon decades of scholarly research to challenge some of the understandings that labour studies (often restricted to analyses of single countries) have pushed forward in the literature. In particular, the main objective of the book is to demonstrate how the history of unionism is not linear. Rather, discontinuous historical developments brought varieties of unionism. This creates a parallel between this historical account and other political economy studies that trace the features of varieties of capitalism and welfare systems. Through a range of historical case studies, Ad Knotter instead shows that (historically-specific) features of the labour market influenced the labour movement. This meant that workers’ associations could show patterns of time discontinuities or cross-country similarities, depending on the nature of the labour market that surrounded their activities.

The chapters of Transformations of Trade Unionism subsequently guide the reader through a tour de force that departs from the earliest developments of cloth shearers’ associations in Western Europe during the eighteenth century to arrive at the strike actions of Dutch cleaners in the first decade of the 2000s. While readers can appreciate each chapter as a standalone study, it is only by reading the whole book that they will go beyond the main message about the ‘varieties of unionism’ and appreciate its additional contributions.

Image Credit: Transport House, Belfast (William Murphy CC BY SA 2.0)

The first of these, as Knotter stresses in the introduction, is that the book goes beyond the ‘methodological nationalism’ typical of most other accounts of the history of the labour movement which have focused on single countries. Instead, Knotter pools together cases from a variety of advanced economies. This approach not only shows that the history of labour is not linear, but also uncovers an interesting tension between the local and the global in the history of unionism. Many times, comparative approaches show cross-country similarities in unionism. This tends to create a strong idea of transnational solidarity and influence on workers’ associations. To some extent, Knotter’s findings perpetuate this conclusion. For instance, Chapter Five shows how the French ‘Bourse du Travail’ of the late nineteenth century became a model for imitation in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries. Transnational solidarity appears in the associations of cigar-makers in the 1800s (Chapter Two), and transnational coordination also led to cleaners’ strike actions in the 2000s in the United States and the Netherlands (Chapter Seven). At the same time, the book shows how the transnational character of the labour movement has always been in tension with the local conditions of the labour market. Since the specific form that unions take depends on the local labour market, local features will in turn shape transnational influences.

A further contribution of the book is that it shows the complexity of unions’ objectives through time. As other authors have also pointed out, they don’t always act, as we might expect, to directly influence wage-setting or working conditions. Instead, they sometimes seek to control access to the labour market. For instance, as Chapter Two shows, nineteenth-century cigar-makers were entrenched in a transnational labour market. The British one was characterised by higher wages and better working conditions than those of other European countries. Despite some British workers lamenting the limits of transnational linkages of the labour markets, international organisation and coordination between local associations remained an important instrument ‘to prevent the arrival or importation of foreign […] workers, and to support the establishment and activities of trade unions elsewhere to defend or improve wages and working conditions, so there would be less reason to come to Britain’ (91). In other similar cases, unions did not seek to protect workers from overseas peers but rather from influxes of unemployed individuals. For instance, Chapter Five shows that ‘union regulation of job placements and unemployment benefits were meant to enable members to uphold a standard wage rate and occupational status by excluding admission to others’ (195).

Departing from institutional accounts of labour history, Knotter’s book isn’t just an important contribution for those interested in the history of the labour movement. It is also a vital read for those who want to better understand current trends in unionisation and unions’ practices. As the author himself claims: ‘as of today growing numbers of workers are exposed to labour markets, so it is to be expected that new labour regimes based on wage labour will result in new varieties of trade unionism’ (13). The book is therefore aligned with those voices in the literature that challenge a general pessimism on the future of labour.

Transformations of Trade Unionism guides the reader to appreciate discontinuities in the history of the labour movement. If some readers might feel the lack of more systematic analyses, the book is nonetheless a detailed, interesting, novel and well-written account of the history of unionism in Europe and the United States. It broadens the reader’s view regarding national developments, going beyond ‘methodological nationalism’. Readers more interested in the early varieties of unionism should concentrate on Chapters Three to Five, while social scientists focused on contemporary issues will find Chapters Six and Seven more relevant. However, every scholar or student interested in the labour movement will find important information in this book. The book also indicates that we should have more optimism regarding the future of unions. For these reasons, Transformations of Trade Unionism should be on the shelves of anyone interested in the labour movement.

Michele Fenzl is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government of the University of Essex. He holds degrees from the University of Bologna and University of Essex. His PhD thesis studies the comparative political economy of income inequality and redistribution, and adopts quantitative methods to analyse the intersections between economic and political inequality.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 


Nazi Paedophile Jack Renshaw’s Plot to Kill Labour MP

More Fascism, this time courtesy of banned Nazi terror group, National Action. Yesterday the Beeb published a report about the plot by the group’s leader, Jack Renshaw, to kill west Lancashire Labour MP Rose Cooper and his grooming of underage boys following the conclusion of his fourth and final trial. Renshaw also planned to kill a female rozzer, who was on to him.

Renshaw told a gathering of his fellow stormtroopers as the Friar Penketh pub in Warrington two years ago in 2017 that he was planning to kill the Labour MP, and had already bought a gladius machete – the gladius was a type of short sword used by the Roman army – to do it. He also planned on taking hostages, and would demand to see the female detective on his case. When she did so, he would murder her as well. None of the other Nazis at the meeting objected to the plan. Two even suggested alternative targets, such as the-then home secretary and a synagogue. Robbie Mullen, one of the Nazis at the meeting, was appalled by this, and said that they shouldn’t kill the worshipers at the synagogue because children would be there. At this point, Renshaw showed just what a vicious anti-Semite he was by describing Jews as ‘parasites’. Their children would also be parasites, and you wouldn’t care, he asserted, about killing ‘baby parasites’. This was all too much for Mullen, who contacted the anti-racism, anti-religious extremism group, Hope Not Hate about the conspiracy. They naturally asked him if Renshaw was serious about killing Cooper. He was quite convinced that Renshaw would.

Mullen was then forced to give up his home and job in the area and flee after the cops, who came to interview him about his information, gave him an Osman order. This is a statement that they had reason to believe his life was in danger. He was then driven away from his previous life by the HNH, who had promised to protect him. See the video below from HNH, in which he talks to Matthew Collins, one of its leaders, who similarly had to run from Britain following his own betrayal of the BNP and other Nazi groups to the authorities.

Zelo Street in their report on the case also include the sordid details that the Far Right really won’t want revealed about Renshaw’s paedophile grooming. Renshaw set up a fake profile on Facebook so he could groom two boys, who were then 13 and 15. He didn’t meet them, but did offer them money in exchange for sex and intimate photographs. One of the boys’ relatives saw one of the messages on one of the lads’ phones, and alerted the cops. It was the policewoman working on his grooming of the two boys that Renshaw wanted to kill.

The Zelo Street article makes the point that the Far Right like to pretend that they are fervently against the sexual exploitation of children. It’s why the EDL’s Tommy Robinson, now of UKIP, turns up at the trials of those of accused of sexual abusing children. But he only does it when it’s Muslims. The Street points out that Renshaw differed from Robinson in that he wasn’t just an islamophobe, but a vicious racist with a bitter hatred of the Jews. Renshaw also posed as hating gays, child pornography and paedophilia. But the Far Right’s selectiveness over the paedophiles they choose to pursue is shown by Renshaw’s trial, as absolutely no-one from the Far Right turned up at Renshaw’s trial to protest about his exploitation of children. The Street writes

As with those in and around the EDL who were caught and convicted of CSE over the years, their far right pals don’t want to know. They don’t chase those people out of their organisations. They don’t demand new laws so that they can find out if their pals include paedophiles. That’s just a label they stick on to Muslims.

He concludes

Meanwhile, HnH had to whisk Robert Mullen away for his own safety. Because shopping paedophiles who harbour murderous intent is alien to the far right. If it’s one of their own.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/04/nazi-paedophile-guilty-far-right-silent.html

Far from being determined opponents of child sexual abuse, it seems that the Far Right is rife with it. There have been regular articles on Hope Not Hate about various storm troopers, who have been convicted of child abuse. And they’re not unique. Starace, one of the leaders of Mussolini’s Fascist, was a paedophile and drug peddler.

Renshaw himself has regularly appeared on Hope Not Hate’s reports on the denizens of the Far Right along with his Nazi gang, National Action. They were formed as the youth wing, I seem to remember, of the BNP or one of the other groups. And they’re full-on Nazis, without question. They dress in cod-Nazi uniform, wave banners and make the Nazi salute, all while screaming ‘Sieg heil!’ And they really believe in that utter rubbish about the Jews wishing to destroy the White race through non-White immigration. They were banned as a terrorist group after the murder of Jo Cox, and I think Renshaw has been put on trial previously after the authorities obtained a copy of a speech he secretly gave to a Nazi group which showed very clearly his bitter, genocidal hatred of the Jews.

Renshaw was only 22 at the time he was plotting the murders in 2017. He already had a history of political activism behind. The Beeb states that he had worked in the European parliament. There was a Hope Not Hate article, as I recall, about him going their with other British Fascists to meet their European counterparts. He was also briefly a student at one of the northern universities before being forced out because of his vicious racism and political beliefs.

His Nazism is sickening, but it’s also astonishing and saddening. I find it nearly impossible to understand how anyone at all can possibly believe in the murderous, genocidal conspiracy theories about the Jews in the developed West after Auschwitz. There’s too much information showing that these theories are utter, utter nonsense. Quite apart from the fact that a moment’s reflection shows that any theory that claims that the Jews control both Communism and the trade unions as well as capitalism is self-contradictory, risible bilge. And you can’t help but be moved by the photographs and accounts of the horrors endured by the Jews and other persecuted groups under the Nazis. The pictures alone of the emaciated survivors of the Final Solution are enough to discredit Nazism.

I realise that real Fascists, Nazis and racists can be experts at arguing their poison extremely persuasively. It’s what made the now-disgraced historian David Irving dangerous, as his book of Holocaust denial was not only carefully argued, but also extensively footnoted. As the American Jewish history Deborah Lipstadt showed when he sued her for libel, all Irving’s arguments were utterly spurious. He misquoted and distorted the sources he cited, for example. And despite an American judge in California ruling that the evidence for the Holocaust is so plentiful, that it cannot reasonably be questioned, the Nazis still do. Some of this material is available over the Net, and there are Nazi and Far Right publishers churning out this stuff, like National Vanguard in America. But it’s not freely available. You have to look for it. Which means that some, at least, of the individuals who get drawn into Nazism and the stupid, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have to be inclined towards it in the first place.

I therefore wonder what turns young people in the 21st century into monsters like Renshaw. And this is a pressing issue as Far Right radicalisation continues to grow as the media mainstreams race hate. In the meantime, it’s good that Renshaw was caught before he could go further with his vile plans. And I have the greatest respect for Mr. Mullen for breaking with the Nazis and instead turning to humanity and decency in betraying them to the authorities.

 

Embarrassment for Army as Squaddies in Afghanistan Filmed Shooting at Corbyn Poster

This is another little scandal that’s Mike reported on today. The Ministry of Defence has ordered an urgent inquiry following the release of a video on social media showing squaddies from 3 Para in Afghanistan shooting at a poster of Jeremy Corbyn. Mike’s piece includes the video embedded in a tweet from Alistair Bunkall, a reporter at Sky News. Bunkall said that the MoD has confirmed that the footage is legitimate, and quoted an army spokesperson, who said

We are aware of a video circulating on social media, this behaviour is totally unacceptable and falls well below the high standards the army expects, a full investigation has been launched. 

Burkall also said he’d been told that the rounds fired were simulated paintball round, rather than real bullets. But nevertheless a senior defence source said it was ‘a terrible look’. Mike also states that there were figures of other celebrities at the range, but they were there to be protected, not shot at.

Mike states that this footage raises the serious issue of whether British soldiers are being trained to consider one of their political leaders as an enemy. Thus, we need to know who authorised it and why, and what the soldiers, who took part in it thought they were doing. He states that at a time when the Labour leader has already suffered one physical attack, other politicos have received death threats and it is only three years after the brutal assassination of Jo Cox, the possibility of the British military being trained to consider him an enemy could be considered a threat to British democracy. Mike asks if this means that the army will turn on Corbyn if he becomes Prime Minister.

He goes on to state that any squaddie firing on Jeremy Corbyn, even in effigy, is a security risk as they should be trained to defend all citizens of the UK. Anyone who can’t should be drummed out of the forces. He also wonders how many British soldiers may also be shooting at Corbyn in effigy, and fears that it may be just the beginning of the scandal.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/04/03/soldiers-in-afghanistan-were-filmed-shooting-at-a-poster-of-jeremy-corbyn/

This comes after another nasty political scandal a month or so ago, when a group of squaddies were filmed with former EDL supremo and now UKIP special advisor, the notorious islamophobe Tommy Robinson. This raised questions about whether the army shared or endorsed Robinson’s vicious hatred of Muslims, and wished to have in its ranks squaddies, who shared his Fascist views.

Mike also speculated in his piece that the soldiers involved would just claim it was all ill-judged humour. That wouldn’t surprise me either. A few years ago squaddies in the German army were caught making a video in which they play acted at committing atrocities, raping and killing civilians and so forth. This obviously caused a massive scandal because of the horrific atrocities committed by the armed forces during the Third Reich. But there has also been a more recent scandal following this, in which it was revealed that the German army had discreetly cleared out a faction of real Fascist officers and men, who were secretly plotting a military coup. It’s possible to ask the same question here: does this bit of squaddie ‘humour’ hide something much more serious, a faction in the British army that would prefer to see a military dictatorship than a Corbyn government?

It’s a serious question. A month or so ago Mike reported on his blog that Tweezer had passed legislation providing for the deployment of the British army on the streets in the case of civil unrest following Brexit. Mike speculated then that she might be planning a military coup in order to retain power. And members of the Tory party and media have begun to speculate about forming a government of national unity to avert a crisis with Brexit. Tom Watson showed once again how treacherous he was by stating that he would be willing to serve in it, rather than let the government fall. The Skwawkbox made the point that by stating his willingness to collaborate with the Tories, he was betraying his own party and its aim of overthrowing May and putting Corbyn into No. 10.

See: https://skwawkbox.org/2019/03/30/as-skwawkbox-predicted-watson-now-talking-national-unity-govt-and-its-grounds-for-expulsion/

The last time I can remember a government of national unity being discussed, it was back in the mid-1970s when the CIA, MI5 and the Tory right were convinced that Harold Wilson was a KGB spy and the country was suffering a wave of industrial discontent resulting in a series of strikes. Papers like the Times were proposing that the only way to solve the crisis was for the overthrow of Wilson’s government in a coup and the installation of a government of national unity, which would include moderate Labour MPs like Shirley Williams. Who later left with David Owen, Roy Jenkins and other splitters to form the SDP. Along with this were plans by the secret state to round up left-wing activists, trade unionists and journalists and intern them. This plot is discussed by Ken Livingstone in his book, Livingstone’s Labour.

Sky News in its report about the squaddies using Corbyn for target practice included a statement by the Tories’ Mark Harper about Corbyn lacking necessary security credentials, and stating that the army held similar views. Their reporter, however, stressed that the British army still had to be apolitical.

See: https://skwawkbox.org/2019/04/03/video-sky-news-responds-to-soldiers-shooting-corbyn-effigy-by-repeating-security-concerns-smear/

We are therefore entitled to ask if something similar to the 1970s plots is going on here. Is the establishment hatred of Jeremy Corbyn so great, that sections of the political-media and military complex really are conspiring to use armed force to overthrow British democracy and keep Corbyn and a genuinely socialist government from taking power?

 

Tony Greenstein on the Abuse of Anti-Semitism to Silence Criticism of Israel

This video was put on YouTube two years ago, in March 2017, by Brighton BDS, the local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and oppression of the Palestinians. It’s one of two videos from that meeting, in which Greenstein and Jackie Walker respectively tell of how accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle justified criticism of Israel. Both Greenstein and Walker are Jewish critics of Israel, and despite their being firm anti-racists and anti-Fascists, have thus been smeared as anti-Semites.

Greenstein begins his speech by welcoming his audience, and congratulating them in that they are going to see two anti-Semites for the price of one. He explains that the accusations of anti-Semitism have nothing to do with real anti-Semitism. They’re the method used to silence critics of the unjustifiable, like Israel’s destruction of a Bedouin village in the Negeb desert to make way for a Jewish village. And Administrative Detention, where the only people detained without trial are Palestinians. It is also difficult to justify a law which retroactively legalises the theft of Palestinian land, and the existence of two different legal system in the West Bank, one for Palestinians and the other for Jews. He states that in most people’s understanding of the word, that’s apartheid. It’s certainly racist. And it’s easier to attack critics as anti-Semitic, than deal with the issues concerned.

And Israel doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It receives more aid from the United States than every other country in the world combined. Israel is defended because it’s a very important partner of the West in the Middle East. It’s critics do single out Israel, because it’s the only apartheid state in the world, the only state that says one section of the population – Jews – will have privileges, while the other section won’t. He states that there are many repressive states in the world, but there is only one apartheid state. The Zionists then reply that there’s only one Jewish state. Greenstein responds to that by pointing to 1789 and the liberation of the Jews in France during the French Revolution, the first people to be granted such emancipation. The French Revolution established the principle that the state and religion should be separate. This is also a cardinal principle of the American Constitution, but it doesn’t exist in Israel. Greenstein states that he has the right to go to Israel, claiming citizenship, and get privileges like access to land because he’s Jewish, while Yasser – a member of the audience – has no such rights, despite being born their and having a family there, because he’s not Jewish. You can’t say it’s not racist and unjust, and so they accuse people, who criticise it, of anti-Semitism.

He makes the point that it’s like the British in India. They didn’t claim they were going there to exploit the natural wealth of India, and pillage and rape it. No, they justified it by saying they were going there to civilise it by getting rid of Suttee, the burning of a man’s widow on his funeral pyre. He cites Kipling’s metaphor as the Empire as a burden on the White man’s back. It was the Empire on which the sun never set, which was because, as some people said, God didn’t trust the British. It wasn’t just the Conservatives, but also the Labour party, who justified British imperial rule in these terms. The Labour Party justified it as trusteeship. Britain held the lands in Africa and Asia in trust for their peoples until they came up to our standard of civilisation.

It’s the same with Israel today. When Britain and America support Israel, they don’t do it because it’s colonisation, or because Jewish mobs go round Jerusalem every Jerusalem Day chanting ‘Death to the Arabs’, utter anti-Muslim blasphemies and their other actions, which mean Arabs have to stay in their homes to avoid being attacked by thousands of settler youths. It’s because of anti-Semitism and some vague connection with the Holocaust. But opposing Israel is in no way anti-Semitic. He states that the definition of anti-Semitism is simple. It is ‘hostility to Jews, as Jews’. He states that a friend of his, the Oxford academic Brian Klug, worked that out years ago. He then talks about how the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism was devised in 2004 to connect anti-Semitism with Israel by the European Monitoring Commission. It met much resistance, and was opposed by the University College Union, the National Union of Students opposed it along with other civil society groups. In 2013 the EUMC’s successor took it down from its website and it fell into disuse. It was then revived as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. This then emerged a few months previous to the meeting, when a Home Affairs Select Committee report, apart from attacking Jeremy Corbyn and Shami Chakrabarti for tolerating anti-Semitism in the Labour party, came up with this new definition. This takes 500 words to say what could be said in 50.

One of these is accusing Jews of being more loyal to each other than their own nation. He shows that definition is nonsense by stating that if he received a pound for every time he was called a traitor because he was an anti-Zionist, he’d be quite rich. The essence of Zionism is that Jews owe a dual loyalty, and their main loyalty is to Israel. Israel defines itself as the Jewish state, not just for its own citizens, but for Jews everywhere. This is unique, as most countries have a citizenship based on that country, to which everyone belongs, and a nationality. Britain has a British nationality. That nationality applies to everyone who lives in a particular place. If Scotland became independent, as the SNP made clear, then everyone living in Scotland would have Scots nationality. The same with France and Germany. But in Israel there is no Israeli nationality, although it says so on the Israeli passport. But the Hebrew translates as ‘citizen’ not ‘nation’, but the Israelis assume most people are too stupid to notice the difference. There are hundreds of nationalities in Israel, primarily Jewish, but also Arab, Islamic, Christian and those of other religions. But the only nationality that counts is Jewish, and it applies not only to Jewish citizens and residents, but also Jews wherever they live. He states that this is the foundation stone of Israeli racism, that some people – Jews- are returning, because their ancestors were there 2,000 years ago. This is one of the many racist myths that abound.

He then goes on to another definition, ‘Denying the Jews the right to self-determination’. He states that he asked Joan Ryan, the Labour MP and chair of Labour Friends of Israel, when she was wittering on about how anti-Semitic to oppose the Jewish right to self-determination about it. He wrote her a letter, to which she never replied, which asked her when precisely Zionism talked about the Jewish right to self-determination. It’s only very recent. If you look back at Zionist documents, like The Jewish State, by the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, it talks about colonisation. The first Zionist congress, held in 1897, was a result of the publication of Herzl’s pamphlet. The Zionists never talked about Jewish self-determination, they talked about colonisation and did so for most of their history. But with the change in zeitgeist they changed it to Jewish national self-determination. But this means that Jews are not citizens of the country where they live. He compares Jews to Roman Catholics, as the idea that all Roman Catholics form the same nation is clearly a retrogressive step. In many ways it’s an anti-Semitic step, as it says that Jews do not belong in the countries in which they live, as they’re all one and the same. 

He goes on to talk about Herzl himself, and encourages his audience to Google him, if they haven’t already. Herzl was a Viennese journalist, who operated in Paris. His diaries are particularly interesting, as if you read all four volumes of them, you find he talks about anti-Semitism as having the divine will to good about it. In other words, there would be no Zionism without anti-Semitism, which provides the propulsion for Jews separating out of their own nations and going on for what he hoped would be a Jewish nation. Herzl traveled around Europe trying to create an alliance between Zionism and one of the imperial powers of the time. Eventually in 1917 they reached an agreement with the British imperialists, Lloyd George’s war cabinet, the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain granted them the land of Palestine over the heads of the Palestinians, who were not asked for their opinion.

When Herzl was going around the European princes, he met the Kaiser’s uncle, the Grand Duke of Baden, who told Herzl that he agreed with him and supported him. This was because Herzl told him that Zionism would take the revolutionary Jews away from the socialist movement and move them to a pure national ideal. The Grand Duke said he had no problems supporting Zionism except one. If he supported Zionism, which was at that time very small, only a handful of Jews supported Zionism up to 1945, then people would accuse him of being anti-Semitic. Most Jews at the time considered Zionism to be a form of anti-Semitism. Greenstein asks how many people know that on Lloyd George’s war cabinet, the one member who opposed the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Sir Edwin Montague, who later became the Secretary of State for India. He accused all his fellows of anti-Semitism, because they didn’t want Jews in Britain, but wanted them to go to Palestine. And he states that is what they’re opposing today. The opposite is true when they accuse Israel’s opponents of being anti-Semitic. It is the Zionist movement that has always held that Jews do not belong in these countries  and should go to Israel. We see it today in the election of Donald Trump. There has been an outbreak of anti-Semitism, and the Zionist movement has no problem with it, because Trump is a good supporter of Israel. And the appointment of Steve Bannon was welcomed by the Zionist Organisation of America, who invited him to speak at their annual gala in New York. He didn’t attend because there was a large demonstration of leftists and anti-Zionists. He concludes that if someone today tells him he doesn’t belong in this country, they’re either a Zionist or an anti-Semite.

Greenstein thus exposes the real agenda behind the anti-Semitism accusations and the utter hypocrisy of those making them, as well as the real anti-Semitism that lies at the heart of Zionism itself. It’s to silence critics like Greenstein and Walker that they, and so many other decent anti-racists, have been accused of anti-Semitism while the real anti-Semites, like Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, have been given enthusiastic welcomes by the Israeli state.

However, the decision by many Democrat politicos not to attend the AIPAC conference this weekend may indicate that there’s a sea change coming in the American people’s tolerance for this nonsense. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Israel’s critics like Greenstein and Walker are properly recognised as the real opponents of racism and anti-Semitism, and the people who smeared them held in contempt for their lies and vilification.

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