Socialist Fight has expelled Ian Donovan and his ‘Trotskyist Faction’ by a unanimous vote. They were expelled for anti-Semitism and support for the racist, anti-Semitic and left Mussolini-Strasserite fascist, Gilad Atzmon.
The following 2003 quote from Atzmon makes clear his fascist sympathies: “... we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously … American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.”
Gilad Atzmon has indicated his support for fascism in a forthright manner: “Fascism, I believe, more than any other ideology, deserves our attention, as it was an attempt to integrate left and right: the dream and the concrete into a unified political system … And it is to our detriment that, in the post-World War II ‘liberal’ intellectual climate, it is politically impossible to examine fascism and ‘national socialism’ from an impartial theoretical or philosophical perspective … stifling honest examination of national socialism has left open the question of whether the problems of global capitalism may be alleviated by combining socialism with nationalism.”
Here he declared himself a fascist. As these arguments developed, it became clear Ian had developed a full-blown ideological outlook in lockstep with Atzmon. Subsequent arguments saw Ian defend Atzmon’s admiration for Ku Klux Klan man David Duke. He wrote to me on Facebook:
“If you understood why political Zionism is worse than apartheid and Jim Crow, you might gain some insight. Clue: read Moshé Machover on different types of settler colonialism. If you understand that, you might understand why [Alan] Dershowitz [arch-Zionist] is worse than David Duke. Some forms of colonialism are genocidal. Some are not.”
This really is beyond the bounds. South African apartheid leaders and the Ku Klux Klan are not as bad as the Zionists, so it is OK to ally with them against the Zionists ideologically, as Atzmon does in pursuit of his anti-Semitic and fascistic ideas?
The defence of Devon Nola and Gilad Atzmon and the Rothschild anti-Semitic trope is a lying piece of far-right apologia. Devon Nola wrote: “Bolshevism was a Jewish-led form of government, and we can delve into what caused anti-Jewish sentiment pre-Bolshevism.”
Gilad Atzmon: “The fact that Stalin turned against the Jews is known to everyone here. I do believe that Stalin insisted eventually to give Russia back to the Russians and this clearly made some people upset … it certainly explains Stalin’s paranoia - he knew what he was up against.”
So to clarify: Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks were absolute bastards because they stopped the tsarist and White Army’s pogroms against the Jews, according to Nola. Stalin was restoring Russia to the Russians by getting rid of the Jews, because “he knew what he was up against”, according to Atzmon.
And Gerry Downing’s mad ideas that the problem is imperialism itself and not “the Jews” is totally ridiculous, Ian claims. And, to cap it all, Ian contemptuously rejects my assertion of the obvious: “Netanyahu is Trump’s puppet, not the other way around.” “That is contradicted by reality,” he says. He goes on to prove to his own satisfaction - and presumably also to the satisfaction of his faction - that it is the Jewish Zionist bourgeoisie who rule the world. There is no other conclusion we can draw from his stance.
Socialist Fight supporter Gareth Martin made the following comments to Ian: “All the rest is so much bullshit evasion. Either you agree with Atzmon and Mussolini that fascism resolves the class war, or you don’t. Either you believe a ‘Jewish will to power’ is undermining motherhood and apple pie, or you don’t. Either you ‘hate the Jew ... and despise the Jew in you’ or you don’t.
“... If you articulate these positions, then you have to own them. If you want to cuddle up to someone who believes this racist garbage, then you have to own that ... None of this is in any doubt. Atzmon’s association with far-right sites, his positive reviews from David Duke, even his covering for Richard ‘alt-right’ Spencer, give the game away obviously and immediately. If I had any inkling all this shit was lurking in your outfit, I would have had nothing to do with any of you.”
We now repudiate the use of the term, “the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’” and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as anti-Semitic tropes. We will in future use the term ‘Zionism’ alone in describing the political tendency within the Jewish ethnicity that commits such dreadful crimes against the Palestinian citizens of Israel and those expelled Palestinians primarily in 1948, 1967 and 1973, all of whom have the right of return.
This in order to distinguish the rightwing Israeli government under Netanyahu and its international supporters from all anti-Zionist Jews and Jews who strongly defend the right of the Palestinians under international law. Nor do we now agree that it is appropriate to continually refer to Jews such as Henry Kissinger and Milton Friedman as “overrepresented among the most strident spokespeople for capitalist reaction” without openly recognising that they are doing so primarily as representatives of the interests of imperialist capitalism, as in the Pinochet coup in Chile against Allende in 1973, and not as any separate Jewish influence or conspiracy.
Although the Jewish Chronicle and The Times of Israel frequently boast of the wealth and influence of Jewish billionaires and rightwing Zionist academics internationally, it is completely wrong to conclude from this that these are acting in pursuit of a separate Jewish/Zionist communal conspiracy agenda and not primarily in their own interests and that of global capitalism and imperialism.
Ian demands that all Jews who support the state of Israel be expelled from the Labour Party. My friend, whom I have known for over 30 years, supports the state of Israel because she lost many of her family in the holocaust and she sees Israel as a place of refuge if the holocaust should come again. She strongly opposes what Israel does to the Palestinians. To demand the expulsion of all such Jews from Labour would be an absolute gift to Zionism, the Board of Deputies, the right wing of Labour and the whole capitalist establishment.
I have acknowledged my own responsibility for the crisis in Socialist Fight in the document, ‘On the crisis in Socialist Fight and my own responsibility for it’.
I note that, while piling in on Hannah Arendt, again, Gerry Downing, again, tracks thought from Plato, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and co to Heidegger and hence Arendt (Letters, February 20). This is as opposed to the more virtuous lineage from Heraclitus, Spinoza, Kant and Hegel again and so to Marx et al. I am reminded of the talk in the old Workers Revolutionary Party, especially at its implosion, of the “golden thread” that is Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky and hence to the right bit of the Fourth International.
I believe that Hegel said something along the lines of ‘could there have been a Kant without Copernicus’, making a reference to the critical theory tradition of which he, and Marx, were adherents. The most famous expression of this type of thought is Newton’s, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”. If all of the giants were correct, then there would be no need to stand on their shoulders.
Marx took a keen interest in a massive number of contemporary and past thinkers, including Adam Smith, Ricardo, Proudhon (good, but wrong), along with Sey, Bentham, Mill (bad and wrong), to name but a few.
In the more modern era there are plenty of thinkers with whom we might disagree, but from whom we might learn. Examples that come to mind include Perry Anderson, David Harvey, Ellen Meiksins Wood and, I would submit, Hannah Arendt. (I don’t include any CPGB writers, as I would hate to embarrass them in their own paper).
Despite the comments above, I’m sure that Gerry will at least agree with my relief at John Smithee’s letter (February 20), telling us that the word ‘Workers’ no longer has “the baggage” that we might remember from nearly 35 years ago and it now has “a positive gloss to it”.
Mind you, there are still some fragments claiming allegiance to the WRP - perhaps they’ll sue George Galloway?
Marx, I think, regarded capitalism as the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. That was its permanent setting because capitalism is built on class conflict and exploitation.
The dictatorship of the proletariat should be seen in this light: ie, keeping the bourgeois in their place so they can’t carry out a counterrevolution; it’s about disciplining the bourgeois. In other words it’s no more radical than what the bourgeois have been doing to the working class every day since capitalism’s inception.
Now I would argue this dictatorship is necessary, but what happened in the USSR was a perversion of how Marx envisaged this dictatorship (the Paris Commune is much closer). Ironically the Soviet conception of dictatorship has more in common with Tony Clarke’s conception (Letters, February 13) than what Marx had in mind.
I burst out laughing after reading the response to my letter by the revered socialist, Ian Birchall. I couldn’t have asked for better. And he even suggested I should have a column in the paper - I’ll have to think about that! He publishes a blog called The Grim Dim, which I hadn’t heard of before. He is an exceptional comrade.
Hearing Ian Birchall’s name reminded me of the time I spent in the Socialist Workers Party between 1989 and 1991. It was a very busy time for the SWP and I have happy memories of the comrades there, but today the SWP hardly exists in Hull.
I recall a packed public meeting at The White Hart pub in early 1990. They were discussing the situation in eastern Europe. After the meeting finished, Tony Cliff, who was the star speaker, was upstairs alone with his radio and a couple of senior comrades hanging around the door. Everyone else was in the downstairs bar. Me and another comrade decided to go up to speak to him. We were let reluctantly into the room. I remember Tony Cliff with distinction. He was pleased to see us and we chatted for five minutes. He was friendly and welcoming and willing to talk.
I’ve kept in touch with the SWP through the subsequent decades by reading Socialist Worker. Their decline is a tragedy. And I’m an avid reader of the Morning Star and a friend of the Communist Party of Britain. I keep them informed particularly about the anti-Stalinists who populate much of the leftwing press and dominate most of the left parties.
Anti-Stalinism is an obsessive fixation with the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. These anti Stalinists - and there are tens of thousands of them - need pathological support. The truth is unbearable to them. They don’t understand reality.
Trotsky was a charming knave. He brainwashed millions of otherwise decent people over nine decades. He should, if we are to save the world from the imperialist monster, be expunged from history. Let’s reform our socialist dream, which is common to every left party, apart from the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.
Under a mass leadership, without the ringleaders of anti-Stalinism, the rest of the left can get on with the business of serving the working class and preparing for power. We are all good at heart. Unite the working class and the world is ours in peace and unity.
How dare you? You accuse Sinn Féin of joining the bourgeois mainstream (Sinn Féin’s success, left’s collapse’, February 13). We are yet to see if SF takes office or not, so yet to see if they will mount an attack on Ireland’s working class. I think maybe they should wait - allow the real bourgeois parties to scrap it out.
However, to accuse SF in this way is way out of line - doesn’t this paper advocate for the Labour Party, advising those of us on the left to vote Labour and even to join Labour? In the last few years this paper has told us that the definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome (May’s Brexit negotiations), but your misguided support for Labour goes on and on. Over 100 years of disgusting anti-working class and pro-imperialist policies. A supporter of every war, Zionist to its core and racist beyond belief. When will CPGB ever learn?
We need a true workers’ communist party, not hanging on Labour’s disgusting coat tails: one free to push the Marxist-Leninist line. Which brings me to the Workers Party of Britain, and the disgraceful attack on it (‘George’s marvellous medicine’, February 13). An “ultra-Stalinist organisation”. Why the “ultra”? Yes, it is Stalinist, but, as with Trotsky and others, why can’t all revolutionary communists and socialists debate such issues without the paranoid vitriol?
I support the Weekly Worker, even though it makes mistakes - the constant harping of the republicans’ ‘defeat’ in Ireland, which is just false; and what of your greatest blunder in your support of Kosovo, when you sat firmly in the imperialist camp? The CPGB Marxist-Leninist makes mistakes, but they also get much very right. Its anti-imperialist stance is exemplary, I read the Proletarian, Fight Racism Fight Imperialism, along with the Weekly Worker, and I wonder why we have so many communist parties in these Islands - or should I use the word ‘sect’?
Which brings me to the Workers Party - yet another one. The far left needs another party like a hole in the head. I think the CPGB ML is making a mistake getting behind this project and it begs the question: with so many far-left sects, why couldn’t Mr Galloway find a home in one of these? Any, just pick one. Why can’t the two CPGBs and the Revolutionary Communist Group just be one Communist Party and from within hammer out the differences over Trotsky (one of history’s foremost Marxists and brilliant leader of the Red Army during the civil war) and Stalin; what words we should use to describe the USSR, China, etc, etc.
To those Marxists in the Labour Party Marxists I ask, ‘What are you doing? When will the penny drop?’ That party should be no home for true Marxists and Communists. Can I say to the editors and contributors to the Weekly Worker, and the leadership of the CPGB, please, look left. Surely you have far more in common with the other communist groups than you do with the lapdog of imperialism and capitalism, which is the Labour Party.
Politically, the last four and a half years have belonged to those who have suffered the most, under all three parties, since the Callaghan government’s turn to monetarism in 1977. They made Jeremy Corbyn the Labour leader, they decided the EU referendum for ‘leave’, they re-elected Corbyn, they deprived Theresa May of her overall majority, they delivered the scale of the Brexit Party’s victory at the 2019 European elections, and they gave Boris Johnson an overall majority, because Corbyn had abandoned his 2017 commitment to Brexit. Had he not done so, then Labour would now be the largest party in a hung parliament.
The workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are now the key swing voters. And here, along the old Red Wall, we have not exchanged one one-party state for another. The Conservatives must face the competition in which they profess to believe. Therefore, ours is the 2020 vision of a new political party, a new think tank, a new weekly newspaper, a new monthly cultural review, a new quarterly academic journal, and much else besides - possibly including a new fortnightly satirical magazine.