Today I resigned from the Labour Party and breathed a huge sigh of relief because as Tony Benn said when he retired as an MP, I can now devote more time to politics…
The immediate reason for me leaving the party is because I can no longer support a party which claims to be a democratic socialist party and yet suspends and expels good socialists on the grounds they are racists simply because they campaign on behalf of an indigenous, third-world people who were violently expelled from their homeland by European and American colonialists and who are now kept incarcerated in de facto concentration camps at the point of a gun and under a relentless regime of extreme military violence.
In my view anyone who is not prepared to condemn foreign governments who do such things has no right to call themselves a socialist. And a party that allows pressure groups funded by these oppressive foreign governments to set an agenda that leads to the expulsion and persecution of some of the party’s most passionate and hard working anti-racist activists on the Kafkaesque grounds that fighting racism makes them racists, is not a party I wish to have anything to do with.
I also refuse to be silenced by partisan party apparatchiks or live under constant threat of suspension or expulsion by said apparatchiks, simply because I self-identify as a democratic socialist… in a party that says it is a democratic socialist party!
As a democratic socialist I thought perhaps the Labour Party would be a natural home for me. After all when Clause 4 was controversially rewritten in 1994 the opening sentence of Blair’s new Clause 4 said, “The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party.” It still says that today. But it seems that this was really a politically expedient sop to the by-then almost completely emasculated left, and that no one in the Labour Party really believed it. Indeed, the Chair of a neighbouring CLP, who is well educated in the ways of the party, was astounded when I pointed out to him last year that the party rule book still states that “The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party.”
As a democratic socialist I publicly argue for a moderate neo-Keynesian, mixed-economy, Scandinavian-style, social democracy. One would think perhaps that this is a fairly uncontroversial position to take in a party that claims to a democratic socialist party, yet these ideas of mine have been described by local colleagues in the Labour Party as ‘dangerous ideas’. It is surely laughable that any party that regards such a policy platform as being ‘dangerous’ or ‘too extreme’ can still call itself a democratic socialist party?
I did not join a political party to help my political enemies get elected and I do not intend to do so anymore. That is the immediate reason for me leaving the Labour Party but of course that is only part of the story… Continue reading
In light of the defamatory article the Daily Mail Online published on 12th April about me being an anti-semite, my dear friend and colleague the historian John Newsinger, has suggested you might like to read the full text of his article Fascism & The Daily Mail a shortened version of which was published in this month’s edition of Socialist Review.
Fascism, Hitler and the Daily Mail
By John Newsinger
Socialist Review. April 2019.
The Daily Mail has always been a viciously reactionary newspaper, prepared to slander, abuse and malign anyone perceived to be a threat to the interests of its proprietor and his class. It most famously published the forged Zinoviev Letter in order to damage the Labour Party in 1924, but also went after Stanley Baldwin, the Tory leader, for being a crypto-socialist in 1931, libelling him in the process. Baldwin made clear that he would not touch any damages from the Mail, even ‘with a barge pole’ and publicly condemned it’s proprietor, Lord Rothermere, as ‘a harlot’. The paper was to plumb new depths in the course of the 1930s.
Rothermere had been a great admirer of Mussolini throughout the 1920s with the Mail routinely praising the achievements of Italian fascism. Mussolini, according to Rothermere, was ‘the greatest figure of our age’, indeed he had saved Europe from the menace of Communism. He wrote in the Mail that it was because Bolshevism was stopped in Italy that ‘it collapsed in Hungary and ceased to gain adherents in Bavaria and Prussia’. As far as he was concerned, what Britain needed was heroic leadership on the Italian model, but all they had was Stanley Baldwin. Continue reading
So the Daily Mail online went for it. A ludicrous “Lovejoy star is anti-Semite” load of old bollox.
But the article does reveal what is actually going on here. Which is that Jason Fojtik a candidate for the Clopton Ward of Stratford Upon Avon District Council… I know, I Know… is cynically invoking the memory of the six million who died in the Nazi Holocaust to score petty local political points. Continue reading
I agreed to stand as a Labour Party paper candidate for Bidford West and Salford Ward in the Stratford Upon Avon District Council elections.
Today (9th April) I received the email below from The Daily Mail!
The journalist made it clear that he had not searched out the story of my candidacy and my support of the Palestinian cause but that it had been ‘brought to his attention’. Someone purposefully either emailed him or called him.
Seems likely this will be someone locally (Hi Jeff… ) Seems also likely this might be in response to my posting on the LP forum regarding Jason Fojtik’s recent resignation from the party.
So can it be possible that a member or former member of Stratford Upon Avon CLP is willing to abuse the memory of the 6 million in a petty political squabble in Stratford Upon Avon CLP? I mean really!? Continue reading
This is a very good piece by Holly Rigby on Novara Media.
I have to admit I am one of those on the left of the LP who is in despair. The right of the party have given the lie to the ‘broad church’ conception of the LP by insisting that democratic socialists have no place in the party and launching numerous profoundly cynical and dishonest campaigns against them.
This by the way is in a party that states unequivocally in Clause 4 of the current rule book that “The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party.”
I’ve posted elsewhere that the vitriol with which the right has fought for the centrist, liberal, values of New Labour has once more exposed the contradiction which has been at the at the heart of the LP since it was founded, i.e. that the left and right of the party are NOT on the same political side. Continue reading
My disgust at the cynical abuse of the memory of the 6 million by the right-wing of the Labour Party, aided and abetted by the Israeli Embassy, grows daily and has left me despairing for the future of the Labour Party.
There is no evidence at all that the Labour Party has a particular problem with anti-semitism. The rhetoric constantly asserts that the left of the Labour Party has a significantly greater proportion of anti-semitic members than in the general population. However, all the actual evidence suggests that there is significantly LESS anti-semitism on the left of the Labour Party than in the general population… Unless of course you regard support of the Palestinian cause and any related criticism of the Israeli state as de-facto anti-semitism.
There is no other issue in world politics that would see lifetime Labour Party members and anti-racist campaigners being demonised and expelled by members of their own party for supporting the rights of an indigenous people displaced and oppressed by a religiously defined, nuclear-armed, military state supported by the USA! Continue reading
This article in the Grundian is interesting.
But this paragraph worries me:
“Often, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories don’t explicitly talk about Jews or ‘the Jews’ as a group. There’s some kind of code word or symbol that’s used in place.”
I think this way thinking makes criticism of Israel and indeed any Jewish individual almost impossible and I think this idea is at the heart of many Jews response to criticisms of Israel by the left in the UK and the USA.
The problem with the idea is that it means that some people are actively seeking to attribute anti-Semetic motive to statements that are not in and of themselves anti-Semetic. This means that almost any proposition or statement about anything can be construed as anti-Semetic if an anti-Semetic motive can be constructed or implied.
I don’t think most of the Republican right* in the USA hate Soros because he is Jewish. They hate him because he is a rich liberal who openly supports leftist causes and is thus a threat. Continue reading