Posts Tagged ‘Drugs’

Nigel Farage Interviews Iraq War Army Officer about Blair’s War Crimes

January 8, 2022

Oh Heaven help me! I’ve just agreed with something arch-Brexiteer, former Kipperfuhrer and founder of the Brexit party, Nigel Farage, has said on right-wing satellite/cable broadcaster GB News. The Fuhrage was criticising the recent award of a knighthood to Tony Blair. Blair has not been forgiven by very many ordinary Brits, both on the right and left, for taking this country into an illegal war and occupation of Iraq. Three quarters of a million people, according to Farage, have now signed a petition against the honour. Farage points out that every prime minister automatically becomes a member of the Order of the Garter with which comes either a knighthood or an earldom. In this video from his show on GB News, posted on the 5th of January, not only does Farage himself criticise its award to Blair, asking if he is a fit and proper person to receive it, but he talks over the phone to one of the veterans who served in the war. This is Colonel Tim Collins, OBE, who led the Royal Irish Regiment.

Farage begins with the news that one of Blair’s former cabinet ministers, Jeff Hoon, is writing a book that claims that Blair’s chief of staff, Tony Powell, burnt a document of legal advice concerning legality of gong to war provided by the Attorney General Lord Geoffrey Goldsmith. The newspapers report that the story came out in 2015, but Farage states that he has never, ever seen it before to his recollection. He states that Blair had the backing of parliament to go to war, and asks Col. Collins if there are really legitimate reasons for refusing him the Order of the Garter. Collins replies by going even further, contradicting the story that it was Blair who was responsible for the peace settlement in Northern Ireland. Not so. According to Collins, it was largely the work of John Major and the Irish government. Blair took over the process, but added celebrity spin, which had the effect of watering the agreement down, hence producing the conditions for the mess Ulster is in now. The colonel then goes on to remind the viewers that Blair took us into the war on the dodgy dossier. We acted as bit-part players, not pulling our weight and giving the coalition good advice. He recalls that the crucial piece of advice he saw when he was a member of Special Forces at their HQ before he joined the RIR was that we needed to retain the Iraqi army to hold Iraq together until a democratic replacement for Saddam Hussein could be found. The disbandment of the Iraqi army unleashed a form of terror that cost many lives, both Iraqi and British. Farage responds by stating that down the centuries British prime ministers in crisis have made both good and bad decisions. This decision was very bad, but should it disqualify Blair from getting the accolade all other prime minsters have received? Collins response to this question is to point out that it’s ironic that the honour is in the gift of the monarch, whom Blair did so much to undermine. He describes how she was used as a prop for Blair, Cherie and New Labour at the millennium celebrations. He now has to come cap in hand to Her Maj and say ‘You are right.’ And Farage fully agrees.

Farage goes on to ask the colonel, as a veteran of the Iraq war, whether he and his colleagues feel bitter about being sold that war on a falsehood. Collins replies that he feels sorry for the people of Iraq, who have been pushed into their unfriendly neighbours, Iran. He believes they will rise again, but it will take a long time. There are thousands of people dead, who didn’t need to die, including our own people. Farage then asks him if he’s saying that Tony Blair shouldn’t get the knighthood. Collins replies that he should got to the Queen and tell her that he cannot accept it, because he is not a fit and proper person to receive it from the monarchy he has done so much to demean.

I think the colonel is rather more concerned about Blair’s undermining of the monarchy as much as, if not more, than British troops being sent into Iraq to fight and lose life and limb, and destroy an entire country on the basis of a lie. Blair did indeed appear to use to Queen as a prop for his own self-promotion during his tenure of 10 Downing Street. He was widely criticised by the right-wing press for his ‘presidential’ party political election film. He’s not the only one, however. Thatcher seemed to being her best on many occasions to upstage Her Maj while at the same time trying to bathe in the monarchy’s reflected glory.

The colonel’s statement about the Northern Ireland peace process being largely the work of Major and the Irish government is subject to doubt, but I can well believe it. Thatcher had begun secret talks with Sinn Fein and the IRA years before, while at the same time showing her massive hypocrisy by loudly denouncing the Labour party as traitors and supporters of terrorism for openly saying that it was precisely what we should do. Going further back to the beginning of the Troubles in the ’70s, Ted Heath had also opened talks with them, only to have them collapse because of the intransigence of the Loyalists.

The colonel also has a good point when he states that they shouldn’t have disbanded the Iraqi army. Bush and Blair had no real idea what to do after they’d won. Bush was taken in by the lies of Ahmed Chalabi, a fantasist who claimed to be the massively popular hero of resistance movement. He would take over the government of the country, and the coalition forces would be met as liberators by a grateful Iraqi people. None of which was true. What is also true is that Iranian influence has expanded into Iraq despite the hostilities of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. Iran is a Shia country, and there is a sizable Shia minority in Iraq for whom Iran is, no doubt, a liberator and protector.

What the Colonel and Farage don’t mention is the real, geopolitical and economic reasons we invaded Iraq. The American-Saudi oil companies wanted to get their hands on Iraq’s state oil industry and its reserves, American multinationals wanted to acquire the country’s other state enterprises. And the Neo-Cons had the fantasy of turning the country into some kind of free trade, free market utopia, with disastrous consequences for the country’s economy.

Native Iraqi firms couldn’t compete with the goods dumped on them by foreign countries. Businesses went bankrupt, unemployment soared to 60 per cent. The country’s relatively progressive, secular government and welfare state collapsed. Sectarian violence erupted between Sunni and Shia, complete with death squads under the command of senior coalition officers. Women lost their ability to find careers outside the home. And the mercenaries hired to keep the peace ran prostitution rings, sold drugs and shot ordinary Iraqis for sport.

This is what you’re not being told on the mainstream news. The people reporting it are journalists like former Guardian hack Greg Palast in his book Armed Madhouse and alternative media outlets like Democracy Now! and The Empire Files on TeleSur. And there is plenty of evidence that Blair is a war criminal because of the war.

I’m well aware that some of the great commenters on this blog will object to my giving a platform to Farage and GB News. But I do feel that Farage is actually performing a valid service here questioning a senior army officer and veteran of the war about the issue of Blair’s knighthood. Even if his criticisms come from him as a man of the right.

There has been controversy about the New Years Honours system for a long time because so many have been awarded to very questionable people. Especially as the Tories have used it as a way of rewarding their donors.

But the destruction of an entire nation and the killing and displacement of millions of citizens for a lie made on behalf of further enriching the multinational elite is surely excellent reason for denying any honour to Blair.

Rightwingers Outraged at Acquittal of the Four Who Toppled Colston’s Statue

January 7, 2022

As a Bristolian with long personal roots in the city, I feel I’ve got to tackle this. The four people responsible for pulling the down the statue of the 18th century slave trader and philanthropist in a massive Black Lives Matter protest last year were on trial for it this week. They were charged with criminal damage, and yesterday were found ‘not guilty’ by the jury. And the right has been predictably incensed. The story’s on the front page of the Daily Mail, which reports that the jury may have been placed under pressure to acquit by the defence, which urged them ‘not to be on the wrong side of history’. The prosecution is therefore planning to appeal the decision. Nigel Farage has released a video on YouTube about it. Mixed-race Tory commenter Calvin Robinson has appeared on GB News talking about it. And inevitably the Lotus Eaters have also released a video about it, with Callum and one of Sargon’s other mates expressing their poor opinion of the whole thing. The message from the right has been the same: this decision imperils every statue in Britain, because it legitimises attacks on them through an appeal to the emotions of the attacker regardless of the letter of the law. Calvin Robinson in his interview on GB News agreed with the two journalists, one Black, one White, that you had to be very careful about limiting people’s freedom of expression. However the decision to acquit was, he explained, based on a legal loophole in the criminal damage law. This permits such damage, if the property damaged or destroyed itself serves to promote a crime. The argument made by the accused in a feature about them in the Groan was that the statue constituted a hate crime against Black Bristolians. The right-wing critics of the decision have therefore argued that this makes every statue unsafe, as an emotional reason could be found for any attack on them. The person, who vandalised Churchill’s statue last year could get off because, despite defeating Fascism, Churchill was a racist and imperialist. They have also made the point that the decision also means that Conservatives also have a right to tear down Marx’s bust in London, as he was also racist and anti-Semitic, quite apart from the millions murdered under Communism. Darren Grimes, the repulsive spawn of the Guido Fawkes site, said that he could also therefore tear down the statue of Friedrich Engels in Manchester.

Jury Freedom and the Historic Acquittal of Guilty Murderers

Yesterday Simon Webb of History Debunked also joined the debate, comparing the decision to the jury’s acquittal of the attackers of three policemen during a riot in 1820s London. The cops had been stabbed, and one killed, but the jury acquitted their attackers because the cops had attacked in a particularly aggressive and provocative manner. Webb stated that back in the 17th and 18th centuries judges could and did send juries back to reconsider their verdict, and even imprison them if they didn’t give the right verdict as directed. It was, of course, a great improvement to allow the juries the freedom to judge themselves rather than according to the opinion of the beak. But this did raise problems in cases like this. Indeed. Juries won the right to judge freely according to their own judgement following arguments for such free trials by the Levellers and particularly when William Penn, a Quaker and the founder of Pennsylvania, was put on trial for preaching his radical views in Bristol. The jury repeatedly refused the judge’s order to find guilty, and were even imprisoned. They eventually won out, and the trial helped established true British justice.

Allegations of Bias against Witness David Olasuga

One of the other objections to the trial was that one of the witnesses was the historian, David Olasuga. whom the Lotus Eaters describe as a Black activist and who admitted that, had he been able, he would have joined the mob in toppling the status. There is indeed a problem with Olasuga as some of his historical interpretations are questionable. For example, he and Reni Edo-Lodge turned up in video by the Beeb laying a plaque in Liverpool to a victim of racist lynching. Except that Wootton, the lynched man, had been part of a gang of West Indians, who had launched an attack on a group of Swedes and Russians. When a cop intervened, the West Indians repeated stabbed and tried to slash his throat. They retreated to a house where someone, probably Wootton, shot three policemen, before he was chased down to the docks trying to escape. He was hardly an innocent victim. Olasuga has been one of the Black historians claiming that historically, Britain had a much larger Black community than it probably did. He claims that there were Blacks in Roman Britain. History Debunked has shown that this largely comes from one of the legions at Hadrian’s Wall coming from the Roman province of Mauretania. This has been confused with the present day country in West Africa. However, the Roman province of Mauretania was further north in Morocco. I think there are perfectly reasonable questions of bias in Olasuga’s testimony.

Political Bias in Prosecution of Vandals

And then have come the various commenters sneering and deriding Bristol. I’ve seen the usual rants about how it’s a ‘Communist’ or ‘left-wing’ shithole; it’s a lefty university town, and as terrible as Liverpool or London. Rather more interesting was one comment from a working class Bristolian, who had been having a meal at a cafe in the city, whose customers were largely Black West Indians. These people had all been solidly against the decision. I can well believe it. I don’t think the Black community Bristol or elsewhere in our great nation is a monolithic bloc. Just like other racial groups, like Whites, Asians or Jews aren’t either. As for the four defendants, they were White middle class liberal kids, who most likely didn’t come from Bristol. There was also speculation about what would happen if someone vandalised a statue to a Black personality, like Nelson Mandela. Would this be treated the same way? Not if the example of the vandalism done to a mural of Marcus Rashford was an example. Although the messages sprayed on it weren’t racist, it was nevertheless treated as a racist hate crime. Actually, you don’t have to look that far for a similar example. After Colston’s statue was torn down, a bust in one of Bristol’s parks of a Black writer and dramatist was vandalised and the cops were after those responsible.

Some Black Bristolians Genuinely Upset at Statue

As for the feelings of fear or outrage that the defendants claimed justified the attack, the Black interviewer on GB News and Robinson both questioned whether Black people are so emotional fragile that they would be upset simply walking past Colston’s statue. Some may well not be, but others definitely were. Asher Craig, Bristol’s deputy elected mayor, head of equalities and city councillor for St. George’s, was on Radio 4 last year giving her opinion about the statue and Bristol’s historic connection to the slave trade. The programme also talked to others about it, including one ordinary Black woman. She said that she felt physically sick having to walk past it on the way to work every morning. I understand and sympathise. I think her example was far better and more persuasive than the various political activists angrily demanding that it should be torn down. It was the voice of an ordinary, working-class woman, about how the statue affected her.

Arguments for the Preservation of the Statue

It also has to be stated that Black Lives Matter’s attack was deliberately against the wishes of Bristolians themselves. There had been several polls in the past about whether the statue should be taken down or not. The majority of people voted against it. Paul Stephenson, one of the organisers of the Bristol bus boycott in the 1960s against the bus company’s refusal to employ Blacks, gave his opinion on the issue in an interview with Philippa Gregory in the 1990s. Gregory had just had her novel, A Respectable Trade, about the Bristol slave trade adapted for television and there was an exhibition about the city and slavery then at the City Museum and Art Gallery. It has since been moved and is now on display, sans title, at the city’s excellent M Shed Museum. Stephenson has something of a mixed reputation. To some he’s a respected civil rights activists, while others regard him more a deliberate troublemaker. He declared to Gregory that Colston was a bloody mass murderer responsible for a ‘Holocaust in Africa’. This follows the statement of W.E.B. DuBois, the pioneering American Black rights activist, that slavery and the slave trade were a Black Holocaust. It sounds like hyperbole, a deliberately emotional exaggeration, but I believe it’s based on the accounts of 19th century anti-slavery activists about the fierce tribal violence generated by the slave trade, and the devastation of whole regions as a result. But Stephenson also said that he didn’t think the statue should be torn down. He believed it should remain standing with an additional note to remind people of his crimes. A similar argument was made by the Lotus Eaters, who felt that statues should be left standing, even though they may be to terrible people, because they’re history. And we need to learn from history if we are to move on.

It’s a perfectly good argument, and one advanced in the ’90s by radical anarchist band The Levellers. They took their name from the radical, proto-democrat, proto-socialist sect during the British Civil War. They also believed in ‘Godly reformation’ and so, along with the other merchandising at their concerts were copies of the Bible and Christopher Hill’s Marxist study of the British Civil War, The World Turned Upside Down. I particularly remember one of their songs that had the lines ‘I believe in justice, I believe in vengeance, I believe in getting the bastard’. But they also released a song protesting about the decision by Manchester’s Labour council to rename the town’s historic Free Trade Hall. They objected to it because it was the destruction of history and an attempt to rewrite the past. It’s strange and rather disconcerting that they should have the same view on this issue from a libertarian left perspective, as the Tories.

Lastly, it needs to be remembered that Colston was not honoured for enslaving Blacks. The statue was put up long after that was over. Rather it was because he was a great philanthropist, who gave much of his fortune away in charity. There were schools named after him and funded by his largesse. My old school used to celebrate Colston Day in his honour, when the children were given a few days off. A few were specially honoured and went to a special service at Redcliffe Church, where they were given a Colston bun.

Bristol Great City

Now for a few remarks on the decision and the views of the various right-winger, who have sounded off about it. Firstly, Bristol isn’t a shithole. It’s a large, great city with a proud history of trade, exploration, industry and invention with excellent museums and theatres. The Bristol Old Vic and its theatre school have a particularly excellent reputation and have produced some of the country’s great thesps. It has it’s problems. I believe that the Bristol’s Black community is one of the three largest in the country, along with Birmingham and London. It has its problems with marginalisation, lack of educational achievement, unemployment, drugs and violent crime, though this is by no means confined simply to Blacks. But it’s not particularly left-wing. Some areas, like Stokes Croft, have a reputation for radical politics. I’ve heard local people refer to it as ‘the people’s republic of Stokes Croft’. Other areas are Conservative, and all the shades of political opinion in between.

Academic Freedom and Marxist Indoctrination at Universities

As for the universities, the comment blaming them for the decision comes from the standard right-wing attitude that the unis are full of Marxists indoctrinating students. In fact, universities, courses and individual lecturers vary immensely. Some universities had a reputation, even in my day, for being hotbeds of left-wing activism, others were more Conservative. It also varies with the course you’re on. There hasn’t, traditionally, been much opportunity for far left-wing indoctrination in maths, science, medicine and engineering courses because of the nature of those subjects. Although it’s creeping in now in the form of ethnomathematics and the demands that the achievements of Black scientists and mathematicians should be particularly taught, it’s mostly been confined to the humanities. There have always been Marxist historians. These include the very well respected Christopher Hill, Eric Hobsbawm and E.P. Saunders, and there is a specific Marxist view of history. You are taught about this on the historiography courses in history at University, along with other forms of history, such as women’s history, social history, what Butterfield called the ‘Whig view of history’ and more conservative and Conservative views. I’ve been taught by lecturers with feminist or left-wing views. I’ve also been taught by people with far more traditional views. I also know lecturer who determined to keep their political views out of the classroom. University is supposed to be a place of free speech and debate, and it’s important that this is maintained. Students should be encouraged to read sources and the historical literature critically, and make up their own views. This means an engagement with Marxism as well as other ideologies. I think Bristol university has particularly come under fire because it’s rather more conservative and traditional compared to the newer universities. It received funding from the Colston charities when it was established early in the last century. Hence I believe the granting of a chair in the history of slavery to a Black woman. It also has relatively few Black students, which contrasts with the population of the city as a whole. This is partly because it has very high standards, and as a rule Blacks generally have poorer grades than other racial groups. It is also no doubt because when I was young, going away was seen as part of university education and so you were discouraged from applying to the local university. Hence the university is now trying to give greater opportunities to study to more Blacks and ethnic minorities.

Queer Theory, Critical Race Theory and the Marxist Attack on Western Culture

Now I largely agree that the acquittal of the four defendants has set a dangerous precedent because it allows people to attack public monuments they dislike or which are controversial. James Lindsay, one of the group with Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose that has attacked postmodernist Critical Theory, has argued that ideologies like Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory are deliberate attacks on traditional western culture and Enlightenment values. They are aimed at destroying the past to create a Marxist future, just as Chairman Mao did during the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. One of the ancient monuments the Red cadres smashed as part of the campaign against the ‘Four Olds’ was the tomb of Confucius! This sounds like an idea straight out of loony right-wing paranoids and conspiracists like Alex Jones and the John Birch Society, until he backs it up by reading chapter and verse from the founders of such postmodernist Marxism, like Marcuse, Horkheimer and others. And yes, I can quite believe that vandalism to a monument to a Black politico or celebrity, like Nelson Mandela, would be treated far differently and as a terrible hate crime than the attack on Colston.

But regardless of the defence’s plea to the jury to ‘be on the right side of history’, I think there would always have been pressure on the jury to acquit. Colston was a slave trader and had been controversial for decades. They naturally wouldn’t have wanted to acquit people who attacked a monument on that score, rather than the philanthropy the statue commemorated. And the defendants make a good point when they say that ‘he no longer speaks for Bristol’. There were others in the city who opposed the slave trade. As well as the slavers and the West Indian planters, Bristol also had a large abolitionist movement. If you go a little way from the centre of Bristol into Redcliffe, you’ll find the Georgian church where Jeremiah Clarkson, one of the leading 18th century abolitionists, collected the testimony of Bristol’s slavers as part of his evidence against the trade.

Other Statues Not Vandalised

As for other statues, none of those in the surrounding area were touched. Not the statue to Edmund Burke, the politician and founder of modern Conservatism through his book, Reflections on the Revolution in France. The Lotus Eaters are offering it, or reading through it, as their ‘book of the month’. I wonder if they’ll mention that Burke’s statue was signally left untouched by the rioters. As was the statue of a monk in Lewin’s Mead, which had before the Reformation been a monastic complex. They also failed to destroy the statue of Neptune and a sailor on the docks. Queen Victoria was left untouched on nearby College Green. They also didn’t destroy the statue of John Cabot outside the Council House, sorry, ‘City Hall’ and the Central Library. This was despite various ‘spokesmen’ for the Black community claiming that the City’s celebration of his discovery of Newfoundland and America, following Columbus, was a celebration of slavery. There may well be similar defences used on similar attacks on other statues, but I think such attacks will be far more difficult to defend. Churchill was indeed a racist and an imperialist, as well as personally responsible for sending troops to gun down striking miners in Wales. But to the vast majority of severely normal Brits he was also the man, who helped save Europe and the world from Nazism and the Axis. And that would also count powerfully in the case against anyone who vandalised his monument.

Historians also Successfully Defend Controversial Statues

As for testimony from historians, this can work against the iconoclasts. The BLM fanatics trying to get the statue of Cecil Rhodes torn down at Oxford university claimed that he was somehow ‘South Africa’s Adolf Hitler’. Now Rhodes was a grotty character and an imperialist, but this goes too far. Rhodes’ biographer tackled this claim on social media, at which the BLM protesters making it went quiet. They couldn’t refute it, and so went silent.

I therefore do not feel that other statues are necessarily in a greater danger than previously because of the acquittal.

Then there’s the question of any possible statue to replace it. There are rumours that it could be a Black person. Well, if there is, it should be of a Black person, who actually had contact and lived in the city. One of Bristol’s sporting heroes way back was a Black boxer. One of my aunts was friends with his daughter. I’d say this gentleman would be a good candidate for such a statue, because as a sports hero he united everyone from left and right, as well as being a citizen of Bristol.

Nigel Farage has suggested a memorial to the British navy. Absolutely. The British West India squadron did excellent work patrolling the seas for slavers. And they were by no means all racist. Captain Denman, giving evidence on a massacre of 300 unsold slaves by one of the West African slaving states to parliament, made the point that ‘it is remarkable given the advances they have made in the arts of civilisation’. He clearly believe European civilisation was superior, but had been particularly shocked because the African peoples responsible for the massacre were also comparatively civilised. Africans serving or aiding the British navy were also given the compensation payments awarded to British tars when they suffered injury and loss of limbs.

We also patrolled the waters between east Africa and India to stop western and Arab slavers, and one antipodean historian has written that in the Pacific, the royal navy was the chief protector of its indigenous peoples against enslavement.

It also needs to be remembered that one of the reasons for the British invasion of Africa was to stamp out slavery and the slave trade. I’ve no doubt that the main, if not the real reasons were simple hunger for territory and resources, and to stop those areas falling into the hands of our European imperial rivals – France, Germany, Italy and Portugal. But some of the officer involved took their duty extremely serious, such as Samuel Baker and Gordon of Khartoum. The Mahdi, against whom Gordon fought, and his followers were slavers outraged at the British government’s ban on it and the enslavement of Black Sudanese. There are therefore excellent reasons for putting up a memorial to the British navy and armed forces.

And I would also support a statue to Jeremiah Clarkson for his work in the city bringing the horrors of the trade to light.

In the meantime, despite the right-wing outrage at this act of vandalism, I think we should view the attack on Colston’s statue as a special case.

Claims of a general threat to British history because of it may well be exaggerated.

Another Festive Musical Attack on the Tories from PoliticsJoe

December 27, 2021

I’ve been putting up some of the vids from Kunt and the Gang for their obscene song about our incompetent, greedy, and murderous prime minister. However, they haven’t only made one or two. They’ve made thirteen, which is far too many to put up. And I think we’ve got the message by now. But here’s another musical spoof of them I found on YouTube from JOE: Now That’s What I Call A Tory Christmas. It’s a parody of the long-running series of music albums, Now That’s What I Call Music. The spoof songs include a version of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, about them telling people to keep apart while they themselves partied, Michael Gove singing a version of ‘White Christmas’ with a suspicious sniff; the horsey woman sings about how cronyism got her the contract for PPE and Rishi Sunak and friends singing about how they’ve spaffed everyone’s money up the wall. Other songs satirise Dominic Cummings for his drive to Barnard Castle and the Tory party cutting aid to Africa. And there’s a final song from a football commentator, manager or somebody advising us all not to vote for these bellends. Which is excellent advice. All with a carefully cut and edited voiceover from the minister for the 18th century, which makes him seem even more of a ridiculous anachronism than he already is. So enjoy!

Cartoonist Kayfabe Look at the Art and Career of ‘American Hero’ Steve Ditko

December 10, 2021

More comics stuff, and a rather longer video than usual at 1hr 9minutes, but the subject deserves it. Steve Ditko is one of the great, legendary figures of American comics. He’s probably best known for creating Spiderman and the occult hero Dr. Strange with Stan ‘the Man’ Lee for Marvel. But as this video shows, Ditko worked for many other American comics companies – DC, Charlton, Dale and EC among them as well as self-publishing his personal works. In the video, the Kayfabers Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg go through the volume Ditko Unleashed: An American Hero, which accompanied an exhibition of the great man’s work. The book’s bilingual in English and Spanish, which suggests that the exhibition may have been in Spain. The volume not only describes Ditko’s career, but gives plentiful illustrations of his art.

Ditko, like Kirby, came from a blue-collar, working class background. He went into art school to study cartooning, as he wanted to be a comics artist. His career was uneven, working for a number of different publishers and in a variety of different genres – monster, science fiction, horror as well as the superheroes for which is he is best known. He also worked with some of the great names in American comics. At times he inked the awesome Jack Kirby, at other times he was inked by Frank Miller, the artist and writer chiefly responsible for turning Daredevil into one of Marvel’s leading heroes. I think he may also have been inked by John Byrne, one of the major artists behind the New X-Men. He was admired by many of these new artists. The epic Jim Starlin, in one edition of his Warlock comic, ‘One Thousand Clowns’, dedicated it to Ditko for showing us a new reality. Starlin’s art was rather more naturalistic, but he also used the same floating paths and mystic portals in his work. He also went through several hard times in his career. At one point he moved away to New York to recover from tuberculosis, then, as in Britain, a major killer. There were also years when he struggled, as many others did, to get work. He also worked on a number of merchandising tie-ins, like Micronauts and Rom: the SpaceKnight, which were intended to promote toy figures. I read the comics, which were excellent without having any interest in buying the toys, which might indicate they were too successful. Like the adverts for Cinzano Bianco wine with Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins. Everyone enjoyed them and they’re still fondly remembered by peeps of a certain vintage, but the people watching the ads couldn’t remember the brand of booze and so didn’t buy it. Ditko, like Kirby, broke off from Marvel for a time, before he returned, working on the above tie-ins along with the robotic superhero Machine Man.

Ditko, Politics and Morality

Unlike Stan Lee, who was a liberal, Ditko was very Conservative, a follower of Objectivism, the philosophy of supercapitalist ideologue Ayn Rand. He also had very black and white views on morality, which were expressed in his personal creations, Mr. A and The Question. He believed that heroes should be heroes, their morals pure and uncompromised. True to his ideals, he turned down work when the characters he was being asked to depict didn’t live up to them. A few years ago Jonathan Ross made a documentary for BBC 4 or one of the other channels searching for Ditko. One of those interviewed was Brit comics titan Alan Moore, who described meeting Ditko at Ditko’s home. He says that Ditko had a very narrow, inflexible view of morality, telling Moore, like one of his characters, that there were only two ways, a right way and a wrong way. Ditko’s politics are very definitely not mine, and I’m very much aware that in the real world, things are very often never a case of black and white but more shades or grey and motives can be less pure than we’d like. But after the comics industry went through a phase in which they tried to make their heroes darker – Batman: The Killing Joke is one of the foremost – and it was difficult telling the heroes from the villains, it’s refreshing to have someone who believes in old fashioned heroics.

The Kayfabers believe that if he were working today, Ditko would be cancelled or at least severely annoy and alienate 50 per cent of his audience. I think the first is certainly true. There has always been a left-wing message in American comics and an awareness of social issues. In the late 1960s into the 1970s both Marvel and DC tackled issues like racism and the rise of the feminist movement. As a response to the latter, Marvel created the Valkyrie, original a woman scientist who revolted against the patriarchy after having the credit for her discoveries stolen by her male colleagues. The Hulk comic also questioned American militarism, while Captain America, in disgust at Watergate and the contemporary corruption of American politics, renounced his patriotic monicker to become Nomad. Of course it wasn’t long before he rediscovered his faith in the rightness of the American way and put his uniform back on. However, Lee has also said in an interview that he was careful not to make the message too shrill so that it alienated readers that didn’t share his politics. Now many Conservative and moderate left comics creators and fans believe that in many strips, the political message has become too overt at the expense of traditional qualities like plotting, characterisation, dialogue and sheer fantasy. This was the motive behind Comicsgate a few years ago, when a number of comics creators, like Ethan van Sciver, broke away from the main comics companies of DC and Marvel to set up on their own.

Heroism and Its Absence in Modern Genre Film and Literature

One of the problems Az of Heels vs. Babyface and The Critical Drinker is that many of today’s pop culture heroes actually don’t act like heroes. For example, in one episode of Batwoman reviewed by Az, he comments critically on the way Batwoman treats the villain, a woman who has murdered several innocents. When Batwoman confronts her, she tells Batwoman that she’s killed so many people out of rage at her persecution as a lesbian. As a result, Batwoman, a lesbian herself, lets her go. This is simply immoral. The persecution of otherwise perfectly decent people because they’re attracted to the opposite sex is wrong, but it doesn’t justify the murder of innocents. Whatever political views real policemen and women have, they still have to act impartially and arrest those, who break the law and especially those who commit terrible crimes like mass murder.

The Critical Drinker put up a whole video about the failure of contemporary SF heroes to live up to the standards of true heroism with the latest Star Trek iterations as a case in point. He contrasted these were the high standards of professionalism demanded of the captain and crew in the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation. In that series, the characters knew the importance of duty and respecting the command hierarchy even if they disagreed with it. At the same time, Picard and the other senior officers demanded and got the best from their crew. Several of the episodes involved leading characters learning the difficulties of command. There is one episode where one of the characters is training for promotion. Part this training involves trying to find ways to prevent a warp core breach that will destroy the Enterprise. The problem is insolvable until nearly every option has been tried except the one the prospective leader has been consciously trying to avoid: they have to send Jordi into the warp core to fix it, a command which will result in his death. But it’s unavoidable, and both characters know their duty is to their ship. The would-be commander has to give the order, which Jordi calmly accepts. And a hard lesson is learned. Instead, the crew of the new Trek franchises are grossly unprofessional. They bicker over there personal relationships in front of a superior officer, react badly to the stressful conditions they should, as crew aboard a quasi-military spacecraft, be trained to deal with and try to undermine their superior officers. Case in point: one sequence where Kirk and Spock attempt to beat the living daylights out of each other. Yeah, I’m aware that it happened in an episode or two of the original Trek, like the classic ‘Amok Time’, but there were extenuating circumstances. I like Star Trek and have got a couple of the recent Trek films on DVD. But I think the Drinker has a point, even if it comes from a jaundiced, booze-soaked mind. I think we need a few more heroes who are genuinely heroic in the old fashioned sense, even if the social views they hold may be those of the left.

Stylistic Strong Points

But Ditko’s own career also had its contradictions. At one point he was working on BDSM/ fetish comics, and there were certainly questions raised about the spectacular and surreal effects in several of his strips. Many of his characters, like Dr Strange, enter strange realms in which roads float apparently in mid-air, and doors and portals appear leading to elsewhere, like the mobile holes in many a cartoon strip. Strange shoots beams of light and conjures up strange geometrical figures in his incantations. These effects resemble the entoptic imagery seen when people start to hallucinate after using mind-altering drugs. Which led to the obvious question: was Ditko also on ’em. Ditko was too straitlaced to use recreational chemicals, and answered ‘No’. It all came from within, from his own unaided imagination. Which says to me that Ditko had an awesome imagination on his own, and that the really great, creative people don’t need drugs.

I can’t say that I was ever a fan of Ditko, as his artistic style with Marvel seemed rather too simple. I really admired those artists who were rather less stylised and more detailed and naturalistic. Nevertheless, this video shows that Ditko was a master of his art. The Kayfabers point out that he’s great at cityscapes and portraying fluid action sequences in which the characters are constantly in motion. In some of the strips, Ditko also used colour washes to enhance his line art, and the result is stunning. There are also a couple of strips where Ditko’s inkers were beginning to use computers to add inks and colour to his pencils, which are also very striking.

The Kayfabers also think that some of the pictures come from the private collections of people who acquired them less than legally. There is a black market in comics art, and Ditko was a victim along with many others. They won’t name names, of course, because they don’t want to get writs from m’learned friends. But they also state they’re just glad that someone, somewhere has preserved these pictures that would otherwise have been lost. Ditko also suffered into inadvertently giving people his autograph, thus cheating himself of money. He didn’t give autographs. However, if someone wrote to him asking for his autograph, they’d get a polite reply for Ditko saying ‘No’. Which he’d sign. People cottoned on to this, and exploited it.

Comics and Other Genre Artists True Artistic Innovators Deserving Academic Respect

The Kayfabers also lament that Ditko and that other American comics legend, Jack Kirby, weren’t more articulate. If they had been able to use the kind of language critics and intellectuals use about art, they could easily have been up there with Warhol and the Factory. But they were working artists, who had to grind out their strips to make a buck, and so didn’t have time to mix with people in art galleries. I completely agree. It’s been my opinion for a very long time that the truly great, innovative art exploring new visions, directions and tools is that of the space, science fiction and fantasy artists, including book illustrators and comics artists. And there are others who feel the same. I can remember watching one video about comics, in which one of the speakers said he felt angry seeing the work of artists hung in art galleries, who had based their work on comic artists. He felt that the original comics artists should have got the money and their work hung instead. Way back in the ’90s I tried to get one of the art magazines to accept an article in which I argued this point, and showed the stylistic similarities between respect fine artists like H.R. Giger and those of the Soviet austere school and such comics greats as Kirby and the British master of aliens, robots and the grotesque, Kevin O’Neil. Unfortunately, it was turned down because it would have been too expensive to run. But the point remains. And it'[s shown in Ditko’s art. There’s a panel in which the exhibition shows a clear influence on one of Ditko’s weird geometrical designs in a portal in Dr. Strange with a painting from the Russian avant-garde artist Vassily Kandinsky. The two debate whether there is a genuine influence there, before concluding that their probably is. I can easily believe it. Many comics artists have their own heroes and influences in fine art as well as other great illustrators of the past. Way back at the comics festival UKCAC ’90 I remember going to a talk by Charles Vess, who talked about the great artists and illustrators he admired. I can well believe that Ditko absorbed and incorporated ideas from fine art as well as cartooning and illustration, and that his own work pushed these ideas forward into new directions.

The book goes up to 2016, nearly the end of Ditko’s life. He died only a few years ago. Wossy in his quest to find the great man managed to track him down to an advertising agency in the Big Apple. Ditko agreed to meet Woss and the other host, but it all had to be off-camera. The programme concluded with Wossy stating that when they met Ditko he was very sweet, gave them lots of copies of his work, but they couldn’t repeat what he said to them. And so walked off into the New York crowd.

Well, RIP Steve Ditko, one of the greats of American founders. The book and the video by the Kayfabers are a great overview of one of the creators of some of the most iconic modern American superheroes.

History Debunked on Tony Timpa, the Forgotten White Man Killed Like George Floyd

December 4, 2021

In this video from History Debunked, Simon Webb contrasts the outrage that followed the death of George Floyd, murdered by the police in America, with the case of Tony Timpa, a White man killed in similar circumstances in 2016. Timpa was schizophrenic and had been taking cocaine. He struggled with the cops when they came to arrest him. He was manhandled to the ground and one of the officers knelt on his neck, despite him telling them that they were killing him. In a further twist, one of the officers was Black. But this man’s death is forgotten. When George Floyd was killed, however, there were protests and riots across America and Britain followed by demands to change schools’ and universities’ curricula and change the content of museums. Webb states that they we all know that the police can get rough when it comes to restraint, but White people accept it when it happens to them. Blacks don’t. The 2011 riots were partly caused by the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a Black gangster. Webb states that there is a perception that the police in America and Britain treat Blacks as they did in the 1960s, such as the brutality inflicted on Black protesters. But this hasn’t been true for a long time. You are just as likely to see a Black cop as a White, especially in big cities. But the perception is that the police are still all bigoted and racist as in the classic Sidney Poitier film, In the Heat of the Night. But if this was true, we really would be back in the days of the Klan and real organised racial violence.

It’s an interesting point. The Lotus Eaters went through the stats in one of their videos to show that Whites in both Britain and America were more likely to be killed by the police than Blacks, though I think they said that as a percentage of the population, the number of Blacks killed was likely to be higher because Blacks were disproportionately involved in violent crime. But some of the outrage behind Black Lives Matter comes from the apparently cavalier shooting of innocents, including children. Marc Duggan, the Black British gangster, had a gun in his car but wasn’t reaching for it when he was shot. His shooting was interpreted as a police execution, in which the cops acted as a death squad, rather than a real attempt at arrest. And behind Black Lives Matter is outrage at the still depressed, impoverished and disadvantaged state of Blacks in Britain and America. Thus it seems to me that the killing of Blacks by the police are seen as part and parcel of wider issues of racism in these societies. And certainly parts of the Black activist movement do see the police in terms of the 1960s. Sasha Johnson, before a group of Black gangsters shot her in the head, was caught on camera screaming that the police were like the KKK and that Blacks needed their own militia to defend them.

If there are problems with police brutality and excessive force, then the White victims need to be treated and remembered exactly the same as the Black. And while there is a history of racism in the police, this needs to be very carefully examined before racial activists like Johnson make excessive and grotesque claims equating the cops with the Klan. If that had been true, she’d have been lynched sometime in her career and her followers similarly rounded up and beaten, rather than allowed to appear in camera in paramilitary uniform.

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I’ve also written the following books, which are available from Lulu.

The Global Campaign, Volume 1

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The Global Campaign Volume 2

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For a Worker’s Chamber

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Privatisation: Killing the NHS

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Crimes of Empire

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Cartoonist Kayfabe on Trashman, 60s Underground Comix Anti-Hero

November 30, 2021

Here’s another video from YouTube comics creators and YouTubers, Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor, in which the two discuss one of ‘Spain’ Rodriguez’s best-known and most notorious characters, Trashman. Rodriguez was one of the major talents in ’60s underground comics. The two state he was first published by Evo and the East Village Other, and was part of a group of underground comix artists and creators called the Berkeley Tribe. Spain was fully part of the ’60s counterculture and Trashman was an explicit expression of that decade’s political radicalism and youth revolt. The Kayfabers remark that stylistically Spain appears influenced by mainstream comic artists, like the legendary Jack Kirby and John Romita at Marvel, he’s far removed from them in politics and content. Because Trashman was an agent of the ‘6th International’, gunning down the enemies of the people. The comic, The Collected Trashman, has the date ‘1969’ on it, but this doesn’t mean it was actually published them. Even so, it deals with the decade’s topics of distrust of the government, Vietnam, drugs, free love and hippies. There’s a lot of sex in it, so be careful about watching it at work. The two also compare Trashman to later heroes like Mad Max and Judge Dredd. Trashman careers about an urban environment in a souped-up car, to which armour and a set of tank tracks have been added, rather like one of the bizarre, demented vehicles in Mad Max: Fury Road. It might also be because of the mixture of automotive mayhem, extreme violence and urban dystopia that’s behind the Kayfaber’s comparison to Judge Dredd.

Rather more problematic to contemporary readers is Spain’s highly sexualised view of women. A number of underground comix creators were accused of sexism and misogyny, such as Robert Crumb, and I think Rodriguez may have been another one. But the Kayfabers argue that Rodriguez was doing it when feminism was emerging, and so was probably trying to get more publicity through notoriety.

It’s an interesting look at one of the best-known and remembered of the decade’s underground heroes. I don’t know if such a comic would be possible now. Certainly the decades of terrorism that followed the 60s from groups like the Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany, the various radical terrorist groups running amok in Italy, and the IRA and the loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland would probably make such a character deeply unappealing to large sections of the public, quite apart from the Fall of Communism. Trashman was going to be controversial even in the 1960s, with the rise of terrorist groups like the Weathermen and the violence at the Democratic National Convention. There’s even a story in the comic in which Trashman shoots that up.

Nevertheless, there are still students sticking posters of Che Guevara on their walls and the rise of Black Lives Matter and strong initial support for former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Bernie Sanders in the US shows that a sizable section of the British and American electorate want far more radical change than the right-wing cliques that have seized control of the Labour party in Britain and Democrats in the US are prepared to give them. Not that either Corbyn or Sanders ever remotely endorsed terrorism and violence, despite the vilification of the former by the British political and media establishment.

One of the complaints among some comics creators and fans is that Marvel and DC, the two main comics companies in the US, have moved too far leftward. Instead of producing good, enjoyable stories with strong plots and characters, the two are instead concentrating on explicit statements about social issues and promoting characters based solely on their gender, race or sexuality. This is putting readers off, and as a result American comics are in decline as people turn instead to Japanese manga, which eschews these issues. This is the view of Ethan van Sciver and the Comicsgaters. I can see their point of view, although the Guardian pointed out in an article a few years ago that comics have always dealt with political and social issues. That’s quite true. One episode of the Superman radio series in the 1940s was applauded by NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League as the Man of Steel had gone after the Klan. In the 1970s both Marvel and DC dealt with racism and the collapse of American self-esteem following Watergate. There were several issues of Captain America in which the Captain forswore his patriotic identity to call himself ‘Nomad’ following his own, brief loss of faith in his country. There were also a number of Hulk stories which showed a very strong critical attitude to the military, doubtless influenced by the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. However, Stan Lee, the man responsible with artists like Kirby and Ditko, for so many of Marvel’s most iconic heroes, also said in an interview that he was careful not to let the political content alienate those readers who didn’t agree with it.

The Kayfaber’s state that Trashman is a product of its times, though it can also be seen as a period piece set in that decade because of its timeless quality. Back in the 1990s the Heil went berserk at a similar radical, underground comic on sale in the shops. This was an anarchist version of Tintin, in which the boy detective was shown joining the struggle against the cops and the state. Of course, the book had absolutely no connection to anything Herge actually wrote or did. However, the rise of the internet has provided would-be comics creators with an opportunity for launching their own comics without the hindrance of the mainstream comics publishing industry. It’s therefore possible that as Thatcherite neoliberalism continues to collapse and show itself corrupt and bankrupt, underground comix heroes like Trashman may rise to stick it to oppressive capitalist authority once again. And especially if less radical ways of changing the system or expressing dissatisfaction are suppressed by Blairites and Thatcherite Labour leaders like Keir Starmer.

Racist Starmer Gives Speech to Labour Friends of Israel Next to Judaeonazi Tzipi Hotovely

November 18, 2021

Yes, I know that according to the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism, it may be anti-Semitic to compare Jews to Nazis. In the normal run of things, I’d be inclined to agree. But the term ‘Judaeonazi’ was coined by an Israeli chemist and philosopher to describe that type of militant Israeli nationalism and its attendant horror perpetrated on the Palestinians, which are exactly comparable to gentile Nazism and Fascism. Tony Greenstein has argued the case that Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians isn’t like the Holocaust, but it has very strong similarities to the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews before 1942. This was the period when Jews were rapidly stripped of their rights as Germans, had their property despoiled, were thrown out of their jobs, especially in academia and the professions. They could not hire ‘Aryan’ servants, and without any means to support themselves, were left to starve to death. Those who could emigrated. Others mistakenly stayed in Germany and Austria believing that Hitler and his scumbags were only a passing phase. And then there was the beatings and the sadistic humiliations, like being forced to push marbles along the gutter with their noses. It’s horror like this that give the lie to the claims made a few years ago by certain ‘slebs that Britain with Corbyn as head of the Labour party was somehow like the Nazi dominated central Europe of 1938. It was nowhere close, and the very claim is a grotesque smear.

Mike put up a piece today reporting and commenting on a speech Keef Stalin gave to Labour Friends of Israel. One of the other speakers apparently was the grotesque monster Tzipi Hotovely. She’s the Israeli ambassador who was given a very cold welcome by the students at LSE nearly a week ago. They were so vehement in their opposition to her presence that she ended up fleeing with her security guards and the rozzers. Patel and Nandi got on their hind legs to condemn it as intolerance, but the protest wasn’t nearly as intolerant as Hotovely herself. This is a woman who believes that Israel should occupy all of Palestine, that the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the country that occurred at the foundation of the Jewish state in 1948, is a ‘Palestinian lie’ and that Arab villages should be razed and Jewish settlements built instead. And her British supporters are as bad. At one Zionist demonstration at which she spoke, the crowd chanted about burning down Arab villages and in support of Kach. Kach is a terrorist organisation founded on the teaching of far right Israeli activist Meir Kahane. I’ve got a feeling Kahane was involved in the Gush Emunim attempt to bomb the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem in order to bring about a war between Islam and Israel and the return of the Messiah. Dangerous, dangerous fanatical nutters.

So what did Keef Stalin have to say for himself? Well, apparently he condemned ‘anti-Zionist anti-Semitism’. Well, the Zionist right loves to conflate the two, but they’re really separate. Zionism is an ideology, not a people or religion. It first appeared among European Christians, who wanted the Jews to relocate to the Promised Land in accordance with Biblical prophecy in order to bring about Christ’s return. It was also supported by genuine anti-Semites like Richard Wagner as a way of cleansing Europe of them. The vast majority of Jews up until World War II and its horrors wished to stay in Europe and be accepted as fellow citizens by their gentile fellows. The British Jewish establishment actually condemned the Balfour Declaration in favour of the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine. They did so because they were afraid it would lead to gentile Brits regarding them as foreigners rather than loyal, patriotic Englishmen who happened to be Jewish. In fact Zionism was linked in many people’s minds as a form of anti-Semitism. When Herzl tried seeking the support of a German aristocrat for his Zionist programme in the 1920, the man told him he didn’t want to be involved. Far from being an anti-Semite, he was a friend of the Jews and feared that if he supported Zionism, he would be thought a Jew-hater. I admit that real anti-Semites have also been hostile to Israel – some Nazis certainly were so after the War. But Israel’s left-wing critics aren’t anti-Semitic. They include many Jews and the main, pro-Palestinian organisations, like the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, does not accept anti-Semites. Thus when Gilad Atzmon, a genuine self-hating Israeli, tried to get into one of their events he was very definitely shown the door.

Starmer also claimed that he wanted ‘every Jew to count’. So would an awful lot of Jews in the Labour party. Starmer’s and the Blairite’s vile witch hunt against critics of Israel is overwhelmingly directed against Jews. They’re five times more likely than gentiles to be accused of anti-Semitism. I’ve said over and again that these are decent, self-respecting people, who have very often lost relatives in the Holocaust and been victims of real anti-Semitic abuse and assault themselves. It also includes many gentiles, who also haven’t an anti-Semitic bone in their body and who have been very active fighting anti-Semitism and racism. Like the Black anti-racist activist smeared as an anti-Semite by Ruth Smeeth, Marc Wadsworth. These people are being silenced and horribly smeared, because they’re the wrong kind of Jews. The Board of Deputies, as one of the peeps on Twitter Mike quotes, aren’t remotely interested in defending them. Well, of course not. The Board of Deputies has been one of the organisations leading the witch hunt against critics of Israel. And the Board doesn’t represent anyone in the Jewish community except the United Synagogue. It’s a sectarian organisation that somehow claims to represent British Jewry in all its diversity, and woe to anyone who points out that Jews aren’t, and never were, a monolithic group.

Starmer goes further and talks about how he was given a ‘brilliant book’ on how Jewish racism is held to a higher standard by former comedian David Baddiel. Baddiel’s extremely intelligent and hilariously funny. I saw him at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature reading from his latest novel, Time For Bed. He had the crowd in stitches. Unfortunately, he’s another intellectual whose chosen to check his brains in over his own Zionist prejudices. Years ago he popped his head up claiming that Corbyn was anti-Semitic. Now he’s repeating the old lie that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic because other nations aren’t held to the same standards. Cobblers. Jackie Walker has said that she became a critic of Israel through her anti-apartheid activism. She was an opponent of apartheid South Africa, as you might expect from a woman of colour, whose mother was a Civil Rights activist from Georgia, USA. She turned against Israel after a friend asked her how she could oppose South Africa but not apartheid in Israel. Good question, especially as apartheid South Africa was an ally of Israel in the 1970s.And speaking for myself, I have always opposed the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Years ago, when I was at College, I went to a performance of traditional Tibetan Buddhist music hosted by the college because I wanted to support the Tibetans’ attempts to keep their culture alive against enforced Chinese acculturation. I also don’t have any time for Turkey’s and Iran’s persecution of the Kurds nor the current Chinese regime’s genocidal persecution of the Uighurs of Sinkiang. And nor, I am sure, do any of the people criticising Israel. Tony Greenstein is a very proud anti-Fascist. He’s written a book on The Struggle Against Fascism on the South Coast and is very proud of the way the good peeps of Brighton and Hove, Jews and gentiles, stuck it to Oswald Mosley when he tried campaigning there. He opposes Zionism because it is a Jewish version of Fascism, which has internalised the anti-Semitic lie that Jews and gentiles are completely separate and never the twain can meet. The same noxious attitude behind the Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws.

And David Baddiel is hardly innocent of racism himself. Back in the ’90s he used to poke fun at a Black football player who had a rather exotic hairstyle by turning up on his and Rob Newman’s comedy programme in blackface as the character Mr. Pineapple Head. Tony’s got pictures of it up on his site somewhere. He points out that Baddield would be prosecuted for this in California, where it is illegal to mock ethnic hairstyles. I think people with daft hairstyles are fair comic material, whatever their race, but he has a point.

Which brings us on to Starmer’s attitude to Blacks and Asians. While he’s loud in condemning ‘anti-Zionist anti-Semitism’ – which he seems to believe is the only real kind of anti-Semitism – he is completely indifferent to the rather more severe racism suffered by people of colour. Now the level of deprivation and marginalisation varies with religion and ethnic group. Chinese do better academically and in employment that White Brits. Indians are about the same, or just below. But Blacks and Muslims are very definitely at the bottom of the heap. I’ve made it very clear that I have absolutely no time whatsoever for Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory, which I believe are distorting history to present a grotesquely anti-White ideology, as racist as the anti-Black racism they oppose. But BLM has at its root a genuine problem with Black poverty and deprivation, problems that do need to be tackled. Starmer is indifferent to this, however. He very desultorily took the knee, described it ‘as a moment’ and showed an opportunistic attitude to it. He is also indifferent to the bullying suffered by Black and Asian MPs and activists, like Diane Abbott. A third of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the party have reported islamophobic incidents, but Starmer is ignoring them. Possibly because the bullies responsible are his supporters.

He also seems to want to purge them. Last week Mike put up a piece reporting that a group of six or so Black and Asian MPs were set to be purged. These included Diane Abbott, Apsana Begum and Zara Sultana. Belfield put up a mocking video parodying Abbott claiming that she was due to retire. Well, that’s the first and only time I heard of it. I’ve mixed feelings about Abbott. She’s highly intelligent and on a good day can be brilliant. On a bad day she spouts anti-White rubbish. When Sasha Johnson was shot, the police urged people not to speculate. Abbott, however, jumped in with both feet, claiming that she been attacked by a White supremacist. It was natural, considering Johnson’s radical anti-racism, verging, in my opinion, on Black Fascism. But Johnson wasn’t shot by a white man. She was shot by four Black men, who seem to have been targeting her partner. Everything about it looks gang related rather than anything political. But Abbott wasn’t just wrong – the statement itself was dangerous. In such a tense racial situation, it would have been easy to start a riot. Mercifully it didn’t happen. More recently she gave an interview, which has been widely reposted by the right. Questioned about Labour’s immigration policy, but she meanders incoherently, mumbling first about wanting ‘free access’ before trailing off into a string of unconnected, and unfinished musings. People were asking whether she was drunk. I wondered if it was due to immense stress. She receives half of all the abusive mail sent to women MPs. She was also attacked in her own home by her drug-addict son. He went for her with a pair of scissors so that Abbott had to lock herself in the bathroom and call for the fuzz. After an incident like that, she really couldn’t be blamed if she did want to retire to concentrate more on her family.

But that’s not the reason. I suspect the reason is that she was a friend and lover of Jez Corbyn and is still his ally. And as she’s left-wing, she’s not going to be the type of Black that will appeal to all the Tory voters Starmer wishes to appeal to.

Apsana Begum may have been on the list because she was recently tried for housing benefit fraud. She blamed it on her husband, and claimed she knew nothing about it. This is quite credible, and I believe she’s been acquitted. But to the Tories she’s as guilty as sin. It wouldn’t surprise me if the ostensible reason Starmer wanted to get rid of her was because of the trial – Caesar’s wife must not only be chaste, but she must be obviously chaste, as the old saying goes. But she’s another left-winger and so has to go.

I’ve heard absolutely no reason why Zara Sultana could possibly be targeted for dismissal. In fact it seems that if she is being targeted, it’s because she’s too good at her job. She’s an intelligent Muslim woman who land very effective blows against Bozo and the damage done by four decades of Thatcherism, as well as defending her community. She’s a left-wing threat to Starmer, and if he does want to purge, that’s why. She’s doing what he should damn well be doing.

Throughout this there seems to be an attitude that Jews, especially Zionist Jews, suffer more prejudice than any other ethnic group. But the opposite is true. Years ago Quentin Letts, a long-term Mail columnist now writing for the times, produced a league table of relative deprivation among different ethnic and demographic groups in his book, Bog Standard Britain. Jews were at the top for having the most privilege, Blacks the least. Sixty per cent of Jews are upper middle class and most severely normal Brits have a positive or neutral view of their Jewish compatriots. Only 8 per cent of the British public are anti-Semites. That’s clearly too high, but I would imagine it was far less than the proportion of the British public who are prejudiced against Blacks, Asians and particularly Muslims. Years ago the French were being accused of anti-Semitism because anti-Semitic incidents supposedly received less attention than islamophobic. According to the Financial Times, which was then a liberal newspaper actually worth reading, this was because the French authorities were more concerned about the much higher level of prejudice against Muslims. Only five per cent of French folks thought that Jews weren’t really French. When you got to Muslims, the figure was 20-30 + per cent, if I remember correctly. Tommy Robinson is able to get away with his far right antics because this prejudice is shared by a certain number of Brits. But it’s a carefully selected prejudice. Robinson is very pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. He marched with the Jewish Defence League, a Jewish bunch of far right Islamophobic thugs and has said that if there was a war between Israel and the Palestinians, he’d fight for Israel. And the Alt Right just loves Israel. A year or so ago Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt Right, the man who enthusiastically screamed ‘Hail Trump! Hail our race!’ when Trump won the presidential election, turned up on Israeli TV. No, he doesn’t despise Israel, as you’d expect from Starmer’s ghastly rhetoric. He enthusiastically supports it. He’s a ‘White Zionist’, and Israel is the type of ethnostate he’d like for White, gentile America. The anti-racist activist Matthew Collins even says that when he was in the BNP and other Nazi groups, one of his fellow stormtroopers told him privately that he really didn’t understand the hatred of the Jews. I’ve been told that one of the British Nazis even founded a group, Fascists Against Anti-Semitism, to try and persuade the British public that they weren’t all Jew-haters keen to restart the Holocaust.

Yeah, right. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

And there’s a section of the Jewish community that reciprocates this racism. According to Tony Greenstein, the respected Jewish historian and very establishment figure, Geoffrey Alderman, was under pressure in the 1970s to withdraw his finding in a book on the British Jewish community published in the 1970s that 2 per cent of Jews voted NF because they didn’t want their children going to school with Blacks. The call was made by the Board of Deputies, who also didn’t like Jews attending Rock Against Racism events for the ostensible reason that Jewish youth might hear anti-Zionist propaganda. I also read on Tony’s or perhaps another Jewish blog that one Jewish Conservative MP in Barnet could be seen hobnobbing with the NF/BNP thugs at elections lamenting that the Nationalist vote was split between the two parties. When you have Jewish Conservatives supporting the NF, it shows just how integrated one section of the Jewish community is and at the same time is so bonkers you wonder if you’ve wandered into a parallel reality.

This is what Starmer’s leadership stands for: racism, anti-Semitism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. He supports a viciously persecutory state and specifically smears purges Jewish peeps who oppose it. Israel is supported by real Fascists and racists, but he tells us that it’s opponents are anti-Semites. Meanwhile he is utterly indifferent in the poverty, marginalisation and real prejudice and violence suffered by people of colour and specifically Blacks and Muslims. He appears to support rich, Zionist, Conservative Jews, rather than the 40 per cent of the Jewish population that’s as poor and squeezed as the rest of us. That part of the Jewish population that worries about rights of work, about the health service, how they will pay for social care, whether they can afford to put food on the table and the disgrace of an immensely wealthy nation like Britain feeding the poor, the disabled and the unemployed through food banks rather than a functioning welfare state. You know, the same type of issues that caused Jews to join trade unions, found socialist groups and join the Labour party in the first place. The same Jews who are concerned about the government’s increasingly stringent asylum policy, and who are also concerned about the rise of Islamophobia and other forms of racism. You know, traditional Jewish Labour, who share the same fears and aspirations as the wider traditional members of the party. The people Starmer wants to purge.

The good peeps on Twitter haven’t been slow to condemn Starmer’s wretched speech. Go to Mike’s piece to read what such awesome peeps as Another Angry Voice, Jackie Walker – whose tweet also contains a clip of Starmer’s rant – Owen Jones, Barnaby Raine, David Rosenberg, Heather Mendick, Aaron Bastani, Ammar Kazmi, Simon Maginn, Tom London, and Chris Williamson, amongst many others, have to say about it.

Starmer is a racist disgrace. He should not be in the Labour party, yet alone its leader. If anything, he should be goose-stepping about with Tommy Robinson and the wretched EDL.

Desperate GB News Hosts Notorious Fascist Jack Buckby

October 20, 2021

Hat tip once again to Tim Fenton for his excellent article on yet another grotty point on GB News’ downward trajectory. As he points out, the channel must be really desperate if one of its presenters, Patrick Christys, has far-right activist Jack Buckby as a guest, and even boasts about it on Twitter. The wretched station even called Buckby a ‘counter-extremism researcher’ and proudly boasted of his praise for Christys, tweeting “‘People on the right are so scared of being smeared as being far-right extremists to the point where they say the far-right doesn’t exist’ … [Jack Buckby], counter-extremism researcher, praises Patrick Christys for talking about extremism”. Well, the real counter-extremism researchers over at Hope Not Hate have been following Buckby for years along with the Islamists Buckby is claimed to be an expert on. Because Buckby may himself be justly described as a far-right extremist. Citing pieces from the Liverpool Tab and Examiner Live, Zelo Street then proceeds to give a brief precis of Buckby’s career.

Buckby is a former member of the BNP, getting mixed up with them when he was at school and then going on to study briefly at Liverpool University before he was thrown out for his views. Buckby said, “I initially got involved with the BNP in high school. I wasn’t very political, but I had my opinions, as everyone does. I saw Nick Griffin and the real bias that he was facing on the television and I thought, ‘That can’t be right.’ I did my own research and thought, ‘Shit, I agree with him. He actually seems like a good bloke.’ I started supporting it and went through college being the notorious BNP guy. It was later that I met Nick and started talking about these culturist ideas”. He was expelled eight years ago in 2013, and went on from the BNP to Liberty GB, which describes itself as an anti-Islamisation party and a radical patriotic conservative organisation. Following the murder of MP Jo Cox, Buckby stood for Liberty GB against Labour in the Batley and Spen by-election, stating that Labour could not go unchallenged. He also claimed that Labour had duped working class people and were walking into the election with smug little grins on their faces. He also issued tweet stating that if Jo Cox’s murder was true, it was either a case of the ‘moronic’ Britain First damaging the cause of the far right, or a false flag attack by the Remain campaign. He was also strongly criticised for a rant on Channel 4 News in which he said to Barbara Ntumy, ‘Take in a Syrian refugee, I hope you don’t get raped’”. The good peeps of Batley and Spen weren’t impressed, and Buckby got 1.1 per cent of the vote and lost his deposit. Tim’s article also quotes tweets from Dr. Louise Raw and anti-racism campaigner Mike Stuchbery. Dr. Raw was horrified at the platforming of Buckby, because he had called for terror attacks in the Netherlands and was in the BNP, as was David Copeland, the man who radicalised Jo Cox’s assassin. Stuchbery has also been a victim of fanatics claiming to fight Islamisation. He was targeted for harassment by the noxious Tommy Robinson. Stuchbery also wondered why GB News was platforming him, ending his tweet with“Disgraceful from [GB News] … A known fascist with despicable views on the murder of Jo Cox & much more that should shame [GB News], who clearly did no background checks here”.

Tim, on the other hand, ends his piece with the conclusion that GB News knew exactly what they were doing, and should hang their heads in shame. But they won’t, because they don’t have any.

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2021/10/gb-news-platforms-known-fascist.html

I’m afraid Tim’s precisely right. A quick search on Google reveals this article on For Britain, its leader Anne-Marie Waters, and Jack Buckby. https://hopenothate.org.uk/research-old/investigations/undercover-inside-britains-far-right/for-britain/. I realise that neither Buckby nor Hope Not Hate are exactly household names, but the researchers at GB News would have known of them and who Buckby was when gathering information for the show. Even if they didn’t come across Hope Not Hate, they would have been able to get the facts about Buckby. It looks very much like the broadcaster wanted someone controversial to talk about Islamisation in the aftermath of David Amess’ murder, and weren’t particular about who they were inviting.

As for describing Buckby as an anti-Islamisation expert, this strikes me as nonsense. I think it’s a mistake to underestimate the Islamophobic far right, as from my own reading of their web pages there are people there who do have a deep knowledge of Islam. This is apart from the football hooligans and other thugs who simply want to beat up brown people. There are issues with Islam in Britain. I think some sections of it are very alienated from mainstream British society and there is a danger of the creation of parallel societies. But the vast majority of British Muslims aren’t terrorists and have very publicly condemned it. The problem is that Fascists and Islamophobes like Buckby don’t distinguish between Islam and Islamism.

From what I’ve read and watched, many of the Islamist activists and terrorists have a similar background. Apart from those radicalised abroad, they seem to be individuals, who’ve been radicalised over the Web or from particular hate preachers. A number had connections to Anjem Chaudhury, a grotty individual who’s spent time in the slammer for supporting terrorism. I don’t know if this the case with Amess’ alleged killer, but quite often they’ve spent their lives drinking, taking drugs and having sex before their conversion to radical Islam. Chaudhury, if I’m correct, is a case in point. Some of them, like those responsible for attacks in France, seem to have been violent criminals. Quite often they’ve precious little connection to their local mosque, the congregation of which haven’t seen them in years.

As for the political motivations behind the attacks, some of it simply seems to be rage at the west’s repeated invasions and attacks on Muslim nations, such as the invasion of Iraq. While there’s more to the ideology than simply this – it also seems to be coupled to stupid conspiracy theories about the Jews plotting against Islam and Mohammed from the foundation of the religion in the 7th century onward, cultural shock and dislocation caused by the massive changes in Middle Eastern and broader Islamic society, as well as an idealisation of pre-modern, traditional Islam – that seems to be the primary motive.

This is a tense time. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are naturally afraid of increased prejudice and abuse following Mr. Amess’ horrendous murder. I saw a piece on the internet news page yesterday stating that Muslim organisations were giving them advice on handling this increased suspicion and hate. We need informed, sane experts, who can properly explain the issues, drawing people together to dispel such prejudice and unite against violence and hatred.

This means real experts, not bigots and Nazis like Buckby.

GB News risk increasing tension simply by platforming him. It seems to be a publicity stunt, though I also wonder if the broadcaster couldn’t get anyone who really knew about Islamist terror and radicalisation on.

Either way, it shows how low it really is going on its way to being eventually wound up.

The Lotus Eaters Eviscerate Critical Race Theorist Defending Right of Black Mothers to Become Addicted

October 18, 2021

Long time readers of this blog will know very well how I feel about Sargon and the Lotus Eaters. They’re terrible right-wingers who idealise capitalism and stand four-square behind privatisation. They idealise the extreme laissez-faire, Manchester school economics that created massive poverty and deprivation in the 19th century. But there are also issues on which they have an excellent point. The madness of the transgender ideology is one, and Critical Race Theory is another. And in this video, they look at one of the very worst suggestions by one of the Theory’s advocates and ideologues. It’s from Dorothy E. Roberts, a woman of colour and professor of law, sociology and Africana at Pennsylvania University. It looks like Sargon has taken it from the seminal collection of papers by the Critical Race Theorists, which I think is simply called ‘Critical Race Theory’. And he’s deliberately chosen it because it is one of the worst, to show how terrible it all is. I’m no fan of CRT and am aware that there are plenty of people on the extreme anti-racist left who disagree with me. But I would hope we could all agree that Roberts’ paper is genuinely terrible. Because she seems to believe it should be acceptable for Black women to become addicted to drugs like heroin and cocaine while pregnant, and give birth to babies addicted to those substances. Because it’s racist and an infringement on the autonomy of Black women to do whatever they want with their bodies for the state to try to stop them.

Presumably is comes from a deeply defensive attitude towards the problem among the American Black poor. It looks like part of the argument is taken from pro-choice activists – that women should be able to do whatever they like with their bodies without government interference. It also seems to me that she may have started out simply resenting the right constantly criticising poor Blacks for such problems and then moved on to her currently extreme position.

But whatever she thinks, or wants to think, it’s a deeply immoral one. And one that runs against much previous Black activism.

Black activists of all persuasions have been extremely concerned with tackling the problem of drug addiction in their communities. Many activist groups take direct action against it. Way back in the 1990s there was a piece on TV which showed a Black crowd driving a drug dealer out of town. They marched on his house chanting, ‘Black man, respect yourself!’ And the dealer ran out of his house from an upstairs window. I got the impression that the Nation of Islam, despite being an anti-White racist space cult, are very effective at keeping drugs out of their communities. And some Black radicals saw drugs as as part of the degeneracy of White culture, a strong argument for racial separatism to benefit Blacks. I can remember reading a piece by one such Black activist in which he contemned the White man for drugs, prostitution and other forms of immorality. On this side of the Atlantic, in Christmas 1990/91 the Beeb screened a drama, Alive and Kicking, starring Lenny Henry and Robbie Coltrane, about the problem of drugs and gang culture in the Black community. This also dealt with Black women, who were addicts in pregnancy and who had consequently given birth to addicted babies. It was grim stuff, too grim for me, and I think we turned it off after five minutes.

This is a real, terrible issue. Mike when he was journalist in Bristol regularly went to talk to KWADS – Knowle West Against Drugs. Knowle West is a council estate in south Bristol which has more than its fair share of problems. It’s racially mixed, mostly White but with some Blacks and Asians. KWADS was formed by a group of mothers who decided they weren’t going to stand for the harm done to their loved ones and community by drugs any longer. And there are no doubt very many other groups like them, comprising people of every race and creed. I’ve heard terrible stories myself from people about the effects of heroin on people and families. Young men literally selling the clothes off their backs to pay for the habit, toddlers out of control because both parents are on the terrible stuff.

You bet the state has the right to try to stop people, whatever their colour, from taking addictive drugs and getting their unborn kids addicted to it.

Additionally, many Blacks in America and Britain believe that there is covert campaign of genocide against them. It’s because of the high mortality rate from crime and deprivation in poor Black communities. And drugs are seen as part of this. It’s believed that the government is deliberately smuggling drugs in order to get Blacks addicted and wipe them out. Like all conspiracy theories of that type, it’s nonsense but you can see how it can arise and gain credibility. Especially as the American intelligence agencies did make deals with foreign paramilitaries to ship drugs into America. The CIA did it with the Hmong hill tribes during the Vietnam War, smuggling the heroin they produced into America to finance their war with the Americans against the Communists. Then there was Iran-Contra under Reagan in the 1980s. As part of that nefarious conspiracy, the American intelligence agencies shipped cocaine produced by the Contras to help them finance their guerrilla war against the Sandinistas.

This was revealed by an American journo, who never worked again. And the news obviously caused massive upset in the Black community. There were public meetings and protests, if not riots about it in downtown Los Angeles for very obvious reasons.

And now it seems that some of the Critical Race Theorists don’t want the government to tackle the terrible problem drugs amongst Black Americans because it’s racist. Despite the considerable Black activism against drugs and suspicion that it’s being pushed by the same White supremacist state Roberts and co. despise.

Madness. Utter madness. It bears out the old saying that some ideas are so stupid only an academic would believe them.

I don’t know what else Roberts has written. She may have written some very good stuff that has genuinely benefited her community. But assuming Sargon hasn’t misrepresented it, this paper is vile, pernicious rubbish. It should have been thrown in the bin, rather than published, academic freedom or no.

Keef Stalin Tells Press He Has the Same Nickname as Recreational Drug

October 11, 2021

This piece over at Mike’s blog has given me a not inconsiderable amount of amusement, as John Major may have said. Stalin was visiting a Kellogg’s factory when he decided to tell his audience that when he was young he had the nickname ‘Special K’. He was supposedly called it because the ‘K’ stood for ‘Kier’ and he was special. He obviously thought this story would impressed the assembled workers, as it’s the name of one of their breakfast cereals. One which was always being advertised as helping you watch your weight. However, as your super soaraway, poisonous rag, the Scum, reminded their readers, it’s also the nickname for ketamine, a horse tranquilliser also used recreationally by the drugs crowd. I got the impression that its side-effects included nightmares and paranoia. The psychologist John Lilley was on it. Lilley was the scientist, who first researched dolphin intelligence and investigated the use of the sensory isolation tank, going on inward voyages into the contents of his mind in it while also stoned on the drug. The horror film Altered States is based on him. Thanks to the drug, Lilley became paranoid and convinced alien computer civilisations were out in space conspiring against humanity. If Stalin was on the drug, it would explain so much, like the mass purges and the anti-Semitism against the ‘wrong kind of Jews’. You know, the type of Jews who don’t believe that Israel is the crowning achievement of Jewish history and that it’s wrong to persecute the Palestinians. Mind you, it doesn’t seem he would have been so far gone to start getting worried about a personal vendetta against him by all the computers out there.

However, faced with ridicule from Scum’s article, Stalin has doubled back and said he only made it up on the spur of the moment because he was caught off guard. Which is an admission that he lied. Well, it’s small one compared to all those he’s previously told.

The episode should be an object lesson to Starmer. He had a piece published in it last week, clearly trying to ingratiate himself with its readers just as Tony Blair managed to win over Dirty Rupe nearly a quarter of a century ago.

But the Scum is Tory through and through, and it doesn’t matter what you do if you’re on the left, they still aren’t going to respect you, and will turn and bite as soon as they get the opportunity.