Posts Tagged ‘Ken Loach’

Double Down News Video: Ken Loach Explains Why People Need to Vote Labour

November 10, 2019

I found this excellent video from the socialist, radical film director Ken Loach. It’s from Double Down News, another online news agency that’s there to tell the world the truth about the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn, ’cause the lamestream media won’t. Loach is the veteran director who made the films Dirty, Pretty Things, about the low-paid immigrant workers, who do the work we don’t want to, and I, Daniel Blake, about a man struggling with the obstructive, deliberately unhelpful bureaucracy of the Tories’ benefit system. He’s also another person they’ve tried to smear as an anti-Semite because he made a film a few years ago exposing the brutality of the Israeli state towards the Palestinians. However, Loach is demonstrably very far from anti-Semitic. I believe he made the film with an number of Jewish critics of Israel, and was given a rapturously welcome the other year when he appeared at a meeting of Jewish Voice for Labour. Despite what smear merchants like the Campaign AgainstAnti-Semitism, the Jewish Labour Movement, the Blairites, the Tories and the mendacious press would have you believe, Corbyn’s supporters are decent, self-respecting anti-racist people. The many Jews, who support him do so because they are, decent, self-respecting anti-racist people. They are not self-hating, and know that he has done much to support the Jewish community as he people from all racial, ethnic and religious groups in this countries. And so the folks at JVL would very definitely not give their applause to a genuine anti-Semite.

Loach begins the video by saying

The impact of Johnson is like the emperor has no clothes. We can see clearly what is amiss. Get out of Europe fast so that even the small protections that Europe provides in working conditions and the environment disappear, so that he can do deals with people like Trump, where it’ll open the door to the big American multinationals to take over our public services. And the biggest issue of all, climate change will be disregarded. If we care about the future for our kids, and grandchildren in my case, then that’s suicidal. Why are we destroying the planet? Why? Why do some areas of the country exist with nothing while other areas are overwhelmed with wealth? Why is the world like that? It doesn’t need to be like that. 

The Labour government of the past failed with its illegal wars, privatisations. We now have a chance with the beginnings of a policy that will regenerate our country, protect the environment, get rid of privatisation in the public services. Why should Richard Branson make a fortune out of the Health Service? It makes no sense. I mean, the questions are so obvious, of course young people will see it. And then they get confused with this fog of stupidity which you see in the press, broadcast every morning, so that politics becomes not the simple answer to simple questions, but becomes some arcane procedure in a tiny part of London by people, who speak a different language. Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell cut through that, that’s why they’re not allowed to speak. Empathy, solidarity, supporting each other, understanding each other – this is the essence of socialism. We’;re naturally good friends, we’re naturally neighbours, that’s the essence of our political system – it’s the opposite of their political system. 

The video ends with a statement by Loach about Double Down News, explaining that it’s an alternative news service, that doesn’t get funding from anyone except what it’s given. Even by old farts like him. He appeals to people to give to the organisation, offering them £20.

It’s a great video illustrated with some very pertinent images. This includes urban decay contrasted with the wealth of the City of London, Boris Johnson and Rees-Mogg in parliament, the arcane ceremony of the opening of parliament with Black Rod, the warmongers Bush and Blair together, Richard Branson toasting his good fortune, a collage formed by a newspaper photo of Osama bin Laden embracing a newspaper photo of Corbyn and the selection of tabloid front pages smearing the Labour leader. There’s also clips of Corbyn meeting ordinary members of the public, embracing a Muslim woman in a burqa, that’ll no doubt send Boris’ supporters bonkers, and writing messages of condolence to the people of Grenfell Tower.

This is an eloquent talk by one of Britain’s most gifted and critically acclaimed film-makers. He’s right, and especially about the way the concentration on the arcane ritual of parliament may be putting off young people. It certainly seems to me to be a way of dividing people into a politically-literate class of affluent people, who understand it and its jargon, and the rest of us.

Loach is getting on a bit, but he’s still active and his voice needs to be heard. We need to listen to him and organisations like DDN, and not to the lamestream media.

Israel Lobby Thugs Try to Close Down Book Launch with Threats and Intimidation

September 25, 2019

This can’t be left unchallenged. Yesterday a group of thugs from the Israel lobby, egged on by their fellows and supporters on social media, forced Waterstones in Brighton to abandon a book launch. When the event was moved to the Rialto, they tried the same tactics there, only for the management of that venue to stand firm.

The book in question was Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief by Greg Philo, Mike Berry, Justin Schlosberg, Antony Lerman and David Miller. This is a critical examination of the anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour party, particularly the denunciations of the party last summer that claimed it was institutionally racist and an existential threat to Britain’s Jews. The promotional material about the book, published by Pluto Press, however, states that

This book clears the confusion by drawing on deep and original research on public beliefs and media representation of antisemitism and the Labour Party, revealing shocking findings of misinformation spread by the press, including the supposedly impartial BBC, and the liberal Guardian.

Bringing in discussions around the IHRA definition, anti-Zionism and Israel/Palestine, as well as including a clear chronology of events, this book is a must for anyone wanting to find out the reality behind the headlines.

The authors are mainstream academics specialising in media studies, Jewish/Gentile relations and anti-Semitism. Mike, in his excellent article on the issue, gives their academic fields and qualifications. They are

Greg Philo is Professor of Communications and Social Change at the University of Glasgow, and Director of the Glasgow University Media Unit. Mike Berry is a lecturer in the Journalism School at Cardiff University. Justin Schlosberg is a media activist, researcher and lecturer in Journalism and Media at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a former Chair of the Media Reform Coalition and Edmund J Safra Network Fellow at Harvard University. Antony Lerman is Senior Fellow at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna and Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at Southampton University. He has written on multiculturalism, racism, antisemitism, and Israel/Palestine for the Guardian, Independent, New York Times, Haaretz, Prospect, Jewish Chronicle and London Review of Books. And David Miller is Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bristol. He is a founder director of Public Interest Investigations and a director of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies. 

As Mike points out, they are academics, not anti-Semites. The two don’t go together, except in the pseudo-academia set up to provide a spurious intellectual veneer for the real hard right. Which these professors certainly don’t represent.

But this hasn’t stopped the Israel lobby and its supporters, both institutional and individual, going berserk and throwing around gross accusations of – what else! – anti-Semitism. The event was supposed to begin at 7.30, and would feature a panel discussion with the authors and Ken Loach. Two venues were forced to cancel it through intimidation and bullying that was so intense, an employee at one of the venues could not return to work.

The organisations supporting the bullying, and claiming the event was anti-Semitic were the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Sussex Jewish Representative Council. The individuals giving their support to it included one charmer giving his Twitter handle as #JC4 and then an icon of a toilet, Neil Barstow, Natalia Sloam, Nobody Norman Esq, Heidi Bachram, Ian Mackintosh, Jane Habib, Curry Fleur and Fiona Sharpe.

Mike states that he would like to see all the above interviewed by the rozzers about the threats suffered by the staff at Waterstone’s and the Rialto. He states it is especially abhorrent coming from those, who claim the moral high ground, and are using threats of violence to silence those they have smeared as anti-Semites and prevent them from exonerating themselves. He also points to a Tweet by one Gary Spedding, a venomous individual, who wrote an on-line article smearing Mike as an anti-Semite, which he refused to take down when Mike contacted him to show it was wrong. Spedding also added a few more ad homs against him on the way. It is to be hoped that Spedding also gets his collar felt about this.

Mike goes on to state that he does acknowledge that there is anti-Semitism in the Labour party. It just doesn’t exist in the book the Zionist fanatics were attacking, nor amongst the staff at Waterstones or the Rialto.

He concludes

These aren’t campaigners fighting prejudice against Jews.

They are vicious, hate-filled bigots.

And they need to be stopped before they seriously harm somebody.

One more thing – they did get an aspect of their campaign right: the slogan “Don’t host hate”. That’s a good slogan, and it can very clearly be applied to these bigots.

So I’m having it. If you see these people, or anyone else pushing their message, then flag it up with #DontHostHate

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/09/24/bullying-bigots-tried-to-stop-book-launch-when-will-they-be-arrested/

Tony Greenstein, another victim of the anti-Semitism smear campaign, and a self-respecting Jew, who has always campaigned against racism and anti-Semitism as well as Zionism, has more information on this disgraceful thuggery on his blog at:

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2019/09/book-burners-r-us-waterstones-shameful.html

Tony begins his article by describing the way the Israel lobby tried to prevent the performance of the play, Sedition, by the socialist playwright Jim Allen, 25 years ago. This drew the Israel lobby’s ire because it was about the 1944 trial in Jerusalem of the Zionist leader, Erich Kasztner, who had made a deal with Adolf Eichmann which sent half a million Hungarian Jews to death in Auschwitz. The play was due to be staged at the Royal Court. It was taken off, but so great was the public indignation against the attack on it, that it was performed instead at London’s Conway Hall and became the subject of a book, Dramas Played Off Stage.

Tony continues

That is what we need to see happen with Bad News for Labour. The Zionists know that their anti-Semitism smear campaign in the Labour Party is fraudulent and that they have cowed and coerced timid Corbyn into going along with the nonsense that the Labour Party is full of anti-Semites including himself. We must ensure that this book is publicised because it contains all the ammunition and evidence we need to demonstrate that the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign has nothing to do with antisemitism and has no evidential basis. 

It is shocking enough that the supporters of Israeli Apartheid have been able to ‘persuade’ through threats and abuse, venues like the Holiday Inn, Jury’s Inn and Friends Meeting House into cancelling meetings with Chris Williamson. The cancellation on Monday night of a book by 5 academics of Bad News for Labour – Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief takes this one step further. It is an attack on freedom of thought and inquiry and demonstrates the police state mentality of Zionism’s rabid supporters.

He goes on to quote the great German Jewish poet, Heinrich Heine, “Where books are burned, in the end, people will be burned” – which prophesied the mass book-burnings and murder of the Nazis. Justin Scholsberg, one of the authors, said last night that it was worse than McCarthyism and approached the book-burnings of the Nazis. Tony states

Cancelling a book launch and threatening to boycott Waterstones for holding the event is a Nazi tactic. It demonstrates just how far along the road to destroying our civil liberties and freedom of speech the Zionists have travelled. Literally Zionism is the enemy of a free society, not only in Israel/Palestine but in Britain, Europe and the United States.

He then goes on to discuss the culpable silence of the so-called liberal press about this incident, except for The Canary and the Skwawkbox, and calls upon his readers to imagine the outrage the Right would go into if the Left had done something similar against the genuinely racist books some of them have produced, like Douglas Murray’s racist Strange Death of Europe – Immigration, Identity and Islam.

And there’s much more in his very full article about the incident and the excuses made by Waterstone’s CEO for pulling the book launch from his store.

Tony and other Jewish anti-Zionists have long provided very detailed descriptions of just how violent and threatening the militant Zionists are, and their determination to shut down any criticism of their favourite apartheid state. They smear their opponents as anti-Semites – decent people like Mike, Martin Odoni, Tony Greenstein himself, Jackie Walker, Cyril Chilson, and Chris Williamson, so that they receive vile abuse. Some, like Walker and Williamson, have been sent death threats. Greenstein has also been assaulted by Jewish American Zionists. And a little while ago Tony also put up a piece describing how the CST – the paramilitary Community Security Trust – which is supposed to defend Jews, acts like Fascist stormtroopers when stewarding pro-Israel events. This includes beating up Muslims and anti-apartheid Jews. One rabbi was even hit in the face by these squadristi.

The people organising this campaign of abuse and intimidation should be called to account. And this includes the Board of Deputies. They are not above the law, and they are repeatedly demonstrating glaringly clearly that they do not represent the Jewish community of this country as a whole. They only represent the United Synagogue, and the pro-Israel branch of that. They are a viciously sectarian organisation, who actively support those who raise their fists at the people they consider the ‘wrong sort of Jew’. 

Ken Loach Talks about Writer and Poet Kevin Higgins, Suspended for Satirising War Criminal Blair

March 3, 2019

Here’s another excellent piece from Labour Against the Witchhunt, where the respected left-wing film-maker, Ken Loach, talks about the case of Kevin Higgins. Higgins is a writer and poet, an overseas member of the party, living in Ireland. He was suspended in June 2016 for daring to write a poem satirising Tony Blair and the bloody carnage he had caused in Iraq. Loach only reads a part of a poem, as it’s rather too long to repeat in full. Before he does he jokes that as this is what got Higgins suspended, then everyone present is also going to be suspended simply for being there. So anyone who doesn’t want to be suspended should leave.

The poem is a reworking of a piece by Brecht, about a soldier, who gets shot, and his needy widow receives only something insignificant. In the part Loach reads, which I’m paraphrasing, not quoting, Blair’s ‘no longer new’ wife wonders about what she will receive from all the depleted uranium shells he had dropped during the battle of Basra, all the soldiers he had sent to meet Improvised Explosive Devices in far Mesopotamia? She got for all that white night terrors of him on trial for his crimes and the desire never again to look out the window of their fine Connaught Square House at the tree, which people said was once used to hang traitors.

Loach says of  Higgins that he guesses Higgins isn’t the only one who’s disgusted with Blair, with his illegality, the hundreds of thousands he caused to die and the millions he’s made since he left office. ‘If anyone brings the party into disrepute, it’s that mass murderer.’

He goes on then to reveal what happened to Higgins himself. He didn’t hear anything, so in May 2017 he wrote to the Governance and Legal Unit requesting all the documents relating to him to be sent to him within forty according to his right in the laws about data protection. Nine months later, no reply. The video was uploaded on YouTube on 7th February 2018. He was still suspended, as far as Loach knew.

The cineaste concludes

It is incompetent. It is inefficient. It is unprincipled. And those people should not be in charge of that disclipinary procedure.

Loach is absolutely correct. And Higgins’ suspension, simply for satirising Blair, isn’t the mark of a democratic socialist party. It’s the action of a rigidly centralised dictatorship, where the leader was, like Mussolini, always right. It’s like nothing so much as Stalin’s ‘cult of personality’ in the USSR, with the exception that Higgins only got suspended. In Stalin’s USSR, he’d have been tortured and shot, or at the very least sent to a gulag.

And Loach is definitely correct when he says that he probably isn’t the only one disgusted with Blair. Millions of us are. Over a million people marched against the Iraq invasion, including the priests at my local church. It was one of the biggest popular demonstrations in British history, but Blair and his vile cronies ignored it. And people certainly left the party and refused to vote for the grotty profiteer because of his greed, his illegality, his warmongering, his privatisation, his insistence on absolute obedience and micromanagement of party affairs. Private Eye called him the ‘Dear Leader’, satirising the smaltzy, sentimental image he tried to project, as well as his demand to be loved. The Tory party at the time stood in opposition to the War, which got a left-wing friend of mine to buy the Spectator for a time. I think that this was mostly opportunism on the Tories’ party, as there is nothing they love better than a good war. But to be fair to them, Peter Hitchens, the brother of the late atheist polemicist Christopher, genuinely despised him for Iraq and continues to loathe him, describing him as ‘the Blair creature’.

And this monster seems intent on coming back into politics. He has praised the Independent Group, which led Mike, Martin Odoni and others to ask why he should still be allowed to remain in the Labour party. It is against the rules to be a member or support a rival organisation. This was the rule the Blairites used to throw out Moshe Machover, the Israeli academic and anti-Zionist. His crime was that he had a piece published in the Morning Star, as have very many leaders and MPs over the years. Professor Machover was grudgingly readmitted to the party after a massive outcry. But Blair gives them his support, and no-one important seems to raise any objections whatsoever. The left-wing vlogger, Gordon Dimmack, says he has heard speculation that if the wretched group survives, then before long Blair will return to active politics. It’s an idea that he says gave him nightmares.

Unfortunately, I think it’s a distinct possibility. Despite the fact that his time as this country’s leader has been and gone, he was on Andrew Marr’s wretched propaganda show today. I’m glad I missed it, as it would only have infuriated me. But it does seem to bear out these rumours.

One million men, women and children killed. Seven million displaced all across the Middle East. A secular state with free healthcare and education destroyed and looted. A state where women were free to have their own careers and run businesses. Where there were no ‘peace barriers’ between Shi’a and Sunni quarters in cities to stop them murdering each other. A country whose oil reserves have been looted by the American and Saudi oil companies, and whose state industries were plundered by American multinationals.

And this creature appears on TV again, to grin his sickly smile and utter neoliberal platitudes and smooth words. But hey, you can’t criticise him, because he stands for inclusion and diversity. While parents starve themselves to feed their children, students are faced with unaffordable tuition fees and the disabled are thrown off benefits thanks to the wretched assessments and work capable tests he, Mandelson and the others in his coterie introduced.

Higgins’ poem reminds me about one of the great protest poems written back in the ’60s about another unjust war, Vietnam. This was To Whom It May Concern (Tell Me Lies About Vietnam) by Adrian Mitchell, where every stanza ended ‘Tell me lies about Vietnam’. The note about it in Colin Firth’s and Anthony Arnove’s The People Speak: Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport states that he added stanzas later to include more leaders and more wars.

So perhaps if Blair comes back to politics we should write another: ‘Tell Me Lies About Iraq’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moshe Machover, Israeli Anti-Zionist, Speaking at Labour Against the Witchhunt Meeting

March 2, 2019

This is another excellent video from the public meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt on the 29th January last year, 2019. LAW was founded to stand up for people, who had been unfairly targeted by the right in the Labour party for expulsion, chiefly, but not exclusively, on bogus charges of anti-Semitism. Although one young woman was suspended or expelled because – gasp! Shock! Horror! – She was a fan of the Foo Fighters! LAW’s chair is Jackie Walker, a Black, Jewish anti-racist activist, who was falsely accused of anti-Semitism. Here she introduces Professor Moshe Machover, a very well respected Israeli mathematician and a staunch critic of Zionism. Here he tells the story of how he was also smeared, expelled and re-admitted for ‘supporting another party/not supporting another party’.

Walker states that many people were uplifted when the NEC were forced to go back on their knee-jerk response and reinstate him. This happened because they were at the Labour party conference and the offending article that many have spoken about that Moshe wrote, which touched on some of the issues that Ken [Loach?] spoke about, was in a paper on the side. And Jeremy Newmark, the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, came out, took a photo of them, smiled, and said something like ‘Well, we’ll have you now.’ Within hours Machover had been fingered. What is extraordinary is that in two years, 18 months, more people have been suspended and still do not know what the allegations against them are. It is extraordinary that at times, given that, Labour’s disciplinary unit can respond so quickly. She then hands over the Mike to Prof Machover.

Machover’s rather elderly, so he apologises for speaking from a sitting position. He states he wants to make a few technical points. It is not only about false allegations of anti-Semitism. There are two things that are combined, and in his case they were combined. The allegations of anti-Semitism are the most despicable, they are a form of character assassination. But they can only suspend you for it. They did not use that allegation to expel him. There is a more draconian rule that was used him against him and many other people, which has zilch to do with allegations of anti-Semitism. It is the infamous Rule 2.14.4b in the Labour party rule book. This allows the bureaucrats not to suspend, but to expel automatically. The procedure shares with the allegation of anti-Semitism the absence of natural justice. There is no due process. This is about who the accuser, the prosecution and the judge are. They are the same people: the committee that is expelling you or adjudicating in your suspension. They are the judges and the prosecution. You cannot cross-examine the witnesses. You cannot know who is accusing you. This applies to both cases. The draconian rule that allows automatic expulsion, or prevent you joining the party. Some of this would be just, if it was accompanied by due procedure, natural justice. For example, if you demand people vote for a rival candidate to a Labour candidate in an election. That would be a just case for expulsion. If someone is caught with a bloody knife over a corpse, they still have a trial. They’re not sent to prison automatically. Unlike this rule.

And some of the ground for automatic expulsion are absolutely absurd, a bureaucrat’s dream. This is membership or support for a political organisation not affiliated to the Labour party. But they do not define what a political organisation is. It could be Refuge. It could be Momentum [which was not at the time affiliated to the Labour party]. it could be anything. And what does ‘support’ mean? In Machover’s case, it was comical. Membership is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ thing. But what does ‘support’ mean? They accused him of supporting a rival organisation. Why did they pick on this organisation? They did not call for voting against Labour. On the contrary, they encouraged people to vote for Labour candidates. What does support me? It’s not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ issue. He supports some things, but not others. He says he did not respond to that part of the question when the bureaucrats wrote to him about it, because he didn’t really give him any definition of what support meant. When he was expelled, the evidence against him was the article he had published in the weekly journal of the CPGB [Communist Party of Great Britain]. This is something a lot of people do. Jeremy Corbyn has published many articles in the Morning Star, a lot of Labour leaders have published articles in journals inimical to the Labour Party. When they grudgingly reinstated him they said that they construed his reply as evidence that he did not support this organisation. He did not admit or deny support, but they arbitrarily decided that first he did, then he didn’t. That shows the arbitrariness of the whole procedure.

Coming to the accusations of anti-Semitism, it is true, as Walker said, that the accusations started when Corbyn became a candidate. That was a shift of gear in a campaign that started a few years previously, which had little to do with the Labour party, Britain, or specifically Jeremy Corbyn. It is a campaign orchestrated by the Israeli government, specifically by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs led by the cabinet minister Gilad Erdan. This was a response to Israeli’s declining reputation and falling support internationally,  among the left but also among liberal opinion, and particularly among the young, including young Jewish people. And so they decided to fight against it by accusing people who were against Israel and its crimes, and against the Zionist project of colonisation, branding them as anti-Semites. And the bastards fight dirty. You don’t need to go further than look at the al-Jazeera expose. He recommends that if you haven’t watched the four part series, you should, as he found it personally entertaining in a macabre way, but also import to see how the whole thing works.  He then goes to make the following points:

The campaign against Corbyn by the right, including the Labour right, which still holds very important bureaucratic positions, latched onto it and used it as a cudgel against Corbyn. This was a confluence of those who believed in Israel almost like a religion, who were prepared to eat alive anyone who dared to make even the most justified criticism of Israel. This coincided with the people on the right, both inside and outside the Labour party, who care zilch about Israel, Palestinians and anti-Semitism. They just want to use anti-Semitism as a weapon against Jeremy Corbyn personally. This is combined with a characteristic of the elite, not just in this country, but generally in the international community, in what used to be called ‘the free world’. This is led by the United States, which is led by, you know who. And Israel is playing a very important role for the US, not only as their regional watchdog, but as their supplier globally of the hardware and software of mass repression, such as the drones used not just for reconaissance but also assassination. Israel is the United State’s rottweiler, which is at the head of the international community. And so if that rottweiler pisses on your shoe, you don’t kick it, but say ‘Good dog! Good dog!’

He then ends his talk with a remark about Momentum. Many branches of Momentum mobilised to pass resolutions in his defence and in the defence of other victims. But where are Momentum’s national leaders? John Lansman, Momentum’s leader, is on record as saying ‘You mustn’t mention Zionism.’ But you can’t open an Israeli paper without Zionism being discussed – ‘Is it consonant with Zionism, is it not consonant with Zionism?’ Zionism is the ideology of Israel. It is not possible to mention Israel without mentioning Zionism, like Communism was the ideology of the old Soviet Union. What stops the central leadership of Momentum from saying a word about this. He thinks they should raise this question.

Jackie Walker Speaking at Labour Against the Witchhunt Public Meeting

March 2, 2019

This is a video I found on YouTube of the superb Black Jewish anti-racist activist, Jackie Walker, speaking at a public meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt on the 29th January 2018. Labour Against the Witchhunt is a group founded to protest against the anti-Semitic smears and expulsions of decent party members and activists. Among its founders and leaders are Tony Greenstein, a long-time Jewish enemy of racism and Zionism as well as Walker herself. Also present on the panel with her is the Israeli mathematician and anti-Zionist intellectual, Moshe Machover, and Marc Wadsworth, the Black anti-racist activist, who was smeared by Ruth Smeeth.

It begins with Walker introducing herself and stating that she is the chair of Labour Against the Witchhunt. She has not only been suspended, but processed by Labour’s NEC and she is still waiting to hear when she will have a hearing by the NCC, the highest court in Labour. The explains that she is mentioning this because the structures of the Labour party have a lot to do with the reason they were meeting that evening. They don’t just want to see individuals like Moshe Machover being let off, but also a revision of the disciplinary process. Two or three years ago, before Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party there was no link between the Left and anti-Semitism. There was no link between the left and abuse, and if you had said that at the time people’s mouths would have fallen open. But the smears started when Corbyn became a candidate. And suddenly things began to appear in the press and the media – stories about abuse, misogyny and anti-Semitism. She says its extraordinary, and it was an extraordinary learning curve for her about how the media in this country works.

At LAW they don’t want to see the end of all disciplinary processes, because every organisation needs them. What they want to see are proper disciplinary processes that are appropriate for a party that has a proud record of defending the oppressed, in terms of being the party that wants justice and transparency. She notes that many people there were trade unionists, and says that as trade unionists they would be appalled if they had to defend people in tribunals with processes like Labour’s. For example, you may not know all the charges against you until you actually arrive on the day. You may not be able to pay for representation, as the party insists you have to have an acting solicitor who speaks for you. You cannot just take a friend, who will represent you. You cannot know who you accusers are. She says that in fact your accusers are protected more than you are. She says that as someone who has had her personal data not just sent to the papers, but to all the news media. And she had it tweeted out from what must have been a closed session of the NEC. They want to see the kind of processes that are right and apt for the type of organisation they have.

They are also not rejecting the fact that racism exists in the Labour party. The Labour party is a reflection of society as a whole. Except usually it’s better than society as a whole. Racism exists. Anti-Semitism exists. But it exists at a level a lot lower than in the Tory party. How dare the Tory party with Boris Johnson point his finger at us as racists with his attitudes towards people of colour and others. She says that proudly as a picaninny with even more than a watermelon smile.

Very soon after the smears against Corbyn started he was being called a terrorist. They got that footage and they did what they did to all Labour activists – they cut it how they wanted and took it out of context. I’m sure Ken [Loach] could make any of us look saints and sinners using his skills, and they made Corbyn out to be a terrorist sympathiser. This is the MP that has probably had the reputation in the last 20 or 30 years of being the person who stands out the most for civil rights and anti-racism. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has had over a hundred articles suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite. You could say that they are just another bunch of trolls, except that the disciplinary unit are using material from them against people like herself, Greenstein, and Wadsworth. What is happening in an organisation that is falling over itself to discredit its own leader?

She says that she thinks the LAW was established, it has been hugely successful. And one of the reasons is that they are not just interested in people, who have been hauled up with false allegations of anti-Semitism. This is important, as in the last leadership election a woman was suspended because she liked the Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters are a pop group, and Walker says she thinks somebody in the NEC didn’t know who they were or read the charge properly. They suspended hundreds of Corbyn supporters at that time, and one of the accusations made against Walker and some of the others is that they have said that there is a witchhunt against the Left. The irony is that if you say that there is a witchhunt against the left, you are guilty of being anti-Semitic, or abusive, or something. It’s quite, quite a laugh.

Since the LAW was established they’ve held very successful public meetings, they’ve had a really good lobby of the NEC, which she hopes people will continue to support. That lobby was followed by the media, and they even had excerpts on TV, which is extraordinary, as many of those, who have been suspended, have found it impossible to get their voices out into the media.

So what is the way forward? Walker suggests that one way is to insist that the party implement the findings of the Chakrabarti Commission. She would like Chakrabarti to go further. Here is a party that commissioned the report, the report disappears from its website, to reappear after inquiries, but it still waits to be implemented. And those of the party, who have not appeared yet before the NEC and NCC should not be processed until the Chakrabarti recommendations have actually been put through. Labour stands for justice, for justice for the small people against power, and this is what Labour Against the Witchhunt is about, and she hopes that the audience will encourage people join and attend their events.

Newspaper Review of Tony Greenstein’s ‘The Fight Against Fascism in Brighton’

October 3, 2017

Yesterday I came across a review from 2012 of Tony Greenstein’s The Fight Against Fascism in Brighton and the South Coast in the Brighton Argus. Greenstein’s a veteran socialist activist, and an opponent of all forms of racism. This includes the Zionists’ massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, for which he has, like so very many others, both Jewish and gentile, been smeared as an ‘anti-Semite’.

Greenstein refers to the book to support his own, very evident commitment to fighting all forms of racism and racial injustice, including the bitter anti-Semitism of the British far right, in an open letter he published in his blog on Sunday to the leader of Brighton council, Councillor Warren Morgan. Morgan had smeared Greenstein as a Holocaust denier in a statement linking Greenstein to Miko Peled. Peled is the son of an Israeli general and fierce critic of Israeli barbarity to his country’s indigenous people. Peled spoke at a Labour party fringe meeting, organized by a Jewish Labour party organization committed to ending the Israeli state’s oppression of the Palestinians. Peled had stated in his speech that everything – ‘even the Holocaust’ should be up for debate. So Morgan insinuated that Greenstein was a Holocaust denier, and demanded his expulsion from the Labour party.

Greenstein replied in his letter with the following statements, noting that Peled was just defending complete academic freedom, and certainly did not deny the Holocaust, whose victims included members of his father’s family. He goes on to cite other incidents, when he was previously smeared with the same accusation, citing his book as evidence that he most certainly isn’t anti-Semitic, and explaining his opposition to Zionism.

All that Miko Peled was doing was to say discussion about the Holocaust is legitimate free speech. To twist this into support for Holocaust denial is a prime example of how anti-Semitism has been weaponised by supporters of Zionism and the Israeli state. It demonstrates your contempt for those who died at the hands of Hitler’s regime – Jewish and non-Jewish.

Unlike you I am Jewish. Unlike you half my father’s family was murdered in the gas chambers of Treblinka. For you to use the Holocaust, of both Jews and non-Jews, up to 5 million of whom also died in the Nazi concentration camps, as a cheap political device in order to gain a political advantage over your opponents in the Labour Party is despicable. If anyone in Brighton Labour Party is anti-Semitic it is you and your followers.

It is noticeable that you and your political soul mates have nothing to say about racism against the Roma, yet proportionately just as many Roma died in the camps as Jews. Racism against the Roma today is far higher than that against Jews today but it isn’t so politically advantageous.

As you well know I have often been the recipient of this vile Holocaust denial propaganda, as evidenced by the Argus article of 16th October 1993 as well as physical attacks by fascist groups such as the National Front. A cursory search of the Argus archive would turn up numerous articles e.g. Adam Trimmingham’s review of my book ‘Fighting Fascism in Brighton’ I confess that in 40 years of opposing fascism and racism in Brighton and Hove your name has never once come up.

My reasons for opposing Zionism and the Israeli state are the same as my opposition to fascism and racism in Britain and Apartheid in South Africa. Your use of the Jewish Holocaust for transparently cheap political purposes is contemptible.

See: http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/open-letter-to-lying-leader-of-brighton.html

In the rest of the article he explains the background to the smear. Basically, it’s more of the same intriguing by Progress and the Zionists to cling on to power anyway they can. Morgan is a member of Progress, the Thatcherite entryist group in Labour. The fringe meeting addressed by Peled, at which Greenstein was present, not only condemned the maltreatment of the Palestinians, it also demanded the expulsion of the seriously misnamed Jewish Labour Movement. This was formerly Paole Zion, and is the sister party to the Israeli Labour Party, which has and remains one of the chief instigators of the Palestinian’s oppression. The meeting was organized by Jewish Voices for Peace, and nearly everyone, according to Greenstein, with the exception of Ken Loach, was Jewish. And Loach himself is not, by any stretch of the imagination, anti-Semitic. In the 1990s he directed a film, Perdition, about the Zionists’ collaboration with the Nazis in the deportation of the Jews to the death camps in Hungary.

Not that this stopped the Right making the habitual smears of anti-Semitism. Guido Fawkes repeated them on his blog. In fact, Fawkes has no business calling anyone a Fascist, or words to that effect. Way back in the ’80s or ’90s he was a member of a Libertarian organization on the fringes of the Tory party, which invited one of the leaders of the Fascist death squads then massacring the people of El Salvador, to come as their guest of honour.

Adam Trimingham’s review of Greenstein’s book is interesting for the perspective it gives on the very strong opposition to Mosley and his thugs in Brighton. Mosley and Lord Haw-Haw, the Anglo-Irish traitor William Joyce, both tried speaking there on several occasions, to be seen off by local Labour party supporters, Jews and other anti-Fascists. In one incident in 1934 when Mosley tried speaking at the Dome there, the electricians setting up the sound system wired it up to the office of the Labour councilor, Nick Cohen. When Mosley tried to launch into his rant, Councilor Cohen pressed a button, and the would-be British Mussolini was drowned out by the sound of the Marseillaise.

That didn’t stop Mosley and his stormtroopers from trying again. And each time they faced opposition, including violence, to the point where the town was a no-go area for them. The last time Mosley tried to speak there was just after the War, when he was trying to launch his Union Movement. This resulted in the Battle of the Level, when local people, included Jewish ex-servicemen, weighed in against them. This included many retired Jewish gents, who beat them up with their umbrellas and walking sticks. They were successful, and Mosley never returned. His own Fascist movement had been in decline before the War, and the battle against the Axis effectively finished it off. He emerged from the war disgraced and with whatever remained of his former popularity in ruins.

The formation of the National Front in the 1970s led to more battles, as they tried to demonstrate in Brighton. A committee was formed to combat them. This suffered from some division, with some members arguing for a more moderate line, with Israel another bone of contention. But they nevertheless succeeded in ensuring that any Fascist meeting or rally was met with determined opposition. And that includes the Fascist March for England the year the review was published in 2012.

The review can be read at: http://www.theargus.co.uk/magazine/nostalgia/pastpresent/9728304.Fighting_fascism/?ref=rss

NHS SOS: Further Resources against NHS Privatisation

June 19, 2016

NHS SOS pic

As well as the information and resources Michelle has kindly posted as a comment to my piece on the cuts to the service at my local health centre as a result of the government’s creeping privatisation of the NHS, I’m also putting up the list of further resources included in Jacky Davis’ and Raymond Tallis’ book, NHS SOS. This is a very detailed description of the long campaign against the NHS from Maggie Thatcher onwards, and in particular its latest phase introduced by Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act of 2012. As well as describing the attacks on the NHS, the book also includes chapters on the failure of the press and medical profession as a whole to bring down the whole process of privatisation when they could. It’s a very good book, clearly written, but it will leave you depress and furious.

It also the following resources people can use to fight the cuts and privatisation. Here they are:

National Campaigns on the NHS

* Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) – runs a national campaign as well as local groups across England. Campaigns for a publicly funded, publicly delivered and publicly accountable NHS. Website: http://www.keepournhspublic.com; Twitter @keepnhspublic.

* London Health Emergency (LHE) – campaigning against cuts, closures and the privatisation of the NHS since 1983. Website: http://www.healthemergency.or.uk; Twitter @JohnRLister

* NHS Support Federation – an independent pressure group that campaigns to protect and improve the NHS, true to its founding principles.

* National Health Action Party (NHAP) – campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly delivered and publicly accountable NHS.
Website: http://www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk; Twitter @NHAparty.

Allied Organisations

* Centre for Health and the Public Interest – a new independent health think tank.
Website: http://chpi.org.uk; Twitter CHPIthinktank.

* Medsin – Student network and registered charity tackling global and local health inequalities through education, advocacy and community action.

Website: http://www.medsin.org/; Twitter @medsinuk

* NHS Consultants Association – organisation of hospital doctors who support the NHS and campaign to end market-based policies.
Website: http://wwwnhsca.org.uk/

* OpenDemocracy – ‘free thinking for the world’. Running ‘OurNHS’, a new three-year project dedicated to reinstating a genuine National Health Service in England.
Website: http://www.operdemocracy.net/ournhs/about; Twitter: ‘OurNHS_oD

* Spinwatch – works for lobbying transparency, promotes greater understanding of the role of PR and propaganda.
Website: http://www.spinwatch.org/; Twitter @Spinwatch.

* 38 Degrees – online organisation that brings people together to take action on the issues ‘that matter to you and bring about real change’.
Website: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/; Twitter: ’38_degrees

Further Reading and Watching

* Health Policy Reform: Global Health versus Private Profit, by John Lister (Libri Publishing, 2013).

* NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care by Allyson M. Pollock (Verso Books, 2004).

* The Plot Against the NHS by Colin Leys and Stewart Player (Merlin Press, 2011).

* Privatising the World: A Study of International Privatization in Theory and Practice by Olive Letwin (Cengage learning EMEA, 1988).

* ‘The NHS and the Section 75 regulations: Where next?’ by Bob Hudson. Guardian healthcare network, 30 April 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2013/apr/30/nhs-section-75-regulations-where-next. This helpful article covers some additional actions that can be taken by opponents of the health care reforms.

* Conflicts of Interest and NHS Privatisation, video by the National Health Action Party, http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/component/k2/item/s441-conflicts-of-interest-and-the-privatisation-of-the-nhs.

* Take a Tour of Lansley’s Private Healthcare Supporters.
Video by Spinwatch, http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/component/k2/item/S336-take-a-tour-of-Lansleys-private-health-care-supporters.

* The Spirt of ’45, a film by Ken Loach, for screenings and availability, see http://www.thespiritof45.com.