Posts Tagged ‘National Service’

Abby Martin Exposes Israeli Racism and Fascism on Joe Rogan Show

August 18, 2017

This is a video from an Islamic website, though this is immaterial to the content of the video, which goes beyond religious or doctrinal differences. It’s a long, 25-minute extract from the Joe Rogan Show in which Rogan talks to Abby Martin. Martin’s a left-wing broadcaster and journalist, who was formerly with RT and is now with TeleSur. She talks about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, their brutal maltreatment of the Palestinians, America’s support for Israel and the country’s deeply entrenched xenophobia and racist indoctrination as part of the compulsory military service.

It’s very strong, very disturbing material. She states very clearly that its a Jewish supremacist, White settler state. Palestinians in the occupied territories have no freedom whatsoever. They are subject to constant military checks and interference through a system of apartheid. They have no precious little in the way of provision of water and electricity. The water comes from large cisterns, in which Israeli soldiers will spray Skunk, which makes the water taste of excrement so that it becomes undrinkable for the next month. Even though the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal, this is ignored. Israeli mobs will come and occupy Palestinian homes, forcing the true owners out. If a Palestinian blogs about it, he will be tried and sentenced according to the number of hits on his site.

At the same time, Israeli soldiers shoot to kill and maim with impunity. They have a policy of ‘shoot to wound’, which means shooting people in the crotch. A woman was hit in her vagina, and men have their penises targeted. She also describes how a man, who was just drunk, was casually shot dead by Israeli soldiers. As was an Arab woman, who was shot at an Israeli checkpoint, and bled to death in front of her son.

It isn’t just Arabs gentiles, who are seen as inferiors, who can be ill-treated at whim. Martin states that the Israelis also look down on Black African Jews as racially inferior as well.

And official support for these illegal settlements goes all the way to the White House. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is the entrepreneur behind the Kushner Fund, a scheme which supports the construction of homes for Israeli settlers in the West Bank. She also talks about support for Israel by Richard Spencer, who describes himself as a White Zionist, who admires Israel as a racial state.

She also contrasts the popular reaction to the shooting of unarmed civilians by the authorities in Israel and the US. In America when the cops shoot an unarmed Black person, there’ll be a popular protest against it. However, in Israel, when the squaddie Elor Azaria shot an unarmed Palestinian, and was tried for it because of public pressure, there were also public protests against his trial. Rogan and Martin show footage of one of these demonstrations, in which the massed crowd chants ‘Death to Arabs’. Realising how bad this looks, they then change the chants to cries of supports for the troops. They even have a band rapping in Hebrew.

Martin pays due tribute to the courage of the Israelis, who film and speak out against these atrocities. In Israel many people will talk about treating the Palestinians better, but the idea of opposing Zionism is simply unthinkable, as this is their country. It’s like Americans opposing America. And the term ‘Leftist’ is a form of abuse.

As for crowds like that she filmed, they’ll also shout ‘Death to videographers’, as they hate the people filming this. Her team with her weren’t treated too badly, as they were Israeli Jews, but she says that there were attacked by people, who did wear Fascist-style cloaks.

She also talks about the immense amount of aide given by the American government to Israel. It’s $30 billion. However, in many cases, this is America giving a present to itself. Before then, Israel was able to do its own arms dealing, and was purchasing weapons from India. The aide has been given on the condition that it should be used to purchase American armaments.

As for the reason for America backing Israel, Martin states she doesn’t know why. She doesn’t believe its due to the power of the Israel lobby in the US. She states it’s more of a partnership, in the same way that America supports Saudi Arabia. Although Rogan points out that the Saudis have oil. Martin states that it’s probably to do with America using Israel as a point of leverage in the Middle East.

She goes on to make the point that the foundations for the country were laid after the Middle East was divided up by the colonial powers – Britain and France – by the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Jewish immigration to Israel, and support for the country was minimal until the Holocaust, when fear provided an instrument to increase support. The country was then partitioned by the UN, although she asks the rhetorical question of who gave them that power. She also states that it should have never been put in the Middle East, but should have been established somewhere like Australia, because of the immense amount of trouble it’s caused.

She says that several times in making her video, she thought she’d die. In Jerusalem she was asked if she was Arab. She also points out that the Zionists were also responsible for terrorist atrocities against Jewish communities in surrounding countries. These were false flag operations, which were blamed on the gentile communities, in order to create a climate of fear, which would inspire those Jewish communities to emigrate to Israel. And Israel itself grew through a number of massacres.

Rogan and Martin also discuss the role that national service plays in creating this massively xenophobic mindset. Rogan states that he knows people, who have joined the army in America, and its created a very strong bond between the service personnel, and a sense of separation, an ‘us and them’ attitude. He can only imagine the intense indoctrination that Israelis must undergo during their national service so that the hatred of Arabs becomes unquestionable.

As for the Arab settlements, she states that they are not as we’ve been told. She saw openly gay people, and the first time she filmed there she said there was weed in the air.

The interview concludes with Rogan asking her where her films can be seen. She says they’re at The Empire Files, and if you click on them, the various films she’s made about Israel will also be displayed.

This is very powerful stuff. It’s precisely what the Beeb and the other mainstream British broadcasters will not report, nor what the racists in the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement do not want severely normal people, Jewish and gentile, knowing about. Martin states in this video that the Israeli state and its supporters want this covered up, and do their level best to make sure it isn’t filmed.

Martin has called Israel a Jewish supremacist state. This is exactly what it is, with Judaism defined in racial terms. It’s comparable to the Christian clerical Fascist states which emerged in Europe prior to the Second World War, such as parts of the Fascist movement in Italy, where Fascist sympathisers in the Vatican saw Mussolini’s regime as a bulwark against materialism and Communism. As was Franco’s Spain, and the Slovak dictatorship of Monsignor Tizo, as well as elements of the Nazi party. It’s also similar to the viciously intolerant Islamist regimes in the Middle East, and the Hindu nationalist extremism of Modi’s BJP, as well as the militant atheism of the USSR and China. Shintoism also briefly became an intolerant, expansionist force during the Second World War. Israel isn’t unique by any means in its possession of a militantly intolerant nationalist ideology, which combines race with religion, or an official policy of anti-theism. But that does not mean that Israeli Jewish supremacism and Fascism should be ignored or excused.

As for the role national service plays in creating an intensely nationalistic, racial consciousness, political scientists have pointed to this as a major element in the construction of Fascism. Fascist and proto-Fascist ideologues admired the armed forces, not just from militarism and an admiration for military glory, but also because it offered an alternative and a tool against the expansion of socialism and democracy. The military was an ideal model, in their eyes, for society because it was hierarchical. At the same time, the uniform and common military identity and service under fire created a strong bond between men. This was valued as a way of stopping the development of working class consciousness and power.

And the bond of men under fire is very, very strong. The veteran BBC broadcaster on foreign affairs, Kate Adie, has said that it’s far stronger and ferocious than anything in the movies. So strong that it can’t really be shown on camera.

And the fundamental position of military service in Israel is comparable to that of Prussia. It was said of the Hohenzollern’s kingdom that ‘Prussia is not a country with an army. It was an army with a country’. The kingdom was held together through its army, which was well-funded, had a very high status, and wide-ranging powers over the civilian population. For example, under Frederick the Great army officers could compel civilians to carry their baggage and equipment.

Martin states that she doesn’t know if Richard Spencer of the Alt Right would like to impose universal conscription like Israel. Well, he may not, but that has historically been the demand of British Fascists and those on the Tory right. And in the 2010 election one of the policies of the BNP was that every Brit should possess a gun as part of his volkisch identity.

As for Palestinian Arabs tolerating homosexuality, Islam has been traditionally far more tolerant of gays than western culture. The Qu’ran condemns sodomy as a sin against which the Prophet Lut – the Biblical Lot in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament preached. But the laws against it were a dead letter in Egypt as early as the 12th century. One of the most admired Arab poets of the 9th century was gay, so that even today, Arab poets often use the masculine 3rd person pronoun – ‘he’ – for the beloved, even when they are talking about a woman.

This point is important, as supporters of Israel will try to defend it as one of the few places in the Middle East which is tolerant of gays. Pamela Geller, of the Atlas Shrugs blog, one of the leaders of the ‘counter-jihad’ movement, has made this claim on her site. As has Michael Koren, a Canadian anti-Muslim broadcaster with Rebel Media. This week, a documentary on BBC 1 followed a Scots gay man from a Roman Catholic background, who was considering converting to Judaism because of Israel’s tolerance for gays. The Beeb filmed him travelling to the country, and Tel Aviv, which has been described as ‘the gayest place on Earth’. But this tolerance for homosexuality was traditionally shared across the Middle East. It is only in recent decades that attitudes have changed for the worse.

Despite Netanyahu’s insistence that Jews everyone are automatically Israeli citizens, there are very many Jews, who are bitterly opposed to it both from secular and religious principles. many of the supporters of the BDS movement are Jews or of Jewish heritage, as are several of the Counterpunch writers, who are also opposed to Zionism and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. One of these writers stated in a recent article that he is against Israel because of the liberal Jewish values with which he was brought up. A recent study has found that an increasing number of young Jewish Americans are becoming indifferent or hostile to Israel, because of its maltreatment of the Palestinians. As the very Jewish Sam Seder and his Jewish co-host, Michael Brooks, pointed out on their programme, Majority Report, criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, and other Zionist organisations and pressure groups, would have the world believe the opposite. It isn’t. Don’t believe their lies and smears. Instead, look at the exposures of Israeli racism and institutional brutality from anti-racist broadcasters like Abbie Martin, respected academics like Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Pappe, Lobster’s John Newsinger, and bloggers like Tony Greenstein.

Yoav Shamir on the Xenophobic Indoctrination of the Israelis

November 21, 2016

This is a short segment, fifteen minutes or so, from the full length film, Defamation, by the Israeli film-maker Yoav Shamir. Shamir’s argument in the film is that Israeli society and Jewish organisations abroad, like the Anti-Defamation League, deliberately obsess about anti-Semitism as a way of indoctrinating their people with xenophobic fears about everyone else. This is done in order to whip up support for the brutalisation and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians.

Shamir starts off by saying that he’s an Israeli, and has never encountered anti-Semitism. So he wants to investigate it. He talks to his grandmother about it, a woman who fled Russia. Her comments about anti-Semitism shock her grandson, as her remarks about those Jews, who remain in the native countries are exactly the same as the slurs anti-Semites make about the Jewish people in general. She states that she is the genuine Jew, the hardworking, decent Jew, while those who remain outside Israel are all crooks, exploiting the non-Jewish inhabitants through alcohol, gambling and so on.

He then goes to one of Israel’s leading newspapers, which has published many stories about anti-Semitism. He meets one of its leading journalists, an elderly man in his 80s and a veteran of Auschwitz, who still has the tattoos the Nazis placed on the arms of their Jewish victims. This man blandly tells him that anti-Semitism is rising in the world, and that Germany, France, Britain and America are all anti-Semitic. Britain, he declares, is anti-Semitic, as London has an anti-Semitic mayor. He also states that the newspaper is keen to play up anti-Semitic incidents, and downplay any decline in them. When Shamir asks why that is, he gets the bland answer that if there’s a rise in anti-Semitism, they sell more papers.

He then travels to America, where he meets Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League at their headquarters. Foxman and his colleagues inform him that there has been a rise in anti-Semitism, and they’re pursuing several incidents at the moment. Later on, Shamir asks Foxman if there are any cases his team can follow as they’re investigated by Foxman and his people. Foxman agrees. When Shamir asks his staff what cases they’re pursuing at the moment, he’s told that they’re quite serious cases. However, most of them seem to be about people not being given time off work for the Jewish holidays, and an incident where someone overheard a cop making derogatory comments about the Jews on his walkie-talkie.

He then talks to Jewish high school students at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel. The students are shown looking at a model of the gas ovens at Auschwitz, and being taught about the horrific system under which the corpses of the victims had their gold teeth extracted, before being cremated. He then films a school teacher giving her class a prep talk for their forthcoming visit to Auschwitz. She touches on how this will prepare some of them for their military service. She also states quite explicitly that everyone hates the Jews. The Polish people, she says, hate the Jews. But they are not to worry, as they won’t meet them, and there will be two secret service agents with them.

When asked about their reactions to this xenophobic teaching, the kids state that it makes them feel special, to know that everyone in the world hates them.

This is a disturbing movie, and the repeated assertions that all non-Jews are anti-Semitic, blandly made as if they were a simple statement of fact, are nothing short of outrageous. If the shoe was on the other foot, and a non-Jewish politician stated that all Jews, or all Israelis, despised the gentiles, it would almost certainly be met with anger and condemnation from spokespeople for the Jewish community. And rightly so, as such claims are at the heart of the stupid and vicious conspiracy theories that claim that Jews exploit gentiles, or are engaged on a centuries-long project of global conquest, as outlined in the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But these statements are not challenged, despite the fact that they are for a very large part, manifestly untrue.

I’m not bothered about the comments from Shamir’s grandmother. She’s of a different generation, one that arose long before our modern sensibilities about race. She’s like the embarrassing older relatives many of us have, who go on about Blacks or Asians. Their attitudes are unpleasant, and dangerous in so far as the people who hold them tend to be the people voting for Nigel Farage and UKIP here in Britain. But it’s not at the same level as the official xenophobia and racism being spewed out by the newspapers and the Israeli school system.

I’m not complacent about anti-Semitism in the West. Racism is on the rise throughout Europe, partly as a reaction to the poverty inflicted on the mass of ordinary people across the continent through neoliberal economic policies, and a political class that seems intent only on its corporate enrichment. It’s also fed too from fears of Muslim terrorism and violence following 9/11, and the refugee crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people flee north Africa and the Middle East for what they hope will be better lives in Europe. Racism was a powerful factor in getting Trump to the White House, where he’s appointed Steven Bannon, an anti-Semite, as his ‘head of strategy’. It’s a powerful force in elevating Marine Le Pen’s Front National to a position as a major political force in France, and the Alternative fuer Deutschland in Germany. And there is a very nasty tradition of anti-Semitism in eastern Europe, which is getting stronger, with attacks on Gypsies and now Muslim immigrants.

But to claim that all non-Jews are anti-Semites is, quite simply, a ridiculous, outrageous lie. Let’s take some of the countries the various Israeli speakers in the movie claimed were anti-Semitic, beginning with Germany.

Yes, Germany was murderously anti-Semitic during the Third Reich. But apparently today the situation is the exact reverse. There are still Nazi thugs and hooligans, like the National Democrats and Schonhuber’s German Republican Party. But, probably in reaction to their anti-Semitic past, according to the BBC modern Germany is very pro-Jewish. So much so that Radio 4 a few months ago broadcast a documentary on how the country attracts many young Israelis to spend time there after they’ve done their national service. And a few weeks ago, the papers on this side of the North Sea reported that a sizable chunk of the British Jewish community had taken out German citizenship in opposition to Brexit. I’m not sure if the people, who did this will actually be moving to the Fatherland their grandparents and parents left. I think it’s like the various Brits, who took out Irish citizenship on the grounds that they had an Irish grandparent. They want the benefits of a connection to the EU through their ancestral homelands without actually moving there. But nevertheless, if Germany was the terrible, anti-Semitic monster that the Israeli bigots claim, somehow I don’t think the Jewish Brits now taking out German citizenship would want to do so.

Ditto with the Jews in France. Despite Marine Le Pen and her storm troopers, a poll of French people conducted after 9/11 found that 95 per cent of the population consider Jews French. Of course, this means that 5 per cent don’t, which is a problem. But the message there is that the overwhelming majority of French people aren’t anti-Semitic, at least in as much as they regard Jewish French people as their compatriots.

My guess is that the same is probably true of this country. I’m very much aware of the Nazi antics of the various NF/BNP splinter groups, such as the explicitly anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi National Action, whose leaders do believe in the obscene lies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They’re a pain and a menace. But they’re also miniscule, a mere handful of violent thugs. As for the mayor of London being anti-Semitic, excuse me, but ‘eh?’ If the film was made when Boris was mayor, this statement is wrong. Boris is, in my opinion, a vile individual, with racism one of his many unpleasant traits. But I’ve never heard him utter an anti-Semitic comment. All the racist remarks he’s made, or alleged to have made, seem to be about Blacks and Asians. If the remark is about Saddiq Khan, then again, I’ve never seen anything to indicate that he’s anti-Semitic. Unless, of course, this comes from the smear that somehow he supports Islamic terrorism. Which he doesn’t. He has associated himself, so I gather, with very conservative Muslim preachers, some of whom may hold anti-Semitic views. But this is speculation, and I’ve never heard or seen evidence that Khan himself is an anti-Semite.

As for America, the country is a staunch supporter of Israel, and very many of its favourite entertainers and celebrities are Jewish. Again, the Nazis, the Klan and the Alt-Right are out there, but the impression I’ve got is that, as a country, America has been very pro-Jewish. In fact amongst the American Conservatives, I’ve noticed that there is the perception that they believe that Europeans are all anti-Semites, and so view the rest of us on the other side of the Atlantic with suspicion.

The anti-Semitic incidents Shamir shows in this clip being discussed by the ADL are clearly in the movie because they are trivial. I don’t doubt that they’re annoying and distressing, to those to whom they occurred. I’m sympathetic to the frustrations and annoyance of the people, who couldn’t get time off to celebrate their religious holidays. With the rise of aggressive secularisation in Britain, it’s also happening to Christians over here. And I don’t like to hear people talking disparagingly about minorities. But these aren’t the same as assaults, and threats of physical violence. I am aware, though, that since Trump’s election Jewish businesses have been vandalised with Nazi slogans, including references to Kristallnacht, the infamous vandalism of Jewish shops and businesses by the Nazis.

But what is really chilling and outrageous is the way the Israeli education seems deliberately designed to reinforce these fears. It’s entire understandable and right that Israeli young people should visit Auschwitz, as an example of the massive campaign of extermination the Nazis initiated during the Holocaust. However, it is a chilling and vile smear that all of the Polish people are anti-Semites, and that these kids are to be kept away from them for their own protection. I’m very much aware that there is widespread anti-Semitism Poland, as there is in many other parts of eastern Europe. But I also know that the part of the Yad Vashem memorial to the Holocaust also contains a list of the many righteous Polish gentiles, who risked life and limb to rescue and shelter their Jewish countrymen during the Nazi occupation of their country.

Part of the joy of travelling is that you meet the native peoples of the countries you visit. Not only does meeting and talking to them broaden your mind by exposing you to their culture and their frequently very different perspectives on events and issues, but they’ve also been an integral part in creating good international relations after the carnage of the Second World War. When I was studying German for my ‘A’ levels, one of the foreign excursions we were offered as an adjunct to the course, was to the Sonnenberg Conference in Hannover. This is an annual meeting of school students in Germany from across Europe. And I think it was set up, at least in part, to heal the divisions between Germany and the other peoples of Europe after the War. I didn’t go, but those who did really enjoyed it.

My old college, where I took my first degree, also offered an exchange with a Polish college. The students, who went on this also visited Auschwitz, naturally. But they also met and enjoyed the hospitality of their Polish friends and exchange partners. Those I talked to about this were really impressed at how hard Polish students worked, and the way they were able to achieve good grades and a thorough understanding of their subjects, despite serious shortages in the kind of equipment we take for granted over here, like stationary and pens.

I’ve no doubt whatsoever that meeting other people from all over the world broadens your outlook, and creates genuine international understanding. But these Israeli kids were denied that. They were to be kept separate, guarded, told to fear the Polish people around them. As for the two secret service agents with them, you wonder why they were there, and who they were protecting. It seemed to me that they were there not to safeguard the children from gentile attack or vilification, but to make sure they didn’t become too close to the Poles. The real danger there, according to the Israeli military and educational authorities, seemed to be that Israelis could become too friendly with the people they were intent to demonise as the terrible ‘Other’.

And this has created the fear that makes some Israelis see themselves as special. And this feeling that the world is against them has led to the Israeli authorities angrily denouncing any criticism of the barbarous treatment they mete out to the Palestinians as ‘anti-Semitic’. Because they’re taught by their school teachers and army instructors that everyone else is anti-Semitic, and so any criticism they make of Israel must come from this deep anti-Jewish racism, not because of a decent outrage against the persecution of one people by another.

Shamir’s film is also important for the perspective it gives on the anti-Semitism allegations in the Labour party. I’m sorry for bringing this up once again, now that so many of the people accused of anti-Semitism have been cleared, but Luke Akehurst and the Jewish Labour Movement are still around, and still likely to cause trouble. The people slandered as anti-Semites, in the vast majority of cases, were decent, non-racist and even actively anti-racist people, with proud personal histories of fighting against anti-Semitism. They were accused of anti-Semitism because they made the unforgiveable crime of speaking out against the persecution of the Palestinians, or trying to put the Holocaust into perspective of one of the very many genocides that have sullied human history.

The Israelis, and Zionists like Akehurst, need to demonise and vilify such people, in order to ward off the entirely justified criticisms of Israel and its own maltreatment of its indigenous people. They need to demonise the peoples of other countries, Jews as well as gentiles, as ‘anti-Semitic’, or, if they’re Jewish, ‘self-hating’, in order to create that sense of election that allows the butchers in the Israeli armed forces to kill and massacre without compunction.

This is a monstrous disgrace. There are very many Jews and Jewish organisations abroad and in Israel itself, which are committed to defending the Palestinians and trying to create a better, more just Israel and a free Palestine. They include not just secular Jews, but also deeply religious people versed in the Bible and the Torah. Those in Israel may be subject to horrendous persecution, simply for speaking out. I’ve mentioned before how Ilan Pappe, the Israeli historian, who writes extensively on the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, was forced out of his teaching post and then his homeland by the authorities.

This xenophobia needs to be challenged. It needs to be taken into account whenever the odious Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador, starts ranting about anti-Semitism and lying about his political masters’ abuse of the indigenous Arab population. It needs to be brought up whenever the Israel lobby in the Labour party start lying and smearing decent people as anti-Semites. Racism everywhere needs to be fought. This includes not just the disgusting xenophobia of the Nazis, the Holocaust deniers, and racial populists like Trump and Farage. It also means the Israeli system, that fills its young people with unreasoning terror of other nations, in order to deform their personalities to get them to perpetuate the same horrors Jews have suffered on the Palestinians.

Vox Political on the Criminalisation of Youth Unemployment

February 19, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political wrote this piece on Cameron’s promise to make community work compulsory for young, unemployed people between 18 and 21. As he points out, this is the sentence usually dished out to petty offenders. The article’s called Conservatives would put unemployed on community service, and begins

It used to be a punishment for low-level criminals, but now David Cameron has admitted a future Conservative government would force it on people who have been out of work for more than six months. Those aged 18-21 will have to go straight into this work.

What does that say about Cameron’s opinion of the unemployed?

Is he trying to make it seem like a criminal offence? Is he trying to make it a criminal offence to be young and out of work?

It’s all part of his ‘divide and conquer’ plan for the UK, one supposes – treat the unlucky as an underclass and make those who are fortunate enough to be in (well-paid) work thank their lucky stars.

Take note of that caveat about ‘well-paid’ work; part of this scheme to criminalise the unemployed is an intention to force more and more people into underpaid jobs without in-work benefits, in order to make more money for his rich donors (who of course will pass some of the benefit on to the Conservative Party). You know the kind – the zero-hours contracts that Labour plans to outlaw; part-time work, temporary work, minimum wage work that means people still have to claim benefits.

There’s also an intentional – but superficial – resemblance to Labour’s plan; the job guarantee.

Both would compel benefit claimants into work after six months, but after that, the Tory plan does not stand up well at all.

Mike then goes on to compare it to Labour’s plan to provide the young with compulsory, but paid employment.

I can’t say I’m happy with Labour’s plan. It’s too much like an improved version of workfare. That said, it is much better than what the Tories are offering, which is vicious, punitive and degrading. Pretty much like them.

The Criminalisation of Unemployment under the Tories and Elizabethans

As for the Tories’ policy effectively criminalising the unemployed young – I think that’s absolutely correct. It bears comparison with the Elizabethan poor laws of the 16th century, when the country was first having to grapple with the problem of unemployment caused by changes in the economy. These also notoriously criminalised poverty. Unemployment was seen very much as the fault of the unemployed themselves. They were seen not as victims of economic forces, but simply idle and lazy.

Moreover, in a nation that was still very feudal with a social order based on subservience to a landholding elite, the unemployed were considered to be a threat to order and authority. They were ‘masterless men’, outside the feudal and guild bonds that tied the peasant to the landlord and the apprentice to the master craftsmen. Simply by being unemployed, they were a threat to society and its order. They were also a source of fear because of the threat they posed as a drain on the primitive welfare provisions that were in place, such as the parish vestry and private alms. And then, of course, there was the additional fear of the dangers they also posed of robbery and theft.

It’s no accident that when workhouses first appear to accommodate the unemployed and teach them a trade under Edward VI, they were described as ‘houses of correction’. One of the first laws to tackle unemployment stipulated that an unemployed person could not legally turn down an offer of work made by a prospective employer, no matter what the conditions. If he did so, the employer was empowered to seize and enslave him. The law didn’t last long before it was removed, but it shows the panic and the punitive nature of the authorities at the perceived threat the unemployed pose.

The Tories and their cheerleaders in the right-wing press pretty much have exactly the same attitudes. Unemployment is a result of idleness and the character defects of unemployed and disabled themselves. It is not the product of the economy.

And the unemployed are a threat to society. They’re feeding off the earnings of the ‘hard-working’ taxpayer, and without work to discipline them are undoubtedly all criminals, committing theft, robbery and drugs. Thus, they all should be forced onto workfare.

Once upon a time, the same right-wing loudmouths used to prescribe national service as the solution for poorly educated, ill-disciplined, slovenly and potentially criminal young people. That seems to have gone by the board, as the Tories are trying to dismantle the regular army because it costs too much. More importantly, the voters tend to get upset when their sons, daughters and partners start coming back in body bags. It’s not good for national morale, and so the army is being reduced to what would have been called a militia back in Elizabeth’s time, and much of the fighting done by private military contractors. We’re still seeing our boys and girls come back in the body bags, though.

UKIP’s 19th Century Anti-Immigration Electioneering

April 27, 2014

ukip_poster_1

On Friday I reblogged a piece from the ever-acute and satirical Tom Pride about how the unemployed worker in UKIP’s election poster was actually an Irish actor. This was a source of highly ironic amusement, as well as a comment on the double standards used by UKIP and some of the other parties, when they start banging on the nationalist and anti-immigration issues. On the same evening you could also see a clip on the BBC’s long-running satirical quiz, Have I Got News For You, UKIP’s Fuehrer, Nigel Farage, being given a thorough grilling by the Beeb’s Nick Robinson. Why, asked Robinson, if immigration was so bad and a threat to British jobs, did Farage employ his wife, who was German, as his secretary? Because, said il Duce, there were no English people, who could do the job, thus torpedoing much of his anti-immigration arguments. It also brought forth the rejoinder from Paul Merton, ‘What? Sleep with Nigel Farage?’

The Tories were also caught using a similar set of double standards a few years ago during their election campaign to persuade the Scots to vote for them. They published a leaflet claiming that under the Tories, Scottish jobs would remain in Scotland. But obviously not as far as the production of the leaflet itself went. It was printed in England.

Such ironies aside, UKIP’s poster is highly controversial, because of the way it plays on British fears about immigration. The unemployed British workman in the poster is unemployed due to competition from immigrant workers. The message is that UKIP will stop foreigners entering the country and taking British jobs. The poster recalls some of the Conservative anti-immigration campaigns and posters in the first decade of the 20th century.

One of these posters showed an employer opening his door to welcome in a new, and obviously foreign employee to his workshop, saying, something like ‘Welcome, Mein Freund’. Meanwhile, a British workman was being forced to leave out the back. He had been made unemployed to give a job to his foreign employer’s fellow countryman. It was no accident either, that the boss and his compatriot both spoke German. The campaign was playing on the racial fears caused by immigration to Britain of German-speaking Jews entering the country following a series of pogroms in eastern Europe from the 1880s onwards.

Jess, one of the commenters on this blog, supplies some further information on the anti-immigration campaign and the context of these Victorian and Edwardian posters. She says:

The poster you refer to was probably part of the tory campaign to introduce the Aliens Bills of 1904-5

Bill Fishman has an interesting chapter on this in his ‘East End … Radicals’

“1887 was the year of opportunity both for political demagogues flying the anti-alien kite and the new social reformer. The East End borough of Tower Hamlets provided a focus…On 19 April 1887 the first recorded public meeting was held for the ratepayers of Mile End to petition for the exclusion of destitute aliens. It took the form of a debate with the motion put by Conservative MPs Captain Colomb, Howard Vincent and Lords Charles Beresford and Brabazon..The chairman was … Arnold White. The result was a compromise……But …White would not let go. On 14 July, writing en route for South Africa…he directed (under the ..title ‘England for the English!’) a second broadside through The Times: ‘Will you permit me to fire a parting shot at the pauper foreigner…..’”
Fishman p.71

Arnold White was a notorious racist and militarist, whose writings helped form the basis of British fascism in the 1930′s. We hear their echoes in the rantings of ukip today, unfortunately.

She then describes how Lord Brabazon concisely summarised this policy in a letter to the Times.

It is quite surreal that the clearest exposition of ukip and tory migration ‘policy’ I have yet found is not in the diatribes of Arnold White, but in a letter to the Times from Lord Brabazon, an hereditary liberal peer, who described himself as being of the ‘old [ie free-market] liberals’. What he also meant was that he was opposed to Irish and Scottish ‘Home Rule’

PAUPER IMMIGRATION,
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir,— Mr. Arnold White has the courage of his convictions. The suggestions contained in his letter which you published in your issue of Saturday, March 26, are so contrary to the principles of action which have found favour in this country for some time past that they are sure to meet with severe criticism, and it is only right, therefore, that those who have some knowledge of the condition of the working classes in our large towns and who share his views should speak out.

I have for some time been of opinion that the wholesale immigration into this country of more or less destitute foreigners should, in justice to our own working classes, be placed under some kind of control. The low wages which are paid for many kinds of labour are in no small degree due to the competition of these hordes of foreigners who, to escape military service in their own country and believing that the streets of London are paved with gold, flock to our shores. Not a few manufactures which used to employ a large number of persons in the East-end are now almost entirely in the hands of Germans and Jews.

Foreigners would not come to London unless they thought that by doing so they could in some way better their condition, or, in other words, they desire to share in some real or fancied advantages which they consider England possesses over other countries.

So surely these advantages may be very justly considered by Great Britain as property bearing a money value. Most of them, such as free and stable government, civil and religions liberty, immunity from wars and social and political disturbances, vast manufactures, extended commerce, the practical monopoly of the carrying trade of the world, have been won by the energy, enterprise, inventive power, unconquerable determination, and blood and treasure of Englishmen. In private business a man who desires to be admitted into partnership is always required to pay for the advantages which he seeks to enjoy. Advantages enjoyed by the aggregate of individuals composing a nation may surely be considered as much a property, bearing a money value, as the advantages possessed by individuals and companies which are every day bought and sold in the public market.

The nation knows not how to feed its present population, increasing at the rate of 340,000 a year, over and above the large emigration which is continually taking place.

The ship of State is fast becoming water-logged. It is good to work the pumps of emigration and colonization, but let us at the same time not forget to stop the leak of foreign immigration, which is filling the vessel as fast as we attempt to empty her.

I see no reason why we should not, as the Americans do, refuse to receive foreign paupers, nor can I believe that any injustice would be perpetrated by requiring every foreigner, residing in Great Britain for more than six months, to take out a licence upon which a small tax should be paid, such licence to be renewed annually; the liability to take out the licence to cease after, say ten years, should the bearer in the meantime have become a naturalized British subject.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

[Lord] BRABAZON.: The Times Wednesday, Apr 13, 1887; p. 13;

Lord Brabazon (of Meath), you will recall, sat on the platform of that 1887 ‘meeting’ chaired by White

All of the ukip themes are here;
“those who have some knowledge of the condition of the working classes in our large towns and who share his views should speak out”;

“the wholesale immigration into this country of more or less destitute foreigners should, in justice to our own working classes, be placed under some kind of control”

” low wages which are paid for many kinds of labour are in no small degree due to the competition of these hordes of foreigners ”

“The nation knows not how to feed its present population…”

Apart, of course, from ‘The Thing’, Cobbett’s meme for his own anti-Semitism, and an entrenched ‘establishment’. That bit was supplied by the League of Empire Loyalists’ reference to the European Union as a ‘EUSSR’.

How do they get away with this stuff, whilst pretending to be a ‘party’ of the 21st century?

This shows you how UKIP and the Europhobic parts of the Conservative party are taking us back to the worst features of late 19th and early 20th century Britain. UKIP and the Tories both are Neoliberal parties hostile to state intervention and welfare benefits for the working class. Margaret Thatcher in particular heartily despised them. UKIP are suspiciously silent about their domestic policies. When you do find out about them, they’re horrifying. They have been described as Tories on steroids. One of their policies, for example, is to abolish paid annual leave for workers. In order to gain working-class votes, they stress national solidarity against the threat of foreigners and outsiders. In this case, it’s foreign workers supposedly coming here to steal British jobs.

As for the description of the EU as the ‘EUSSR’, it’s highly significant that this came from the League of Empire Loyalists. These were an extremely Right-wing anti-Semitic, founded by Arnold Leese. They were one of the groups that founded the National Front, along with the British National Party and the Greater British Movement. It’s quite sinister that something coined by them that should be so widely adopted outside of the ghetto of the racist politics. My guess it entered general political discourse through extreme Right-wing Tories.

As for the Brabazon’s complaint that the foreigners coming over here in the late 19th century did so partly to escape national service in their own countries, that wasn’t entirely true. When the Kaiser lifted the restrictions on Jews entering the army, it aroused a wave of patriotism amongst German Jews, many of whom enthusiastically took up the new opportunities of a military career. The single largest group in the German army in the First World War were the Jews. One of these Jewish soldiers was Hitler’s captain, who recommended him for the Iron Cross. It’s one of the facts that gives the lie to the ‘stab-in-the-back’ explanation for the fall of the Reich – that somehow Germany was betrayed by the Jews.

Further east, in the Russian Empire, you couldn’t blame the Jews, nor any other minorities from wishing to avoid national service. The Tsars used it as a method of forcibly converting the Jewish population. Russian recruits are subject to a level of truly horrific bullying and physical abuse, and this was inflicted on Jewish members of the armed forces. Under Communism, the same attitude and abuse was adopted towards Pentecostalist Christians conscripted into the forces. Some of these received beatings so savage, that they were also hospitalised.

If the Tories and UKIP succeed in their policy of the utter dismantlement of the welfare state, this kind of anti-immigration attitudes will increase, and get much, much worse, leading to a revival of the overt, vicious racism of the 19th and early 20th centuries as the poor are forced to compete for increasingly meagre economic resources. And Tory and UKIP campaigns against ‘political correctness’ will be used to justify overtly racist rhetoric. The only way to stop this is to vote them out of power.

Pride’s Purge on Ralph Milliband’s War Service Compared to Dacre Senior

October 2, 2013

In this reply to the Heil’s claim that Milliband pere hated Britain, the Purge shows that Milliband was one of that generation of brave young men and women, who did their national service. Like the other soldiers, he physically fought the Nazis and so did his bit, along with so many others, to free Europe of Fascist tyranny. Purge contrasts this with what Dacre’s own father did in the War. The title of Mr Purge’s piece actually says it all: While Ralph Miliband was fighting in Normandy, Paul Dacre’s father was avoiding the front-line. He states

‘In 1944 when the 22-year old Ralph Miliband was bravely risking his life storming German positions protecting the Normandy beaches, Paul Dacre’s 19-year-old father Peter Dacre was working in London as a show business reporter for newspapers such as the Daily Express.

Quite how a fit 19-year-old managed to avoid call-up to the front line at that time God only knows.’

This just about shows the newspaper’s hypocrisy in its slander of a patriot, who fought for his country, while the its editor’s own father avoided national service to cover showbiz. Well, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, as they say, and certainly not when they live in an entire greenhouse.