Posts Tagged ‘Purges’

William Blum’s List of American Foreign Interventions: Part 1

February 15, 2017

Yesterday I put up a piece about American hypocrisy in the allegations that Putin was blackmailing Donald Trump, when the Americans themselves interfered in the Russian elections in 1996 in order to secure Boris Yeltsin’s election as Russian president. This was, however, hardly the first time America had intervened in the domestic politics of a foreign country. William Blum devotes two chapters to this in his book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. In one he lists the various interventions America has made in other countries, including invasions and military coups, and in the other cases where America has interfered with the conduct of elections in order to secure a win for their favoured candidates.

Both of these are very long and ignominious lists. Here’s part 1 of a list of foreign interventions by the US.

American Interventions

China 1945-51
Aiding Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang against Mao’s Communists.

France 1947
Backing French Socialist party against the Communists, using Corsican mobsters to attack Communist party and Communist-aligned trade unionists.

Marshall Islands 1946-58
Indigenous people of Bikini Atoll removed from the island in order to make way for nuclear tests.

Italy 1947-1970s
Backing Conservative Christian Democrats to keep the Socialists and Communists out of power.

Greece 1947-9
Backing neo-Fascists and creating intelligence unit for them in the civil war against the Communists.

Philippines 1945-53
Military actions against the left-wing Huk forces.

Korea 1945-53
Korean War. However, afterwards US backed Conservatives, who had collaborated with the Japanese, and Fascist dictators, also committed atrocities against fleeing civilians.

Albania 1949-53
Backing anti-Communist guerillas, most of whom were collaborators with the Nazis and Italian Fascists.

Eastern Europe 1948-1956
Head of CIA Allen Dulles deliberately heightened paranoia in the eastern bloc, causing hundreds of thousands of imprisonments, purge trials and murders by the Communist regimes.

Germany 1950s
Lengthy campaign of terrorism, dirty tricks and sabotage against East Germany.

Iran 1953
Prime Minister Mossadegh overthrown by CIA and British led coup, as dared nationalise what is now British Petroleum oilfields.

Guatemala 1953-1990s
CIA backed Fascist coup against democratic socialist Jacobo Arbenz for nationalising plantations owned by American company, United Fruit. Result: forty years of terror, with 200,000 people murdered.

Costa Rica mid-1950s and 1970-1
Attempted assassination of liberal democratic president, Jose Figueres, because considered too soft on the left, and for making his nation the first in Central America to establish diplomatic links with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and questioning American foreign policy, like the invasion of Cuba.

Middle East 1956-58
Attempts to overthrow the Syrian government, shows of force in Mediterranean against opposition to US-backed governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landing of 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and attempts to overthrow and assassinate Egyptian president Gamal Nasser.

Indonesia 1957-8
Attempts to manipulate elections, assassinate, blackmail and start a civil war to overthrow President Sukarno. Sukarno neutral in Cold War, went on trips to China and USSR, nationalised private property of Dutch colonialists, and did not crack down on the Communist party, which was then engaged on electoral path to power.

Haiti 1959
Trained troops of notorious dicator Papa Doc Duvalier, and destroy attempted coup against him by Haitians, Cubans and other Latin Americans.

Western Europe 1950s-1960s
Granting of American money through charities and so on to various groups and organisations in pursuit of American anti-Communist, anti-Socialist policies.

British Guiana/Guyana 1953-64
Attempts to force out of office democratically elected socialist premier, Cheddi Jagan by America and Britain.

Iraq 1958-63

Long campaign against nationalist leader General Abdul Karim Kassem after he overthrew the monarchy and established a republic. USA and Turkey drew up plan to invade; this dropped in favour of arming Kurds, as well as assassination attempts. Kassem helped set up OPEC and created nationalised oil company. Kassem was finally overthrown in a Ba’ath coup, which also led to a clampdown on the Communist party, which was backed by both America and Britain.

Soviet Union 1940s-1960s
Cold War campaigns of espionage, propaganda and sabotage, backing of resistance movements against USSR.

Vietnam 1945-73
Vietnam War.

Cambodia 1945-73
Overthrow of Prince Sihanouk enabling Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge to gain power.

Laos 1957-73
Armed insurrection and bombing against reformist left, led by Pathet Lao party.

Thailand 1965-73
Armed forced against insurgents.

Ecuador 1960-63
Overthrow of president Jose Maria Velasco for not clamping down on left and not following US policy against Cuba.

Congo/Zaire, 1960-65, 1977-8
Overthrow of Patrice Lumumba in favour of dictator and mass-murderer Mobutu Sese Seko.

France/Algeria 1960s
Backed French military coup in Algeria to stop country becoming independent. Also hoped repercussions would overthrow De Gaulle, who was blocking American attempts to dominate NATO.

Brazil, 1961-64
Backed military dictatorship which overthrew President Joao Goulart for being too independent and friendly towards Communists, despite the fact that Goulart millionaire devout Roman Catholic.

Peru 1965
Military action against leftist guerillas

Dominican Republic 1963-5
Overthrow of liberal president, Juan Bosch.

Cuba 1959-Present
Attempts to overthrow Communist regime.

Indonesia 1965
Overthrow of Sukarno and bloody suppression of Communists by successor, General Suharto.

Ghana 1966
Overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah

Uruguay 1969-72
Dirty War against Tupamaro leftists guerillas.

Chile 1964-73
Long campaign against democratic Communist, Salvador Allende, culminating in Fascist coup of General Pinochet.

Greece 1967-74
Intervention against liberal Greek president George Papandreou, as he wanted to take Greece out of NATO and declare Greek neutrality in Cold War. Overthrown in the Fascist coup that inaugurated the rule of the Colonels.

South Africa 1960s-1980s
Assistance to South African apartheid government against African Nationalist Congress, which, amongst other things, led to the arrest and imprisonment of Nelson Mandela.

Bolivia 1964-75
Military campaign against President Victor Paz for supporting Cuba.

Australia 1972-5
Operations to have Gough Whitlam, the leader of the Aussie Labor party, removed by America and British, ’cause he was opposed to Vietnam.

Iraq 1972-5
CIA backed Kurds, not for them to get autonomy, but to distract Iraqi army and make sure they didn’t overthrow the Shah of Iran.

Portugal 1974-76
comprehensive series of measures, including shows of force by NATO warships, against radical policies proposed by the army officers, who overthrew the previous Fascist dictatorship of General Salazar.

East Timor 1975-99
Backing of Indonesian invasion, which killed 1/3 of the island’s population.

Angola 1975-1980s
Angolan civil war, which was basically proxy war between US, China and South Africa on one hand and USSR and Cuba on the other.

The Labour Right’s Campaigns for the Tories to Smash the Labour Left

September 25, 2016

This is another piece from Lobster, which throws more light on the machinations of the Blairites in the Labour party against Jeremy Corbyn. Mike over in Vox Political has put up a few pieces speculating that in the event of Corbyn winning the election, the Blairites will continue working against him with the deliberate intention of securing a Conservative victory at the next election. With that done, they can blame Corbyn for the party’s defeat, and set about getting rid of him.

A piece in Robin Ramsay’s ‘View from the Bridge’ section in Lobster 61 actually shows this is all too plausible. The Labour right did it to Michael Foot in the run-up to the split that became the SDP. In the subsection, ‘Revolutionary Defeatism’, Ramsay discusses a piece in the Groaniad for 19th March 2011, which describes how her private secretary, Ian Gow MP, met the Labour MP Neville Sandelson. Sandelson was one of those, who went off to join the SDP six months after the meeting. Gow stated in his report of the meeting that

‘Sandelson says that his remaining political purpose is to ensure the re-election of the Conservative Party at the next Election, because only by another Conservative victory will there come about that split in the Labour Party, which he considers to be an essential precondition for a real purge of the Labour Left.’

Sandelson also joined the other founders of the SDP in deliberately voting for Michael Foot, as they knew he was far too left-wing for the British public. It was a way of deliberately sabotaging the Labour party’s chances of winning the election.

We’ve already seen Labour councillors in Islington sending emails to Tories and Lib Dems trying to get them to join the Labour party so they could oust Jeremy Corbyn. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Labour rebels haven’t also had high level meetings with the Tory leadership about sabotaging the Labour party’s chances at the next election either, as a means of saving the capitalist entryist wing and preserving Thatcherism. After all, they did before, thirty years ago.

For more information, go to: http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster61/lob61-view-from-the-bridge.pdf The item is at pages 38 to 39.

Vox Political: 3 Pro-Corbyn Labour Councillors Purged in Bristol

September 21, 2016

This is another story about the anti-Corbyn shenanigans in Bristol. A few weeks ago one of the city’s Labour MPs, Thangam Debonnaire, attacked Jeremy Corbyn. Now the local Labour party has purged three councillors, who support the Labour leader. They are Harriet Bradley, the councillor for Brislington West, Mike Langley, of Brislington East, and Hibaq Jama of Lawrence Hill. As a result of these purges, the local party has destroyed its slim majority on Bristol city council. They used to have 37 councillors. Now that they’ve purged these three, it’s gone down to three.

Mike asks the obvious question: what kind of politician destroys their own party’s majority in a major city council, simply out of spite against a leader they don’t like? He states that it’s exactly the type of behaviour he criticised the NEC for in a previous article, and state that the people responsible must be named, shamed and disciplined. They’ve harmed the Labour group on the council and made the party the subject of ridicule and disrepute. He states very clearly: Not in my name.

Labour loses its majority on Bristol City Council after Corbyn supporters are purged

The I newspaper adds a few more details to the story. It states that

Bristol was one of the success stories of Mr Corbyn’s mixed local election results earlier this year, with the party taking over the mayoralty and controlling it alongside the elected council for the first time since the post’s creation…

Labour’s national office said it does not comment on the reasons why people are suspended from the party. The Bristol City Council Labour group whip Christopher Jackson confirmed the councillors had had their whips removed “as per the usual”.

The three councillors could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

The paper also quotes a Labour spokesman as saying

“The Labour party has a robust validation process for all votes to ensure every vote cast is eligible in keeping with the Labour Party rules.”

This affects me as a Bristolian. My local councillor was one of those, who signed a petition against Corbyn, so this purging of the three pro-Labour councillors basically tells me that the party does not want my support, or those of people like me, and regards they and me with fear and contempt. The party hasn’t given any reason why the three were purged. Simply trying to shrug it all off as ‘as per the usual’ is nowhere near sufficient. Quite honestly, I don’t think they have a good reason, just as they haven’t for all the 130,000 Labour party members Smudger and the NEC have purged.

I know I’m not going to be alone in being outraged by this. A few months ago there was a mass demo of Corbyn supporters on College Green outside the Library, Council House and Cathedral here in Bristol. The great man himself also appeared to address the crowd. But this has been too much for the Blairites on the local council. No doubt they will start cooking something up about the three having brought the party into disrepute through abusive emails, but the fact that Jackson just shrugged off demands for an explanation saying, ‘as per usual’ simply indicates that they’re so arrogant the Blairites can’t even be bothered to make up any kind of pretext for the purges. They just say, ‘the usual’, and hope the rest of us will swallow.

We’re not. I’m very tempted to write a letter to the local Labour party complaining about this and demanding an explanation. I do not want to see the Labour party in my city taken over by people, who are Tories in all but name, and who, as Blairites, are complicit in supporting his privatisation of the NHS, the welfare cuts, the work capability test and all the rest of the foul policies Blair introduced to grind the working people of this country down so he could get votes from ‘aspirational’ – read, ‘snobbish and embittered’ ex-Tory voters.

Vox Political: Is Tom Watson Going Phishing?

September 13, 2016

Phishing, as Mike points out, is the scam by which criminals send emails trying to get their victims to reveal personal information, like their computer passwords and card number, so they can steal their money. It looks like Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, is doing something similar with an email he sent to Mike, and no doubt thousands of other Labour party members, this morning.

The email looks innocuous enough, just Watson asking for members’ opinions on what the party should do. It runs as follows

“During my Deputy Leadership campaign last year, I said that if we organise, mobilise and harness the potential of every single party member, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.

“I also said that it’s not just what you say that matters, it’s what you do, too. Which is why I’m writing to you to today – exactly one year on from the day I was elected Deputy Leader of our party.

“I’ve put together a quick update on the work I’ve been doing over the past twelve months.

“As ever, I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to send me your comments and feedback on the work I’ve been doing, you’ll find a link in the article.”

Mike observes that if he did tell Watson what he thought the party should do, and how he felt about Watson’s work, he would most likely be suspended from the party. Mike states he might be a bit paranoid here, but it looks like Watson is trying to gauge people’s opinion, so he can have them purged.

He concludes:

I’ll hold off on responding to Tom’s kind offer – just until after the Labour leadership election is over – and I urge any other Labour members to do the same. He can read what we have to say when it won’t do us any harm.

I completely agree with Mike on this issue. The current leadership are doing their best to deny votes to supporters of Jeremy Corbyn on the very flimsiest pretexts. One woman was told she couldn’t vote because she posted a comment on Facebook that brought the Labour party into disrepute. This was her remark that she ‘f***ing loved the Foo Fighters’. How foul language, which is rapidly losing its ability to shock, about her favourite pop band brings the Labour party into disrepute is beyond me. I thought what was far more likely to bring the party into disrepute was its leadership taking us into an illegal war, privatising the health service, cutting welfare benefits and setting up the infamous ‘work capability tests’. Oh yes, and showing themselves fearful and reluctant to challenge Tory policy attacking the poor and unemployed in order to ingratiate themselves with the monstrosities of the Tory press.

But that’s the platform of the Blairite right, which is held to be sound and good because it shows they are ‘responsible’ and appeals to the bigoted and vindictive swing voters they wish to court.

Quite often they’ve suspended or purged someone, without giving them any details at all of the offense that was supposed to damage the party’s reputation. And sometimes when they do, it’s wrong, and they show themselves to be just seeking any old excuse to throw a Corbyn supporter out. Yesterday I posted about another piece put up by Mike, about the suspension of John MacDonald from the party. Mr MacDonald was suspended because of a message he had posted on social media. But he hadn’t posted any message on the date they alleged. He had, however, the day after urged people to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, as he (MacDonald) and Cath Atlee were the last surviving relatives of the great man.

I might be doing Watson an injustice, but I don’t think so. This looks to me like what Mike said it is – a phishing expedition, so Watson can throw out a few more lefties.

Vox Political on the Return of Anti-Semitism Smears against Corbyn in the Graun and the Heil

September 11, 2016

Mike today has written another piece about the anti-Semitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. This time they’ve been regurgitated by pieces in the Grauniad and the Heil.

The first piece Mike deals with is entitled ‘Why Jews in Labour Place Little Trust in Jeremy Corbyn’ on the paper’s website by Joshua Simons. Simons is a former policy adviser to Corbyn, who used the usual rhetorical smears of the Israel lobby against the Labour leader. He identified Israel with the Jewish people throughout the world, stating that Israel’s very existence has been used by the far Left to stir up anti-Semitism against Jews in Israel in the wider world. Mike points out that this statement would exonerate Corbyn from the anti-Semitism charge, as he’s centre-left, not far left. Simons then brings in the stereotype of the Jews as bankers and financiers, which Mike also criticises as strange, as the various debates about anti-Semitism in the Labour party haven’t mentioned them. He states that anti-Semitism isn’t rampant in the Labour party, only to go on to contradict himself by saying that Jews are let down by a leader, ‘who some believe traded a peerage for a favourable report into anti-Semitism’. Again, Mike points out how contradictory this statement is, as he has already admitted that anti-Semitism isn’t rampant in the party. If it isn’t, there would be no need for Corbyn to bribe Chakrabarti to get a positive report. He concludes that Labour is only thought to be anti-Semitic because it is led by someone who has a visceral contempt for America and Israel. Mike responds to this assertion with the comments

But ill-feeling about Israel’s political decisions is not anti-Semitic, no matter how often or how loudly the more strident Zionists claim it is. Again he contradicts himself by adding: “It is not at all true that antisemitism exists because of the Jewish state” and “Young Jewish people in Britain should not give up their criticisms of Israel’s policies.”

More interesting, to me, was the fact that he is a former policy advisor. Why did he quit? Does he have an ulterior motive in resurrecting these claims?

The Heil on Sunday article is about Corbyn supposedly re-igniting the race row by purging the party of Michael Foster, the Jewish donor who criticised his leadership. Mike begins by pointing out that the very title is inaccurate, as Corbyn can’t and doesn’t purge anyone. Johanna Baxter, the NEC members behind the purge of many of the Corbynites, has stated that the decision to expel members is taken by three member panels. Corbyn doesn’t sit on any of them. The appearance of the two articles in their respective papers at the same time suggests to Mike that they’re part of an orchestrated campaign against Corbyn. Foster isn’t a financier – he’s a show business agent, but he did donate £400,000 to the Labour party. This might explain why Simons in the Graun felt he had to rant about Jews being equated with banking. The article then goes on to make more allegations of anti-Semitism against the Labour leader.

This story, complaining about the purge of a right-wing candidate, has been published at the same time as the Blairites are carrying out a mass purge of low-ranking left-wingers within the party, most notably the leader of Broxstowe council this weekend. This suggests to Mike that these articles are to mask and obscure the purge of low-ranking members by playing up the purge of a single, high-ranking member of the party. And Mike also points out the irony of a Jewish man complaining about anti-Semitism in the Labour party in a paper that explicitly supported Adolf Hitler and the BUF before the Second World War. Other bloggers, like Tom Pride, have also produced headlines from the Heil attacking Jews and Jewish immigration during the same period.

Mike discusses a comment on Twitter by Eoin Clarke, remarking on the large number of people, who have been purged, who were also going to be delegates at the Labour party conference. Mike adds that Labour First, another Blairite body, has been contacting like-minded Labour members to attend the conference, in the hope of replacing the Labour leaders’ policies with their own. This is being done in the hope that this will force him to leave, either by making it impossible for him to do his job as leader, or to make him vulnerable to criticism. This is being done as they realise that he’ll probably win the leadership election on Wednesday.

Mike concludes

This is the real dichotomy in the Labour Party at the moment.

Mr Corbyn may be accused of the most vile behaviour – falsely. Meanwhile, just look at the underhand tactics employed against him.

It isn’t what This Writer calls democracy.

See his article at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/09/11/new-angle-on-an-old-lie-the-return-of-jeremy-the-jew-hater/

There are a couple more things that can be said about these articles. Let’s deal with Joshua Simons’ article first. Part of his resentment against Corbyn and Momentum is that he believes they have a ‘visceral contempt for America and Israel’. This marks Simon out as Blairite Neocon. The Blairites were strongly in favour of the Atlantic alliance, and were partly the products of the Reaganite political initiative, the British-American Project for the Successor Generation, which wanted to guide suitable British politicians and media leaders – one of BAP’s other alumni was an editor of the Times – into a suitably pro-American stance. Reagan’s America was strongly pro-Israel, partly as psychological compensation for the America’s signal failure to win the Vietnam War. To make up for their country failing to quash the Vietnamese Communists, the American Right turned to celebrating Israel’s victories against the Arabs. And there are good reasons for despising the foreign policies of both countries. Having contempt for America’s long history of overthrowing democratic, left-wing regimes and installing brutal Fascist dictators, and Israel for its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians does not automatically make someone either anti-American or anti-Semitic. Many of the people, who despise America’s politics, admire other aspects of the country, such as its popular culture and music. And very many of Israel’s critics have been Jews. These include Harold Pinter, who was a bitter and outspoken critic of the barbarity of America’s foreign policy. The great playwright also was certainly not reticent about robustly expressing his opinions about anti-Semitism. I heard from a friend that he once decked a man in queue he was in, after this fellow said something monstrous in favour of the Holocaust.

As for the automatic connection between Israel and Jews around the world, this has been repeated a number of times by the Zionists, including Netanyahu. But it’s not true, and the ties between Israel and the Jewish community in America are becoming weaker. Norman Finkelstein has talked about how there was very little support, or even interest amongst Jewish Americans for Israel until the 1970s, and a growing number of young Jewish Americans are increasingly indifferent and critical towards it. As for his complaint that opposition to Israel leads automatically to hatred of Jews in Israel, that’s a very careful way of trying to avoid the reality that Israel was set up as the Jewish state. In this case, it is easy for Simons to claim that hostility to Israel equals hostility to Jews in Israel, as Israelis are Jews. But talking about Jews in Israel is away of trying to avoid Israel’s own self-image and identity as the Jewish state, and present it as another pluralist nation, of whom Jews are only one section of the population, and not the dominant population for whom the state itself was founded. George Galloway has pointed out that it’s difficult to avoid criticising the Israeli people for the atrocities committed by their country, as unfortunately Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition have the support of the majority of Israeli citizens.

I am also very much aware that it is unfair to hold the whole nation accountable for what Netanyahu and his supporters are doing. There are many Israelis, who have shown great courage in supporting the Palestinians. These people are also under by Netanyahu and his cronies. There was a recent poll of Israelis, which found that a majority agreed with the statement that Israelis, who sided with Arabs, should deprived of their citizenship and civil rights. Such a finding should chill anyone, who believes in democracy, pluralism and tolerance. This also adds another twist to Simons’ contention that hatred of Israel is also leading to hatred of Jews abroad. If that poll is to be believed, a fair number of Israelis also hate Jews in Israel – the Jews that protest against nearly seven decades of injustice against the Palestinians, as well as the Mizrahim, the Arab Jews, who were recruited by the Israelis as a cheap labour force, and then rigorously segregated and discriminated against in order to make them discard their Arab culture.

As for Simons’ rant about bankers, I’ve seen that used by the Republicans in America to try and rule out of bounds the entirely justified criticisms of the bankers and financiers responsible for the global financial collapse. The argument runs that as much anti-Semitism centres around the perceived Jewish control of the financial sector, then criticism of the financial sector is anti-Semitic. It’s a false syllogism. The people, who despite the financial sector, do so regardless of the particular ethnic or religious origin of its members. They’re outraged because the current financial system has destroyed the world’s economy, forced billions around the world into poverty, including destroying the economies of whole nations, like Greece, and then have the temerity afterwards to continue demanding the same bloated bonuses and pay rises for its chief executives, while shifting the burden for clearing up their mess onto the poor. But Wall Street, along with the other major corporations, heavily donate to the political parties in expectation that the politicos will enact legislation favourable to them. Shrillary Clinton is a case in point. She’s taken millions from Wall Street in fees for speeches, and is a firm proponent of the ‘light touch’ regulation that resulted in the financial collapse. Here in Britain, New Labour launched its ‘prawn cocktail offensive’ in the 1990s, aimed at gaining financial sector support, again by promising a ‘light touch’ on regulation. With exactly the same results as occurred in America. Part of Simon’s rant may also reflect Lord Levy’s role in funding the rise of New Labour. He was the link for the supply of money to Blair and his crew from the Zionist lobby.

In short, Simons’ rant is an attempt to prevent criticism of the Neocons and corporatists of New Labour. It is not a genuine response to anti-Semitism, however hard Simon tries to insinuate that there is still rampant Jew hatred in the party. His rhetorical introduction to the accusation that Corbyn corruptly traded a peerage with Shami Chakrabarti in return for her clearing the party with the words, ‘some believe’, is an age-old Fleet Street device to get round a possible libel claim. It’s not being asserted as fact, merely as a belief, which is protected under law.

As For Foster’s hit piece in the Heil, I think Mike and Eoin Clarke are exactly right. And underlying it is the same fear that New Labour and its corporate and Zionist backers are losing their grip on the party. And so Foster is doing everything he can to smear their opponents – Corbyn and his supporters – as anti-Semites, even though they aren’t, and include many Jews and activists with a long history of combating racism and anti-Semitism.

Labour Purge 2: Blairites Do the Stalin Hot-Trot

August 27, 2016

Mike put up another report on yet another disgusting assault on party democracy by the Blairites on Thursday. It’s another purge, directed at anyone who used insulting or pejorative language against other Labour members. This includes the word ‘Blairite’, whether or not the term was used correctly to mean a follower of Tony Blair, or not. This is despite the fact that there has been no notification to Labour members against the use of the term. Hundreds of Labour members have already been expelled, suspended or told they may not vote in the forthcoming leadership elections.

The bans and the censorship on which it is based are highly selective. They seem to be another attempt by the New Labour, pro-corporate, pro-austerity leadership to purge the party of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. The ban does include people like Tom Watson, and other right-wing Labour MPs and apparatchiks, who went off on a rant calling Corbynistas ‘Trotskyite dogs’, ‘rabble’, and so forth. John McTiernan has also not been expelled, despite the fact that he has threatened his detractors with violence. These expulsions are extremely one-sided.

Among the victims so far is John Dunn, the miner and member of the party for 45 years, who was thrown out because he dared to upbraid Smudger on beginning his election campaign at Orgreave, when he had done nothing to aid the miners. It also includes Jonny Will Chambers, who’s a friend and supporter of Prezza and supports Smudger, which seems to show, according to Mike, that the purge has a scattershot approach. The letters sent out to individuals telling them they’ve been purged, or the hopefuls wanting to join the party that their application has been refused, are remarkably vague. Chris Devismes, one of those, whose membership application was turned down, was refused admission because he shared ‘inappropriate content’ on Twitter. There are no further details, so it’s difficult to challenge the accusation.

Mike reports that there is already a backlash on Twitter. Prescott was annoyed about his old oppo being banned, and Rhea Wolfson is similarly unimpressed. She’s a member of the NEC, despite the attempts of the Blairite Jim Murphy, head of Labour in Scotland, to stop her, on the grounds that she had connections to that terrible anti-Semitic organisation, Momentum. Despite the fact that Momentum’s members aren’t anti-Semites, and Ms Wolfson definitely isn’t. She’s Jewish. Wolfson put this message on Twitter observing that people were being punished for social media messages they put out before joining the Labour party. Their crime was therefore not joining the Labour party before they joined the Labour party. She concluded that the party needed to show more respect to its supporters. Another member of the Twitterati, ‘Susan’, summed this up by stating that if you tweeted nice things about the Tories, you were safe. But if you tweeted anything about the parties Labour might have to work with, such as the Greens and SNP, you were out.

Mike notes that the leaflets inform their recipients on how they may appeal about their expulsion or suspension. He also advises them to contact the barrister Liz Davies, who will also try to help them. Ms Davies is at:

A guide for what to do if you haven’t received a ballot for the 2016 Labour leadership election

Mike concludes

There is a clear stink of corruption about this purge. The aim is to prevent anybody who wants to change the current Labour status quo from ever being able to do anything about it. That is wrong.

One hopes those who still have a say in the ballot will take note of what is being done and use their votes accordingly – to restore a leader who will end the corruption, remove the people responsible and restore fairness to the Labour Party.

That’s Jeremy Corbyn, of course.

The article’s at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/08/25/theyre-calling-it-labour-purge-2-corbyn-supporting-members-are-expelled-or-barred-from-voting-in-leader-poll/

This latest assault on the Corbynites by the Thatcherite entryists is ironic, given that their favourite term of abuse for Corbyn supporters has been ‘Trotskyites’. When not abusing them as ‘homophobes’, ‘misogynists’ and Nazi Stormtroopers, of course. Stalin also used purges to destroy the opposition against him and to consolidate his leadership in the Russian Communist party. He began his rise to power as the party’s secretary, which was then quite a junior post. His job was to throw out undesirables like seducers, drunks and the corrupt. What nobody realised until it was too late, was that he was throwing out the supporters of the other Bolshevik factions, and replacing them with his own loyal supporters. And once in power, the purges became lethal, as millions were hauled before firing squads and sent to the gulags on the flimsiest charges. One of those was Trotsky himself, who became an ‘unperson’. He was written out of Soviet official histories, and he and his supporters were attacked and vilified in the strongest possible terms as imperialist agents, Nazi collaborators, anti-Communist saboteurs intent on destroying the Soviet Union. Trotsky himself was forced to leave the USSR, and died in Mexico, murdered by one of Stalin’s agents.

The old brute said of his tactics ‘It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes’.

And it’s exactly the same with the New Labour leadership, which seems intent on securing their hold on the party by expelling anyone, who once looked cross-eyed at Smudger, or who doesn’t believe that a party founded to support the working class should be trying to win elections by appealing to a middle class electorate on the basis of Thatcherite policies against that class. Like cutting welfare benefits, privatisation and the selling-off of the NHS.

The Blairites’ tactics are massively counterproductive. Not only has Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal massively expanded the Labour party and shown, though various local election victories that Labour is quite capable of winning a national election. It also shows the absolute contempt for democracy for which New Labour was notorious under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Their appearances before the media were carefully stage-managed, along with very carefully crafted ‘popular consultations’, where the public was very carefully selected beforehand to agree with everything the leadership wanted. The purges are part of that shameful tradition.

By carrying them out, the Blairites, or whatever they want to call themselves, are showing the public that they haven’t changed. They’re still a faction of sham democracy and a calculated indifference to the working class and the real feelings and wishes of the general public, in order to appeal to their corporate paymasters. The more they carry on with the purges and other anti-democratic charades, the more the electorate will distrust them. They have nothing to offer Britain, but Tory policies. And like the Tories, they want what Corbyn has described as a ‘zombie democracy’: a political system that preserves democratic forms, but which is in effect a corrupt corporate oligarchy, like America.

The only real alternative is to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

Norman Finkelstein on the Coming Break-Up of American Zionism: Part 1

May 28, 2016

I’ve put up several videos recently criticising Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and examining the growing disconnection – ‘distancing’, in the jargon of the sociologists who’ve studied it – of young American Jews with Israel. The speakers in these videos have included the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, and the American historians and activists Norman Finkelstein and Elizabeth Baltzer, both of whom are descended from Holocaust survivors. As I’ve made clear in previous posts, I’ve been prompted to do this because of the smears against leading members of the Labour party – Ken Livingstone, Naz Shah and Jackie Walker, amongst others, of anti-Semitism. Those accused are not to my knowledge anti-Semites. The above three certainly aren’t. Leninspart in his 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour, states quite clearly that all forms of racism, whether against Blacks, Jews or the Irish, is the worst form of reaction, and needs to be opposed. Naz Shah has the support of her local synagogue, which would be highly unusual if she were a Nazi. And the accusation is both risible and disgusting in the case of Jackie Walker. Walker’s mother was a Black woman, who was thrown out of America because of her participation in the civil rights movement. Her father was a Russian Jew, and her partner is also Jewish. These people haven’t been accused of anti-Semitism because they are Jew-haters. They’ve been accused of anti-Semitism simply because they’ve criticised Israel for its persecution of the Palestinians. Walker was accused because she compared Black slavery to the Holocaust in a conversation with two friends, one of whom was also Jewish, on Facebook. This comment was lifted and turned against her by a pro-Israel group.

One of the things than comes out very clearly from this talk by Prof Finkelstein is that in America such accusations are wearing very thin. They don’t impress large numbers of American Jews, who can see through all the BS when it’s applied to genuinely liberal, decent politicians. An example of this is Jimmy Carter. Carter was accused of being an anti-Semite because he wrote a book about Israel with ‘Apartheid’ in the title. So the leading members of the Israel lobby, like Alan Dershowitz, began to smear him in the vilest terms imaginable. He was an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, and a supporter of terrorism. It was the kind of invective Stalin’s prosecutor, Vyshinsky, used against the victims of the purges during the show trials. Carter, who organised the Camp David peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt in the 1970s, then decided to take the battle to the Neo-Cons. He arranged a debate with Dershowitz at Brandeis University, the largest secular Jewish university in the US. Carter described it as ‘going into the lion’s den’. Even before he opened his mouth to speak, he received 3 or 4 standing ovations from the students. When it came to Dershowitz to talk, 2/3 of the students left the lecture hall before Israel’s most vocal defender in the US had even uttered a word.

And there’s more, much more. American Jews are, by and large, very liberal. American liberalism – the rule of law, the separation between church and state and so on, has allowed American Jews to prosper. As a result, the political affiliation of American Jews is almost the complete mirror image of that of Israelis. The majority of Israelis are now right-wing in the political leanings. American Jews are largely left. They also want a two-state solution to the problem of Palestine. And they are also largely opposed to the Iraq invasion. Finkelstein makes the point that American Jews were largely uninterested or opposed to the foundation of Israel, because they were afraid that it would lead to the accusation that they were more loyal to the new Jewish state than they were to their homeland of America. They seem fear of being seen as somehow treacherous, as less than patriotic, as well as other, liberal feelings and attitudes, has led them to reject both George Bush and the war in Iraq. The Israelis by and large love George Dubya. American Jews generally despise the Smirking Chimp. And 70 per cent of American Jews are opposed to the war in Iraq. This is partly out of a desire not to be seen as its authors, as the war was planned by the Republicans in America, and Israel’s Likud party.

Finkelstein also states that Americans, including American Jews, are becoming increasingly less impressed with evocations of the Holocaust. It’s been overused so much that it’s actually lost its proper emotional impact. Finkelstein discussed how rhetoric about the Holocaust was used by Netanyahu and the Israeli government to drum up support for a war with Iran over the country’s nuclear weapon’s development programme. Netanyahu repeatedly described Ahmedinijad as Hitler, and said that if the Iranians developed these weapons, it would lead to a new Holocaust in the Middle East with the destruction of Israel. Those trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Iranians were denounced as appeasers, and compared to Neville Chamberlain at Munich. And the attitude of American Jews to this was marked indifference. In a survey of Jewish Americans under 35, it was found that fifty per cent said it would not affect them if Israel was destroyed. Finkelstein himself says he is somewhat dismayed by this figure, as the destruction of any country or culture saddens him. And American Jews tend to share the rest of the world’s fears, as expressed in opinion polls, that Israel is the real threat to world peace.

Finkelstein begins his talk by discussing how American Jews were extremely uninterested in Israel in the period from 1948 – it’s foundation – to the 1967 War. He states that this was a period in which the barriers to Jewish advancement in America suddenly came down. Many institutions before 1948 would not employ Jewish scholars. He quotes Noam Chomsky as saying that the reason why MIT became such a centre of scientific excellence over Harvard, was because Harvard would not take Jewish scientists and mathematicians. So they all trooped down the road to take up positions there. As the barrier fells, Jews became far more involved in making successful lives, and living the America dream.

As a result of this, they had extremely little interest in Israel. Finkelstein quotes the great American sociologist, Glazer, whose 1957 study of the attitude of American Jews and Jewish life found that the impact of Israel on American Jewry was remarkable slight. He also discusses a survey of 30 leading American Jewish intellectuals at an academic symposium, who were asked about the situation of American Jews. Only three of them even mentioned Israel, and of those three, two only did so in order to dismiss it as of any importance. He also quotes an interview in Israel with the celebrated author, Elie Wiesel. At the time there was a fear that Jews were becoming too assimilated, and Wiesel was asked how Jews could be made to reconnect with their Jewishness. Wiesel talked about the Holocaust and the situation of the Jews in Russia. But he did not see Israel as having any use in this process.

Stalin, Ian Duncan Smith and Terror as Corporate Management Technique

January 28, 2014

Stalin

Iosip Vissarionovich Djugashvili, aka Stalin: Thuggish Dictator of the Soviet Union

Ian Duncan Smith pic

Ian Duncan Smith: Thuggish Dictator of the Department of Work and Pensions

One of the other books I’ve been reading lately is Alex De Jonge’s biography of Stalin, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union (Glasgow: Fontana/Collins 1986). During his career Stalin is estimated to have killed at least 30 million Soviet citizens – though the real figure may be a high as 45 million or over – through a series of purges and artificial famines as he transformed the Soviet Union into the military and industrial superpower that was to dominate half of Europe and challenge America for world mastery for the next fifty years. From his boyhood Stalin was a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

The son of a drunken, abusive father, who used to challenge his son to knife him when beating him and a hard mother, Iosip Vissarionovich Djugashvili, grew up dirty poor in the village of Gori in Georgia, one of the countries in the Caucasus that had been absorbed into the Russian Empire. The family lived in one room of a two-room house. The other was occupied by their landlord. He was short, only 5’4” tall, with an elbow left permanently stiff through a childhood accident. The second and third toes on one of his feet were conjoined from birth, and his faced had been left pockmarked through smallpox. This and his family’s poverty gave him strong feelings of inferiority. He soon developed a deep hatred of anyone in authority above him, and his need to dominate and utter lack of any feeling for others were commented on by his fellow students at the Orthodox Christian seminary in Tiflis, in which his parents had enrolled him. One of them remarked on how he was never known to cry, and greeted the joys and misfortunes of his fellow students alike with a sarcastic smile. Most of all, the young Stalin already was alien to basic human altruism. He could not understand how anyone could act kindly or generously to another out of the sheer goodness of their heart, without some ulterior motive. At the seminary he joined a secret Marxist discussion circle set up by some of the other students. He managed to split this between his supporters and opponents through his absolute insistence that only his interpretation of Marx’s doctrine could ever be correct.

He was also already an advocate of absolute, ruthless personal government. One of the stories about Stalin’s time at the seminary is about an essay he wrote on the fall of Julius Caesar. The history teacher had set them the question ‘Why did Caesar fall?’ Stalin’s essay looked at the question from the perspective of the organs of state power, identifying weaknesses and filling in the gaps where these could be strengthened. He stated that Rome’s greatest dictator fell, because he had allowed another source of authority and resistance, the Senate, to continue uninterrupted. The provincial governors opposed him, because they feared his power more than that of the Senate. He also made the mistake of relying on the support of friends, rather than managers, who depended on him for power and who could be relied on to do his bidding. As a result, he was assassinated by his two friends, Brutus and Cassius. When he was asked if his essay was recommending absolute monarchy, he responded by saying that it did not. Absolute monarchy was the control of the state by a single personality. In Stalin’s view, his recommendations were the exact opposite: the strengthening of state power through a single personality.

Stalin was eventually thrown out of the seminary for reading forbidden
books, like Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and Marx. He demanded that the other members of the Marxist discussion circle should likewise resign, so that they could concentrate on revolutionary activities and propaganda amongst the people. They refused, offering the excuse that they didn’t want to disappoint their parents. So Stalin denounced them all to the seminary authorities, who threw them out anyway. On their expulsion, Djugashvili told them that they were now free to pursue their revolutionary activities amongst the people. After this, the young revolutionary became a kinto, the Georgian term for a semi-criminal street hustler. His revolutionary activities included a series of bank robberies used to fund the Russian Social Democratic Party, the parent Marxist organisation which produced the Bolshevik faction, that later became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

So the pattern of Stalin’s personality and rule were present from his childhood: feelings of inferiority, hatred of authority, utter ruthlessness and a need to dominate others, with a predilection for absolute power and the willingness to use violence to obtain it.

I can’t remember if it was De Jonge’s book, but I do remember that in the 1980s the Sunday Express reviewed one of the biographies of the monster. This was done as yet another of the ‘real truth about an icon of the Left’ that the Right-wing press runs every now and again in order to discredit anyone, whose views are to the left of Maggie Thatcher. In fact, Stalin had been discredited long before the 1980s. He had been out of favour in the Soviet Union ever since the ‘Secret Speech’ of 1953, in which Khruschev denounced his ‘cult of personality’. Moreover, the old thug’s fiercest critics included not only non-Communist democrats, but also dissident Marxists like Roy Medvedev, an historian and author of Let History Judge, which exposed not only Stalin and his crimes, but also his henchmen. The book’s Russian title is, if I can remember correctly, B Dvortse Istorii, which literally translated means In History’s Court, which might have a slightly different shade of meaning. Medvedev was a democrat. He presented to Brezhnev a 12-point plan drawn up by himself and other leading Soviet dissidents like Andrei Sakharov. Nevertheless, he was a Marxist, who founded the Socialist Party of Russian Working People in 1991 in opposition to the banning of the Russian Communist party after the coup against Gorbachev.

At first sight, there appears to be very little in common between Ian Duncan Smith and Stalin. Stalin was, after all, essentially a poor street thug, who cleverly manipulated others to make his way to the very top of Soviet hierarchy. IDS is like the rest of the cabinet, a creature of privilege, who owes his position to the British class system. Nevertheless, the two share certain psychological traits in common and their management styles are very similar. In the introduction De Jonge discusses Stalin’s style of government, and rebuts the suggestion that it is somehow strange or unusual in the West. It is in the traditions of democratic government. However, it is much less unusual, and even common, when it is compared with the aggressive and ruthless management style of some company directors. These also rule by fear, though this is simply that of being sacked, rather than being sent to a forced labour camp or shot in the back of the head by the NKVD. Such chairmen are also unwilling to take advice, capricious, and surround themselves with sycophants willing to do and say anything to gain promotion, including stabbing each other in the back. And like Stalin, these company directors can turn their corporations into highly efficient, successful companies. De Jonge states

‘At first sight the country over which he and they ruled strikes Western observers as alien, as indeed it is when judged by the standards and practices of Western political democracy. However, when considered from a different point of view, much that may seem strange at first sight will strike the reader as surprisingly familiar. My interest in Stalin began many years ago, when I was in a position to compare what I knew of him with the atmosphere in a large British corporation, ruled by a chief executive who believed in management by terror. Everyone, fr4om the board of directors to the lift man, existed under the continuing threat of dismissal without warning, while sackings appeared to occur on a virtually random basis. The chairman set ambitious targets based on his intuitions, seldom listened to advice and never admitted he had made a mistake. He was surrounded by an entourage of sycophants who passed his management style down the line, subjecting their own subordinates to the same kind of bullying, with the result that the corporation operated in a terror-laden miasma of politicking, backstabbing, misrepresentation of personal achievement and the sophisticated ‘management’ of company news. Nevertheless, the technique got results, and while the chairman’s intuitive methods produced some spectacular failures, they could also be spectacularly successful. It was a world in which the dangers were colossal, but in which the rewards were commensurate with the risks.

For many years I had supposed this style of management to be unique and that those who had had the misfortune to know it were exceptionally unfortunate. However, I have come to understand that in the world of the nontenured, administration by fear, with the firing squad replaced by instant dismissal, is closer to the rule than the exception. Indeed, it appears to be the norm for any organization in which the administrators are not accountable to those under their authority and in which there is no job security. Academics tend to tr4eat STalin’s Russia as a savage and alien society that requires sophisticated analytic techniques to understand it, because tenure protects them from that perpetual threat of job loss that, with all its attendant office politics, drawn daggers and smoking guns, is part of the fabric of most peoples’ daily lives. They fail to appreciate that Soviet reality ‘begins at home’.

Now this reminds very strongly of IDS’ DWP. Let’s see, run by a bully, who governs by his own intuitions untrammelled by facts? Check. An atmosphere of fear of dismissal, with the subordinates passing this down the line to those under them? Check. Carefully managed news? Definitely check. Backstabbing? Absolutely. Furthermore, like Stalin the ultimate use of terror is the benefit sanction, in which the victim is denied state support. You can compare this to the artificial famines Stalin and his subordinates created during collectivisation, and which devastated the Ukraine in what has become known as the Holodomor. And people are similarly starving in Britain through Smith’s policies, and have died as a result. See the blog entries by Stilloaks, Mike, The Void, DEAP and Jayne Linney for this.

As for the personal psychology of the two, like Stalin IDS also appears to have an inferiority complex. There is, after all, considerable doubt whether he was actually an officer in the British army. IDS also seems to share Stalin’s intellectual vanity. Stalin became General Secretary of the Communist Party as the other Bolsheviks thought that he was too thick to present much of a threat. They believed that a Napoleonic dictator would arise after the Revolution to rule by fear. Unfortunately, they looked in completely the opposite direction, and thought it was Trotsky. Trotsky was, after all, the head of the Red Army during the Civil War, and was a far more sophisticated thinker than Stalin. And so they were looking in completely the wrong direction, while Stalin was under their noses carefully using his position to throw out anyone, who was not absolutely loyal to him. From being a thicko, who didn’t properly understand the niceties of Marxist doctrine – in the 1930s he was still supposed to be taking lessons in Dialectal Materialism – Stalin suddenly became the greatest genius of all time and all humanity, who not only understood Marx thoroughly, but had also personally solved certain problems in Plato. IDS similarly claims an intellectual ability he doesn’t possess. He has, after all, claimed to have a degree from an Italian institute of higher education, which actually doesn’t issue them.

As for spin and backbiting, it was IDS, who appears to have blamed one of his subordinates for his own mistakes. He regularly refuses to release the figures on how many people have died after being declared ‘fit for work’ by ATOS, and delayed appearing before the Work and Pensions Committee for as long as possible. Like Iosip Vissarionovich from Georgia, he also believes himself to be above the law.

And like Stalin, IDS personally likes to appear surrounded by armed thugs. When he appeared before the parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee, he was surrounded by bodyguards and armed policemen, who kept their guns trained on the public gallery, including disabled visitors and their carers. So IDS also has the old brute’s absolute contempt for the poor and most vulnerable in spades.

There are, however, some differences between the two. So far, Ian Duncan Smith and Cameron are not following Stalin in demanding mass arrests, and deportations to forced labour camps, although there are extremely ominous signs of something like them in Osborne’s plans to expand workfare. But the main difference is in success. Stalin was ruthless, but he turned the Soviet Union into the world’s second superpower. During the 1930s the country had an economic growth rate of something like 30 per cent. Vast industrial combines, such as those in the Donbass, virtually appeared overnight. The Tories, on the other hand, have consistently wrecked Britain’s industrial, manufacturing base. Osborne is claiming that we are well on the way to recovery, but this is only through a very clever manipulation of the statistics.

So IDS and his Tory party comrades have all of Stalin’s defects – the murderous ruthlessness, with absolutely none of the old psychopath’s capacity for turning the country into an industrial giant. And this is the man, who, as head of the Department for Work and Pensions, is in charge of the lives of millions of the poorest and most vulnerable.

Way back in the 19th century liberal Russians cried ‘Who can be happy in Russia?’ Under Cameron, the question can be put this side of the Baltic. ‘Who can be happy in Britain?’