Weekly Worker still refuses to condemn Galloway assault: bans criticism
The following letter was sent to the Weekly Worker on 29th March, in reply to a rather stunted and pathetic letter from CPGB member Phil Kent, published on 19 March. Weekly Worker editor Peter Manson initially promised to publish it, despite his attempt to ridicule its contents, but supposedly having ‘slept on it’ changed his mind and announced that it contained ‘nonsense’ that could not be published. See the whole exchange that follows the letter, which casts light on their motivation in refusing to print the letter, which is published below the letter itself in the interests of the ‘openness’ that the CPGB/WW falsely lay claim to.
Among the ‘nonsense’ that could not be published was the allegation, which is irrefutable from an examination of the archive of the Weekly Worker, that WW had failed to condemn the assault on George Galloway MP by the Jewish extremist thug Neil Masterson last August 29th. This is not an academic question; since it is a matter of public, timestamped record that while I was still a member of the Communist Platform, on 8 September 2014, I had published/reblogged material on this website strongly condemning this assault and had strongly urged the CPGB to publicly condemn this assault. The CPGB did nothing of the sort. Instead it hounded me out of the Communist Platform with phoney allegations of ‘anti-semitism’, at its meeting on 14th September.
It can be recalled that one of the motives for the assault on Galloway was also false allegations of ‘anti-semitism’ for his championing of Arab causes. The timing of the assault, just after Israel’s Gaza massacre, and the CPGB’s failure to condemn this assault at the same time they were engaged in a heresy-hunt against supposed ‘anti-semitism’ in their periphery, strongly suggests a connection between the two matters.
In fact, it is as close to conclusive proof, a smoking gun, as you ever get in politics. The CPGB refused to condemn the assault on Galloway because it sympathised with the view of the attacker that those who get ‘too’ angry about Palestinians being murdered by Israel ‘must’ be motivated by anti-Jewish racism. Similar motives, in other words, for why prominent parliamentarians including Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, and even Labour’s left MPs failed to condemn this assault, with the only honourable exception being the Green MP Caroline Lucas.
And those so branded and smeared do not for the CPGB deserve the elementary norms of workers democracy, whether it be solidarity against a criminal assault by a fascistic thug like Neil Masterson, or the right to argue for a Marxist analysis on the Jewish Question within the Communist Platform.
What is irrational is that Manson says that I “ought to know” that the CPGB really does condemn this assault (in a private email intended for my eyes only). The problem is that if this were really their position, the simplest way to express it would be to publish the letter and say in reply: “this is incorrect, we have been remiss in not saying so, but we do condemn this assault unequivocally”. That would be the rational response to such a criticism were Manson (and his boss Conrad, who no doubt changed his mind for him on publishing the letter) capable of rationality and honesty on this question. But as I point out at the end, the upshot of this suppression of criticism is that once again, they fail to publish a public condemnation of this incident, even when particularly sharply challenged to do so. Intelligent people can draw their own conclusions as to why that is.
One further point is worth considering: what is the difference between running something that claims to be an open forum for debate on the left, and yet refusing to publish criticism that is found offensive, yet is relevant and about current issues; and calling a supposedly public meeting, and when someone with the ‘wrong’ politics puts their hand up to speak, deliberately ignoring them? The latter was, and probably still is, the practice of the SWP. How is this kind of behaviour, in a written ‘open’ forum, really different from that practice?
Letter to WW: Phil Kent and ‘red mist’ (29 March 2015)
Phil Kent (19 March), trying to fill in for the failure of more substantial figures such as Jack Conrad to justify the Jewish-Zionist chauvinism that pervades the CPGB’s practice, indulges in religious fetishism. He writes that I am blinded by ‘red mist’, so angry at the slaughter and abuse of the Palestinians as to excuse ‘holocaust deniers’. It’s much worse than that, Phil. Thanks to the use of the Nazi genocide (a.k.a. “Holocaust”) as a propaganda trump card to justify murder and ethnic cleaning of Arabs by Jews, large numbers of Arabs and a minority of principled anti-racists of Jewish origin, are so angered that they are inclined to disbelieve not only the instrumentalism of the genocide, but the event itself.
“Throwing the baby out with the bathwater” is a common mistake in instances where a poisonous mixture of truth and lies about history is used to justify contemporary crimes. The reaction of many to Stalinism is a case in point. It is a commonplace that such things need to be debated fearlessly. But Phil opposes this for Israel and the genocide. He regards the latter as like the Holy Grail.
This is because of his pro-Zionist chauvinism, which he learned from his guru Jack Conrad. JC, understanding little of the Middle East and the Jewish Question, defers to would-be ‘Marxist’ promoters of identity politics (Jewish identity as something ‘progressive’ in a transcendental sense), such as Machover and Greenstein. These people vote with their feet against the CPGB’s ‘party project’ – simply by failing to join it or any other ‘Leninist’ party. Thus the ‘party’ has no independent view of the Middle East, possibly the most strategic conflict in the world today, but depends on nebulous ‘sympathisers’. Lenin would have been quite scathing about this.
Phil is saying : ‘Don’t get too angry about Arabs being massacred by Jews, because Jews are more important than Arabs in the scheme of things anyway. If you get too angry about Arabs dying, that is a terrible thing, that leads to ‘anti-semitism”, and questioning of the holocaust.”
For Phil, the Jews who died in the genocide three generations ago now, are far more important than the Arabs who are dying today, or being ethnically cleansed at Israel’s hands. No doubt he takes his cue from Moshe Machover, who during last year’s “Operation Protective Edge”, sternly lectured me on the need to be ‘sensitive’ in criticising the involvement of Jews in such crimes. This ‘sensitivity’ was for him vital because there were still Jews around who had “lost their entire families”.
The chauvinism involved in this is obvious: it is necessary to be ‘sensitive’ about crimes committed by Jews today, destroying many entire Arab families, because three generations ago, Jews suffered similar things. So once again, the past trumps the present. Jewish suffering (past) is more important than Arab suffering today.
This is what Gilad Atzmon rightly calls “The Primacy of Jewish Suffering”. It is a racist ideology, also shared by Phil Kent, Jack Conrad, Moshe Machover, and many others in the CPGB, as well as being widespread among other capitulators to Zionism on the British and international left.
Mike McNair wrote recently that the reason for significant numbers of young people of Asian/Muslim immigrant origin being ‘radicalised’ and travelling to Syria to join the Islamic State movement had to do with the failure of the left. He also wrote of the response of those youth to seeing images of Western crimes against Arab and Muslim people on TV, social media, etc:
“Many of the women whose social media output is reviewed … reported ‘radicalisation’ as a result of the images of the grotesque and inhuman results of high-tech ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza … It is profoundly important to recognise that this is not an irrational or deviant response. It is elementarily human to care about others; to care about children; to care about fairness. It is fundamental to recognise that liberalism, besides its real effect, also serves merely as a bullshit banner under which the states of ‘the west’ are engaged in unjust wars, in exporting death and destruction wholesale and on an industrial scale beside which IS atrocities are peanuts.
“The fact that young women in east London – or their male compeers – are not directly and personally affected by this regime (indeed, they have at a certain level benefited from it in terms of education, health services, and so on) does not in the least alter the fact that it is rational and human to seek by any means necessary to end it.
IS and similar groups seem to offer a remedy for the overthrow of the regime: resist, fight, through fighting unite the Muslims in a caliphate which can overthrow the imperial powers. They appear to be doing something: fighting back. Who could not be moved by it?” (26 Feb)
Maybe Phil Kent should go and lecture these youth about ‘red mist’ concerning atrocities against Arabs and Muslims, and the dreadful consequences of such excessive anger. One key component of the left’s failure in providing a political alternative attractive to these youth is its capitulation to Jewish-Zionist chauvinism, and its utter contempt for Muslims and Islamic culture in general.
In this regard, it is comical that the CPGB (and Phil) pontificate about ‘violence in the workers movement’. Phil does so in order to cover up for Greenstein’s sometime threats to strong arm those on the left who engage with Gilad Atzmon. But symptomatic of this, the CPGB cannot even condemn violence against a prominent working-class politician, George Galloway, by a perpetrator outside the workers movement entirely, the fascistic Jewish extremist Neil Masterson, last August.
The reason is that Jack Conrad thinks Galloway got what he deserved. Galloway is for him too supportive of Arab causes to deserve elementary solidarity as a figure of the left; this has been his real view for a long time. How else to explain the naivety of Paul Demarty, who at the 14 September Communist Platform meeting was adamant that such condemnation would be in print in the next issue. It never appeared. Conrad’s word is law; it overrides class principles every time.
Even Tony Greenstein showed more principle over another, more recent, Zionist attack on Galloway’s democratic rights than the CPGB, publishing quite a decent account of the recent Question Time furore on his blog (see http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/bbc-set-up-of-george-galloway-fails.html). Nothing, again, from the CPGB on any media about this. Amazing that the CPGB’s failures in this regard can even make Tony Greenstein look good.
First response by Peter Manson (WW Editor) – 29 March
“Jack Conrad thinks that Galloway got what he deserves.” Even by your (rather irrational) standards of late, that’s a bit much, isn’t it, Ian? I will publish this as it is if you like (allowing for cuts for space reasons, obviously), but let me know if you have second thoughts. Peter
Response to Peter Manson by myself: 29 March
If you have an alternative explanation of WW’s failure to even mention this criminal assault since it happened on [29th] August last year, I’d like to hear it.
Its not unreasonable to condemn this assault, is it? Perhaps Galloway is not important enough. But you have spent lots of time attacking him in the past. I note that neither he, or the Respect party, is mentioned in your General Election article, despite the fact that he is highly likely to not only win his seat, but be the only real leftist to do so nationally.
I know that Paul Demarty was in favour of condemning it, and he was under the impression that a condemnation was going to be published last September.
So why did it not appear? Was he overruled? If so, by whom? Who has the power to do that? Only Jack Conrad in my judgement.
No second thoughts Peter. It is much less outrageous than Phil’s allusions to the Spart business. Since I repudiated this in 1999, that was pure ad hominem, unlike any of the political criticisms that Tony Greenstein has been whining about (actually I say something nice about him in this letter – which is sincerely meant, by the way).
You have a terrible phobia of George, JC personally made the decision to run Dave Osler’s scab article in April 2003 while you were in [a distant country] and I in [another distant location]. He played a Roberston-like role in your absence and crossed the class line. Mike McNair has admitted in writing that that article crossed the class line.
It is reasonable to deduce that he did the same here.
As for irrationality, your article that compared my views with those of Hitler wins the award. But really it the Werner Cohn award for liberal politics on the Jewish Question, political narrow-mindedness and superficiality. Ronnie Kasrils has more understanding of this question than you do. Read his stuff. Read Abram Leon, Israel Shahak, Gilad Atzmon, Shlomo Sand, Marx on the Jewish question. No Hitler-type politics there.
Your political understanding of the Jewish Question is hardly more advanced that the people who put out the Guardian.
Anyway, I use the principle of Occam’s Razor here, which JC is well familiar with, even if he misuses it a lot. If my explanation is not true, what is the explanation?
Moshe Machover thinks GG is comparable to Enoch Powell. That is garbage. It implies hatred of Galloway’s electoral base and an equation of it with Powell’s racist electoral base. A Harry’s Place style Jewish chauvinist position.
But MM does not control the CPGB, as the Pearson case reveals. If JC agrees with him about GG, then WW refusing to condemn the assault is consistent and logical. As JC does control the CPGB.
I once witnessed Bob Smith, a long-deceased former-IMGer, assault one of Powell’s cohorts, in the presence of Powell himself, outside an advertised Powellite public event in Birmingham. Powell himself was a near-geriatric at that time and even to Bob, hitting him would have been immoral. Not because of his politics, but because of his age and frailty – it could have been fatal.
But you get my point – if JC agrees with Moshe that GG is like Powell, then the failure of the WW to condemn the attack by Masterson is logical and consistent.
You are very loyal, Peter, but also often very naive…
Peter Manson – First follow-up (29 March)
I’m sorry, Ian, you have lost the plot.
Peter Manson – Second follow up (30 March)
Having slept on it, I realise I was wrong to say I would publish your latest absurd claims. I will not do so. Everyone in the CPGB condemns the attack on Galloway, as you (ought to) know. Below is the email I have just sent to our e-caucus.
[to CPGB internal E-Caucus]
Below is Ian’s latest diatribe, in which he not only accuses the CPGB of pro-Jewish racism, but claims, of the attack on George Galloway last year, that “Jack Conrad thinks Galloway got what he deserves”. Since he has refused my request to withdraw this scurrilous accusation, it can serve no purpose to publish this nonsense.
[Follows my original letter to WW – see earlier in this item]
Final response to Peter Manson (30 March)
If you really do condemn it, it would be simple to say so in the paper.
By refusing to publish my ‘scurrilous’ letter, you very conveniently lose the opportunity to say, in the paper, “we condemn this”. in other words, you fail to condemn it yet again.
How convenient. But in another sense, how irrational. You still say nothing official about this. which is no doubt the intention.
If there was any doubt that the CPGB refuses to defend Galloway, it was settled when comrade Manson reneged on your letter, which would have forced their comment on the avoided subject. What other excuse? That it contained “nonsense”? When they’re printing letters debating whether reptiles run the world? And why else would it be so important to avoid printing the letter after it had already been accepted for publication? Unreliable behavior of that sort isn’t comradely.
But you have it wrong. This is simply another example of the most common Opportunist failure to defend: avoidance of association (as when they refused to publish any articles that you write, over fear of taint). The CPGB is unusual among the sects as having for its leader a tactician (rather than theoretician). Everything is reduced to tactics. I can almost see it in print: “Whether we publish a defense in a given instance is a matter of tactics, not principle.”
But Conrad subjectively in sympathy with the Zionist attacker? One thing that’s not is a conclusion dictated by the law of parsimony.
Well, it might not be parsimonious to say this, but it does seem probable. Consider: the CPGB is a free agent, as are the parliamentary leaders of the three main political parties in the UK parliament, who also conspicuously failed to condemn a violent criminal assault on a five-times elected member of their own assembly. It is reasonable to conclude also that the reason that they failed to condemn this attack was because they also considered that Galloway in some way deserved it. On the other hand, maybe the reason why nothing was said by any of the Labour Left, many of whom had worked with Galloway in the Stop the War Coalition and other campaigns, was fear and cowardice in the face of the pro-Israel faction in the Labour Party (Note that there is a reference on the Stop the War website to a letter from STW people to Galloway, signed by Labour Left MP Jeremy Corbyn, condemning the assault – but this appears non-public).
That this was the case for the British establishment was borne out during Galloway’s appearance on BBC Question Time in February, where a bunch of aggressive Jewish Zionists in the specially invited and filtered audience openly taunted him about the assault. No-one from the other on the show, which included the Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland and the Labour shadow minister Tristram Hunt, and the veteran BBC anchor David Dimbleby, saw fit to even admonish them for that when it was flaunted in their faces. I think there are ample grounds therefore to say the same about them.
So it is just cowardice, or something worse. What are they afraid of .. being seen to be principled defenders of free speech for other members of the workers movement, which is actually what they claim to be. Why is that something to be frightened of?
I don’t really think the contention that they did this in some way out of fear makes much sense. Fear of whom? Did the sole MP to publicly condemn the assault, the Green MP Caroline Lucas, suffer opprobrium for it? Not that I can discern. I can only conclude it is dislike of GG himself that led them to this position, and still does.
Fear of what? The same outcome they feared if they printed your articles (not letters). Being shunned by the Jewish-chauvinist left. [Do you find that Conrad is generally as subjectivistic as your take suggests?]
But printing (say) my draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism (which they should, even by their own practices, have published as it was submitted to a formal meeting in the correct manner), is not quite the same thing as condemning a beating against the only left-of-Labour MP in the British workers movement.
The former is contentious at some level. The latter is elementary. Would they have been shunned by the Jewish chauvinist left simply for condemning the actions of Neil Masterson? Read the article by Tony Greenstein, linked to in my letter, condemning later political attacks on Galloway. It really is not bad. He hardly seems bothered about this particular ‘shunning’. And he is not free from Jewish chauvinism himself, though in a contradictory way.
I don’t think social pressure from the Jewish milieu accounts for this. How subjective is JC? Occasionally very, I think, particularly where Galloway is concerned. This is in some ways history repeating itself regarding the Daily Telegraph libel against Galloway over “Saddam’s Gold” in 2003, when JC’s first impulse was effectively to side with the Daily Telegraph, and publish an article by a non-member, Dave Osler, saying GG was guilty and ‘the left should lead the condemnation’.
In between, wild political swings and sometimes zig-zags far to the left. But yes, I do think there is a strong subjective element to this, and my theory does make sense in a way that the idea that it is simply ‘fear’ does not. Why not say anything against the assault even now? If this is just cowardice, it is extreme cowardice.