Racism and Zionism in the US Left – CPGB’s lynch-mob American Ally
H/T Ross Wolfe, the Charnel House
The material below has some seriously disturbing aspects, mixed with some level of insight on more peripheral matters. It consists of a series of observations by Chris Cutrone, the leader of the US leftist organisation known as Platypus Affiliated Society, a kind of left-wing think-tank that states in its statement of purpose:
“the first task for the reconstitution of a Marxian Left as an emancipatory force is to recognize the reasons for the historical failure of Marxism and to clarify the necessity of a Marxian Left for the present and future” (http://platypus1917.org/)
First of all its is necessary to note that there is a small element of correct insight in some of this. The remarks about feminism and its incompatability with socialism, and about the related and absurd attempts of the bourgeois state, in the guise of defending women, to legislate on what constitutes ‘consent’ in sexual relations, are correct, though they will grate against many on the left who solidarise with the politics of ‘women’s rights’ as advocated by Hillary Clinton or Harriet Harman, giving the bourgeois state more power over people’s personal lives in the guise of social progress.
In fact, the intervention of the bourgeois state is in most cases worse than the problem it is aimed to cure. While socialists support the prosecution of those proven to have raped or sexually abused anyone, we emphatically oppose any stipulations by the state as to how people should behave in their personal relationships, such as the idiotic California Affirmative Consent law; some elements in New Labour wanted to do something similar in the UK a few years ago.
However, the bulk of Cutrone’s material is social-imperialist, and often racist crap, from the standpoint of the white labour aristocracy. Its justification of the role of the cops in a series of racist atrocities and killings that have underlined the fact that even despite the elevation of Barack Obama to the presidency, American capitalism still rests upon the systematic oppression of Black Americans.
The special-pleading on behalf of evidently sadistic and racist cops, including those who flagrantly strangled to death Eric Garner in broad daylight and were filmed murdering him, indicates quite clearly where he is coming from not just politically in the abstract sense, but socially. As Marx once observed: “social being determines social consciousness”.
Cutrone’s social affinity for the racist cops and their defenders among racist-inclined elements who hate and fear the black working class is evident from his approving comments about the views of elements in his own family and milieu who are either cops, or close associates of such. One would expect someone who claims to be a Marxist, and even to lecture others on the left on their supposed derelictions, to have overcome such immersion in a milieu hostile to the oppressed. But this is self-evidently not the case with Cutrone, who lectures the left (and in reality blacks) that:
“What the ‘Left’ can’t abide is that we no longer live under Jim Crow. There are no more lynch mobs.”
So the cops who strangled Eric Garner in broad daylight for selling cigarettes are not a ‘lynch mob’ and nor are those who excuse them in the judicial system. Actually, in any objective judgement they are. If you delegate the task of blatant murder and terrorism to a special armed force, instead of doing it yourself, then how is that different in principle? In reality, by his excuses for the cops who killed Garner, Cutrone is as much part of the mob that legally lynched Garner as the Grand Jury that declined to indict the cop who was filmed murdering him. Socially, Cutrone is part of the racist lynch-mob milieu. He may lack a white sheet, but that is about form, not content.
The other part of the content of Cutrone’s degenerate writings that is significant is his Zionism. He makes it very clear that he is a Zionist when he writes that:
“Antisemitism is the socialism of fools and antizionism is the anti-imperialism of fools”
and further links his white racism to his Zionism pretty explicitly, in a manner strikingly reminiscent of the UK Zionist pro-war, anti-Muslim hate blog, Harry’s Place, in the following passage:
“For as we know the oppressed cannot be expected to act politically rationally with deliberate intention. And that any- and everything the oppressed do is “revolutionary.” — This is what led to cheerleading for the Islamic Revolution in Iran, support for Hezbollah and Hamas, etc., etc., etc. — all the way back to the vicarious thrill white liberals got from listening to Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, et al., and from watching the theatrics of the Black Panthers, etc. Apolitical.”
This in many ways shows most clearly Cutrone’s contempt for elementary socialist and Marxist ideas and morality. “The oppressed cannot be expected to act politically rationally”, says this elitist, who instead identifies with chauvinist, oppressor layers such as the families of (mainly) white cops in the USA, and the Jewish-Zionist occupiers of Palestine. To him, cops and their families, and their racial prejudices, are completely rational and defensible, but the illusions of oppressed layers on the receiving end of racism are completely irrational. This needs to be called out for exactly what it is: a racist worldview that regards traditional whites and Jews as superior to the ‘irrational’ oppressed. It is a form of politics not that different to Kipling’s famous imperialist poem:
“Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.”
Of course, communists have ideological differences with the various currents that the oppressed have spontaneously generated in an attempt to deal with their oppression, whether they be black nationalists or Stalinist-influenced radicals such as those that emerged from the black struggles of the 1960s, or the Islamic radical currents that currently lead the Arab masses in resistance to Zionist oppression in the Middle East. But there is nothing irrational about oppressed sections of the working class and semi-lumpenised elements below it in black America, or workers, refugees and fellahin suffering from dispossession and aggression in supporting such figures and movements. They are deformed expressions of resistance to oppression, if they did not play that role they would not achieve mass support.
Communists must engage with those who support these forces, not uncritically, but in a spirit of critical solidarity for those struggling against oppression, knowing that, particularly in the Middle East, the long previous history of betrayal of leftist and secular forces of these struggle have led important masses to make a supremely rational, if in historical terms flawed choice, to look to traditional religious ideas and concepts as a weapon of resistance against oppression. Marx’s own observations about religion being the “heart of a heartless world”, and some extension of the logic of that in materialist terms, might actually be relevant here.
But instead we have pro-Zionist contempt from Cutrone and his white/Zionist chauvinist social standpoint. In social terms, this reflect the change in the racial hierarchy in the US, and indeed elsewhere, as analysed by Communist Explorations previously in a 2014 article titled “the Shifting Face of 21st Century Racism“, which noted that Jews have now ascended to joint first place in the racial hierarchy with the traditional, often racist-led white population.
The solidarity of Zionists with white racists is therefore natural, as indeed is the solidarity of fake leftists like Cutrone who identify with Zionism with white racist cops who murder blacks, and who have now triggered off a mass movement of resistance by black youth and workers who with utter rationality reckon that the cosmetic change of having a black face in the White House ought to result in real equality on the ground, and some basic respect and humanity from the state. The bourgeois state, however, does not do respect and humanity except by way of exception when the ruling class fears something worse. Real equality for blacks will require the destruction of the racist bourgeois state.
Cutrone’s social imperialism is clearly shown by his musings on the Scottish referendum, and on Obama’s ‘bourgeois revolutionary” role in the Middle East.
“Scotland independent would reinforce lame ‘anti-imperialism’ that equates capitalism with the U.S. and U.K. — and Israel! Any defeat — any discouragement — for the fake ‘Left’ is good: They need to recognize the dustbin to which they’ve consigned themselves.”
This is a terrible argument against Scottish independence, even if there is a faint element of truth in it. The faint element of truth is that an independent Scotland, unless it were actually a workers state – an unlikely scenario – would actually be a new imperialist statelet, not ‘anti-imperialist’ at all. Marxists are for real blows to imperialism, not illusory ones such as Scottish independence that also splinter the working class and thus help imperialism.
But the sneering at the idea that the US, the UK — and Israel — are the world’s premier imperialist forces, and dealing real blows to them are the highest priority of Marxists – is a key indicator both of Cutrone’s pro-Zionist chauvinism and social imperialism.
And the material about Obama as a ‘bourgeois revolutionary’ in the Middle East is again, a novel application of the ‘White Man’s burden’, Obama’s personal African heritage notwithstanding. It is about imperialism’s ‘civilising mission’, and again completely congruent both with traditional imperialism and colonialism, and the newer type of Jewish-Zionist neo-conservatism, reflecting the rise of Jews up the racial hierarchy in the imperialist countries, most notably the US and Britain.
Cutrone is hardly an appropriate collaborator for people who claim to be renewing socialism and Marxism for the 21st century. Far from being an advance, his ideas are a reversion. He is like a latter-day American version of H.M Hyndman, the racist late 19th/early 20th Century pro-imperialist ‘socialist’ whose chauvinism played such a damaging role in the early history of British Marxism. Criticising this kind of pro-imperialist excrescence is a key part of renewing Marxism, and disaffected Platypus member Ross Wolfe is to be commended for making this public.
As a scandal, this is far worse than the scandal of the chauvinist remarks by James Robertson, the leader of the Spartacist League/US, that erupted in the late 1970s. Cutrone is like Robertson on steroids. For Robertson’s remarks did not detract from the fact that, while his organisation decayed into a sect with the capacity to deform and destroy many of those unfortunate enough to join it, it did not have wider social and political repercussions. It was a localised, almost personal tragedy due to in the main to prolonged political isolation and a kind of politically senile decay. It also did not imply any ongoing solidarity with the US imperialist state, but rather an eccentric flawed ‘leftism’ laced with a chauvinist element that undermined its best impulses.
This does not have such contradictions. It is a disgusting symbol of how softness on Zionism, on specifically Jewish racism and chauvinism, leads to outright decay of the left into de-facto apologetics for racist terrorism and old-style racist lynch law in the imperialist countries. It needs to exposed, combated and rooted out of the left.
CC [Chris Cutrone] HIGHLIGHTS
“The recent verdict is predictably causing waves on the pseudo-“Left” with its identity politics. But there is a problem with all the public opinionating, which really has no bearing on the disposition of the legal case.”
“We will never know what happened that night in Florida. There was definitely a physical altercation between the two men. Whether that means self-defense as justification or not is a very specific issue. It is a legal issue, not a common-sense morality issue, whether Zimmerman was guilty of a crime in the purview of the state… it’s also not a political issue.”
“It is not the case that the law in the U.S. today is stacked against people racially. Not really.”
“Was this a case of “racial profiling?” Well, this is a not the same matter for civilians as it is for police. One cannot prosecute someone for having racist opinions. The question is whether racist attitudes is a political issue.”
“What if Zimmerman had been black? Would this have made it any less a crime? For most killing of black people by civilians justified by self-defense is by other black people. And many if not most black people have the same assumptions about young black men as potentially being criminals as anyone else does.”
“This case would only have been potentially political if Zimmerman had not been prosecuted by the state. That would have potentially (but not necessarily!) shown some racial discrimination. But a not guilty verdict doesn’t mean this. Especially because the jury was racially mixed. (We’ve long since passed the time of all-white juries!)”
“What the “Left” can’t abide is that we no longer live under Jim Crow. There are no more lynch mobs. At the same time, there are real issues of self-defense — not “vigilante justice” — in this case. As I wrote below, most (nearly all) cases of black people deemed legally to have been killed in self-defense are by other black people. So, the idea that Trayvon Martin’s killing and George Zimmerman’s acquittal means “open season on black youth” is demagogical, to put it politely.”
Aug 18, 2014
“What is remarkable now is that the police haven’t killed anyone further in the rioting… If Antisemitism is the socialism of fools and antizionism is the anti-imperialism of fools, then this rioting — not the protesting! — is the antiracism of fools.”
“About Michael Brown’s shooting,, it turns out that Brown was shot while police searched an area immediately after the strong-arm robbery of a store in which Brown is suspected. Racial profiling is a different sort of problem if there is a specific lookout for someone in particular. Especially if the person shot is an actual suspect and likely guilty of a crime. This is not to say that Brown deserved to be shot or that the police are excused in their actions, but it does change the political issues involved and the question of the role of the police. I recall that in the wealthy Glen Ellyn
suburb of Chicago while I was living in nearby Wheaton, the police shot and killed a naked man in a call to a domestic dispute. He was white. No charges were filed against police. It was not in the national news.”
“We need to see however distorted the expression of deeper and broader discontents and not only or even primarily among blacks in these protests, while recognizing that as mere protests they remain unpolitical.”
Aug 13th, 2014:
“As my brother who is a cop put it, if he needs using his bare fingers to gouge someone’s eyes out to stop them, this is all legal. If might not be according to departmental code, but it is legal. And not only when on paid shift duty, but at all times 24/7 a police officer is deputized by the state to exercise the monopoly of violence. And violence may legally be used to prevent a crime — any crime, including robbery — and not only in selfdefense. It is only civilians not police who are required to meet the threat of violence with “proportionate force.” The bottom line is that any police
officer will defend themselves against any bodily harm whatsoever and are legally sanctioned as well as equipped by the state to do so.”
“But if you need someone to be armed, then that’s the police only. Like it is commonly said, everyone hates the police until they need them! …The point is not to be surprised when rioters are shot down on the streets by the police. And for the police to protect themselves while doing so. It’s not pretty, but it’s reality. And it’s legal.”
Dec 6, 2014:
“there is a recipe for a no-win situation here acknowledged by the article — that police will feel unfairly blamed for doing their (miserable, mean, as well as very dangerous) jobs, while people will feel unjustly targeted for
“The problem is that the attempt to alibi the resulting popular “rage” ends up justifying what will inevitably happen: that people will resist police harassment and get killed (or just beat up) for it. And they will not be prosecuted for any crime in doing so because they will not have committed any crime! …The fact that 6 cops killed Eric Garner on video is precisely what made it impossible to prosecute them for any crime — they did what they did collectively in full public view. So they knew that they were not committing a crime. No “men rea” hence no crime.”
“This is precisely the problem, that there is a (entirely false) polarization between peaceful/violent protest in anxiousness to defend the “violence” by pointing to “underlying causes” i.e. “decades of pent-up anger” trumps
all political considerations of strategy/tactics. — As usual, “revolution” is reduced to “violent outburst.” But how can *teenagers* have “decades” of anger?! — Why not just say the usual, that everything wrong in the Americas can be attributed to “500 years of racist sexist patriarchy?”
For as we know the oppressed cannot be expected to act politically rationally with deliberate intention. And that any- and everything the oppressed do is “revolutionary.” — This is what led to cheerleading for the Islamic Revolution in Iran, support for Hezbollah and Hamas, etc., etc., etc. — all the way back to the vicarious thrill white liberals got from
listening to Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, et al., and from watching the theatrics of the Black Panthers, etc. Apolitical.”
Nov 25th, 2014
More on riots:
“Indeed, my family — my brother’s (who’s a police officer) wife and my husband — were more horrified by the riots than by the killing of Michael Brown. We need to find the “rational kernel” in that. It consists in the idea that mass/mob violence — even if only against property but certainly violence against persons — or how the media
describes it “disorder” is indeed worse than occasional abuses of people by police. It’s understood that that police regularly use force including unjustifiably, but that everyday people are expected to be peaceful. Police are terrifying,
but ordinary civilians ought not to be. What people like my sister-in-law and husband are expressing is their
desire not to live in fear — when they hear protesters chanting “no justice, no peace,” they can only hear that now they need to fear black people who are rejecting living peaceably with others.”
Feb 14, 2014
“Another way of putting it is that Feminism is the adaptation to the *defeat* of gender and sexual emancipation — the defeat of socialism. Being a Feminist means being an advocate of the defeat of socialism. Period.”
“Feminism was a symptom of social-historical regression, and it would have been better if it had been avoided.”
On Sexual Assault
Sep 30, 2014
“I will reiterate: If people always had to explicitly say “yes” to sex, even in relationships (as in Stefan’s example), then sex would happen far less than it does — which seems the objective of laws such as these! College should be a time of risky experimentation, precisely because it an environment whose relative safety allows for dangerous behavior that is relatively benign (for example college sports).”
“There are in practice many times in which regarding sex “no means yes.” To fail to recognize this is to not recognize the psychology of not only sex but emotional as well as physical intimacy.
The evil of this is that it short-circuits the very real anti-sex attitude of society: because people are encouraged to say no and stigmatized for saying yes to sex, this will drive the problem further underground: for there will inevitably be occasions in which “yes means no.”
On Scotland Referendum
“I personally didn’t care one way or the other. But the outcome is good, I think. The U.K. doesn’t need to be brought down or broken up — it’s a sidekick to the U.S. That’s why it needs to remain as it is… The U.S. supports the EU as a stabilizing structure of Pax Americana. The U.K. in the EU helps ensure that. Thus there will be no European defense
force but only NATO as a UN-approved regional security force — that is authorized to intervene globally as far as Afghanistan!
No, Scotland independent would reinforce lame “anti-imperialism” that equates capitalism with the U.S. and U.K. — and Israel! Any defeat — any discouragement — for the fake “Left” is good: They need to recognize the dustbin to which they’ve consigned themselves.”
Obama as a bourgeois revolutionary vis-a-vis Syria: “It is not barbarians at the gates of civilization from which society is threatened but the dynamic force of change in capitalism which the rulers must however reluctantly obey. The U.S. is called to leadership because no one else can or will take political responsibility for the world changed
by capitalism. If Obama doesn’t want this war, it is because he doesn’t want the revolution that he is nonetheless tasked with leading. The “Left” by contrast are not the more willing revolutionaries but rather the
You’ve proven Cuttrone’s despicability, but it’s not clear to me (perhaps I’m just out of the loop) how the CPGB has allied with Platypus. Mike Macnair has debated Cuttrone, which seemed to me a waste of time and space, but I didn’t see any attempt to ally, Macnair being contemptuous of Cuttrone (although not contemptuous enough).
It’s also revealing of Cuttrone’s reactionary subjectivism that so harsh an enemy of feminism as is he is apparently enraptured with “gay liberation”: his “husband.” (“More on riots” section.)
The CPGB is contemptuous of formal international ties between small groupings, deriding such things as ‘oil-slick internationals’. It does not have really have any formal ties therefore. Its relations are pretty informal. But that does not mean they do not exist. If a particular trend is repeatedly invited to public events and treated as an honoured guest, as opposed to other trends that are treated with contempt and smeared, and when representatives both trends join in such denunciation of anti-imperialism and even ‘anti-semitism’, it is not unreasonable to call them allies over those questions at least (which both trends regard as pretty important).
Mike McNair is also the leader of a minority in the CPGB that openly rejects Lenin’s theory of imperialism, among other things. It is difficult therefore to positively pin his views on the CPGB majority trend. But they do appear to act in a very broad sense as allies on the international arena, with their common pretence of openness to debate and their common anti-anti-imperialism. Therefore in a broad brush sense, I think it is appropriate to refer to them as allied trends. That does not imply that they have fused, many alliances are much more loose and informal than that.