by Ian Donovan
(Reblogged from Socialist Fight)
Socialists (and anti-racists more generally) have to confront the role of political Zionists as the chief promoters of open racism today. This means open racism, not racism in general. There are many other types of racists active in the advanced capitalist countries, but with the exception of the political Zionists they largely operate in an obscured, cryptic manner in terms of political discourse.
We have to do this because we do not reduce all questions involving oppression in a vulgar manner to economic relations alone. Working class politics is more complex than that, and class and social antagonisms are refracted through, and often obstructed by, a substantial overlay of questions resulting from other complex types of oppression that cannot be simply reduced to ‘class’. As Lenin put it over a century ago, when dealing with often very different concrete questions, but of the same type:
“the Social-Democrat’s ideal should not be the trade union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects” (https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/iii.htm)
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/)
This is reblogged from Socialist Fight‘ s website:
“The Jewish bourgeois were exceptionally well-suited for capitalist success because the social role of Jews as commodity-traders, and later money-traders and lenders: a ‘people-class’ in the phrase of Abram Leon, the great Belgian-Jewish Marxist theorist of the Jewish question, in medieval Europe prior to the emergence of capitalism, gave them the cultural advantage of a much older tradition in commodity economy than the ‘native’ ruling classes.”
Zionism is the cutting edge of bourgeois reaction today. It is not simply a Middle Eastern matter, but plays a major role in the politics of advanced capitalist countries with much larger populations and formal social and economic weight than Israel. It is not possible for political people not to notice this today; those who do downplay its significance act from social conditioning, not addressing the real world.
I reprint below first an email/letter received today from the Disputes Committee of Left Unity, followed by my response. The contents speak for themselves. It appears that there had been a complaint along the lines of the smear about ‘anti-semitism’ that nearly a year ago was the occasion for a witch-hunt in the Communist Platform, a ‘communist’ grouping within Left Unity, to the National Council of Left Unity itself.
I cannot definitively say who the complaint came from, as I was not officially informed of the existence of the complaint until the investigation of the Disputes Committee had exonerated me. But from some gossip and rumours that had appeared on one or two scurrilous Zionist-inclined blogs, it does seem likely that the complainant was Salman Shaheen, one of the elected principal spokespeople of the party. It is also possible that the complainants were the Provisional Central Committee of the CPGB. Though I think that is unlikely, since repeatedly when challenged to substantiate his allegation that I had a ‘retrograde attitude to Jews’, including in the pages of the Weekly Worker, their leader Jack Conrad responded with … deafening silence.
The following text is the rewritten statement of political purpose of Socialist Fight, a magazine initiated by a grouping led by comrade Gerry Downing, a long time Trotskyist whose political origins were in the Workers Revolutionary Party. The magazine has now broadened out its political basis and I have agreed to join the editorial board. This re-written statement contains some important departures from some characteristic political weaknesses of the Trotskyist movement.
In particular, attention should be drawn to items 20 and 21 in the statement, which in effect argue for a different type of party model from that of the Trotskyist movement, and indeed different also from that movement’s progenitors in the early Communist International. In explicitly recognising the right of members of a revolutionary party – which we seek to build – to engage in public debate, criticism and disagreement about matters of theoretical analysis, and about strategy and tactics, the statement goes beyond the flawed model of the Third (and by political inheritance, the Fourth) International.
Below is a statement produced by Alison Weir, the American journalist and writer, and founder of the campaigning organisation If Americans Knew, which campaigns in defence of the Palestinian people against both Israeli oppression and ethnic cleansing, and against the very powerful Jewish/Zionist bourgeois layer that wields great power in US politics against anyone who criticises Zionism’s crimes.
Alison Weir is not a Marxist, indeed she appears to be driven by consistent liberal and civil libertarian principles in her defence of Palestinian rights. She is fearless in that she touches on questions that many proclaimed Marxists, even those who regard themselves as fervent opponents of Israel and the Zionist project, fear to address. Ms Weir’s work, meticulously researched and footnoted, particularly her important work ‘Against Our Better Judgement’ whose argument is summarised by her in the fascinating video also embedded in his article, documents important historical facts.
The Middle East, Zionism and the Jewish Question
The following is the second reply to the RCIT referred to in the introduction to ‘Party, Programme and Practice’ earlier. The letter from the RCIT being replied to is again included as an addendum.
Thank you for your letter on Israel and the Jewish Question, and my apologies for not replying to you earlier. I replied to you on other matters earlier, and hopefully we can discuss those matters and indeed these when the opportunity arises, …
I do appreciate your anti-Zionist positions and had no intentions of saying anything against them. [Particularly your position] on the nature of Israel in denying that it can be called a real nation, despite some features in common with nations in the classic sense, because of its denial of its own nationhood. That seems to me to be correct.
In his presentation and summary to the day-school of Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) last Saturday afternoon (30 May), broadly devoted to the negotiations between Iran and the United States and the continuing possibility of an attack on Iran by Israel and the United States, Moshe Machover, the would-be Marxist Israeli professor and supporter of the Communist Platform of Left Unity, was compelled to make significant concessions to the analysis of the Jewish Question put forward by Communist Explorations.
Machover was engaged in a polemic against those who ostensibly believe in the so-called “tail wagging the dog” thesis regarding the power and influence of Israel over United States policy in the Middle East. He criticised Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, authors of the famous book on the Israel Lobby, as well as the left-wing author James Petras, for their arguments for the idea that the level of Israeli influence on American foreign policy and its actions contradicted some way actual US interests in a bourgeois sense. It has long been the contention of some on the left like Machover, who wish to avoid a concrete debate on this question, that these contentions amount to some kind of bizarre ‘conspiracy theory’ and thereby transcend rationality, if they do not actually amount to ‘anti-semitism’.
The following leaflet was distributed at a London dayschool of HOPI this afternoon. A fuller report of some of the discussions at this meeting will be posted when time allows. But this content of the leaflet speaks for itself in terms of the politics of HOPI’s initators, the Communist Party of Great Britain/Weekly Worker.
This day-school of Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) epitomises the politics of its initiators, the CPGB/Weekly Worker. A body dedicated to solidarity with the working class in Iran is in principle a good, if narrow, project.
The working class of the entire Middle East needs solidarity in many ways, against imperialist aggression and despotic and dictatorial regimes, pro-Western and ‘radical’. That Iran, not even its working class, but its ‘people’ is singled out as more deserving than elsewhere, reflects the CPGB’s ‘third camp’ ideology that treats ‘radical’ bourgeois regimes targeted by imperialism as co-equal with the imperialists themselves.
I am taking the liberty of republishing this, not because I agree with everything in it, but because it contains a great deal of profound material that Marxist critics of Zionism and its supporters, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the advanced capitalist world, ought to find invaluable.
This is despite Atzmon’s jaundiced view of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and his erroneous belief that it had something in common with the crimes of Israel and Zionism today. This is a serious flaw in his often very sharp and perceptive understanding of the crippling of Palestinian solidarity by Jewish chauvinism and capitulation to Zionism. In my view Atzmon’s prejudice against Bolshevism is most likely derived from a narrow reading of a very disgraceful history in which pseudo-radical left-Zionist currents, many of which indeed had their origins in currents derived tangentially from the Russian Revolution, played a barbaric role in the Naqba while continuing to preach about working class unity and speak a debased form of pseudo-internationalist language. Continue reading