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/)
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.
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 comment below was recently received in response to the Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism that was published on this site in September. The issues raised are on a qualitatively higher political level than most previous responses received to these theses, and therefore require as full a political reply as possible. So I am turning the response to them into a separate item, in order to address the issues posed properly. Comrade Eric’s comment reads in full as follows:
The problem with this materialist analysis is that there isn’t a material connection between the American-Jewish bourgeoisie and the state of Israel. Or rather there is a connection but it is of no particular significance compared with the connections between the American bourgeoisie and other states in general. Israel is not the state of the Jewish bourgeoisie. It does not defend Jewish property throughout the world.
That many of today’s top capitalists in America are Jewish is surely of some significance in determining American orientation towards Israel and foreign policy in the Middle East in general. But if, for example, we look at Sheldon Adelson, the most notorious Zionist fundraiser and lobbyist, we find that he was not a Zionist until 1988. (See http://theweek.com/article/index/229275/sheldon-adelson-7-surprising-facts-about-2012s-biggest-donor). Such individuals play the role of philanthropists, party funders and lobbyists but their attachment to Israel is ideological rather than material and is thus plastic. Indeed until 1967 Jewish elites in America had very little interest in Israel at all. It was the ten day war that transformed Israel into a strategic asset and allowed Jews to express support for Israel without fear of being accused of dual loyalty. Norman Finkelstein locates 1967 as the year when the Holocaust Industry kicked off. Continue reading
The torture report on the CIA is an exercise in damage limitation. Realising how much the supposed ‘excesses’ of the Bush administration and the stratagems for US/Israeli world domination of the neocon Project for the New American Century have damaged the self-proclaimed moral authority of US imperialism, the Democratic Party are using this report, of the CIA’s Inspector-General, to try to distance themselves from some of the crimes of their predecessors.
It is cynical hogwash on the part of the Obama administration. This report was commissioned apparently in 2004, under Bush. Its findings were suppressed earlier but ultimately, in the aftermath of US imperialism’s obvious failures and defeats in Iraq and the wider Middle East, it became untenable for an American bourgeois establishment that is not (as yet) prepared to openly break with the formal pretence of democracy, to suppress these facts indefinitely. Not if it wanted to continue the hubris and chutzpah that makes US Presidents believe they have the authority to lecture the world on ‘human rights’.
The balloon of illusion in Barack Obama is bursting. It was inevitable that the election of America’s first Black President would lead to a temporary dampening down of struggle by Blacks and working class people more generally against capitalism and its effects. That was the reason Obama was handed the Democratic nomination in the first place. After the extreme repression, warmongering, rampant venality, and finally near-economic collapse of the Bush years, US capitalism desperately needed a more attractive face to head off the likelihood of a social explosion.
Obama more than fitted the bill: as not only a liberal, but a Black liberal to boot, he was the ideal man to do this job for the bourgeoisie. His progress through a two-party political system that is both thoroughly stitched up and fundamentally still intact – no real challenge has been made to the twin parties of US capital for many decades – was a reflection of the fact that he was the rulers’ man for the job. And he temporarily succeeded in co-opting many previously very angry Black and other working class people to accept that his administration was the only thing realistically on offer. A historically very weak US left that had begun to sense that things were beginning to swing to the left in the late Bush years, with rising anti-war activism and accelerating Black and working class anger over atrocities like the attacks on the victims of Hurricane Katrina, was abruptly becalmed by Obama.
This video is called Justice for Michael Brown; protest at the US Embassy, London 27/08/14.
By Joana Ramiro in Britain:
Michael Brown solidarity camp to be set up
Wednesday 26th November 2014
PROTESTERS vowed to camp outside the US embassy in London this evening in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, shot dead by a police officer in the US.
They will assemble in Grosvenor Square from 5.30pm to call for justice after a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, deemed Darren Wilson innocent of illegally killing Mr Brown.
“People are relating to it because there are similar cases going on here.”
Barac will host a vigil in the square along with the National Union of…
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Down with all racial hierarchies!
There is a major contradiction at the heart of modern capitalist ideology today when it comes to questions involving the social construct of ‘race’. One pole of the contradiction is that advanced capitalist governments in the West are increasingly insistent that racism is a thing of the past, that unlike their predecessors, they are opposed in principle to racism, and that racism is against the essence of liberal capitalist meritocratic ideology. This strain of bourgeois ideology depends on an abstract model of a market economy where someone’s money, no matter their colour or origin, is as good as anyone else’s, and anyone can enjoy the rewards of the ‘hard work’ which supposedly enables capitalist ‘success’.
But while this ideology is propagated, massive racial inequalities persist, hierarchies remain and are unyielding for nearly all ethnic minority populations. It is still true that particularly non-white minorities in all the advanced capitalist countries all suffer from disproportionate rates of unemployment, low-pay when employed, precarious employment, lack of access to quality education, disproportionate levels of ill-health and greater difficulty accessing quality health care. Such minorities are also disproportionately subjected to police and state violence, to deaths in custody and at the hands of the police in general.
In the United States, where America’s first black President is in his second term, the recent protests against the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri, have once again underlined that for American blacks, despite Obama and all his works, racial oppression very much remains and continues unabated. The Missouri case is one of so many over so many years and decades; it is telling that even now such things can explode into significant struggles. If society had really changed for the better in some fundamental sense, as the ideologues of capitalism claim, then there is no way that such major conflicts could erupt between large sections of a traditionally oppressed minority and the forces of the state.