Starmer’s Regime has NO MANDATE for its Genocidal Neoliberalism

Independent Working-Class Forces promise Challenge to Zionist New Labour

Top: Jeremy Corbyn, witchhunted and expelled from Labour by Starmer for belatedly defending his leadership against ‘anti-Semitism’ scam, defeated the Starmerites in his long-held Islington North seat.
Bottom: Ayoub Khan, former Labour councillor and now independent MP defeated neocon Zionist Blairite Khalid Mahmood in Birmingham Perry Barr.
 

Media and conventional wisdom have it that Keir Starmer’s Labour Party won the July 2024 General Election by a ‘landslide’, with its overall majority of 171, and therefore has a strong mandate to rule, having supposedly ‘changed’ the Labour Party to make it ‘fit to govern’ by driving out the ‘unelectable’ Jeremy Corbyn and his left-wing followers.

But the ‘landslide’ is a myth. Starmer got fewer votes than Corbyn’s Labour got in in the General Election of December 2019, which Labour lost by a considerable margin in terms of seats, producing an overall majority for Johnson’s Tories of 80. The Corbyn-led Labour Party got 10.29 million votes in 2019, whereas Starmer’s tally is well below 10 million. In percentage terms, Starmer’s Labour has 33.8%, not much higher than under Corbyn in 2019 (32.1%). This is not the product of a surge of votes for Starmer’s Labour, but a much lower turnout, only 60%, the lowest since 2001. Caused by the well-known similarity between the main parties – “two cheeks of the same backside” as George Galloway put it. Over 19.5 million eligible voters did not vote. Around 80% of the eligible electorate did not vote for this government.

It is the undemocratic ‘First Past the Post’ electoral system yet again that produced this anomaly. In this case it was fuelled by the splintering and near–disintegration of the Tories. This has nothing to with any achievements of Keir Starmer’s leadership, which is characterised by many of the same odious neoliberal, chauvinist and Zionist vices as the Tories.

In 2017, in a General Election that took on the character of a class confrontation between the Tories led by Theresa May and a resurgent left-led Labour Party led by Corbyn, Labour got 12.87 million votes and 40% of the vote. The Tories got only slightly more, and the result was a hung parliament where the Tories were forced to rely on the very right-wing Democratic Unionists in the North of Ireland to get their measures approved in parliament.

But in 2024 Starmer won precisely because the Labour vote was NOT a class vote, by virtue of the anti-democratic electoral system and the splintering and collapse of the Tories. Reform played a similar role in screwing the Tories as the Social Democratic Party did with Labour in the 1983 election. Though that was not as extreme a manifestation as today’s result, as in 1983, Thatcher’s Tories got nearly 44% of the vote – a genuine landslide. Starmer today actually achieved a bigger majority than Thatcher with only 33%.    Blair in 1997 got a slightly larger majority than Starmer, but he won 43.3% of the vote. That was also a genuine landslide, whereas this is not at all.

Starmer has no real mandate. He will be a weak and likely vicious PM. Even before he took office, a warning sign was decision of the police to refuse to allow the Palestine Solidarity movement to march on July 6th in Parliament Square and Whitehall. The police by then knew full well that the Tories were finished and it’s obvious that they would consult and take note of the views of the Zionist clique around Starmer in deciding what would be allowed. This is a sign of weakness, not strength from Starmer. His party is likely to generate rebellions on the backbenches precisely because of that lack of a solid mandate. This will not be a stable government.

Jeremy Corbyn’s overwhelming victory in Islington North is a considerable political blow to Starmer and will damage his authority right from the start. Starmer brazenly ran a candidate who is involved in private healthcare and who spoke publicly about the ‘importance’ of healthcare privatisation. A serious threat from the new regime since its designated Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, is also an evangelist for private healthcare.

The victory of Shockat Adam over would-be cabinet minister Jonathan Ashworth in Leicester South is a wonderful blow to the Labour Zionists. Shockat made Gaza a big element of his campaign. The same is true of the victory of Ayoub Khan in Birmingham Perry Barr, who took the seat of the neocon Zionist stooge Khalid Mahmoud, who has even served on the Council of the neocon arch-Zionist Henry Jackson Society. Iqbal Mohammad, a former Labour member quit the party over Starmer’s endorsement of Yoav Gallant’s call for the deprivation of food, fuel and water to the population of Gaza (described by Gallant as ‘human animals’). He defeated the Labour candidate, Heather Iqbal, getting 41% of the vote to her 23%. A massive victory.

Then there is the substantial victory of Adnan Hussein in Blackburn. There is some controversy over this as Craig Murray, the long-time anti-war activist and prominent campaigner in the successful campaign to free Julian Assange, was standing in this seat with the support of the Workers Party of George Galloway. Another independent Muslim candidate withdrew in favour of Craig Murray, but Hussein refused to do so. Murray offered to toss a coin for the left candidacy with Hussein, but the latter indignantly refused. It transpired that though the vote was split, Labour was overwhelmingly defeated anyway. There are accusations that Adnan Hussein might be a ‘spoiler’ for Labour and that he has connections with the New Labour Iraq war criminal Jack Straw. We can only hope that this is untrue: if it were true. it would be very damaging. A ‘spoiler’ phoney candidate was run against Andrew Feinstein in Starmer’s seat, though he was exposed as such during the campaign and completely marginalised.

Prominent Palestinian activist Leanne Mohammad came within 500 votes of defeating the arch-Zionist Wes Streeting in Ilford North. George Galloway, founder of the Workers Party of Britain, lost the Rochdale seat he won in February, but quite narrowly – by around 1500 votes.  He promises to take the fight to Labour on Rochdale council. Starmer lost a lot of votes in his own seat. 17,000 of them to Andrew Feinstein, who came a very good second after a very energetic campaign that attracted activists from a wide area keen to have a go at Starmer himself. It lays down a marker for the future: Starmer will not be able to consider his own seat to be ‘safe’ in future elections.

We live in a world where social democracy has failed, and imperialist capitalism is threatening human existence both by the destruction of the biosphere and through predatory, permanent imperialist wars, of which the genocide in Gaza is the most obvious and foul manifestation. We desperately need an alternative, both here and internationally.

The left needs to create a proper party to fight under in the next period. Unlike the situation in the 2000s under Blair, now as a result of the Corbyn surge in Labour in the late 20-teens and then it’s defeat, there is a large layer of ex-Labour working class people involved in this movement. Though Labour has an awful history and record as a party controlled by a pro-imperialist bureaucracy, its party loyalty element was correct. We need to recreate the party loyalty element without the pro-imperialist bureaucracy and go beyond the weaknesses of the far left in general and the Trotskyist movement in particular.  We need an anti-racist/anti-Zionist Socialist-Communist party with full freedom of programmatic debate. Freedom of criticism, unity in action, as in the early stages of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.

Presentation and discussion: General Election: No Vote to Zionist New Labour – Support Left Independents/Anti-Zionists

(Top) Jeremy Corbyn,  Leanne Mohammad, (Below) George Galloway,  Andrew  Feinstein
 

The presentation and discussion at our forum this afternoon can also be heard here as a podcast

There is no major party standing in this General Election deserving of the support of class-conscious workers, socialists, anti-racists and fighters against oppression.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats are the open parties of the ruling class, speaking abstractly.

Being more concrete, we have all experienced the brutal austerity and increasingly decrepit corruption of this gang of looters of our social gains, public services, the Health service, the rivers polluted with raw sewage, the racist thuggery and sadism … I could go on.

First the Tory-Liberal coalition for 5 years, then the Tories alone. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn was a reaction from the workers movement to Tory-Lib Dem austerity attacks.

But today’s Labour Party was forged through a massive, reactionary driving out of the left that led the party from 2015-20 under Jeremy Corbyn.

This was the one period since the miners strike when millions of working-class people thought they had a chance of winning something back, through the election of a left-wing politician with a record of fighting for workers, of opposing privatisation and attacks on the poor, of standing up to bigoty and racism, and mobilisation against imperialist wars.

The current Labour leadership, as the whole country knows, buried that. They preferred the Tories. They engineered Johnson’s victory in 2019. Labour is standing in this election as a Tory second XI as they continue to stamp on the Labour left.

Some see the Greens as a potential repository of socialist possibilities. In Germany, the Greens are part of a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD); they are deeply implicated in support for both Israel and Nazi Ukraine.

In this country sole Green MP Caroline Lucas, has been involved in ‘cross-party’ witchhunting critics of Zionism in academia, as shown in the case of David Miller.

They cannot be trusted, their environmentalism is bourgeois and depends on ‘Green’ capitalism, not socialist planning, which is the only thing that can solve the problem of human-induced climate change. We need a working-class alternative, not a petty bourgeois party that joins in with capitalist reaction.

But the main topic of this forum is Labour.

On October 8th Israeli ‘defence’ minister Yoav Gallant made his Hitlerian speech saying that the inhabitants of Gaza are “human animals” who should be allowed “no electricity, no food, no water, no gas”.

When Starmer was interviewed shortly after, he defended Israel’s “right” to carry out these genocidal measures.

This led to a major exodus of outraged members, particularly from Muslim working-class communities, and numerous defections of councillors.

The Labour leadership is dominated by genocidal Zionists.

The scam ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign against the left during the Corbyn period, was driven by the realisation by those forces that a genocide of the Palestinian people was in the offing, and politics had to be purged of sympathy for Palestinian rights.

But they have a huge problem now. This election takes place in the middle of that very genocide, that Starmer gave his support to

However much he tries to wriggle and evade now, he, and his supporters, are on the rack.

The Starmer leadership is a reversion to the politics of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and their neoliberal New Labour governments, which followed in the footsteps of Thatcher and Major.

That government, like the Tories, demanded austerity to make the working class pay for the world financial crisis of the late noughties.

The neoliberal right, which is interpenetrated with the Zionists as a matter both of history and current political reality, was horrified by the near victory of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 election.

It appears that only the sabotage of the Labour right –the funnelling of campaign funds to safe Labour seats inhabited by neoliberals and Zionists – deprived Corbyn’s Labour of being the largest party.

The shocked expressions of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ like Jess Phillips and Stephen Kinnock when May lost her majority, said it all.

They worked overtime to sabotage Corbyn’s leadership and bring Boris Johnson to power in the 2019 election. For the bourgeois/Zionist right-wing, Johnson was the lesser evil to Corbyn.

When the anti-Semitism scam was ineffective (as was shown in 2017), Starmer manipulated the issue of Brexit to sabotage Labour.

So, the idea that Starmer and his followers are somehow a lesser evil to the Tories today is at odds with reality. They have more in common with the Tories than they do with the labour movement.

This election gives the opportunity to the left to begin to clarify that and split this bourgeois workers party along class lines. We are seeing the small beginnings of that.

There is already a substantial layer of independent socialist councillors around the country, many of whom successfully defended their seats in the council elections on May 4th.

Starmer has the party’s internal life sewn up, dissent is ruthlessly punished, and internal party elections are shamelessly rigged.

Then in February Starmer colluded with Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, another “Labour Friend of Israel”.

Hoyle broke with an element of parliamentary procedure that has a democratic content. The rule being that on a party’s “Opposition Day”, that party is allowed to put a motion, and only the government is allowed to put amendments to it.

The purpose of this is to ensure that all opposition parties get to have their say; they have the right to have their motions voted on by the house, yes or no.

Hoyle allowed Labour to put an amendment to the SNP’s motion calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Predictably, the Labour Party was able to outvote the SNP.  So, the SNP motion was amended to remove its most important demands, for a ceasefire and condemnation of “collective punishment” of Palestinian civilians in this genocide.

Which were never voted on in counter-position to the government,

Labour was afraid that if they were forced to vote on a ceasefire, they would split. But voting for something with ambiguous wording that was deliberately unclear, would not cause a problem.

So, the SNP’s right to a yes-no vote/confrontation against the government on Gaza was buried.

If the Labour Party had been forced to vote on the SNP motion versus the government, the whips would have demanded that Labour either vote with the government or abstain. Many would have rebelled.

This manoeuvre was to stop that happening.

This showed that Starmer is not just a threat to Labour members’ democratic rights, but of all who criticise Zionism.

It is comparable, in some ways, to Boris Johnson’s illegal manoeuvre to prorogue parliament in the Summer of 2019. This was a kind of coup.

And Starmer/Hoyle carried out their own mini-parliamentary coup against the SNP and any MP in their own party or any other who wanted to vote to demand a permanent ceasefire.

This is an attack on an element of parliamentarism that actually has a democratic content.

Numerous independent socialists around the country are standing against Labour, as well as several left-of-labour political organisations.

The most prominent individual is Jeremy Corbyn himself.

His exclusion from Labour, when only a few years earlier he was the leader of a massive movement against austerity, racism and imperialist war, symbolises why socialists should not be supporting the Starmer-led Labour Party.

Hundreds of thousands of people loyal to Corbyn’s leadership have been impatiently waiting for him to defy Starmer in the election.

Now he has done so, he deserves the support of all in society who have a basic working-class consciousness, along with those fighting oppression and imperialist war, crucially the attempted genocide in Gaza.

But it should be a critical support, as many of Corbyn’s own actions when he was leader, did not help to resist the reactionaries who sought to overthrow him.

Corbyn showed chronic weakness in Labour with the position that he explicitly formulated later in the witchhunt period, that both Zionists and anti-Zionists should work together in Labour.

Jon Lansman of Momentum, who admitted to being a left Zionist, was among his most influential supporters. He played a key role in undermining his leadership.

Even more to the point, Corbyn’s adherence to the view that Zionists and anti-Zionists should work together, meant that when the Zionists came after outspoken opponents of Zionist racism in the party, Corbyn turned the other cheek, which meant throwing them under the bus.

Corbyn’s appointee Jenny Formby, as General Secretary, proved more efficient at purging the pro-Palestinian left in the guise of fighting ‘anti-Semitism’, than her right-wing predecessor McNicol.

So that was disastrous weakness.

He is still at it – in the ‘Collective’ Umbrella he has initiated for this election, and his ‘Peace and Justice’ initiative, ‘left’ Zionists: Justin and Clare Schlosberg, are active.

Justin Schlossberg denounced David Miller, the militant, victimised anti-Zionist professor formerly of Bristol University, as a ‘psyop’.

David Miller who defeated Bristol University at an industrial tribunal, establishing for the first time that anti-Zionist views are a protected belief under British law.

The types are a danger to the left and Palestine supporters. It is terrible to be allying oneself with such people, particularly in these terrible circumstances. It is wrong in principle in any case.

Zionism is a key driver of racism in the Labour Party.

Diane Abbot, the first black woman MP, was deprived of the Labour whip based on phoney allegations of anti-Semitism, driven by Zionists.  Par for the course.

Abbott and her supporters appear to have forced Starmer to reinstate her as a Labour candidate. It is clear that Starmer wanted rid of her, and that she refused to go, and had the clout to insist, and defeat him.

This is because the Labour Party feared to take on black working-class communities in London, and in Britain generally, who still have considerable regard for Diane Abbott.

She is one of the few Labour candidates who deserve a vote in this election. For defying and defeating Starmer.

What happened to Faiza Shaheen is the converse of this. She was outrageously dropped as a candidate in Chingford/Woodford Green on the basis of feeble Zionist smears only a few days before the national candidate selection deadline

A highly regarded left-wing economist of Muslim family background, she was supposed to be crushed by this.

But not so, she denounced the ‘hierarchy of racism’ in Labour.

What this actually means is that Labour has a racial hierarchy, that privileges Jewish and white supremacists over the black and Asian communities.

She is now standing as an independent against the Tory Iain Duncan Smith and the Starmer stooge.

The quintessence of this racial hierarchy is Labour’s parachuting of Luke Akehurst into a safe Labour seat in North Durham.

He is a white supremacist, who as Diane Abbott has noted, had tried repeatedly to get rid of her from her Hackney seat.

He is also an ardent Zionist, but he is not actually Jewish. There is a famous photo of him wearing a T-Shirt bearing the caption “Zionist Shitlord”.

 It appears that his Zionist fervour is driven by his hatred of non-whites – he has deleted thousands of his tweets and social media posts recently to hide this.

One reportedly referred to Palestinians as ‘rats’.  Akehurst is basically a Zionist-Nazi and should be treated as one.

There is a proud working-class history in Durham, as symbolised by the Durham Miners’ Gala. They should ensure his type are better acquainted with the pavement.

George Galloway of the Workers Party is seeking re-election in Rochdale after his recent by-election victory.

There are also some independent candidates standing in Birmingham who are closely associated with GG and the Workers Party.

Jody McIntyre in Yardley against Jess Philipps, and Ahmed Yakoob in Ladywood against Shabana Mahmood.

They are making Gaza a big issue, but not just Gaza. Labour’s more general racism, neoliberalism and contempt for the working class, and particularly the British Asian working class, is crucial here.

Former UK Ambassador and Julian Assange defender Craig Murray is standing for the Workers Party in Blackburn (he may win also).

Chris Williamson, the former very left-wing Labour MP and Deputy Leader of the Workers Party is standing in Derby South, adjacent to his previous Derby North seat.

Former Labour whistleblower (about Zionist lobbying and witchhunts), Halima Khan, is planning to stand in Stratford and Bow, East London, also under the banner of the Workers Party.

George Galloway is excellent on Palestine and Ukraine and has a long and creditable anti-imperialist record.

But in the past decade he has shown softness on right-populism, and some of his followers follow in the same vein and to be treated with caution.

There are political debates to be had with the Workers Party about social conservatism and backwardness on questions involving immigration and oppression, including sexual oppression of various types.

However, Galloway’s views cannot be taken to represent the final word about the Workers Party and its politics. There are signs of it being a more inclusive project than that. 

Galloway himself has appeared to welcome the idea of prominent figures with different views joining with him. If that were to happen, then it could become a real vehicle for political advance.

Williamson, Craig Murray and Halima Khan appear to give substance to that.

Possibly the most prominent independent socialist campaign in London, barring Corbyn, is Andrew Feinstein in Holborn and St Pancras constituency, against Starmer himself.

He is a Jewish former member of the South African Parliament for the African National Congress. He is an outspoken defender of the Palestinians and supporter of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the ICJ.

He was selected by OCISA (Organise Corbyn-Inspired Socialist Alliance), a left-Corbynite campaign group set up a couple of years ago with the aim of standing a socialist candidate against Keir Starmer.

Labour sees that as threatening politically, which is perhaps why a ‘left’-talking independent candidate, who appears to have family connections with the Labour right wing, is running in that constituency seemingly to split the left-wing opposition to Starmer.

Leanne Mohammad, a British-Palestinian Palestine solidarity activist, is challenging Wes Streeting is in Ilford North. Streeting can be considered an Israeli agent – and he evangelises for private healthcare. His defeat would be a major blow to the Zionists and neoliberals.

There are also the celebrated Liverpool Community Independents, who are standing Sam Gorst against arch-witchhunter Maria Eagle in Liverpool Garston.

They are now standing under the banner of Transform, another new leftist party that is partly the product of ex-Corbynites, notably the very youthful Breakthrough Party, which merged with the remnants of Left Unity as well as the Liverpool Independents last year.

Transform appears heterogenous; it has ‘socialist’ elements who are flatly on the wrong side in Ukraine, mixed with others with better views.

TUSC, which is basically a front for the Socialist Party, is standing in this election.

Its left-reformist sectarian caricature of Marxism makes it appear bureaucratic and sterile, but it does stand for some basic working class demands for trade unions, against privatisation, imperialist wars etc., so it is worthy of critical support in principle.

Though its habit of standing against other leftists gratuitously is part of what renders it sterile.

It does appear they might have a candidate standing under their ticket from the Spartacist League. That is an interesting anomaly. And also critically supportable.

The new Revolutionary Communist Party, formerly the labour entrist Socialist Appeal, that also has its origins in Militant is also standing on politics that appear critically supportable. It appears more political and open to debate.

What is necessary above all is a perspective that seeks to unite all of these fragmented initiatives in a new, democratically organised party, where proper political debates are possible, and thereby unity in action, so that political and programmatic development in a revolutionary direction comes onto the agenda.

The ICC, Western Imperialism and hypocritical double standards

By Kalliste Hill

The ICC, in the person of Karim Khan, finally announced after 7 months they will ask for the arrest of 2 Israeli ministers, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Galant and 3 Hamas leaders, Sinwar, Al-Masri and Hanayeh, after the conspicuous leaks and hysterical outbursts of the Zionist lobby in the US, UK and Israel at the very thought that they might be treated like “African leaders and thugs like Putin”.

However, underneath the hysteria, the mafia-like threats from US congressmen against the ICC prosecutor to sanction not only him, his family and the members of the entire ICC office, including the Judges, lies yet another unbalanced, disingenuous litany of false allegations against the real targets of this action, the Palestinian leadership, while reserving the spotlight of public opinion and victim-waving for the Israelis.

The long list of “crimes” against the Palestinian targets include the chief negotiator as well as the prime Palestinian target marked out assassination by Netanyahu and the Israeli UN ambassador in public and on the floor of the UN.

It’s almost as if the ICC, far from any real intention to actually drag Netanyahu into the dock, is actually reinforcing the ludicrous and demonstrably false allegations made by Israel against Hamas, which excuses they’ve used to commit genocide against the Palestinian people for the past 76 years. They are reciting yet again the reasons why Israel will continue to pursue its policy of political assassinations and fomenting regime change for those who already support the Zionist cause while creating more panic and fear amongst those who see the existence of the state of Israel, even anapartheid, ethno-fascist state, as it is at the moment, as existential, when the reality is that it should go the way of White South Africa, to be replaced by a secular state based on equality and social justice.

After all, the US has already passed laws that ensure no US citizen, or now any proxy under their protection, will be protected from prosecution by the ICC in perpetuity. What do Netanyahu and Galant really have to fear? Whereas all Palestinians, and especially their political leaders have every reason to know that they, their family members and all who work with them, are under sentence of death at the hands of the Zionists who rule Israel, and control our Empire of Lies.

Communist Fight Series 2, issue 4 is Out Now!

This issue centres on the General Election, and the Gaza genocide, and also refers to the Ukraine war.

The lead article is an extensive and detailed analysis of the various parties and trends standing in the General Election. It concretely makes it clear why the Labour Party is not supportable – the current leadership is one that has waged a class war against all elements within it who aspire to stand up for workers and the oppressed. The Zionism of this leadership was always genocidal, and it is pretty clear in hindsight that there was plenty of conscious understanding of this among the various ‘Friends of Israel’ and ‘Jewish Labour Movement’ witchhunters who targeted the Corbyn movement.

Starmer’s clear endorsement of the use of starvation/dehydration and deprivation of power as a weapon of genocide after the break out from the Gaza concentration camp on 7th October, caused a major crisis in the Labour Party, with many defections, including of sitting councillors, who often retained their seats in the local elections in May. Now there is a layer of socialist-inclined independents standing all over the country against Labour – the most prominent being Jeremy Corbyn himself, as well as at least four national left-wing organisations, most prominently the Workers Party of George Galloway. The main article gives life to the concept of critical support, elaborating in some depth the strengths and weaknesses of the various trends and putting forward a perspective of what is necessary to create a cohesive and democratic socialist alternative to bankrupt neoliberal social democracy.

The article on the back cover also contains useful material on the election, in the form of an account of a public debate between two left-wing trends, with the CPGB-Weekly Worker advocating votes for Starmer’s genocidal leadership in the election, and the Spartacist League opposing it. The rightward motion of the CPGB-WW is evident here; during the whole Blairite period they were opponents of the left hustling votes for the pro-privatisation, warmongering Blairites. But now that Starmer has taken that a stage further and publicly endorsed openly genocidal actions, they suddenly click their heels and denounce those hundreds of thousands of class-conscious militants who abhor voting for Starmer as ‘third period’-ists, “Ohlerites” and similar nonsense. “Left” Islamophobia and softness on Zionism are what is driving their drift into the Starmer camp. Their opponents in the debate, the Spartacists, have ironically some similar flaws, but on the issue being debated: for or against voting for Starmers openly righwing Labour, they are correct.

Another article, an edited transcript of the presentation at the forum we held on the genocide at the beginning of May, gives a lot more historical and contemporary detail about the roots of the genocide, as well as its relationship with the decline of US hegemony and the rise of resistance to that hegemony from a block of the global South with the ex-workers states of Russia and China.

As well as these substantial articles, we have a number of short pieces on the war in Ukraine, the arrest warrants that are in train from the ICC against Israeli leaders, and also an update on the recent partial legal victory of Julian Assange at the Court of Appeal on May 20. And we have a brief piece by our Argentinian comrades on the 9 May General Strike against the fascist-inclined President of Argentina, Javier Milei, and the ferocious attacks he is carrying out against the working class of that country as part of a US-funded counteroffensive of recolonisation in Latin America.

A Vote for Starmer’s Labour is a vote for Zionist Genocide and Nazism in Ukraine!

Vote for independent socialists/Workers Party/Transform/TUSC/RCP!

For a Unified Democratic Anti-Imperialist Working-Class Party – No Zionists Allowed!

Rafah: Zionist massacre of refugees in tents with deadly airstrikes, May 26. This resulted in Palestinian newborns being decapitated, highlighting the barbarism of the Zionists, who lied about Hamas doing that on 7th Oct, precisely to incite this genocide.
 

In this general election, there is no major party deserving of the support, even critically, of class-conscious workers, socialists, anti-racists and fighters against oppression. The Tories and Liberal Democrats are the open parties of the ruling class, and it is elementary that no class-conscious element could even consider supporting them for a moment. In the last decade and a half working class people have had all out war conducted against them and their living standards by these parties – first in coalition, and then since 2015 the Tories alone. But today’s Labour Party, led by Kier Starmer, was forged through a massive, reactionary hammering of the left that led the Labour Party from 2015-20 under Jeremy Corbyn, that Labour Party itself is standing in this election as the continuity of the Tories, and garnering support from dissident Tories even as it continues to crush the Labour left.Not only that, but on the overarching, litmus test issue of elementary political decency and even basic humanity, it has been clear for several years that the Starmer leadership supports genocidal Israel, root and branch, and is dominated by genocidal Zionists. The bloody massacre in Rafah, the culmination of more than seven months of genocidal slaughter in Gaza, only underlines what Starmer stands for. The entire scam ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign that was waged by the neoliberal right wing against the left during the Corbyn period, was driven by the palpable realisation by those forces that a genocide of the Palestinian people was in the offing, and politics had to purged as much as possible of any reservoirs of support and sympathy for Palestinian rights. The Corbyn movement was seen as a huge threat and reservoir of such sympathy, dangerous to the Zionist project. It was always genocidal in its ultimate logic.

The Starmer leadership is a reversion, and then more, to the politics of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and the 1997-2010 neoliberal New Labour governments, which followed in the footsteps of Thatcher/Major’s earlier Tory governments and engaged in massive privatisation and repression of trade unions, supposedly to revive British capitalism’s economic fortunes after the major crisis of the 1970s. That government, like the Tories, demanded austerity to make the working class pay for the world financial crisis of the late noughties, a crisis of speculation, massive financial corruption and forms of profit that amounted to extortion and theft. Austerity was a device to make the working class pay for the bailout of the banks that prevented the collapse of the system that this crisis threatened.

New Labour and Austerity vs Corbynism

Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn

In the past decade and a half, we have seen major austerity attacks on workers’ living standards, on the NHS and other public services that constitute a key part of the ‘social wage’ of the working class. Social security benefits have been massively reduced and restricted, and disabled workers demonised by the profiteering billionaire media. The NHS has been plundered and massively slimmed down. This process began under the Tory-Liberal coalition of the early 2010s and has further considerably increased under the increasingly squalid and openly corrupt Tory-populist regimes in Britain since 2019. Under their tutelage, the NHS is now in a deliberately-engineered major crisis, and is visibly failing most of those who need it in some way.  This is the logic of neoliberalism, and the Labour right will not tolerate any serious opposition to it – they agree with the Tories on the fundamentals and are viscerally hostile to the aims of the labour movement.

Though the Tories actually implemented austerity since 2010, as the New Labour government had run out of steam through its own attacks on the working class at home and its imperialist wars abroad, notably in Iraq, the Labour Party throughout this period, except under Corbyn, accepted austerity and the Tory cuts, merely whinging under Ed Miliband’s soft left leadership that the Tories were going “too far, too fast” with such attacks. The neoliberal right-wing fought back by all means at their disposal against the break with austerity, imperialist wars abroad, and support for Zionism, that Corbyn’s leadership represented, from the moment it became clear in mid-2015 that Corbyn had the mass support to win the Labour leadership.

 That was what drove the demolition job on Corbyn’s leadership though the ‘anti-Semitism’ scam. The entire neoliberal right in Labour was horrified by the near victory of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 General Election, when Theresa May’s majority was destroyed. It appears that only the sabotage of the Labour right – in particularly the funnelling of campaign funds away from key marginals to safe Labour seats inhabited by Labour Zionists – deprived Labour of being the largest party in that election. But the televised, visible shock on the faces of neoliberal Labour ‘friends of Israel’ like Jess Phillips and Stephen Kinnock when May was predicted, by “Exit Polls”, to lose her majority, was a widely remarked upon public spectacle.

In the two years between the 2017 and 2019 elections, Starmer’s cynical manipulation of the issue of a second Brexit referendum aimed at securing a victory for the corrupt Trumpian thug Boris Johnson in 2019, which it duly did. This was another key element of their counter-attack, in addition to the ‘anti-Semitism’ scam, which did not work particularly well in 2017, and needed reinforcement. Starmer never cared particularly about Brexit either way, as revealed by his flag-shagging and pandering to Brexit voting xenophobes ever since. But he revealed his key motivation clearly when standing for Labour leader in 2020 after the destruction of Corbyn’s leadership, when he said that he supported Zionism ‘without qualification’.

Corbyn showed chronic weakness in confronting the ‘anti-Semitism’ scam/witchhunt, repeatedly throwing his most outspoken supporters to the Zionist wolves, and also suicidally allowed Starmer control of Brexit policy after 2017. The actions of Starmer as the standard-bearer of the neoliberal/Zionist thugs ever since, show the character of Starmer’s regime very clearly. He has massively purged the Labour Party of anyone showing any sympathy for Palestine. And within the workers movement, basic decency for Palestine generally coincides with basic socialist views on many other things, like opposition to privatisation, attacks on the NHS, anti-union repression, racism more generally.

Starmer and Israel’s Genocide

Whereas support for Zionism reflects socially and politically reactionary views more generally – Israel is now the cause celebre of the bulk of the far right, with very few dissenters. What Starmer has been doing, systematically for the entire period of his leadership, is using phoney allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ to purge socialist-inclined people generally from Labour. His whole strategy in this election is not to appeal to the working class on any kind of class basis whatsoever, but to prove that Labour has ‘changed’ from the days of Corbyn’s leadership when it did push basic working class demands, that it is in no way habitable for socialists, but very habitable for Tories alienated by the open corruption of Sunak, Truss, Johnson et all, but still hostile to the working class movement.

Starmer welcomes into Labour’s ranks right-wing Tory defectors – overtly xenophobic, racist types like Natalie Elphicke, while at the same time Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot were deprived of the Labour whip for years based on phoney accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’. Where he is coming from on this is shown by his attitude when the genocidal Zionist assault on Gaza began after the October 7th Hamas-led Gaza prison break and raid on the IDF nearby. On October 8th the racist monster Israeli ‘defence’ minister Yoav Gallant, now facing indictment from the International Criminal Court for, among other things, ‘extermination’ of the Palestinian people, made his Hitlerian speech saying that the inhabitants of Gaza are “human animals” who should be allowed “no electricity, no food, no water, no gas”. For the Zionists, Palestinian civilians of all ages should be starved to death and die of dehydration, even babies in incubators should be left to die, as well as being bombed to death. All these things have happened many times over. Yet when Starmer the genocidaire (a.k.a. “Der Stűrmer”) was interviewed shortly after Gallant’s speech by Nick Ferrari on LBC, he defended Israel’s “right” to carry out these genocidal measures against the Palestinian people.

This openly genocidal affirmation by Starmer detonated a major explosion in Labour’s base and ranks and led to a major exodus of outraged members, particularly from Muslim-derived working-class communities, and numerous defections of councillors from Labour all over the country. There is already a substantial layer of independent socialist councillors around the country, many of whom successfully defended their seats in the council elections on May 4th. Starmer has the party’s internal life sewn up, dissent is ruthlessly punished, and internal party elections are shamelessly rigged by the central apparatus overseen by the ultra-corrupt and anti-democratic General Secretary David Evans, who long held that there was too much democracy in Labour, which is why Starmer appointed him in the first place. So, there is no reason for Labour dissenters not to go public, attack the corrupt Zionist vermin, and seek to punish them electorally.

This was further exacerbated by a major parliamentary scandal in February when the Scottish National Party put a parliamentary motion demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the ‘collective punishment’ of the Palestinian people. A permanent ceasefire in Gaza would signify an Israeli defeat, which is why the Starmer leadership is utterly opposed to it, no matter what ‘adjustments’ it makes to its rhetoric for cosmetic purposes. So Starmer colluded with the speaker of the House of Commons, Hoyle, who like Starmer is a “Labour Friend of Israel” to allow, contrary to elementary parliamentary procedure, a Labour amendment to gut the SNP motion of its most important demands.

This is contrary to democracy and parliamentary procedure; only the government is traditionally allowed to try to amend opposition parties’ motions like this. The purpose being to ensure that larger opposition parties cannot squash smaller ones, and that the motions of all opposition parties are allowed to be voted for and against in contention with the views of the government.  It was a major scandal and an abuse of democracy comparable to Boris Johnson’s unlawful proroguing of parliament in August 2019, and showed that Starmer the Zionist was quite prepared to abuse basic democratic norms not only within the Labour Party, but also in wider politics, in a manner usually associated with the far right. It is another reason why it is not in the interest of the working-class movement to allow the genocidaire Starmer to become Prime Minister. We should not be in the business of electing ‘Labour’ leaders who are so zealous about attacking our own democratic rights that even some Tories complain that they have gone too far!

Starmer the Red, or Pink Tory

All of these are clear indications that it is not in the interests of the working class to elect Starmer’s Labour Party. Labour has backpeddled on virtually every residual policy that temporarily survived from the Corbyn period, or which the Starmerites introduced as temporary sops to trade unions, environmental protesters, etc. Starmer stood for Labour leader in 2020 on a programme that superficially appeared to be ‘Corbynism without Corbyn’ but it was clear to many on the left that he was simply lying to get power. Once he gained it these promises were renounced one-by-one and critics were at risk of being purged, as many were. Even the far right Tory Suella Braverman has been able to criticise Labour from the left, after belatedly coming out against the government’s barbaric two-child cap on Child Benefit, which Starmer is now in favour of keeping. Starmer’s Labour has recently had conflicts about its junking of promises to spend £28 billion per year on green investments, and now about its supposed ‘New Deal for Workers’ – all of these things derived from the Corbyn period and are being junked and/or watered down.

Sharon Graham, the General Secretary of UNITE, who is a fake ‘left’ talking character as cynical as Starmer, has been complaining about this backtracking, on questions like abolition of zero-hours contracts, and then has been claiming to have secured some concessions. But the cynical instrumentalisation of such promises and eagerness to junk them to please right-wing voters is what Starmer is all about. Starmer has even attacked successful Labour figures marginally to his left over such things, criticising the Major of London, Sadiq Khan, for not retreating on the ULEZ clean air measures because right-wing London Tories objected. Khan, who is a feeble soft left and usually servile to the right wing and Zionists, in this case ignored Starmer and won a substantially increased majority in the May 4th Mayoral Election in London.

It looks likely that Labour will win the general election, not because of any appeal it is putting forward to workers as a class – it is shunning that as detailed above – but simply because of the advanced state of decay and near-collapse of the Tories. It is not in the interests of the labour movement to have this anti-democratic, second-string Tory leadership gain a substantial overall majority in the General Election. Ideally, what we want is a hung parliament with no overall Zionist-Labour or Tory majority and a significant number of left-wing independents and left-wing socialists to get elected and lay the basis for the emergence of a new, genuine working-class party.

As detailed, there are numerous independents around the country standing against Labour, as well as several left-of-labour political organisations standing. The most prominent is Jeremy Corbyn himself, the former Labour leader, who has been Labour MP for Islington North since 1983. His exclusion from Labour, when he was the leader of a massive popular movement against austerity, racism and imperialist war, symbolises why Marxists should not be supporting the Starmerites in the election. There are hundreds of thousands of people loyal to Corbyn’s leadership who have been impatiently waiting for Corbyn to take the final step and defy Starmer in the election. Diane Abbot, the first black woman MP to be elected, who has represented Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987, is in a similar position, deprived of the Labour whip on the basis of phoney allegations of anti-Semitism, made by genocidaires. She is very unlikely to get the whip back, and hopefully will feel compelled to follow Corbyn on this, though this is not completely clear.

Huge numbers of former Corbyn supporters, likely hundreds of thousands, are so angered by the cynicism of these exclusions that they would not countenance a vote for the ‘Red Tory’ Starmer. That is the stance, and it is thoroughly justified, of the most advanced and class-conscious layer of the British working- class movement. The layer that is dedicated to Labour irrespective of whether it stands for full-blooded leftist social democracy or warmed-over Toryism is not the advanced layer of the working class, not its vanguard, but its rearguard. Those who vote Labour knowing that its prospective Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, is not only an arch-Zionist but also an evangel of private healthcare companies, can hardly be said to be sterling defenders of the NHS, for instance. The job of Marxists is to keep step with the most advanced layers of the working class, not to tail after the consciousness of the most backward types, who Starmer is actively seeking to win with his flag-shagging and pandering to Tories.

One important flaw that exists among some ex-Corbynites is a softness on the Green Party as a potential repository of socialist possibilities, or at least a potential protest vote. But the Greens are not a working-class party and are not to be trusted. In Germany, where their Green Party is part of a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) they are deeply implicated in support for both Israel and Nazi Ukraine. In this country, the sole Green MP up to now, Caroline Lucas, has actually been involved with New Labour and Zionists from other parties in witchhunting critics of Zionism in academia. Lucas signed a cross-party letter calling on Bristol University to discipline David Miller for criticising Jewish student organisation for supressing free speech on Palestine. He was duly sacked, and Miller took the University to an industrial tribunal earlier this year and won his case. It set an important legal precedent, as the judgement stated that Miller’s anti-Zionist views were a protected philosophical belief. No thanks to the Greens and Caroline Lucas! They cannot be trusted, their environmentalism is bourgeois and depends on ‘Green’ capitalism, not socialist planning, which is the only thing that can potentially solve the problem of human-induced climate change. We need a working-class alternative, not an alternative petty bourgeois party that joins in with capitalist reaction at the first opportunity.

Challenges to Zionist New Labour: Critical support.

Leanne Mohammad

It is therefore good that Wes Streeting is being challenged in Ilford North, both for his Zionism – more than almost anyone else in Labour, he can be considered virtually an Israeli agent – and for his private healthcare evangelising. His challenger is Leanne Mohammad, a British-Palestinian Palestine solidarity activist, who has the support of a broader network of former Labour activists in the North/East London environs, such as Redbridge Community Action Group and Newham Independents, who are also intending to stand candidates against Labour in Stratford, and East Ham, against well-known Blairites. Former Labour whistleblower about Zionist lobbying and witchhunts, Halima Khan, is planning to stand in Stratford and Bow, which also sounds supportable.

But possibly the most prominent independent socialist campaign, apart from Corbyn’s, in London is that of Andrew Feinstein in Holborn and St Pancras constituency, where the sitting MP is Keir Starmer himself. Feinstein is a Jewish former member of the South African Parliament for the African National Congress, who resigned decades ago in a conflict with former South African President Thabo Mbeki about shady arms deals. He is an outspoken defender of the Palestinians, a supporter of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the ICJ, a critic of Starmer’s right wing politics and was a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. He was selected by OCISA (Organise Corbyn-Inspired Socialist Alliance), a left-Corbynite campaign group set up a couple of years ago with the aim of standing a socialist candidate against Keir Starmer in the General Election. He has lived in that constituency for over 20 years.  Informally he was the favourite for much of that period, though he was always vague about whether he would actually stand, as he retained Labour membership. But now that the election is upon us, he has publicly resigned from Labour and taken up his position. His candidacy is certainly supportable, but critically, as like so many of the prominent lefts, when questioned about October 7th, he echoes an element of imperialist propaganda, and condemns the ‘atrocities’ committed by Hamas as a preamble to a fierce attack on Israel for genocide.

Andrew Feinstein

It is by no means clear that Hamas did commit atrocities. The stories of ’40 beheaded babies’ and mass rape have been shown to be fabrications by the Zionists to justify their genocidal programme. Out of the 1,143 who Israel say were killed on October 7th, a breakout from the world’s biggest concentration camp, over 371 of them were state and military personnel and thereby legitimate targets of military resistance. It is well known by now that many of the civilian deaths were killed by Israel’s own armed forces, because of the Hannibal Directive, a standard Israeli practice where they kill their own side rather than allow them to be taken prisoner by an enemy. There is also the fact that once Hamas had broken through the Gaza fence, numerous other angry prisoners (all Gaza inhabitants are prisoners and have been since Israel began its siege in 2007) broke through and some vented their undisciplined rage on Israelis indiscriminately. They were not Hamas people. Hamas’ objective was to seize hostages to be traded for the many Palestinians Israel has been arbitrarily holding, torturing and abusing for many years.  As Scott Ritter pointed out, the most that Hamas can be accused of is failing to leave a rear-guard to protect their operation, and the gaps in the fence, from angry, riotous elements not under their discipline. But large-scale killings by Hamas make no sense if the objective was to take prisoners for later exchange. The ‘atrocity’ stories against Hamas make no sense and are just pro-genocide propaganda.

Of course, moralists can condemn the taking of hostages itself as an ‘atrocity’. But in the context of decades of Israeli racist ‘administrative detention’ of many thousands of Palestinians without charges, who are often subjected to torture and murder, hostage exchange is a rational policy from the point of view of the workers movement. We can point out that the 1871 Paris Commune, the first workers government in history, took hostages when its people were seized by reaction and threatened with death. As Wikipedia points out:

“In April, the Commune had arrested some 200 clergy to serve as hostages against reprisals from the Versailles government, and to use in possible prisoner exchanges. In particular, leaders of the Commune hoped to be able to exchange the archbishop of Paris, Georges Darboy, for Louis Auguste Blanqui, but this offer was rebuffed by Adolphe Thiers, president of the Third Republic. Versailles troops entered the city on 21 May, and by 24 May had retaken much of the city. Théophile Ferré signed an order of execution for six of the hostages at la Roquette Prison, specifically including the archbishop; they were executed by firing squad.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_in_the_Rue_Haxo

To try to save the lives of fighters against oppression, in circumstances of civil war and conflict, taking hostages is a valid tactic of those fighting against oppression.

Andrew Feinstein is part of a bloc of left candidates called ‘Collective’ which also includes Corbyn. The bloc seems to be an outgrowth of Corbyn’s Peace and Justice project, which is a Corbyn-centred protest movement that overlaps Labour, which eschewed the idea of founding a new party.  One of the two directors of this bloc, Justin Schlosberg, describes himself as a ‘progressive Zionist’. His wife, Chloe Schlosberg, is the director of Peace and Justice. There is a distinct element of déjà vu over this, as Momentum, the ‘grass-roots’ ginger-group that was founded to support Corbyn during his period as leader, was also led by a ‘progressive Zionist’ -so-called, Jon Lansman, who was involved in throwing  many anti-Zionist activists under the bus and out of the party during Corbyn’s leadership. True to form, Justin Schlosberg recently denounced anti-Zionist stalwart David Miller as a “psyop” against the left. The root causes of this phenomenon are in the politics of Corbyn, who at the height of the witchhunt explicitly spelled out his conception that both Zionists and anti-Zionists should be regarded as legitimate trends within Labour. This was pathetic then, as political Zionism in its logic was always a genocidal movement, with ethnic cleansing, the ante-chamber of genocide, build into its very foundation. In today’s circumstances, right in the middle of the Zionist holocaust in Gaza, it is incredibly dangerous and simply grotesque.

This does go a long way to explaining why Corbyn has taken so long to finally declare his independent candidacy and has been so insipid in his opposition to Starmer. He needs to be challenged on this, to break with these apologists for a genocidal movement. Schlosberg’s activities, just as were Lansman’s, are a trap for the left, and need to be expunged. In this regard, Corbyn’s campaign does include elements of working class politics, and should be given critical support against Starmer, with the criticism sharply directed against this political idiocy. Leftist elements like Andrew Feinstein should be on guard against the likes of Schlosberg trying to exploit their campaign and undermine its opposition to Zionism. We need no Zionists or ‘friends of Israel’ in any new left party.

Such an approach should also be applied to other left social-democratic candidates, from TUSC, Transform, the newly formed Revolutionary Communist Party led by Alan Woods (formerly the Labour deep entrist Socialist Appeal), and other working-class candidates who are standing against Labour and opposing their ‘own’ imperialism’s support for genocidal Israel. Similar critical support is principled. 

Craig Murray

There are left-wing candidates across the North of England as well, notably Workers Party MP George Galloway in Rochdale, who is seeking re-election after his recent by-election victory, former UK Ambassador and strong Julian Assange defender Craig Murray in Blackburn (who may well win also), Chris Williamson, the former very left-wing Labour MP and Deputy Leader of the Workers Party, who is standing in Derby South, adjacent to his previous Derby North Seat when he was a Labour MP.  There are also the celebrated Liverpool Community Independents, who are standing Sam Gorst against arch-witchhunter Maria Eagle in the new Liverpool Garston constituency.

They are now standing under the banner of Transform, another new leftist party that is partly the product of ex-Corbynites, notably the very youthful Breakthrough Party, which merged with the remnants of Left Unity as well as the Liverpool Independents last year. That party is very heterogenous and contains some elements who are unfortunately backward and profoundly wrong on Ukraine, supporting the wrong side, implicitly supporting the imperialists’ proxy war in the name of fighting a (non-existent) ‘Russian imperialism’. Support for Ukraine is a far right, imperialist project, whatever some muddleheaded liberal lefts might delude themselves. So, it would be wise to keep a careful eye on who local candidates are regarding Transform and judge each one carefully before deciding whether to vote for them.

George Galloway’s Workers Party is very heterogeneous and though GG has huge authority within it, it cannot be taken to be simply a reflection of his views. Galloway is a contradictory figure whose political views on the Middle East and also Ukraine have put him firmly on the right side of the class line on some major issues. He is a sterling supporter of the Palestinians who has led major initiatives to oppose imperialist crimes, such as the Mariam Appeal for aid to Iraq under genocidal imperialist sanctions, and Viva Palestina aid convoys after Israel’s first major Gaza bombing massacre, Operation Cast Lead in 2009. His detractors on these questions are generally Zionist scumbags.

But, particularly since he was brutally beaten by a Zionist thug for his views in August 2014, and was then betrayed by the bulk of the ‘democratic’ body politic and the social-democratic left, who refused to publicly condemn the attack in deference to the Zionist lobby, he has become partially demoralised and alienated from the left, expressing contradictory softness and sympathy with aspects of right-wing populism, Trumpism, Brexit and the like. Some of those he has associated himself with have been very right-wing indeed. His attempt to launch a Russia-defencist anti-war movement over Ukraine,      No2NATONo2War, was crippled by his major mistake in trying to draw in the slippery crypto-fascist David Clews of Unity News Network as a public spokesman, which completely undercut its potential to make inroads into the labour movement. It was a gift to the social-imperialist supporters of Nazi Ukraine. The Workers Policy has a self-image as being partly nationalist (its cog-wheel roundel emblem in red, white and blue echoes the insignia of the Royal Air Force in WWII).

George Galloway

As well as good positions on many things involving opposing imperialist war, the WP is not necessarily so good on matters concerning immigration. Galloway is personally socially conservative on questions regarding abortion, and though his record on defending gay rights is historically very good, recently he has become more conservative at least in some of his personal musings. And on climate change, some of the WP’s criticisms of Net Zero appear to dovetail with climate change denial. It is a good idea to consider a vote for the Workers Party in this context – they are intending to stand in many constituencies around the country, but such a vote should be extremely critical as it is quite a contradictory and heterogenous organisation. Some right-wing anti-immigrant types have reportedly crept in in some places, so like with Transform, it is wise to examine such candidates carefully to see what their real politics are before blithely putting a cross on a ballot paper.

For a Genuine Workers Party!

All these initiatives are very partial, and some of them are very seriously flawed. But they are where the working class movement is at after several decades of defeats, and what ultimately proved to be a false dawn under Corbyn’s Labour leadership, although a fruitful one that has radicalised a considerable layer of left social democratic militants, who are capable of providing the forces to create a new, genuine workers party in Britain, if a correct tactical approach can be made to them.

What is necessary above all is a perspective that seeks to unite all of these fragmented initiatives in a new, democratically-organised party, where proper political debates are possible, and thereby unity in action, so that political and programmatic development in a revolutionary direction comes onto the agenda. Of course, such a party will have no room for ‘Friends of Israel’ and the like.  Our work in the Socialist Labour Network is aimed at making that relatively small but influential organisation into a vehicle to promote such democratic unification of the anti-neoliberal, anti-Starmer left. We need an organisation that can act as a principled unifying force, and the Consistent Democrats themselves are too small, too weak and too new to become such a body on our own. We hope that the SLN can play an important role as a ‘cog’ in bringing such a party into being. It is unlikely to just happen ‘like that’ during the General Election, but in the aftermath, when we are likely faced with a weak, but very right-wing pink-Tory government, but with a working-class base that is likely to be at odds with it from the start, the opportunities to make progress in that direction should be considerably greater.

Debate on the Left: No Vote for Zionist New Labour!

Spartacists v CPGB/Weekly Worker

The 9th May article in the Weekly Worker on the online debate between the Spartacist League and the CPGB, Debating with Oehlerites (https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1490/debating-with-oehlerites/) , shows nothing so much as the rightward political evolution of the CPGB, as well as some contradictory and problematic aspects of the political evolution of the Spartacist tendency since the death of their founder-leader James Robertson in 2018. The WW polemic against today’s reformed Spartacists as ‘Ohlerites’ (akin to Hugo Ohler, a sectarian critic of the Trotskyist movement in the 1930s) is frankly absurd, as it has not been demonstrated that faced with a genuinely leftward moving opportunity in the Labour Party, such as actually existed in the recent past with the Corbyn movement, today’s Spartacist League would simply abstain and refuse to intervene.

Seems reasonable to us…

James Robertson, the US American leader of the Spartacists, died (aged over 90) right in the middle of Corbyn’s leadership, and even before his death the Spartacists were politically paralysed and engaging in an agonised and confused political soul-searching about aspects of his legacy. Particularly involving allegations of chauvinism against oppressed peoples, which just before his death were unconvincingly blamed on Joseph Seymour, one of his senior lieutenants, excusing Robertson himself. During the Corbyn project, the ‘new’ Spartacists did not yet exist, and it appears that the old group went into a state of political collapse and only re-emerged, in a somewhat contradictory and less-than-fully rational manner, in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. That could be subject of another exploration, but it is not relevant here.

The point is that the SL’s involvement in TUSC is itself evidently proof that they are not Ohlerites. TUSC is itself a left-social democratic project – ‘Ohlerites’ would treat involvement in it as a heresy. Evidently the SL today see involvement in social democratic organisations as a valid tactic, their disagreement with the CPGB appears to be about which social-democratic trend to conduct political work within. In our view they are mistaken to see TUSC as the optimum milieu to conduct communist political work within today, as it is a project that, though it gets some semi-respectable votes in a few places, stands a lot of merely paper candidates that routinely get derisory votes and have done for many years.

Ridiculous CPGB polemic in favour of kissing the arse of genocidare “Sir Keir”.

It is a sterile project, dominated by what Mike MacNair accurately terms “sectarian purity politics combined with sub-reformism”. Without the RMT and the CPB, TUSC has long been a Socialist Party ‘front’ – and their sectarian boorishness and sub-reformism makes it deeply unappealing to those radicalised by the genocide in Gaza. Their policy statements on Gaza are very vague and bland, limited to ‘opposing’ the Israeli ‘war on Gaza’. Behind the scenes, the Socialist Party’s own statement after the October 7th prison break equated the two sides:

“Once again, in this new round of Israel-Palestine conflict, many civilians have already been killed and injured. The leaders of both sides have no hesitation in terrorising civilians whether it be the history of the Israeli state in Lebanon and Gaza or the Hamas leaders in their 7 October offensive. The killing of around 260 young people on Saturday at a ‘rave’ will not bring progress in the fight for liberation but was an attempt to terrorise the Israeli population, which can play into the hands of the ultra-right Israeli government.”

https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/116365/09-10-2023/stop-the-israel-gaza-war-for-workers-unity-and-struggle-against-national-conflict-and-oppression/

More recently, on 15th May, their article titled “Mass workers’ struggle can end slaughter in Gaza” put forward the following key demand as a ‘solution’ to the Palestinian liberation struggle:

“For an independent, socialist Palestinian state, alongside a socialist Israel, with guaranteed rights for all minorities, as part of the struggle for a socialist Middle East

https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/124705/15-05-2024/mass-workers-struggle-can-end-slaughter-in-gaza/

For all its rhetoric, this is a caricature of a socialist programme, as Israel was created through the forcible expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian Arab people of Palestine, who are not a ‘minority’ anywhere, but the overwhelming, legitimate majority over the whole territory of Palestine from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Such is the conservative bureaucratic politics in TUSC in practice that it is not difficult to confuse these statements on this with that of the British TUC after October 7th, such as:

“We unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hamas and their targeting of civilians in this recent escalation of violence. Nothing can justify such an attack.”

[…]

“Finally, we reiterate our support for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that is consistent with international law and is based on a two-state solution, security for both Israel and Palestine, and which promotes equality and respect for human and labour rights.”

https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-statement-israel-and-palestine

The policy of the Socialist Party, the main force (by far) in TUSC, is only a ‘socialist’ phrase or two different from that of the TUC! No wonder TUSC is considerably less inspiring and capable of mobilising struggles against oppression than was the Labour Party in the late 2010s under Corbyn’s leadership!

The Spartacist League of old used to excoriate, and even try to incite Irish Republicans against, anyone who would work with the Socialist Party in the late 1990s/early 2000s Socialist Alliance because their similar ‘both sides’-ism over Ireland meant softness on Ulster loyalism just as today on Zionism. Even though the old SL shared much of the SP’s ‘both sides’-ism over Ireland with their slogan ‘Not Green against Orange but Class against Class’, and their opposition to ‘forcible’ Irish reunification. They disguised that behind virulent sectarian provocations and idiocy, which they thankfully appear to have abandoned.   But TUSC, unlike the Socialist Alliance in the late 1990s/early 2000s, is a sterile SP front.

Entry into TUSC is a mistaken tactic, that quite likely has strategic and opportunist aspects to it. Better to give TUSC a degree of critical support from the outside and try to play a role in cohering something better as we are doing in the Socialist Labour Network. But the Spartacist League are quite right to refuse support for Labour in current circumstances under Starmer’s leadership and there is nothing ‘Ohlerite’ about that refusal.

Bourgeois Workers Parties: Concrete not Abstract

A bourgeois workers party, by its very nature, is a party with a class contradiction built into it, a party with two contradictory class poles, a proletarian element at the base, that may coexist with other elements, either oppressed groups that are not purely proletarian in composition, or elements of the petty-bourgeoisie who also make up part of the base of the party. And the other pole is the labour bureaucracy, initially connected to the bureaucracy of mass trade unions, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

As well as a pro-capitalist labour bureaucracy element, Labour also has an extensive political bureaucracy which has considerable autonomy in dealing with other sections of society, particularly elements of the ruling class. With the de-industrialisation and financialisation of imperialist countries such as Britain under the neoliberal paradigm since the 1970s, we also see that this semi-autonomous political bureaucratic element can grow and become complicit with elements of financial, as opposed to industrial, capital, and wander a long way from the traditional politics of the right-wing of the trade union bureaucracy.  Thus, we see Blairism, Starmerism, and the growth of neoconservative bourgeois politics in Labour, and not least an expanded role for Zionism.

As a bourgeois workers party, sometimes the proletarian pole within Labour is capable of fighting back, and in such periods critical support and entryism is appropriate, as in the Corbyn period. We in the Consistent Democrats, the main British Group affiliated to the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International, were then in Socialist Fight, which did engage in work within the Labour Party in that crucial period. If that opportunity arose again, we would do the same, though in current conditions that is unlikely. But it is difficult to call us ‘Ohlerites’ particularly given our work in the Socialist Labour Network, which is in part the continuity of Labour Against the Witchhunt (also the former Labour-In-Exile Network) and which organises a significant layer of the most advanced ex-Labour militants. We were pivotal in changing the policy of the SLN from one of neutrality in the war in Ukraine to one of critically supporting the struggle of the people of the Donbass, and the Russian side, against NATO’s Nazi proxy war.

In a period where the proletarian pole of Labour is driven back by the right-wing, and particularly today’s neoliberal, massively corrupt and bribed neoliberal/Blairite right-wing, in hock to Thatcherite privatisation, Zionism and the Israeli attempt to exterminate the people of Gaza, the Spartacist League are quite correct to agitate against voting for Starmer on the mass Palestine demonstrations. We would critically support that. Our criticism is that some of the literature the SL has put out about Gaza and October 7th has shown too much of a tendency to accept the demonisation of Hamas, who it is clear did not seek mass civilian casualties, as Scott Ritter correctly noted. We are also sharply critical of their failure to take sides with Russia and the people of Donbass in the current Ukrainian proxy war, which is another crucially important anti-imperialist struggle.

Not only are the SL absurdly characterised as ‘Ohlerites’. McNair is also quoted as arguing for:

“…fighting for working class unity requires the pursuit of the united front – including from above with rightwing leaders of the labour movement. We do not simply regard them as ‘social fascists’: ie, as untouchables. The SL’s claim that voting Labour is crossing class lines, or to vote for anybody who would back a Starmer government crosses class lines, argued comrade Macnair, is what Leon Trotsky dismissed as the ‘third period’ theory of Comintern.”

WW, op-cit

Here McNair resorts to Sean Matgamna-style dishonest demagogy.  “Third period” Stalinism was a cynical, bureaucratic pseudo-ultraleft policy formulated by the Soviet bureaucracy to obscure the Stalin faction’s previous rightist policy of conciliation of capitalism abroad and rich, exploiting peasants (kulaks) at home. These led to the destruction of the 1926-27 Chinese revolution and a 1928 kulak revolt that came close to overthrowing Soviet power. “Third period” Stalinism (1929-33) was not a reflection of the mood of an advanced part of the working class, it was a bureaucratic policy from above to fool the advanced working class. Completely unlike anything today.

If German Social Democracy, hypothetically speaking, had been directly complicit in Hitler’s (coming) genocide of Jews in the way that Starmer’s Zionist Labour Party is complicit in Israel’s  genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza (for which they are rightly hated), then the Stalinist epithet ‘social fascist’ might have had some justification. But in the actual historical situation that was impossible. In fact, the Stalinist bureaucratic policy of the ‘Third Period’ played a major role in sabotaging the united front of the German workers against Hitler’s Nazi movement that actually threatened such a genocide at the time. So, what is MacNair suggesting, that the left should form a ‘united front’ with Der Stűrmer to save the Palestinians from genocide? What the hell?

Starmer made it very clear that he supported Zionism, which now stands utterly exposed as the Nazism of today, “without qualification” as he grabbed for the Labour leadership after stabbing Corbyn in the back. Starmer is himself a genocidal racist, who rose to power in Labour with the support of Political Zionism and the Labour Friends of Israel, Jewish Labour Movement, etc, which as is visible to all now, is the hegemonic, open form of genocidal racism of today, which has the bulk of the imperialist ruling classes dancing to its tune. MacNair’s polemic is a damned insult against all those who suffered from the Zionist filth in Labour!

The polemic goes on. MacNair

“…in his response described the Spartacist position as ‘classic ultra-leftism’ of the sort attacked in Lenin’s Leftwing communism … it mistakes the mood of a section of the advanced part of the class for the mood of the broad masses. Yes, there is hatred of Starmer expressed by hundreds of thousands on Palestine demonstrations, but millions are supporting Labour in elections. They are not doing so under the illusion that Labour will bring socialism, or that it defends the fully independent interests of the working class. The illusion is that Labour will partially defend workers’ interests within the frame of the constitution and the nation.”

WW op-cit

CPGB support for Starmer: Another Capitulation to Zionism

This an example of rightward motion by the CPGB and softness on what Starmer represents politically. Lenin in Left Wing Communism attacked those ultraleft communists who refused on principle to support any candidates in bourgeois elections, and to stand communist candidates in such elections. The WW polemic is bizarre, as the Spartacist League apparently are standing a candidate under the TUSC banner in the upcoming election, and many others of those who oppose voting for Starmer are planning to stand, or support, independent leftist candidates themselves. It seems that for the CPGB, the epithet ‘Ohlerite’ is reserved for those who fail to kiss Starmer’s arse.

 This is shown by their respectful address to Starmer as “Sir Keir” in their coverage when the vernacular of those who have been through the mill of the Zionist witchhhunts in Labour is more often “Der Stűrmer”, “Kid Starver” or sometimes “Keith Stalin”. The absence of socialist or class illusions in Starmer’s Labour is because Starmer’s strategy is to win over alienated Tory voters by appearing to them as a slightly less deranged kind of Tory. That is why he excluded Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott from the parliamentary party, while welcoming in anti-immigrant scum like Natalie Elphicke. That is why Starmer can be opposed from the left by far-right Tory vermin like Suella Braverman (!!) when she called for an end to the two-child cap on child benefit, which Kid Starver is pledged to carry on with. That is why Starmer wraps his party up with the Union Jack to the point that his flag-shagging has become a sick joke and the object of hatred by those targeted by the far right.

But even more so, there is the overt Zionism of the Labour Party. In an earlier period, when Tony Blair was rising to become prime minister, and for the whole of the Blair/Brown government’s 13 years in power, the CPGB made a point about not calling for a vote to New Labour. They strongly opposed supporting New Labour in the 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010 General Elections, because of new Labour’s overt Thatcherism, which was not some obscure point of doctrine but the whole basis of its attempt to win over Tory voters. They correctly opposed this because of what they called the “De-Labourisation of Labour”.  Now they call for votes for Starmer’s Labour and denounce as ‘Ohlerities’ those who refuse to snap to attention and vote for ‘Sir Keir’.

This is an index of their political softness on Zionism. The CPGB grandstands that

“Of course, the Spartacist League was nowhere to be seen in the 2015‑20 class war which raged inside the Labour Party. The CPGB, by contrast, through Labour Party Marxists, played a leading role in Labour Against the Witchhunt.”

WW op-cit

But their role was not so creditable as their braggadocio pretends. It would be justifiable to say that the CPGB turned Labour Against the Witchhunt, as originally conceived, into something that could justly be called Labour Against the Witchhunt (sic!). Under their stewardship, Labour Against the Witchhunt had its own witchhunts, some of which achieved national publicity, against those who were too consistent in their anti-Zionism, and analysed the material roots of the power of the Zionist lobby in Marxist terms.

Such as Socialist Fight, our political forerunner. who for our Marxist analysis of the Jewish question today were thrown out of Labour Against the Witchhunt by the CPGB and its then allies. Our comrade Gerry Downing was thrown out of the Labour Party after being denounced as a supposed ‘terrorist’ supporter by David Cameron and was then subjected to a prolonged witchhunt for supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ for referring to facts about the social weight of Zionist Jews in the ruling class, which are increasingly obvious today as one of the key driving forces of Western support for genocide and also repression in the imperialist countries against the pro-Palestine, anti-genocide student movement.

The CPGB originally lost the vote when the motion to purge SF was put to the meeting of LAW in December 2017, and SF stayed in. So WW declared a national mobilisation to throw us out, which they duly did, at an enlarged meeting in January 2018 where they ‘won’ by approximately two to one, having mobilised pro-imperialist pseudo-lefts like the supporters of Socialist Resistance, the British USFI group (now known as Anti-Capitalist Resistance), who are known for their support for the US/UK invasion of Libya in 2011, the reactionary US/Israel-sponsored jihadist war to overthrow Assad in Syria (which was foiled by Russia and Hizbullah), and now the NATO imperialist Nazi proxy war in Ukraine.

If you choose to block with such elements, it is purely accidental if you get a majority for a purge.  But a pro-Zionist, pro-imperialist witchhunt is what it was, and the rightward motion of the CPGB is shown today by their cynical deployment of the language of the Trotskyist movement against people who oppose their political softness on Starmer.

There is nothing orthodox Marxist or owing to the early Congresses of the revolutionary Comintern about the CPGB’s critique of the Spartacist League, as they claim. The CPGB reject the Comintern and the Russian Revolution itself as models for revolutionaries to seek to emulate.  As MacNair’s writings reveal, they prefer the politics of pre-1914 Karl Kautsky, the centrism that laid the basis for the destruction of the Second International and the necessity for a third. Their softness on Starmer and his genocidal Zionist Labour Party has deep roots in their own affinity for reformism and their fealty to the political method of Hal Draper, the ‘third camp’ theorist of later forms of pro-imperialist social democracy that have given the false impression that the Zionist neoconservatives had something to do with the Trotskyist movement.

They do not, but the politics of the CPGB and the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who the CPGB tried to fuse with in the early 2000s, have also a common root in the politics of Hal Draper, one of whose earliest tracts, titled How to defend Israel (https://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1948/07/israel.htm) put a ‘socalist’ gloss on the Nakba of the Palestinians. Ironically, to a degree the Spartacists under Robertson’s also had roots in Shachtmanism, which seriously flawed their own politics on West Asia. But this debate had a left and a right, and it is useful for the left and political clarity to get a proper view and orientation of what the protagonists represent.

Presentation on Zionism and Gaza Situation – 12th May 2024

Zionists plan another massacre at Rafah, threatening these makeshift refugee camps with carnage seen earlier.

The presentation and discussion at our forum this afternoon can also be heard here as a podcast

We are now witnessing the brutal forced evacuation of East and Central Rafah, the Southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, adjoining Egypt, to a tiny coastal enclave.

This is going to be another, even more brutal massacre that those that have taken place previously further North. Because the population has nowhere really to flee to

So far, Israel has not been able order them to leave Gaza for Sinai/Egypt.  

That is significant and a product of their being outmaneuvered by Hamas, who jointly put together a plan to end the Israeli massacre with Qatar and Egypt.

It had implicit US support, arguably, as both Qatar and Egypt are strong US allies.

But Israel rejected the plan.

It would have been a defeat for them.

A permanent ceasefire means a defeat for Israel.

The US and Israel’s other imperialist allies know that a permanent ceasefire means Israeli defeat.

That is why the demand for it is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

But Israel is now over-extended both militarily and politically, and under enormous pressure.

Rafah is the last fig leaf to disguise Israeli defeat.

 They can again kill many civilians, but they have no chance to wipe out Hamas. They will take casualties here also.

The attempt to divert attention from this by aggression against Iran has failed.

So, we are back at the sharp edge of the genocide again.

They were resuming demands for evacuations in Gaza City yesterday, Dropping leaflets telling people to flee, so they can ‘deal with’ Hamas.

Déjà vu. They are supposed to have won that months ago. But no.

The Biden administration is desperately trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. They are desperate for this carnage to end, not because of any humanitarian motive.

But because it is radicalizing their population and upsetting Biden’s election campaign.

It should be clear now that in the seven months of wanton slaughter than have gone on since 7/10 they have no qualms about the Israelis massacring Palestinian civilians.–

As long as they thought it might win them something.

But now it is clear that Israel is not going to defeat, let alone ‘eliminate’ Hamas.

Their bloodthirsty, barbaric, racist army, the most cowardly and immoral in the world, can butcher tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of civilians, in the most rapid slaughter since Rwanda in 1994, but they cannot defeat the Palestinian resistance.

What is happening instead is that the young population of the West is being radicalized.

From being exposed to this butchery and genocide.

The US ruling class is trying to ban TikTok because it has kept US youth informed of the crimes Israel is carrying out in Gaza, and indeed the accelerating repression in the West Bank as well.

But it is too late. The cat is out of the bag already, Once people see what Israel is doing, they cannot un-see it. The Zionists complain of youth being  ‘radicalised’ by their crimes and ridiculously compare the results of their own work with 1930s anti-semitism.

Totally insulting to the most basic intelligence since Zionist barbarism is similar to Nazi barbarism.

 Student youth are organising protest camps in hundreds of Unis and Colleges in the US.

Pitched battles are taking place with violent cops, acting under orders from Zionist and White Supremacist politicians the length and breadth of imperialist North America, from Colombia University in New York to UCLA on the West Coast, from Texas to Canada.

There are Gaza protest encampments in Harvard and Yale, the US’ most elite universities. They all demand divestments of University assets from Israel and Zionist companies, and an end to the frequent military-academic collaboration that regularly goes on.

This has spread to Europe. In France and Germany, there have been pitched battles between students and the cops.

In Spain, 76 universities have acted collectively to suspend ties with ‘complicit’ Israeli universities via the Conference of University Rectors.

In Britain, student protests and encampments are likewise spreading throughout the country. Protests are underway at Oxbridge universities, among other places.

Sunak is complaining and trying to incite repression here also.

Oxford and Cambridge, Sorbonne, Harvard and Yale, as well as less salubrious universities are heavily involved. The elite – this is destabilitising the youth of the bourgeoiisie’s most treasured.

Student protests are still continuing though the imperialist world and spreading even though repressed quite savagely.

Young people are prepared to risk their futures, because they are less and less convinced that they have a future in a society dominated by genocidaires and corporate climate deniers.

This is evidently a global student movement. It has been compared to the student movements around the Vietnam war. I think it may prove even more significant than that!

 But it is misleading, and misreading, the situation to see it as simply a student protest movement.

It is a movement of the intelligentsia that prefigures what society itself is thinking, in its depths.

 This is actually confirmed by many public opinion polls in the advanced countries, Israel’s allies, sponsors, and lackeys, where clear majorities strongly disapprove of Israel’s genocidal onslaught, and consider it to be a genocide,

The decision in January of the International Court of Justice, to state publicly that there is a plausible, prima facie case to accuse Israel of genocide, was a reflection of that popular pressure, months before the student movements took off.

This is a very bourgeois institution, designed from the start as a kind of safety switch for imperialism so it can amnesty itself, indict its opponents and excuse its allies.

The ICJ’s ‘provisional measures’ were and are a joke, responding to South Africa’s indictment by calling on Israel to stop what they are doing and protect the civilian population they would like to dispose of.

Fat chance – if they were remotely inclined to any of that, this issue would not exist in the first place.

So is the International Criminal Court, for that matter, which has threatened to indict Netanyahu, Gallant and others.

Their usual activity is in trying to indict the West’s opponents, like Putin, Milosevic, and various black African leaders.

They have not (yet) actually indicted Netanyahu and may indeed back off under pressure.

But the possibility is real, as shown by the letter of 10 GOP senators threatening the ICC with military sanctions if they do.

However, the fact that the bodies feel compelled to say anything remotely in the right ball part if a reflection of the mass sentiment.

Not just the overwhelming sentiment in the global South, over which South Africa has made the running politically, and  very strongly in terms of perceived ‘morality’, which should not be dismissed.

But in terms of the knowledge that the ruling classes in general, in the imperialist West, have about the huge damage that is being done to their moral authority over the masses at home.

Mass student protest movements are often the harbinger of much more convulsive social and political movements.

I could go through a long list, from the role of ferment among students and intelligentsia in influencing the masses and leading to the growth of a mass communist movement in Russia in the late 19th/early 20th century,

There is the huge role of students in assembling the intellectual forces for anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements throughout the world.

And in a more recent time frame, there is the role of the mass student movement in France in the late 1960s, the student radicals who fought the CRS in Paris and other places, in a mixture of home-grown social discontent and anti-imperialist radicalism centred again on Vietnam.

This student movement managed to coalesce with a mass movement of working-class discontent, and the working class anger in France burst out in a huge outburst, a general strike, that forced Charles De Gaulle himself to flee the country.

Until the dependable forces of the French Communist Party were able to restore order and get the working class to return to work.

This activity led to the discredit of the very reformist CP at the time and the growth of large organisations of the far left in France in the 1970s.

That is not the subject of this forum, we are in very different circumstances today. What we are faced with now is understanding where we are at now, and what to fight for.

What is possible, and likely, is major working-class movements akin to May 1968 with revolutionary implications, from this crisis.

We must be alert and participate in them to the best of our ability when that happens, as communists.

We are a very different situation now. The US achieved full world hegemony after the destruction of the USSR, and Zionist power in the world was massively enhanced through its factions within the US and European imperialist ruling classes.

As long as the USSR existed, the bipolar world, Zionist power was somewhat overshadowed by the need for the US to concentrate on its own offensive against the workers states.

When the USSR collapsed, we had the situation of the unipolar world, where the US’s world hegemony appeared unchallenged.

We had the situation beginning in the early 1990s when Israel appeared to be able to get the United States to fight its wars for it.

There was an element about that in the 1991 Iraq war; Israel had a definite interest in cutting Iraq down to size and given the US’ own recent alliance with Iraq, the manner in which Hussein was lured into Iraq by the US ambassador April Glaspie was suspicious, to say the least.

The second Iraq war, however, in 2003, the successful US/UK invasion and then failed occupation  of Iraq, has Zionism and necons written all over it.

It was always Israeli policy to find ways to prevent any successful regional power from emerging that could challenge their ‘right’ to dispossess the Palestinians.

This drove all their wars, but finding a sympathetic hegemon to wage them was not so simple.

It proved not so simple in 1956, when the US and USSR united against Britain and France to put them back in their box.

They had more luck in 1967, still with tactic French support, but seemingly acting alone to defeat Nasser, Assad and the King of Jordan.

But the ambiguity of the relationship with the US was shown by the USS Liberty

In 1973 they were threatened with reversal of 1967 by forces that were still seen as Soviet allied: Nixon saw Israel for the first time as a strategic ally and put US forces on alert to stop them being defeated.

But the 1990s until the mid-20-teens were the heyday of Zionism, coinciding with the ‘unipolar world’, when the world appeared to be Israel’s oyster and the US would fight its wars for them.

Those days are over. Because the unipolar world is ending. The ‘Arab Spring’, that inchoate upsurge of mass ‘democratic’ struggle in the Arab world, exploited by imperialism, also showed the beginning of the end for this hegemony.

The destruction of Libya followed the pattern of Iraq.

But the failure in Syria was because Russia reasserted its power, against the US, the neocons and the Zionists, and refused to allow them to destroy Syria, which would have been a major triumph for the Zionists.

We do know the evidence that Israel gave material help, and medical help, to the mercenary jihadists in this war. The destruction of the Assads was always a key priority of Zionism. No Sinai type deal was possible over Golan for this reason.

This is a key reason why the struggle against Zionism, and the struggle against the NATO war in Ukraine, have proved interdependent.

It is the demise of US Hegemony which is leading to the decline of Zionism also.

There is the ideological overlap between the Ukrainian proxy of the US, and Israel.

Zelensky is a Zionist who was carefully groomed to camouflage the Nazi character of the Maidan regime in Ukraine after 2014.

Zelensky expressed his solidarity with Israel after 7 Oct.

Ihor Kolmoisky, the Israeli-Ukrainian oligarch who stumped up the funds to found the notorious Nazi Avov Brigade.

Whose original symbol was the Wolfsangel, which was the symbol of the Das Reich division of the SS that committed atrocities in occupied France, among other places.

This confluence between Nazism and Zionism has a long history, and goes back to the 1930s and then WWII, with Zionists collaboration with the Nazis in order gain approval for their state project in Palestine.

Tony Greenstein, who I have had many disagreements with on Zionism and Anti-Semitism, wrote a worthwhile and serious book on this, Zionism and the Holocaust. It is reviewed on our website, I recommend the book and the review.

So, what is behind Zionism’s apparent strength?

The secret of its power is that part of the Israeli ruling class lives outside its borders, in the US, in West Europe, and is organised as an imperialist faction primarily loyal to Israel.

Israel effectively has an extra-territorial citizenship law which makes that possible.

It’s an imperialist formation, and its presence makes Israel an imperialist power of medium strength.

If this external faction did not exist it would be a minor imperialist power like Denmark. But it’s more powerful than that.

The power of this formation came from the top-heavy social structure of the mainly Askenazi Jewish population in Europe, as a medieval trading class.

See Abram Leon, The Jewish Question – a Marxist Interpretation.

This trading class became obsolete under late feudalism. The Jewish population was marked by it, an obsolete class whose remnants were subjected to religious persecution.

But they were emancipated by the bourgeois revolutions.

Under capitalism this population was naturally more intellectual and bourgeois than the mainstream populations that did not have that class legacy.

So, Jews were disproportionately intellectuals, who having experience of persecution, played an important progressive role in democratic, socialist and working-class movements.

But another layer of Jews was disproportionately successful in business.

And disproportionate capitalist property gives disproportionate social power in a capitalist society where the chief social power is the bourgeoisie.

In my view the Jewish Question is a legacy of a European pre-capitalist phenomenon involving this trading/middleman class, that spilled over into the epoch of progressive capitalism.

When capitalism ceased to be progressive and became imperialist, its interaction with imperialism gave rise to two complementary imperialist movements.

Racial anti-Semitism and Zionism, both of which proved ultimately genocidal. 

Both logically sought to dispose of whole populations that were unwanted in their respective imperialist projects.

We saw the genocidal proclivities of racial anti-semitism against the Jews themselves, played out in the Second World War. as Gemany lost its own bid for world imperialist hegemony.

Now, as US imperialism, Zionism’s ‘host’ so-to-speak, is in the process of losing its world hegemony, we are seeing Zionism’s genocidal proclivities played out.

The Palestinian Arab population of what claims to be ‘Israel’ is equally unwanted. They are still the majority in historic Palestine.

If the right to return of those driven out since 1948 were won, they would be the substantial majority. The Israeli rulers wants this demographic threat eliminated.

Fortunately, they are losing. But it is not clear just how destructive they are prepared to be as they face defeat.

Will they commit suicide, as per Masada? Or will they try to destroy humanity as they fall – Samson option. It’s an open question.

Communist Fight Series 2, issue 3 is Out Now!

This issue is heavily focussed on the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, which are the two immediately active issues that are threatening to escalate towards WWIII at this juncture.

The lead article is a joint statement of two closely aligned Marxist groups on  the implications of Israel’s attempts to provoke a major regional war with Iran, to somewhat distract from its failure, despite murdering around 40,000 Palestinian civilians, to subdue Hamas in Gaza.

Iran’s reprisal on 14th April was only parried by Israel with the help of its traditional imperialist allies: the US, France and Britain, as enough drone and missiles were fired at Israel to overwhelm its Iron Dome defence system had it been forced to defend itself alone. But Iran still managed to damage several Israeli military facilities, including those where the forces that carried out its initial murderous attack on the Iranian Embassy complex in Damascus on 1st April.

Since this statement was written, Israel has made a murky response apparently through Iranian proxies, that appear to have led to some completely failed drone attacks around the Iranian city of Isfahan, home of much of Iran’s civil nuclear infrastructure. Though other material has emerged, that at this point appears speculative, that suggests that Israel may have tried and failed to use a high-altitude nuclear weapon to knock out Iranian electronics. A frightening development if true, however the information at this point is open to question.

Which brings us onto the second major article on Zionism, an abridged and updated study of the roots of the danger that Zionism poses, titled “Political Zionism And its Genocidal Hegemony in the Imperialist World”. In its original form, this was published by our predecessor Socialist Fight in 2016, when perhaps it was ahead of its time. It contains an extensive analysis of how Zionism came to play such an important and powerful role in the world of Western imperialism, and updates the Marxist, materialist analysis of the Belgian Trotskyist Abram Leon of the roots of the oppression of Jews in the early 20th Century, in his work The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation.

Leon, who was murdered by the Nazis during WWII, did not live to see the foundation of the Zionist state. Let alone how Zionism inverted that oppression and created the situation we see today where a state whose official mythology claims it was founded to atone for the Nazi genocide, is carrying out its own genocide of the Palestinian people. However, as the article points out, there are enough pointers in Leon’s own analysis to explain what happened within his orthodox Marxist framework, extended in a manner verifiably faithful to its own Marxist, materialist method.

Regarding the Ukraine proxy war of imperialism, which Russia now seems to be on the verge of defeating, we publish the statement of our closely allied groups, and also of like-minded comrades in India, condemning and analysing the imperialist inspired terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall venue in Moscow, by terrorist mercenaries who it is now pretty much proven were acting as part of the Ukrainian proxy war. Terrorism of this type, purely directed at civilians, is hardly a sign of strength. It is directed at the Russian civilian population who overwhelmingly re-elected Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president recently, and basically expresses imperialist bloodlust against that population, just as has previously been seen in attacks on the population of Crimea and the Donbass republics, who likewise voted to join Russia.

Finally, we have a historical article on the Irish Question, written by a leading Brazilian comrade of the LCFI, which should be of interest to readers in Britain both for the different perspective such a view offers of the Irish question, and also for the historical material on the creditable activity of our predecessors in Socialist Fight on the Irish Question, which we obviously seek to continue when the chance arises to do so, as the Irish Question is still crucial for Marxists in Britain to address.

Political Zionism And its Genocidal Hegemony in the Imperialist World

By Ian Donovan

The ultimate symbol of Zionist genocide. Premature babies being desperately cared for without incubators in Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza City in November 2023 after the power was cut off by Israel. In vain – they had no chance. On 9th October 2023 Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant, a latter-day Julius Streicher, announced “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we will act accordingly”.

[This article is an updated and improved version of an earlier article from 2015, titled Political Zionism: The Hegemonic Racism of the early 21st Century1, which was published by Socialist Fight. The earlier article contained substantially the same analysis of Zionism but was flawed by an incorrect analysis of the nature of the USSR, derived from the views of a US left-wing trend, the League for the Revolutionary Party2, led by Walter Daum, who I was then still partially sympathetic to.]

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 apart from the political Zionists they largely operate in an obscured, cryptic manner in terms of political discourse. Whereas political Zionism, as we see in Gaza, is openly and brazenly genocidal.

We have to address this because we do not reduce all questions involving oppression to economic relations alone. This would be a vulgarisation of working class politics, which is more complex than that. 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

The concretes may have changed, but the basic principle is the same. Socialists are consistent democrats, and need to be able to address questions involving such forms of oppression concretely, completely, and in an up-to-date manner in order to help resolve them and bring the explicit class aspects that underlie them to the fore. In today’s circumstances of the Gaza genocide, with politics in the imperialist countries, including British politics massively influenced by Zionism, and with injunctions from leading people influenced by it in all the major parties as to what views are, and are not, considered legitimate in the body politic, getting this right is a matter of the highest importance. Later I will deal with some historical manifestations of this from the period when Jeremy Corbyn held the leading position in the Labour Party, but first it needs a proper elaboration and concrete theorisation.

We must define what we mean by political Zionism. This is a movement whose objective is the maintenance by any and all available means of a Jewish ethnic state in the territory now known as Israel, which was taken by force from its indigenous Arab inhabitants over 70 years ago, and is still maintaining that state by the most monstrous force against the indigenous people of Palestine, including now outright genocide. Though in its core it is Jewish, Zionism is not just confined to Jews.  If it were simply a narrowly Jewish movement it would not be so dangerous and hegemonic. Rather, it has a great moral authority among the ruling classes of the advanced capitalist countries, in a manner analogous to the way that white supremacism, anti-communism, homophobia and even ironically anti-semitism once had a similar authority.

Zionist Genocide in Gaza/Palestine is same as the earlier genocide of Native Americans in United States.

There is a common thread to all these bigoted ideologies, which have taken root as ideological watchwords of the bourgeoisie in discrete historical periods. They are/were all seen by the bourgeoisie as means of ideological terror against the opponents of the capitalist system, and thus as means to preserve a capitalist social system that does not have much appeal to its victims among the working class and exploited people generally.  If the political representatives of capitalism proclaimed openly that the system was dedicated to the enrichment of a tiny minority of the population, it would not last very long. Its strength is in its ability to create ideologies that hide that reality, that instead provide reasons for sections of the subject population to hate other sections to the benefit of capitalism.

Imperialism and ‘racial’ supremacy

Capitalism lives by scapegoating; this technique is the basis of convincing part of the working class and middle class population that they have a common interest, not with each other against capital, but with capital against some population oppressed by it. This has always been the purpose of racism in all its varied forms. It was obviously the purpose of white supremacism, which existed since the dawn of capitalism; to create an ideology whereby instead of opposing slavery and colonial oppression, part of the working class particularly of the oppressor nations considered that they benefitted in social terms from the enslavement of the (usually) non-white working class in the colonial countries.

There was, and still is (in a modified form) a material basis for this in that the enormous profits gained initially from the hybrid capitalist form of chattel slavery were used to fund the industrialisation of the first advanced capitalist countries, notably Britain, France, Holland and later the United States. This laid the basis for these states to wage extensive wars of conquest around the globe, and thus for the later exploitation of colonies and semi-colonies under modern monopoly capitalist imperialism.

As the gap between the emerging advanced capitalist nations, and the countries and peoples their ruling classes plundered and enslaved, grew progressively greater in material terms, some of the wealth thus gained was, and still is, used to buy off a layer of the working class in advanced countries, with social gains that, it was clear, depended on the fortunes of ‘their’ imperialist country in the world order. This was justified by the pernicious idea of racial superiority and inferiority; this was actually always the basis of imperialist ideology in the working class.

The doctrine of white ’racial’ superiority was dominant within imperialist ideology throughout the colonial period, but suffered a seemingly huge, discrediting blow with the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII. Hitler’s regime was the concentrated expression of this doctrine; although by virtue of its defeat in the 1914-18 war Germany’s colonies in Africa had been taken away.  Instead of a colonial empire based on plunder in what is now known as the Global South, Nazi Germany concentrated its main efforts to the East. Its version of ‘racial superiority’ treated Slavs, and in a more concentrated form Jews and Roma as untermenschen (subhumans) who were to be exploited as slaves and ultimately exterminated for the supposed benefit of the Aryan übermenschen.

Contradictions and Paradoxes

The blow to notions of racial superiority that resulted from Hitler’s defeat was not without its contradictions, paradoxes and ambiguities, however. One being that though the ideological roots of National Socialism were firmly rooted in white supremacism, many if not most of its victims in the genocidal terror that was concentrated in Europe, were actually white (though considered not to be ‘Aryan’ according to the Nazi racial ideology).

The claim that the slaughter of Jews was simply unique, made today mainly by Jewish chauvinists or those who follow elements of their ideology, is false. The Nazi genocide of between 5 and 6 million East European Jews, today called the Holocaust or Shoah, took place alongside a similar number of non-Jews murdered, including at least four million Slavs of various nationalities, half a million Gypsies, tens of thousands of homosexuals and numerous identified Communists.

It was not even the first such mass killing of millions under modern imperialism. A comparable slaughter took place, of approximately 10 million Congolese Black Africans, at the hands of the Belgian State, which instituted personal rule of the Congo by its king, Leopold II, just prior to the beginning of the 20th Century. This incredible act of mass killing is infinitely less well-known than the slaughter of Jews in WWII (see the 1998 work King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild for a comprehensive account).

The reasons for this lack of knowledge are severalfold; one is that a great deal of effort was expended by the Belgian ruling class to cover it up. They had plenty of help from more powerful imperialist allies; Belgium was the casus belli for Britain’s involvement in WWI. The violation of the ‘neutrality’ of ‘poor little Belgium’ by Germany as a military manoeuvre against its opponent France was the excuse for Britain’s (already planned) declaration of war in 1914. The portrayal of Belgium as a victim would not be quite so convincing if it were widely known that Belgian imperialism was guilty of an act of slaughter that massively exceeded any then known, and that even Hitler probably did not exceed.

King Leopold II of Belgium: As Brutal As Hitler, Just Far Less Known

The genocidal slaughter of black Africans in the Belgian Congo is also indicative of something else that is grossly hypocritical about the claim of Western imperialism to have overcome racism. This is only the worst of many atrocities committed against non-white peoples by colonial and imperialist powers. Yet it was the not the slaughter of dark-skinned Africans that supposedly discredited the cause of racial supremacy – on the contrary the Belgian crime and many others in Africa and Asia have been marginalised in public consciousness  and are under-recognised to this day. Rather, it was the mass killing of European Jews that is supposedly the seminal event that discredited the notion of racial supremacy.

Yet despite the supposed rejection of racial supremacy that the Jewish Shoah brought about, imperialism still slaughters people in the Global South who challenge imperialist domination, and such slaughters proceed unabated, albeit these days often under the banner of ‘humanitarian’ intervention instead of open racial supremacy. Except that where Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinian Arabs is concerned, even this fig leaf is missing as the ‘Jewish state’ is overtly supremacist, has openly racist laws, and is now openly genocidal.

Cultification of the Shoah

The way this is rationalised in the West is through the cultification of the Jewish Shoah. So while such events as King Leopold’s Congo murder of millions are not given anything like the historical prominence they deserve, in effect covered up by omission, the Shoah of Jews (though of not Hitler’s other victims) is sacralised as the ultimate crime in human history. Jews are portrayed as the ultimate victims, their suffering the Shoah is implicitly deemed to put them in a different, saintly category to the rest of humanity. For those who subscribe to this hypocritical ideology, which is itself genocidal in its logic, past Jewish suffering means that Jews are completely entitled to establish a Jewish ethnic state in the Middle East by expelling the majority of the indigenous people of Palestine. Furthermore, according to practitioners of this ideology, which include almost all North American and West European bourgeois politicians, as well as political servants of the bourgeoisie on the so-called left, Israel “has the right to defend itself” from the people it dispossessed by force, and whom it drove out of their own country. This purely racist concept manifests itself whenever Israel decides to “mow the lawn” with mass slaughter of Palestinians.  Now it has gone further and many such ideologues support Israel’s right to ‘defend itself’ by openly supporting the genocide of Palestinians particularly in Gaza.

Whenever this happens, in response to completely justified rage and hatred from normal, decent working-class people against the beasts who carry out these enormous crimes, you hear a caterwaul about so called ‘anti-semitism’ which is purely racist in content. After all, it’s only Arabs who are the victims, and they don’t really matter at all, what really matters is the dominance over them of Israeli Jews, who are part and parcel of ‘Judeo-Christian civilisation’, and so valuable to the capitalist system itself that normal considerations of human decency go right out of the window. This is the mainstream racist ideology in the West today, shot through with a hypocritical, gangrenous pseudo-anti-racism. Though it is facing a huge challenge from below because of the exposure of Israel’s genocidal nature.

One important consequence of such events as Leopold’s Congolese carnage remaining little-known is that it helps to propagate the myth that the barbarism of Nazi Germany was some kind of aberration, something extraneous, not rooted in the capitalist mode of production itself. Nazi Germany is deemed alien to the humane and tolerant ethos of profit-making that is supposedly characteristic of capital. They instead tried to associate it with ‘communism’, and the degeneration and decline of the Russian revolution under Stalinism.

The developing bureaucratic regime in the first workers state, trying to stave off counterrevolution and attack from imperialism while having abandoned the strategy of international revolution, made shifting alliances with all the different camps in the inter-imperialist conflicts that took place in the 1930s and 1940s. The USSR tried desperately to forge an alliance with the Western powers against Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1939, was rebuffed, and from 1939-41 had a ‘non-aggression’ pact with Nazi Germany, trying to stave off war, which Hitler broke by invading the USSR in June 1941. Then the Stalinist regime forged an alliance with the US and Britain to defeat Hitler. It took the bulk of casualties in that brutal war, around 27 million USSR citizens were killed resisting the Nazi invaders.

Stalinism undermined the ability of the proletariat to play an independent role in the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary conflicts and smaller wars in the 1920s and 1930s, caused by the extreme decay and convulsions of capitalism particularly in the era of the Great Depression. Those defeats led to the cataclysm of World War II, and in its attempts to preserve its anomalous and unstable form of bureaucratic rule, the regime indulged in rampant terror against those who upheld the undiluted internationalism of the Bolsheviks. Earlier, in the late 1920s, the developing bureaucratic regime, through conciliation of the wealthy peasantry, a policy strongly opposed by the Left Opposition, allowed a challenge to develop to the conquests of the Russian Revolution from these kulaks, which developed into virtually a civil war with these kulaks and others resisting collectivisation.  3-4 million died in a famine across the USSR resulting from this conflict during 1931-2.

The Moscow purge trials of 1936-38, and Stalin’s 1931-2 famine, are for anti-Communist propagandists the epitome of ‘communist’ totalitarianism and the basis for their attempt to equate ‘communism’ with ‘fascism’ as supposed twin antitheses of ‘democratic’ capitalism. The former was the result of a policy, of conciliation of the kulaks, that the revolutionary and internationalist Bolshevik Left Opposition, led by Leon Trotsky, warned against, and fought against, for years. The Moscow purge trials were aimed at eliminating the Left Opposition and all trace of its influence.

The chief defendant, in absentia, was Trotsky, the co-leader with Lenin of the October Revolution of 1917. The Fourth International, the infant revolutionary communist international party founded by Trotsky after he was exiled from the USSR by the bureaucratic regime, warned during WWII that there was no fundamental difference in nature between US and British imperialism, and Nazi Germany, as potential forces that would bring about world barbarism. The recrudescence of Nazi-style barbarism personified by Netanyahu’s attempted genocide of two million Gaza Palestinians has vindicated that and brought the barbaric and genocidal nature of capitalism to the attention of new generations, including in the imperialist countries themselves.

Trotsky with Lenin

This is corroborated by the fact that this is happening concurrently with the US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine, where the West, as Hitler did before them, are backing outright Nazi terrorists in massacring parts of the Russian population. Particularly those who in Donbass and Crimea have the temerity to vote in referenda against being annexed and oppressed by fascist Western puppets, or in elections for political trends personified by Putin whose roots in the remaining productive forces and structures created under the former workers’ state give them the means to disobey Western imperialist/neoliberal dictates.

Shifts in the imperialist ‘racial’ hierarchy

Zionism is not a parochial movement confined to the Middle East, but rather something that plays an important role in several imperialist countries, notably the United States, but also in Western Europe. In discussing the rise of such a movement to prominence, and the world role that it actually plays in the present phase of the epoch of capitalist-imperialist decline, the wider world context in which such developments took place also needs to be understood.

These events are important for understanding how Zionism gained the hegemonic position in bourgeois politics that it has today. It is bound up with a major change in the position of Jews in the pecking order of peoples that is inevitable in a world divided not just into classes, but also into a system of nation-states in which a number of wealthy imperialist countries systematically extract tribute from less wealthy nations and the corresponding peoples that underlie them. Thus overlaying the class divisions between the working class and the bourgeoisie are massively unequal relationships between peoples. The ruling classes of some nations actually play a role in suppressing the economic and political development of other peoples, though plunder, and both direct and indirect exploitation.  Thus we get the phenomenon of oppressor and oppressed peoples, in all its variation, which contaminates the ‘pure’ class struggle with complex national questions.

Also overlaying this is the oppression of important ethnic minorities in the imperialist countries. For instance, there is the oppression of the black population of the United States, which was derived from slavery in the early capitalist period and is still a long way from real equality. There is the oppression of aboriginal peoples in a number of former colonial-settler states, in Australia and New Zealand where this is still a major social question; or for that matter in the United States and Canada where the remnants of the Native American population have been driven to the margins and treated as pariahs. In the past there were colonial-derived settler states where formal racial discrimination was state policy, such as apartheid South Africa and ‘Rhodesia’. Something similar in some ways is being attempted in Occupied Palestine though there are some important differences.

There is also the situation of numerous immigrants from ex-colonies in the imperialist countries. Such as Afro-Caribbeans, South Asians, and latterly Africans in the UK, Maghrebin Arabs and others in France, as well as Black Africans and those from French Caribbean dependencies, Turkish ‘guest workers’ in Germany, or the Korean migrant population in Japan.  More recently migrations of East Europeans in the EU free movement context, have complicated, but not fundamentally changed, these issues.

All of these questions involve the creation of ethnic (or ‘racial’) hierarchies through historical processes, both within and without the imperialist countries. All of them are in some way abound up with the enforcement of some kind of servitude or second class status on entire peoples, to the extent that it is true that the majority of humanity is not just subject to exploitation in the sense of a worker under capitalism, but is also to some additional form of national or racial oppression on top of that. Something that in practice deprives them even of equal status with ordinary working class people of the imperialist countries, who themselves constitute an exploited and often semi-suppressed class. These kinds of relations between peoples, once consolidated under capitalism, have tended to become intractable, an inherent part of the system, to the point that it is obvious to anyone who seriously studies such things in their historical sweep that the real emancipation of these peoples from such systematic oppression can only fully take place when capitalism is abolished.

The exception to the rule

There is one glaring exception to this: one formerly oppressed population that under capitalism has escaped from oppression and degradation, and even a serious attempt at genocide in the middle of the 20th Century, to ascend the de-facto hierarchy of peoples that capitalism has created, right to the top. Jews have, uniquely under capitalism, escaped from being a semi-pariah population in the early 20th century to being joint top dogs of the imperialist world in the early 21st Century. Symbolic of this is the term ‘Judeo-Christian civilisation’ that is habitually used by ideologues of Western imperialism to denote the supposedly innate superiority of the West to its perceived ‘others’. By degrees, this has become the dominant narrative; since the 1967 war at least it was the default view, marginalising the anti-Jewish themes of the previous manifestations of imperialist reaction. In the 2000s, with the eruption of imperialism’s ‘war on terror’: ideological cover for an attempted partial recolonization of part of the Middle East by imperialist states, it has become a feverish, militaristic barely-disguised racist narrative in its own right.

The reversal of the position of the Jews in imperialism’s pecking order of peoples has a materialist explanation. Unlike virtually every other victimised population that has been subjected to racial oppression under capitalism, Jews were never, except in the circumstances of the actual attempt at genocide, an enslaved population of colonial-type subjects. Rather, the Jewish population was a different type of pariah population with a complex origin bound up with their economic role in pre-capitalist European society. They were a commodity-trading and later money-trading people-class, in societies where commodity exchange, let alone commodity production (which was virtually unknown), was an activity at the margins of the economic system, which was based on natural, agricultural economy and a form of exploitation based on the appropriation of material goods (i.e. use values in Marxist terms), not exchange values.

This is a complex subject, which has been treated in full elsewhere. It was touched on by Karl Marx in his celebrated early essay On the Jewish Question. The understanding of the Jews as a people-class of traders in pre-capitalist society was elaborated at length in Abram Leon’s notable work The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation, and some extensions of this analysis were much more recently put forward by me in a series of articles on Marxism and the Jewish Question, most synthetically in the 2014 Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism.

The core of this understanding is that the pariah role of the Jews was a transitory phenomenon that was not organic to capitalism, but rather was a hangover from the late feudal period, when their pre-capitalist role as a ‘foreign’ commodity-trading class was rendered superfluous by the emergence of the bourgeoisies as competitors. They were pushed to the margins and became a pariah layer associated above all with usury, forced into ghettos by feudalism which increasingly used them as a scapegoat for mass discontent with a disintegrating economic system, while at the same time being regarded as insidious competitors by the emerging native bourgeoisies.

This pariah status and oppression, as well as the wide-ranging international trading connections of the Jews derived from their status as a religious minority in many countries, led to their being radicalised both as an intellectual layer and an artisan proletariat, and in those roles playing an important role both in the bourgeois revolutions, where the demand for Jewish emancipation from the ghetto was an important democratic issue, and in the early working class, socialist and communist movement. At the same time, the centuries-long experience of Jewish traders, merchants and usurers in the world of commodities gave them a cultural advantage in the new capitalist societies that were based on generalised commodity production and exchange. Part of the Jewish population was therefore absorbed into the bourgeoisies of the new capitalist countries in Europe and then North America, and became often extremely successful, in a proportion far beyond the proportion of Jews in the general population.

This combination, of successful Jewish capital, and Jewish participation in the working class movement, was the material base that gave birth to a peculiar, racist and deeply reactionary ideology, classical anti-semitism, when capitalism ceased to be an expanding, progressive system in the late 19th century. This ideology was based on a counter-revolutionary racist demonology; it saw Jewish bourgeois as the financiers of a Jewish-led subversive movement against ‘Christian’ civilisation. This was initially the ideology of late-feudal reaction in 19th Century Tsarist Russia, where the large Jewish population was subjected to vicious attacks and pogroms. But as many Jewish refugees fled Russia to the West, the ideology of ‘anti-semitism’ and the Tsarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion became a major force in European politics first in France with the Dreyfus case, then in Germany in the early-to-mid 20th Century, culminating in the rise of the genocidal anti-Jewish National Socialists under Hitler’s leadership.

Some say that the defeat of Nazi Germany and the exposure of its mass slaughter of the Jews, along with other less well-regarded minorities such as Roma and homosexuals, a considerable number of Slavs, as well as many communist and socialists, were decisive in discrediting racism. It is ironic then that today, the one state in the Western ‘family’ of nations based on the ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition that openly propagates ethnic criteria for whom it regards as a real citizen of the state, and which openly engages in violent, oppressive treatment, mass expulsions of (non-Jewish) people indigenous to its supposed national territory on ethnic grounds, and now open genocide, is Israel: the Jewish state. It is also notable that this genocidal ethnocratic oppression takes place with the fulsome approval of its Western allies in Europe and America, with only the occasional half-hearted slap on the wrist when Israel ‘goes too far’.

This indicates that the outcome of World War II was not the straightforwardly devastating defeat for racism that Western imperialist liberal apologists would like to pretend it was.  Rather, it suggests that imperialist racism underwent a quasi-revolutionary transformation of its form, into something more sophisticated, more synthetic, and in many ways more pernicious and hypocritical. However, it was still racism in practice: an ideology that, whatever its finer points, justified the systematic oppression and repression of the mass of the people of entire ethnic groups, based on a rationale that considered those groups as in some way collectively inferior and expendable for the supposedly greater good of the dominant peoples. Jews had now joined the dominant peoples, as indicated by the now prevalent trope about ‘Judeo-Christian civilisation’.

Transformation into the opposite

The reason for this is not obvious, but can be explained by historical materialist analysis. One of the very factors that had created the conditions where ‘anti-semitic’ racism, and indeed the Nazi genocide, could take place, had been transformed into a novel way into its opposite. Prior to the genocide, as mentioned earlier, the combination of the disproportionate success of Jewish bourgeois in capitalist business with the radical role of Jews in the workers movement had produced anti-semitism as a racist, counterrevolutionary paranoia among the non-Jewish imperialist bourgeoisie.

 The Nazi genocide dealt a savage blow to Jewish radicalism, by physically exterminating an enormous number of communist and socialist Jews. But it also dealt an even more devastating blow, as the sheer barbarism involved and the lack of effective solidarity that such Jews received from the (previously crushed) non-Jewish proletariat in Germany and its expanded Reich laid the basis for the political displacement of Jewish socialism by Zionism, as a nationalist movement that, even though it initially took left-sounding forms, had a deeply divisive and anti-communist logic. And thirdly, though the Jewish bourgeoisie suffered grievous losses in Hitler’s Reich, the overrepresentation of Jews among the bourgeoisie that had in part prompted the rise of anti-semitic agitation (the “socialism of fools”, as Bebel called it), remained completely intact in the United States, not to mention the UK and other European imperialist countries, even if some of those Jewish bourgeois did have to take refuge elsewhere for the duration of the conflict with Hitler.

Auschwitz: Nazi Death Camp. Hitler sought to eradicate “Jewish Bolshevism”. But Zionism has more in common with Nazism than Bolshevism.

What WWII and the genocide brought about was an ideological (counter)-revolution, a major qualitative and regressive leap in the consciousness of the Jewish people. The pro-working class, radical part of the Jewish people was physically wiped out, and where it was not, was ideologically wiped out. This regressive change is irreversible in terms of the specific peculiarity of the Jewish people as a partial vanguard of socialism prior to the genocide: these specific elements of Jewish mass consciousness and the vanguard role they once played are gone and can never be re-created.

A crucial indication of this is also represented by a major change in the relationship between Jews and the Communist movement, both the genuine internationalist (‘Trotskyist’) minority, and more significantly in terms of brute social power at least, the degenerated ‘Communist’ movements led by Stalin and his successors, both within and without the USSR.  The previous radicalisation of the Jews as a result of their anomalous position in early capitalism led to Jewish intellectuals and workers playing a disproportionate, and thoroughly progressive, vanguard role in the early socialist and communist movement. However, the decline of genuine internationalist communism with the degeneration of the Stalin-led communist movement from internationalism to ‘socialism in one country’, as well as the spread of similar formations in the post-WWII anti-colonial/revolutionary struggles in China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc., consolidated this fairly generalised rift of Jews with the communist movement.

Both the internationalism of the bulk of the early communist movement, and the internationalism of the radical Jews who supported it, were extinguished, and replaced by forms of ruinous and often reactionary nationalism. Where communist Jews were not exterminated by the fascists, many lost the real internationalist element within their tradition and became Zionists, seeking the re-creation of a 2000-year-old semi-mythical Levantine Jewish state in the conditions of modern capitalism: a totally reactionary goal. Some hid the reactionary implications of this, even from themselves, by projecting a ‘socialist’ Israel – the USSR even armed the infant Israeli state, before being quickly rebuffed. Over time the rift between Zionised Jews and the Stalinist-ruled deformed workers’ states became a massive one; the participation of many Western Jews with Israeli government supporters in campaigns to ‘Free Soviet Jewry’ (they hoped to settle these in Israel) was also a crucial factor in turn in bringing about an equally drastic change in the views of the non-Jewish imperialist bourgeoisie about Jews.

Whereas previously they had often looked at the Jewish bourgeoisie with suspicion, as a potential danger to them, now with the defeat of the Jewish left, they began to develop the opposite conception, which is the case today. As part of the outcome of these events, the non-Jewish bourgeoisie has come to regard its Jewish compatriots as a priceless resource of the capitalist system itself, a kind of vanguard, class conscious layer, the bearer of a culture whose connection with commodity exchange is older than capitalism itself, as a system based on the generalisation of commodity production and exchange. This became clear in the post WWII period, particularly after the rise of Israel and the 1967 war. It was manifested in the rise of neo-liberalism, with ideologues like Milton Friedman, and then neo-conservatism in Cold War II and later the neo-colonial wars against the Muslim world, with the very prominent role of Zionist ideologues, often Jewish, in these bourgeois political movements and trends which have become pretty well hegemonic in bourgeois politics.

Vanguard of imperialist racism

And that is the take-off point for the situation we have today. Zionism has become the vanguard of racism in the main, traditional imperialist countries. Zionists are the vanguard of anti-Muslim agitation, they have been the core of the neo-conservative movement that has been, and still is, the vanguard of imperialist militarism in the Middle East. To a real extent, they are seen as a vanguard by the imperialist ruling classes in the most advanced countries. This has a material basis; for the historical reasons mentioned earlier, Jews have always been over-represented in the bourgeoisie of the advanced Western capitalist countries. In the earlier period of Jewish involvement in genuine revolutionary anti-capitalism, this was seen as threatening by many non-Jewish bourgeois in the imperialist countries.

But with the revolutionary change of consciousness referred to earlier among both Jews and the non-Jewish bourgeoisie, this has been transformed into its opposite. Jews are now seen as almost the Holy of Holies by the Western imperialist bourgeoisie. This process was inseparable from the rise of the state of Israel with its peculiar citizenship law, the Law of Return, which gives everyone regarded as Jewish in the conventional sense the right to Israeli citizenship. Thus the overrepresentation of Jews in the ruling classes of the imperialist countries added an additional element; that overrepresented layer acquired a material stake in another state, one they had already been considerably involved in funding and bringing into existence in the earlier period on the basis of a Zionist-nationalist vision. What in effect happened is that part of the ruling classes of the Western countries came to overlap with the ruling class of Israel, the most recently and artificially created of the advanced-capitalist, imperialist states.  That is the material basis of Zionist power in the advanced capitalist countries; the ‘moral’ authority of Zionism and Israel has had its own autonomous elements, but materially it is based on that.

Corbyn, Labour and Zionism

This has particular relevance for what happened in the British Labour Party during the Corbyn period, when a working-class revolt from below expressed itself in a rejection of neo-liberalism and the imperialist militarism of the neo-conservatives, as most classically expressed by the legacy of Tony Blair. This was done, not surprisingly, against the bitter opposition, resistance and hatred of Zionists.

Zionists played an enormously prominent role in attacking the Corbyn movement. At that point in time the working-class movement was unable to give a complete political answer to Zionism’s witch-hunting methods and strategies because it lacked (and still does) a coherent and consistent Marxist understanding of the Jewish Question and its implications. But the analysis laid out above does answer the basic points that need to be addressed in combatting this, now extremely powerful, form of racism in the imperialist countries.

Corbyn was targeted for destruction because of his anti-racism and because, despite his left social-democratic political limitations, this anti-racism has led him to solidarise with the victims and opponents, some flawed, others politically confused, of this historically specific type of racism and virulent reactionary nationalism that is currently hegemonic in Western societies.

Distinction between oppressor and oppressed

The attacks on Corbyn for fraternising with Hamas and Hezbollah, for instance, during his victorious election campaign, were trumpeted far and wide by the bourgeois media and echoed by Blairite shills and even some left Zionists in and around the Labour Party, such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty. Corbyn was forced somewhat on the defensive when accused of sharing platforms with Hamas and Hezbollah militants at events opposing Israeli crimes against the Palestinians and Lebanese and rationalised his addressing their representatives as ‘friends’ as simply a diplomatic form of address to people he nevertheless strongly disagreed with and sought to persuade of the benefits of ‘peace’. This was a concession to bourgeois ‘public opinion’, and reflective of contradiction and weakness in Corbyn’s ideology. ‘Peace’ is all very well, but only possible when legitimate grievances are fully addressed and when oppression comes to an end.

Jeremy Corbyn, with victimised black activist Marc Wadsworth

Corbyn should have had nothing to apologise for about engaging in joint protest activity and campaigning against Zionist and imperialist oppression with representatives of the Palestinians and Lebanese Shia Muslims who have systematically (in the case of the Palestinians) and periodically (in the case of the Lebanese Shia) been murdered and oppressed by racist Zionist Israel, with Western support, for decades. Those who scream about the supposed ‘anti-semitism’ of Hamas and Hezbollah, and thereby imply that Israeli-Jewish armed settlers (which is what, in reality all adult Israelis amount to in current political conditions) are in some sense the actual or potential victims of their ‘racism’, are themselves peddling an anti-Arab, racist narrative.

Anti-racism cannot ever be an injunction on the oppressed to love their oppressors and not to hold views of them that are tinged with hatred, even if expressed in religious and/or racialized terms. Racism is not about the oppressed holding such views about their oppressors. Racism is rather an expression in ideological terms of a power relation that an oppressor people maintain in oppressing an oppressed people. It systematically regards the oppressed people as in some sense of a lower order, as deserving of the oppression visited upon them.

This understanding is the basis of the elementary distinction that Marxists have always made between the nationalism of the oppressor and the nationalism of the oppressed, or between the violence of the oppressor and the violence of the oppressed. As Trotsky said of this issue in Their Morals and Ours:

“A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains – let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are equals before a court of morality!” )

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/morals/morals.htm

The record is quite clear. Palestinians have been driven out of their homeland for the past 70 years, and those in the additional parts of Palestine Israel conquered in 1967 have been under Israeli racist-terrorist rule for 50 years. Now they are facing outright genocide. The Lebanese Shia, the main Lebanese population that has been periodically targeted for massacre by Israel since Begin’s day, are likewise in a power relation with Israel that is crystal clear. What is true of violence and nationalism is also true today of religious fundamentalism or even so-called ‘racism’ (or ‘anti-semitism’) by supporters of these movements – we distinguish between the ideologies and actions of the oppressor, and the oppressed.

So actually, ‘concern’ about ‘anti-semitism’ by supporters of Hezbollah and Hamas in the context of Israeli ethnic-cleansing and mass terrorism is akin to ‘concern’ about ‘anti-white racism’ among blacks in the context of apartheid South Africa, or white ‘Rhodesia’, or Jim Crow in America, and all manner of other racist crimes. It is racist demonology.

While Marxists do not subscribe to the programmes of these movements or the ideologies that underpin them, neither do we consider them in any way comparable to the racism of Israel and its supporters and apologists in the West. They actually arose, to a considerable extent, because of the successful actions of Zionism in destroying and humiliating earlier, secular movements against Zionist oppression. Which make these Zionist attacks on the ‘reactionary’ politics of their supporters doubly hypocritical. There should be no concession to the calumnies about the ‘anti-semitism’ of the Arab victims of Zionism, but rather those who raise these ‘concerns’ should receive a robust response.

It is these critics who are the racists, who are inverting the relation between the oppressor and the oppressed in the Middle East in a truly Orwellian manner. They are in reality devotees of the dominant racist narrative of the bourgeoisie of the ‘Judeo-Christian’ imperialist countries, using this anti-Arab, anti-Muslim narrative to justify massacres, ethnic cleansing and the threat of nuclear war in their neo-colonial offensive that has reduced much of the Middle East to chaos and bloodshed. Now they are trying to exterminate the people of Gaza, with the West Bank Palestinians next on the list for mass murder.

Paul Eisen and the Holocaust

Another question Corbyn was castigated about during his victorious 2015 campaign for the Labour leadership was his supporting events by so-called ‘anti-semites’ and Holocaust Deniers. Corbyn was denounced for having attended events organised by Deir Yassin Remembered, an organisation that was founded mainly by Jews and Israeli expats to commemorate the Zionist massacre of over 100 Palestinian villagers at Deir Yassin, on the edge of West Jerusalem, in April 1948. The Director of Deir Yassin Remembered at the time was Paul Eisen, a British Jew living in North London.

Paul Eisen

Any examination of Eisen’s material would reveal that he is deeply sensitive to the crimes that have been committed in the name of the Jewish people (and thereby himself), and has an emotional response to this that may be eminently comprehensible, but is hardly the best way to achieve political clarity. He embodies a deep sense of guilt for crimes committed by his own people, as he sees it. This is not an unfamiliar phenomenon to those active on the left. One sometimes comes upon those who have a similar response to their British, German or American heritage, and are consumed with guilt about the crimes of imperialism. This is not usually a working class response; however neither is it anything to fear, it can be the beginning of wisdom if those usually quite middle-class radicalised types break with their guilt reaction and seek to analyse imperialism politically, using Marxist methods of analysis.

What was new at that time, and still is relatively new, is coming across Jewish people who have a similar guilt complex about their own Jewish origin. This was evidently the case with Eisen, who reacted to the cultification of the Shoah and its use to justify crimes against the Palestinians today, by publicly expressing strong doubts about the truth of key aspects of the Shoah, particularly the existence of gas chambers and whether there was ever a Nazi plan to exterminate Europe’s Jews in 1941-5. He considered that Jews were subjected to arbitrary imprisonment, starvation and slave-labour which caused many deaths, but that this was aimed at ethnic cleansing and expulsion, not mass extermination, and that the number of Jewish victims was therefore inflated, partly by inaccurate estimates of the Jewish pre-war population.

This is a fair summary of Eisen’s views and motivations at that time, some of which are still available on the web. His personal website was made private when his views and activities became a political issue during Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 election campaign. Corbyn himself had attended some events of Deir Yassin Remembered, as in 2013, when he was pictured at a public event along with the late Gerald Kaufman, then the ‘father of the House [of Commons]’ (longest serving MP) who in his younger days had been a fervent and idealistic Zionist; in later life he became one of the most outspoken Jewish critics of Israeli crimes and himself was frequently denounced as a ‘self-hating Jew’. It appears that Corbyn sometimes gave donations to this grouping for its work in commemorating a hideous, too-little-known massacre and bringing it to public attention.

Eisen’s views were misguided and historically wrong. Apart from the dubious factual basis of the material he directly cited, mainly gleaned from dubious sources on the old-style far right concerned to minimize Hitler’s crimes (which Eisen accepted without any real examination of motives, a product of guilt about Zionist crimes), his analysis accepted one key aspect of Zionist ideology that neither he nor most of his detractors even noticed – the view that the Nazi genocide was really only about the Jews.

But it was not: half a million Roma gypsies were also wiped out by the Nazis. Also, several million Slavs, gays and communists. Jehovah’s Witnesses even. Jews had the highest death toll because they were the target group with the highest population, but it was not all about the Jews. But while Eisen had become fixated with debunking the essentially true but misused facts about the actual slaughter of Jews, many of his most vehement critics shared this focus on the Jewish ownership of the Shoah. But unlike Eisen, most of these did this same thing from a straightforwardly Jewish chauvinist standpoint.

Jewish racism against … Jews?

After all, racism is above all a reflection of real relations of oppression. We have to judge in that regard, the allegations of ‘racism’ that were then flung at Eisen, and also at Corbyn by association. How on earth was Eisen a racist in propagating his (incorrect) views on the Shoah? Was he, as a Jew, engaged in some form of oppression of other Jews by means of his opinions? Not at all, the idea is absurd, since (a) Jews are not an oppressed minority, but a rather well-off and in many ways privileged minority in British society, and (b) if they were in some ways oppressed, they would then have a lot more to worry about than the views of a mistaken Jewish individual like Eisen. The hounding of Eisen by the media to get at Corbyn was an act of chauvinistic bullying by the most powerful gang of organised racists in Western societies at that time, and still today. It is the kind of thing the workers movement needs to oppose. But to oppose things like this, it is necessary to understand the complexities of the question and why this is necessary.

This was also a problem also with some who aspired to be anti-Zionists and supporters of the Palestinians. For instance, when the ‘scandal’ of Corbyn’s sometime association with Deir Yassin Remembered was in full swing, and Corbyn had issued the necessary statements pointing out that he had no sympathy for Eisen’s views (obviously true), then a letter was put together by a bunch of Jewish leftists ‘defending’ Corbyn against the attacks of the Jewish Chronicle:

“You report Paul Eisen as saying that Jeremy Corbyn donated to Deir Yassin Remembered. So did many people before discovering the existence of antisemites and Holocaust-deniers in the organisation. Many people attended the occasional fundraising concert that DYR organised, without either knowing of or sympathising with Mr Eisen’s views.”

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142553/anti-israel-activists-attack-jc-challenging-jeremy-corbyn

What is notable about this letter is two-fold. One is that while it is obviously correct for Corbyn to dissociate himself from Eisen’s views, which no-one has ever seriously suggested he had anything in common with anyway, this letter attacked Paul Eisen as an ‘anti-semite’, i.e. as a racist. This went further than simply dissociating the authors (and Corbyn) from Eisen’s views. The other point is that this letter does not mention that Eisen is actually Jewish himself. This is not accidental. For if it had mentioned this, it would have somewhat undercut elements of ideology that these leftists share with the Jewish Chronicle and the main bevy of Jewish chauvinists attacking Corbyn.

Attacking a Jewish person as ‘anti-semitic’ is very odd. In situations where real oppression is taking place, in Nazi Germany, for instance, or in Israel/Palestine today, it is perfectly possible for some member of the oppressed population to betray their own people. There are examples, both current and historical. Many Palestinians have long considered, with good reason, the sinister former PLO official Mohammad Dahlan, to be an Israeli agent. There were good grounds, in times past, to consider the Stern Gang (Lehi) terrorist and later Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to be a Nazi collaborator. Similar things occur in every struggle against oppression, in South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle the Zulu chief Buthelezi was a blatant collaborator and traitor. During the Jim Crow period in the US, the phenomenon of the ‘Uncle Tom’ was also well known – Booker T Washington was perhaps the best known example.

Such people betray their own people in a struggle against oppression. It would not be accurate to actually call them racists against their own people, but their betrayals were certainly products of their own weakness, cowardice and corruption in the face of the oppressor. They are, and were, rightly reviled.

But Jews are not the victims of oppression today. They are the perpetrators of oppression in the Middle East. And many, maybe still most, diaspora Jews support that, though Israel’s now open genocide may change that in time. Jews are subject to no oppression in the advanced capitalist countries. So where do allegations of ‘anti-semitism’ against Jewish figures like Paul Eisen come from? How is it possible to be racist against yourself, or even in some way a traitor to your own people in a situation where your own people are not oppressed, but many of them are either participants, or complicit, in oppression or even now outright genocide, themselves?

These are not idle questions. Paul Eisen was the tip of an iceberg. There is quite a long list of people of Jewish origin who have been accused, including by Jewish activists on the far left, of being anti-semites, i.e. anti-Jewish racists. If you sat down and wrote out a list, you could come up with dozens of prominent people – a look at the board of directors of Deir Yassin Remembered yields quite a few to start with. And if those are the prominent ones, it is doubtless true that there are many more non-prominent ones who agree with them. So, a whole layer exists of ‘anti-semites’ of Jewish origin who the Jewish left and those influenced by them, then joined with Zionists in denouncing and ostracising. This issue sporadically resurfaces even today.

Some of the most sophisticated of these ‘left’ Jewish chauvinists, uneasy about the logic involved in this, conceded that these Jewish non-conformists are not dangerous in the least to Jewish people. But they said, the Palestine solidarity movement must be ‘protected’ from their influence to avoid it being ‘discredited’ as ‘anti-semitic’ by the Zionists. This argument is steeped in paternalism, apparently non-Jews in general (and Arabs in particular) are too stupid to be able to handle this complex problem through democratic engagement and debate. It has to be solved by surgical means by Jewish political vigilantes.

The real explanation for this is that many of those on the left who aspired to be anti-Zionists nevertheless shared the dominant prejudice that for all the crimes of Israel and its supporters internationally (particularly the bourgeois ones who significantly materially and politically support it), there is something inherently progressive and enobling about being Jewish, something that puts Jews on a higher moral level to the rest of humanity. This is itself a conceit that needs to be broken with.

Collective guilt vs. collective innocence: a false dichotomy

We as Marxists reject the notion of collective guilt of entire peoples. Many good liberal middle class Germans, often quite leftist in their aspirations, are consumed with guilt about Germany’s past, and even mobilise politically on the basis of such guilt. Such is the basis for the middle-class left anti-Deutsch movement in Germany, whose guilt about the Shoah leads them, logically enough, to turn a blind eye to the crimes of Zionist Jews today because Jews were once victimised appallingly by German imperialism. Their slogan, we should note is “Never Again Germany”. The German bourgeois state, partly cynically, partly ideologically, is conforming to this today in its current backing for Israel in its genocide in Gaza.

“Communist” Anti-Deutsch Protest in Frankfurt, 2006

Paul Eisen and his ilk are/were the Jewish equivalent of the anti-Deutsch. This is not racism at all, in other words, but a confused anti-racist impulse. This is shown, incidentally, by Netanyahu’s pronouncement several years ago, that Hitler did not want to exterminate the Jews, but merely to expel them from the Reich. According to Netanyahu, Hitler was then persuaded to ‘burn’ the Jews by the Palestinian potentate Haj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. There is a degree of formal similarity between what Netanyahu says about Hitler, and what Eisen said. But the intention was the opposite. By denying Hitler’s guilt, Eisen was trying to undercut the Israeli rationale for the oppression of the Palestinians. But when Netanyahu denied Hitler’s guilt, it was in order to transfer it to the Palestinians through the person of the Mufti: Netanyahu was seeking to create the political conditions for a genocide of the Palestinians. Which he is now carrying out in Gaza.

So here you see similar elements of false analysis, used for opposite purposes. But absurdly, one of the responses of the Jewish-centred left was to accuse Netanyahu of ‘holocaust denial’. Thus, massively missing the point. They too considered Jews to be much more important than Arabs. Netanyahu is not interested in history, except as a means to incite and justify the genocide of Arabs in the here and now. Whereas Eisen was wrongly using history to defend the Palestinians, in the way he saw it. These are opposite phenomena.

Anyone in Germany who denounced the anti-Deutsch as anti-German ‘racists’ would be engaged in the same kind of fundamental error that those on the British left who denounce Eisen and co. as ‘anti-semitic’ were engaged in. Implicitly, such accusers of the anti-Deutsch could be said to share conceptions characteristic of Nazi apologists. And those who made analogous allegations against Eisen, in exactly the same manner, echoed what are in fact Zionist tropes about the sacral nature of the Jewish people, and their moral superiority over others. This is also an unconscious or semi-conscious driving force of the various Jews-only groupings that are regularly formed in and around the Palestine solidarity movement. We need to go beyond that and create a multi-ethnic socialist/communist revolutionary movement.

Socialists reject the notion of collective guilt of peoples. But we also reject the notion of collective innocence, which in fact just displaces the notion of collective guilt onto other people(s). The theory of Israel as a colonial-settler state implies it is simply a tool of other powers, and not an imperialist force in its own right. In fact, it is a state of Jewish settlers politically identical in substance to the settlers who are slicing up the West Bank, and who the Israeli genocidaires want to take over Gaza once the Palestinian people who live there are wiped out. This concept assigns the primary role in driving Israeli colonisation to the United States and the former colonial powers. It essentially says that no matter what crimes Jewish political or military forces may commit against Arabs, Jews collectively are innocent of these actions. It is the Americans and British who are really to blame.

And of course, they share much of the blame, from the Balfour Declaration to Suez, to the massive US support for Israel in recent decades, and now in the current Gaza genocide – the US, UK and other imperialists bear massive culpability. But Jews as a semi-national grouping, with a ruling class that spans some national borders and has its own independent interests, are not collectively innocent either. This Jewish layer of the ruling class bears as much of the responsibility as their more ‘traditional’ imperialist allies. There is no collective guilt of Americans, British, French or Germans, or Jews, for any of these things. The blame fundamentally lies with the various ruling classes, in their different forms and permutations. But the idea of collective innocence of any and all of these entire peoples/nations is a capitulation to some form of reactionary nationalism and exonerates the ruling classes. In the case of the self-described Jewish left and those influenced by them, it is evidence of some level of shared conceptions with Zionism – a product of social pressure, since as is the main theme of this article, a modified form of racism, incorporating Zionist conceptions and influence, is the hegemonic form of racism today.

To conclude, Karl Marx stated that “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it”. This rightly emphasises the role of practical activity in order to affect material reality. However, a corollary of this is that in order to begin to change the world, you have to understand it, at least at some basic level. And through either lack of real analysis, or social pressure, or more likely a combination of the two, understanding of the real role of Zionism in Western societies, and the material roots of this, has been lacking among Marxists. This article is part of an attempt to rectify that, to arm the left and labour movement with a coherent understanding of this very sophisticated, and also very coherent, form of bourgeois class-enemy politics.

  1.  Political Zionism: The Hegemonic Racism of the early 21st Century, see https://commexplor.com/2015/10/26/political-zionism-the-hegemonic-racism-of-the-early-21st-century/. The full version on Socialist Fight seems to be currently unavailable.
  2. League for the Revolutionary Party, see http://lrp-cofi.org/