Jackie Walker’s position is untenable, she must go.

jackie-walker

The fact that there has been a rise in anti-Semitic incidents across Europe and elsewhere is simply not a fact which can credibly be disputed. To take just two egregious examples.

In January 2015, an Islamist terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly shot dead four Jewish men at a kosher supermarket in Paris before security forces stormed the building, killing him and freeing the remaining hostages. These men were murdered solely for being Jewish.

In March 2016, six ISIS terrorists were detained in Turkey, associated with a threat to target Jewish schools, nurseries and youth clubs in Europe.

It is entirely reasonable therefore for Jews to be apprehensive of their safety, and in particular for Jewish parents to be concerned about security of the schools where their children are educated.

This is the context by which we should judge recent comments by Jackie Walker, Vice chair of Momentum, and a Labour Party member. The crassness of her comments at a fringe meeting at Labour Party conference questioning why one speaker had raised the issue of enhanced security at Jewish schools is staggering. It is certainly true that anti-Semitism is not the same thing as anti-Zionism; and that a critique of the political project of Zionism, as well as the specific actions of the Israeli state, is compatible with robust rejection of all forms of anti-Judaic prejudice. However, it is also true that the political and social roots of Zionism arise from the oppression, and persecution of Jews. Seemingly, the anti-Zionism of Jackie Walker has extended into seeking to belittle the experience of Jews facing hatred.

Her comments about the Holocaust were equally offensive. Speaking at the event discussing antisemitism at the Labour Party conference, Walker asked: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Day was open to all peoples who’ve experienced Holocaust?

Now, as Joe Mulhall has written, , factually Walker is ill-informed because Holocaust Memorial day already does just that:

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) commemorates the Holocaust, victims of Nazi persecution and the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Even the most cursory of glance at the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website would reveal this information on the home page.

But it was not only ignorant, but deeply offensive. Not dissimilar to bursting into a funeral and demanding that the grieving congregation should think about all dead people, not just their own recently departed friend or relative.

The genocide against the Jews was historically unique, as of course are all instances of genocide. There are times and places where it is appropriate to discuss the historical comparitors, there are times and places where it is not. The Holocaust by the Nazis against the Jews was of intense ferocity, and it both drew on the deep well of anti-Jewish sentiment in European Christian culture, but also merged this with the modern industrial ruthlessness of European colonialist attitudes to their non-European subject peoples.

Let us be clear, there is not a current and live danger of racist hate crimes against Armenians, Hutus, Herero people or Native Americans on the streets of Britain today. The distinguishing feature that the Nazi anti-Semitism exploited centuries of prejudice, some of it woven into the very cloth of our culture, means that anti-Judaic stereotypes still abound, even among those in left and progressive politics. The rise of anti-Semitism, and concern by Jews for their own safety are live and real issues.

Jackie Walker had already caused controversy over her claims about Jewish funding of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Many on the left defended her. However, her comments were at least ill advised, if we consider that the majority of the slave trade was funded by Christians, and particularly in the early period from the 1680 to 1750s it was often by Quakers.

In Madge Dresser’s excellent work “Slavery Obscured, the Slave Trade in Bristol”, she observes that the later involvement of Quakers in the abolitionist movement obscures “the significant involvement of Quakers in the slave trade and the wider slave economy. Eight of the 20 largest contributors to Bristol’s new Quaker Meeting House built in Quakers Friars in 1747, were by 1755 members of the newly formed Society of Merchants Trading to Africa” – slavers. Dresser lists a number of prominent Quaker slavers, and traders dependent upon the exploitation of slave labour. But in Bristol, the crucible of the slave trade, Jews there were none. Indeed, in 1784 when a Tory candidate was standing for election in Bristol on an abolitionist ticket, he was popularly mocked for his association with stock caricatures of Jews. Crude popular stereotypes that had been used earlier in the century in the political campaign against the naturalisation of Jews were resurrected, conflating circumcission with emasculation, and presenting it as a threat to national virility. These anti-Jewish sentiments were coming from the pro-slavery camp, not the abolitionists.

For Walker to disproportionately stress the involvement of Jews in the slave trade is highly unfortunate, as it intersects with stereotypes of Shylock type ruthlessness. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that her discussion of the role of Jews in the slave trade was not related to the issue of the historical record, and was more related to her attitudes to contemporary Israel.

I don’t know whether Jackie Walker is anti-Semitic. But clearly she has shown lack of judgement in making statements that could legitimately be interpreted as anti-Semitic. What is more at a critical time for the Labour Party she should have had the self-awareness to be open to educating herself about what would and would not be offensive and could be open to interpretation as anti-Semitic.

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of TSSA is correct. Walker’s position as vice chair of Momentum is untenable and she should go, and go now.

191 comments on “Jackie Walker’s position is untenable, she must go.

  1. Manuel Cortes:

    “I am asking Jackie that in the interests of unity she resigns at once from our Party and also as vice-chair if Momentum. If she doesn’t, both the Labour Party and Momentum need to act to get rid of her at once. Furthermore, TSSA will seriously reconsider our union’s support for Momentum if she is still in post by this time next week.”

  2. I’ve been baffled by the reaction to Jackie Walker’s various comments from a lot of people whose judgment I generally trust. I was hoping this post would tell me what I was missing, but it’s just added one more to the list.

    Most obvious problem: how can Jackie Walker be criticised as anti-semitic for saying that Holocaust Memorial Day should commemorate other genocides, and at the same time be criticised as ignorant for not knowing that it does commemorate other genocides? Either it does or it doesn’t (it does – JW was mistaken); and that’s either a good thing or a bad thing (good – JW agrees). Put it another way: if we work on the basis that HMD does commemorate other genocides as well as the Shoah, and if – hypothetically – we then found that every reference to HMD we saw referred only to the Shoah, would it be anti-semitic to point out that the scope of the day is meant to be much broader? Surely not.

    As for singling out Jewish involvement in the slave trade, I’ve read the original comment, and she’s writing as someone with Jewish ancestry – in other words, she’s singling out Jewish people involved in the slave trade because she identifies with them as a Jew, in just the same way that people of country X feel more responsibility for the past actions of that country than those of other countries.

    I can’t see that she’s guilty of anything worse than insensitivity.

  3. Phil: Most obvious problem: how can Jackie Walker be criticised as anti-semitic for saying that Holocaust Memorial Day should commemorate other genocides, and at the same time be criticised as ignorant for not knowing that it does commemorate other genocides?

    You have to listen to the recording of her, in which her criticism is – as I interpret it – that she devalues Holocaust memorial Day as being about solely the Shoah, and that she does not regard that there is anything special about the Holocaust of the Jews.

    Your predicate logic is impeccable, but Jackie’s argument could only be interpreted as either being so crass as to be insulting, or deliberately dismissive of the weight of the Holocast on Jewish sensiblity.

    With regard to the slave trade, her comments are unfortunate and open to interpretation as anti-Semitic because i) Jews were either peripheral or absent in reality (Jews for example largely excluded from some ante-bellum US slave states for example), and ii) that the associaition of Jews with slaver trading is at the very least an unfortunate echo of the common Shylock type tropes.

    Phil: I can’t see that she’s guilty of anything worse than insensitivity.

    Well she is certainly insensitive, and in politics that can be enough to finich you off. It would not have been unreasonable for her to have reflected on why her remarks about the slave trade caused such offence, and sought a lower profile on the issues. rather than going to a training event on ant-Semitism and acting like a provactive fool

  4. I do believe Ms. Walker’s comments were ill-judged but not factually inaccurate, insofar as the slave trade is concerned.
    While it is perhaps the case that there was little Jewish involvement in the British slave trade, my understanding is that they were a major part of the Dutch trade which the British were in competition with and ,eventually, supplanted. The Dutch trade was also intertwined with the trade in gold and diamonds.

  5. Omar: While it is perhaps the case that there was little Jewish involvement in the British slave trade, my understanding is that they were a major part of the Dutch trade which the British were in competition with and ,eventually, supplanted. The Dutch trade was also intertwined with the trade in gold and diamonds.

    The problem comes with the inference that there was or is a cultural predisposition that informed Jewish involvement in financing the slave trade. This is clearly a form of essentialism. The fact is that Jewish participation in banking and financing from the Middle Ages on was itself a symptom of antisemitism; Jewish density in this particular industry was entirely due to them being prohibited from involvement in every other industry in states in which they were considered an alien presence. Since banking and finance was considered an immoral and dirty activity in this period, we see thow it was only a small step from there to depicting Jews qua Jew as immoral and dirty.

    Those Jews who financed the slave trade did so because they were financiers not because they were Jewish.

  6. John,

    Correct John, but in addition to the suggestion of essentiaism – that there was somehow something about Jews that made them comfortable with slavery – there is the deflection of real responsibility.

    When people talk about British values, let them look at the grand mansions, the squares and civic architecture in Bristol and Liverpool, and reflect that this was paid for by grotesque savagery by British Christian folk, who literally enslaved, tortured, raped and defiled black Africans to build these temples to mammon

  7. Petter Matthews on said:

    Andy Newman,

    In an interview with Cathy Newman on C4, Jackie Walker explained that her criticism of HMD is that it does not commemorate holocausts that occurred before the Shoa, including importantly, the African Holocaust. In that she is correct.

    Her comments about Jewish involvement in financing the slave trade were made in a private exchange on Facebook, not a public posting. Her remarks were obtained by the Israel Advocacy Movement which hacked her account, and published in what appear to be sensationalist terms by the Jewish Chronicle. The allegations were investigated by the Labour Party and she remained a member.

    Like you Andy, I have not seen evidence sufficient to convince me that Jackie Walker is anti-semitic. And in an environment in which anti-semitism has been weaponised and used to attack critics of Israel (those of Jewish origin coming in for particularly virulent attacks), I’m inclined to give her the benefit of any doubt.

  8. Petter Matthews: I have not seen evidence sufficient to convince me that Jackie Walker is anti-semitic. And in an environment in which anti-semitism has been weaponised and used to attack critics of Israel (those of Jewish origin coming in for particularly virulent attacks), I’m inclined to give her the benefit of any doubt.

    Agreed.

  9. Andy Newman: When people talk about British values, let them look at the grand mansions, the squares and civic architecture in Bristol and Liverpool, and reflect that this was paid for by grotesque savagery by British Christian folk, who literally enslaved, tortured, raped and defiled black Africans to build these temples to mammon

    Yes.

  10. Petter Matthews,

    Jackie Walker was reinstated by the Labour Party previously, over the comments about Jews in the slave trade. It would be a sad day if people could not explore and discuss history. It would be a sad day if people cannot be wrong on the Internet.

    However, politics is a tough game. It is naive to think that FB is ever private. It is naive to think that a training event at Labour conference about anti-semitism is a private space.

    Given the furore over the previous remarks, Jackie Walker needed to be reflective about what had happened, and learn from it. Going to thAt training event and being provocative was foolish.

    I don’t know if she is anti Semitic, I do know that she is cavalier in saying things which are sufficiently ambiguous to cause concern, and in circumstances which cause wider problems for the movement.

    She has made the story be about her, and that is a price too high.

    It smacks to me of individualism and lack of self discipline

  11. John: The problem comes with the inference that there was or is a cultural predisposition that informed Jewish involvement in financing the slave trade. This is clearly a form of essentialism. The fact is that Jewish participation in banking and financing from the Middle Ages on was itself a symptom of antisemitism; Jewish density in this particular industry was entirely due to them being prohibited from involvement in every other industry in states in which they were considered an alien presence. Since banking and finance was considered an immoral and dirty activity in this period, we see thow it was only a small step from there to depicting Jews qua Jew as immoral and dirty.

    Those Jews who financed the slave trade did so because they were financiers not because they were Jewish.

    Agreed, though to further clarify, some Dutch Jews were also slave traders/owners in fairly significant numbers,particularly in Dutch Guyana.
    Ms. Walker’s comments,however clumsily delivered, aren’t an essentialist attack on Jews but a re-framing of the discussion along the lines how the oppressed can become oppressors,etc.

  12. Andy Newman speaks out of ignorance. It is a cardinal Zionist maxim that the Holocaust is a Jewish only affair. Others are not part of it. As I wrote on the Hope not Hate site in response to Mulhall:

    ‘What kind of serious researcher can pretend that there isn’t a strong and vigorous current in the Zionist movement opposed to declaring any act of genocide a holocaust apart from the Jews? Is Joe Mulhall unaware of the comments, in a debate with the late Sybil Milton, Senior Holocaust Historian at the US Holocaust Museum with Yehuda Bauer, the doyen of Zionist holocaust historians at the Hebrew University and Yad Vashem? In the History Teacher Bauer wrote that:

    ‘the Nazis only attempted to annihilate one people, the Jews: Roma were not Jews, therefore there was no need to murder all of them.’

    According to Bauer, ‘the Holocaust is very much a unique case.’ [“Gypsies and the Holocaust” Yehuda Bauer; Sybil Milton The History Teacher, Vol. 25, (Aug., 1992)].

    Or as the late Elie Wiesel put it, to compare the sufferings of others with Jews was a “betrayal of Jewish history”. [Elie Wiesel, Against Silence, v. iii, 146.] The truth may be uncomfortable but it is not anti-Semitic.

    The Zionist movement has consistently used the Holocaust as an ideological weapon against the Palestinians. Surely even Andy Newman isn’t ignorant of Netanyahu’s attempt to pin responsibility for the holocaust on the Palestinians last yr when he ludicrously claimed that Hitler was talked into the holocaust by the Mufti of Jerusalem?

    Zionism uses the memory of the holocaust in order to justify Israel’s murderous racism. Socialists do the opposite.

    Andy Newman’s attack is of a piece with Owen Jones and others who have betrayed an honest Black anti-racist woman who hasn’t a trace of anti-semitism in her. If Andy Newman had any shame he would recant but as it is he will defend his position knowing that he will be applauded by the Jewish Labour Movement and assorted Labour Zionist racists.

  13. Andy newman on said:

    Omar,

    “How the oppressed can become oppressors” is hardly a new direction for discussions about Israel though, it is a tired and worn out path, and a perilous one to walk without stepping into areas of Jewish identity liable tibcausr offence.

  14. Andy newman,

    Well, ignoring the link is likely to cause an equal amount of offence to those who advocate on behalf of those oppressed by a state that views itself as as the protector of Jews worldwide and any criticism of itself as being of the same ideological origin as those who engineered the Holocaust.
    As a Black and Jewish woman, Ms. Walker can take steps toward re-framing this discussion and diffuse the obvious attacks from the pro-Israel Right of the party who are cynically using this issue as a stick with which to beat Corbyn and his supporters.

  15. jock mctrousers on said:

    ” I don’t know whether Jackie Walker is anti-Semitic. But clearly she has shown lack of judgement in making statements that could legitimately be interpreted as anti-Semitic.”

    There’s the rub. Just about anything ‘could be interpreted’ in such a way if convenient, so maybe better to just keep quiet? I don’t think that’s the way to go. Jackie Walker’s remarks, like last time, were completely innocuous. It’s Jon Lansman that needs to go, for his betrayal of Ken Livingstone. Enpugh of this abject surrender to the Israel lobby.

  16. jock mctrousers: There’s the rub. Just about anything ‘could be interpreted’ in such a way if convenient, so maybe better to just keep quiet?

    No, there is a difference between saying something which is close to the knuckle, and something which is measured and considered. A distinction that is necessary when navigating contested waters.

    Jackie Walker has said things which sound very similar to the things that anti-Semites say. If that is not her intention, then she needs to reflect on why people are offended.

  17. stockwellpete on said:

    Jackie Walker has said things which soundvery similar to the things that anti-Semites say. If that is not her intention, then she needs to reflect on why people are offended.

    Are some of these people who are in uproar now really offended though? Or are they just using this incident to continue their attacks on the Corbyn wing of the party? Apparently, this latest controversy happened at a training event at the Labour Party conference, which was being run by the Jewish Labour Movement, an organisation that seems to have links to the pro-Zionist Israeli Labour Party (it had invited some of their members to the conference). During the training session it had been suggested by them that the current standard definition of anti-Semitism included elements that conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and that it was anti-Semitic to compare Israel to other racist polities e.g. it would be anti-Semitic to talk about Palestinian bantustans. However, this definition of anti-Semitism has been abandoned by most organisations in recent years so the training being given was wrong.

    I am only just finding all this stuff out and I am staggered that the JLM would be allowed to hold such a session and something else I have just read suggests that the session was in contradiction to what the Chakrabarti report had recommended (I have not read that report).

    I don’t believe for one moment that Jackie Walker is an anti-Semite and I think she should be defended by Momentum and not removed from her post. We should not appease the Zionists by abandoning a dedicated fighter against racism and fascism. They will not stop with Jackie Walker, next week it will be somebody else.

  18. Petter Matthews on said:

    stockwellpete,

    There is a concerted effort by right wing political forces to use allegations of anti-Semitism to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party and silence critics of Israel. I don’t agree with some of what Jackie Walker says, but I don’t see evidence that she is anti-Semitic. I do however see evidence that she is the victim of a smear campaign. The Labour movement will pay a heavy price for acquiescing to false and unsubstantiated allegations of anti-Semitism.

  19. Petter Matthews: There is a concerted effort by right wing political forces to use allegations of anti-Semitism to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party and silence critics of Israel.

    This is absolutely correct. This synthetic furore is less to do with antisemitism and more to do with BDS.

  20. Tony Greenstein on said:

    A previous comment of mine on this list was deleted by Andy Newman. Such is the confidence he has in his own despicable and racist position vs a vs Jackie Walker. From the Socialist Alliance to foot soldier of the GMB bureaucracy.

    Fine, but I shall mention it in my response to Jon Lansman! What a contemptible person you are Andy Newman, dishonest and contemptible.

  21. John Grimshaw on said:

    As regards Jewish people from Europe the African slave trade this is an interesting and controversial area. If they were they originated in Amsterdam or as a result of their expulsion from Spain and Portugal. I have to say getting concrete evidence is quite hard. The problem is that Zionist publications have an interest in denial and saying that there was no involvement, whereas Black Nationalist groups in America have an interest in saying that they did. Of course many of these groups are anti–semitic so it’s quite easy to discount their evidence. There one or two unorthodox Rabbis in Holland who have been prepared to argue that there was involvement but predictably they are discounted by Rabbis. There was also a Profssor from Wellesley College in North America who seems to have caused an big fuss in the 1990s by providing evidence for Jewish owned ships transporting slaves to places like Surinam, Curacao, Nassau and even Jamaica. He was then immediately attacked by the Zionism Lobby and the conflict was quite sharp. His response was either anti-Semitic or extremely unadvised as the title of his response was “The Jewish onslaught on WEllesly”. If you look at the document on line he does appear to provide a list of ships whose owners are of a “Jewish” type names.

  22. John Grimshaw on said:

    http://www.rense.com/general69/invo.htm

    As you can see Professor Martin is black. I can find no real evidence for Jews involved in slaving the Dutch East Indies. Where the trade seems to be centred around spices, and wealthy goods. Which isn’t to say that they didn’t treat the locals very badly.

  23. John: This synthetic furore is less to do with antisemitism and more to do with BDS.

    There is no doubt that some of the concern about anti-Semitism is exaggerated, and in part supporters of Israel are exploiting an opportunity where they have the attention of the mainstream media focus on Corbyn, to seek to promote their own definition of anti-Semitism.

    There is also no doubt that lots of stupid stuff gets said, especially on the Internet, and some of it is anti-Semitic.

    In such cirrcumstances, it really is inexplicable why Jackie walker – as a senior post holder in Momentum – did not take the opportunity after the last furore about her comments to step back , reflect, take counsel, and become more considered.

    Politics is tough sport, and she failed to raise her game when the left were promoted into the Premiership.

  24. John Grimshaw: If you look at the document on line he does appear to provide a list of ships whose owners are of a “Jewish” type names.

    Hebrew names, such as Isaac were common among protestants in the 17th and 18th century.

  25. stockwellpete: Apparently, this latest controversy happened at a training event at the Labour Party conference, which was being run by the Jewish Labour Movement, an organisation that seems to have links to the pro-Zionist Israeli Labour Party (it had invited some of their members to the conference).

    Why did Jackie Walker go then, and contribute, given the wisdom of avoiding further controversy over the subject?

  26. stockwellpete on said:

    Andy Newman: Why did Jackie Walker go then, and contribute, given the wisdom of avoiding further controversy over the subject?

    Well, of course, I can’t answer that, only she can. I suppose, if she hadn’t gone, then far fewer of us would have found out that anti-Semitism training was being undertaken by an organisation affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation for a start.

    Do you have any information about how this “training event” came about? Would it have had to be voted through the various structures and committees of the party? Or would the Jewish Labour Movement have been entitled to use conference space for whatever they had decided to do? They are an affiliated society, aren’t they? Presumably the session would have been advertised at some stage? Do we know how it was presented to people attending the conference?

    A couple of things strike me as particularly odd – firstly, I think I am right in saying that the Chakrabarti report came out against this type of training – and secondly, why were the “trainers” using a discredited definition of anti-Semitism and presenting it as standard? How could this happen?

  27. David Hillman on said:

    Jackie said nothing about “the Jews”, no tropes, no essences, nothing antisemitic. Why all the crap about quakers. She was making no general points about the number of Jews involved in slavery but talking about the complications of her feelings and the world on finding that her own Jewish ancestors were involved in the Dutch Caribean slave trade. It was a hacked private facebook conversation with a Zionist friend about their feelings. No=one contests the truth of the facts involved – about 12% of Dutch slavetraders were Jewish but this says nothing of any Jewish essence ( or quaker or whatever).
    The more recent controversy was just entrapment – a training session improperly filmed in which she asks questions rather than assertions.
    I am disappointed in Andy Newman

  28. Roy de Boy on said:

    Talking of the dangers of being ‘wrong on the internet’, Andy might wanna rethink the reference to ‘Hutus’… unless we’re shedding tears for the perps now

  29. stockwellpete on said:

    Andy Newman: Why did Jackie Walker go then, and contribute, given the wisdom of avoiding further controversy over the subject?

    Right, I have found the answer to your question now . . .

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/jewish-activists-criticize-labour-anti-semitism-training

    It seems to me that the most controversial aspect of all this is that the Labour Party has allowed a pro-Zionist organisation to run anti-Semitism “training” at its conference. Jackie Walker and others were quite entitled to attend and to ask questions during the session when they were encouraged to do so by the “trainers”.

    I have also found out this evening that this session was not part of the fringe, but an official session that had been advertised in the conference magazine. It was entitled “Confronting Anti-Semitism and Engaging Jewish voters” and it was described as being “developed with the Jewish Labour Movement”. So who developed it with them then?

    The Chakrabarti Report came out against “narrow anti-racism training programmes which could be seen as patronising or otherwise insulting.” It seems that the right wing of the Labour Party are just ignoring this report.

  30. stockwellpete on said:

    On the subject of Jewish involvement in the slave trade, this is quite interesting and, if correct, suggests to me that Jackie Walker was not as accurate as she might have been on this point, although to suggest her over-estimation of the Jewish role proves that she is an anti-Semite is just plain ludicrous. It is just a matter for historical debate as far as I am concerned . . .

    http://www.jewishjournal.com/articles/item/how_culpable_were_dutch_jews_in_the_slave_trade

  31. Jock mctrousers on said:

    stockwellpete: It seems to me that the most controversial aspect of all this is that the Labour Party has allowed a pro-Zionist organisation to run anti-Semitism “training” at its conference. J

    Yes!

  32. Andy Newman on said:

    stockwellpete: I have also found out this evening that this session was not part of the fringe, but an official session that had been advertised in the conference magazine.

    That is really very unremarkable, fringe events ARE in the conference programme

  33. Andy Newman on said:

    stockwellpete: On the subject of Jewish involvement in the slave trade, this is quite interesting and, if correct, suggests to me that Jackie Walker was not as accurate as she might have been on this point, although to suggest her over-estimation of the Jewish role proves that she is an anti-Semite is just plain ludicrous

    But she was very specific about the nature of the alleged Jewish involvement as the “chief financiers”. It is impossible not to notice the stereotype being employed there.

  34. Andy Newman on said:

    Roy de Boy:
    Talking of the dangers of being ‘wrong on the internet’, Andy might wanna rethink the reference to ‘Hutus’… unless we’re shedding tears for the perps now

    I noticed that myself, it should of course read Tutsies, the trouble with the Internet is you don’t have a good sub-editor. Though ironically, Mahnood Mamdami’s excellent book on the Rwandan genocide, “when victims become killers” discusses the exact issue of how the historically oppressed Hutus came to be dominant in Rwanda and Burundi.

    Post genocide Rwanda, and the Rwandan government excursion into DRC also continue to be controversial

  35. Andy Newman on said:

    David Hillman: The more recent controversy was just entrapment – a training session improperly filmed in which she asks questions rather than assertions.

    Who could have predicted that such a thing might happen.

  36. John Grimshaw on said:

    stockwellpete: It is just a matter for historical debate as far as I am concerned . . .

    Quite Stockwellpete but as a historian and archaeologist I get quite interested in these things. The only trouble is I get distracted from the politics.

  37. John Grimshaw on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Although if Jackie Walker did use the phrase “chief financiers” not only is that a dangerous road to go down but I doubt very much weather it’s true.

  38. John Grimshaw on said:

    I understand Jackie Walker has now been kicked out of Momentum and suspended from the LP. And it was all over the Radio 4 news. I wonder where they got there info. from? And why do they think it’s so newsworthy?

  39. stockwellpete on said:

    Andy Newman: But she was very specific about the nature of the alleged Jewish involvement as the “chief financiers”. It is impossible not to notice the stereotype being employed there.

    I think you are being a bit uncharitable here. She was just wrong about it, in my view. Of course, we shouldn’t forget that this issue relates to her first suspension from the Labour party and it did not prevent her from being re-instated.

    Given the decision taken by the Momentum steering committee last night, do you think she is likely to be re-instated a second time? What are her chances?

  40. stockwellpete on said:

    Andy Newman: That is really very unremarkable, fringe events ARE in the conference programme

    Yes, OK, what I am trying to get at is that this was well advertised in advance in the conference programme rather than being an impromptu session (or something arranged at very short notice) that people might have just wandered into on the day in question. I would still like to know how it was that the JLM were considered appropriate “trainers” for a session on anti-Semitism. Who would have given the green light for this to take place? The NEC? The Conference Organising/Arrangements committee? Or some other part of the Labour Party?

    And given that the JLM were deliberately (and deceitfully) using a discredited definition of anti-Semitism (that conflated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism), is it the case that the session was primarily intended by them to be controversial in order to cause more difficulties for Corbyn? If Jackie Walker hadn’t said anything then perhaps someone else would have done? I don’t think the JLM are suitable to be used in any training capacity in future. Perhaps this is something the left inside Labour should try and prevent from happening again?

  41. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: discusses the exact issue of how the historically oppressed Hutus came to be dominant in Rwanda and Burundi.

    1. The original inhabitants of the area were pygmy bush hunters, some of whom still exist.
    2. Bantu tribes moved into the area much later. The Huts, the TWa and the Tutsis. No historian is clear about where the distinction came from. It could be that the three were related but differentiated over time. Some others believe the Tutsis came from further north. Tutsi literally means “one who is rich in cattle”.
    3. The 1884 Berlin conference gave the region to Germany. They ruled through the king. Europeans believed that the Tutsi came from Ethiopia and were therefore racially superior. The Germans therefore gave them the more important jobs. After WWI the Belgians took over and were more interventionist. Hutu land was seized and Hutus forced into large scale labour. Finally the Belgians introduced indentity cards stating which tribe you from which effectively ended Hutu social mobility.
    4. After WWII a Hutu emancipation movement started. In 1959 it became violent. In 1960 the Belgians replaced all Tutsi chiefs with HHUtus. They then departed granting independence. The king was replaced and a republic was declared however the violence carried on. The Tutsi began to leave to neighbouring countries fearing the purges and by 1964 there were 300,000 outside Rwanda. They then began to organise themselves into resistance armies called “cockroaches”.

    So it can be seen that the imperialist powers were directly responsible for the later genocide. I hope this concurs Andy with your understanding?

  42. stockwellpete on said:

    Sorry, I have messed up the post above. I was trying to get the text that Andy put in the very first post on this thread that had the statement by Manuel Cortes.

  43. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: “I am asking Jackie that in the interests of unity she resigns at once from our Party and also as vice-chair if Momentum. If she doesn’t, both the Labour Party and Momentum need to act to get rid of her at once. Furthermore, TSSA will seriously reconsider our union’s support for Momentum if she is still in post by this time next week.”

    You mean this?

  44. John Grimshaw on said:

    John Grimshaw: Furthermore, TSSA will seriously reconsider our union’s support for Momentum if she is still in post by this time next week.”

    To mean this last bit sounds like arm bending. No?

  45. stockwellpete on said:

    John Grimshaw: To mean this last bit sounds like arm bending. No?

    Yes. I think Manuel Cortes has questions to answer about all this. Perhaps there is an innocent explanation and he has no links to the JLM. On the other hand . . .

  46. stockwellpete on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    John Grimshaw,

    Although if Jackie Walker did use the phrase “chief financiers” not only is that a dangerous road to go down but I doubt very much weather it’s true.

    I found this on the Jews for Justice for Palestinians website where Jackie Walker has previously clarified her position on Jewish involvement in the Atlantic slave trade. I can see why she was re-instated by the Labour Party on the first occasion – and she should be re-instated again as nothing she said at the JLM’s “training” session was remotely anti-Semitic . . .

    “Yes, I wrote “many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. These words, taken out of context in the way the media did, of course do not reflect my position. I was writing to someone who knew the context of my comments. Had he felt the need to pick me up on what I had written I would have rephrased – perhaps to “Jews (my ancestors too) were among those who financed the sugar and slave trade and at the particular time/in the particular area I’m talking about they played an important part.” The Facebook post taken by itself doesn’t, and can’t possibly reflect the complexity of Jewish history, of the history of Africa, the history of people of the African diaspora and the hundreds of years of the slave trade. The truth is while many peoples were involved in this pernicious trade it was the rulers of Christian Spain and Portugal that ordered the massacre and expulsion of thousands of Jews from the Iberian Peninsular who forced Jewish communities to seek refuge in the New World and the Caribbean. It was European and American Christian empires that overwhelmingly profited from the kidnap, enslavement and death of millions of Africans and I’m happy to make explicit and correct here any different impression my Facebook post gave. The shame is, at a time when antisemitism has been weaponised and used against certain sections of the Labour Party, nobody asked me before rushing to pin the racist and antisemitic label on me.”

    “If my historical understanding is shown to be wrong by future research I will of course adapt and change my views as necessary. For the record, my claim, as opposed to those made for me by the Jewish Chronicle, has never been that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic Slave Trade, merely that, as historians such as Arnold Wiznitzer noted, at a certain economic point, in specific regions where my ancestors lived, Jews played a dominant role “as financiers of the sugar industry, as brokers and exporters of sugar, and as suppliers of Negro slaves on credit, accepting payment of capital and interest in sugar.”

    No people are exempt from truth. No people are better, more moral than any other. None deserve higher protection from the eye of history. All of us are subjects, products of material historical development. As Kagan & Morgan point out, “Jews in the Atlantic constituted a stateless minority, a ‘nation within a nation,’ the counterpoint to imperial cultures of early modern Europe; and yet from the fifteenth century onwards, Jews were also key participants in the effort to expand European empires into the western hemisphere and the broader Atlantic world. In short, they were, as Jonathan Israel has noted, simultaneously agents and victims of empire.”

    This was the point I was attempting to make on Facebook, in a comic-strip, abbreviated, inadequate, deficient sort of conversational way. This was my point, as the Israel Advocacy Movement could see even as they decided to weaponise my words. No peoples have a monopoly of suffering or virtue. No peoples are special or free of the complexity of history. That is as true in the Middle East now as it ever was anywhere, in all places, with all peoples, across the diversity of our globe and so it will remain until, and unless, we achieve the goal of all internationalists – the liberation of humanity.”

    http://jfjfp.com/?p=86378

  47. Sussexlabourleft on said:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/04/jackie-walker-ruling-betrays-momentum-members

    Letter to the Editor of the Guardian 4.10.2016

    As Jewish members and supporters of Momentum, we do not believe that what Jackie Walker said during a training event at Labour party conference was antisemitic (Walker stripped of Momentum role, 4 October). You report Jackie as saying that “she had not found a definition of antisemitism she could work with”. This is not surprising – there isn’t one. The Jewish Labour Movement, which ran the event, states that the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism’s working definition on antisemitism is the standard definition, despite the fact that its successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency, has junked this definition, which equates criticism of the Israeli state with antisemitism. Jackie also stated that Holocaust Memorial Day should be more inclusive of other acts of genocide. Why is this antisemitic? It has always been a principle of the Zionist movement that the Nazi Holocaust was exclusive to the Jews. Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust studies at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, has argued that “the Nazis only attempted to annihilate one people, the Jews”. According to Bauer, “the Holocaust is very much a unique case”.

    Jackie’s arguments were made in good faith. They may be right or they may be wrong. What they are not is antisemitic. The decision of Momentum’s steering committee and its chair Jon Lansman to remove Jackie Walker as vice-chair is a betrayal of the trust of thousands of Momentum members. Momentum’s grassroots members overwhelmingly support Jackie.
    Tony Greenstein
    Professor Haim Bresheeth
    Professor Emeritus Jonathan Rosenhead
    Leon Rosselson
    Ruth Appleton
    Rica Bird
    Mike Cushman
    Dr Merav Devere
    Mark Elf
    Sylvia Finzi
    Ken Fryde
    Leah Levane
    Claire Glasman
    Selma James
    Michael Kalmanovitz
    Helen Marks
    Elizabeth Morley
    Diana Neslen
    Ilan Pappe
    Martin Parnell
    Roland Rance
    Dr Brian Robinson
    Amanda Sebestyen
    Glynn Secker
    David Selzer
    Sam Semoff
    Sam Weinstein
    Naomi Wimborne-Iddrissi

    • Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

  48. stockwellpete: Yes, OK, what I am trying to get at is that this was well advertised in advance in the conference programme rather than being an impromptu session (or something arranged at very short notice) that people might have just wandered into on the day in question

    That is again, very unremarkable at Labour Party conference, where a very wide range of organisations present fringe events, all of which are organised well in advance, all of which are in the conference programme. This will include organisations as diverse as the Countryside Alliance, various trade associations, all sorts.

  49. John Grimshaw,

    I recommend Mamdani’s book, which expands on that framework. Howeve,, while imperialism and colonialism created the context, the responsiblity for the genocide does lie with those who committed it

  50. stockwellpete on said:

    Andy Newman: So it is a conspiracy? Involving Jews?

    Is it? How do you know this? I would be careful making statements like that – you will get yourself suspended.

    Andy Newman: So it is a conspiracy? Involving Jews?

    Andy Newman: So it is a conspiracy? Involving Jews?

  51. stockwellpete on said:

    Sorry, I don’t know why my posts keep coming out incorrectly. Can you tidy it up for me please?

  52. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: recommend Mamdani’s book, which expands on that framework. Howeve,, while imperialism and colonialism created the context, the responsiblity for the genocide does lie with those who committed it

    Thanks. Don’t suppose you have an ISBN? He says cheekily!

  53. John Grimshaw on said:

    stockwellpete:
    Have people seen this? Links are being suggested between Cortes and leading members of the JLM. Anyone know any more? The disciplinary hearing was held at the TSSA building and there is a TSSA person on the Momentum Steering Committee as well.

    https://muchaboutlabour.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/response-to-jackie-walker-suspension/

    Well the trouble with this link Stockwellpete, now I’ve thought about it, is it’s a bit thin. First, it doesn’t prove any link between Cortes and the JLM (it doesn’t even mention the JLM). Secondly whilst it may be that Cortes needs to come clean about his links to an ex-colleague who now works for the bosses, this link doesn’t prove anything untoward. Besides corruption in the higher echelons of unions is nothing new.

  54. John Grimshaw on said:

    Ah! My mistake. Apologies to Stockwellpete and Andy. I couldn’t see from both your perspectives what you were getting at. I didn’t realise that this Mike Katz is a vice chair of the JLM.

  55. stockwellpete on said:

    John Grimshaw: Well the trouble with this link Stockwellpete, now I’ve thought about it, is it’s a bit thin. First, it doesn’t prove any link between Cortes and the JLM (it doesn’t even mention the JLM). Secondly whilst it may be that Cortes needs to come clean about his links to an ex-colleague who now works for the bosses, this link doesn’t prove anything untoward. Besides corruption in the higher echelons of unions is nothing new.

    No, there is no proof of anything at all. Just a series of questions that need to be answered really. I haven’t said anything more than that either.

    But it did seem rather odd that Manuel Cortes came out very quickly to call on Jackie Walker to resign and if she didn’t then TSSA would withdraw its support from Momentum – presumably he hadn’t discussed it formally with other members of the TSSA executive (unless they happened to be meeting at about that time). Another question is whether the TSSA person on the Momentum committee was mandated by TSSA to vote against her, or whether they voted in a personal capacity. And then it is suggested on a couple of blogs that a leading member of the JLM (Katz) had worked both for the TSSA and the company that TSSA negotiates with . . . and then we find out that Momentum meeting took place in the TSSA building. It doesn’t seem to be too unreasonable to ask questions about all this to me.

    I am actually trying to find out what is going on at the top of Momentum with regards to this vote to remove Jackie Walker from the Vice-Chair position. I have looked at various websites and blogs that have covered it but I have only managed to get a partial picture. The vote was 7-3 against her so who were the 7? Jon Lansman was one, then I have read that there are 2 AWL members on the committee (Michael Chessum and Jill Mountford) and 2 others “close to the AWL” (I don’t know who these people are), so, if that is correct then that makes 5; then there is the TSSA person (Sam Tarry) making 6 and Christine Shawcroft of Labour Briefing making 7. The three voting against removing her from the vice-chair position included Matt Wrack of the FBU and I am not sure who the other two were. I know the names of 3 other people on the committee but I’m not sure where they fit in to the voting or what their political affiliations are – Cecile Wright, MarshaJane Thompson and Sam Wheeler.

    All this information is important because there is tremendous anger among the rank and file of Momentum now. I was reading the contributions on their website yesterday and it was getting on for 3:1 saying that they disagreed with what had been done. Some were talking of resigning from Momentum. This issue will not go away and it will certainly be raised at the founding Momentum conference next February where I assume all the places on the various committees will be up for election.

  56. John Grimshaw on said:

    stockwellpete: there are 2 AWL members on the committee (Michael Chessum and Jill Mountford) and 2 others “close to the AWL”

    First Stockwellpete see my comment above. Until I looked it up on Wiki I din’t know that Katz was a vice chair of the JLM. Interesting that the AWL were antis. Although in a situation like this I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Sounds like opportunism as well to be honest. Wasn’t Mountford suspended from the LP recently?

  57. stockwellpete on said:

    John Grimshaw: First Stockwellpete see my comment above. Until I looked it up on Wiki I din’t know that Katz was a vice chair of the JLM. Interesting that the AWL were antis. Although in a situation like this I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Sounds like opportunism as well to be honest. Wasn’t Mountford suspended from the LP recently?

    Well, the AWL have always taken a pro-israel position and some of their members are very keen to accuse people of anti-Semitism when issues around Zionism occur. Some of the stuff I have read from them about Jackie Walker is very unpleasant, to be honest. And it is a bit strange as the labour right would like to witch hunt them out of the Labour Party yet they seem very determined to drive other left-wing socialists out as well. Perhaps the strangest thing though is Andy Newman lining up with them in this witch hunt even though he wrote an article on here a few years back describing the AWL as a “malignant cult”.

    The AWL do seem to be over-represented on the Momentum steering committee at the moment, particularly if it is true that the 2 others “close to the AWL” usually vote in a bloc with the two official AWL representatives. So I think that definitely needs to be changed at the February conference.

    Yes, I think she was suspended recently. Apparently, the AWL have de-registered as a political party so they can enter the Labour Party but they obviously continue to exist as some sort of formal political grouping/organisation.

  58. Petter Matthews on said:

    From today’s’ Morning Star:

    REMOVING Jackie Walker from her position as Momentum
    vice-chair, as the group’s steering committee has
    done, is an act of political cowardice and confusion.
    It was pushed through by seven votes to three in
    response to allegations by the Jewish Labour Movement
    (JLM) that this black Jewish woman made anti-semitic
    comments that have already seen her suspended by
    the Labour Party. If Walker had indeed been guilty of
    anti-semitism, she should have been ditched by both
    Momentum and Labour and any other labour movement
    organisation.
    Momentum insists that she remains a member of its
    steering committee and maintains that nothing she
    said was anti-semitic, while calling her comments “illinformed,
    ill-judged and offensive.”
    The group also asked Labour not to expel her, but
    the ill-fated recent decision by the party’s national executive
    committee to ask the JLM, known until 2004
    as Poale Zion, to “train” party leaders on what constitutes
    anti-semitism does not augur well. The JLM is not
    the sole voice of Jewish members of the Labour Party.
    It supports Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinian
    people, Tel Aviv’s wars against its neighbours and rejects
    the worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)
    campaign to persuade Israel to end its illegal occupation
    of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and
    siege of the Gaza strip. It is effectively an arm of Israel’s
    Labour Party inside Labour.
    Many British Jews, including Labour members, reject
    that stance and oppose this zionist group having pride
    of place to put forward unchallenged its view of what
    constitutes anti-semitism.
    HIH
    It must be remembered that Walker’s comments were
    made during participation in a JLM “training session”
    fringe event at Labour’s conference in Liverpool where
    she engaged in discussion. Her comments were recorded
    without her knowledge and forwarded to the
    media alongside a tidal wave of feigned shock and
    outrage designed to produce maximum impact.
    She is reported to have suggested that Holocaust
    Memorial Day should commemorate other holocausts,
    questioned enhanced security levels at Jewish schools
    and observed that no standard definition of antisemitism
    exists.
    Momentum’s steering committee majority may view
    her comments as “ill-informed, ill-judged and offensive”
    and they are entitled to that opinion. What she said
    cannot, however, be read as anti-semitic, which ought
    to be the main point at issue. If Labour expels Walker
    on these trumped-up charges, where does this leave
    Momentum? The organisation says that it “exists to
    build on the energy and enthusiasm from the Jeremy
    Corbyn for Labour leader campaign to increase participatory
    democracy, solidarity and grassroots power
    and help Labour become the transformative governing
    party of the 21st century.”
    Socialists, both inside and outside Labour, have long
    recognised that the wave of largely spurious allegations
    of anti-semitism being rampant in the party — which
    prompted Shami Chakrabarti’s inquiry — were intended
    to undermine Corbyn’s leadership. If Momentum
    refuses to ditch Walker while the Labour apparatus
    plumps for expulsion, will we hear a chorus of claims
    that “Corbyn’s fan club” harbours an anti-semite?
    Vanquished challenger Owen Smith paraded his
    political ignorance during the election campaign by
    accusing the Alliance for Workers Liberty, which has
    renounced its status as a political party in order to facilitate
    its relocation into Labour, of “left anti-semitism”
    — an absurd formulation comparable with left racism
    or left Islamophobia. In reality, this supposed ex-party
    confirmed its well-attested pro-zionist credentials by
    providing four of the seven votes to remove Walker,
    thereby weakening resistance to the Labour bureaucracy’s
    “anti-semitic” witch-hunt. Meeting a witch-hunt
    halfway is unprincipled and doomed to failure. There
    should be no credence given in the labour movement
    to JLM-inspired smears spread to damage Corbyn.

  59. Petter Matthews on said:

    Andy Newman: Why did Jackie Walker go then, and contribute, given the wisdom of avoiding further controversy over the subject?

    Perhaps we should all modify our criticism of Israel in order to avoid such controversy? Does it not trouble you that what you are advocating is precisely the outcome that the Jewish Labour Movement and the Israel Advocacy Movement desire?

    No one should be cowed into silence, particularity black Jewish women, like Jackie Walker, who know through their own experience what it means to be subject to bigotry and racial hatred.

  60. Andy Newman’s article is thoroughly disgraceful. There hasn’t been an increase in anti-Semitism in Europe or Britain. 2 terrorist attacks prove nothing. More to the point is the weaponisation of anti-Semitism such that what we are seeing is the political lynching of a Black Jewish women who supports the Palestinians.

    It is a measure of Andy Newman’s cowardice that he deleted my last post. The Guardian can carry different opinions on its letters page but Newman has m oved so far to the Right that he appeases the Zionists and blocks anti-Zionists.

  61. John Grimshaw on said:

    stockwellpete,

    For the sake of accuracy I am reliably informed that only one person on the steering committee is a member of the AWL which is Jill Mountford. Chessun is apparently sympathetic. I can’t comment on there being two others who “bloc” with them. I haven’t found out yet. This doesn’t get round the fact that Jackie Walker is not anti-semitic. Although I do think that the more I hear what she says (see interview on channel 4 for example) that she does come across as “clumsy”. Who knows maybe she winds people up?

    That being said this is not an individuality contest. Her being stripped of the vice chairs role and then being suspended from the LP became high profile news. This and other similar manufactured incidents have now been exploited by Theresa May in her speech yesterday. The Labour Party is anti-Semitic she says and it is now the “nasty party”. In my view this suits the right-wing of the LP down to the ground as I am sure they would rather have Tory victories in the foreseeable future so as to get rid of Corbyn and then get on with “normal” business. I even heard one PLP member ( sorry can’t remember which one) saying without irony that deselection would ruin MPs careers (sic). It is sad that the Momentum steering committee whether by design or without thought has made a small contribution to the Tories propaganda machine.

  62. John Grimshaw on said:

    stockwellpete: Apparently, the AWL have de-registered as a political party so they can enter the Labour Party but they obviously continue to exist as some sort of formal political grouping/organisation.

    They have but they do.

  63. John Grimshaw on said:

    Tony Greenstein: There hasn’t been an increase in anti-Semitism in Europe or Britain.

    You’re obviously reading different stuff to me Tony. According to various sources there was an 11% increase in ant-semitic “incidents” in the first six months of 2016. And in 2015 a 60%+ increase in London (somewhat oddly in the same year it went down by 50% in Manchester). Obviously the figures focus on London and then Manchester as they have the countries largest Jewish communities. By incidents, as I’m sure you know, it doesn’t just mean physical attacks (there are very few fortunately) but it does mean verbal abuse, digital attacks, graffiti etc. etc.

    Tony Greenstein: 2 terrorist attacks prove nothing.

    Well that’s alright then.

  64. John Grimshaw on said:

    I should’ve said that the recent spikes in these attacks have coincided with the “high” points of the ” anti-Semitic” debate within the LP. Since I don’t believe that the LP is fundamentally anti-Semitic it must mean that in some warped way the false accusations are providing cover for the real Jew haters. By extension since the accusations are being made by variously the media, the right wing of the LP and the Tories they are actually (presumably not deliberately) encouraging these attacks.

  65. stockwellpete on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Thanks for that clarification, John.

    I read from a link provided in the Jill Mountford article that you posted that the voting on Jackie Walker was as follows . . .

    Against Jackie Walker
    Jon Lansman

    Marshajane Thompson

    Sam Wheeler

    Michael Chessum

    Jill Mountford

    Christine Shawcroft

    Sam Tarry

    For Jackie Walker

    Matt Wrack

    Darren Williams

    Cecile Wright

    I have also found this on the structure of the Momentum Steering Committee . . .

    Steering Committee . . . the eight representatives from England are: Jill Mountford (London), Michael Chessum (London), Marsha Jane Thompson (Eastern), Jon Lansman (Left Futures), Sam Wheeler (North West), Jackie Walker (LRC), Christine Shawcroft (Labour Briefing) and Cecile Wright (BAME). There are also four trade union representatives and one representative from both Scotland and Wales – so 14 in total.

  66. Petter Matthews,

    No, what they desire is precisely that activists should continue shooting themselves in the foot by saying foolish, insensitive things. Does anyone really believe that pro-Israel groups are in any way put on the defensive by what Jackie Walker said? They’re delighted, they’re laughing their heads off. What we have here is a situation where they invite us to shoot ourselves in the foot, hand us the gun, and instead of saying ‘actually guys, we’d rather not’, some people are shouting ‘we won’t allow them to silence us, hand me that gun right now and let’s get shooting!’

  67. Petter Matthews on said:

    Ed,

    Of course pro-Israel groups rejoice when we shoot ourselves in the foot, but the most controversial remarks attributed to JW were in a private nessage, hacked from her Facebook account, taken out of context and mispreresented as part of a smear campaign against her. As far as I’m aware gaining unauthorised access to a social media account is illegal. You should save your opprobrium for those responsible, not their victim.

    Of course we should avoid shooting ourselves in the foot, but it is possible to do that and to remain principled and outspoken in opposition to Israeli apartheid. Your solution to “avoid further controversy” seems to be to keep quiet. That response would be cowardly and defeatist in my view.

    And let’s not lose sight of the fact that those of Jewish origin (like JW) who speak out against Israel, come in for particularly vicious attacks by pro-Israel groups. Look at how Ilan Pappé, Noam Chomsky and Avi Shlaim have been vilified. Would your advice to them also be to avoid controversy?

  68. Well I took Andy Newman at his word and went to the HMD web site. Sure enough, under Holocaust it says ‘Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazis attempted to annihilate all of Europe’s Jews. This systematic and planned attempt to murder European Jewry is known as the Holocaust (The Shoah in Hebrew).’

    Nothing there about the extermination of the Disabled from 1939-1941 which led on to the subsequent final solution of Jews and Gypsies. Nothing about the Gypsies either. In practice disabled and Gypsies are also-rans. An after thought.

    Of course no prior holocausts or genocides, such as the Armenian once, are remembered and the Zionist movement, people like Elie Wiesel, were adamant that there was no such holocaust. As for Africans, they don’t get a look in despite 10 million dying Belgian Congo itself.

    The terrorist attacks in France prove nothing. British Jews are not under attack and it is arguable that the present of enhanced security around Jewish schools in the UK is merely heightening fears of terrorism and anti-Semitism. Either way what happened in France is evidence of nothing other than that the West should stop creating enemies that then attack the West in blow back.

    Andy does not seem to comprehend that a ‘training event’ run by the JLM, contrary to the recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report, was in reality a honey trap. Secret recordings of particicpants handed over the media. What kind of training event is that?

    The JLM has persistently tried to conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Its Rule Change amendment to the LP has included the ‘use of Zionism as a term of abuse’ with anti-Semitism and it has also deliberately twisted and distorted the meaning of the MacPherson principles in order to fool people that MacPherson recommended that a ‘victim’ of a racist attack could in effect determine a conviction of the assailant. MacPherson advocated only, in terms of the Police only, that where someone claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, then the Police should record that and treat it seriously. MacPherson did not say that in the investigation period and during any court process, the word of a victim was to be taken as persuasive regardless of what the defence may be.

    Jackie questioned the lie that Michael Katz told at the ‘training event’ that the standard definition of anti-Semitism was the EUMC Working Definition. This was a lie because the European Union’s Working Definition was junked by the EUMC’s successor organisation the Fundamental Rights Agency, in 2013.

    Why was the WD junked? Because it conflated criticism of Israel with anti-semitism and any comparison between Israeli practices and Nazi Germany was held to be anti-Semitic. A nonsense since Israelis regularly do just that.

    Andy says that ‘Let us be clear, there is not a current and live danger of racist hate crimes against Armenians, Hutus, Herero people or Native Americans on the streets of Britain today. The distinguishing feature that the Nazi anti-Semitism exploited centuries of prejudice,’

    There isn’t a wave of racist hate crimes against Jews on the streets otherwise. I don’t feel under attack and nor do most if not all Jews. State racism against Jews does not exist in Britain. It isn’t synagogues which r torched but mosques. Anti-semitism is a marginal prejudice in Britain.

    Andy demonstrates that he understands nothing of anti-Semitism historically either. He says that
    ‘The genocide against the Jews was historically unique, as of course are all instances of genocide.’
    In which the holocaust was not unique! The extermination of people in gas chambers was indeed unique, but the first to be gassed were the disabled, up to 3/4 million of them. At Auschwitz, t he first people to be gassed were Russian prisoners of war. Gypsies and others were also put to death by gassing.

    Of course Jews were exterminated in their millions but the lessons we draw are that racism and fascism must be fought.

    What is happening today is that the holocaust is being fashioned by the Zionist movement and the Western establishment and media, into an ideological weapon against the oppressed. Israel uses holocaust ideology in order to reinforce racism and nationalism, not to oppose it.

    Andy says that ‘There are times and places where it is appropriate to discuss the historical comparitors, there are times and places where it is not.’

    Wrong. history is about comparison or it is nothing. We only make sense of the holocaust by use of comparisons and we only make sense of Israel’s apartheid state by the use of comparison.

    Yes Zionism came from Jewish experience of anti-Semitism but it also accepted as natural and indeed right that ant-Semitism existed.

    Andy talks about the Nazis holocaust drawing on ‘the deep well of anti-Jewish sentiment in European Christian culture, but also merged this with the modern industrial ruthlessness of European colonialist attitudes to their non-European subject peoples.’ Precisely why we should compare what the Nazis did with imperialist atrocities.

    It is also incorrect to say that what the Nazis did was an extension of Christian or feudal anti-Semitism. In many ways it was a break from it, hence the concept of the Christian Jews, a term that would be absurd in Catholic Europe.

    Andy says he doesn’t know whether Jackie is anti-Semitic. I do know. Unlike Andy she has been a longstanding fighter against racism and fascism. She is not a well paid trade union bureaucrat. She is a fighter and it is scandalous that Andy Newman should attack her so. If h e had any concept of what shame is he would go and repent in some appropriate manner. I believe the rendering of clothes used to be in fashion.

    This is a scurrilous little article and it is no surprise that Jon Lansman has commissioned it.

  69. stockwellpete on said:

    Tony Greenstein,

    Just one little correction, Tony. The HMD website does mention the Armenian Holocaust. If you click on the “Genocides” tab at the top you will find this text . . .

    Atrocities against the Armenians

    Between 1915 and 1918, the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire were systematically persecuted, deported from their homes and murdered. Following the Balkan War and start of the First World War, Armenian men, women and children were expelled and exterminated in an attempt to destroy their very existence. The campaign was waged against Armenians following a period of deterioration in relations between ethnic groups in the Empire and a number of political and financial upheavals.

    It is unknown exactly how many Armenians were murdered in this period but estimates range from 1.3 million to 1.9 million. In 1933, the Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin, was so motivated by the lack of recognition and awareness of the crimes in Armenia which occurred only a few years before, that he presented a paper to the League of Nations. The paper outlined a way in which the International Community could condemn the crimes and atrocities in the Ottoman Empire, and provide a basis to prosecute the perpetrators behind such crimes. It wasn’t until 1946 that the UN recognised the term genocide and affirmed the cause that Lemkin had dedicated his life to. To date, the 1946 convention is still used to recognise the actions of a state-sponsored attempt to destroy a particular group of its people.

    If you would like to find out more about the atrocities in Armenia we recommend a number of books on our bibliography and you may find the Fergal Keane documentary in our film reviews of interest. As part of a film for HMD 2011, we recorded the Untold Story of Astrid Aghajanian whose mother saved her from murder in Armenia by hiding beneath the bodies of those who had already been killed.

    – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/page/holocaust-genocides#sthash.89THjtlh.dpuf

  70. Petter Matthews:
    Ed,

    Of course pro-Israel groups rejoice when we shoot ourselves in the foot, but the most controversial remarks attributed to JW were in a private nessage, hacked from her Facebook account, taken out of context and mispreresented as part of a smear campaign against her. As far as I’m aware gaining unauthorised access to a social media account is illegal. You should save your opprobrium for those responsible, not their victim.

    Of course we should avoid shooting ourselves in the foot, but it is possible to do that and to remain principled and outspoken in opposition to Israeli apartheid. Your solution to “avoid further controversy” seems to be to keep quiet. That response would be cowardly and defeatist in my view.

    And let’s not lose sight of the fact that those of Jewish origin (like JW) who speak out against Israel, come in for particularly vicious attacks by pro-Israel groups. Look at how Ilan Pappé, Noam Chomsky and Avi Shlaim have been vilified. Would your advice to them also be to avoid controversy?

    I’m afraid this is completely nonsense. I am not talking about what she said on Facebook a few months ago; I am talking about what she said at the JLM meeting last week. Her intervention was completely inept and counter-productive, and I am sick to my back teeth of people telling me that I am advising activists to ‘avoid controversy’ when I am simply advising them to avoid picking up a shotgun and pointing both barrels at their own feet. You put ‘avoid further controversy’ in quotation marks as if it was a direct quote from what I said when it plainly was not. Jackie Walker was not being ‘principled and outspoken in opposition to Israeli apartheid’; in fact she didn’t say anything about Israel, the row is all about what she said about Holocaust Memorial Day and security for Jewish schools. What she said was stupid and insensitive and I am quite sure that our political opponents were jumping for joy and couldn’t believe their luck. To speak as if she was posing a strong challenge to their political arguments is utterly delusional; she was actively assisting their cause, they couldn’t have asked for more. I suppose it is easier to fabricate quotes about ‘avoid[ing] further controversy’ and knock down a ludicrous straw-man than it is to explain how and why it was necessary and effective for JW to say the things she said, where she said them. No serious person can do that, because it is blindingly obvious that her intervention was a total fiasco. And I will not be silenced in saying this by emotional black-mail and claims that I am telling activists to ‘avoid further controversy’. The mental gymnastics that some people have to put themselves through to avoid facing up to this beggar belief.

  71. stockwellpete on said:

    Tony Greenstein,

    Just one small correction, Tony. The HMD website does mention the Armenian holocaust. If you click on the “Genocides” tab at the top you will come through to this text . . .

    Atrocities against the Armenians

    Between 1915 and 1918, the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire were systematically persecuted, deported from their homes and murdered. Following the Balkan War and start of the First World War, Armenian men, women and children were expelled and exterminated in an attempt to destroy their very existence. The campaign was waged against Armenians following a period of deterioration in relations between ethnic groups in the Empire and a number of political and financial upheavals.

    It is unknown exactly how many Armenians were murdered in this period but estimates range from 1.3 million to 1.9 million. In 1933, the Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin, was so motivated by the lack of recognition and awareness of the crimes in Armenia which occurred only a few years before, that he presented a paper to the League of Nations. The paper outlined a way in which the International Community could condemn the crimes and atrocities in the Ottoman Empire, and provide a basis to prosecute the perpetrators behind such crimes. It wasn’t until 1946 that the UN recognised the term genocide and affirmed the cause that Lemkin had dedicated his life to. To date, the 1946 convention is still used to recognise the actions of a state-sponsored attempt to destroy a particular group of its people.

    If you would like to find out more about the atrocities in Armenia we recommend a number of books on our bibliography and you may find the Fergal Keane documentary in our film reviews of interest. As part of a film for HMD 2011, we recorded the Untold Story of Astrid Aghajanian whose mother saved her from murder in Armenia by hiding beneath the bodies of those who had already been killed.

    – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/page/holocaust-genocides#sthash.89THjtlh.dpuf

  72. Tony Greenstein: Unlike Andy she has been a longstanding fighter against racism and fascism. She is not a well paid trade union bureaucrat. She is a fighter and it is scandalous that Andy Newman should attack her so. If h e had any concept of what shame is he would go and repent in some appropriate manner. I believe the rendering of clothes used to be in fashion.

    Why does Tony Greenstein undermine the very valid points he makes by ad hominem remarks of this sort which do not stand up to scrutiny or convince anyone who follows this blog?

    Andy is not a well paid trade union bureaucrat but a lay officer with a normal job. I don’t happen to agree with his take on the Jackie Walker issue and I think she has been ‘monstered’ in an attempt to silence critics of zionism but the arguments Andy makes are consistent with his perspective that given the unequal balance of forces in the media and elsewhere that the left needs to exercise great caution in how it interpellates the public discourse in issues in which progressive ideas are not hegemonic.

    It is a sign of Momentum’s unformed character that a combination of fear polluted by the AWL’s notorious ambiguity on zionism and its rampant opportunism has given such a hostage to this right wing ‘wedge’.

    We need to get this ugly diversion behind us, restore Jackie Walker’s rights and focus energies on turning outwards to the millions, lost by Blair and Brown, who need to be won back to Labour.

  73. Petter Matthews on said:

    Ed,

    “You put ‘avoid further controversy’ in quotation marks as if it was a direct quote from what I said when it plainly was not.”

    “And I will not be silenced in saying this by emotional black-mail and claims that I am telling activists to ‘avoid further controversy’.”

    “I suppose it is easier to fabricate quotes about ‘avoid[ing] further controversy’ and knock down a ludicrous straw-man . . .”

    I haven’t fabricated anything. At #26 you say: “Why did Jackie Walker go then, and contribute, given the wisdom of avoiding further controversy over the subject?”

  74. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: Why did Jackie Walker go then, and contribute, given the wisdom of avoiding further controversy over the subject?

    With respect Ed you did in fact say the above. Thinking about it I am unclear exactly what you meant by this. The formulation you chose is vague. Did you mean people shouldn’t talk about the pernicious effects of Zionism? Judging by your later comments I assume not. Were you directing your comment at JW only or everybody or just some people? Or were you saying that people should not have gone to THAT meeting as it was a den of pernicious Zionists? Should Drake not have attempted to beard the King of Spain? Were you saying that people should exercise caution when the terrain is not exactly flat?

  75. John Grimshaw on said:

    Far be it for me to comment on internal LP matters, except in the sense that I’m on the left and these things matter to all of us, I do think that Stockwellpete’s point at #27 needs answering. There is a difference between a JLM fringe meeting and an official LP training session on anti-Semitism I would’ve thought. It is true as far as I can see that in her contributions at the meeting JW didn’t refer to Israel (as the AWL and others have pointed out) but then maybe that was not the subject of the meeting. Presumably if the meeting was run by Zionists then they’re not going to go anywhere near the subject of Israel. It would be interesting to know what JW was responding to?

  76. Petter Matthews on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    JW is the victim of a smear campaign by pro-Israeli forces. Too many on the left have been willing to throw her under a bus and in so doing, have strengthened the hand of those who want to silence criticism of Israel. The Morning Star (05/10) described the treatment of JW as part of an ‘anti-Semitic’ witch-hunt and advised its readers that meeting a witch-hunt half way is unprincipled and doomed to failure. We should not take ‘one step back’ in our condemnation of Israeli apartheid.

  77. John Grimshaw,

    What on earth are you talking about? You’re quoting Andy Newman, not me. Andy can speak for himself I’m sure. When you’re willing to engage with the arguments that I made and not imaginary ones I’ll respond.

  78. John Grimshaw on said:

    Petter Matthews:
    John Grimshaw,

    JW is the victim of a smear campaign by pro-Israeli forces. Too many on the left have been willing to throw her under a bus and in so doing, have strengthened the hand of those who want to silence criticism of Israel. The Morning Star (05/10) described the treatment of JW as part of an ‘anti-Semitic’ witch-hunt and advised its readers that meeting a witch-hunt half way is unprincipled and doomed to failure. We should not take ‘one step back’ in our condemnation of Israeli apartheid.

    I agree. I think I’ve said as much, but I do think that maybe JW could be more thoughtful with her language. I don’t mean by that to make concessions to Zionism. That’s why I expressed disappointment with the Momentum steering committee because under the circumstances they should’ve backed her.

  79. John Grimshaw on said:

    Ed:
    John Grimshaw,

    What on earth are you talking about? You’re quoting Andy Newman, not me. Andy can speak for himself I’m sure. When you’re willing to engage with the arguments that I made and not imaginary ones I’ll respond.

    What on earth are you talking about? I don’t even know which one of my posts you are responding to. If it’s the one I think it is then I was merely asking questions not having a pop. Next time quote my post so I know which one to respond to, and try not to be so angry.

  80. Andy Newman on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    But she didn’t criticize Israel, she got into a bizarre argument about Holocaust memorial day. She argued about definitions of anti semitism and she dismissed concerns about potential attacks on schools

  81. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman:
    John Grimshaw,

    But she didn’t criticize Israel, she got into a bizarre argument about Holocaust memorial day. She argued about definitions of anti semitism and she dismissed concerns about potential attacks on schools

    Hi Andy again same as I said to Ed. Which of my posts are you responding to. However see my comments at #83. I don’t know exactly what went on but if the meeting was about anti-Semitism not Israel why would you necessarily talk about Israel.

    As regards Momentum (which I haven’t joined – because there isn’t a group round here but also because I’m not in the LP which is I believe important if one is to be a member) those whom the steering committee have appointed, the steering committee can unappoint. However if we are to criticise JW for “uncareful” use of language in these times of high scrutiny, I would also suggest that the steering committee also needs to be mindful of this. The left ill needs to do it’s washing public.

    As regards the substantive issues you raise. If I understand correctly she sort to criticise HMD for ignoring other genocides. As we’ve established that is technically wrong although one would be hard pressed to see it in practice being about anything other than the Shoah. She’s not the only non-Zionist Jew that I’ve known (about) over the years who has raised this criticism, largely because they accuse the government in Jerusalem of using the Shoah for their own ends. I don’t believe that her comment about definitions was intended to be anti-Semitic, rather I think it was an attack on Zionism. They have one definition of anti-Semitism and we have a different one, if you see what I mean. The comment about schools was just stupid in my view, although see above. Tony Greenstein doesn’t think Jewish people are at risk and I provided him with figures about the rise in anti-Semitic behaviour. I notice he didn’t respond. Maybe if you are a well integrated secular Jew you don’t notice because nobody knows you are Jewish? Anecdotally I have noticed. There is a father and his relatives who walk all the way down from Stamford Hill to the old synagogue in Aldgate past my flat every Saturday. I presume they walk because they’re not allowed to use vehicles? Anyway on one occasion at least I have had to have a go at youths who were swearing at them. I asked the gentleman why he walks down with relatives and his reply was that it was for safety.

  82. John Grimshaw on said:

    John Grimshaw: the steering committee have appointed, the steering committee can unappoint.

    As an aside, from what I can understand Momentum is ad hoc in terms of organisation. If it wants to survive it will need to adopt a democratic structure so that posts such as the vice chair or whatever are subject to the membership.

  83. John Grimshaw on said:

    Ed:
    John Grimshaw,

    What on earth are you talking about? You’re quoting Andy Newman, not me. Andy can speak for himself I’m sure. When you’re willing to engage with the arguments that I made and not imaginary ones I’ll respond.

    Ed I have reviewed this thread and you are correct. I apologise. I was mistakenly allotting a comment made by Andy to you. The confusion seems to be that at #81 Peter Matthews also made the same mistake and I didn’t check hard enough. But then it is a long thread.

  84. Francis King: Is Momentum any use to the cause of the left in the Labour Party? Or is it a sectarian-infested liability?

    I can attest that in some parts of the country, in my experience, Momentum does a good job,and performs the role you would hope it would.

    A caterpillar doesn’yt become a butterfly overnight

  85. Francis King:
    Is Momentum any use to the cause of the left in the Labour Party? Or is it a sectarian-infested liability?

    Momentum has played a very valuable role in the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn. But there is a dangerous tendency to think its job is done now that Jeremy Corbyn is elected.

    My sense is that, like in my own Momentum group, there is a tendency in some places to avoid digging into work in the local party, especially in the main working class areas of town.
    But also, like the Labour Party and indeed the Labour ‘left’ it is politically and ideologically quite disparate with a real absence of well grounded socialist thinking and weak connections with local unions.

    It is far from being ‘sectarian-infested’. Most of its supporters are exactly the opposite, well intentioned, open-minded and far from the image promoted by the Labour right wing.
    Thus, to allow highly unrepresentative and parasitic formations (I do not need to name names or give out initials) to exercise any influence is to store up trouble – as evidenced by the hole Momentum has dug itself over the manufactured ‘antisemitism’ row.

    Turning outwards and working to mobilise local labour parties and supporters into activity is the key.

  86. Nick Wright: Turning outwards and working to mobilise local labour parties and supporters into activity is the key.

    This should be obvious.

    Why is it so difficult to get?

  87. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/23846/26-10-2016/readmit-expelled-socialists

    More than 60 socialists, with over 800 years of Labour Party membership between them, have signed the letter below calling for their re-admittance to the Labour Party. Many of them were expelled in the past for supporting the Militant Tendency. Others have been excluded or expelled in recent months as part of the right-wing Labour Party machine’s attempts to defeat Jeremy Corbyn.

  88. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    https://vimeo.com/189493808

    Matt Wrack’s ( FBU General Secretary) speech on MOMENTUM at the LRC Conference where he highlighted the undemocratic nature of Jon Lansman and the some of the MOMENTUM leadership that is identical to the Blairite machine politics and exposing the shocking undemocratic manoeuvring by the MOMENTUM leadership who have cancelled their planned national committee and turned a planned conference into a charade of an online forum with electronic voting. These actions are something the Socialist Party has warned about consistently and shows the thoroughly craven politics of the self-appointed leaders of the Momentum group.

  89. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Quite odd, but I thought I had posted a 15 minute video of Matt Wrack at a LRC meeting given a critique of MOMENTUM’s leadership undemocratic methods at the moment; No ‘plagiarisation’ of Socialist Party words just a very short explanation that the Socialist Party explained last year if MOMENTUM did not democratise itself it would turn into the opposite and become ‘dictatorial’. Why was it taken off, I consider it was quite truthful?

  90. John Grimshaw on said:

    jim mclean:
    Jimmy Haddow,

    With Momentum at war at the moment they would be best sitting back and waiting surely

    The problem is Jim that outside of the CPB, SWP, SP large parts of the left have decided to join/re-join the LP in England and Wales. The situation is different in Scotland. I understand that Momentum is not the same as the LP but they are not entirely different either. The SWP and SP are having to make positional decisions whilst still defending their sectarian agendas. However I think sitting back and waiting is not on the agenda.

  91. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: if MOMENTUM did not democratise itself it would turn into the opposite and become ‘dictatorial’.

    It seems like I agree with you here, but… if all “democracy” means is allowing the small left to have a slightly bigger pool to swim in then that’s not sufficient.

  92. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 106:

    Unfortunately the Labour Party in Scotland is toxic to a section of the working class and especially to the young people due to its decades of pro- capitalist establishment politics in Councils and – more importantly – its involvement in the ‘Better Together’ Campaign during the Scottish Referendum. During the past Labour leadership election Scotland was the only area that voted for Owen Smith which indicates the social process that are in the Scottish Labour Party in the leadership and Councillors and the Party machine. I will not be allowed to join the Labour Party in Scotland because I was expelled in 1993 for my activity and organisation of the non-payment of the poll tax campaign in Kent for which I went to jail for. So I do not see it as taking a sectarian position to the Labour party because I have not joined it. Many of the older Socialist Party Scotland – formerly MILITANT – members are like me expelled because of their association of the non-payment of the poll tax campaign and of course MILITANT; so how can it be sectarian if we will not be allowed back into the LP because it is controlled by the Blairite clones. I have been to a number MOMENTUM meetings in Edinburgh – and truthfully I have been welcomed – and during the summer I campaigned for Corbyn in the streets of Edinburgh and Musselburgh, but the mood and dialogue I had with ordinary people was reflected in the Scottish Labour Party vote. AS far as the SWP are concerned they have never been enamoured to Labour Party politics but I cannot talk for them.

    The LP in Scotland has to change quite dramatically, even more than in England and Wales. As a very active member of the Socialist Party Scotland we have considered and discussed Labour Party perspectives in Scotland since Corbyn was elected the first time and we believe that a complete overhaul in Labour’s position on the national question is as vital as a fighting anti-austerity policy that we have been fighting for over the past 5/6years. To his credit, Jeremy Corbyn has rightly criticised Scottish Labour’s participation in the “Better Together” campaign with the Tories. However, he has also indicated his view that it was correct for Labour to campaign against independence in 2014. In addition, key Corbyn supporters in Scotland, heavily influenced by the disastrous policy of the Communist Party of Britain, still seem to be arguing that Labour would oppose independence again in the context of a second indyref. Bluntly speaking, if that position was not to be changed a sustained recovery in Labour’s support in Scotland would be ruled out. While a second indyref may still be a few years off, although it could take place sooner, a correct approach to the national question will play a decisive role in whether a mass working class party can be built in Scotland. Both Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left in Scotland should reassess their position on Scottish independence as a matter of urgency. As a minimum they should adopt a policy that is clearly in favour the right of the Scottish people to self-determination and concretely for a second independence referendum, with the timing of that to be decided. In addition, a full discussion should take place, including in the trade unions, on how an internationalist, left and pro-working class policy in favour of independence could be developed. The position advocated by Socialist Party Scotland of an independent socialist Scotland as part of a voluntary socialist confederation with England, Wales and Ireland is a concrete way of fighting for working class unity across Britain, while standing for the democratic rights of the Scottish people. Only this, linked to a fighting policy against all cuts, would allow Labour to cut across the pro-business nationalism of the SNP leadership. I believe this to be a principled outlook on the Labour Party in Scotland not a sectarian view as John Grimshaw indicates.

  93. Andy Newman on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    Better, but not quite there yet.

    The first half of this comment was personal, interesting and engaging.

    The second half was like a page from a pamphlet

  94. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 109: Andy, you really do have a problem in grasping the concept of a collective understanding of a political response. In fact I am beginning to wonder if some sections – at all levels – of the trade union leadership and Labour party are contributing to the atomisation of the trade union movement and Labour Party. What you say – that my second part of the contribution – is both an explanation to the comments that people have made about MOMENTUM and the Labour Party in Scotland and the so-called sectarian actions of the Socialist Party Scotland. I vehemently disagree with those comments because they are based on political ignorance, so I have to counter them as a Socialist Party Scotland member of long standing. I am not an individual, giving an individual point of view, but a member of a political organisation that politically organises in Scotland, so I give a factual collective perspective of my actions. The “second half” is what I, as an individual member of the Socialist Party Scotland, am doing in Scotland in my political and tactical intervention into Scottish Labour Party politics and the multitude of political discussions I have with Labour Party members in my personal life and my political activity in East Lothian, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Strategically and tactically I cannot join the Labour Party as explained, but I have a desire to join because politically I believe the ideas I support as an individual – which is the collective ideas of the Socialist Party Scotland – can help to change the Labour Party out of the morass of the Blairite period. I believe that the Labour Party should be open to all anti-austerity and left activists – which is what MOMENTUM said when it was formed last October and have since retreated on – but also it should include the right of affiliation by not just trade unions but also socialist groups – like the Socialist Party Scotland, (I doubt if the SWP will join because of its theoretical position of the Labour Party) – and anti-austerity groups and campaigns; more like a federal model of a century ago. Andy, there is an existential crisis in the Scottish Labour Party – which the English members of Labour just cannot grasp because of the Labour’s establishment hostility towards the SNP and nationalism – because of the decades of establishment Blairite politics and the because of the disastrous ‘Better Together’ politics of over the last two years; even the Lefts who are in the Labour Party in Scotland talk like and act like the right-wing. I, as an individual, collectively are offering a solution to that existential crisis, both in writing and in words, it is not covered in sound bites but in a convincing explanation. The personal is political the political is personal as the saying go

  95. Andy Newman on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    Thanks Jimmy. I understand what you are saying about Scottish Labour which matches what trade union colleagues are telling me.

    The party seems finished to me up there, tbh.

    However, the picture of the Scottish left outside Labour seems pretty dire as well.

  96. James McD on said:

    So Jimmy, your still harping on about “independence” and a “correct” view about nationalism? Firstly, if it wasn’t clear in 2014 that there is no independence in the EU then it must surely be now particularly your notion of it being a socialist version! As far as a supposed correct view of nationalism it appears to me that your organisational predecessors swung violently from a position of outright opposition to nationalism (in Scotland as elsewhere) to a opportunist embrace of it. Scotland seems to be fast becoming a self-conceited, corporatist statelet where our elected representatives are essentially all part of the same clique who periodically put on a show for us plebs every few years or so. Another poster elsewhere recommended a read of James Leslie Mitchell’s (aka Lewis Grassic Gibbon) essay “Glasgow”. I second that. What we need here is a redevelopment of a broad based TU (probably local TUC) led campaign against austerity and cuts which I’m sure you would support – the idea that further focus on division around a fake independence campaign which probably suceeded the SNP’s wildest dreams in so far as it split the wider lahour movement right up the middle (not from a left/right perspective as there were elements on both sides from both perspectives) is a non-starter and a diversion.

  97. brianthedog on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    No just a very happy Teresa May who will call a snap election in 2017 based on respecting the will of the people, democracy and Brexit. We will still get Brexit and a very large Tory majority with traditional labour heartlands in the north of England wiped out.

  98. Andy Newman on said:

    brianthedog: We will still get Brexit and a very large Tory majority with traditional labour heartlands in the north of England wiped out.

    I don’t know. I think Corbyn has been canny I’m not positioning Labour as an obstacle to Brexit, just seeking the best outcome

  99. brianthedog on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry have been excellent on this and have rightly stated that they are democrats and the result must be respected. My concerns are many other Labour MP’s including my own who are declaring they are going to vote against Brexit which will help drown out Corbyn and Thornberry.

    A bigger concern is that Theresa May who when her hands are deliberately tied around Article 50 by the SNP and many ‘liberal’ labour MPs and the odd Tory like Ken Clarke she will call a snap election around the basis of respecting the will of the people and Brexit and this will potentially deliver a landslide which helps destroy Labour in its traditional nothern labour heartlands. You end up still with Brexit but also years of Tory dominance.

  100. Karl Stewart on said:

    jim mclean,

    Well, there’ll be no second referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. Forget it, not going to happen. We voted to leave and we’re leaving. End of.

    As for a second referendum on Scottish independence from the UK, there may well be a case for it. I’ve seen it argued that, yes, Scotland voted to stay in the UK of course just a couple of years ago. But Scotland also voted, by a higher margin, to stay in the EU. So it’s hard to argue against the logic of people who now point out that Scotland obviously can’t have both UK and EU membership and that therefore a vote to decide which of these Scots most want to belong to is not an unreasonable demand.

    So we’ll see. If there were to be a second Scottish referendum, then it’s hard to see the ‘Independence within the EU,’ side avoiding the currency question. They would, certainly, be obliged to join the euro and there would be absolutely no question of a non-UK Scotland retaining sterling.

    Perhaps Scots might decide to vote for this – we’ll see.

  101. George Hallam on said:

    Andy Newman: Far from inevitable. There are powerful forces that will be seeking other outcomes

    Not to mention other less powerful forces.

    “Labour will block the UK’s exit from the European Union if the Government is unable to guarantee access to the single market, Jeremy Corbyn has said.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-labour-block-article-50-theresa-may-cannot-guarantee-single-market-access-brexit-a7400266.html

  102. brianthedog on said:

    George Hallam: Not to mention other less powerful forces.

    The battle lines are already being drawn and I am afraid that too many aligned to Labour have hitched their wagon to the powerful liberal establishment.

    I am also very concerned they will lose and pay a heavy price, bit like Labour in the Scottish Referendum although in decline decided to make itself terminal.

    Prime Minister May in today’s Torygraph.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/05/the-people-have-made-their-democratic-decision-and-a-principle-i/

    “Labour will block the UK’s exit from the European Union if the Government is unable to guarantee access to the single market, Jeremy Corbyn has said.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-labour-block-article-50-theresa-may-cannot-guarantee-single-market-access-brexit-a7400266.html

  103. George Hallam on said:

    brianthedog: The battle lines are already being drawn and I am afraid that too many aligned to Labour have hitched their wagon to the powerful liberal establishment.

    It seems that way.

    Jeremy Corbyn gave the opening address at the Class conference that took place 2nd/3rd this month In Vienna*. I am hors de combat at the moment so I was unable to attend.
    From the reports I’ve seen Corbyn said all the right things about the mess we’re in but didn’t have much in the way of a solution. Yes, he wants to close tax loop-holes and more public spending, but with no perspective of taking on the City.
    This approach amounts accepting the economic status quo and consequently it isn’t adequate to tackle the problems we face.

    *In a street named in honour of Otto Neurath. Ironically, Neurath’s economic ideas were very radical.
    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculation_in_kind
    One of the classic texts of Neoliberalism, von Mises’ ‘Economic Calculation in the Socialist’ Commonwealth’, was a response to Neurath.

  104. jim mclean on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    The switch of the Scottish Middle classes from SNP to Tory is continuing to such an extent the SNP are losing the plot, Having fought tooth and nail to bring the Irish Diaspora into the Nationalist fold the Rust Belt dwellers are annoying the Tartan Tories who are the backbone of the Nationalist movement to such an extent the likes of Brian Souter, Christian Fundamentalist, has closed his cheque book. The moves to bring in Creationism to the School curriculum will fail this time but the Baptists are making a better job of grabbing advisory roles that other churches. This is the Scotland we live in. I can only describe the Scottish left Nationalists as arseholes. How can an independent socialist nation be created,it cannot, the flight of capital and skills would leave a bankrupt country. Still not sure about Brexit,the rise of nativism in Europe could be stemmed with the UK in the EU, harder with us gone.

  105. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    I’m not convinced that anyone serious is attempting to actually keep the UK within the EU. The argument now is whether we will remain within the EU single market.

    Staying within the EU single market (EUSM), but outside of the EU itself would be clearly within the terms of reference of the referendum result, whereas remaining within the EU itself would clearly be outwith the referendum result and would spark a constitutional crisis.

    Theresa May is in a potentially difficult position in terms of balancing the interests of big business to remain within EUSM, against the many speeches that have been made by the right wing, including herself, against EU free movement, which is an integral part of EUSM membership.

  106. jim mclean on said:

    I think one thing we are missing was the potential of the UK centre and left to give succour to progressives in Europe who are suffering under far right and potential Fascists governments.

  107. Andy Newman on said:

    Karl Stewart: I’m not convinced that anyone serious is attempting to actually keep the UK within the EU.

    Lets see. The Lib Dems articulate that position, as did Owen Smith.

  108. brianthedog on said:

    Andy Newman: Lets see. The Lib Dems articulate that position, as did Owen Smith.

    As Andy previously stated powerful forces are at play and want to scupper the democratic will of the people. Do not under estimate this.

    Whether this be establishment judges, MP’s, big business or Tony Blair. The third way war criminal stated un-ironically that that remainers are the insurgents now.

    Why so called socialists would want to hang on to the coat tails of liberals wedded to EU neo-liberalism is beyond me.

  109. brianthedog on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Reading the Independent and the Guardian on a daily basis it is clear that the strategy is to whip up never ending hysteria and then hopefully create chaos both politically and economically. Brexit and the EU to these neo-liberal rags is like the Daily Mail is to immigration and Daily Express was to the death of Princess Diana.

  110. John Grimshaw on said:

    We could of course argue that the issue is whether Parliament should have a vote on the terms of our leaving. Remember that under the British constitution a referendum is not legally binding. The question on the referendum was so vague. It didn’t mention hard or soft Brexit or anything to do with staying in the EEA. The whole thing is a mess created by Cameron who them walks away to his nice Cotswolds house and his largely inherited fortune.

  111. John Grimshaw on said:

    brianthedog: Whether this be establishment judges,

    Well I’d be the last person to back rich upper class judges normally. But I do think when the right wing press attacks them on the basis of their sexuality then the left(such as it is) should defend them against those attacks.

  112. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman: Isn’t this called the EEA – European Economic Area?

    Yep, that’s the right name/acronym. I think we belonged to it (or an earlier version of the same thing) before we joined the then EEC. We may even have been co-founders of it.

  113. Karl Stewart on said:

    John Grimshaw,
    brianthedog,

    My understanding is that the judges’ ruling was not that we should remain within the EU, but that the UK Parliament will have the final say on the terms of our departure.

    That seems to me to be the right decision. The referendum (which was quite clear and not at all ‘vague’) asked us if we wanted to belong to the EU, the ways and wherefores of carrying out that mandate are quite properly a matter for the normal Parliamentary process.

    It’s quite sickening, given the Daily Mail’s history, to read the Daily Mail ever accusing anyone of being ‘enemies of the people’ when that paper is a genuine enemy of the people which supported Hitler, Mussolini and Mosley’s blackshirts.

  114. brianthedog on said:

    John Grimshaw: Well I’d be the last person to back rich upper class judges normally. But I do think when the right wing press attacks them on the basis of their sexuality then the left(such as it is) should defend them against those attacks.

    I agree that raising the sexuality of one of the judges was beyond the pale but this is a separate and side issue to the fact that the wealthy banker who brought the legal challenge is not interested in the rule of law but is a representative of powerful elites that want to under mine democracy and the will of ordinary people who undertook a vote in good faith to leave the EU. As I have been told by a work colleague this judgement is a good thing as its has stopped the tyranny of the mob.

  115. brianthedog on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Good luck to the Labour Party if decides that it wants to vote against the final say of the terms of the departure. Political oblivion awaits. It however thankfully looks like sanity will prevail and this won’t be the case.

  116. jim mclean on said:

    brianthedog,

    but what if the final say is unacceptable,especially as the vast majority of youth are against it. Labour will be out for a decade no matter what, more circumstances than anything, but if Labour think it is wrong for our youth they must oppose it and be in with a chance in 2025.

  117. Brianthedog on said:

    jim mclean,

    Not sure how EU austerity and neo liberal economics is in favour of our working class youth or the prospects of minimum wages zero hour jobs in competition with EU free movement of labour. Besides this is not a decision based on one section of society but all of it.

  118. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart: That seems to me to be the right decision.

    I agree.

    Karl Stewart: The referendum (which was quite clear and not at all ‘vague’) asked us if we wanted

    It was vague. Do you want to stay in the EU yes or no. As people are now finding out what did that mean. Were the good citizens of Sunderland for example given loads of information? Were they told how complicated the whole process was going to be? Were they told about the different sides to this BRexit were going to develop? Did they know that a referendum is not binding? Did they know that their holidays to Greece or where ever were going to become significantly more expensive? Did they know that the price of Toblerone was going to go up and that it was going to change shape? I could go on.

  119. John Grimshaw on said:

    brianthedog: Good luck to the Labour Party if decides that it wants to vote against the final say of the terms of the departure.

    My understanding is that the “leadership” position of the LP is not to contradict the referendum decision but to insist that parliament decides on the terms of the leaving but also they want “soft” brexit and negotiate deals with the EU like say Norway or Switzerland.

  120. brianthedog on said:

    John Grimshaw: My understanding is that the “leadership” position of the LP is not to contradict the referendum decision but to insist that parliament decides on the terms of the leaving but also they want “soft” brexit and negotiate deals with the EU like say Norway or Switzerland.

    That position appears to me to unsustainable as there is going to be in depth and protracted negotiations with EU bureaucrats. One it will be difficult and potentially foolish to set defined and exact parameters as you will be potentially showing your hand and weaken your bargaining position. Two if at the end of the negotiations are Labour saying that if they don’t like it they will vote against and stop Britain leaving the EU. I don’t think so.

  121. brianthedog on said:

    jim mclean:
    Brianthedog,

    Not saying it is but it is what they want

    In my youth I erroneously wanted a lot of things that in retrospect were bad for me. Glad I didn’t get them.
    Still not sure why what the yoof want should be the driving force as to Brexit.

    What I do know is that the EU has spent millions over decades pushing its propaganda in schools which has largely gone unchallenged.

  122. Andy Newman on said:

    brianthedog: the wealthy banker who brought the legal challenge is not interested in the rule of law but is a representative of powerful elites that want to under mine democracy and the will of ordinary people

    Her motives are irrelevant to the issue of whether constituionally the royal prerogative can justify the executive bypassing Parliament.

  123. brianthedog on said:

    Andy Newman,

    I disagree and think her motives are important and Labour needs to be adept in not being seen to get caught up in it as it will be potentially very damaging.

  124. brianthedog: What I do know is that the EU has spent millions over decades pushing its propaganda in schools which has largely gone unchallenged.

    Around the same time that the referendum was announced a posh looking plaque appeared next to the lifts in my block announcing that the improvements that had been made (and in fairness they are impressive) were partially funded by the EU Social Fund, and decorated with the EU flag.

    What a number of neighbours I spoke to were a bit bemused by was why the EU was the only organisation referred to (by a process of elimination if it was “partial” funding there were clearly other bodies involved, who WERE referred to on the boarding that went up while the improvements were being carried out).

    Also it was strange that the sign appeared quite some time after the work was completed.

    The day the result was announced the sign was removed. Stupid really because even if the result meant that we were leaving the EU immediately , it didn’t change the fact that the improvements were partially funded by it.

    Also I suspect that amongst some of my neighbours (including an Asian Muslim woman who is a UNISON steward) this sign was an insult to the intelligence and an added annoyance that increased their incentive to vote leave and was therefore counterproductive to those who put it up.

    Then again most of the people who live in my block are over the age of 30.

  125. Karl Stewart on said:

    brianthedog,

    Brian, Andy’s right here. And this really is extremely important. The judges’ ruling was on the pretty narrow point as to whether the PM and her Cabinet on the one hand, or the whole of Parliament on the other hand, have the right to ‘sign off’ on the eventual Brexit agreement.

    The judges made the absolutely correct call that it should be a matter for Parliament as a whole – not that the UK should not leave, but that Parliament gets to sign off on the Brexit deal.

    The judges did not over-rule the referendum, they over-ruled the PM’s attempt to assume executive power.

    The hard-right want to spin this as judges over-turning the referendum – and they have their own reasons for taking this line. It’s because they see it as a golden opportunity to firmly seize control of the political agenda.

    That’s what’s behind the hysteria we’ve seen in the Daily Mail, Express and Sun, and Farage’s threat to mobilise on the streets against the court.

    We all need to unite to stop them.

  126. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 155/156 I consider the Paul Mason article – and his other newspaper articles – are god awful. They represent a backward step in the Left-ward moving Labour Party. In fact the new members of the Labour party that have joined in the past year are far to the left of Paul Mason, and Owen Jones, and will be led down the river to be drowned if they follow the ravings of this middle class hack. What is Mason saying here, but to follow the disastrous popular front methods of the Stalinism of the past by uniting the liberal bourgeois against the nasty capitalists/racists. Rather than MOMENTUM, the Labour Party and Socialists organising a united front in opposing all capitalists, all racists and right-wing populists like Farage by advocating socialist policies on the one hand and mass working class demonstrations on the other.

    He follows this line on the economic and social field as well when he talks of this bollocks: “The first thing we have to make is a rhetorical break with neoliberalism: the doctrine of austerity, inequality, privatisation, financial corruption, asset bubbles and technocratic hubris. It is entirely possible to construct a humane pro-business version of capitalism without these things.” It is a rhetorical break but not an actual break Mason wants, and Mason also wants a humane capitalism as well. What naivety from someone who thinks he has a theoretical brain in him because he was involved in some so-called Trotskyist sect some 30 years ago that had no impression on the Labour movement and has ideas now that represent collaborating with the pro-capitalist Blairite MPs, which will in the end be against the thousands of new members of the Labour Party. Mason naively wants Keynesian capitalist reform not the socialist transformation of society.

    Just for the record – and I do not want to be accused here talking like a Socialist pamphlet – the economic crisis in the mid 70’s brought post-war boom period to a crashing end. A crisis of profitability and the emergence of hyper-inflation meant that the capitalist class could no longer afford full employment and decent public services. The bourgeois abandoned Keynesianism and embraced a new orthodoxy – monetarism – whose disciples included Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the US. Mass privatisation, casualisation of work, attacks on wages and welfare provision followed as the share of income going to the working class was undermined. The great recession, the worst since the 1930’s, and the partial financial collapse of the world’s financial system in 2007/2008 was prepared by the previous policies pursued by world capitalism. Today, savage austerity is the dominant policy of governments across the world, despite the more astute sections of the ruling class who are in a small minority the world over wanting some form of Keynesian economic and social reform to stimulate the capitalist economy.

    The inability of the system to sustain the “consensus” has resulted in reforms turning into counter reforms as big business and capitalist governments seek to claw back what they were forced to concede to the working and middle class in the past and have been doing for the past 30 years under both Tory and Labour Governments. The problem for Mason is the capitalists and their social entourage will not give any social reforms without the working class having an all-out battle for them; and the only way will they keep those reforms will be the need to break decisively with capitalism and to fight for socialist planned economy.

  127. Karl Stewart,

    Sorry Karl but it’s crap unless your analysis is that Brexit equals fascism and you want to involve the popular front.

    In which case we should never have supported a leave vote in the first place.

    But guess what, we were right.

  128. John Grimshaw on said:

    Donald J Trump president of America. Friend of Nigel Farage. And supporter of Brexit plus plus plus.

  129. Karl Stewart on said:

    Vanya,

    Hey Vanya, great to be debating with you again mate.

    No of course I don’t think Brexit doesn’t equal fascism, and I voted to leave and it was the right decision to make in my opinion.

    I don’t see this issue of the judges’ verdict as one of “leave versus remain”. I see this issue as one of “the executive versus the legislature” and in that context, I’m on the side of the legislature.

  130. Karl Stewart on said:

    Ooops, for clarity, the double negative was a mishtayk.

    “No of course I don’t think Brexit equals fascism.”

    Was what I meant.

  131. Vanya: Sorry Karl but it’s crap unless your analysis is that Brexit equals fascism and you want to involve the popular front.

    Brexit has undoubtedly given an impetus to some very unfortunate political forces, but the eventual triumph of those forces is not the most probably, and not even a likely outcome. Paul Mason is not wrong to highlight the danger of right wing populism, but standing shoulder to shoulder with bond traders, as Mason suggests, is not the smartest positioning for the left seeking.

    What we do see, is a highly unstable political situation where the government is literally clueless about how to proceed.

    The important thing, in my opinion, is to found the left’s response on independent class politics and class organisation

  132. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Fair points. I don’t necessarily agree with Mason’s suggested ‘allies’ either, but I was interested in his explanation of the tactics and strategy of the hard-right in this matter.

  133. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: but standing shoulder to shoulder with bond traders, as Mason suggests, is not the smartest positioning for the left seeking.

    Absolutely right Andy. The tankies on this blog critique Paul for being a Trot but in fact he has long ago moved on from this. He is big mates with Varoufakis, so where that leaves him politically I don’t know. Left social democrat?

    Andy Newman: where the government is literally clueless about how to proceed.

    Correct.

  134. Brianthedog on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    I personally drive a car and not a tank. However Paul Mason DNA clearly has strong trot markers which are evident in many of his liberal/social democrat articles.

  135. John Grimshaw on said:

    Evan P: I thought a lot of Varoufakis’ mates were trotskyists?

    That might be true. But it doesn’t mean he is one. I have friends who are Stalinists but I’m not one.

  136. John Grimshaw: That might be true. But it doesn’t mean he is one. I have friends who are Stalinists but I’m not one.

    What I meant was that being friends with Varoufakis is not inconsistent with being a trotskyist.

    I even have friends who are City fans.

  137. John Grimshaw on said:

    Paul was a member of Workers Power some while ago, but he left, partly at first for expedient reasons I understand, as he got that job at the BBC. I understand he is now a member of Momentum.

  138. anticapitalista on said:

    John Grimshaw: I agree.
    Did they know that their holidays to Greece or where ever were going to become significantly more expensive?

    For Europeans, holidays to the UK are much cheaper.

  139. jock mctrousers on said:

    Evan P,

    The New Statesman is pathetic. Forelock tapping running dogs. I wonder if I could be expelled from the Labour Party for saying that