Don’t mince yer words, man…

March 24, 2007 at 9:09 am (voltairespriest)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketYou know, people often seem to think that Denham and I can be unduly harsh in our dealings with our political opponents. Even I, as the mild-mannered one of the two, have been described as one who “snarls and shits”, albeit by a man who, shall we say, appears to lack for more fulfilling things to do than arguing with me. As for Denham, well he even has our mates threatening to slap him at times.

But really folks, I don’t think you know what it is to be slagged off in truly poetic fashion. Heck, even local slagging-off champion Will is basically a lot nicer than he pretends. Leftie bloggers are basically just no good at this stuff; Trot political upbringings in particular tend to breed an inclination towards dense language and sensitivity to insult, neither of which attributes lends itself to low banter or high rhetoric.

So in light of that, I offer you a lesson from the master; this clip, in which Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt lays the smackdown on Bashar Al-Assad. Whatever you may think of Jumblatt’s politics, it’s impossible to deny that his oratorical skill isn’t matched by many. It’s a magnificent slagging-off, yet one which is delivered without a single expletive being involved (take heed, Will).

It’s peachy. You’ll love it. So watch it.

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Piss Up on Saturday April 14th

March 23, 2007 at 8:28 am (voltairespriest)

Witness Denham and some Compassites at play, in this rare documentary. Details at Kit’s Blog.

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Something seedy this way comes…

March 21, 2007 at 7:20 am (voltairespriest)

So, David T’s been for a beer or two with Gilad Atzmon, has he? For those surely very few of you who don’t know, T is one of the high priests of the pro-war “left” at Harry’s Place, who spend much of their time sneering at the alleged Anti-Semitism of “stoppers”, including those (like the SWP) who platform the likes of Atzmon. Indeed, T has in the led that site’s attacks on Atzmon.  

But now… has he had a change of heart?

“Is Gilad Atzmon a racist? Not in the narrow sense of being preoccupied by genetic differences between people, certainly. He is rather, I think, a ‘cultural essentialist’: if such a term exists.”

So not an out-and-out racist then – although he is a bit peculiar, like. And he did bring along a couple of his CDs by way of a peace offering… just you all remember this, next time HP kicks off about the veiled Anti-Semitism of the left. It certainly lends an odd aroma to some of the “decents'” ranting on the subject, whether you basically agree with them or not. 

All of this, incidentally, has led to Mary “Gilad and Paul’s mate” Rizzo crowing delightedly in this poisonous article attacking Palestine activist Sue Blackwell. Blackwell’s crime in Rizzo’s eyes would seem to have been removing links to Atzmon and Deir Yassin Remembered from her website upon becoming aware of their dubious political connections. But I digress. Of T and Gilad’s meeting, Rizzo says:

“That’s a step in the right direction, but it’s certainly not an objective observation. Its criterion is a subjective one, and it’s driven by the Zionism of the person saying it. But of course, Zionists are going to think that Gilad’s a crank…So far, so good.”

How sweet…

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Academic SWP’er: rape with a broken bottle “an unwarranted excess”

March 20, 2007 at 1:27 am (Jim D)

More anti-imperialism from that font of Marxist profundity, Mr Richard “Lenny-Lenin” Seymour (this time about the heroic Iraqi “resistance” that he and his organisation, the “S” WP,  discretely support ; scroll down to the entry for March 18th: “Resistance , tactics and goals”):

“…a women rumoured to be a police agent is beaten, stoned, set on fire and raped with a broken bottle. I have no idea if this is true, but even so assume that it is: it is reasonable to conclude that in the course of a legitimate struggle, this was an unwarranted excess“.

He’s a tough guy and a principled anti-imperialist, that Mr “Lenin”, isn’t he? I’m sure all the women comrades would agree?

Correction and clarification (it is the policy of Shiraz Socialist to correct significant errors as soon as possible): since writing the above, it has been drawn to my attention (by Jules in the comments box), that the report of the rape and murder of an alleged police informer described above, comes from South Africa and was cited in Norman Geras’s 1989 essay “Our morals: the ethics of revolution”. My piece gives the false impression that this is a recent report from Iraq and has lead to at least one fellow-blogger (our friend ‘TWP’ over at Unknown Conscience), in all innocence, reporting it as such.

In mitigation, I would point out that Lenny “Lenin”‘s piece on “Lenin’s Tomb”, does not make it clear that the rape story comes from Geras (it is immediately preceded by an attributed quote from Geras, but the rape story is not obviously part of the Geras quote, and looks as though it’s Lenny himself commenting on a recent event).  And as the entire raison d’etra of the Lenny “Lenin” piece is to justify his support for the Iraqi resistance, I assumed that was what he was on about.

As sections of the Iraqi “resistance” (notably the Sadre movement) do have a record of savage attacks on women, and given that the phrase “unwarranted excess” is Lenny “L”‘s own choice of words to describe the rape/murder incident, I think my essental point stands. But don’t take my word for it: I’ve provided a link to the “Lenin’s Tomb” article, above. You can judge for yourself. 

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Apologists for genocide

March 19, 2007 at 10:54 pm (Jim D)

I would like to thank one Peter Godfrey of London E8, author of the following letter, published in today’s Morning Star, a publication closely identified with the remanants of the old Stalinist Communist Party of Britain:

“In his apologia for Slobodan Milosevic (M Star March 12), Neil Clark rather gives the game away away by referring to to Alija Izetbegovic as ‘the Bosnian Muslim leader’.

“He was, in fact, the leader of all Bosnians in a non-sectarian, multiethnic republic which had no standing army at the outbreak of an unprovoked war.

“Should I tell refugee friends who were lucky enough to survive Bosnian Serb concentration camps or who lost relatives in a war not of their making that Milosevic, as ‘a lifelong socialist’ – presumably, along with his associates, those other beacons of enlightenment, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic – was a non-racist who made no distinction between Serbs and Muslims?

“I think they would dismiss such contentions as offensive bigotry.

“I am surprised that the Morning Star does not do the same”.

My thanks to Mr (Comrade?) Godfrey are mainly because his letter is a rare note of common decency in the discussion that has spluttered into life following the international court of justice’s acquittal of Sebia on charges of genocide in Bosnia in the mid-1990’s. To a much lesser extent, I am grateful because his letter has spurred me into commenting upon something I should have dealt with some time ago.

Those who have wet dreams about any ‘heroic’ person willing to take on ‘the West’ loved the ICJ judgement of late February this year. The Neil Clark piece in the Star, referred to in Godfrey’s letter,  was headed by a big photo of Milosevic and the headline “A victim  of the West’s propaganda“.

Clark’s nauseating apology for genocide and the nearest thing to Nazism seen in Europe since WW2 opened, without apparent embarrassment, with Joseph Goebbels’ famous quote about the “big lie”: according to Clark those of us who regard Milosevic and his side-kicks as mass murderers responsible for the (at least attempted) genocide of the Muslim populations of Bosnia and Kosova, are followers of the Goebbels school of propaganda… I would submit that the jack boot is very much on the other foot.

The Slobo-fan Clark (who also writes frequently in fellow-Stalinist Saumas Milne’s Guardian ‘Comment’ pages), wrote in the Star (and these quotes are necessarily foreshortened and not in full context, given that I cannot here reproduce the whole article, which is not available on the web without a subsciption):

“Milosevic, the ‘aggressive nationalist’ was, in fact, a lifelong socialist who never once made a racist speech. The 1989 Koso Polje address, where it was claimed, Milosevic incided ethnic hatred was a call for socialist unity…Milosevic ‘the serial warmonger’ started no wars…the hostilities in Kosova were triggered by the US funding and arming the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army in a deliberate attempt to provoke a civil war, which would then give NATO the pretext to occupy the rump Yugoslavia…The more one considers the facts, the more clear it is that Milosevic was the victim of the most cynical demonisation campaign of recent times”.

The Stalinist Clark is not alone in arguing such a case: he joins such august company as the sinister far-right Guardian columnist (courtesy Milne, again) John Laughland   and the ridiculous SWP blogger Richard “Lenin” Seymour (scroll down to “Genocide, Bosnia and the ICTY“, February 26, 2007).

What all these craven apologists for genocide conveniently ignore, is what the ICJ report (flawed as it was), actually said about Serbia’s role in the 1992-95 war: it found (according to Ian Traynor’s Guardian Weekly report, that: “Belgrade did nothing to prevent what the court described as an act of genocide at Srebrenica in 1985 despite its close links with and support for the Bosnian Serb military.

“The Serbian authorities stood by as almost 8,000 Bosnian Muslim males were massacred by the Bosniam Serb military at Sebrenica in July 1995 despite the full knowledge that mass murder was likely, the court found. Serbia had also failed to honour its international duty to apprehend those charged with genocide…

“Strikingly, the court ruled that the mass murder of almost 8,000 Bosnian Muslim males at Srebrenica at the end of the war in July 1995 was indeed an act of genocide, but that the widespread ethnic cleanisng by the Bosnian Serbs, mainly in 1992, when tens of thousands were killed and up to 2 million uprooted, was not”.

In a letter to the Guardian (February 28, 2007), the expert in international law, Professor  Martin Shaw (University of Sussex; author of What is Genocide), wrote:

“The international court of justice judgement on Serbia’s role in Bosnia is narrow, conservative and perverse (Serbia condemned for Srebrenica despite acquital on genocide charge, February 27). Sticking to the findings of the international tribunal for former Yugoslavia, the court rules that only the Srebrenica massacre was genocide. Thus the judges isolate this massacre from the larger Serbian project of destroying Bosnian Muslim society and the killings, rapes and brutal expulsions used to effect it. As the court’s vice-president said in his dissenting opinion: ‘The court refused to infer genocide from a “consistent pattern of conduct”, disregarding in this respect a rich and relevant jurisprudence of other courts’. Likewise, the court curiously indicts Serbia for failing to prevent genocide, but exonerates it of having commited or even being an accomplice to genocide. These decisions bring the law into disrepute”.

 Hear, hear, Prof! And thanks again, Mr/and/or/Comrade Godfrey: we stand together against the apologists of anti-Muslim genocide – the likes of Clark (Stalinist), Laughland (fascist) and Seymour (Stupid Wankers’ Party).



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Do you know who they are?

March 18, 2007 at 5:53 pm (voltairespriest)

Some of you will already know a lot of the material contained in this post. However, for the benefit of the uninitiated I thought it would be worth playing a little “degrees of separation” game with a few of the protagonists in the ongoing battle between members and associates of Jews Against Zionism and the friends and associates of Gilad Atzmon. Particularly if you’re in certain left-wing groups, you might be surprised at who the people you platform are hanging around with.

Let’s start our journey with Gilad Atzmon. Gilad is a jazz musician, by all accounts of some considerable accomplishment. However, he’s also a political activist of extreme eccentricity, whose attacks on the so-called Jewish Lobby and attitude to people on the anti-semitic political right go far beyond the usual “anti-zionist” political millieu. Gilad has many fans, amongst whom is David Duke, who says of Gilad:

“Atzmon helps us understand the Holocaust mentality of Jewish extremists”

The reason there is room for such praise, is because of Atzmon’s ambiguous attitudes to Holocaust denial. Whilst to the best of my knowledge Atzmon has never actually outright denied the Holocaust, he does become suddenly very esoteric and vague when talking about the issue.  For instance, in this article he says the following:

“As we can see, the Holocaust functions as an ideological interface. It provides its follower with a logos. On the level of consciousness, it suggests a purely analytical vision of the past and present, yet, it doesn’t stop just there, it also defines the struggle to come. It defines a vision of a Jewish future.”

Make of that what you will.

Anyhow, Gilad also has other fans, including the Socialist Workers Party who have booked him both at their annual Marxism events in London, and also as part of a series of gigs entitled (ironically?) “Jazz, Racism and Resistance”.

Gilad’s political associates include Israel Shamir and Deir Yassin Remembered director, Paul Eisen. Shamir’s accurate biographical details are difficult to ascertain, but he appears to be a Swede whose real name is Joran Jermas. He says of Holocaust “revisionists”:

“The ‘revisionists’ risked their lives and fortunes trying to undermine what they call ‘the Myth of the Holocaust’. One can understand their interest. Nowadays, one may openly doubt the Immaculate Conception or (maybe) challenge the founding myths of Israel. Yet the cult of the Holocaust retains a unique, court-enforced prohibition against any investigation that might cast a doubt on its sacred dogma. Dogmas have a way of attracting critical minds.”

See the similarity with what Gilad said? Interesting, isn’t it.

Now, let’s ask Paul what he has to say about Holocaust denial:

“Although I stopped short of coming out in definite agreement with revisionists, I did (and do) find their case compelling.”

Now, before we continue, some of you (look at the comments) thought the JAZ members who moved a motion at the recent PSC conference were just hopeless sectarians. In light of the above, I think you might want to reconsider, at least insofar as conceding that there’s something to be concerned about here. Now, on with the story.

Eisen has some interesting associates, one of whom is a chap called Ernst Zundel. A Holocaust denier of decades’ standing, Zundel was the main brain behind the Zundelsite (to which I decline to link), a major source of “Revisionist” propaganda. In an essay called “The Holocaust Wars”, published on Shamir’s site (as well as on Zundel’s), Eisen describes Zundel as someone who “doesn’t hate anyone”, and who “has never discriminated against anyone nor has he called on anyone else to discriminate against anyone”. This, in case you need reminding, is the same Ernst Zundel whose publishing house issued such works as “The Hitler We Loved and Why” and “Did Six Million Really Die?”. So he’s a diamond geezer obviously.

Atzmon, of course, is known to have distributed the Eisen article, whilst disassociating himself somewhat from its contents.

As an aside, one of Shamir’s other associates is former NF leading figure Martin Webster, who Shamir describes on his e-list as:

“a British friend of this list, who is certainly no philosemite”

 Finally, Atzmon and Eisen both seem to be chummy with Mary Rizzo, who runs a certain fairly unpleasant blog, and publishes their material on it.

So there you have it – the degrees of separation game, Gilad style.

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March 17, 2007 at 11:39 pm (Unite the union, voltairespriest)

Just a little snippet for you, from the (crap) “” website:

“The T&G broad left (or at least ‘Workers Liberty’ who seem to run it) have started to see through the sham support for McDonnell – they are even beginning to question their General Secretary.”

The bold lettering reflects my emphasis, the rest is exactly as copied and pasted from that risible site, the brainchild of one David Beaumont, an Amicus “activist” who appears not to know his political arse from his elbow. Not to mention that he exhibits all the comradeship and solidarity of a rattlesnake.

AWL people, you really should have told us that you secretly run the TGWU broad left before you let Martin write that stroppy “Open Letter to Tony Woodley” in the latest paper. Like, duuuh…

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Free speech: the slippery slope

March 16, 2007 at 11:36 pm (Jim D)

There has been little coverage in the mainstream media (the London Times being the exception) of the cancellation by Leeds University of a lecture by leading German academic Dr Matthias Kuntzel.

Dr Kuntzel was due to have spoken this week on the subject of Islamic anti-semitism, but his lecture was called off by the University because, it told the Times, ‘proper arrangements for stewarding the meeting had not been made’.

Dr Kuntzel, a research assistant at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s  Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism, and a former adviser to the German Green Party, was not impressed by Leeds’ explanation:

“I have lectured in lots of countries on this subject. I gave the same talk at Yale University recently, and this is the first time I have been invited to lecture in the UK. Nothing like this has ever happened before -this is censorship”.

“It is a controversial area but I am accustomed to debate. I value the integrity of academic debate and I feel that it really is in danger here. This is a very important subject and if you cannot address it on university property, then what is a university for?”

Ahmed Sawalem, president of the Leeds University’s Islamic Society, told the Times “The title of the talk (originally “Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic anti-Semitism in the Middle East“, later changed at the request of the University authorities to “The Nazi Legacy: the Export of anti-Semitism to the Middle East”) is provocative and I have searched the internet to read his writings and they are not very pleasant (presumably he is referring to this, the most readily accessed of Kuntzel’s writings). However, Mr Sawalem insisted that “we are not opposed to freedom of expression. We just sent a complaint, we did not ask for the talk to be cancelled”.

Assuming that Mr Sawalem is telling the truth, then why the hell did the University authorities cancel the lecture? Had they received other, more menacing communications from those who found the title of the talk “provocative”? Or was this simply an act of cowardly self-censorship by the University? Either way, it’s a salutary lesson in slippery slopes for those who allowed concerns about giving “offense” and meretricious complaints of “racism”, to persuade them to sell the pass on free speech during the Danish cartoons row.

You can read the paper that Dr Kuntzel would have based his talk on, here.

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Green as owl-shit

March 16, 2007 at 10:19 pm (Jim D)

The Blair-Brown-Cameron consensus on replacing Trident, rammed through the Commons on Wednesday, is as politically bankrupt as it is financially wasteful (£76 billion) and irrelevant to the real dangers facing the post-cold war world. Trident renewal, though worthless as any practical form of “defence”, nevertheless appears to threaten non-nuclear states with mass slaughter and will thus encourage nuclear proliferation.

Those 100 or so Labour MPs who  rebelled against renewal are to be congratulated; with around half the Parliamentary Labour Party either voting against or abstaining, it is clear that despite the Blair-Brown partial emasculation of the Party (and the threat to the union link posed by the Heyden Phillips report), all is not yet lost for working class politics within the Labour Party.

However, some opponents of Trident renewal seem to be just plain stupid. Take Jean Lambert, the Green Party MEP, who has a letter in today’s Guardian:

“The whole debate surrounding Trident has been a diversion from the world’s real security needs, such as tackling climate change and wide-spread illness and disease, and ensuring access to clean water for all…”

Now, I’m sure that we can all agree that Ms Lambert’s little list of “security” issues contains some very important matters. But hasn’t she left out the minor issue of would-be mass murdering fanatics, willing to kill themselves and as many innocent civilians as they can take with them? Don’t these people also pose a threat? And isn’t, in fact, the main argument against Trident the obvious fact that it affords us no protection whatsoever from them?

P.S: From the Penguin Slang Thesaurus:

“145: Stupidity…dumb, dumbarse, dingy, dopey, dorkey, fatheaded, flakey, foggy, goofy, goopy, green as owl-shit”.

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PSC – What happened?

March 12, 2007 at 7:43 am (voltairespriest)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketDoes anyone know what happened at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign conference this weekend just gone? I’m told (and I also read on Harry’s Place) that anti-Zionist activists Tony Greenstein and Sue Blackwell were putting a motion to have to campaign proscribe Deir Yassin Remembered, due to that organisation’s association with far-rightists such as Israel Shamir and Holocaust deniers like Ernest Zundel. Incidentally, before we go any further, if you think that’s all hyperbole then you should bear in mind that Greenstein, Blackwell and I (and still less that pair and Denham) are hardly political allies. Furthermore, you might want to read this article by DYR director Paul Eisen, which contains the immortal line:

“Although I stopped short of coming out in definite agreement with revisionists, I did (and do) find their case compelling.”

Obviously historical scholarship ain’t his thing.

UPDATE: The comments box on Harry’s Place, and a report at the anti-semitic rathole that is the “Peace Palestine” blog, state that Greenstein’s motion fell by a huge margin. Which would be a great shame as I’m someone who was very sympathetic to the PSC at one stage, and I still would be upset to see it descend into such a pit of far-right associations as DYR seems to be bringing it toward.

The comments box is all yours, if you have any information or opinions. 

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