UCU dispute update

August 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm (Anti-Racism, anti-semitism, left, unions, voltairespriest)

There’s an interesting update on Harry’s Place. It states that Joe Quinn, author of the article to which Jenna Delich linked on a UCU email list and thus precipitated the now well-known squabble that has spread across the net, has responded to HP’s allegations. Apparently he claims not to be a racist and to have no time for David Duke, and that his article has been removed from Duke’s site.

Well, the second point is factually true, but as to the first, does he think the rest of the world came down in the last shower? Anyone on the left who shows the likes of Quinn any time at all is a hopeless arse at best, and an example of left anti-semitism at worst.

That having been said, I’m inclined to agree with Dave Hirsh of Engage about the treatment of Delich herself. He says that the issue is not one of her actions personally, but of an institutionally racist culture within swathes of the UCU. This, of course, is a point which could just as easily be made about the wider left. It is that, and not the humiliation of a single academic (who may or may not be a racist, but is certainly a fool), which should be the focus of our attention.


  1. modernityblog said,

    Parts of the Left have not covered themselves with glory on this issue, you only have to read the threads at Lenin’s Tomb and SU blog to see that a lot of “socialists” can’t see the racism in Quinn’s article, what a state

    Andy Newman and Phil BC did a fine job, but most of what they argued didn’t seem to sink in, shame.

    see http://www.haloscan.com/comments/lenin/3798841014285586882/
    and http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=2766

    remember that at Lenin’s Tomb some critical comments have been deleted

  2. kb72 said,

  3. maxdunbar said,

    Thanks – appreciated.

    I agree with what’s been said in the main post. Delich has suffered enough – I feel sorry for her now and the focus shouldn’t be on her but on what all this says about how far left criticism of Israel shades into far right conspiracies about Jews.

  4. Lobby Ludd said,

    VP said

    “I’m inclined to agree with Dave Hirsh of Engage about the treatment of Delich herself. He says that the issue is not one of her actions personally, but of an institutionally racist culture within swathes of the UCU. This, of course, is a point which could just as easily be made about the wider left. It is that, and not the humiliation of a single academic (who may or may not be a racist, but is certainly a fool), which should be the focus of our attention.”

    I’m not quite sure what you are saying here VP. Dave Hirsh alleges that there is “an institutionally racist culture within swathes of the UCU” . And you say this “could just as easily be made about the wider left”. Made by whom – you or somebody else?

    Are both statements true – institutionally racist culture within swathes of both the UCU and the ‘wider left’? (Can Dave Hirsh really justify accusations of “an institutionally racist culture within swathes of the UCU” .)

    You must know this is very dodgy ground. Accusations of racism, and in particular anti-Semitism (given its bloody history), should not be made lightly.

    If there is an ” institutionally racist culture” within the wider left, and the UCU, then please provide proper evidence. (The odd, very dodgy, comment on a blog or a mailing list does no represent what ‘wider left’ thinks.)

    Anybody who speaks out against the actions of the state of Israel will eventually find themselves accused of anti-Semitism. Please don’t add to that, VP.

  5. modernityblog said,


    I think you’re going to have to be gentle with some of your dimmer readers, such as Lobby Ludd.

    You’ll need to explain the notion of institutionalised conduct

    for example, hypothetically speaking a trade union could be considered institutionally sexist if it did not take seriously sexual equality within the trade union, was dismissive of complaints from women and carried on practices which could be viewed as discriminatory, etc

    That’s just one example.

    I’m sure that if Lobby Ludd manages to learn how to use a browser he could scan Engage’s web site and find the numerous articles where David Hirsh has outlined his proposition concerning the institutional racism which is apparent in UCU (see the above example)

    But I doubt Lobby Ludd would do that, instead you will be pestered with simplistic questions and duff reasoning.

  6. Lobby Ludd said,

    Modernity, I decided some time ago that my manner in writing comments on various blogs did not match my manner in everyday life. I am trying to be polite. However much I disagree with you, I think you are on the right side – but patronising and rude.

    Please stop insulting me and address the comments I have made. I am not obliged to read the Engage website to assure myself that you are right. You are obliged to make your case.

  7. Southpawpunch said,

    What’s the big deal about linking to a far right website? Sure, I’ve no doubt on this issue (and nearly every other issue) their arguments are rubbish, nasty and more but there is no fundamental socialist principle that says you can’t quote or refer to the far right or that every single thing they say is wrong.

    If you have some knowledge of fascist ideology e.g. ‘blood and soil’, somewhere, sometime you have being exposed to their arguments but you haven’t (nearly always) started goose stepping.

    No to censorship.

  8. Renegade Eye said,

    Left and right have no meaning anymore. Both are like drunks. Both are lost. Only my comrades offer sobriety.

    I live near where the Republican Party will have its convention. I plan to attend one demonstration that seems guaranteed to be legal. Most of the wild eyed radicals there, are in one way or another fronting for Obama, under all the rhetoric.

    I think the problem is certainly not conscious anti-Semitism. It is not like they are advocating pogroms etc. The problem stems from identifying as pro-Palestinian. They are supporting a form of nationalism, and leave Israeli workers and leftists out of the equation. To support Israeli workers, may mean joining a Zionist group as Histadrut.

    Instead of what Trotskyists adapted pro-Palestinian, it would be good to support the Trot position of the 1940s, for a united socialist Middle East federation.

  9. Voltaire's Priest said,


    In my view it’s not so much a question of linking to a far-right website per se, as of why one does so. As you may be aware, for instance, I myself linked to, and indeed dedicated a post to, far-right blogger “Sarah Maid of Albion” in a previous post here. That was, however, with a view to taking the piss out of her for being an idiot. My understanding is that Delich was actually linking to Joe Quinn’s post on Duke’s site in an approving manner, by way of directing people towards a source of information. I’m not saying that she should be legally barred from doing so, but equally I don’t see why it’s necessarily incumbent on the UCU to give her a handy platform for it.


    When I say “institutionally racist”, I’m speaking about anti-semitism in particular, I’m not so much concerned about specific blog commenter morons whom we could all name, but more with people who actually would be horrified at being labelled anti-semitic. That’s the thing with institutional racism – it’s not a conscious act. If you look at the way that, to use a slightly tired example, Jews are seemingly always (in some circles) expected to denounce Israel before they can be accepted as part of “the movement”, an a way that other minority groups are (rightly) not scrutinised about their views of their own states of origin, then that should give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I also found it very surprising that so many were concerned to minimise Delich’s actions and instead lay into “the Zionists” of HP, regardless of the facts of the case. There are countless similar examples day-to-day, and it’s through those that I perceive a more generalised phenomenon at work.

  10. Mark Sist said,

    Ow gawd – VP has choosen to weigh into this already much ‘debated’ non-issue with his own non-opinions cribbed from David Hirsh. Still, such petty interweb bitch slapping and HP Sauce rim licking hackery will get the centrist and opportunist some comment juice, better than his cheer leading of neo-liberal yank populists anyhow.

  11. resistor said,

    I would argue that there has been a diminution of racism in UCU as a number of Zionists have left the Union in disgust at the suggestion that Palestinians have the right of return to their homes and that trade unionists should support them.

  12. modernityblog said,

    The question is rather should “activists” gain their political material from the extreme Right’s web sites?

    Should racist articles by Joe Quinn be used by trade unionists?

    Should trade unionists seek political edification from KKK web sites?

    Or should “activists” stop and think when they find themselves in any agreement with the political statements of neo-nazis and grand Klan wizards like David Duke?

    you decide

  13. Sue R said,

    I agree with modernity. Anyone who relies on the fascists for their information and political line is not the sort of person I would like to be in the same union as myself.

  14. resistor said,

    Or should blogs allow racists like Jim Denham to publish their hatred of Arabs?

  15. Voltaire's Priest said,

    You really are a dick, Resistor. And aside from that, I’m pretty sure you know that Jim doesn’t hate Arabs.

  16. Voltaire's Priest said,

    “Mark Sist”;

    There’s a “sad no-life e-stalkers’ support group” that I can signpost you to if you need it. Bless your needy little head.

  17. modernityblog said,

    anyone confused by this issue that needs David Duke’s racism explaining to them could do a lot worse than read Andy Newman’s concise post:

    THE HAZARD OF DUKE http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=2766

    and for anyone still not sure about those funny web pages with the burning crosses and Celtic symbols try my guide http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/for-ucu-activists-how-to-avoid-re-posting-from-neo-nazi-ku-klux-klan-or-white-power-web-sites/

    finally, if in doubt, don’t post it

  18. resistor said,

    So Denham doesn’t hate Arabs? He just doesn’t think they should be allowed to return to their homes – out of love for them perhaps? Better a dick than a racist eh?

  19. Voltaire's Priest said,

    So… everyone who doesn’t support the destruction of the state of Israel is a “racist arab hater”. M’kay…

  20. Mark Sist said,

    “There’s a “sad no-life e-stalkers’ support group” that I can signpost you to if you need it. Bless your needy little head.”

    Mmm, posting one critical comment hardly ammounts to stalking, so your bogus rhetorical remark was irrelevent in addition to not being funny. What a lousy hack you are VP, having such little priciple or originality in a game where the stakes are so low is most unflattering.

    Your stodgy, dry posts lack sincerity and passion, essentially fish food for the invertebrates from the HP Sauce swamp, your new found fans and comrades. Fucking hell, your new target audience is modernity and tim ffs! Back in the day you weren’t so bad, but ever since you’ve tried to piggy back on Denham’s drink soaked contrarianism and S Hundel’s media whoring you’ve totally lost the plot. C’mon rediscover your balls and write something decent again, chasing after drecks is no way to lead your life.

  21. Alan Laurence said,

    What social force will make Israelis leave ‘their homes’ so that exiled Palestinians can return to live in them?
    How do you envisage such a scenario playing out?

  22. resistor said,

    The problem of how to resettle Palestinians is something for Israel to solve, after all it was they who caused the problem in the first place. Israel has earlier removed settlers from Sinai and Gaza and rehoused them elsewhere. They can do the same for the fascists in the West Bank and those who are squatting on other Palestinian land. The villages destroyed by the Zionists should be rebuilt wherever possible.

    What is Alan Laurence’s objection to Palestinians exercising their right to return to their homes?


    Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 13(2), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948)

    The General Assembly, Having considered further the situation in Palestine … Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date … – UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (11 December 1948)

    UN Resolution 3236, “reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return”.

    Resolution 242 The UN affirms the necessity for “achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.”

    No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country. -Article 12, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (23 March 1976).

  23. Alan Laurence said,

    Sure – the Israeli’s should get out of the WB.
    You write:
    ‘They can do the same for the fascists in the West Bank and those who are squatting on other Palestinian land.’
    What do you mean by ‘other P land’?

  24. Alan Laurence said,

    Resistor – Ive now to go to work so let me jump ahead…
    I fear you mean that all Israel is a ‘squat’.
    And if that is correct then please consider this: by what means will the Israelis be persuaded to leave their homes? What makes you think there is any chance they will do so voluntarily? Do you countenance enforced evictions and which agencies do you see as suitable for performing this task?
    For instance ,would you welcome the armies of Hamas and Hiz marching to ‘liberate Tel Aviv’?

  25. resistor said,

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? All I am asking is for Israel to obey international and humanitarian law. Do you accept the theft of Palestinian land and want permanent ethnic cleansing? Because that’s the alternative.

    The Israelis have to find ways of resettling both Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of equality. Those who do not want resettlement should receive compensation at current values. Perhaps many Palestinians would accept market rents from Israeli tenants, who knows? As for those who refuse to move, remember the Israeli Army has carried out forced evictions for 60 years -so they seem to have the expertise.

    I’d guess that there are many Zionist settlers who’d rather move back to Brooklyn and Finchley rather than live alongside Arabs as equal citizens with equal rights – just as many white South Africans left for the UK and Australia after their form of Apartheid was abolished.

  26. modernityblog said,


    you’re wasting your time with the likes of resistor, he likes discussing the Middle East, it’s his strong point, because it is so abstract and a proven ground for Jew baiting

    its better to get him on to the issue of anti-Jewish racism in UCU, because he sympathizes with it and doesn’t like showing the darker, nastier side of his character

    these individuals need to be confronted with their own prejudices, not let off the hook.

  27. resistor said,

    I am utterly opposed to anti-Jewish racism in UCU or anywhere else for that matter.

  28. modernityblog said,

  29. charliethechulo said,

    “I am utterly opposed to anti-Jewish racism…”

    HA-HA-Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…all the way the the gas chambers, “resistor”.

  30. resistor said,

    Nor do I make jokes about the Holocaust, you sick, pathetic bastard.

  31. Alan Laurence said,

    Still I dont understand you – are you asking the Israeli army to abolish the Israeli state?
    Doesnt seem very likely to me.
    And If I have misunderstood you please can you tell me what is the agency you hope/expect/demand willl overthrow the Israeli state?

  32. Will said,

    Oh — this is where resistoooooor is hanging out at the moment. Antisemite resistor. The antisemite resistor is vile and filth. Treat like a Nazi.

    in other news…wot has happened to the post Voltaire’s Negation And a Priestly Incantation Towards the God of Bullshit posted but didn’t really post ‘cos it is nowhere to be seen?

    Jimbo — your supposed mate is shitting on you again from a great and lofty pulpit. I would (just saying like and if I was you like) kick his fucking arse and that.


    File Not Found

    Sorry, but the page you requested cannot be found.

    There is a reason why I removed it after 30 seconds Dulliam, and if your alleged concern for Jim can override the whisky-drunk stoopidness for a second then you’ll realise that. VP

  33. resistor said,

    Alan Laurence – ‘are you asking the Israeli army to abolish the Israeli state?’

    I’m not asking the IDF to do anything. I do believe that Israel should obey international and humanitarian law by allowing those Palestinians who wish to, to return to their homes and compensate those who don’t. It is up to them how they obey the law – as long as they do obey the law.

    Are you opposed to Palestinians returning to their homes, and on what basis?

  34. Alan Laurence said,

    Its odd to find a revolutionary going on so much about international law. Why do you do it? And what’s with the desire to see Israeli’s obey? Three times in three lines. You sound like a cross between Mary Whitehouse demanding everything is in order and rules are stuck to and a fetishist in jackboots and nazi armband demanding degredation and servility.

    I am in favour of negotiated returns and compensations.
    I am against the presumption of wholesale returns to house of origin.

  35. resistor said,

    I’m not a revolutionary, and nor are you.

    If someone stole your property I’d guess you’d contact the police rather than waiting for a ‘revolution’. And why is it a problem for you that Israel obeys the law?

    As for the customary ‘nazi’ reference -how pathetic! Are you Denham under another alias?

    As for, ‘I am against the presumption of wholesale returns to house of origin.’ What does that mean?

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