Stop The War protest flops: good!

January 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm (apologists and collaborators, Jim D, John Rees, Libya, Lindsey German, Middle East, stalinism, SWP, Uncategorized)

The Stop The War Coalition’s protest event outside the US embassy in London on Saturday was, it seems, a wretched affair with barely four hundred people bothering to turn out: good!

The days when Stop The War played a reasonably positive (if popular-frontist) role against the Iraq adventure, are long gone. It shamed itself  when it objectively supported Gaddafi by opposing the Western bombing that helped the rebels overthrow that deranged regime. Its main response to events in Syria has been to denounce the (non existent) possibility of Western intervention, rather than to denounce the barbaric regime of al-Assad and offer any, even verbal, support to the brave rebels.

Now, it is increasingly acting as the unpaid mouthpiece of Tehran, as Lindsey German’s craven performance on ‘Russia Today’ demonstrates:

Did I say “unpaid”? Stop The War’s main man, is of course, a bought-and-paid-for lackey of Tehran (ie: he works for the regime’s ‘Press TV’ channel).  And he doesn’t always sound all that anti-war, either:

Stop The War is now a bunch of  unreconstructed Stalinists, anti-Israel fanatics and degenerate ex-SWP’ers whose main role in life seems to be to defend the clerical-fascist regime in Tehran and its nuclear ambitions.

Not a word of support, of course, for the brave Iranian trade unionists imprisoned and persecuted by the regime.

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Saif Gaddafi’s ties to Britain

November 20, 2011 at 9:37 am (BBC, grovelling, Human rights, Jim D, Libya, Middle East, terror, Tony Blair)

Lest we forget:

By Matt Prodger , BBC Newsnight, 25 February 2011

On Sunday Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Libya’s leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, appeared on Libyan state television telling protesters to clear the streets or face rivers of blood.                 

The contrast to his appearance as a guest speaker at the London School of Economics (LSE) two years ago could not have been more stark.

Having just donated £1.5m to the university to fund its Global Governance Unit, he was introduced in glowing terms by the university’s Professor David Held, who said:

“I’ve come to know Saif as someone who looks to democracy, civil society and deep liberal values for the core of his inspiration.”

                  Donation rejected                 

But even Saif Gaddafi could not keep a straight face as he began giving a speech about democracy in Libya.

“In theory Libya is the most democratic state in the world,” he said to laughter from the audience, before chuckling and adding, “In theory, in theory.”

Fast forward to the present day and Prof Held is appalled by Saif Gaddafi’s speech on Libyan TV, LSE students occupied offices at the university in protest at its relationship with him, and the university has been shamed into rejecting the bulk of the donation.

As a final embarrassment, the university has been forced to investigate allegations that parts of Saif Gaddafi’s LSE PhD were plagiarised.

The irony of its title – The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions – is lost on no-one.

                  ‘Failure to learn’                 

But Saif Gaddafi’s examiner, the renowned economist Lord Desai, says that he had earned the PhD, and that the LSE had been right to accept his donation.

His only regret, Lord Desai said on Thursday, was that Saif Gaddafi had failed to learn enough about democracy:

 “I read the thesis, I examined him along with an examiner, he defended his thesis very, very thoroughly, he had nobody else present there, and I don’t think there’s any reason to think he didn’t do it himself.”

“This is over-egging the pudding. The man is evil enough – you don’t have to add that he’s a plagiarist as well.”

The LSE is not the only British institution Saif Gaddafi’s name has been mentioned alongside, he has cropped up in all manner of meetings and mutual connections.

He described Tony Blair as a family friend, although the former UK prime minister says he has only met him once since leaving office and has no commercial relationship with him.

                  Playboy lifestyle                 

Britain’s trade envoy, the Duke of York, has hosted Saif Gaddafi at Buckingham Palace, though a palace spokesman said he is no friend.

Then there is former business secretary Lord Mandelson, who met Saif Gaddafi a number of times – once at the Corfu villa of British financier Nat Rothschild.

Both Mr Rothschild and his business associate Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska were invited to Saif Gaddafi’s 37th birthday party in Montenegro.

In London, Saif Gaddafi has lived a playboy lifestyle. Two years ago he moved into a £10m house complete with suede-lined indoor cinema not far from an area of north London known as Billionaire’s Row.

The Libyan Investment Authority also owns properties in the city, on Oxford Street and at Trafalgar Square.

                  ‘Economic stranglehold’                 

There has always been a thin line between Gaddafi money and Libyan money – one of the reasons that have made Saif Gaddafi so influential.

“The Gaddafi family controls everything in Libya and no deals are signed either for inward or outward investment without their approval,” Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, who has written a book about the Gaddafi family and heads the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libya, told Newsnight.

“They have had up until now a total stranglehold on the economy. I haven’t seen anything like it around the world.”

The fact is there was always a good reason for cosying up to the man who until recently was considered the heir to the throne of an oil rich wealthy country.

Sooner or later the old man, Col Gaddafi, was going to go and his avowedly pro-Western, and apparently reformist, son would take the reins.

Only it does not appear to be working out that way, and those associated with him are now counting the cost.

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Should the left help save the Morning Star?

November 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm (anti-semitism, Europe, israel, Jim D, Libya, socialism, stalinism, unions)

The Morning Star bills itself as “Britains only socialist daily” and likes to portray itself as some sort of broad left publication. In reality, it’s the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Britain, the old-tankie-Stalinist party that prior to 1989 was pro-Moscow. Also prior to 1989, the Star was massively subsidised by bulk orders from Moscow and the Eastern bloc – a burden that since then has been partially taken up by sections of the British trade union bureaucracy, using their members’ money of course.

Now, however, the Star is in serious financial difficulty and has announced that without an emergency boost in donations it may not survive much longer. Star staffers and prominent labour movement supporters are presently out and about  doing the round of labour movement events, drumming up support. An appeal was made at the United Left (Unite the Union’s broad left) national meeting today. I didn’t say anything, as I’d just intervened on another matter and because (to be frank about it), it’s difficult for a leftie to oppose support for “Britain’s only socialist daily” without seeming to be a right-winger. The Star does give supportive coverage to some worthwhile causes that get little or no support or even coverage anywhere else – an electrician involved in the present construction dispute spoke warmly in support of it at the UL meeting today, for instance.

Yet the fact remains that the Star is not a ‘broad left’ publication: it represents a very particular faction within the workers’ movement. Never mind its historic role in supporting Stalinist ruling classes internationally and its craven attitude towards pro-Stalinist British union bureaucrats over the years: just recently it’s been busy denouncing the Libyan rebels and supporting Gaddafi, promoting the most reactionary wing forms of anti-European little Englandism, and  regularly carries articles and letters that denounce Israel and “zionism” in terms  that stray across the border of legitimate criticism and into anti-semitism. Nothing new there for the Stalinist movement, of course.

Should the non-Stalinist (indeed, anti-Stalinist) left give any support to the Morning Star? My inclination is to say “no”: the British left and workers’ movement would be healthier without it (just as we are without the Soviet Union). But I’m willing to listen to comrades who disagree.

On the subject of anti-semitism, I was (despite my familiarity with the Star’s track record) astonished to learn via a tweet from Dave Osler, that on the Star‘s bookstall at today’s Labour Representation Committe Conference, this was on sale, without any kind of health warning:

4nhwo.jpg

PS: Dave has now written about the Protocols over at his blog

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Libya: Clive answers Milne’s distortions and half-truths

October 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm (apologists and collaborators, Guardian, Jim D, Libya, Middle East, stalinism)

Public school Stalinist Seumas ‘Posh-boy’ Milne (above) is at it again, denouncing the Libyan revolution, taking the worst possible view of the rebels and minimising (well, virtually ignoring) the crimes of Gaddafi’s murderous regime:

“As the most hopeful offshoot of the ‘Arab spring so far flowered this week in successful elections in Tunisia, its ugliest underside has been laid bare in Libya. That’s not only, or even mainly, about the YouTube lynching of Gaddafi, courtesy of a Nato attack on his convoy.

“The grisly killing of the Libyan despot after his captors had sodomised him with a knife, was certainly a war crime. But many inside and outside Libya doubtless also felt it was an understandable act of revenge after years of regime violence. Perhaps that was Hillary Clinton’s reaction, when she joked about it on camera, until global revulsion pushed the US to call for an investigation.

“As the reality of what western media have hailed as Libya’s ‘liberation’ becomes clearer, however, the butchering of Gaddafi has been revealed as only a reflection of a much bigger picture. On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported the discovery of 53 bodies, military and civilian, in Gaddafi’s last stronghold of Sirte, apparently executed – with their hands tied – by former rebel militia.

“Its investigator in Libya, Peter Bouckaert, told me yesterday that more bodies are continuing to be discovered in Sirte, where evidence suggests about 500 people, civilians and fighters, have been killed in the last 10 days alone by shooting, shelling and Nato bombing.

“That has followed a two month-long siege and indiscriminate bombardment of a city of 100,000 which has been reduced to a Grozny-like state of destruction by newly triumphant rebel troops with Nato air and special-forces support.

“And these massacre sites are only the latest of many such discoveries. Amnesty International has now produced compendious evidence of mass abduction and detention, beating and routine torture, killings and atrocities by the rebel militias Britain, France and the US have backed for the last eight months – supposedly to stop exactly those kind of crimes being committed by the Gaddafi regime.

“Throughout that time African migrants and black Libyans have been subject to a relentless racist campaign of mass detention, lynchings and atrocities on the usually unfounded basis that they have been loyalist mercenaries. Such attacks continue, says Bouckaert, who witnessed militias from Misrata this week burning homes in Tawerga so that the town’s predominantly black population – accused of backing Gaddafi – will be unable to return.

“All the while, Nato leaders and cheerleading media have turned a blind eye to such horrors as they boast of a triumph of freedom and murmur about the need for restraint. But it is now absolutely clear that, if the purpose of western intervention in Libya’s civil war was to “protect civilians” and save lives, it has been a catastrophic failure.”  – You can read the rest of this Stalinist rubbish here.

Happily, Comrade Clive is on hand to take Posh-boy (and his co-thinker Jonathan Steele) to pieces:

“I feel moved to comment on Seamas Milne’s piece in the Guardian today about Libya.

“What he nowhere acknowledges is that the Libyan revolution has now succeeded and Gaddafi has been overthrown. It beggars belief that anyone could attempt any kind of balance sheet without including this fact.
.
“But underlying the whole argument – and this is something I’ve seen a lot of – is a confusion of separate points. If you want to support/defend/not oppose NATO intervention purely in humanitarian terms – saving lives – there is some force to the point that 50,000 lives seem to have been lost anyway. But neither we – nor the Seamas Milnes of the world – do see the world simply in those humanitarian terms. It’s also about sides in a revolution.
.
“The fundamental reason there have been so many deaths in Sirte – and elsewhere – is that a brutal dictator hung on to power. Assessing the humanitarian consequences of a revolutionary movement finally defeating him simply is not – except on terms too wooly for most wooly liberals – the same thing as assessing those consequences if the dictator enters a city with the expressed intention of massacring his opponents.
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“This is not to say – obviously – that the ‘rebels’ are all sweetness and light or that there is not much to criticise – though the balance of criticism is important. Milne and others seem more than willing to accept the worse possible interpretation of what has been done by the revolutionary movement – and NATO – but in all seriousness question whether Gaddafi really would have massacred people (and suggest that elsewhere Gaddafi’s forces weren’t so bad. Huh? What do you think happened in Misrata? Why do you think it took so long for Tripoli to throw him off?
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“Milne also, like many others, is all rosy optimism about An Nahda’s election victory in Tunisia. Well, we’ll see. (Personally I think it’s likely they will prove to be pretty moderate in Islamist terms, and will be anxious to show the West how dependable they are. One consequence of that, though, will be their economic policies.)
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“But look at this revealing comment, by Milne’s buddy Jonathan Steele, the other day: ‘While several smaller secular parties tried to manipulate Islamophobia – a relatively easy card to play given the official state-controlled media’s demonisation of the Islamists over several decades – their efforts have failed. Voters had their first chance to listen to An-Nahda’s candidates and they were not put off by what they heard.’ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/25/tunisia-election-middle-east?INTCMP=SRCH)
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“I don’t really have a problem with using ‘Islamophobia’ as a shorthand way of describing racism towards people who are Muslims. But in Tunisia – where the vast majority are Muslims – what the hell is Islamophobia except actual hostility to the religion? How can a secular party be Islamophobic in the way that term is generally used in Britain in a mainly-Muslim country?”

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Gaddafi: a nation mourns

October 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm (africa, Jim D, Libya, Middle East, stalinism)

Guess who’s not very happy about it? Go on: have a guess. Answers here and here.

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Stalinism and Unite: Mr Murray’s reply

October 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm (internationalism, Jim D, Libya, stalinism, Unite the union)

Shiraz Socialist is happy to publish the following statement by Andrew Murray, and we accept that what he says about having no relationship with the Stalin Society is true:

I have been directed to this piece by comrades in the union, not having visited this site before. “Shiraz Socialist” is welcome to his own, pro-NATO views in Libya.  he is also of course free to call me a “malevolent clown”, “irresponsible petty-bourgeois” and “despicable/dishonest” because I have a different opinion.  By the standards of many of the comments posted, his ad hominem attacks are almost mature.

But on two points of fact.  I have NEVER been a member of the Stalin Society, attended any of its meetings, donated to its funds, corresponded with it or bought any of its publications.  It does not reflect my own views of Soviet history and I would never associate with a body having its apparent mission.  This is a smear which originated with New Labour back in 2003 when the anti-war movement was at its height and has been retailed from time to time since for obvious political purposes.

Second, I was endorsed as a delegate to the TUC (of which I am a General Council member) by the lay Executive Council of Unite.  Several full-time officials spoke at the Congress on behalf of our union, only one of whom (Len McCluskey) is elected.  This seems a pedantic point for Shiraz to make, and peripheral to the main political argument.

Jim Denham replies:

Thank you for clarifying that point, Mr Murray: I am happy to publish your statement, and will, in fact post it as a piece in its own right.

I am happy, even, to apologise for the factual error of describing you as a “member” of the Stalin Society.

None of this affects in any way your extraordinary role, as a paid employee of of the union, in speaking as a Unite “delegate” (albeit “endorsed” by the EC) at the TUC: this is an issue of basic democracy that needs to be taken up within the union (and I intend to do so).

Nor does it affect in any way the selectivity and dishonesty of what you had to say at the TUC, especially on Libya. You were on the wrong side, Mr Murray!

-Jim Denham

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Unite and politics: the Murray worry

October 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm (apologists and collaborators, Human rights, Jim D, Libya, Middle East, stalinism, unions, Unite the union)

“In all the pacifist masquerades organized by the Comintern, Hitler was proclaimed the chief, if not the only aggressor; on the contrary, Poland was for them an innocent lamb. Now when Hitler passed from words to deeds and started the agression against Poland, Moscow passed to deeds, too…and is helping Hitler. These are the simple facts. It is impossible to escape from them with rotten sophistry.” –  Leon Trotsky, ‘The German-Soviet Alliance’, September 1939, ‘Writings 1939-40.’

When the arch-Stalinist and anti-Israel fanatic Andrew Murray was appointed as “Chief of Staff” for the Unite union, many of us rank-and-file members feared the worst. Murray (together with his pal Seamas “Posh Boy” Milne of the Guardian) is/was –allegedly-a member of the ‘Stalin Society’  [NB Mr Murray has issued a denial of this, in the comments below, which Shiraz Socialist accepts]  and, therefore, an apologist for the second most murderous and genocidal regime in human history. Both former sections of Unite have a history of Stalinist influence, and not all individual Communist Party members from either tradition are/were bad people: but the politics needs to be cleansed.

When Mr Murray was appointed, it was clear that General Secretay Len McCluskey (these days a soft-left Tribunite, but once in the dim-and-distant past, a ‘Militant’ supporter) was repaying his debt to the Communist Party/Morning Star for having supported him for General Secretary. What has happened since is that McCluskey has, effectively, sub-contracted all political issues to Murray. This means that on international affairs the union automatically follows the ‘Stop The War Coalition’ (of which Murray is Chair) and his faction of the CPB (the pro-Galloway/’Respect’ faction); meanwhile the union’s plans to intervene effectively into the Labour Party have been completely fucked up by the irresponsible, petty bourgeois Stalinist, Murray

Meanwhile, this malevolent clown spoke at this year’s TUC congress, on ‘Peace in the Middle East/ South Asia’, supposedly on behalf Unite:

Mr Murray, remember, is an appointed member of Unite’s staff (the sort of person often described by the left as a ‘bureaucrat’), not an elected delegate. What he hell was he doing at the TUC purporting to speak on behalf of Unite? And why have the usual ‘left’ voices that generally demand the election of all officials, been silent on the subject of Mr Murray?

The motion moved by Murray (amended, to include a call for a “review” of relations with the Israeli union federation, Histradrut) is as follows:

The motion passed by the TUC on 14 September 2011

Congress notes that the “war on terror” is still continuing and has failed, after ten years, to bring the promised peace and stability to either the Middle East or the wider world.

Congress believes it is time Britain disengaged from this conflict and in particular urges the rapid withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan. The occupation there has brought devastation to the country, cost the lives of thousands of civilians and hundreds of British soldiers and destabilised nuclear-armed Pakistan. The future of Afghanistan can only be determined through talks between the parties in the country itself.

Congress believes the attack against Libya has been misjudged and, while holding no brief for the Gadaffi regime, believes military action should be halted immediately and that international efforts should be focused on securing a peaceful political settlement to the conflict.

Since there can be no peace in the region without justice for the Palestinians, Congress endorses the call for the recognition of the State of Palestine and urges the British government to take all actions appropriate to help achieve this objective. Congress calls for immediate, unconditional negotiations between the Israeli government and the representatives of the Palestinian people to secure peace.

Congress deplores the anti-democratic law passed by the Knesset banning individuals and organisations in Israel from calling for the boycott of Israel.

Congress reaffirms policy adopted in 2010, particularly the instruction to the General Council “to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.

Congress calls on all unions on the basis of this policy to review their bi-lateral relations with all Israeli organisations, including Histradrut.

Murray has an article in today’s Morning Star that contains a tidied-up and modified version of his congress speech; I reproduce (below) the section  based upon Murray’s TUC speech because (inexplicably), although it’s there in the print version, it does not show up on the Morning Star website as part of Murray’s article.

“One thing that is needed for peace in the Middle East is a new Middle East peace envoy.

“The present one is beyond parody. There he stands – apparently robed in white by the banks of the Jordan baptising the next generation of Murdochs and demanding new wars against Iran and Syria. The war addict as peace envoy.

“Tony Blair should stop paddling in the holy river and be taken to where he can accouint for his actions.

“On Libya – the war is continuing. Some may be tempted to to say this war was a war that worked. The danger is clear – David Cameron has said that intervention is back.

“But look at the facts. Nato got involved to protect civilians supposedly c- that and only that was the UN mandate.

“That was hypocrisy. Quite apart from the absurdity of bombing to save lives, the intervention prolonged a civil war war in which at least 20,000 died.

“The proof that it was hypocisy is the brushing aside of ceasefire plans from the African Union and elsewhere which could have saved many of those lives. The real object – another regime change in an oil-rich Arab state.

“The new regime has already been condemned for human rights abuses by Amnesty International and it is presiding over lynching of black Africans in Libya. there is also the danger of a continuing guerilla war as we saw in Iraq.

“So it is right that we say halt the military intervention and that we challenge this idea that the BHritish government has the right to choose which other regimes can exist , distorting UN resolutions.

“As far as Afghanistan goes, this war has been going on for 10 years, as long as two world wars together and nine-and-a-half years after its stated objective – removing the bases of those responsible for for the atrocities of 9/11 – was accomplished.

“It is a war even more dangerous than Iraq in terms of its regional implications. A war which is about proping up a pro-Western regime lacking almost all internal legitimacy and is thge most corrupt on the face of the planet.

“A regime which passes laws stopping women leaving home without a man and has presided over an epic increase in opium production.

“It is a war now spreading to Pakistan, destabilising that vital nuclear-armed state, a war which every diplomat, general and expert now agrees cannot be won.

“We need  peace talks and a political solution involving all parties, and we should start those talks and the military pull-out now, not wait until 2014 which will cost more lives needlessly.

“And a question for David Cameron – £4 billion a year in Afghanistan alone in an age of austerity? How many other  problems discussed this week could you solve?

“Why is your ‘big society’ big enough to occupy Afghanistan and bomb Libya but too small to keep the local library and care centre open?

“All reasons why Congress should say once more that the cause of Labour is the cause of peace.”

There is so much wrong with this despicable, dishonest speech/article from a Stalinist purporting to be a pacifist, that it’s almost impossible to know where to start. But I decided to limit myself to dealing with Murray’s lies, selectivity and evasions about Libya, in a letter (that may or may not be published), to the Morning Star:

Comrades,
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Andrew Murray writes (citing his address to the TUC Congress) , “The new [Libyan] regime has aready been condemned for human rights abuses by Amnesty International and it is presiding over lynching of black Aficans in Libya.”
.
Mr Murray fails to mention that Amnesty International’s report (freely available on the internet) states, “There is a real risk that without firm and immediate action, some patterns of the past may be repeated. Arbitrary and arrest and torture were a hallmark of Colonel al-Gaddafi’s rule.”
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Mr Murray also fails to mention, in the context of his claim of “lynchings” of black Africans by the anti-Gaddafi rebels, that in 2004 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern over Libya’s practices of racial discrimination against dark-skinned  migrants and refugees. In 2004 it accused the Gaddafi regime of violating Article 6 of the 1969 International Convention on the Elimination of  Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and “for failing to implement proper mechanisms (for) safeguarding individuals from any racial acts that circumvent human rights.”
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None of this, of course, excuses any acts of retribution by the rebels or the new regime -especially any that are motivated by racism. But what it does show is that Mr Murray is entirely inconsistent and hypocritical in his criticism of the new regime, whilst ignoring the far greater crimes of Gaddafi. This is clearly a self-serving justification for Mr Murray and his “Stop The War Coalition” having been on the wrong side over the Libyan revolution.
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One further point: as a rank-and-file member of Unite, I’d like to know who elected Mr Murray (a member of the union’s staff, so not a delegate) to speak on these matters on behalf of my union at the TUC?
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Jim Denham

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Libya: the lies the left tells itself

October 8, 2011 at 12:12 am (AWL, Jim D, left, Libya, Middle East, revolution, youth)

From Sasha Ismail, over at Workers Liberty. No prizes for guessing which “left” group he’s talking about, though it could be: (a): the SWP, (b) The Socialist Party, (c) Workers Power…

Helping out at a student freshers’ fair recently, I ran into a member of another socialist group. (For the purposes of this article, I’m not going to reveal which one, since I think the arguments she made could have been made by members of most of the groups in Britain.) We argued briefly about Libya. The person in question seems, from what I know of her, very intelligent – so it was a good test of how political demagogy rots your brain.

This is not an attempt at satire; I’ll try to report what she said and I said as accurately as possible.

“So you still think it was a bad thing the Libyan rebels won?”

“No, we supported the Libyan rebels. We’re not the Sparts!” (The Sparts, who “supported Qaddafi against imperialism”, were just outside.)

“But you wanted the NATO intervention to stop, in which case they would have lost.”

“Oh, right, this is about you supporting NATO.”

“We didn’t support it. But do you accept that, if the intervention had been stopped, the rebels would have been crushed?”

“No.”

“How could that not have been the case?”

“Because the rebellion was massive, and armed.” (I remember these words exactly.)

“But they were losing. Qaddafi’s tanks were already entering Benghazi when the bombing began. All the rebels seem to agree they would have been crushed without intervention – even those who distrust NATO. Why do you think they called for intervention otherwise?”

“Look, I’m not going to waste my time debating your pro-imperialist position…”

Then she left. Fair enough: she had things to do. But I found the attempt to convince herself that the rebellion would have survived without intervention – because she could almost see the contradiction in her group’s position, and didn’t want to see it – very telling, and typical of the British left.

Permalink 71 Comments

‘Stop The War’ is now simply a reactionary disgrace

October 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm (Afghanistan, apologists and collaborators, celebrity, Champagne Charlie, Chomsky, Galloway, Guardian, Human rights, Libya, Lindsey German)

It amazing to see that some serious and respect-worthy people are still willing to associate themselves with the Stop The War Coalition and its despicable “peace” rally tomorrow. But for every half-way decent socialist and internationalist foolish enough to attend, there’s a dozen charlatans, isloationists and apologists for tyranny,  of the Galloway-Pilger-Chomsky variety. I see that the Taliban’s nark Assange is also billed as a star attendee.

You would have thought that this organisation’s objectively pro-Gaddafi scabbing on the Libyan rebels would be enough to put any half-way decent internationalist off attending.

One of the less objectionable and more serious ‘celebrities’ billed as supporting the rally is Peter Tatchell. Given what he has written over at the Graun‘s ‘Comment Is Free’ I suspect the organizers of tomorrow’s event may be regretting having publicised his “support”:

“As a leftwinger and internationalist, I can’t accept the simplistic calls for immediate troop withdrawal. Don’t get me wrong. I never supported the war strategy in Afghanistan. The Nato-led occupation is wrong. Democracy and human rights cannot be imposed by western diktat. The troops should come home – but not with no regard for the consequences.

“A hasty Nato withdrawal will not bring peace. Afghan security forces lack the training, equipment and numbers to stave off the fundamentalist threat. A premature exit could result in a Taliban victory – and a bloodbath. Is this what anti-war activists want? I’m sure they don’t. So why do many of my colleagues make a demand that risks such a grisly outcome?

“Campaigners against the war are rightly critical of Nato’s ham-fisted intervention, human rights abuses and reckless attacks that kill civilians. But why aren’t they equally critical of the Taliban? Taliban fighters deliberately target civilians. They kill many more ordinary Afghans than the Nato forces, and they’d kill even more civilians if there was a rushed pull-out of western troops. A one-sided focus on Nato’s wrongs, to the neglect of a far more brutal set of killers, is a tad hypocritical.”

Read the rest here.

“Afghan war protest in London ignores Taliban threat” – Peter Tatchell Foundation statement.

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A Morning Star reader agrees with Denham!

September 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm (Champagne Charlie, internationalism, Libya, Middle East, stalinism)

Is this a first? Not sure that Jim will be entirely pleased with the implied comparison with Harry Pollitt, though…

Sorry, but our enemy’s enemy is not our ally

Thursday 22 September 2011
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Jim Denham’s suggestion that “many people around the Morning Star hoped for a Gadaffi victory over the rebels” (Oil is not driving force behind Nato invasion, M Star September 19) was horrifically substantiated by the foreign desk’s piece Libyan militias fail to break resistance, published the same day.

“Nato-backed forces had suffered heavy casualties,” it tells us.

How can the militias of the Libyan revolution be described simply as “Nato-backed forces”?

The choice of words shows a great deal about sympathies. I would say “rebel forces” – though judging by the extent of international recognition the National Transitional Council is getting they would seem in diplomatic parlance to be the forces of the new Libyan government.

How can those at William Rust House use words suggesting support for the likes of Gadaffi?

Rust must be turning in his grave.

In 1939 the Communist Party of Great Britain’s leadership demanded Harry Pollitt’s resignation as general secretary when he was the only one to recognise that the British and French imperialists had been led – by their own ineptitude and stupidity, and for their own nefarious imperialist reasons – to enter an anti-fascist war.

We know now it was Harry who was right.

The complexities of that time led to huge political conflicts, the cold war and the end of colonialism.

The complexities of our time are equally difficult and troubling, but we must realise that occasionally our enemies can become our part-time allies in a particular situation.

The current “leadership” – still greatly disputed – in Libya is not taking orders from Nato, but is simply grateful for those of its actions which have helped against Gadaffi and his forces.

I am 86 and this has been the most exciting year of my life since 1945.

I know which side I’m on.

Paddy Apling
Norwich

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