Mogadon Man Assumes the Leadership of the Labour Party as Lansman’s candidate is crushed
Mogadon Man Assumes the Leadership of the Labour Party as Lansman’s candidate is crushed
Mogadon Man Assumes the Leadership of the Labour Party as Lansman’s candidate is crushed
The Fight against the Right begins – Inside and Outside the Labour Party – as COVID-19 Demonstrates Why Capitalism has outlived its stay
If anyone had any doubts about who and what (Sir) Keir Starmer represents, his Shadow Cabinet appointments today should lay them to rest. Starmer represents a return of the Blairite Right. Even Barry Gardiner, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel and easily the most articulate member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet has been sacked, as has Ian Lavery, former President of the NUM and one of the few working class members in the PLP as well as Jon Trickett.
Momentum sent out a ludicrous statement to members today suggesting that Starmer’s election is some kind of victory. However even the most stupid and servile member of Jon Lansman’s fan club cannot disguise the extent of the Left’s defeat. Lansman writes that:
We are proud too that, in four and a half years, Jeremy Corbyn and the movement that supported him has changed our party for the better and given voice to the hopes of millions who felt unrepresented in politics.
We didn’t win – and that failure is ours collectively – but we have transformed politics for the better. ..This is our victory. And we should be proud.
In Labour, the dark days when our party cheered on privatisation, pursued illegal wars, talked about scroungers and demonised migrants are long gone.’
Momentum’s capacity for self-delusion seems to be endless. However socialists in the Labour Party are resigning by the thousand. No-one is fooled by this kind of bravado.
Lansman is not alone. The socialist left in the Labour Party – the LRC, Jewish Voice for Labour and Labour Left Alliance are equally culpable in their own way. They misunderstood the nature of the attack on the Left, they failed to confront the anti-Semitism smear campaign effectively
I shall devote a separate article to the question of where the Left goes from here but if the LLA is anything to go by then there is a steely determination to repeat the same mistakes of the past four years and ignore the fact that we are in changed circumstances. In the words of one contributor on the LLA’s main Facebook Group the Left in the Labour Party either adapts or dies.
‘New British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer tackled antisemitism immediately upon election Saturday, as he promised to root out that scourge from the party that in the past has been charged with fostering hatred toward Jews.’‘Anti-Semitism’ is a code word for the Left. It plays the same role in the attacks on the Left as ‘Communist’ did in the days of Joe McCarthy.
What Starmer is promising is a witchhunt of the Left and anti-Zionists. Opposition to the Israeli state is ‘anti-Semitism’ in the eyes of the Labour Right. To call Israel ‘racist’ is itself anti-Semitic. But the responsibility for that lies with Lansman and Corbyn. When they accepted the IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism they accepted the terms of debate as the Right defined them.The fact that these accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ had no foundation was irrelevant.
The fact that Israel is a racist state unlike any other was also irrelevant.
To give but one example. Half of Israel’s Arab population live in what are called ‘unrecognised’ villages, mainly in the desert south, the Negev. The Israeli state lays claim to the lands on which they are built for Jewish settlement. These villages, some of which are demolished periodically, receive no services from the state – running water, sewage, electricity or even, despite the fact that their inhabitants are nominally Israeli citizens, no polling booths are stationed in them during elections.
You might think that during the Coronavirus pandemic this might change. If so you are wrong. They will get no help whatsoever from the state to combat COVID-19. The Israeli state is completely unconcerned if large numbers die as a result. Indeed Netanyahu probably secretly welcomes such a possibility. Such is the visceral nature of racism in Israel’s Apartheid society. But according to Starmer if you call this racism then you are ‘anti-Semitic’.
According to Ha’aretz, even in recognised Israeli Arab towns and villages Israel’s Magen David Adom is refusing to conduct tests for Covid-19. Israel’s Health Ministry set up an emergency team to deal with the crisis but naturally it did not include any Arabs. If this is not racism then the word has lost all meaning.
If Starmer denies that Israel’s practices are indeed racist then that is because he is a racist. What this member of the British Establishment, complete with his knighthood, is saying is that British support for the Israeli state, a vital part of the ‘western alliance’ is more important than the subjugation of the Palestinians.
The excuse offered by Starmer and Labour’s Right is that support for Israel is part of British Jews identity. That may be true for the majority of Britain’s Jews but so what? Supporting Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie 30 years ago over Satanic Verses was part of the identity of many British Muslims. Would anyone seriously argue that support for Rushdie was therefore racism against Muslims?
If 99% of British Jews supported Zionism, which they don’t, that would still make Israel a racist and illegitimate state. It would simply prove that most British Jews have moved to the Right and instead of being victims of racism are now racists themselves.
In fact, according to the most recent 2015 survey of British Jews’ attitudes towards Israel, 59% identified as Zionists, down 13% since the previous survey five years previously. 31% said they weren’t Zionists and 10% didn’t know. So what Lansman, Rebecca Long-Bailey and other Labour Zionists are really saying is that they support the most reactionary and racist section of British Jewry. That is what the Board of Deputies 10 Commandments were about. That was why Commandment no. 8 said Labour must not engage with ‘fringe organisations and individuals’. In other words anti-racist Jews.
I don’t want to say ‘I told you so’ but I have been warning against Corbyn’s appeasement strategy for 4 years. It could only end in defeat. The Right never accepted Corbyn’s leadership and it was tragic that this message didn’t get over to Corbyn or his abysmal advisers, notably Seamus Milne.
If Corbyn had listened to me and not Lansman he might be Prime Minister now!
Corbyn’s Appeasement of the Right coupled with his inability to stand up to the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign sealed his fate.
It also wasn’t obvious to Corbyn’s pitiful advisers, not least Seamus Milne, who must take a heavy share of the responsibility for the general election defeat.
Two years ago Corbyn rejected ‘claims by close ally Len McCluskey that “Corbyn-hater” Labour MPs were using an anti-Semitism row to “smear” him.’ That is why I said that Corbyn was like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. If he could not see how ‘anti-Semitism’ was being used as a stick to beat him then he really was beyond saving.
There were a number of milestones on the road to the defeat of the most hopeful left-wing movement in recent history. There was Corbyn’s rejection of Open Selection at the 2018 Labour Party Conference which meant that Corbyn willingly became a prisoner of the Right. The second mistake was not to act with a determined ruthlessness against those determined to destroy him. When Margaret Hodge, whose only claim to fame is covering up child abuse as leader of Islington Council and then defaming one of the victims of that abuse, called him a ‘fucking anti-Semite’ she should have been fast-tracked out of the Labour Party. To show weakness in such circumstances was a recipe for disaster.
Corbyn’s other major failings included throwing his friends overboard as if they were ballast. First Ken Livingstone and then Marc Wadsworth and Chris Williamson. When Chris was suspended, just over a year ago, I wrote a blog which asked, Are these the Dying Days of Corbyn’s Leadership? In it I observed that ‘Appeasement of the Right, Sacrificing Political Allies and Political Indecisiveness Will be Corbyn’s Legacy.’ The past year to me has seemed like a slow motion car crash with the left looking on like rabbits frozen in the eyes of a car’s headlights.
Corbyn had been involved in Palestine solidarity work ever since I knew him in 1982 in the Labour Committee on Palestine. He was a conscientious supporter of the Palestinians but he had never taken the time or trouble to work out why it was that Israel was racist. He never understood what Zionism was. So he supported the Palestinians whilst, at the same time, supporting the Israeli state as part of a 2 state solution. Corbyn was theoretically lazy
Even in his early hustings with the 3 other candidates at the JW3 Centre he didn’t criticise Israeli apartheid. The same was true of the rerun of this debate with Owen Smith a year later. When the candidates were asked what they liked about Israel, instead of saying ‘nothing’ or ‘the weather’ Corbyn wittered on about the separation of state and the independence of the Israeli judiciary. The same judges who have presided over the confiscation of land from Arabs, not only on the West Bank but in Israel itself. Judges have repeatedly disregarded the 4th Geneva Convention on the occupying power not colonising the area they conquer.
Corbyn was never the brightest of MPs or even intellectually curious. He held positions without ever working them out. His instincts were right but this was not enough. Of course Corbyn faced many obstacles, not least the media. The Guardian, with its relentless anti-Corbyn coverage showed its true colours and this should not be forgotten or forgiven. We should boycott Freedland’s rag until hell freezes over.
Corbyn’s own supporters also bear a share of the blame. Many is the time I posted an article critical of Corbyn on a Corbyn Facebook group only to be met with hostility of the ‘why are you attacking our beloved leader’ kind?
Uncritical support was worse than the hostility of his enemies because it allowed Corbyn’s mistakes to go unchallenged. I had a post taken down from the Jewish Socialists Group because it criticised another JSG member, Jon Lansman! This was the attitude of the JSG leader, David Rosenberg. He held that we should not criticise Corbyn whereas my take was that it was only by criticising him that we could counter the pressure from the Right. Eventually I got removed from the JSG FB group when I posted a blog asking why the JSG didn’t support Jackie Walker, who was then suspended.
The last Labour Party conference merely compounded Corbyn’s failures. His inability to understand what lay behind the false anti-Semitism campaign has been his single biggest error of judgement. It has sapped his strength and drained his leadership of direction and purpose. Corbyn comprehensively lost control of the narrative.
Corbyn never seemed to understand that the more you apologise, the more you try to please, the more they will come for you. The Zionist movement is not like a parent to whom a child apologises and all is forgiven. They take an apology as proof that they were right. When I complained to the BBC about the Panorama programme Is Labour Anti-Semitic?(why it was a question when they thought they already had the answer is one of life’s mysteries) the Executive Complaints Unit came back and said that even Corbyn admitted Labour had an anti-Semitism problem. How do you deal with that level of idiocy?
But if any one individual bears the blame for what happened it isn’t Corbyn but the owner of Momentum, property millionaire Jon Lansman. His coup in 2017 destroying democracy in Momentum and imposing a constitution that took power into his own hands was an early warning of troubles ahead.
Without democracy a movement is impotent. Momentum was not a movement in any real sense. It was a control and command organisation. When the omens were favourable in 2017 it believed that it was responsible for the election gains. In 2019 they learnt that pushing hundreds of young campaigners into constituencies only alienates voters.
And who supported Lansman’s coup but John McDonnell, who also bears a heavy responsibility for giving legitimacy to the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign. A BBC report quotes him as saying that the ‘anti-Semitism’ crisis had ‘shaken us to the core.” And when the Zionists dug up the comments of Hajo Meyer, a survivor of Auschwitz, comparing Israeli policy to the Nazi regime before 1939, as many Holocaust survivors and Israelis have done, Corbyn apologised. Corbyn said that he “completely rejects” the views of some of those he had shared platforms with in the past. This was not serious. No one believed him anyway and it simply helped to discredit him.
I therefore thought it right that I should write to my old friend Lansman giving him some helpful advice. I say this despite the fact that Lansman had me expelled from Momentum and then accused me of being ‘probably the rudest man I know in politics.’ Indeed I had to threaten to sue him for libel for using the weasel word ‘probably’, which suggests that I may not be the rudest man in politics!
A Letter to an Old Friend Jon Lansman
As always at times like these my thoughts are with you. Please allow me to offer an old friend my warmest congratulations on your achievement. The defeat of Jeremy Corbyn and the installation of Mogadon Man aka Sir Keir Starmer was a master stroke.
What David Cameron and Theresa May could not achieve you have managed single handed. Of course officially you supported the pathetic Long-Bailey, whose only comment of note during the campaign was that she was prepared to use nuclear weapons. RBL is as she has often reminded people, the working class girl who was born to the sound of the Stretford End, despite Man City playing away in Wolverhampton the day she was born. No doubt she was born with acute hearing too.
The question that puzzles many people is why the campaign manager for Tony Benn’s leadership bid should turn into the exact opposite of everything that Benn stood for? Why should you destroy democracy in Momentum, join the witch hunt and became an apostle of the world’s only apartheid state? Of course some believe that you were an agent of Israel or Mossad but I think the truth is simpler. It is summed up in that old saying of Humbert Wolfe that
you cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.
Clearly you had an Epiphany, if that’s not anti-Semitic, and decided that your Jewish identity meant that you had to become a Zionist i.e. a racist. You kept company with the Jewish Labour Movement, the overseas wing of the Israeli Labor Party, which has virtually disappeared today.
It is, like you, irrelevant now that the open racists are in charge of Israel rather than those who professed workers’ solidarity and practiced segregation. The ILP is now down to 3 seats in the Knesset where once it could command an overall majority. ‘Socialist’ Zionism has died because Zionism rejected workers’ unity in favour of Jewish unity and collaboration with imperialism.
I realise that you are a fixer rather than an intellectual but presumably it must have occurred to you that there is a reason why racist and anti-Semitic figures, from Orban to Trump, Duterte to Bolsonaro love Israel? Clue, it isn’t because of Jews that the neo-Nazi founder of the alt-Right, Richard Spencer calls himself a ‘White Zionist’.
According to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism that you pushed through the Labour Party, it is ‘anti-Semitic’ to state that Israel is a racist state. When the rest of the world is fighting Coronavirus, what is Israel doing? Destroying tents Palestinians have erected to isolate those infected. Only in Israel could ethnic cleansing take priority over fighting the pandemic. And yet you support Israel and an Israeli Labor Party that has just got into bed with Netanyahu.
To call you a racist Jon would be an understatement. You have pioneered racism in the Labour Party. Not because you are another Alf Garnett but because your goal was providing support for Israel’s project in the West.
Your destruction of democracy in Momentum, your opposition to Open Selection and now putting up candidates against socialists like Jo Bird, has meant the triumph of the Right. So once again congratulations are in order. I cannot but help wondering what the purpose of Momentum is though, apart from filling your coffers.
I don’t know why it is Jon, but you keep reminding me of a poem by Jack London, Ode to a Scab.
The only part of the poem that I disagree is the bit about you carrying a tumour of ‘rotten principles.’ Jon, I really don’t think you have any principles, fresh or rotten.
One wonders what Jack London would have made of the multi-millionaire property dealer who almost single handedly brought down the Corbyn Project?
Your only true friend (i.e. the only one who tells you the truth)
The fight for socialism goes on but we can have no doubt that the Right have won a significant victory. Nothing could be more futile than to spend the next 5 years in a war of attrition with the Right, knowing full well that they control the party machine. It was bad enough when Corbyn and Formby were there. Groups like Labour Left Alliance, whose recent travails I will cover in more detail in another blog, are for standing still as members stream out of the Labour Party.
You can imagine what it will be like when a female version of Iain McNicoll is chosen. I am told that an old witchhunter, Emily Oldknow, who featured in my SAR when I was suspended, and who like most of McNicoll’s team went to work for corrupt Dave Prentis’s UNISON, is tipped to take Formby’s place.
It is time for fresh thinking on the left. Whether the existing groups are up for it is another question.