November 25, 2013

A Doctor Writes on Alliance for Workers Liberty on "Antisemitism"

I've just revisited this racist article by the Alliance for Workers Liberty's leader, Sean Matgamna as re-presented on the Shiraz Socialist blog of Jim DenhamIn my post before last I highlighted a gem of a comment from a Harry's Place regular accusing Denham of using marxism to justify racism in the same way as some use the same pseudo-intellectual kit to support Atzmon.  Well revisiting the SS post I followed through to another leftist turned zionist, Andrew Coates and found another comment which lays the above the line post to waste.  This one is from Dr Paul, (Paul Flewers not to be confused with Crystal Methodist, Paul Flowers)
The AWL is quite inconsistent in respect of Islamism. It did indeed warn against the dangers of Islamism in Tunisia and Egypt, yet cheered on the opposition to Gadaffi in Libya, despite the fact that there were quite a few Islamists prominent in the opposition, and al Qaeda elements to boot, and they are now in the government, including a certain Mr Belhadj, not so long ago a leader of the jihadist Libyan Islamist Fighting Group. Why the silence? Similarly, in the Yugoslav collapse, the AWL said nothing about the presence of jihadists in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo. As for Afghanistan, it’s often stated that the AWL (or whatever it called itself then) supported the jihadists against the Soviet Union, but as I don’t have proof to hand, I’ll wait for others to clarify this.
As for anti-Semitism, I have been personally accused of that by an AWL member; not, as might be expected, by an inexperienced young cadre over-enthusiastically projecting the party line in an exaggerated, ill-learnt manner, but by the ganzer-macher himself, Sean Matgamna. Why? Because I feel that the best solution to the Israel/Palestine crisis is a single state in which all the inhabitants have full and equal rights, that one can be ethnically and/or religiously a Jew, a Christian or Muslim or Arab, or whatever. This, he mumbled to me in his inimitable manner, was ‘an anti-Semitic position’.
This — a call for racial and religious equality and genuine democracy — might be considered a little unlikely to occur in the near future (but then so is socialism, and the AWL doesn’t stop promoting it on those grounds), but only by the most abstruse logic — or the most tortuous form of ‘dialectics’ — could it be considered as based upon racial discrimination, particularly as it is predicated upon the demand for national/ethnical equality between Arabs and Jews. Moreover, this casual throwing around of accusations of anti-Semitism — that is, hatred of Jews — in response to a political position such as this makes it less easy to combat real anti-Semitism whenever it raises its head, as it trivialises a very serious question.
As for the AWL’s presence in the labour movement, it has broadly speaking been the most positive aspect of its activities over the years. It was its trade-union work which attracted me to the group 35 years back; other aspects, in particular its attitude towards the Labour Party, put me off it. It is in respect of other issues, less directly connected to the working class, where the less positive aspects of its politics are evident.
This comment was followed with another little gem attacking Coates's assertion that the AWL has "real roots in the Labour movement":
“with real roots in the labour movement”
On what fucking planet? This noxious cult doesn’t even exist outside of London and Yorkshire, so its real roots are by definition somewhat truncated. The AWL ex-member interviewed in the WW had been a member for 3 years, not a couple of months, and the story he tells together with the evidence of the email exchanges will be familiar to anyone who has encountered this sect – bullying, suppression of any real dissent and an appeal to sect loyalist groupthink, and crude scatological insults. And talk about a few words being taken out of context is pretty rich from a group which has been doing precisely that in order to smear people as anti-semites for years (with AWLers of the Denham stripe, even words taken out of context are not necessary, since he is capable of divining what people are “secretly” or “objectively” thinking, often the very opposite of what they actually say).,
 Yup, that's certainly the Jim Denham I know.  I'll have to dig some old stuff if only for its entertainment value.

But, in fairness, less look at Andrew Coates's less than ingenuous response to Dr Paul:
Well, for what it’s worth, I did not agree with them at all on the Yugoslav collapse, and while I agree with the ‘two-state’ solution to Palestine I would not go into detail about the Israel-Palestinian dispute because it is like walking into a burning pit.
If you tot up every political dispute, all you get (as with us all on the left) plenty of disagreements/agreements on a host of issues.
More fundamentally personally I do not come from, to say the least, their strand of Canon-Trotskyism.
Sean Matgamna is, as they say, “controversial”, but then there’s plenty of people in that category.
But on this one I was impressed by Solidarity’s coverage of the Arab Spring and a serious approach to Islamism.

Marko Attila Hoare has a more detailed recollection of where Andrew Coates stood on the "Yugoslav collapse" and my recollection of Andrew Coates playing fast and loose with allegations of antisemitism hardly distances him from the "burning pit" of discussions of Palestine.

Anyway, it's mostly gossip but Dr Paul's comment was the kind of gem that leaves you wondering what the AWL actually exists for.

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