The Stand Up to Racism Vigil Against Antisemitism Controversy – Some thoughts

This post is about the controversy surrounding the SUTR demostration against antisemitic graffiti in Hampstead and Belsize Park.  See the JC article for a rundown.


  1.  There are many, many reasons I dislike the SWP.  I’m happy to expound on them at length for anyone who wants.  That’s not the focus of this article though. The purpose here is to tease out some wider lessons for the (non SWP controlled) anti fascist movement, in particular its militant wing.
  2. It’s equally the case that the Jewish Chronicle (and Lee Harpin specifically) have recently taken a serious hit to their credibility. It’s also the case that they have promoted and apologised for Islamophobes.  That’s also not especially relevant here. Especially as I haven’t seen any arguing with the facts outlined in the JC article, just the interpretation of them.
  3. Weyman Bennett’s reported comments that

    “Anyone who is opposed to antisemitism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism is welcome to attend Stand Up To Racism events whether they are Zionist and non Zionist.”

    suggest that SUTR are trying to take an agnostic position on Zionism & Israel.  I’d actually agree that this is the correct position to take.  It was the position of Anti Fascist Action (definitely) and the 43 Group.  And there is no need for a British antifascist organisation to take a position here. In fact, doing so is counterproductive and pointless.

    However, it’s not possible to take a neutral position if you’re allowing attendees, especially those in an organisational position, to openly take sides.  It just makes you look dishonest.

  4. Which raises an obvious question.  What kind of fucking tosser thinks it’s a clever idea to wear a BDS badge to a demonstration against antisemitic grafitti?  I don’t actually think that BDS is de facto antisemitic.  I also don’t think that a “there is no God” badge is Islamophobic.  But I’d still take issue with any idiot wearing one to a demonstration against Islamophobic graffiti. Context matters.  And this is an obvious example of something where somebody decided their pet issue mattered more than the easily foreseeable offense that was caused to some attendees.  And the overheard reference to “Zionist journalists” removes even that benefit of the doubt.
  5. This is especially damning as Simic was apparently an organiser and (if not current) a previous member of the SWP.  Considering how heavily centrist the SWP are and how quick to enforce the party line on their members it’s unquestionably the case they could have stamped on this. They chose not to.
  6. This incident also shows why, leaving moral considerations aside for one moment, the front organisation strategy is bankrupt.  It simply leads to non members of the controlling organisation feeling cheated when they realise that the organisation is controlled by a specific party.
  7. It also shows a flaw in the modern concept of “solidarity”. In this case, it’s clear the solidarity on offer was conditional and unwelcome by many members of the Jewish community in the form it took.  It was forced solidarity rather than taking the approach of talking to the community and asking what practical support was needed.
  8. In fact, I’d suggest that a more militant approach of “mutual alliances” is more productive.

    Traditionally, that’s been the approach of militants.  We have our own agenda and strategy, based round militant antifascism.  And, if we have enough common ground, we’ll work with you on that basis. Nobody needs to agree on everything else or subordinate their personal/organisational integrity to anyone else.

    I’m not pretending that approach doesn’t have its own problems. In particular (and I’ve done this myself) some militants have a tendency to fall into Millwall style “nobody likes us we don’t care” swaggering.

    But it’s honest and cards are on the table.  Ironically (because this runs counter to our reputation) I’d go as far as to say this is clearly the less sectarian of the approaches.  No substitutionism.  Just agreement that we have enough common goals that we should work together at this time.

  9. The reportage that

    Also present at Monday’s event was a paper seller from the Revolutionary Communist Group, which has repeatedly called for “no concession to Zionism” which they have called “racism through and through”.

    feels like something of a red herring, particularly without any evidence of the RCG fraternising with other demonstrators.  The RCG turn up to other people’s demos without being invited. They aren’t involved in the organisation of SUTR and there’s no love lost between them and the SWP.

    There’s a possible discussion to be had here about unwelcome people turning up on demonstrations and how to deal with it. But if we’re going to have that discussion seriously we need to revisit issues like the presence of Roberta Moore on the Ahava demostration and who she was photographed marching alongside.  And other similar issues.  Which, I suspect, many people happy to condemn the RCG presence here and other platform sharing they (legitimately) dislike won’t be willing to actually address.

    For any progress to take place on this particular controversial issue I suspect it would need to take place in a small group willing to take a hardline on this across the board. At the moment, it’s selective.  “Their dodgy attendees are proof of their malignity.  People I consider allies being photographed with dodgy people is irrelevant guilt by association” isn’t going to cut it.  General principles, applicable across the spectrum regardless of the accused’s position on Israel or anything else, are necessary.

Why fighting against antisemitism should be at the core of any left wing/anti fascist movement

Because it’s the right thing to do.

This, alone, should be enough.  If, as is often claimed, anti fascism and anti racism are at the very core of the emancipatory project (and it certainly should be), we can not pick and choose which minorities are ‘worthy’ of our support.

Because it’s a mandatory component of the class struggle.

A class politics that excludes any section of the class is no class politics at all.  We would rightly criticise any claim to class politics that excludes working class LGBT people or treats the working class as a solely white bloc.  And exactly the same principle applies to class politics that excludes working class Jews.

Because “less racist than the Tories” is not a defense

I would hope I am less racist than the “Hostile Enviroment” implementers.  This is not a baseline that any serious leftist should be working from.  It’s like saying you’re less homophobic than the DUP.  One would hope that’s the case, but it’s missing the point entirely.

Because Anti-Racism needs to be unconditional (mostly)

I am indebted to Keith Kahn-Harris who has done so much work to develop this argument:

The only way out of this impasse is to recast anti-racist solidarity so that it is completely decoupled from political solidarity. Anti-racism must become unconditional, absolute, and not requiring reciprocity. Anti-racism must be explicitly understood as fighting for the right of minorities to pursue their own political agendas, even if they are abhorrent to you.

I will say that Kahn-Harris goes further on this then I do. There are some individuals and group where I think that all you can say is that you shouldn’t use antisemitism against them, but where they’re still beyond the pale. (This is similar to the argument that you shouldn’t be sexist against female Tories, while still recognising them as a categorical enemy).

I do not in fact in any way recognise the right of Roberta Moore and the EDL Jewish Divison (now largely defunct) to pursue their own political agenda, nor do I have any interest in showing solidarity with them. The same would apply to Kahanists in general.

Equally, the same would apply to any Jew who attended the Katie Hopkins meeting. I think it’s fair to say that if you are explicitly allying yourself with the far right that outweighs any other considerations.  In the same way that anti fascists saw no need to get involved (apart from some sniggering) when Combat 18 were attacking the BNP, anti fascists do not need to get involved in any internal tensions of the far right.

(To be fair, I’m not actually sure Kahn-Harris would disagree with those exceptions; I don’t think he’s talking about these kind of fringe outliers).

The last exception is potentially more contentious.  I disagree on reciprocity. If people attack militant anti fascism, they should not expect militant antifascists to lift a finger to help defend them.  Bluntly, resources are limited.  And if you call antifa “thugs” and “terrorists” you can do your own fucking security.

However, the general principle remains. Specifically, it is in no way acceptable to expect any Jew on the left to repudidate the very concept of Israel or to interrogate them about their views before anti fascist solidarity is extended. This isn’t done with any other minority group.  No other group is expected to disown the very concept of a specific nationstate.  In the same way we don’t require Muslims to give us their views on homosexuality before we defend them against racist attacks, this is utterly unacceptable.

Apart from anything else, if you require Jews to repudiate the existence of Israel before they can be involved in anything left wing or antifascist what you’re de facto doing is excluding the vast majority of Jews from our movements.  That is, for reasons that should be obvious, not a good thing.  Personally, I think the idea of an antifascist group that would have excluded at least half the members of the 43 Group is a farce.

Antisemitism is called “the socialism of fools” for a reason

This quote is often misused, both by the right (who use it to falsely claim that Marxists and even all socialists are antisemites) and the left (who use it to mean people utterly separate from the left).

Neither is true.

The reason it’s the “socialism of fools” is that conspiracism and more specifically antisemitism have some structural similiarities to socialist theory.  What they do is they replace the structural critique with conspiracy theories and the ruling class with “rich Jews”.

This is not to say that the two are synonymous or that one naturally leads to another.

But what nominally left versions of antisemitism do is misappropriate socialist theory parasitically and strip them of their socialist content, to replace it with racism.

The best parallel is the National “Anarchists”, who misuse and steal traditional anarchist theory (and, unfortunately, also some virulent antisemitism from historical anarchist theorists) and misuse them to fascist ends.

So for socialism to prosper its necessary to destroy antisemitism entirely.

“Left” antisemites aren’t misguided socialists. They’re scabs.

Further Reading

That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic by Steve Cohen

The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: Making Resistance to Antisemitism part of all our Movements by April Rosenblum

The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party by Mary Davis and Phil Katz


An Unholy Alliance: Who’s Behind the “Antifa are Terrorists” meme

This is back in the news again, most recently with comments by Ted Cruz.   So it’s worth examining this claim in more detail, in particular where the slogan orginates.  Before I get into that though, some context.

Antifa are not a group

It’s a tactic, at most a network. I know of two exceptions to that. There’s Antifa UK, who have been defunct for a decade and the small British antifacist group Red Antifa. Perhaps I’ve missed a group or two, but the point stands. Outside specific references to those groups anyone who talks about Antifa as some kind of organised group is either completely ignorant of the subject or they’re being deliberately misleading.

Are Antifa Terrorist?

I’m no maligned pacifist, so I’m happy to tackle this subject straight on.

What makes it complicated is the fact that “terrorism” has no universally recognised definition.

If we go with the Britannica definition that it’s “the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective” it’s hard to see how Antifa could possibly qualify. Not only do they have a specific enemy (rather than the general populace) there’s no evidence they see producing a climate of fear as a tactical goal. As we’ll see, claims that Antifa has attacked people “randomly” are counter to the evidence.

If we take the term to mean “willing to use violence for political ends” then they probably do.  As does every government in existence, the Boston Tea Party, Nelson Mandela, the French Resistance and George Orwell.  And in my experience very few of the people using this definition are actually willing to apply it consistently.

Some try to get round some of the problems by clarifying that it’s non state actors only.  But that doesn’t remove any of the non governmental groups from the list of examples.  On top of that a definition of terrorism that boils down to “anyone who doesn’t believe the state should have an exclusive monopoly on political violence” is workable, but leads to obvious radical conclusions about the nature of the state not generally found among its proponents.

Really the most workable definition would seem to be that of Bruce Hoffman (no radical, Hoffman has worked for the CIA and currently teaches at the International Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel).  He says:

On one point, at least, everyone agrees: terrorism is a pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one’s enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore. ‘What is called terrorism,’ Brian Jenkins has written, ‘thus seems to depend on one’s point of view. Use of the term implies a moral judgment; and if one party can successfully attach the label terrorist to its opponent, then it has indirectly persuaded others to adopt its moral viewpoint.’ Hence the decision to call someone or label some organization terrorist becomes almost unavoidably subjective, depending largely on whether one sympathizes with or opposes the person/group/cause concerned. If one identifies with the victim of the violence, for example, then the act is terrorism. If, however, one identifies with the perpetrator, the violent act is regarded in a more sympathetic, if not positive (or, at the worst, an ambivalent) light; and it is not terrorism.”

(Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, 2010)

That then, is likely the key to understanding this.

If someone is ideologically antagonistic towards targets of militant antifascism they are highly unlikely to describe antifa tactics as terrorist, even if they are strongly opposed to the tactics used.

Ted Cruz.png

(Ted Cruz with the far right conspiracy theorists the Oath Keepers)

Targets of Antifa

Because of that, it’s necessary to briefly look at some targets of Antifa tactics.  Partly because critics of Antifa will frequently obfuscate whose those targets actually were. Obviously there’s not space to go into this in great details so I’ll concentrate on a couple of the more controversial incidents.

John Blum

The narrative:  Blum was merely an innocent elderly man, attacked randomly by Antifa thugs when he was trying to stop them beating up other demonstrators.

The reality: Blum had charged forward into a fight and had started swinging his baton before he was hit on the head.

Andy Ngo

The narrative: A gay Asian journalist, attacked by Antifa because he was filming the protest.

The reality: Ngo is an alt right activist with a proven history of doxxing anti fascist activists. As journalist and filmmaker Oz Katerji (normally no fan of the radical left) points out:

Two examples, but telling ones.  The more you look into these supposed incidents of Antifa randomly attacking innocent civilians minding their own business the more flimsy they always seem to be.

None of this means that people might genuinely be against these tactics of course. But anyone who describes the likes of Blum and Ngo as victims while deliberately evading what those individuals were actually up to is deliberately lying to you to try and manipulate the narrative.

“Despite Ngo’s far right beliefs I don’t think political violence is acceptable” is a political argument.

“Ngo was just a journalist doing his job” is fascist apologia.

So who is really behind the “Antifa is terrorist” narrative?

The Traditional Far Right

Unsurprisingly fascists are very keen to push this narrative. Often falsely.

The Proud Boys claimed that they were defending themselves from masked attackers.  A video that came out later showed the truth was very different.  This is a rhetorical trick, nothing more.  By claiming that it’s Antifa who are the aggressors it allows the Proud Boys to try and get away with attacks, normally on soft targets.

And the even further right Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer is very clear that the only reason the fascists haven’t moved even further in this direction is that they’re waiting for Trump to give them permission.

As well as showing that the “Antifa are terrorists” narrative is being heavily pushed by the fascists, this also shows the woeful naivety of those who believe the fascists aren’t planning violence.  You don’t have to agree with militant tactics, but in the current situation it’s fair to ask for your specific countersuggestion rather than the pearl clutching and genteel moralism we normally see.

The Assadists

The last was obvious. This bit seems to have gone less noticed from what I can tell.  The Assadists also hate Antifa.  Perhaps the most notable of these accounts is the notorious propagandist and Douma denier PartisanGirl.

It seems that unlike many of Antifa’s critics she more than recognises the work that people from that movement have done fighting for the Kurds and she’s outraged about it.

And her fellow Assadists back her on this strongly, on nationalist grounds.

And while her reasons for hating Antifa may be somewhat different than traditional fascists they recognise a fellow traveller as her work with David Duke shows.

While PartisanGirl may be one of the most blatant Assadists around, she’s hardly the only one. Vanessa Beely is almost as dodgy, despite appearances at Beautiful Days festival and her touting by the usual suspects like George Galloway and Chris Williamson show.

Unfortunately the Beely example shows that this regurgitation of fascist propaganda isn’t just confined to self proclaimed centrists, comfortable though it might be for us on the left to believe otherwise.


I’m almost reluctant to mention this, consider that Russiagate has become the conspiracy theory it’s ok for centrists to like.

But in this case the evidence is pretty overwhelming. Not only is Partisangirl known to push a Russian line, it is categorically and provably the case that after Berkeley the narrative was primarily shaped by Russia linked accounts on social media.  And that narrative was shaped to being hostile to Antifa tactics and individuals.  (This seems to have been when “Antifa are terrorists” first became prominent outside of traditional far right circles)

There is a definite irony here; many of the liberals most prone to accusing anyone who says anything mean about Clinton or nice about Sanders of being “Russian bots” seem utterly disinterested in this far more evidence heavy skewing.

The question is why Russian interests are quite so anti Antifa.  I’m not geopolitical expert and this opinion is prone to revision if further facts come out, but I suspect a) that Russia believe a right wing President is in their interests and recognise that Antifa are a major issue for that and b) the Syrian issue.


To be clear, I am not saying anyone with criticism of Antifa style tactics has links to any of the following interesting parties.  That would obviously be farcial.  The Anti Defamation League have made sharp criticisms of Antifa while recognising that “it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose“.  The Southern Poverty Law Center also reject antifa tactics while rejecting attempts to paint them as the real issue with right wing violence.  Even Nancy Pelosi is capable of rejecting the equivalence argument.

It will come as no suprise to regular readers of this blog that I reject all of those liberal arguments as tactically incompetent and historically illiterate. But they are still made genuinely in good faith and are a matter of political disagreement.

I am saying that anyone who uses the “antifa are terrorists” argument falls into one of the following categories.

1) Fascists, Assadists and Russian misinformation campaigns.

2) Those who aren’t technically the latter but have consciously chosen to ally with them for tactical reasons.

3) People repeating the claims of people fromthe first category without being aware of their origin.

While category 3 is arguably the least to blame they still need to watch. At the very least, they’ve shown a cavalier disregard for where they’re getting their information from. But it’s also the case that they’ve shown themselves to be ideologically susceptible to far right propaganda.  When that intellectual kinship exists it’s not beyond the realms of possibility they’ll find themselves more formally linking up with the far right in the future.



The Canary in the coalmine

The Canary describe themselves as delivering

campaigning journalism that informs and empowers people to change their world

And in terms of profile at least, they’ve been growing in strength since ther launch in 2015. According to editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza the site was attracting 3.5 million unique users monthly back in 2016. (Free and Fearless, Hacked Off, 2016).

So while there’s much that can be said about them, their relative success can’t be denied.

But what are The Canary really about? Are they the progressive campaigning journalists they present themselves as. I examine some of the issues in this post.

As well as my own research, this post wouldn’t have been possible without research carried out by Richard Seymour (video follows) and posters on Urban75. Any mistakes and analysis are naturally my own.

Why focus on Kerry-Anne Mendoza

It’s a fair question; she is after all part of a wider team. The reason is simple. Not only is Mendoza the editor in chief, she’s also one of the founders (the story here is inconsistent as we are about to see) and the public face of The Canary. So it seems valid to take her as representative of the company as a whole.

The Business Model of The Canary

This is where things get interesting. The Canary is run as a limited company. According to their website,

Canary Media Limited is owned entirely by its leadership team, comprising of: 4 directors (Kerry-anne Mendoza – Editor-in-Chief, Drew Rose – Managing Director, Nancy Mendoza – Director of Comms and Membership, Bex Sumner – Standards Editor), 4 Editors (John Ranson, Emily Apple, Ed Sykes, Tracy Keeling) and Andrew Streets, our Head of Advertising.

The official line is that

Kerry-anne Mendoza, our Editor-in-Chief, teamed up with a group of extraordinary people to form The Canary in October 2015.

That isn’t, however, what was being claimed in 2016.

The Canary has been formed by Kerry-Anne Mendoza and Anthony ‘Roja’ Buck, both highly experienced in their fields.

(From “Writer (Science and Technology) Role Description”, The Canary, 2016)

So already we have a disconnect between what The Canary claim now and how they described themselves in the past. A minor point? Possibly. But it goes to demonstrate how much of the Canary’s public statements are about marketing and nothing else.

Anthony ‘Roja’ Buck is an interesting figure as well. His background seems to have been in business and technology (in particular Just Eat) and he resigned as Director on the 28th June 2016.

Tellingly, his existence seems to have been scrubbed from The Canary entirely. And vice versa; he doesn’t mention it on his Linkedin profile. Suspicion here is that having a tech entrepreneur involved in the founding of The Canary doesn’t fit the brand.

Journalism Model of the Canary

The Canary pay their writers on a per click basis, split 50/50 with the website.

This alone explains why The Canary is so inclined to clickbait headlines and lowest denominator articles. Unlike most media outlets which pay per article, it’s very model is based round journalists getting the highest possible audience for each article, regardless of quality. This is not a good way to do factual reporting (and also leads to half the articles on the website being just repurposed mainstream news stories with an editorial spin. I see no evidence of The Canary having done serious investigative journalism).

Rather than the daring progressive model they claim this is, it’s actually just a slightly better version of the issues you get with something like The Huffington Post. The Canary owners get to define what reasonable fees are when they take them from their writers. Any increase in advertising, affiliate links etc. are entirely at the discretion of the leadership team. Which goes some way to explaining why only five of the site’s writers earn enough to make a full time living. (Five of the Canary’s writers make enough money to work for the site full-time.). Considering that the leadership team also write for the site in many cases, I think we can hazard a guess which writers are putting food on the table.

Politics of the Canary

The Canary is sometimes seen (by its dimmer detractors as well as its supporters) as a “far left” site. There’s nothing socialist about The Canary. They never transcend a vague kind of left liberalism, with an analysis that could be found easily in the New Statesman or Guardian opinion sections. Don’t take my word for it, here’s Mendoza explaining The Canary’s political position:

We don’t have any affiliations with political parties, we don’t have any affiliations with political organisations, and we’re not actually ostensibly left-wing,” she added, calling the site’s editorial stance “a counterpoint to conservative media” and “broadly liberal”.

(From Buzzfeed)

While we can argue about what socialism would look like, I’m confident in saying that market driven liberalism isn’t it.

Mendoza’s Background

Previous to her founding of the Canary, Mendoza was a banker and management consultant earning over 100,000 a year. While some might consider mentioning this “class baiting”, I think it’s valid considering Mendoza’s posturing as anti establishment. It also means that the anti austerity stuff (genuine as far as it goes in my view; the issues with The Canary lie elsewhere) comes from a place of intellectual exercise, not personal experience.

She claims to have been radicalised by Occupy which is believable. (And explains a lot about The Canary. As anyone involved in that movement can tell you it had big issues with conspiracism).

The Canary and Conspiracism

The Canary has always had been more then willing to embrace conspiracy theories ranging from the Syrian Chemical Attack to claims Laura Kuenssberg was a speaker at the Conservative Party conference.

This isn’t surprising. While she may have tried to play it down since The Canary hit the mainstream Mendoza has always been a conspiracy theorist as her now deleted blog shows.

She has promoted the old far right favourite of a secret padeophile network and openly promoted the conspiracy film Zeitgeist.

So it’s not surprising that The Canary have had issues with antisemitism, whether promoting a play written by an antisemite or putting unabashed antisemites on their writing staff.

Mendoza and Icke

The antisemitism and conspiracism aren’t a shock, considering that Mendoza has links to notorious antisemite David Icke. (There’s not room to go into Icke in detail here, but you can find a summary here).

She seems to have had brief involvement in Icke’s “The People’s Voice” television channel, although she fell out with him. This seems to have been about money, not any of the many reasons anyone who isn’t a racist would fall out with David Icke.

This can’t have been an ideological dispute, considering that she was happy to appear on The Richie Allen show. Allen is an Icke protege who has also hosted neo nazis like Mark Collett, Alison Chabloz and David Duke.

It’s not a show any anti racist would even consider being on.


As I have demonstrated, The Canary is not a project that should be supported in any way. From its business model to its conspiracism it’s a barrier to meaningful left growth, not a path to it.

It should also be recognised that this isn’t the first time we’ve had this issue with alternative media. The previously useful resource Indymedia degenerated into racism and conspiracy theories, in large part due to Atzmon supporter and police informant Roy Bard/Freethepeeps. For any left media project larger than a few close comrades serious discussion on how to stop this happening needs to take place.

Unlike many more centrist critics of The Canary I’m of the view that the mainstream media has provided the climate for a site like The Canary to grow. There’s much to criticise from the left about Corbyn (I will be returning to this subject) but the media has decided to go with obvious conspiraloon stuff like the Czech Spy story and the hilariously stupidCorbyn was best friends with the explicitly anti Labour Red Action” stuff. Until that’s recognised as an issue sites like The Canary will always find fruitful ground.

So rather than going for the stance that we should just abandon left media altogether, I’d suggest a) consuming the best stuff on top of the more mainstream outlets and b) being more discerning with what you read, repeat and share on social media.

For an example of the right kind of left media I highly recommend looking at the work of Kate Belgrave, who lets benefit claimants tell their stories in their own words. That’s real left campaigning journalism. And that’s what we could have if we get rid of the opportunists and the cranks.  (Note: I don’t know Kate Belgrave and have never talked to her, so she neither endorses nor even knows about this post. So send threats to me instead, k).


Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.

Alexander Baron & Gilad Atzmon- A Mutual Admiration Society is the sort of polemic that makes even Gerry Gable sound plausible, or sane, because it consists of one long stream of innuendo and insults after another. Indeed, when I pointed this out to Troy Southgate, he responded that it made Gable seem like Snow White.

Whether anybody remembers us or not. (I’m not sure most of the semi regular commentators on here are even still blogging. Apart from our dearly beloved homophobic plagarist Alexander Baron who never shuts the fuck up. I assume anyway.  I’m not going to read his fucking site again).

Expect a posting schedule of maybe weekly. Two max.

Specific interests of the blog include anti fascism, anti semitism (Icke, Atzmon, Williamson etc), the Corbyn phenomenen, video games and my music taste which is objectively better than yours.

Expect the first of many new posts tomorrow, a look at The Canary.

And now for a musical interlude.

Alexander Baron & Gilad Atzmon- A Mutual Admiration Society

It seems Atzmon is getting even bolder in his open anti-semitism.  In a blog post dated the 27th December (http://www.gilad he links to a supportive article from the homophobic plagiarist Alexander Baron.

Baron is one of the lesser known figures on the far right, so a bit of background.  He’s openly antisemitic and a holocaust denier as this quote from his website shows (http://www. shows:

I have published on the Holocaust and Holocaust Revisionism – what is known pejoratively and inaccurately as Holocaust Denial. I have published a book length exposé of Zionist agent and sexual deviant David Irving.

He uses the traditional antisemite tactic of blaming Jews for antisemitism.  He describes the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” as:

Organized Jewry’s Deadliest Weapon

Baron isn’t just a lone crank, he has operational links with the Evolian think-tank “New Right”, set up by the veteren far-right activist and founder of “National Anarchism”, Troy Southgate.  Southgate acts as secretary of the group, which has Jonathan Bowden (who used to be in the Monday Club, the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus, the Freedom Party and the BNP) as its chairman.  So, much like Southgate, this is someone with a long history of neo-fascist activism.  Another person involved with the New Right is the veteran fascist and Holocaust denier Lady Michelle Renouf.  Baron thanks her in his writing up of the 2010 conference so he obviously knows her relatively well.  Baron himself spoke at the 2005 launch of the group and the 2010 and 2011 conferences.

Considering this is all easily available on Baron’s website (which is where the article Atzmon links to is from), there is no way Atzmon won’t have seen at least some of it.

So why might Atzmon be attracted to Baron and by extension the New Right?

I’d say it’s an ideological convergence.  Despite the claims from some quarters, while Atzmon is undoubtedly on the far right, his particular allegiance isn’t to Neonazi interpretations of fascism. (The fact some are pushing this merely illustrates the lack of serious anti-fascist analysis around at the moment.  Nobody with even a basic understanding of far-right ideology would be arguing this). His is more a kind of ‘post-modern’, cultural take on far right themes.  So he’s going to be attracted to the likes of Baron who present themselves as “beyond left and right”.  And the founding statement of the New Right could come straight from Atzmon himself:

We are opposed to liberalism, democracy and egalitarianism and fight to restore the eternal tsunami that have become submerged beneath the corrosive tsunami of the modern world.

(For a more in-depth analysis of this specific strand of neofascism, see Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction) by Graham D. Macklin).

Some conclusions.

While it might have been previous possible to claim that, while a racist, Atzmon wasn’t a fascist, that is definitely no longer the case.  Atzmon is now openly linking to the organised far right, which makes him one of them.  As such, no platform is the correct position to take, whatever that may entail.

And those like Roy Bard/FreeThePeeps (who was behind the Indymedia coup) and Lauren Booth who are still defending Atzmon have to be treated as fascists themselves at this point.  Even if they don’t actively follow far right ideologies, they are now overtly collaborating with fascists.  At this point, it doesn’t make any difference whether this is deliberate or is the product of stupidity and wilful ignorance.  While not quite at the same level yet, Mikey Ezra of Harry’s Place also needs watching carefully.  While he may see getting his books signed by fascists as some kind of jolly public school jape, I beg to differ.

You are either anti-fascist or you are pro-fascist.  There is no middle ground and none will be accepted.

More Atzmon

As some will no doubt have already heard, racist fuckhead, Gilad Atzmon, is to play the Raise Your Banners festival in Bradford, Friday 25 November.

Obviously, this is unacceptable from a (militant) anti-fascist perspective.

There have been two main defences of this.  The first is from the Arts Council, who are funding the festival.  They claim that Azmon is attending the festival:

as a musician and not in his capacity as a political writer

Even if we leave aside the question of whether its acceptable to host far right racists in a purely musical capacity (the old bastards among us will recall Steps being given a ‘formal warning’ for what were actually far milder comments than Atzmon has made), the very nature of RYB means this isn’t the case.

Raise Your Banners 2011 is proud to present its festival of political song in Bradford once more. It is sixteen years since Sheffield Socialist Choir organised the first Raise Your Banners in celebration of the great Wobblie union organiser and songster Joe Hill. Raise your Banners unites political choirs with soloists and bands to celebrate committed and campaigning music that constantly renews the vision of equality for all the world’s peoples. Raise Your Banners is music to celebrate ordinary people joining together to struggle for something they want, whether it is local childcare or opposition to the ravages of global capitalism. We seek the best artists who will celebrate popular struggles in their music and song, and aim for all to have a rollicking good time.

As is clear from their own description, RYB does not separate music and politics in the way the Arts Council suggests.  Atzmon is there as a political figure- the remit of the festival means he couldn’t be anything else.

The other attempted defence is from RYB secretary, Sam Jackson, in response to complaints from the Jewish Socialist Group & festival supporters:

we have discussed the matter with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and are satisfied that PSC have no boycott of Gilad Atzmon or events that he is involved in

That’s a bizarre statement by any stretch of the imagination.  Firstly, surely the fact the JSG have raised concerns about Atzmon’s antisemitism is, by itself, a major issue.  Regardless of the stance of the PSC.  Apart from anything else, this isn’t actually within the PSC’s remit, so of course they don’t have a strong position on Atzmon specifically.  This isn’t about Palestine/Israel at all.  It’s an anti-fascist issue first and foremost.

So, what do we do about this?

The obvious point is that no genuine anti-fascist should be attending the festival this year, whether as a member of the audience or a musician.  If anybody has contact with anyone planning to do so, it’s certainly worth discussing the problem with doing so with them.

Do any of my readers have contacts at the 1 in 12 Centre? They’re currently listed as participants in the festival.  And they really should be withdrawing, as a centre that has a history of supporting anti fascist activity.

Apart from that, there’s the gig itself.

Is anyone either planning to demonstrate or interested in doing so?  I’m up for it on the date, but there’s obviously no point in me trying to do so if we can’t get a vaguely decent turnout.

Disruption is probably out, although I’m open to persuasion on that point.  I am fucking bored of the idea that it’s somehow more acceptable to host Atzmon gigs simply because jazz appeals to a more genteel well-heeled audience than the likes of Skrewdriver.  But I doubt we’ll have the logistical ability to do so at this short notice.

If a demo isn’t possible at this time, this really does illustrate why we need to kick up anti-fascist networking.  With both this issue and the EDL, the need for a militant voice is stronger than ever.  And we’re currently lacking badly in that area.

If anyone wants to contact me privately to discuss possible activity you can catch me on

Two Hats

Lunatic far right anti-semite (and Harry’s Place drinking buddy) Gilad Atzmon is being all whiny.  (Link left intact, mostly for the lulz.  Let’s see if the brave rebel Atzmon runs to the old bill).

Apparently, opposition to his badly written antisemitic drivel can be explained by this:

At that stage, it appeared to be a campaign that was run by hundreds of Zionist enthusiasts – but if one scratches the surface, it was actually an orchestrated move of barely more than five Jewish bloggers, who have managed to mobilise another twenty or so book burners or shall we call them ‘wandering  sockpuppets’ that habitually attack in different areas of the net and the press, co-coordinating to harass, bully and intimidate, with the same dull, repetitive, accusations, ‘arguments’ and smears.

“Harass?”  “Bully”  “Intimidate”?

Man, Atzmon is thin-skinned.  Some people entirely unrelated to me might suggest that someone should give the little shit something to cry about.  An added bonus might be, to some people, that it would cause the whiny fucking liberals to run around panicking about the fact that someone is actually taking “opposition” to Atzmon seriously, showing up their inactivity.  But that is no reason to do so.  Obey the law, respect your parents and go to church.

The other star in this post is the very spooky Bob Lambert.

Couple of interesting observations on this.  Firstly, Daud Abdullah is, at best, naive to the point of idiocy.  At worst, his quickness to jump to the defence of a Special Branch spy raises questions about his own agenda.

This is just beyond satire:

The “exposure” of the former special branch officer Bob Lambert comes at a convenient time: it can serve as a distraction from the scandals that have engulfed the neocon tendency in the government. Lambert has been a staunch critic of the government’s Islamophobic rhetoric and exclusivist policies. This, to a large extent, explains the excitement that has greeted disclosure of information about Lambert’s past career among certain people.

Wait, what?  London Greenpeace (who are who exposed him) are actually following a neocon agenda on behalf of the Conservative Party?  Yeah, that’s a lot more believable than the idea that a proven police spy was following a state agenda.  I’m also interested to know if this was ever revealed by Daud Abdullah before it became common knowledge:

Those of us who worked with him during the difficult decade after 11 September 2001 always knew he came from a police background, and specifically the special branch unit.

And who specifically “knew he came from a police background, and specifically the special branch unit”.  Let’s have some names.  And an explanation of why they never saw fit to mention it including, I strongly suspect, their erstwhile comrades.

And what precisely is this supposed “smear”?  That Bob Lambert was a pig spy who infiltrated the libertarian left?  That’s a factual statement.  Daud may think that’s all fine and dandy, obviously.

The other interesting question is Lambert’s relation with Islamism.  Did he work with Islamist groups as part of a spook agenda or did his own authoritarian background attract him to Islamism?  Either raises some fascinating questions.  It does seem, on first glance, that SB (if not necessarily 5/6) don’t consider Islamism as much of a threat to the state  as direct action enviromentalists.  Both Islamists and certain people/groups on the far left really need to ask themselves why that might be the case…

Daily Fail

As people will know, the Daily Heil is returning to its historical roots and currently posting increasingly virulent attacks on the travellers at Dale Farm. I want to look at a little snippet from one of their stories that you can find here.  In it, a reporter claims that his story was based on “successfully infiltrating the anarchists at Europe’s largest illegal traveller site”.  And one quote in particular caught my eye.  In it he claims that he talked to

bright Left-wing students arguing passionately about their desire to bring down capitalism and ‘replace it with something better’

You’ll notice the last four words are in direct quotation marks, making it clear he wants us to believe this is what was actually said.  Now, call me cynical, but I’m pretty sure it is highly unlikely that the students he supposedly talked to phrased their opinions in almost exactly the same way as the spoof crusty group, Cyderdelic.


Somewhat unusually for the Heil when they do this kind of thing, one of their reporters actually has put his byline on this.


Honestly, Arthur Martin, did you think nobody would notice?  Hasn’t Hari just got himself into a lot of shit by doing something very similar to this?


Or, as a left-wing student said to me earlier, “you see that Arthur Martin?  That’s your idea of quality journalism, that is”.  Which was followed by his friend who pointed out that “you wouldn’t let it lie”.



The Obligatory Riots Post

There are currently two narratives doing the rounds that I think are actually both incorrect.

The first is the right wing narrative that the riots are pure criminality and any attempt to analyse them contextually is beyond the pale. Reasonably obviously, this is motivated in large part by self-interest. Any attempt to look at the riots as part of a wider societal picture is going to implicate the right and their policies. And it’s very notable how few of the right wing blogs are so much as able to find a word of sympathy for what is now looking pretty conclusively like the shooting of an unarmed man by the old bill. Let alone actually condemning it. I think that tells us everything we need to know about their ‘morality’. I’m not going to spend much more time on that narrative. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be a common one among readers of this blog. And I suspect most people don’t need convincing that the Tories et al are the class enemy.

The other narrative we’re seeing, from some on the left, is that the riots are basically a good thing. And that they are to be seen as people fighting back against the state, or even as insurrectionary riots. That seems pretty common as an argument.  Despite their very different political traditions, we’re seeing it from both Lenin’s Tomb and Ian Bone.

The problem with that analysis is that its not borne out by events.  It has a lot more merit for the first night of riots in Tottenham.  At that point, I think the rioting was a raw throated shriek of rage against oppression.  However, since then it’s developed well away from that starting point.  We’ve seen the burning out of homes among flats, the looting of small businesses (often ones that are actually pretty crucial for the working class communities they reside in).  We haven’t, much as it might be politically easier if that was the case, seen it just, or even primarily, focused on big corporations and representatives of the state.


While riots are always chaotic and unfocused affairs, this series seems qualitatively different than some of the others we’ve seen before.  Compared to the riots of the 80’s, this is a lot more nihilistic and purposeless.  I’d go as far to say this is a new kind of rioting.


We’re seeing an extremely materialistic approach in many places; rioting to loot as first motive.  And burning stuff down indiscriminately.


This is a riot that reflects wider capitalist society, not one that goes transgresses against it, despite claims from the right to the contrary.   Which is no surprise.  When we all live in the neoliberal dystopia, it would be more surprising if these kind of incidents didn’t reflect that, rather than the fact they do.


And, at the end, it’s linked to the fact that the working class are demoralised, disenfranchised, defeated.  That have consistently lost the vast majority of fights in the class war over the last century.  Part of the effect of that is that there are a lot less credible community organisations.  And a lot less awareness of working class interests, which goes a lot of way to explaining the lack of class consciousness in the rioter’s actions.


And there are no easy answers or quick solutions.  Unless the crisis of working class representation is resolved (which will take a hell of a lot of work on the ground), we will see more of this kind of thing, with no more direction and no less antisocial actions.


The choice of “socialism or barbarism” have never been more stark.