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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  .co.uk/writings/alexander-baron-gilad-atzmon-wipes-israel-off-the-map.html) 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.  infotextmanuscripts.org/ITMA.html) 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 abiezerDELETETHISBIT.coppe@gmail.com

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.

Dirty Hari

An interesting little letter that I’ve had emailed to me, regarding Hari and Negri.

In response to Johann Hari’s interview in the Independent 17/08/04 Matteo Mandarini and Alberto Toscano wrote the letter below – the Independent didn’t publish it:

While Johann Hari’s acknowledgment of his own ignorance in matters of social theory (‘The Nostalgic Revolutionary’, 17.08.04) is commendable for its honesty, it raises the question as to why The Independent should choose to publish such a lengthy feature article on a political philosopher that is so openly hostile to minimal standards of intellectual probity and historical accuracy. Hari seems to take pride in his bafflement at a book which many undergraduate students in sociology find engaging and not entirely mysterious. If anything,  Empire has been criticised for over-simplification. Perhaps before indulging in dubious fantasies about his dictionary of sociology (‘I feel like I
have been raped by [it]’), Hari should have consulted it.  It is depressing to see The Independent air views regarding Negri’s
political past that in Italy, today, are only held by the fringes of
the right. The reference to (relatives of) Negri’s ‘victims’ is quite
peculiar, as no one to our knowledge has yet come forward to claim that status. It is ludicrous to insinuate that Negri is a fellow traveller of Al Qaida, just as it is dangerous to associate his support for diffuse forms of illegality such as workplace sabotage and wildcat strikes with ‘terrorism’. To endorse such facile equations today is to consolidate the ideological (and legal) climate in which protesting at arms fairs and planning chemical attacks in metropolitan areas can be brought under the same banner.

Hari’s article is symptomatic of the fact that today philistinism about theory and dogmatism about history go hand in hand. To treat Negri’s observations regarding the creativity of Soviet society (Eisenstein, Bakhtin, Malevich…) as an apologia for mass murder and state terror is a case in point. The bête noire of Negri’s political thought (and action), for better or worse, is the state. It is the unthinking acceptance of the dogma that communism equals state socialism and that the only Marxism is a Soviet one that allows Hari to misrepresent Negri as a ‘nostalgic revolutionary’.

Dr. Matteo Mandarini
Translator of Negri’s Time for Revolution
Dr. Alberto Toscano
Lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths College

As a footnote: I was the so-called ‘publicist’ mentioned in the
article(I work for Continuum, the publishers of ‘Time for Revolution’, and was involved in organising the ICA event). A few minor, but incorrectly reported, details that I have personal knowledge of (eg, there was no taxi called, I didn’t say the things ascribed to me, Negri wasn’t behaving arrogantly as suggested, there was no angry  confontation with ICA staff, etc) casts serious doubt on the veracity of anything that Hari says.

The letter as a whole is obviously fascinating, as evidence that people had serious doubts about Hari’s integrity years ago.  What is especially relevant to the current situation however, is the footnote.  Compare and contrast that with Simon Kelner’s (Editor in chief of the Independent and Editor until very recently) 28th June Twitter claim that

@JohannHari101 has worked at @theIndynews for 10 years. In that time, we have not had a single complaint about his misrepresenting anyone

Quite obviously, when you compare it with the text of the letter I’ve posted, this is false.  Either Kelner didn’t know about the existence of the complaint or he’s deliberately misleading people.  Either way, it doesn’t look great for him.  And why did The Independent refuse point blank to publish this letter at the time it was sent?  There are a lot of questions still to be answered and they go way beyond the simple issue of Hari’s actions.

See also here for conclusive proof this is hardly the first time that Hari’s integrity has been questioned.

Paul Dacre Must Die (and can fuck off with frivolous libel threats)

I know that I’m well overdue on the ‘project’.  Real life has interfered.  In the meantime, The Daily Mail have threatened to sue Angry Mob blog for a two year old post.  Specifically, this post, which I reproduce in full:

The Daily Mail are a fucking disgrace of a newspaper. I hope Paul Dacre dies a slow and painful death and that people queue up to shit on his grave. The current top story on the Mail Website (betting it will be front page news tomorrow with a special defecation from Littlejohn who must be drooling reading this one) is this: ‘Mapping out the strain on your NHS: 243 sick babies treated in one London hospital ward…. and just 18 mothers were born in the UK‘. Naturally this story has already found its way onto the Stormfront forums and will no doubt be picked up by the BNP and other racist organisations gathering ‘evidence’ of how the poor white child is neglected in favour of the ethnically diverse child.

I’ve scouted the website of the hospital involved – London’s Chelsea and Westminster – and cannot find a copy of this map or any press release relating to it so I cannot verify any information or put it into any real context – exactly what the Daily Mail wants. The whole article concerns a map made to celebrate the diversity of mothers that give birth in the hospital. It seems to involve mothers being asked to put a pin on a map to show their original birth place. The Mail does not specify the timescale over which the data is collected, nor does it specify whether all mothers were asked or whether the hospital went out of the way to collect data only from foreign mothers.

The whole article is just whinging at the fact that people from other countries have given birth to children in a British hospital. We don’t get given any further information than that because the Mail knows that the headline is enough to get the usual idiots foaming at the mouth about ‘immigration’ and ‘loony-left madness’ etc.

As for those wankstains moaning about the cost to the taxpayer – £1400 a day according to the Mail, not a figure they provide a link for – I may complain about paying taxes as much as the next guy, but you know what, I get a warm feeling when I see this map. I pretend that all of the tax I’ve paid this year has gone on just saving one child’s life and it somehow makes it all worthwhile. A fellow human being has given birth to a child and thanks to the NHS it has survived. It is a triumph for humanity over arbitrary borders, of compassion over hateful ‘not in my country’ types who would pull up the drawbridge and say ‘fuck you’ to the rest of humanity even if they were sick children who would die without our assistance.

When you read this Daily Mail headline – and if you dare, the whole article and comments – it is easy to forget that Sue Reid – the author of this disgusting piece of hatred journalism – is actually talking about the lives of sick babies – something supposedly sacred. Here they are described as a ‘strain’ and used as an example of ‘the changing face of Britain’.

Personally I celebrate the fact that ‘The 243 mothers are from 72 different nations. They include Mongolia, the remotest regions of Russia, Japan, Africa, South America, swathes of Asia, Australasia and even Papua New Guinea’. I think it speaks volume about the value that we as a nation place on human life; that we are in the majority a nation who doesn’t worry about the nationality of a child that might die but instead save it – regardless of whether we can wring the money out of the parent.

I just pretend that none of my taxes go to treating a single sick Mail reader. And I consider them all to be sick for wanting to enrage themselves with such hateful bullshit each day, and for treating the lives of a few sick children as a burden which we must get rid off.

 


Update:

Thankfully Five Chinese Crackers has had the patience (and past experience with Sue Reid) to properly look into this story and has an excellent post on this, please go read it because Sue Reid really is a piece of shit. He also includes the following press release issued by the hospital that demonstrates just what a complete farce the story is, although I suspect the damage has already been done. If Littlejohn uses this story tomorrow (if he can even be arsed to shit out a column that is) then he really will demonstrate that he is never about ‘reporting the facts’ as he so laughably puts it. Here is the press release (massive hat-tip to 5CC for this):

‘Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a specialist referral centre and cares for patients of many different backgrounds, reflecting London’s very diverse population.

‘Of the 550 babies admitted to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) every year, a very small number of these are overseas patients. In 2009, there have been just two overseas admissions.

‘The map was placed in the NICU nearly four years ago to provide the families of the babies we care for, as well as staff, with an opportunity to indicate their background if they wished. It is not an indication of country of residence or citizenship.

‘It was intended to illustrate the diversity of staff working on the unit and the families of the babies we care for, to encourage everyone to reflect on different cultures, in a fun and informal way.

‘Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s NICU provides intensive care, high dependency and special care facilities for babies and is a specialist referral centre for neonatal surgery.