I post to Facebook almost every day. Sometimes I post thoughts that occur to me at that particular moment, sometimes they are spurred by a headline I’ve just read somewhere on the web and I will share a link to the article that I may or may not have fully read. Sharing an article never means that I endorse, even temporarily, what is stated in the article or the viewpoint of the author. It just means that at that moment I find it interesting. I’m not trying to proselystize for the point of view expressed. If I want to do that I will explicitly endorse that point of view – it will be clear what is my point of view and what is not.
Category: Politics Page 1 of 16
On September 20th after receiving a shocking letter from the Labour Party I posted the following to Facebook:
I wrote that :
Anyone who know me would know that I would immediately, notwithstanding any contrary advice, share this communication on social media. Anyone who knows me would know that this makes me extremely angry. I don’t like me when I’m angry. I do not like being in situations that make me angry and I am considering cancelling my membership of the Labour Party. I did not join this organisation to have my legitimate freedoms of expression curtailed.
I joined in order to make common cause with those I believe are working for the wellbeing of the people of this country and everything I have expressed on social media and elsewhere has been consistent with that purpose, and has been reasoned, courteous and non-threatening. I cannot say the same of the attached communication.
I understand that this is not the fault of the many good people in the Labour Party who a fighting to change it for the better. I understand that the purpose of this kind of thing is to drive from the Party those who want to support positive change. However I have no intention of submitting myself to the indignity of any ‘disciplinary procedure’ and unless an apology is forthcoming by the end of this month I will save all concerned the bother of such a procedure by cancelling my membership.
I will continue to support the efforts of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters to establish social justice in this country and gererally to strive for a just and peaceful world.
I addition to posting this here on my own page I will post this to the Newham Labour Forum but will understand if it is not published as it may be perceived as breaking rules.
I later wrote that:
… having slept on it, I now understand that, while everything I said above is true and the points are important, this situation is not particularly important to me unless I choose to give it importance and be stressed or insulted by it. To give it importance, to be stressed, to demand apologies etc would simply be a symptom of my own sense of self importance and colluding in giving the petty machinations of others more importance than they deserve. I am not standing for any office in the Labour Party so these sanctions have no particular effect on me. I am no longer in a huff and will not leave the party in a huff. What’s important is to work with people like you Tina who really want to make positive changes for our society, nation and world. I will continue to do that.
Today on my return for a ten day holiday abroad I found a letter from the Governance and Legal Unit of the Labour Party:
The letter had appended to it 14 Facebook posts made by me between November 2012 and April 2019. It suggests that these posts, which it terms my ‘conduct on social media’, may be in breach of ‘rule 2.1.8.’ (which it does not quote or explain in the letter). It asks essentially that I justify each of these posts without saying what they think is wrong with the posts.
These are the posts:
These are the questions that the GLULP asks relating to the first four items:
It seems that the GLULP finds sharing posts from Gilad Atzmon particularly problematic. Evidently I have shared a number of Atzmon’s posts over a period of seven years. I do not intend to justify the sharing of these posts or of other posts since I am not aware that sharing his posts and/or discussing them is a crime. The same arument goes for the other items that the GLULP has cited. The reason that I share articles by Atzmon is the same reason that I share articles / posts / arguments written by anyone, it is because I find them interesting and thought provoking. What is asserted in these posts may or may not be true or may or may not be well argued or evidenced but I do not believe that they are in themselves hostile or derogatory to any individual or group of individuals though they may be critical of the behaviour of individuals or groups or nations. I do not necessarily share the views of anyone whose arguments and perspectives I present in a post
I have emailed GLULP today as follows:
Re. Your Letter sent 21 October 2019
Case No: CN:- 3641
Please note that I have been out of the country since 19th October and have returned just today. I wil respond when I have had time to read your letter properly.
Having read the letter I do not intend to answer the detailed questions that it asks beyond what I have stated above with regard to my motivations. I have more important, more urgent and more interesting tasks to undertake at this time. I believe that the same will be true of the Labour Party in general.
People reading this are free to judge whether my ‘conduct on social media’ is deserving of condemnation or commendation or neither.
Our intuitive conclusion that the collapse of WT7 was the consequence of a controlled demolition has surely been confirmed by the research evidence from the University of Alaska. Although this happened 18 years ago the implications are enormous as it suggests a criminal conspiracy the scale of whose execution and concealment have been unprecedented.
“..prospective students of Eton are then asked to imagine they are the prime minister and write a speech to explain how they would convince the public that they did the right thing.”
The full question reads:
The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty-five protesters have been killed by the Army.
You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.
Some people seem upset by this.
There are doubtless very many things wrong with this school but getting students to think about ethical and political decisions and decision making through presenting hypothetical situations, or examining real situations, is not one of those things. Questions like this should be part of the general education of students in all schools.
Delusional, but amusing in its absurdity. Promising a ‘golden age’ is like promising to ‘Make Britain Great Again’ only without the connotation that under a Johnson reign Britain would only become as great as it ever was instead of becoming greater that it has ever been.
Instinctively, I suspect, feel, that underneath the arrogance, greed, gaucheness and stupidity of Donald Trump and Theresa May are buried vulnerabilities and remnants of conscience that make them hesitate at the brink of true evil whereas underneath Boris Johnson’s arrogance, greed, surface affability and wit it is arrogance all the way down to a bedrock of pristine amorality. He will not have a trace of sympathy for anyone and I instinctively have not the slightest sympathy for him.
Jon Lansman posts on Twitter that “People who support the campaign to deny or diminish the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party need to read what this fellow supporter has to say about “Zionism” https://t.co/dpq83QNGc2”
First, it is wrong to describe challenging the narrative that there is widespread antisemitism within the Labour Party and that Chris Williamson has said anything antisemitic as a ‘campaign to deny or diminish the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party’
Second it is grossly insulting and ludricous to describe the cretin who posted a Jew blaming, Holocaust denying, racist, anti-communist, anti-socialist far right piece of garbage as in any way a ‘fellow supporter’ of any Labour Party member.
The anonymous tweeter that Lansman cites accuses Jews of “lobby[ing] for mass immigration, miscegenation and cultural marxism in every country on earth.” How could anyone in their right mind make the equation that Lansman does?
Still, this is an example of what genuine antisemitism, racism and clear hate speech looks like. And this will grow while Lansman and his fellow travellers turn all their efforts to destroying Corbyn and his supporters.
After I attended a protest on Wednesday morning against having the arms fair at the Excel Centre in Newham I watched the Shadow World documentary. It’s well worth seeing the whole documentary but I pulled out this clip and it should have us asking why this terrible man Blair is still in the Labour Party and not in jail.
Here is the full video:
Last week Tuesday, 11th June I attended the first session of the Imperialism on Trial event supporting Julian Assange. I wrote the following the next day:
I had heard of some of the speakers and they were all excellent. The person whose work I knew best and particularly wanted to hear was Chris Hedges. A former foreign correspondent of the New York times, Chris writes a regular column in online magazine Truthdig and has a show called ‘On Contact’ hosted by RT. Chris writes and speaks with a particularly lyrical voice and a particularly moral one that perhaps reflects his background as a Presbyterian minister as well as a journalist, academic and activist.
I filmed parts of the meeting, intending to comment later but I needn’t have bothered since the whole event was being much better recorded. It is really worth watching the whole almost three and a half hours but I may use parts of this to make comments later. I found Chris’s opening speech particularly gripping. I learnt a lot about Equador as well as Assange from Fidel Navarez a former senior diplomat at the Equadorian embassy. Navarez was proud to call Julian a friend and reminded us that Assange had been granted Ecuadorian citizenship and that therefore his being hounded and handed over by the current Ecuadorian government was an act of betrayal. Navarez spoke of being proud of the former Ecuador under Rafael Correa and ashamed of the current one under Lenin Moreno. Listening to and finding out more about the experience of implementing socialism in Ecuador would be instructive for Corbyn supporters who, like me, are unaware of this history.
All of the other speakers – Vivian Westwood, Tommy McKerney, Lauri Love, Catherine Shakdam, Catherine Mercouris, John Wright, Ahmed Kaballo – were also excellent and there is plenty of material here for discussion and reflection. This series of talks is called Imperialism on Trial and one of the speakers said that Imperialism may seem like an old fashioned word but the power of an imperial America with its principal allies that, to use the image of perhaps another speaker, grasps nations like Venuzuela by the throat and berates them for not breathing properly. The Empire also tries to silence, discredit and disgrace anyone like Assange who would reveal their crimes. The mainstream press colludes in the creation of a false narrative and in the oppression of whistleblowers and dissidents like Assange and Chelsea Manning. The attack on Julian is an attack on all of us who seek to know and speak the truth. If we do not stand up for Assange and see his freedom as fundamental to our own freedom to speak and to think then we will lose that freedom. As someone who has always felt the need to speak the truth as I see it, whether anyone else, however powerful, likes it or not, as someone aware of the risks that the small run in contradicting powerful and popular people and narratives, as someone who appreciates the importance of primary sources in getting to the truth of things, supporting Assange is particularly important to me.
I will be at the second session of this event this evening and I will be joining Julian’s supporters outside Westminister Magistrate’s court on Friday morning.
I did attend the second session of the event on Wednesday and found it equally absorbing. I’m not going to write about it in detail as what I have to say doesn’t matter – also, because I knew that the event was being wholly recorded and would be published through the good offices of RT, I didn’t take extensive notes.
Unfortunately I could not join the demonstration outside Westminister Court on Friday morning as I had to prepare for an event of my own the next day.
The two videos total over six hours but they are well worth watching.
A world facing catastrophic climate change cannot afford the nonsense of war. We cannot afford to be governed by thieves, liars and killers. If we remain complacent and complient, inert and silent, as the leering wolves of war again and again contemptuously invite us to eat from the trough of their regurgitated lies, then we are co-conspirators, complicit again and again in the murder of countries, communities and children. Ultimately, and soon, we become the co-authors of our own extinction.
I remember a poem I learned at school:
‘Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’
It always seemed silly to me to rage so much at one’s own death, at any individual death. I have no fonder wish for myself and those I love than that we should, “go gentle … at close of day”.
But together against a night that yet need never fall,
Rave, rage and burn, old age and youth and all,
Rave against the betrayal of the true and the right,
Rage against the cruel predators of the night,
Burn against the silent dying of the light.
No person with good sense and decency could for one second think that a war against Iran is in any way justified. However the governments of the US and its cronies, particularly the UK, France, Israel, the KSA and the UAE but also all of the NATO countries, lack a truly moral compass and operate on a logic based on their own predatory interests as ruling elites rather than on the common interests and perceptions of the rational world or even of their own citizens.
These countries and their mainstream media will support or offer only token resistance to a US narrative that every honest and informed person knows to be carefully constructed in order to secure the continued dominance of their elites.
Evidence that Iran carried out the attacks on the two tankers is slight and the narrative spun about the attacks has been contradicted by the Japanese owner of one of the tankers:
The owner of the Japanese tanker attacked on Thursday said US reports have provided “false” information about what happened in the Gulf of Oman. The ship operator said “flying objects” that may have been bullets were the cause of damage to the vessel, rather than mines used by Iranian forces, as the US has suggested. Yutaka Katada, chief executive of the Japanese company operating the ship called Kokuka Courageous, one of two vessels attacked near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, said the damage could not have been caused by mines or torpedos that are shot underwater, since the damage was reportedly above the ship’s waterline.
The likelihood is that this was a false flag attack by the US or by its Israel or the KSA, impatient that Iran has not responded to US provocation. Iran has effectively been under seige by the US which has forbidden other countries, its so called ‘international community’, from trading with Iran. Without trade the Iranian people will starve thus their government, in the absence of just international law, would have clear motive and justification in making a calibrated military response of this sort as a warning that they are capable of shutting down shipping routes and starving America’s allies of oil. However while the Iranians have such motive, justification and capability to carry out this attack there is no evidence that they did nor any reason why such an attack would be covert. Other players have clearer motives for this kind of attack. The EU has been opposed to Trump’s pulling out of the deal with Iran and I believe that Trump himself is not sold on the war that his neocon dominated administration want. Trump likely sees his sanctions as a ‘clever’ bullying tactic, a ‘genius’ ruse to get a better deal than the one Obama negotiated. This attack preemptively scuttles or tries to scuttle any such deal which would involve the EU and Russia, parties to the previous deal. It is not insignificant to this thesis that Japan’s Prime Minister Abe was in Iran at the same time as the two tankers were attacked.
War would be an unmitigated disaster for the Iranian people and their leaders and they will do everything to avoid it while doing their best to ensure their own safety and to ensure that they are not militarily castrated. The Iranians are open to diplomacy because it remains the best option for their survival. But if diplomacy is war by other means it makes sense that the Iranians should take military action. They, and their Shia allies in Iraq and Lebanon and elsewhere, have the capabability to set the region aflame. The Sampson option, bringing down the temple on your enemies even as you die yourself, is never a desirable one, for anyone, but it is an understandable and honourable one, and for all their flaws, as a religious people, understand the concept of honour.
If we have honour and wish to avoid war we should not simply dismiss the incidents in the Gulf of Oman as probable false flags but understand the context in which the US and its allies are bullying a nation as proud as our own and with a longer history of peace than our own and stand not ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the US, but with Iran.