Post by Peeler
On Thu, 07 Nov 2019 20:23:47 +0000, Keema's Nan
Post by Keema's Nan Post by Grikbusstardo® Post by JNugent Post by The Todal Post by Pancho
Steel took the attitude that this sexual abuse was an unproven
allegation. He quite reasonably felt it was the job of the police and
justice system to deal with the matter. Given that Smith had not been
proven guilty, Steel took the traditional step of presuming him
He took the traditional step of ignoring the problem believing it to be
none of the party's business, and thereby assisted in suppressing the
scandal. As a result, Cyril wasn't even charged with any offences and
went to his grave an "innocent" man. Like Jimmy Savile.
He has a lot to be ashamed of.
But it certainly does raise an important question. If a party member is
a disgusting sexual pervert, is the party leader or party disciplinary
machine under any obligation to suspend the member and carry out its own
investigation? Is that a duty owed to constituents and to victims of the
When you say "a party member is a disgusting sexual pervert", do you
(a) have been alleged to have committed some crime(s) of disgusting
sexual perversion, or
(b) have been proven to have committed some crime(s) of disgusting
I'm sure you see the distinction and the difficulties that a party's
leadership would have.
Post by The Todal
It probably depends on whether the rulebook uses words like "bringing
the party into disrepute". It might be permissible to wait until someone
else has exposed the scandal and meanwhile, to turn a blind eye.
If someone (let's use the late Leon Brittan as an example) has been
*falsely* accused of having committed some crime(s) of disgusting sexual
perversion, has that person brought their party into disrepute?
The fact that these accusations were never proven does not equate to
them being false.
Don’t upset the carefully planned news management exercise.
The accusations were plausible enough to be taken seriously by the
polis. And then something changed....
First, a handful of Labour MPs agreed to nominate Corbyn for the leadership
contest, scraping him past the threshold needed to get on the ballot paper.
Most backed him only because they wanted to give the impression of an
election that was fair and open. After his victory, some loudly regretted
having assisted him.
None had thought a representative of the tiny and besieged left wing of the
parliamentary party stood a chance of winning – not after Tony Blair and
his acolytes had spent more than two decades remaking Labour, using their own
version of entryism to eradicate any vestiges of socialism in the party.
These “New Labour” MPs were there, just as Russell Brand had noted, to
represent the interests of a corporate class, not ordinary people.
Corbyn had very different ideas from most of his colleagues. Over the years
he had broken with the consensus of the dominant Blairite faction time and
again in parliamentary votes, consistently taking a minority view that later
proved to be on the right side of history. He alone among the leadership
contenders spoke unequivocally against austerity, regarding it as a way to
leech away more public money to enrich the corporations and banks that had
already pocketed vast sums from the public coffers – so much so that by
2008 they had nearly bankrupted the entire western economic system.
And second, Corbyn won because of a recent change in the party’s rulebook
– one now much regretted by party managers. A new internal balloting system
gave more weight to the votes of ordinary members than the parliamentary
party. The members, unlike the party machine, wanted Corbyn.
Corbyn’s success didn’t really prove Russell Brand wrong. Even the best
designed systems have flaws, especially when the maintenance of the
system’s image as benevolent is considered vitally important. It wasn’t
that Corbyn’s election had shown Britain’s political system was
representative and accountable. It was simply evidence that corporate power
had made itself vulnerable to a potential accident by preferring to work out
of sight, in the shadows, to maintain the illusion of democracy. Corbyn was
Corbyn’s success also wasn’t evidence that the power structure he
challenged had weakened. The system was still in place and it still had a
chokehold on the political and media establishments that exist to uphold its
interests. Which is why it has been mobilising these forces endlessly to
damage Corbyn and avert the risk of a further, even more disastrous
“accident”, such as his becoming prime minister.
Listing the ways the state-corporate media have sought to undermine Corbyn
would sound preposterous to anyone not deeply immersed in these
media-constructed narratives. But almost all of us have been exposed to this
kind of “brainwashing under freedom” since birth.
The initial attacks on Corbyn were for being poorly dressed, sexist,
unstatesmanlike, a national security threat, a Communist spy – relentless,
unsubstantiated smears the like of which no other party leader had ever
faced. But over time the allegations became even more outrageously
propagandistic as the campaign to undermine him not only failed but backfired
– not least, because Labour membership rocketed under Corbyn to make the
party the largest in Europe.
As the establishment’s need to keep him away from power has grown more
urgent and desperate so has the nature of the attacks.
Corbyn was extremely unusual in many ways as the leader of a western party
within sight of power. Personally he was self-effacing and lived modestly.
Ideologically he was resolutely against the thrust of four decades of a
turbo-charged neoliberal capitalism unleashed by Thatcher and Reagan in the
early 1980s; and he opposed foreign wars for empire, fashionable
“humanitarian interventions” whose real goal was to attack other
sovereign states either to control their resources, usually oil, or line the
pockets of the military-industrial complex.
It was difficult to attack Corbyn directly for these positions. There was the
danger that they might prove popular with voters. But Corbyn was seen to have
an Achilles’ heel. He was a life-long anti-racism activist and well known
for his support for the rights of the long-suffering Palestinians. The
political and media establishments quickly learnt that they could
recharacterise his support for the Palestinians and criticism of Israel as
anti-semitism. He was soon being presented as a leader happy to preside over
an “institutionally” anti-semitic party.
Under pressure of these attacks, Labour was forced to adopt a new and highly
controversial definition of anti-semitism – one rejected by leading jurists
and later repudiated by the lawyer who devised it – which expressly
conflates criticism of Israel, and anti-Zionism, with Jew hatred. One by one
Corbyn’s few ideological allies in the party – those outside the Blairite
consensus – have been picked off as anti-semites. They have either fallen
foul of this conflation or, as with Labour MP Chris Williamson, they have
been tarred and feathered for trying to defend Labour’s record against the
accusations of a supposed endemic anti-semitism in its ranks.
The bad faith of the anti-semitism smears were particularly clear in relation
to Williamson. The comment that plunged him into so much trouble
– now leading twice to his suspension – was videoed. In it he can be
heard calling anti-semitism a “scourge” that must be confronted. But
also, in line with all evidence, Williamson denied that Labour had any
particular anti-semitism problem. In part he blamed the party for being too
ready to concede unwarranted ground to critics, further stoking the attacks
and smears. He noted that Labour had been “demonised as a racist, bigoted
“Our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my
opinion … we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground,
we’ve been too apologetic.”
The Guardian has been typical in mischaracterising Williamson’s remarks not
once but each time it has covered developments in his case. Every Guardian
report has stated, against the audible evidence, that Williamson said Labour
was “too apologetic about anti-semitism. In short, the Guardian and the
rest of the media have insinuated that Williamson approves of anti-semitism.
But what he actually said was that Labour was “too apologetic” when
dealing with unfair or unreasonable allegations of anti-semitism, that it had
too willingly accepted the unfounded premise of its critics that the party
The McCarthyite nature of this process of misrepresentation and guilt by
association was underscored when Jewish Voice for Labour, a group of Jewish
party members who have defended Corbyn against the anti-semitism smears,
voiced their support for Williamson. Jon Lansman, a founder of the Momentum
group originally close to Corbyn, turned on the JVL calling them “part of
the problem and not part of the solution to antisemitism in the Labour
Party”. In an additional, ugly but increasingly normalised remark, he
“Neither the vast majority of individual members of JVL nor the
organisation itself can really be said to be part of the Jewish community.”
In this febrile atmosphere, Corbyn’s allies have been required to confess
that the party is institutionally anti-semitic, to distance themselves from
Corbyn and often to submit to anti-semitism training. To do otherwise, to
deny the accusation is, as in the Salem witch-hunts, treated as proof of
The anti-semitism claims have been regurgitated almost daily across the
narrow corporate media “spectrum”, even though they are unsupported by
any actual evidence of an anti-semitism problem in Labour beyond a marginal
one representative of wider British society. The allegations have reached
such fever-pitch, stoked into a hysteria by the media, that the party is now
under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – the only
party apart from the neo-Nazi British National Party ever to face such an
These attacks have transformed the whole discursive landscape on Israel, the
Palestinians, Zionism and anti-semitism in ways unimaginable 20 years ago,
when I first started reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Back
then, the claim that anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel as a state
privileging Jews over non-Jews – was the same as anti-semitism sounded
patently ridiculous. It was an idea promoted only by the most unhinged
apologists for Israel.
Now, however, we have leading liberal commentators such as the Guardian’s
Jonathan Freedland claiming not only that Israel is integral to their Jewish
identity but that they speak for all other Jews in making such an
identification. To criticise Israel is to attack them as Jews, and by
implication to attack all Jews. And therefore any Jew dissenting from this
consensus, any Jew identifying as anti-Zionist, any Jew in Labour who
supports Corbyn – and there are many, even if they are largely ignored –
are denounced, in line with Lansman, as the “wrong kind of Jews”. It may
be absurd logic, but such ideas are now so commonplace as to be unremarkable.
There is a conspiracy at work here, though it is not of the kind lampooned by
critics: a small cabal of the rich secretly pullng the strings of our
societies. The conspiracy operates at an institutional level, one that has
evolved over time to create structures and refine and entrench values that
keep power and wealth in the hands of the few. In that sense we are all part
of the conspiracy. It is a conspiracy that embraces us every time we
unquestioningly accept the “consensual” narratives laid out for us by our
education systems, politicians and media. Our minds have been occupied with
myths, fears and narratives that turned us into the turkeys that keep voting
That system is not impregnable, however. The consensus so carefully
constructed over many decades is rapidly breaking down as the power structure
that underpins it is forced to grapple with real-world problems it is
entirely unsuited to resolve, such as the gradual collapse of western
economies premised on infinite growth and a climate that is fighting back
against our insatiable appetite for the planet’s resources.
As long as we colluded in the manufactured consensus of western societies,
the system operated without challenge or meaningful dissent. A deeply
ideological system destroying the planet was treated as if it was natural,
immutable, the summit of human progress, the end of history. Those times are
over. Accidents like Corbyn will happen more frequently, as will extreme
climate events and economic crises. The power structures in place to prevent
such accidents will by necessity grow more ham-fisted, more belligerent, less
concealed to get their way. And we might finally understand that a system
designed to pacify us while a few grow rich at the expense of our
children’s future and our own does not have to continue. That we can raise
our voices and loudly say: “No!”
- Extracts from ablog post © Jonathan Cook dated 3 July 2019