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Posts Tagged ‘Greens

Derek Wall, Joel Kovel And The Green Party.

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I have been following the subject of racism in the Green Party for some time, yet even I am surprised about this, Greens Engage has a piece on Derek Wall, a very senior Green figure:

“Since then he has busied himself “negating the various threads of [his] Jewish identity” (p7). You’ll come across similar books by ex-Muslims writing against existing Muslims, denying their diversity, saying “Trust me, I know these people – they’re all authoritarian chauvinists”. It is obviously wrong to make an association between what goes on in your family and what a group of people joined by religion or ethnicity do throughout the world. Joel Kovel is quite openly an antisemitic kook, and anybody who doesn’t realise that has their own prejudices to deal with.

Unfortunately Derek Wall feels so secure within the current anti-Zionist-anti-Jewish climate that to a recent commenter who raised concerns about antisemitism, the green activist, writer and economist responded simply and confidently:

“fuck off Zionist twat.“

That is unrecognisable as politics. It is simply hateful.”

[My emphasis.]

Exactly, hateful.

Surprising, as Wall is an educated man, a tutor at a private college and normally exceedingly well spoken.

Still, I suppose “some of his best friends are….”, no doubt he will say that soon enough.

Update 1: This is Mudar Zahran’s piece, well worth a read:

“Anti-Semitism and the image of the “evil Jew” find their roots deep in Europe’s intellectualism, from Shakespeare to Nietzsche, not to mention the fraudulent Franco-Russian Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The pretexts for Hitler’s Nazi ideology existed vigorously before he came to power. Hitler probably manifested more of a crude exposure of a public trend, exacerbated by a terrible economy, except that the suffering Hitler brought to the world was not limited to Jews. It took the destruction of entire nations and the deaths of millions for people to realize that racism and extremism can be as dangerous to the oppressors and the haters as it is the oppressed and the hated.

As a result, European societies of today collectively renounce racism and anti-Semitism, but even though the haters encountered rejection and exclusion, they were nonetheless able to find an alternative pathway by prospering on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As it has raged — and continues to rage — for sixty years, the global media have found a lively source of news material that is endlessly interesting as a conflict between “two religions,” “two ethnicities,” and the line between the West, represented by Israel, and the East, represented by the Palestinians and Arabs in general. “

Update 2: Seemingly Dr. Wall’s political judgement has failed him for a number of years, he’s been an advocate of Cynthia McKinney for ages.

Readers will remember Ms. McKinney’s drift rightwards and association with some well known anti-Jewish racists, David Pidcock and Lady Renouf.

Adam Holland has documented Ms. McKinney’s decline:

Cynthia McKinney Interviewed on Far-Right Racist Radio Program

Cynthia McKinney increasing her ties to the racist far-right: Michael Collins Piper and Israel Shamir.

Cynthia McKinney and the Society of Supporters of the Green Book.

Update 3: Here is Ms. McKinney publishing Israel Shamir’s filth, courtesy of the American Green Party, I am in Turkey with Isreal Shamir. Anyone care to speculate what the shared connection between these people is?

The Greens, Entryism And Shouting Contests.

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Sometimes issues on the Internet take on a life of their own. A few weeks back I dropped a comment on the Daily (Maybe), a very popular Green Party blog.

I didn’t see eye to eye with my host, Jim, and left it at that.

Readers will remember I have been following the issue of the Green Party and anti-Jewish racism for sometime.

Then suddenly I get follow-up emails from that thread, which springs to life as if shot by a bolt of lightning.

Sadly, the resultant exchanges shed no light on the issue of the Green Party and antisemitism, but they do tell you something about the characters involved.

One particular vigorous figure is Deborah Fink.

Ms. Fink is a comparatively new convert to all things green, which normally wouldn’t be a problem except she has brought along her past political baggage.

Ms. Fink was a once prominent member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, that was until she made a statement that:

“Israel does not deserve to be called ‘The Jewish state.’ It should be called ‘The Satanic state.’ I really don’t see the point [of] doing anything else other than boycott it in every possible way.”

JfJfP didn’t like it too much either:

“But Dan Judelson, elected last month as JfJfP chair, told the JC that Ms Fink’s remarks were “incompatible” with her responsibilities within the group — which include the role of recruitment officer.

The matter would be discussed at its monthly meeting on Sunday.

“Deborah Fink is not a member of the newly elected executive committee of JfJfP,” he stated. “As such, she speaks only for herself.” He said she had confirmed that she had posted the remarks online.”

All of that is moderate, compared to her attacks on other Greens in the comment thread at the Daily (Maybe):

“Actually Alan, I have not put a complaint in against you, so don’t like, but I am now considering it. Someone else was going to put in a complaint against you but I don’t know if s/he has done so yet or how far it has progressed.”

She makes a veiled threat to the blog’s host, Jim:

“What worries me most about this, is that Jim is a member of the executive. Time for him to step down, I think.”

From the thread we learn that Ms. Fink joined the Greens on a “whim” and states openly “My main issue is Palestine…”.

She attacks long standing Greens in an aggressive fashion, only having been a Green, herself, since early 2010.

Additionally, you can see Ms. Fink bad mouthing the Green Party and its members on a public bulletin board, JustPeaceUK :

“Basically, a handful of members, otherwise known as Greens engage, had complained about ‘anti-Semitism’ in the party, so to try and address their concerns, a working group was set up. This was before I joined. I’m not quite sure why the committee was disbanded but i think it was because Greens engage kept calling one member anti-Semitic. i can imagine that they weren’t getting anywhere.

From what I heard, Greens engage used to bully people on email lists into
silence on Israel/Palestine, by constantly accusing them of anti-Semitism, but that this all stopped once I joined the party! O yes, they’ve had a taste of their own medicine! They won’t dare argue with me. I’ve been exposing their arguments and agenda so that others won’t get taken in by them, and saying what non Jews on the lists would liked to have said, but didn’t dare.

So, this article is mostly nonsense and actually, they had no business publishing it when it wasn’t from official sources. I didn’t respond as i did not want to blow the whole thing up. “

She seems to do a bit of plotting too:

“I discussed this with them and the possibility of my writing in ‘As-a-Jew’ but we decided it was best to leave it– a response would have drawn more attention to it and possibly escalated it. However, I’m looking into taking action against these infiltrators. They’ve all gone quiet now, by the way…”

Ms. Fink’s divisive attitudes brought the JfJfP into disrepute and she left, so all in all it is not very promising for the Greens, if she doesn’t get her way she’ll probably leave as quickly as she joined, on a whim.

Small wonder Toby Green resigned.

The Green Party Conference And Racism.

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Weggis asks some difficult questions of his own party:

“The situation is quite simple: anyone who raises the issue of anti-Semitism within the party is immediately labeled a “Zio” or an “apologist for Israel” and accused of trying to stifle criticism of Israel. The fact that these people are also critics of Israel and empathise with the Palestinian cause does not register on their barometer. They are blind to any evidence that contradicts their obsession. Debate, or rational discourse, has become a pointless and futile exercise.

If the Green Party cannot see, understand or deal with it’s own problems what chance have they of resolving anybody else’s?

This post might help explain the background to the issues, Institutionalised Antisemitism In The Green Party, A Longstanding Member Resigns.

Institutionalised Antisemitism In The Green Party, A Longstanding Member Resigns.

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Bob has a tremendously hard-hitting guest post by Toby Green.

Green had a 10-year membership of the Green Party in England and Wales but has resigned over its institutionalised antisemitism.

Green is exceedingly knowledgeable on this topic, as he was the chair of a working group within the Green Party to draw up a policy on antisemitism.

Readers will remember how political manoeuvrings within the Greens killed off that comprehensive policy statement against antisemitism.

Some of his points are arguable, but they are legitimate positions to hold and he has considerable experience of the internal workings of the Greens. It is a fascinating post.

I particularly liked these parts:

“To be fair, after all of this, the party did recognise that there was an issue. A report commissioned by the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC – a powerful decision-making body in the decentralisd power structure of the party), and written by two non-Jewish members, said that these were examples of a toleration of low-level anti-semitism, and that therefore a working party on anti-semitism was recommended to be established. Although kicked into the long grass at first, it started work when a senior figure recommended an article by a known holocaust denier on his blog. But the working party was quickly an impossibility. I should know: I was the chair, a position I only adopted when no one else was prepared to. Replies to very calm, polite emails asking for input came there none. Ever. Weeks would go by without any discussion, and if I as chair then asked for input this was always slack. One member only ever sent one email to the group. Eventually, a crisis came when a new GP member posted emails to a list confirming that the epithet of “squealing zionist” was justified. Since this was one of the phrases criticised in the original report to the GPRC, I brought this to the attention of the group – at which point one member resigned.

Far from it. After four years of this charade, it has become clear that the Green Party is institutionally anti-semitic. Its institutions have not dealt with clear evidence of anti-semitism. They show no evidence of wanting to, and indeed now seem to have decided to target perceived “problem” members of the party who have raised this issue. This is fundamentally a political decision: the Green party has decided that it is increasingly a hard left party, allied with enemies of Western capitalism. Rightly, it thinks that Islamophobia is one of the more dangerous phenomena to have arisen since 9/11, and in reaction against this it turns a blind eye to discrimination against perceived enemies of Islamic peoples, Israel, and the Jews. This is a classic case of projection: horrified at their own government´s attitudes towards Islamic countries, and wanting no part in it, this mentality projects this violence onto a scapegoat – Israel and Jews. “

Update 1: Some of these previous posts might shed some light on this dark and murky issue.

Green Party’s Regional Council.

Smoke-filled Rooms, Antisemitism and The Greens.

The Greens And Racism.

At Engage, Antisemitism in the Green Party ‘best kept under the surface’

Smoke-filled Rooms, Antisemitism and The Greens.

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Years back students of history or politics will remember how the term, smoke-filled rooms was coined.

It meant how political decision-making was conducted behind closed doors, where Joe (or Josephine) Public were excluded, whilst political wheelers and dealers decided things.

It is something that newer political parties try to argue that they are against.

They try to argue that they represent a new form of politics, more transparent, more open, involving people, ordinary people, not just politicos in (non-smoke-filled) rooms deciding what is what, or as one political leader put it:

“[We have] promoted a new style of politics emphasising transparency,accountability and consensual ways of working…”

That’s what such parties would have you believe, but the reality is more prosaic. This is ably illustrated by the Green Party’s discussions on antisemitism.

Within the past few weeks a Green Party decision-making committee has decided that there should be no Green Party policy on antisemitism.

That is despite a Green Party conference decision to implement one.

A policy paper was even drawn up, it was not perfect, but a good start and it at least showed that the Green Party was serious about antisemitism.

Then, it was withdrawn for “corrections”, or some such nonsense.

Whilst in the background those opposed, to any firm Green party policy on antisemitism, worked their manoeuvres emulating those smoke-filled rooms of old.

Low and behold in January 2011, when the topic came up again it was decided to shelve any concrete policy on antisemitism by the Greens.

Which I suppose shows that politics rarely ever changes, in spite of all the fine words.

It also means that the Greens will have to work very hard to convince non-members that they are serious about anti-racism and their opposition to antisemitism.

We’ve been here before. Hugh Muir was right first time out.

Update 1: The issue of antisemitism has some history in and around the Green party so it’s helpful to remember some of the previous posts:

The Green Party and antisemitism – Eve Garrard

Isca Stieglitz: Green Party and anti-semitism?

On the connection between anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism

Update 2: Not all Greens are happy with this situation, as one points out at the Daily (Maybe):

“We now have a situation where GPRC have officially accepted that there is a problem but have resolved to do absolutely eff all about it.”

Roll Around The Blogs And News.

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It seems like ages since I rounded up some of the blogs that I read and their thoughts, but this time it is with the addition of some news stories that struck me.

First out, Flesh is Grass is espousing Fairness with an eye on the comprehensive spending review.

Martin About the design…and my own two pence.

Jeffrey Goldberg on Pam Geller, and in my view, he’s far too polite:

“In a recent New York Times interview, the blogger Pamela Geller leveled many serious charges against Islam; she stated that Muslims curse Jews and Christians during their five-times-a-day prayer; that the only good Muslim is a secular Muslim; and most perniciously, she said that the Qur’an has never been properly translated, insinuating that it contains dark secrets about Muslims and their religious responsibilities. This last bit struck me as outrageous, because, as a Jew, Geller should know that anti-Semites have spent nearly two thousand years insinuating that the Talmud contains secret instructions guiding the alleged Jewish attempt to dominate the world. To make the same unsupported charge against Islam is egregious.”

Unite union’s plaque for the Spanish Civil War dead.

I hope the miners in China will be rescued.

The FT has more.

Ami Isseroff on Peace is the only option.

Eamonn McDonagh says Ahmadinejad: An Honest Anti-Zionist.

YourFriendInTheNorth looks at North Korea:

“Totalitarian dictatorships are of course unpredictable beasts in that they can often collapse just as easily as they can declare war. At the opening of the 1980s few people predicted the revolutions that would sweep eastern Europe in the final months of that decade. There may be some hoping that the DPRK, now officially in a period of transition to a new leadership, will suddenly implode at some point in the near future in the same way that Romania, Czechoslovakia and their Stalinist neighbours did in that momentous year of 1989. Unfortunately, that is unlikely. Even more disgraceful than those indulging in such wishful thinking is the fact that there are many senior officials in the south who are content for the status quo to continue, so afraid are they of the potential cost of reunification and the possibility of millions of their fellow countrymen flocking to Seoul and other cities in the south in the wake of the 65 year old border evaporating. “

Weggis (with a nice new design) on Pissing into the Wind, he doesn’t seem to think too highly of a particular boat to Gaza.

Everybody Hates a Tourist has an excellent piece on how a leading member of the English Defence League LGBT’s division has resigned over the EDL’s constant racism.

We hear about a Lib Dem Crash from Harry Barnes and his time at Ruskin College.

Jams on Trafalgar – THE TRUTH!.

I had been intending to cover Foxconn and their appalling treatment of workers for sometime, the Daily (Maybe) beats me to it with an informative post on the company and Hundreds of Foxconn workers arrested in India.

The CST on Abe Foxman: speak out against anti-Muslim bigotry, very timely.

Stumbling and Mumbling considers Freedom, rationality & religion, and Expertise in politics. Good conclusion:

“Instead, the job of shadow chancellor is to come up with what Tanweer Ali calls “simple frames” – easily-understood narratives and soundbites. And as Paul says, Johnson might be better at doing this than Balls precisely because he is not trapped by any knowledge.
These points do not apply merely to Johnson. As Jonathan says, Miliband has applied the no-expertise principle quite widely: Yvette Cooper has no background in foreign affairs and Balls little interest so far in home affairs.
There is, however, a cost here. Excluding expertise from politics has a conservative bias, because radical critiques of hierarchical capitalism require in-depth understanding, and cannot be reduced to mere slogans (they often are, but those slogans don’t work).
But then, the function of managerialist politics is precisely to uphold the existing order.

Stroppy on LGBT rights , battle not won.

The Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance has coverage of the Scottish Defence League and the typical “we are not neo-nazis defence” doesn’t work for the SDL either:

The Srebrenica Genocide Blog has coverage of Radovan Karadzic’s trial.

Snoopy thinks Lieberman is confused.

Searchlight’s A journey to hope Anti-fascism in a new era.

Rosie is less than impressed with the many incarnations of the RCP.

James Bloodworth sees the end of mass higher education.

Carl Paladino is taken apart at Mystical Politics.

Matt on a particularly odd form of one-state solution and Juan Cole.

Hitchens vs. Hitchens, again at Roland’s.

Green’s Engage has a piece on some monumental political stupidity and malice, Green Left’s guest urges support for the English Defence League.

Finally, Max on Liu Xiaobo, superb:

“I hope to be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for their speech.”

Update 1: Ops, I missed this one, John Gray on a completely flawed report by Lord Young.

Young, you will remember came into politics under Margaret Thatcher and was key in arguing for privatisation all over the place.

Update 2: Bob has a long thought entry, An enormous EDL post.

The Greens And Racism.

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The Greens and many of the other new parties would have us believe that they represent a new type of politics, different from the shenanigans, backroom deals and manoeuvring that is often found in mainstream politics.

That might well be so, on some issues and elsewhere in local councils they say:

“Green councillors want to inspire a new culture of increased openness at city hall. Our local election manifesto included a whole range of ideas from improving the way decisions are scrutinised to publishing more information about the council and its activities.”

However, when it comes to the Green’s own debate on anti-Jewish racism trying to get a straight answer from Greens is nearly impossible.

Sure enough they answer, but only in the most obtuse of ways.

Their replies owe more to old-fashioned politicking in the House of Commons than any new form of transparency or desire to openly debate these difficult issues.

This all came about in the wake of the Green Party’s conference and a small piece in the Guardian, by Hugh Muir:

“And some year for the Green party as members meet in Birmingham for the annual conference. The party, still bright and relatively new, has yet to succumb to the dead hand of sophistry and spin. And yet they realise that some things are best kept under the surface. One such is the claim that too often a sympathy for the plight of Palestinians spills over into full-blown antisemitism. These claims have been made before. That’s why the party sought to address them by setting up an antisemitism working group. But good intentions, we understand, were not enough, and thus it apparently became necessary to remove the chair and disband the committee. We have a problem, say worried members. No we don’t, says the leadership; and if we do we’ll deal with it. It’s under the surface for now but bubbling up fast.”

I have asked a couple of leading Greens to comment, but to date I have not received any satisfactory reply, nothing to clarity the situation.

Peter Cranie seem to have a bout of political laryngitis on this topic.

I got two replies from Jim Jepps, after a bit of pestering:

1. “The short answer is that I think there is a problem.

Although I don’t think it is institutional anti-semitism in the party I do think we have a constant failure in the way we deal with disputes or handle individuals who do inappropriate things.

That failure to intervene firmly enough (or at all) can lead to a small group of people or single individuals making discussions or lists poisonous – and I know many people leave those lists because they don’t reflect the friendly and useful Green Party they know in their local area.

I think the people making a complaint have a point that is worth replying to and we should try to address their concerns. Although I should say I don’t 100% agree with them on the detail and definition I think it would be an error for the party to dismis this out of hand.

I’ll try to make a more thoughtful comment on this later, but thought a quick response might be useful to getting on with.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:15:00 AM”

2. “Mod: I can answer that now. Thw working group was disbanded because certain members of it came to the group with such a dogmatic and rigid position that it was unable to function meaningfully.

It was replaced by a two person group who are submitting a report soon I believe. I’ll get to read this report when it comes out and am ‘looking forward to it’ if that is the right phrase.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 7:24:00 PM”

All rather opaque, worth of Sir Humphrey.

So there is a distinct unwillingness by the Greens to provide clarification on this important issue.

I suppose it’s understandable, like mainstream political parties, they don’t like washing their political laundry in public, but then again there is nothing new or radical in that approach, it is the politics of the old school.

Unfortunately for the Greens the issue of anti-Jewish racism will not go away, until the Greens go beyond rhetoric and the political tactics of the past then it will come back to haunt them.

What we are seeing from the Greens is the same old obfuscation that politicos are so fond of, remember the expenses scandal?

Here’s Engage’s discussion of the topic.

[Just to be perfectly clear, that I am not accusing the Greens of racism. I am not accusing them of racism.

Instead, it seems to me, that they display a recognizable lack of transparency, and if they can’t openly discuss the issues of racism then what can they discuss in a meaningful manner?]

Update 1: Despite my best endeavours and the aid of Google I have been unable to find anything of significance on the Green Party’s autumn conference 2010.

There is plenty of information going back to 2007 and 2005, etc but nothing as far as I can see freely available on the Web which openly discusses what went on at the Greens’ conference from an objective point of view.

Sure enough there is plenty of PR and speeches from leaders, but not much critical comment or an interrogation of events, which sounds to me like political parties from 40+ years ago, as if the Web didn’t exist.

If anyone finds a good summary on this issue, please let me know.

Update 2: Peter Cranie has replied and I appreciate he’s rather busy, so we might hear something in a few days or so, which is fair enough.

Written by modernityblog

06/10/2010 at 02:00