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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Support the Picket of Brighton Fabians and War Criminal Ivor Caplin

Say No to the pro-Israel Jewish Labour Movement and the Weaponisation of Anti-Semitism

Ivor Caplin was a Defence Minister in 2003 at the time of Blair’s war in Iraq. When the Chilcott Inquiry Report came out Caplin made it clear that he stood by an invasion that is held responsible for up to 1 million Iraqi deaths. The decision of the International Military Tribunal which presided over the trial of the Nazi war criminals at Nuremburg in 1946 made it clear that in accordance with the London Charter, to plan or instigate an aggressive war is a crime according to international law. The Iraq War was a war of aggression and Caplin was integral to the decision to go to war and therefore a war criminal.
It is surprising that Brighton Fabians has nonetheless decided to invite Caplin to speak to them on the topic Why Anti Semitism affects Labour's Political Ambitions". Perhaps for their next meeting they could invite the Yorkshire Ripper to give a lecture on the evils of violence against women? Or perhaps Tommy Robinson could help the Fabians out with a talk on the benefits of multi-racialism?
Fabian advert for meeting next Friday
No group has done more to spread the idea that the Labour Party is an anti-Semitic party than the JLM. They have targeted Jewish anti-Zionists in particular. They have directed their spleen at the non-Zionist Jewish Voice for Labour. Not only have I been expelled but Black-Jewish activist Jackie Walker has been suspended for over two years as a result of the JLM’s false and malicious allegations.
Meanwhile the JLM MPs like Louise Ellman are in the forefront of the attack on Palestinians. Only last week Ellman moved a motion seeking to cut off British funding for Palestinian Education in the West Bank. She did so in the company of a list of parliamentary lepers such as Tory Theresa Villiers, Stephen Crabb, John Howell, Andrew Percy, Guto Bebb and Bob Blackman. Bringing up the rear was Jim Shannon from the sectarian Protestant Democratic Unionist Party. Ellman is an officer of the JLM.
Historically the Fabians supported imperialism and racism, the British Empire in particular. In their 1900 pamphlet Fabianism and the Empire edited by George Bernard Shaw, the Introduction, made their position clear in the light of the forthcoming General Election.
... it is important that voters should make up their minds what Imperialism means. ... if it means a well-considered policy to be pursued by a Commonwealth of the communities flying the British flag, then it is as worthy and as weighty an issue as an election could turn on.   
Compare this with the policy of communists and socialists for the independence of the colonies. In 1929, Fabian architect, Sydney Webb (Lord Passfield) became Colonial Secretary. Zionism was an integral part of the British Empire. It is therefore no surprise that Fabians today should invite the anti-Corbyn JLM as a speaker. When Owen Smith challenged JC for the leadership, no less than 92% of the JLM voted for Smith and a mere 4% voted for Corbyn.
The JLM describes itself as the sister party of the Israeli Labour Party. The ILP was a party of government in Israel for the first 30 years in Israel (&today is almost irrelevant in Israeli politics) was responsible for organising the ethnic cleansing of over ¾ million Palestinians in 1948. Without the removal of the Palestinians there could be no Jewish state.
Today the ILP advocates segregation between Jew and Arab.  It believes in a Jewish state with as large a Jewish majority as possible. It is part of a national consensus that opposes the presence of non-Jews. That is why the ILP supported Netanyahu’s attempts to physically deport Black African asylum seekers back to Africa.
The JLM has assiduously waged a scurrilous campaign in the Labour Party painting the Left as ‘anti-Semitic’. What it and the Zionist meant by this was made clear when they made the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism a cardinal principle. The IHRA is based upon 11 illustrations of ‘anti-Semitism’ 7 of which relate to Israel. Calling Israel a racist state is defined as anti-Semitism. 
Traditionally anti-Semitism was understood as hatred of Jews not a state. In the words of the Oxford English Dictionary, anti-Semitism was ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jews’.  That is still how the vast majority of people understand it but the Zionists are not concerned with traditional anti-Semitism but with defending Israel.
That is why a group of us, Labour Party and Palestine solidarity supporters and members are calling on people to demonstrate their opposition to both Ivor Caplin, the JLM and Fabian imperialism.
I should add as a personal note that the late Riad el-Taher, an Iraqi anti-war activist who was elected to the Executive of Hove Labour Party was fingered by Caplin (like many other members) for expulsion from the Labour Party. Riad was ‘administratively’ expelled i.e. without the right of appeal, by Iain McNicol. Riad was gaoled for 10 months in 2011 for having breached British sanctions against Iraq in the 1990’s.  Sanctions which led to the death of an estimated half a million Iraqi children. When confronted with this, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright breezily declared of these deaths that ‘we think the price is worth it.’
This is the kind of man that the Fabians have invited to speak to them.
Tony Greenstein

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Death of the Historian of the Hungarian Holocaust

Randolph Braham, Rudolf Kasztner and the Auschwitz Protocols

Randolf Braham, the historian of the Hungarian Holocaust, who died on November 25th was the most important historian of the Holocaust after the late Raul Hilberg. His two volume Politics of Genocide: The Hungarian Holocaust is a massive and detailed exposition of the background to and the mechanics of how the Hungarian Holocaust was organised. He was a consummate historian.
The Hungarian Holocaust in which over a half a million Jews died, is the catastrophe which could and should have been averted. It is the tragedy for which the Zionist movement above all bears the blame.
Admiral Horthy with Adolf Hitler - according to Netanyahu's good friend Viktor Orban he is an 'exceptional statesman'
Under the leadership of the Prince Regent, Admiral Horthy, Hungary joined the Tripartite Alliance with Germany, Italy and Japan in November 1940. But although Hungary was allied with Nazi Germany it had never been occupied by the Nazis. Hungary joined the Alliance primarily to retrieve the territories that it had lost through the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, a consequence of Hungary being on the losing side in the first world war.
Although there had been 3 Anti-Jewish Laws of increasing ferocity beginning in 1938, the Jews had been largely untouched by the Holocaust until 1944. There had been two massacres of Jews at Kamenetz Podelsk in August 1941 when 16,000 Hungarian Jews had been murdered and in January 1942 Novi Sad when 700 had died, but this apart Hungary’s 725,000 Jews had remained untouched.
Deportation of the Jews of Budapest to the Ghetto which the Hungarian Nazis (Nyilas/Arrow Cross) set up in November 1944
This was to change when on March 19th 1944 Nazi Germany occupied Hungary because it feared that Prime Minister Kallay, who had refused to deport the Jews, would end the alliance with Germany.
It was around this time that preparations were made at Auschwitz to receive Hungary’s Jewish population. A ramp at Birkenau, the main killing centre, had been extended almost to the gas chambers themselves in order to make the process of killing that much more efficient.
Image result for rudolf vrba
Rudolf Vrba - Auschwitz escapee
Rudolph Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, two Jews who worked in the Canada section of Auschwitz became aware of these preparations.  They had access to the trains and were part of the camp resistance. 
On April 10th both men escaped, determined to warn the Jews of Hungary.  On April 24th, after a hair raising journey they reached Slovakia via Poland. They established contact with the Judenrat (Jewish Council) and on the following day they both sat down in different rooms and wrote out a description of what was happening in Auschwitz, including detailed maps. Vrba and Wexler produced what became known as the Auschwitz Protocols. [See Vrba’s I Cannot Forgive]
Hungarian Jewish children waiting to board the trains to Auschwitz
This was the first definitive proof of the role of Auschwitz in the Holocaust. Up till then Auschwitz had been thought of as a labour camp only. There had been many clues but since neither the Allies nor Zionists were looking, these clues were overlooked. [two books on this topic are Walter Lacquer’s The Terrible Secret and Martin Gilbert’s Auschwitz and the Allies.
The Protocols were later translated into German, Hungarian and other languages from Slovak. On or around April 29th Rudolf Kasztner, the leader of Hungarian Zionism and the head of the Jewish Agency Rescue & Relief Committee in Budapest, known as Vaadah, arrived in Bratislava and was given a copy of the Protocols.
Ferenc Szalasi, leader of the Hungarian Nazis (Nyilas/Arrow Cross) on being returned to Hungary after the war. At least 50,000 Jews in Budapest died because of the savage pogroms initiated by the Arrow Cross. Szalasi was executed by the Peoples Committees set up after the Nazis were defeated.
Kasztner was urged to distribute the Protocols as soon as possible and to warn Hungarian Jewry as to their fate. Hungarian Jews were not like the Jews of Poland.  They were largely secular and mixed throughout the country.
Adolf Eichmann’s Judenkommando consisted of less than 300 SS men. They had relatively little time within which to round up the Jews, not least because the Soviet Union was beginning its offensive in Romania in April 1944. Romania formally switched sides in August 1944 with the coup by King Michael but Romania had become a refuge for Jews much earlier. Eichmann could only carry out the Final Solution in Hungary if he obtained the collaboration of the Jewish leaders in Hungary.
Kasztner decided to not to distribute the Protocols because he had reached an agreement on April 21st with Eichmann that in exchange for his co-operation in the deportations, a train of 600 Prominents, leaders of the Zionist and Jewish community, would be allowed to depart on a special train out of Hungary to safety in Switzerland. This did indeed happen on July 1st and the numbers on it had expanded to 1,684 Jews, mainly Zionists.
Kasztner and his ‘rescue’ Committee together with the Jewish Council worked closely with the Nazis to the extent of compiling lists of Jews, helping with the round ups , ordering them to gather in the building yards prior to deportation and reassuring them that they were going to fictitious places such as Kenyermeze and Waldsee.  
Jews on the Kasztner Train take a break - they were the lucky ones who got out of Hungary at the expense of half a million others
Thus what the Nazis were unable to achieve by themselves they were able to achieve with the help of the Zionist leaders, in particular Kasztner. After the war, those who had survived Auschwitz charged that Kasztner, who was now a senior official in the Israeli Labour Party (Mapai) was a collaborator with the Nazis. Kasztner sued his accuser, Malchiel Greenwald for libel and thus took place the Kasztner Trial from 1954-58.  The trial in the Jerusalem District Court, in which the Prosecutor for Kasztner was Attorney General Chaim Cohen did not go to plan.  Kasztner quickly became in effect the Defendant rather than the Plaintiff. The Judge, Benjamin Halevi upheld the allegations of collaboration and the government of Moshe Shertok fell in 1955.
Munkaks Ghetto in which 24,000 Jews were deported from May 11th to 24th 
Kasztner meanwhile was soon assassinated. The Supreme Court reversed the original verdict on legal and political grounds but they didn’t challenge the facts as found by the lower court and in particular they upheld the charge of collaboration in respect of the testimony that Kasztner gave at Nuremburg on behalf of Col. Becher, Himmler’s personal representative in Germany. It later turned out that Kasztner had given testimony on behalf of 7 Nazis including Hermann Krumey, who had been in charge of organising the Holocaust in Hungary and Dieter Wisliceny, who had presided over the deportations in Slovakia and Greece.
The details of this trial were first published in the book Perfidy by Revisionist Zionist Ben Hecht in 1961. He was, of course, attacked as an anti-Semite. Yad Vashem, Israel’s propaganda Holocaust museum, under Professor Yehuda Bauer defended Kasztner and rehabilitated him.
How the Mail treated Bogdanor's book - previously it had screamed 'antisemitism' when the play Perdition directed by Ken Loach was staged
However even such arch-Zionists as Paul Bogdanor have been forced by the weight of evidence to accept what anti-Zionists have long maintained, that Kasztner was a collaborator with the Nazis, although Bogdanor pretends that Kasztner, the leader of Hungarian Zionism, acted without the knowledge of the Jewish Agency. [Kasztner’s Crime, see my review Collaboration that haunts Zionism]
Although Braham was a Zionist he was not an uncritical one. He criticised Yehuda Bauer, the main Zionist professor of the Holocaust, for his partisan historiography. Braham was very critical of the role of Kasztner and found the failure to distribute the Protocols as soon as they were written (April 25) as ‘one of the most baffling enigmas requiring elucidation if one is to understand the extent of the catastrophe in Hungary.’.[Politics of Genocide p. 632]
 ‘Why’ did the Jewish leaders in Hungary, Switzerland, and elsewhere not distribute and publicise the Protocols immediately after they had received copies of them in late April or early May 1944?  Why did the Vaada leaders who continued to  maintain contact with the Jewish leaders in Switzerland... fail to include copies of the Protocols in their lengthy reports on the conditions in Hungary and the status of their negotiations with the SS? Why did the leaders of the AJDC, Jewish Agency, and Hehalutz, for example, fail to publicise the reports they had received from the Vaada leaders in Bratislava and Budapest, including the Weissmandel reports?. [Braham pp. 718-9] Why was the report on Hitler’s resolution to bring about the Final Solution handled as a top secret diplomatic communication? .... Even after June 19, the initiative was taken by a non-establishment Jew, George Mantello....’ [Braham p. 715]
The explanation was simple as even Yad Vashem historian, Professor Israel Gutman eventually conceded. Kasztner received a copy of the Protocols on 29th April but he had already made a decision, with other Jewish leaders, ‘not to disseminate the report in order not to harm the negotiations with the Nazis.’ [Ruth Linn, p. 72, Escaping Auschwitz, A Culture of Forgetting].

Hungarian Jews were marched down Wesselenyi Street in the heart of Budapest's Jewish Quarter,
Krasniansky of the Jewish Council, aware of Kasztner’s forthcoming visit to Bratislava, had quickly translated the German version of the original Report into Hungarian. He stated that he personally handed the translation to Kasztner toward the end of April. [Linn, p.27.  Braham p. 712]. Braham cites Eric Kulka as claiming that Kasztner frequently quoted from the Protocols without divulging the source, fn. 81 p. 729.  ‘Auschwitz Condoned’ The Wiener Library Bulletin, London, 23, no. 1 (Winter 1968-9] In another version, he recounted how the Protocols were sent to Budapest within 2 weeks. According to Bauer, the report arrived in Budapest ‘perhaps through Kasztner’ at the end of April and were then handed over to the leading members of the Judenrat.’ Bauer, Jews for Sale, pp. 156-7]
In 1946 Kasztner wrote a 300 page Report for the JA, Der Kasztner-Bericht, on his and Vaadah’s activities. It was described by Braham as ‘self-serving’ Kasztner was silent about the failure to inform Hungarian Jewry.’[Braham p. 706] Braham outlined the facts as he saw them:
i.         Vrba and Wetzler told their story of Auschwitz to the Slovakian Jewish Council leaders on April 25-6 1944.
ii.            Freudiger [Chief Rabbi of Hungary] admitted receiving the Protocols between May 5 and 10 1944.
iii.         Kasztner admitted that he knew of the destruction of Hungarian Jewry at Auschwitz.
iv.         The Hungarian Jews were not informed as to their fate.
v.            The deportation of the Jews began in Northern Transylvania and Carpatho-Ruthenia on May 15 and lasted till July 7 1944, though one train left on April 16th. [Braham p.539]
vi.         The Hungarian Jewish leaders were still translating and duplicating the Protocols on June 14-16 and didn’t distribute them until the latter half of June. [Yahil L, The Holocaust:  The Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945 (New York:  OUP, 1990) Yahil suggests that it was only during the second half of June that the Hungarian Jewish leaders started disseminating copies of the report to the Hungarian authorities and Swiss representatives].
vii.       The Hungarian Jewish leaders completely ignored the Protocols in their post-war memoirs and statements. [Braham pp. 718-9]
Braham advances a number of ‘plausible and to a considerable extent convincing’ claims:
·               Oscar Krasniansky’s contention in 1964 that he handed a copy of the Protocols to Kasztner during his visit to Bratislava in late April 1944.
·               Oscar Neumann’s contention that the Protocols were sent to Hungary, Switzerland and the Vatican ‘shortly ‘ after completion.
·               Vrba’s claim that he was told by Neumann and Krasniansky that the Protocols were handed to Kasztner on April 26th.
·               Kasztner deliberately remained silent in accordance with an agreement with Eichmann which allowed him to save a few thousand ‘prominent’ Jews, including his own family and friends. [Braham p. 719]
Braham was horrified by the current regime under Viktor Orban in Hungary.  A regime which openly uses anti-Semitism in its attacks on George Soros and which is seeking to rehabilitate Admiral Horthy, who presided over the deportation of over 400,000 Jews to Auschwitz.
As is noted below in 2014 Braham resigned from the Hungarian Order of Merit which was awarded to him in 2011. He also instructed that his name not be associated with the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest in protest at the rewriting of the history of the Holocaust  by Orban’s government. However this rewriting of the Holocaust, which involved Orban declaring that Admiral Horthy was an ‘exceptional stateman’ has not prevented a close political friendship between Orban and Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government.  Anti-Semitism and Holocaust revisionism is no obstacle to the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv. ‘Anti-Semitism’ is only of concern to the Israeli government when opposition to Zionism and Israeli racism is on the agenda. See Netanyahu and Orban: An Illiberal Bromance Spanning From D.C. to Jerusalem
Below is an obituary in the Hungarian Spectrum and beneath that is a link to the obituary in the New York Times.
Tony Greenstein
Professor Randolph L. Braham, the preeminent historian of the Hungarian Holocaust, died this morning. He is perhaps best known for his two-volume The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary, a monumental work of historical scholarship, the result of 20 years of work, which covered the unfolding story in minute detail.
During the Kádár regime little time was spent on Holocaust research. It was only after the arrival of the political change in 1990 that serious research began. In 1997 The Politics of Genocide was translated into Hungarian under the title A népírtás politikája: A holocaust Magyarországon. Between 2001 and 2014 Professor Braham published seven volumes in a Hungarian-language series, Tanulmányok a holokausztról (Studies on the Holocaust). In 2007 he, in conjunction with Zoltán Tibori Szabó, professor at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj/Kolozsvár in Romania, began another major, three-volume undertaking, A magyarországi holokauszt földrajzi enciklopédiája, which came out in English in 2013 under the title The Geographical Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in Hungary.
In March 2014 I was greatly honored when Professor Braham offered me his latest article, “Hungary: The Assault on the Historical Memory of the Holocaust.” Randy Braham, as his friends called him, was a regular reader and supporter of Hungarian Spectrum and found it a worthy place to share his research. A Hungarian translation of that article was eventually published in A holokauszt Magyarországon: hetven év múltán in 2016. As you may gather from the title of the article, it was a description of the assault by Hungarian politicians on the historical memory of the Holocaust, from the immediate post-war years to our days. A large portion of the article was devoted to the Orbán governments, during both the 1998-2002 and the post-2010 periods.
As a reaction to the wholesale falsification of history that was taking place in Hungary, Professor Braham returned all his medals he received and resigned from the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary awarded to him by the Orbán government in 2011. He also forbade having his name used in connection with the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, whose leadership and activities had been greatly interfered with by the Orbán government.
On a personal note. In the past few years Professor Braham and I became close friends. I appreciated his unassuming manner and his sense of humor. I greatly admired his total devotion to the truth and his stand when that truth was assaulted by politicians and pseudo-historians. I’m one of the many who find his death a personal loss.
András Heisler: The Victim Returns: Survival and History
Randolph L. Braham, author of the ultimate historical narrative of the Hungarian Holocaust, is a survivor of the Shoa. As a young Hungarian Jew from Northern Transylvania he lived through the horrors in hiding and in 1945, as a twenty-year-old, he started out for the free world. He left behind the land of the Holocaust, Europe, and Hungary, yet he spent the rest of his long life studying the history of the Hungarian Holocaust. He documented in the most precise detail what happened to his country, his family, and himself.
He believed in the strength of narration and awareness. He owed it not only to the dead but especially to the living to chronicle the story. He knew that something that could happen once could take place again at anytime and anywhere. He believed that if we know the story, if we understand what led to the Holocaust, aware of every little detail of its genesis, if we learn the truth, we will have a chance of guarding against a similar tragedy. He believed in the power of truth. May God grant truth to his belief.
He always raised his voice when one had to speak up. He did it gently but firmly.  He spoke when Romanian nationalists misrepresented the history of their Holocaust, and he took a stand when the enemies of truth did the same in Hungary.
The enemies of truth claim that they are the friends of Hungary, but it isn’t so.  Braham was the real friend of Hungary, one of the greatest Hungarian historians. He was a patriot for whom the mother tongue of truth, the Hungarian language, was his most important working tool and weapon. He offered the truth to his compatriots as the only real healing agent since assessing the past is the only real chance. He knew that only those who take a hard look at the past and who accept and draw lessons from it can have an opportunity to live a meaningful and responsible life.
Last year, at the age of 95, he paid a visit to Hungary. Before his lecture in Goldmark Hall he visited me in my office, where he recited by heart perhaps the most famous love poem of Sándor Petőfi, the great Hungarian national poet. He loved Hungary, and he wanted to shield us against the resurrection of our darkest demons.
The truth by now is known. It is in Randolph L. Braham’s exhaustive works. Never again can we say that we are not familiar with it, that we don’t know about it. Thanks to Professor Braham, we will never be able to free ourselves from the truth. May the time come when every Hungarian will be grateful for that. A few weeks ago he wrote me an open letter in which he asked us to defend “the historical integrity of the Hungarian chapter of the Holocaust.” Dear Braham, I promise that it will be done.
András Heisler, President of the Association of Hungarian Jewish Religious Communities (MAZSIHISZ)
November 25, 2018

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Brexit – Doing Nothing is Not a Political Strategy – Labour has no Option but to Support a Second Referendum

There is no Lexit - Leaving the EU is a Project of the Right and far-Right
Barring a miracle Theresa May’s deal with Europe, backstop and all, is likely to be rejected by a hefty majority in the Commons tomorrow. It is quite possible that May herself will resign although it is equally possible that she will have to be dragged out of Downing Street kicking and screaming.
Of one thing we can be sure. There is nothing at all progressive or socialist in cutting our ties with the European Union. The problem with the EU is not that it is leading to European integration or the loss of a mythical sovereignty but that capitalism, based as it is on nation states, is incapable of achieving the goal of European integration.
The original 6 members of the EEC
The project for European unity began as a consequence of World War 2 with the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. A common market in iron and steel was created under the control of a supranational Higher Authority. Iron and steel competition had symbolised the drive to war in previous decades.
At the time the UK, which still had an Empire, refused to join what became the European Common Market. It was only with the humiliation of the Suez War, when the United States forced Britain into retreating that the UK began to orientate to the EEC. As Dean Acheson, Harry Truman’s Secretary of State observed, “Great Britain had lost an Empire and not yet found a role.” It was a way of casting scorn on the special relationship’ with the United States.
Charles de Gaulle - French President
Three times, Britain applied to join the Common Market. The first application, in July 1961 by Harold MacMillan, was vetoed by the French President Charles de Gaulle. The second application in May 1967 under Harold Wilson was also vetoed by de Gaulle. It was only the third application under Ted Heath, by which time de Gaulle was dead, that was successful.
The Labour Party came to power in February 1974, in the wake of the Miners Strike when Ted Heath called a General Election under the banner ‘Who Rules the Country’ – he got a rude shock when the electorate said it wasn’t him! Harold Wilson had held the Labour Party together by promising to renegotiate our terms of entry and then hold a referendum. After gaining minor concessions the referendum in 1975 produced a 2-1 majority in favour of remaining in the EEC.
The left of the Labour Party, Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Barbara Castle joined forces with the Tory Right – people such as Enoch Powell and Teddy Taylor – to campaign on an openly nationalist basis against the EEC. The Out campaign warned that the EEC ‘"sets out by stages to merge Britain with France, Germany, Italy and other countries into a single nation," in which Britain would be a "mere province". What a terrible thing!
The opposition of the Labour Left to the EU has always been a pale reflection of the Right, based on a nostalgia for when Britain was ‘great’.  At a time when MAGA is the slogan of Trump and the alt-Right it should not be difficult to see the parallels.
The 1970’s were a time of unparalleled class struggle, the likes of which we haven’t seen since. In 1972 and 1974 the National Union of Miners went on strike twice and and it brought the government of Ted Heath to its knees. The industrial and political struggle against the Industrial Relations Act led to the defiance and then repeal of the Industrial Relations Act by the dockers in 1972 with the gaoling of the Pentonville 5.  When the TUC called a one-day General Strike the courts, in the form of Lord Denning, caved in.
It was in this context that the Labour left, which had made its peace with Labour’s class collaborationist ‘social contract’ with Capital turned its attention to opposition to Britain’s membership of the EEC. The campaign against the EEC, alongside the Tory Right was politically disastrous and weakened the Left. After the referendum Wilson demoted Tony Benn moving him from his powerful position as Minister of Trade and Industry to Minister of Energy.
In short the Labour Left’s opposition to the EU has been a disastrous capitulation to the forces of nationalism and an abandonment of class struggle politics from its inception. The Labour left took its lead from the Communist Party and its British Road to Socialism which posits the Stalinist idea that you can achieve socialism in one country.
There is nothing progressive or socialist and never has been in opposition to the European Union.
Opposition to the EU has at its heart opposition to the free movement of labour. Capital in today’s world can move wherever it wants but workers are forced to stay where they are and compete against each other. Those who argue that free movement of labour undercuts the wages and conditions of native workers are conceding to the idea that British workers and bosses have more in common than with foreign workers. It is no surprise that it is the same anti-trade union right which employs this same argument as it did against Jewish workers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The socialist argument is quite simple. Organise migrant labour don’t exclude it alongside reactionary and racist Toryism. Class   action and trade union organisation between migrant and indigenous labour is the best way of protecting wages and conditions.
Opposition to the EU is based on the idea that an independent British capitalist state is preferable. It is a harking back to the days of Empire. Only last week Jeremy Hunt visited Singapore saying that after Brexit Britain could adopt the Singaporean model of low taxes. Those who argue for Brexit are playing with fire – they are laying the basis for a low wage, low tax economy in which we effectively undercut wages in Europe.  This is the ‘socialist’ solution of our so-called Left.  Unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn has always been part of this left.
General Election
If and when the Commons rejects Theresa May’s Deal tomorrow, it is essential that Labour does more than call for a General Election. It should take over the campaign for a referendum. The defeat of Brexit at a second referendum would almost guarantee the victory of Labour at a General Election. It would also nip in the bud the moves for some form of national coalition between the Labour Right and Tory anti-Brexiteers.
The argument that a second referendum doesn’t respect the first referendum is barely worth arguing against. People are clearly in possession of more information now about the consequences of Brexit, leaving aside the fraudulent use of money at the last referendum. A strong campaign by Labour can not only overturn the 2016 referendum but it will strike a decisive blow against the far-Right in this country which is riding on the coat tails of Brexit.
A successful rejection of Brexit will provide an unstoppable momentum for a General Election. Far from damaging Labour’s chances the rejection of Brexit would enhance them enormously. It should be able to capture significant territory in the anti-Brexit South, London and the Home Counties. By taking head on the anti-migrant narrative in the North, viz. that deindustrialisation and austerity are the product of the EU rather than the politics of the free market and Austerity, Labour can overcome any Tory campaign. Labour should argue that what motivated people to vote No in 2016 were policies that made the working class pay for the financial crisis of 2008-9, Those who say we should ‘respect’ the first referendum result are really saying they have no confidence in being able to challenge this racist and nationalist narrative.
The 2016 Referendum led to an increase in racist attacks and     xenophobia. It was the far-Right who felt emboldened by the result.  We have seen with James Duggard and his far-Right acolytes last week exactly who stands to benefit from Brexit.
All over Europe the far-Right has grown on the back of a Euro-scepticism allied to anti- refugee feeling. The Brexit vote in the 2016 referendum was a visible sign of that and those who say we should ‘respect’ it are in essence saying that we should not challenge the racist Right any longer.
It is also obvious that the alt-Right and Trump in the United States welcome Brexit as the first instalment in the break up of the European Union. The idea that Britain would become independent is for the birds. It would tie Britain hand and foot to US capitalism.
Socialists should counter the message that Europe is the cause of austerity and unemployment. We should also be clear that we do not accept the neo-liberal policies of Europe and its competition law either but that the place to fight them is inside not outside. We should take our lead from French workers who have been in the forefront of the fight against Macron and his Blairite economic policies. Cutting our ties with Europe is a strange way of building working class alliances with European workers.
Jeremy Corbyn’s strategy of wanting a ‘Jobs First Brexit’ is politically and economically absurd. Brexit has already led to the loss of thousands of jobs and will lead to many more as firms transfer investment to mainland Europe. One may as well talk about a ‘life enhancing suicide’ or a healthy heart attack. It is an oxymoron.
We are entering into the territory of a constitutional crisis with a Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, who is prepared to tear up precedent and existing procedure in order to enable the Commons to override a government that has lost its majority. The Sunday Times at the weekend speculated on a plot to suspend Standing Order 14 which gives precedence to government motions.  If true then the government will have lost control.
Labour has a golden opportunity to use the ruling class crisis over Brexit to its advantage and ride to power in its wake.  The alternative could also be that the Corbyn phenomenon is derailed entirely.
Tony Greenstein