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Sunday, 2 August 2009

Palestine Solidarity Campaign Belongs to its Members

Earlier this year we ran two articles on the situation whereby a secretive political group, which originated in the International Marxist Group, but which doesn't print any literature or even have a web presence of its own, has taken over PSC. The group, Socialist Action, seems to have completely jetissoned any class politics, hence why one of their supporters in PSC, Carole Regan, has taken exception to the occasions when I have termed Mahmoud Abbas a 'quisling'. Abbas it might be recalled when the Gaza war started, spent more of his time blaming Hamas than criticising Israel. Abbas co-ordinated his every move with President Mubarak of Egypt, who has been a junior partner to Israel in enforcing the siege of Gaza. This is of course unsurprising since it has been widely reported that Abbas's security forces have been trained by the CIA, with Israel's complicity, in the arts of repressing their own people. Socialist Action's behaviour is a model of how the Left should not behave. Packing meetings, taking over organisations and then running them in the interests of the group not the wider movement, denial and secretiveness about their intentions, manipulativeness etc. And as Lenin put it in a different context, their attitude to those on PSC Executive who have gone along with them without actually being members is that they are 'useful idiots'.

This is why a group of us have come together to try and reverse what is happening before it is too late. Already Socialist Action have appointed 3 of their members as staff of PSC (nothing like equal opportunities policies with them!) and in the process fired without warning or explanation, the bookkeeper. An essential tactic if you are taking over an organisation is to ensure that the finances are in your hands so you can ensure that no one will spot what you are up to. We are therefore holding a meeting in Birmingham, this Saturday August 8th at 1.30 p.m. at the Carrs Lane Church & Community Centre. All those interested in seeing PSC run democratically are welcome to attend.

Below is a statement that I have, after discussion, sent round to people who are interested in seeing a democratic, Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain.

Tony Greenstein - founder member of PSC

Dear Friend,

At the last AGM of Palestine Solidarity Campaign in January 2009, it became apparent that PSC has effectively been subject to a ‘take-over’ by a tiny political group Socialist Action and its supporters. This was evidenced most clearly by a secret memorandum which had been sent out by Bernard Regan urging support for what was a particular slate. This phenomenon is, as far as I’m aware a first in PSC.

A flavour of what Socialist Action is about can be gleaned from the following:

In recent months it has become ever more clear that the priorities and strategy of SA and its supporters have come to dominate PSC in two ways: administrative and political. Examples of this include:

1. The opposition of the PSC Executive to a motion calling for breaking the links with Histadrut, the Zionist’s racist ‘trade union’.
2. The complete failure to discuss the role played by the Palestinian Authority and the effect this has on Palestine solidarity work.
3. The appointment of at least 2 staff members who are aligned with Socialist Action.
4. The continued obstruction of the right of regions in PSC to nominate representatives to PSC Executive.
5. The refusal to appoint the runner-up in last year’s election to the Executive when a previous member of Socialist Action took up a paid staff position.
6. The accusation that the BDS committee has not prioritised its work or related well to the EC and the staff
7. The operation of the Trade Union Advisory Committee which is shrouded in secrecy – noone knows who is a member or has seen minutes – which is nonetheless able to nominate two people to the Executive.

These are just some examples of the problems that have arisen.

A group of us have therefore come together in order to discuss this situation and try to find a way forward, in particular the approach we should adopt at the next PSC AGM in January 2010.. We are holding a meeting at the
Carrs Lane Church Centre,
Carrs Lane,
Birmingham B4 7SX

Saturday August 8th from
1.30-5.00 p.m.

There is a map below showing how to get to the Centre.

In Solidarity

Tony Greenstein – Brighton PSC (personal capacity)


Mr Andy C said...

Sorry Tony I cannot make this meeting, but support what you are doing.

Will hopefully make the 2010 AGM

Anonymous said...

I responded to your letter on the UK Left Network. Solidarity from Ireland.


Tony Greenstein said...

I am posting below Darren's comment, which is extremely informative, about parallel developments in Irish PSC.

Tony G

Substitute the artists formerly known as B&ICO for Socialist Action and its a pretty accurate analysis of what's happening in the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The NC recently passed a motion prohibiting committee members from issuing statements in writing, in the print media, online or speaking in a public forum that contravene IPSC positions. It aims to stifle debate on the one/ state question and was introduced after a member criticised Abbas as a "quisling" in an article for Electronic Intifada (sound familiar?). The Palestinian Delegation angrily approached the NC and demanded that this member should be disciplined.

The recent motion is just one symptom of a general malaise. Tony points to it in his open letter: the demoralising effect the PA's capitulation has had on the international movement. The leadership of the solidarity movement in Britain and Ireland are in retreat and they're aping the PA's suppression of criticism and debate.

One tangible example is the IPSC's ambivalence to the active role Egypt are playing in enforcing the Gaza siege. The IPSC NC refused to stand alongside the Palestinian community protesting outside the Egyptian embassy during the Gaza invasion. Why? Because the NC were enjoying fraternal discussions with the Egyptian ambassador at the time. This is part of their strategy to build "strong relationships" with political decision makers.

Good luck with your struggle to reclaim the PSC. Keep us updated.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You're right Tony. I've been following this for some time and am also an ex member as a result. Can't be there but you have my support.


Aine said...

Further solidarity from Ireland where a small band of Maoist types, with a fondness for the PA and the Mobarek regime, are apparently up to similar manoeuvres.