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Friday, 11 December 2015

Caroline Lucas MP - A response to my blog

Caroline Lucas - Did she resign as a patron of StWC under pressure or was it all a coincidence?

Three days ago I posted a blog on Caroline Lucas's decision to resign as patron of the Stop the War Coalition.  In it I made it clear that in my view this decision was as a result of the political atmosphere and pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to dissociate himself from StWC.  That is still my view.  Caroline disagrees and she sent me an email in response.  I post it below and leave readers to judge accordingly.

Tony Greenstein
Jeremy Corby -- right in 2003 and right now

'My decision (to resign as patron of StWC) was not the result of me being put under pressure'  Caroline Lucas

On 9 Dec 2015, at 19:19, Tony Greenstein wrote:
If Corbyn had been a guest speaker at a British arms manufacturer's dinner the Labour right would have applauded

19:01 
Dear Caroline,
as someone who voted for you in the last election and as someone who has always respected you, I am astounded at your decision to resign from the Stop the War Coalition. 
There has been a barrage of attacks on opponents of war in the past week.  MPs who resent being held accountable, false tales of mobs besieging an MP Stella Creasy's home, Tom Watson shooting from the mouth and then having to recant. 

The Daily Mail doesn't like saying that the French state bore any responsibility for Isis's murder rampage in Paris.  It is like blaming the Jews for Hitler.  The Mail obviously forgets the time when it attacked Jewish refugees and asylum seekers and praised Hitler!
The anti-Labour Daily Mail just loves John Woodcocks asinine comment

Stop the War Coalition is the major anti-war group in this country.  Not surprisingly, given Jeremy Corbyn's links to the group, it has come under heavy attack including for a post re the Paris massacre when it said that France had reaped the whirlwind of its actions in Lebanon.
It is clear and obvious that StWC did not support the actions of ISIS in any form and whether its choice of words was clumsy or not is a matter for debate.
None of this excuses a decision to withdraw support for them at this point.  It is an act of cowardice.  Now is the time to give them support not to withdraw under fire.  I have previously written to you about the support for Israel and Zionism by the  Green Party in Germany and in particular its racist Bundestag member Volker Beck.  I'm not aware of you having  issued any statement concerning this.
I truly hope you reconsider your action, and reverse what you have done.  When the anti-war movement is under attack that is not the time to run away.  Either you identify with the allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the other butchers, which is what those who voted for war last week did or you identify with the anti-war movement, which in this country is represented by StWC.  There is no other choice.
I am deeply disappointed by your actions and hope you are brave enough to recant.
Regards

          Tony Greenstein
Unfortunately progressives covers a multitude of sins
Jeremy Corbyn speaking on the StWC platform and defying the Labour warmongers' demands to resign
On 10 December 2015 at 14:44, LUCAS, Caroline <caroline.lucas.mp@parliament.uk> wrote:

Dear Tony,

Thank you for making me aware of your concerns about my resignation as a patron of Stop the War Coalition.

You raise a number of points in your email thread, many of which are about wider foreign policy issues. We may not always agree on the details, but I am surprised that you are questioning my commitment to opposing military strikes on Syria. Have you read my contribution to the parliamentary debate? You can do so here:  I think it’s important that such decisions are evidence based and that includes evidence about the West’s motivation, their historical role in the Middle East and the impact on their ongoing decisions.

I see from your blog that you have read my statement about the decision to resign as a patron and am unclear why you have taken that to assume anything more than it says. I stood down a month ago and very much regret the way this information was put into the public domain. It didn’t come from me and, indeed, I very deliberately didn’t publicise it because I knew detractors would seek to use it to attack both StWC and Jeremy Corbyn. I have spoken on StWC platforms since my resignation and want to assure you the decision was not the result of me being put under pressure. On the contrary, it was a considered move that genuinely reflects the demands I have on my time and a long standing principle that, if I am going to take on such roles, I should do so only if I have time to be actively engaged in the workings and decisions of the organisation in question.

The right wing media have misrepresented this decision and I am saddened that you have fallen for that- not least because it means you have become party to their narrative - and not taken the time to confirm the facts before writing your blog.

Best wishes, Caroline

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 7025
Email: 
caroline.lucas.mp@parliament.uk
Twitter @carolinelucas


On 10 December 2015 at 17:57, Tony Greenstein wrote:

Dear Caroline,
thank you for this clarification.  I have not doubted your opposition to the bombing of Syria but I have criticised the arguments you used for coming to this decision.  Namely that you haven't seen evidence to suggest it would achieve its objects, which does tend to suggest that if there had been such evidence available then you might have voted differently.
This isn't a question of hairsplitting.  Your argument assumes that the West has an inherent right to intervene even if, in this instance it shouldn't.  I am arguing that there is no such right.  The very presence of the West militarily in the Middle East is the problem.  Everywhere it goes it supports and upholds tyranny and sectarianism and confessionalism.  Its only duty is to get out of the area and if it is so concerned about Isis, which I doubt very much given the nature of its alliances, then it can supply weaponry to progressive groups like the Kurds.
I am happy to take on board your assurances that you weren't responsible for the leaking of your decision to quit as a patron and that you are still speaking on its platforms and regret any suggestion to the contrary.
If you have no objections I will put on my blog your letter and my response.

Best wishes
tony

December 12th 2015

Dear Caroline,

Further to my previous email, I would like to make some additional points.

I will also assume, in view of your non-response to my previous letter, that you have no objection to my posting your response on my blog.

1.    I have never doubted your opposition to the bombing of Syria but what I do question are the grounds that you base this on.  Your opposition to the bombing is not based on the principle of non-interference by the West in the affairs of the Middle East and Syria in particular, but on the particular merits of whether to bomb in this case.  In other words they are not based on anti-imperialism.

2.  I watched much of the debate and saw you speak so I don't need to delve into Hansard!

3.  I agree that we can't disregard evidence but that evidence is damning.  We are allied with Saudi Arabia, the largest funder of Jihadist groups and with Turkey, which is guilty of genocide against the Turks, both in the past and today, as well as act ing as Isis's rear supply base and conduit for its oil trade.  Coupled with recently released Defence Intelligence Agency memos in the USA, this would suggest that there is  far more at stake than simply the defeat of Isis. 

4.  Re your decision to stand down as a patron of StWC.  I accept that you have spoken on their platforms since your decision to stand down as a patron and I hope you continue to do so, but given that there has been a consistent campaign, far longer than a month, to pressurise Jeremy Corbyn to dissociate himself from StWC then I still find your decision inexplicable.  It cannot be seen as anything other than a concession to these same pressures.  My understanding is that it related to two articles, both of which were taken down on the StWC web site as well as the question of whether Syrians who supported the bombing should speak at the House of Commons.
I have reposted one of the articles Age of Despair: Reaping the Whirlwind of Western Support for Extremist Violence  on my blog.  I can see nothing wrong with its analysis.  Chris Floyd states the obvious which is that attacks in the West and Paris in particular are a consequence of our activity in the Middle East, not least the creation of Isis.  I don't know whether you actually read the article, but Chris Floyd say that:

'I write in despair. Despair of course at the depravity displayed by the murderers of innocents in Paris tonight; but an even deeper despair at the depravity of the egregious murderers who have brought us to this ghastly place in human history'.  I cannot see anything wrong with this.


Apparently there was another article which compared Isis to those who believe in international solidarity.  If true this is crass and absurd and of course the article should have been taken down but it wasn't written on behalf of StWC.
The proper response would have been to point the finger at those who criticise StWC and who are entertained, wined and dined by the arms lobby in this country.

5.  Yes the right-wing media have used your decision for their own purposes.  That was eminently forseeable.  Regardless of the reasons for your decision and only you know what they are, it should have been obvious to you, coming at the time that it did, that your decision would be used to put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to break his links with StWC.  You are not a political virgin.  You have been an MEP and now an MP for 16 years.  You must have known that your decision would leak out.  How could it have been otherwise?

I therefore don't accept that I have become a party to the right-wing's narrative.  What I have tried to do is to ensure that that narrative doesn't go unchallenged.  I am not aware that you have challenged it.

I think it is incumbent upon you to make it clear, publicly, that regardless of any  political differences with the leadership of StWC, that you support what is the major anti-war organisation in this country.

Best wishes

Tony

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