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Attacks on Stop the War are attempt to stop democratic debate and campaigning

stopthewarA reply from Stop the War to Phil Burton-Cartledge by Steve Bell, Murad Qureshi and Carol Turner

On 12 December the London demonstration against the bombing of Syria heard the following message from Jeremy Corbyn.

I want to thank the Stop the War Coalition, and all of you here today, for standing up against the government’s decision to join yet another war in the Middle East – this time in Syria. The anti-war movement has been a vital force at the heart of our democracy. The attacks on it as somehow illegitimate are an attempt to close down democratic debate and campaigning.”

As Labour Party members, and officers of Stop the War (STW), we share Jeremy’s analysis. The attacks on Jeremy’s stand, and STW, have included red-baiting and witch-hunting. Cameron’s infamous comment was that Jeremy and supportive MPs were “terrorist sympathisers”. The Telegraph, Mail, etc., have poured abuse on Jeremy, the Coalition, and individual Officers. With no pretence of balance, the media makes a simple fund-raising dinner a major news event, hoping for some provocative outcome.

In our view, this assault from ruling circles is an attempt to destroy Labour’s anti-war leader, and discredit the most representative organisation of the anti-war movement. It is then a shock to see Left Futures, which generally supports Jeremy, offer a platform to a “left-wing” voice joining in this ugly clamour. The article’s title alone demonstrates a lack of basic respect for our activity – The anti-imperialism of fools.

STW is a political campaign, not a political party. It was established to combat the new wave of belligerence towards developing countries from the UK government. We did not take upon ourselves the task of solving the problems facing countries under attack. No agreement on that would be possible, or necessary. Our concern was that the UK government was casting off all restraints in supporting the US led ‘War on Terror’. STW supporters are widely drawn from the labour and union movement, pacifists, faith communities, political parties, youth and students, and many other distinct groups.

For over 14 years STW has organised countless actions against the wars upon Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Our analysis has proved correct, unlike that of our detractors. A serious critique of STW has to register our actual contribution to progressive politics. The author of the Left Futures article fails to make any concrete assessment, offering innuendos about murky links instead

Thus Phil Burton-Cartledge begins his analysis using an article from Stop the War’s website which was immediately removed, had no official status, wasn’t written by a STW member, and which our web editor resigned over. All the same, he takes this as absolute proof of STW’s toxicity.

Nothing in the article acknowledges 14 years of work by activists who consistently organised against Blair and Cameron’s lethal assaults upon poor countries. Instead we are accused, again without evidence, of “soft soaping whoever the White House or Downing Street take exception to”. Someone eagle-eyed enough to see an entire viewpoint from a deleted article could surely have quoted from countless official statements on STW’s website to prove their point. The failure to do so proves the opposite of the author’s smear.

This former aid to Tristram Hunt MP prefers to ride a hobby horse over some old debates and personal differences with left organisations. We have no interest in this type of debate, and we doubt if many people in the Labour Party do either. Our immediate interest is in organising the opposition to Britain bombing Syria.

Since 2011, the UK government has demanded regime change in Syria. It has provided intelligence, training and communications technology to the armed opposition. It has aided US military training programmes in Turkey and Jordan for oppositionists. Despite the decision of Parliament in 2013 against military action in Syria, it engaged in military action by having RAF personnel fly US planes, by having SAS forces deployed in US uniforms, and introducing drone strikes. What Diane Abbott MP has called “Cameron’s secret war” doesn’t rate a mention from our author.

In the few weeks since Parliament authorised action on 2 December the case for war is falling apart. Cameron’s claim of 70,000 moderate forces on the ground has been widely debunked. Fallon has now accepted that bombing will kill civilians, as war is “messy”. Cameron has accepted that the war will go on for years. The actual military significance of British bombing has been illustrated by only 2 strike missions having been flown since then, and the Brimstone missiles remain unused in the few bombing raids, when we were told these were going to change things on the ground. So much for the need of British missiles and jets.

The real significance of the vote was two-fold.  It returned government policy to its uncritical devotion to US foreign policy – and it allowed for a sustained assault upon Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

As Richard Burgon MP put it:

It’s a topsy-turvy world we’re in when attending Stop the War events is controversial.  We’re still pretending that Tony Blair and others got it right in Iraq [and] is seen as moderate. That’s a topsy-turvy world indeed.”

He also said that the attacks on STW were “proxy attacks” on Jeremy Corbyn.  We agree.

We call upon Labour Party members to support the alliance between the Labour leadership, the Labour Party, and the anti-war movement.  It is crucial to the future of Jeremy’s leadership and the future of our country.  Members should join the organisations of the real movement against war – STW, CND, etc. 

180 Comments

  1. gerry says:

    Wow – the fact that many socialists despise and reject the poisonous politics of Stop the War really seems to have got you lot: no need to rehearse the hundreds of reasons why socialists should have nothing to do with this organisation which was created by self desribed Islamists, stalinists and neo stalinists, putin-fans and assorted anti Western goons….suffice to say: why should any self respecting socialist show a scrap of solidarity to an organisation which actively welcomes, embraces and is backed and led by enemies of socialism, human rights, democracy and freedom?

    1. James Martin says:

      You see the problem with sectarianism Gerry is where it always leads you. In this particular case it leads you to be on the same side as people like Tristram Hunt in attacking the existing anti-war movement and undermining Jeremy Corbyn. And the reason for that is that you put sectarianism before all else, the sect like thought process of putting the minutiae before an understanding of the bigger issues. So for the sectarian the process goes along the lines of this organisation or that campaign contains stalinists, or zionists, or Islamists or whatever other ists you like, therefore it is unclean and must be cast out (there is always more than a whiff of old school Old Testament in a socialist sectarian). But here’s the thing. When fascists attack a mosque or a synagogue I will stand with groups that may include Islamists and zionists to stop them. Just as when the Blackshirts attacked the Jewish East End we had an alliance of communists, ILP, Labour Party, Jewish groups, trade unions and many others against them in a wall a 100,000 deep. We still rightly celebrate that today and the key role of communists in it, and yet at the time it took place Stalin was murdering thousands in the gulags. The sectarian would (and did) turn their back on an alliance like that, it is unclean, it contains enemies of true socialists, and they would spend all their time talking of just how this is the case while forgetting all about the Blackshirts. And this is precisely how you and others on this board sound when you vent your sectarian bile against StWC, and why you never ever mention UK imperialism and NATO who are the *actual* problem, and it is why your sectarianism is so dangerous.

      1. Nestor says:

        “UK imperialism and NATO who are the *actual* problem”

        They are *an* *actual* problem. Assad’s brutalisation of the Syrian people is also *an* *actual* problem.

        Russian imperialism and chauvinistic nationalism is also *an* *actual* problem.

        One doesn’t have to tacitly support or handwave away the latter to opppose the former.

      2. John Penney says:

        What a dreadful, “don’t dare criticise us in any way , even from the radical Left, or you are by definition a fully paid up member of the Red Tory Tristram Hunt fan club” bit of sophistry this article is.

        So, James Martin, you claim that “When fascists attack a mosque or a synagogue I will stand with groups that may include Islamists and zionists (it’s a capital letter for “Zionist” by the way for non-racists – it’s a political belief system not a euphemism for “Jews” ) to stop them.”

        Ok, so far so good. We agree wholeheartedly on that. The critical needs of the moment requires making often tricky tactical choices which can involve allying temporarily with social forces one finds distasteful. Quite right .

        But au contraire ,in the Iraq/Syria conflict strangely enough, when the progressive secular , womens’ rights protecting, Kurdish forces are facing a life and death struggle against the heavily armed murderous, women enslaving, undoubted clerico-fascist forces of Daesh, you and the StWC types are completely unwilling to support the right of the Kurds to secure arms and air support from whosoever THEY deem tactically appropriate – if this involves getting this support for purely practica/tactical availability l reasons from Western (“imperialist” undoubtedly) powers.

        In other words you and StWC are letting your highly selective soviet era misrepresentation of what “imperialism” actually is stand in the way of offering solidarity with a genuinely progressive national liberation movement fighting fascism. So you ARE refusing to ally temporarily with forces exactly equivalent to the undesirable temporary allies you cite in the example of a mosque or synagogue under attack from fascists . And unfortunately your example of accepting support from “Islamists” in a situation of a theoretical attack on a synagogue by “fascists” in the UK, is disingenuous to say the least – as many of the Muslim Brotherhood aligned fundamentalist Islamist groups aligned with StWC from its inception ARE themselves clerico-fascists and would NEVER stand alongside Jews to defend a synagogue from anyone !

        The ludicrous claim that (by definition) ALL “attacks” on StW are an attempt to stop democratic debate…” is a cynical contradiction in itself. StW and its followers are actually desperate to stop democratic criticism and debate from the socialist radical Left of its dire politics, by always conflating the perfectly legitimate criticism coming from the Left with the completely different unprincipled critical narrative coming from Tristram Hunt and the Right. The oft repeated nonsense that “the Western bombing has never achieved anything” is simply wrong factually. Close air support was quite provably vital in defending and recapturing Kobane , and in supporting Kurdish forcers right across their current battlefield with Daesh. Similarly the recent Russian bombing of the huge Daesh oil tanker convoys and oil faclities is having a massive impact on their revenue streams. This is not to support the overall cynical objectives of either Western imperialism or the Assad tyranny supporting Russian imperialists – but reality is rather more complicated than the simplistic selective pseudo pacifist “no to bombing” (only Western bombing of course – Assad’s barrel bombing is of no interest) sloganising of the StWC.

        1. James Martin says:

          John, I am more than happy to support the Kurds and in particular the Kurdish Workers Party which currently I do without reservation or condition (although it is rather Stalinist you know and rather like the Tamil Tigers doesn’t accept other Kurdish political groups in its areas, or don’t you mind Stalinists when they are Kurdish ones?. Unfortunately it is the very western imperialism and their proxies that you seem to be backing that is bombing them via NATO member Turkey (yes Nestor, you see NATO is an *actual* problem). But you see where you have arrived at, like David Ellis you are now acting as a cheerleader for NATO and western bombs and the only real difference between you lot and Hillary Benn is that Hillary was far more eloquent I’m sorry to say. You will have noticed a quote on this site for the past few weeks from Jeremy relating to where ISIS came from and who supported it, you might be wise to read it, as you would to watch Wesley Clarke’s admission that the US state department and their allies like Turkey were happy to nurture and support ISIS in order to act as the shock troops against Syria (who don’t forget was second on their list of 7 countries to regime change in 5 years). Do I agree with every group and individual in the STW coalition? Of course not, I don’t even agree with every group in CND of which I have been a proud member for decades, but while I might be on the opposite side of the road when it came to a protest over abortion rights or LGBT issues to some of the faith groups within it I will still happily work with them against Trident and NATO membership because unlike you I’m not a sectarian who covers up their nasty reactionary positions in support of the UK’s involvement in the non-stop wars with some cod phraseology you obviously picked up from too long spent in the sect swamp.

          1. John Penney says:

            Your cynical sophistry knows no limits ! ” I’m More than happy to support the Kurds.” Give me a break, James Martin . What a breathtaking brass neck ! Neither you or StWC have EVER supported the Kurds in any way at all. Just put up your barren undifferentiated , simplistic and selective “Stop the bombing” slogans (Western bombing only of course), even when the Kurds have asked for close air support from whoever will provide it to defeat the clerico-fascists of Daesh.

            And yes I am well aware that the within the various, competing, Kurdish factions “socialism” is usually of a distinctly Stalinist form. The fact remains that the Kurdish forces all embrace the rights of women, religious tolerance, and will actively rescue other communities, like the Yazidis, from Daesh’s murder and enslavement. So they should have every socialist’s support in their long and legitimate struggle for national liberation.

            Are you seriously trying to pretend that I have not repeatedly drawn attention to the proxy army nature of Daesh (and other Islamic groups) for the regional imperialist ambitions of Turkey and Saudi Arabia ? I have also made it quite clear repeatedly that the current justification for UK minimal, “pure theatre” participation in the bombing of Syria simply doesn’t hold water. Yet, confusingly for your neat little “It’s all NATO’s fault ” gross simplification, at the same time as Turkey is bombing the Kurds – the US and France is arming and providing close air support to the Kurds ! Complex and confusing is the Middle East conflict – obviously far too complicated for you to handle.

            Despite your breathtaking just expressed ” without reservation…support for the Kurds” (except you reserve the right to oppose any effective military support for them of course ! ) you , and StWC will of course in reality keep on turning a blind eye to the needs of the progressive Kurdish forces for arms and air support, and another blind eye to the atrocities of the Assad regime and its Russian Imperialist backers, and tolerating the longstanding active presence of Islamic fundamentalist clerico-fascist groupings within StWC . All this selectivity does is provide ample ammunition for the Tories and Labour Right to discredit the Left, and lets them off the hook from having to deal with the massive direct support of Turkey and Saudi Arabia for Daesh within their own NATO/ supposed “Western ally” ranks.

            Continuing to act as a stooge for Russian imperialism, and for the Assad regime (on the basis of completely bogus “socialist ” credentials, as you do, James, long after there has been a complete conventional bourgeois restoration in Russia, is little short of tragic. What a weird “debating” style you have, James. You live in an Alice in Wonderland world where words, and historical fact “mean anything I want them to mean”.

  2. Nestor says:

    “The article’s title alone demonstrates a lack of basic respect for our activity”

    It’s difficult to have basic respect for an “anti-war” organisation that, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, published an article stating “if we have to choose one side, let it be Russia”.

    Nor an “anti-war” organisation that publishes articles comparing ISIS to the International Brigades.

    Nor an “anti-war” organisation that has a chairman who supports bombing Syria, albeit if it’s Russia doing it.

    StWC is the gift that keeps on giving to those on the right on the right of the party and their Conservatives allies who oppose a Labour Party that can make a real difference.

    1. gerry says:

      Well said – Stop the War the gift that keeps on giving…to the Tories! It is fantastic that so many of us on the Left ( myself a Labour party member leftie for 30 plus years) have seen them for what they truly are: an anti-socialist front, loved only by Islamic extremists Stalinists and Putin groupies.

      I take your point that not everyone who attends their marches is as horrific as their leaders Rees, Murray, German – but hopefully now they too know just how much this organisation is despised and rejected by most socialists.

  3. David Pavett says:

    Murad Qureshi and Carol Turner make many valid points but this argument about STWC is still far too strident.

    I have no doubt that criticisms of STWC from the likes of Tristram Hunt are a way of attacking Jeremy Corbyn. I also agree that dismissing it on the basis of the political connections of some of its leading members rather than for anything it says or does is not helpful. But none of that means that STWC is beyond criticism.

    So does all questioning of positions taken by STWC have to be taken as an “attack”? Why can criticisms of specific criticisms not be taken at face value and dealt with as no more than that?

    At the same time there is a need for those making the criticism to focus on the specifics and to leave to one side their animosity to some of the individuals and organisations involved.

    The extreme form of the “discussion” (STWC as a poisonous neo-Stalinist conspiracy versus STWC as always proved right and never making questionable political judgements) has made it worse than unproductive.

    1. James Martin says:

      The problem here though David is twofold. First, we cannot ignore the wider context of the right-wing media and right-wing within the Party in using attacks and witch hunting of StWC to undermine Jeremy, so there is a basic need for solidarity from the movement at this time due to that reason alone. But secondly, it is abundantly clear that those posting on here attacking StWC are not doing so because of this or that individual or group that is a part of it, or this or that statement that has been made in the past. If that was the case they would either be trying to reform it or replace it with something better. But of course they want neither, because the real basis for their attacks (and you have read it from the likes of Gerry, David Ellis, John Penney) is that they actually take exactly the same line as Bomber Benn and support western intervention and bombing of Syria, Iraq and Libya although they realise that to say so directly exposes their position on StWC for what it really is – an attack on the one organisation that has mobilised at all against the latest of the endless wars that they are now in practice cheer-leading for. It would be funny if it were not so utterly tragic.

      1. Nestor says:

        “the real basis for their attacks (and you have read it from the likes of Gerry, David Ellis, John Penney) is that they actually take exactly the same line as Bomber Benn and support western intervention and bombing of Syria”

        Because, of course, nobody could ever look at StWC’s record of supporting and making excuses for vile reactionaries such as Putin and Assad, or their chairman’s seeming support for bombing in Syria (as long as it’s Russia and Assad doing it) and think that it was all a bit crap and that those who oppose war and imperialism need a better, more consistent, less Stalinistically led organisation to represent them.

        No, they must be “Hiding Something” and are “Secretly Right Wing”.

        Despite the fact that there’s nothing remotely left wing in supporting reactionary, oppressive regimes, tacitly or otherwise.

        1. James Martin says:

          Oddly Nestor I don’t have much influence over Putin, and the no.27 bus at the bottom of my road doesn’t run as far as Red Square for an anti-war demo last time I checked the timetable. Amazing as it may seem, the StWC is a campaign against UK involvement in wars because it is based in, and you will never believe this, the UK! Of course it is easy to constantly attack people like Putin, as the NATO supporting jingo-socialists on here that love to attack StWC do all the time, criticising foreign governments is always easy. Slightly harder is to put in the graft to oppose Trident WMD’s, UK membership of NATO and the ongoing disastrous UK military adventures, at least I assume it is hard because the anti-StWC jingo-socialists never seem to get around to doing it, do they?

          1. JoeBaxter says:

            You could always toddle along to the nearest Russian consulate/embassy if you wanted to protest the bombing in Syria being carried out by Russia – no need to go all the way to Red Square.
            Really, you only ever have an opinion on and try to influence something involving your own government?
            “people like Putin” – care to let us know what that means?

          2. Nestor says:

            “Oddly Nestor I don’t have much influence over Putin”

            Individually none of us have much influence over anyone, so not sure what your point is there. It doesn’t stop one from holding an opinion.

            “Amazing as it may seem, the StWC is a campaign against UK involvement in wars because it is based in, and you will never believe this, the UK!”

            Ah, got you. So I take it that you would have opposed the demonstrations in Grosvenor Square in 1968, seeing as it wasn’t a protest against UK involvement in wars? I disagree, as it seems to me to be a form of inverted nationalism, but each to their own.

            Of course, to be consistent on this point, StWC would need to refrain from publishing articles about a conflict that the UK isn’t involved in stating “if we have to pick one side, let it be Russia”. Although for some reason that’s too much to ask.

            “Of course it is easy to constantly attack people like Putin”

            Ultra-nationalist, ultra-capitalist, reactionary, homophobic imperialists? Why, yes it is! I can basically do it without taking a breath.

            “Slightly harder is to put in the graft to oppose Trident WMD’s, UK membership of NATO and the ongoing disastrous UK military adventures, at least I assume it is hard because the anti-StWC jingo-socialists never seem to get around to doing it, do they?”

            I have no idea what this “anti-StWC jingo-socialists” strawman you’ve created is, especially seeing as over my relatively brief lifetime I have expended much more energy opposing the latter rather than the former (which only really requires the expression of an opinion).

            It really doesn’t take much to state ones opposition to Russian imperialism and solidarity with socialists and workers in Russia and Ukraine, although I note you certainly seem to find it a whole lot easier to parrot Kremlin propaganda.

  4. Jim Denham says:

    The trouble is that the StWC *is* a neo Stalinist organisation that fundamentally supports (or is silent and/or evasive about) non-Western interventions (eg Putin in Syria and Ukraine) and reactionary forces like the Iraqi “resistance” (who murder trade unionists) and, indeed, the Taliban. They’ve drawn the line at ISIS, of course but only because even the most debased advocate of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” must realise that such an approach simply won’t wash when analysing this particular form of fascism. Instead, the StWC falls back on a crude version of “blowback” in order to at least concentrate on blaming the West.

    1. Nestor says:

      Whilst I agree with your general point as regards the StWC leadership, to paint StWC as a whole as neo-Stalinist is somewhat unfair. I doubt that the vast majority of the members and supporters are “Stalinistically inclined”, and I also doubt that they are particularly aware that the broad leadership of the organisation has its own agenda, and one that has little to do with stopping wars.

      StWC is the most visible and vocal “anti-war” organisation in the UK, and this will have served to attract people who have the best of intentions and probably don’t deserve to be lumped in with the Murrays, Germans and Reeses of this world.

  5. David Ellis says:

    Stop the War is Putin’s foreign desk in Britain. It is probably funded by him. Certainly RT pays a few bills. It is a modern day version of the Stalin-Hitler pact whereby a bunch of Stalinists and neo-Stalinists bloc with the Western European far right in a joint defence of the gangster leader of Russian imperialism. The former in the name of anti- imperialism and the latter in the name of anti-liberalism. These people have rationalised the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians by the bloody butcher Assad as a necessary evil. They are not fit to be thought of as part of any labour movement.

    1. gerry says:

      Well said – I think you might be right too in saying that Stop the War may be directly funded by Russia Today or the Iranian regime: the free pass given to Putin and the clerical fascists who run Iran always made me suspect who exactly was behind them, and funding them. It would be great to get real proof of this – that would be the final nail in their coffin.

      1. David Ellis says:

        Well the old Stalinist parties used to get substantial subsidies from the Soviet Union to ensure that they remained the foreign policy advocates of the Stalinist bureaucracy in which ever country they found themselves. But there was some justification for this because even whilst the bureaucracy imposed its dead and murderous hand on the world proletarian revolution in order to do this it was also obliged to oppress and suppress the bourgeoisie where it held power if it was to continue to hold power. Today’s neo-Stalinists are aware that the Soviet Union is gone and that Putin is not even a Stalinist but they are convinced in their minds that somehow he remains a bulwark against imperialism and one powerful enough for them to pin their hopes on. Their perspective is not world proletarian revolution but a world balance of power between the major powers that sees Putin not defeating Western imperialism, far from it, but keeping it in check and thereby guaranteeing world peace among the world’s gangsters above the heads of the seven billion. This is the pinnacle of Gramscian hegemony theory. An anti-imperialist alliance that includes the world’s imperialists as its most important members. Putin is of course an imperialist gangster and commander in chief of the kleptocrats mostly ex-bureaucrats that dismantled state property in the collapsed Soviet Union.

    2. James Martin says:

      A reds under the bed classic that one, but you can’t even see the irony can you? Although one might reasonably suspect that you and Gerry are in the pay of NATO and the MoD given you never criticise, let alone mention, the actions of either. But for the jingo-socialists and Bomber Benn’s of this world the enemy is also abroad eh?

      1. David Ellis says:

        I’m an internationalist. The enemy is everywhere and to use the `enemy is at home’ approach to justify support for other imperialisms is the exact opposite of internationalism. There are certainly no reds in StWC just Putinites and pacifists.

        1. James Martin says:

          An internationalist that got their domestic UK ‘constitutional’ programme straight from the English Democrats manifesto, who supported the fascist-led coup in Kiev and thought the Right Sector were leading a ‘revolution’, who constantly predicts that the Labour Party is about to be ‘pasoked’, who supported NATO bombing of Libya, and now supports NATO bombing of Syria – but not Russian bombing of course because your internationalism doesn’t extend to them. You’re about as internationalist as Hyndman was when he was urging ‘our boys’ to the front to fight the Hun, and irony upon irony you *still* use your reply not to demonstrate you oppose NATO and UK imperialism (as of course you don’t) but to attack… Putin! Bomber Benn and 1% Tristram would be so very proud of you Comrade Ellis.

          1. gerry says:

            Oh dear James – Jeremy and John called for gentler and kinder politics yet here you are hysterically flinging petulant temper tantrums at everyone who disagrees with your pro Putin politics.

            I will say calmly to you: none of us back US imperialism, NATO bombing…and none of us back Russian imperialism, jihadi terror or Assadist bombing either….I say yes to democratic socialism here and everywhere which is precisely why I despise and reject your organisation Stop the War, which was created by enemies: self described Stalin fans like Andrew Murray,neostalinists like John Rees and Lindsey German, Islamic extremists like the Muslim Association of Britain, and anti Western goons like Tariq Ali.

            I can’t convince you how wrong you are to back this poisonous group, James…but I think we have overwhelming evidence and facts on our side of the argument. Let’s move on – as Labour members, there are real issues on the economy, the EU, immigration, welfare, health which are far more important to our fellow citizens.

          2. Nestor says:

            “but to attack… Putin!”

            Putin’s government is ultra-conservative, ultra-capitalist, homophobic, imperialist, aggressive, regularly imprisons socialists who protest against it and has been actively bombing Syria (although rarely ISIS) for quite some time now.

            Not entirely sure what the problem is with attacking it, to be honest.

            What is it that you like so much about the reactionary right wing demagogue Vladimir Putin?

          3. Rod says:

            Well said.

            There aren’t enough organisations making the argument against bombing and those that do should be defended when smeared by axe-grinders and mischief-makers.

            As Jeremy said: “The attacks on it [STW] as somehow illegitimate are an attempt to close down democratic debate and campaigning.”

  6. Karl Stewart says:

    Some excellent points in the above article. And good to see hard-working StWC activists refusing to be intimidated by the right-wing onslaught.

    (And let’s hope our assorted Daily Mail comment contributors will get new editions of ‘Contemporary Left-wing Jargon For Trolls’ in their xmas stockings. Guys, some of that terminology hasn’t been used for 20 years or more!)

    1. Nestor says:

      It’s not “right-wing” to dislike apologia for the reactionary, imperialist, ultra-conservative, ultra-capitalist Russian government. A government that jails and oppresses socialists and trade unionists.

      It’s not “right-wing” to dislike apologia for the Assad regime, which is guilty of systematic torture, often of leftists, and the vast majority of civillian casualties in Syria since fighting began.

      It’s not “right-wing” to be disgusted by articles comparing ISIS to the heros of the International Brigades (although I would accept that it is pretty right wing to attempt to co-opt them to support air strikes, Mr Benn)

      It’s not “right-wing” to feel deeply ill at ease with the anti-semitic dog-whistles contained in numerous articles which have now been taken down from their website in panic.

      Every single negative comment on here directed at StWC has clearly come from a leftist perspective.

      To describe people as “right-wing” just because they point things out that make you feel uncomfortable is deeply childish, and has a touch of the troll about it.

  7. Jim Denham says:

    I am also increasingly irritated by the StWC response to criticisms of articles that appear on its website, ie: “this was a personal contribution from an individual who does not represent our official viewpoint … and we’ve now removed it.”

    The leadership of the StWC are not naïve, and know exactly what the implications of these outrageous articles are: they’re trying it on, and when called out promptly disown the offending pieces … and (I understand) have now made the editor of their website the scapegoat, and sacked him.

  8. Jim Denham says:

    James Martin: ” the fascist-led coup in Kiev …” oh dear, oh dear: another useful idiot taken in by the pro-Putin lies and one-sided misrepresentations of the Morning Star and CPB.

    1. gerry says:

      Jim – well spotted: Stop the War supporters always reveal their true colours sooner or later, and funnily enough, they almost always end up cheerleading for Putin or Assad, with apparently no sense of shame!

    2. James Martin says:

      Oh silly me, I must have imagined the Right Sector and the banners and pictures around the Euromaiden for Bandera and the Ukrainian WWII SS Division (that was raised following the huge pogrom against Ukrainian Jews). And the destruction of Ukrainian Communist Party offices by the fascist following the coup, that didn’t happen right? The membership lists that were stolen and then used to systematically intimidate socialists in the ‘new’ Ukraine before the Communist Party was then banned, that is untrue I suppose? And the fascist attack with state support on the Odessa Trade Union building with dozens murdered and executed, I imagined that did I? Or is it ok for all this to happen because the victims were either ‘stalinists’ or Russian speakers or both?

      1. Nestor says:

        1. The “coup” occurred after the security services opened fire on protestors, killing around 100 people and Yanukovich fled. It wasn’t led by fascists, it was led by the Rada. Communist politicians were amongst those who supported Yanukovich’s impeachment.

        2. The influx of the far right into the Maidan occurred after peaceful protests, mostly by leftists and liberals, were brutally suppressed by the Berkut, giving the far right an opportunity to fill a vacuum.

        3. Russian is spoken throughout Ukraine, including by a majority in Kiev in everyday life. It’s not an “ethnic” conflict.

        4. The Odessa tragedy occurred during city-wide rioting that had been sparked by separatists shooting at a unity march. Your description does not match the report by HRMMU, which speaks of both sides throwing molotov cocktails at each other at the TU building, amongst other things. There is no evidence of state support for the attack. This, of course, does not abrogate the state from responsibility, and their follow-up investigations have been slow to the point of non-existence.

        5. Rather than Stalinist, all evidence points to the leadership and military personnel of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics (where they are not provided by the Russian state) being dominated by the Eurasianist far right and neo-nazi organisations such as RNU and Slavic Union. These are the people that SARU, an organisation linked to StWC claim “solidarity” with.

        6. Ukraine has since had democratic elections, which resulted in the far right being completely sidelined. To the extent that Zakharchenko, the “elected” leader of the “anti-fascist” DNR has described the Kiev government as “miserable Jews”. Nice.

      2. Nestor says:

        I meant to add, I dislike the current Kiev regime intensely, not least for their banning of the social-nationalist-but-basically-harmless Communist Party, but this does not justify supporting Russia’s invasion and occupation of another country, as well as sparking a proxy war by supporting far right insurgents with troops and materiel.

        Saddam Hussein did a hell of a lot worse and anyone with any sense still opposed the invasion of Iraq.

        It should be noted that the Ukrainian Communist Party was also banned from participating in the “elections” in the Donbass (“monitored”, as usual, by Putin’s favourite neo-fascist monitoring organisation).

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          I have to say I’ve never before encountered “left-wing” people who support NATO, support UK military intervention, despise the anti-war movement, and support Ukrainian Nazis.

          1. Nestor says:

            Seeing as you won’t find a single example here of me supporting UK military intervention or Ukrainian Nazis and I hold pretty much the same view of NATO as the current leader of the Labour Party, it looks like you’re building enough straw men to start your own hipster craft stall.

            I also happen to oppose Russian military intervention and propaganda. It’s called consistency.

            What’s quite remarkable here is that your argument, which appears to be “if you oppose Russian military intervention in Ukraine then you support Ukrainian Nazis”, is not only as facile, opportunist and ignorant as Cameron’s “if you oppose UK military intervention you’re a terrorist, it’s basically exactly the same argument.

            Well done.

            I’m a supporter of the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, a socialist organisation that opposes Russian military intervention whilst also criticising the current Ukrainian regime. I wonder if you were aware that John McDonnell is also a supporter. Does that make him a supporter of Evil Ukrainian Nazifascists, too?

        2. gerry says:

          Nestor – cracking analysis: pretty much unanswerable!

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            Your primary point that you make with regard to the Syria situation is to attack the anti-war movement, that’s the first thing you say on that subject. The most important point that you feel you need to make is to attack StWC.

            I’ve seen no criticism from you or any of your fellow Daily Mail supporters of the UK military intervention.

            By choosing to attack one side (the anti-war side) rather than the other (the pro-war side) you clearly place yourself on the side of UK military intervention.

            Then, with no logic whatsoever, you introduce the completely unrelated subject of the former Ukraine SSR.

            And here, the most important thing, you feel, is to attack and smear the anti-nazi forces, those who have valiantly resisted the nazi right sector.

            You refuse to criticise the nazi right sector, you even seem to want to completely deny their existence, you whitewash the Odessa massacre as a ‘tragedy’ which for you is almost an accidental incident, rather than the mass murder of anti-nazis by organised nazi squads.

            As I said, I’ve never before encountered a “left-wing” person who supports NATO, who supports UK military intervention abroad, and who supports Ukrainian nazis.

            The only difference between you and the Daily Mail is that you pose as something else.

    3. Karl Stewart says:

      StWC has no position on events in the former Ukraine SSR.

      However, you seem ignorant of the central role played by the nazi right sector in those events.

      1. Nestor says:

        You see, when all you have left is to screech baseless, invective-flecked denunciations like you’re conducting some king of show trial, it’s little wonder people call you a Stalinist. That, and the fact that you use the phrase “the former Ukraine SSR” for some “unknown” reason.

        Everything you say is utterly absurd to the point of being fractally wrong, so it’s utterly pointless to debate with you.

        This is you, basically:

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Fractal_wrongness

        Even your ad hominem insults are fractally wrong. For example, you can’t use “Daily Mail” as an epithet against people you consider pro-intervention (even though literally NO ONE on here is), as the Daily Mail was against intervention.

        And from there it spirals down into a sort of surreal level of wrongness that makes one suspect that you’re broken in some way.

        How can the DNR be “anti-Nazi” when it’s been led by Borodai, a mainstay of the Russian far right and former editor of the neo-fascist paper Zavtra and Zakharchenko, a man who is on the record as stating that the Ukrainian government is made up of “miserable representatives of the Jewish race”? Anyone sane would see that as a literal impossibility, especially as Putin’s proxies have the full support of 99% of the major far right parties in the EU, including the BNP.

        I’m still awaiting your denunciation of John McDonnell for supporting the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign. It would only be consistent, after all.

        1. James Martin says:

          Nestor, you write that “literally NO ONE on here is [in favour of intervention]” The problem is I actually think most of the anti StWC posters are very much in favour of western intervention (to support the Kurds for example). But I’ll call your bluff on it – I will assume like you say that we are all anti-western intervention (Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan et al) and against the non-stop wars. So you have made it clear that StWC as the already existing anti-war group is not the right one to oppose intervention, fine, I’ll run with that, so please tell me what *you* propose to replace it? Please tell me what *you* think is the best way to oppose UK military action, to oppose NATO and to oppose Trident WMDs. Let’s all hear how it *should* be done and where we have been going wrong all these years. I’m all ears mate!

          1. Nestor says:

            “The problem is I actually think most of the anti StWC posters are very much in favour of western intervention”

            Except you have literally no proof of that, and all proof points in the other direction, so continuing to repeat it is simply dishonest and childish.

            “Let’s all hear how it *should* be done and where we have been going wrong all these years.”

            1. Keep the basic framework of StWC if need be, as I have stated elsewhere I am unsure that the bul of its members are there in good faith.

            2. Junk Murray, Rees and German. Murray especially is a busted flush, seeing as how all evidence suggests that he supports bombing Syria.

            3. Stop publishing apologia for reactionary regimes. Just stop it. It’s pretty bloody easy. They’ve deleted a load of old articles doing pretty much that anyway. All they have to do is not do it anymore.

            4. Stop posting dogwhistle anti-semitic articles, as above.

            5. Oppose all imperialist wars. Don’t support them just because it’s Russia doing it. It’s utterly hypocritical, and Russia is no friend to the left. They won’t have much money to share out after boosting Le Pen’s campaign coffers, anyway.

            6. Don’t form coalitions with theocratic reactionaries such as the Muslim Brotherhood. By that “grand coalition” logic, why not the BNP? They oppose airstrikes as well, after all… Or, you know, just don’t

            7. Last, but not least, don’t publish 6th form smartarse essays comparing ISIS to the international brigades.

            Simple, really.

        2. Karl Stewart says:

          No the Donetsk People’s Republic is led by Alexandr Zacharchenko, who was elected in November 2014.

          As to the “quote” you attribute to him, yes it was reported as such in the right-wing media, but according to the below clip, his comment is translated as describing the Kiev regime leadership as being “…pathetic representatives of a great and big nation..” the ‘nation’ being referred being, I think, the historic ‘nation’ of cossacks.

          Take a look:

          http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+zacharchenko+and+plotnitsky&view=detail&mid=458C7E06A5DF7AFEF472458C7E06A5DF7AFEF472&FORM=VIRE1

          Of course, having said that, there is something of an ambiguity because of the preceding comment from Lugansk leader Igor Plotnitsky, who apparently makes a comment about “when the Jewish Cossacks rebelled”.

          1. Paul Canning says:

            Their constitution makes them a clerical ‘state’ and they are allowing their people to starve and die from lack of medicine because ideology http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/donbas-can-starve-say-rebel-leaders.html The presence of fascists in positions of power in the ‘Republics’ is well documented http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-fascists-in-russias-hybrid-army.html Oh, and they killed ten Brits in a Malaysian airliner.

            Interesting to see where STWC defence ends up – defending the nasty thugs in Eastern Ukraine.

          2. Nestor says:

            No, not “no”. Zakharchenko was elected after replacing Borodai.

            The comments have been widely reported, not just by the “right wing media”, along with Plotnitsky stating that Euromaidan should properly be called “Jewish Maidan”, along with myriad examples of anti-semitism and, as Paul points out, the undeniable instrumental presence of neo-fascists fighting for the rebels from the bottom to the very top. These are your “anti-nazi” heroes.

            Posting a Youtube clip which prefaces itself with the words “sorry, lots of mistakes” doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence in its veracity, either.

        3. prianikoff says:

          “I’m still awaiting your denunciation of John McDonnell for supporting the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign”

          There will be no denunciations, but McDonnell was wrong to support the “Ukraine Solidarity Campaign”.

          It’s pretty well known that some of the people involved on the Ukrainian side of this operation have very questionnable histories of ripping off socialist organisations in the past, even if they now claim to have “learned their lesson”.

          Besides which, what’s the point of it?
          Ukraine is getting plenty of support from NATO.

          A more useful thing for you to do would be to join the StWC in fighting to prevent a wider war. But I suspect you are a cyber-activist who doesn’t even live in the UK.

          1. Nestor says:

            “McDonnell was wrong to support the “Ukraine Solidarity Campaign”.”

            Yes, it’s plainly wrong to express solidarity with the left and the workers in Ukraine when he should have been showing solidarity with the ultra-conservative Russian government, their invading army and their rag tag of far right proxies. Like when SARU invaded the Ukraine Solidarity meeting whilst cheering the name of known neo-nazi Pavel Gubarev.

            Silly John McDonnell.

            “Besides which, what’s the point of it?
            Ukraine is getting plenty of support from NATO.”

            USC is not in the business of supporting the Ukraine government, but the workers of Ukraine, which is why they’ve published articles in defence of worker and minority rights both in Ukraine and the territory Russia’s proxies have gained control over.

            Although this does get to the crux of the way people like you think, which is to gauge which side “NATO” is putatively on and then take the opposite, whether it be forming red/brown alliances with the Russian far right, or supporting brutal dictators such as Assad.

            “But I suspect you are a cyber-activist who doesn’t even live in the UK.”

            So, so weak.

          2. prianikoff says:

            Yes John McDonnell was wrong to support USC and I said so when this issue was debated at the last LRC conference. Both he and Jeremy Corbyn were present at the conference, so this is hardly any secret. There was a decision made not to revisit the issue unless the situation changed.
            Since you’ve raised it in a public forum, I feel it’s justifiable to answer your misleading claims.

            I’ve always been against the right-wing Ukrainian Orange nationalists. My views on this are long-standing and consistent. They pre-date Putin’s rise to power and have nothing to do with support for Great Russian national chauvinism, or Stalinism.

            Unfortunately McDonnell’s was influenced by the Ukrainian scam artists he invited to speak at the meeting he held in Westminster, who in the past have attempted to become the “Ukrainian section”
            of various UK-based sects.
            He was also influenced by the thoroughly dishonest article on SARU written by Gerry Gable in ” Searchlight”.
            Since I was at the meeting Gable wrote about, I know that what he wrote was a pack of lies – none of the platform speakers expressed any political support for either Putin, or for any Russian far right organisations.

            I’m sure that your account of the SARU” invasion” is equally dishonest judging by your earlier contributions in this thread. You were subjected to some mild jeering by a couple of workers who
            turned up off their own bat and pretend they support “neo-Nazis”.
            Yet you denigrate the people who were killed by real Nazis in the Odessa massacre!

            If it were left to the USC we would know nothing of the role of the Ukrainian nationalist right during the holocaust, the collaboration between the Banderites and Western intelligence services after the war, the role of the far right battalions in the Anti Terrorist Operation , or the political repression against the left in Ukraine. USC would be ignoring the EU trade agreement with Ukraine, the role of NATO forces and the threat of a wider war.
            Economistic campaigns about local trade union struggles while you attack the anti War movement.

          3. Nestor says:

            “Yes John McDonnell was wrong to support USC and I said so when this issue was debated at the last LRC conference.”

            Wow! Good for you.

            “I’ve always been against the right-wing Ukrainian Orange nationalists. My views on this are long-standing and consistent. They pre-date Putin’s rise to power”

            As Putin’s rise to power predates the initial “Orange Revolution” by a number of years, that would seem to be moderately impossible. However, you present a false dichotomy, as it is quite possible to oppose Ukrainian nationalism at the same time as opposing Russian military intervention and their far right proxies in the East. The Ukrainian left opposition manages it quite well. Your attempts to slur the entire non-Satlinist Ukrainian left through the debatable actions of, at best, one individual are also very telling.

            “none of the platform speakers expressed any political support for either Putin, or for any Russian far right organisations”

            As the entire SARU platform is based on tacit support for Putin and the Russian far right, which is heavily represented in the leadership of the “anti-fascist resistance” this would seem relatively unlikely.

            “You were subjected to some mild jeering by a couple of workers who
            turned up off their own bat and pretend they support “neo-Nazis”.”

            But but but, how could that happen! According to your psychogeographical powers I don’t even live in the UK! The individuals who invaded the meeting were representatives of SARU. SARU at the time didn’t deny it and in fact justified their actions. They weren’t “pretending” to support neo-Nazis, they were loudly chanting Gubarev’s name. By the way, are you suggesting by your inverted commas that RNU wasn’t a Nazi organisation or that Gubarev wasn’t a member?

            “Yet you denigrate the people who were killed by real Nazis in the Odessa massacre!”

            I did no such thing, of course, but you know that.

            “If it were left to the USC we would know nothing of the role of the Ukrainian nationalist right during the holocaust, the collaboration between the Banderites and Western intelligence services after the war”

            Nor has USC had any comment to make about the role of the Whites and other assorted Russians that supported the Axis powers, outnumbering Ukrainians to quite a large degree. Nor is it USC’s role to do so, as these are matters of historic record

            “the role of the far right battalions in the Anti Terrorist Operation , or the political repression against the left in Ukraine.”

            It has carried articles on both these issues, whilst you handwave away the instrumental role of the pro-Russia far right in the Donbass and Crimea, as well as their attacks on leftists, unions and ethnic minorities.

            “Economistic campaigns about local trade union struggles while you attack the anti War movement.”

            Yeah, sod workers rights and international socialist solidarity. Today’s struggle is all about full-throated support for Duginite geopolitics and red/brown alliances. I got you.

            I have no idea what a third positionist like you is doing at LRC meetings, quite frankly.

          4. prianikoff says:

            “As Putin’s rise to power predates the initial “Orange Revolution” by a number of years, that would seem to be moderately impossible.”

            Except for the small fact that right-wing Ukrainian Nationalists have been around since before the Russian revolution! (which they opposed)
            I’ve also been well aware of the Ukrainian war criminals who were let into Britain at the end of the war, because it’s quite possible that such people killed my own relatives.

            “it is quite possible to oppose Ukrainian nationalism at the same time as opposing Russian military intervention”

            I’ve never supported Russian military intervention in Ukraine, for much the same reason that I didn’t support it in Czechoslovakia in ’68 ( I was outside the Russian embassy) and didn’t support Brezhnev sending the Red Army into Afghanistan – it hands the national question on a plate to reactionaries. I’ve said that in public several times.

            Crimea is a different issue – it’s overwhelmingly populated by people who are Russian.
            It was given to Ukraine via Krushchev’s bureaucratic fiat, not a democratic decision.
            Russia also had the right to station its troops there under the Kharkiv pact.
            When the government in Kiev was overthrown, the vast majority of the Crimean population wanted to return to Russia.
            The majority of the people in the Donetsk region wanted Autonomy, which was denied them by Kiev. Russia has the right to aid them, but not to overthrow the Kiev government by force –that’s up to Ukrainians.

            “Your attempts to slur the entire non-Satlinist Ukrainian left through the debatable actions of, at best, one individual are also very telling.”

            They’re not very telling as once again, I don’t.
            However, you have consistently slurred Borotba, who are now mostly exiled from Ukraine.
            “ the entire SARU platform is based on tacit support for Putin and the Russian far right”

            this is complete rubbish.

            “The individuals who invaded the meeting were representatives of SARU.”

            They went off their own bat and SARU had obviously never discussed it.
            As far as I can see Gubarev is someone who has flirted with Russian nationalist politics
            and oscillated between left and right. He’s not a Nazi by any serious definition.

            “Yet you denigrate the people who were killed by real Nazis in the Odessa massacre!”
            I did no such thing, of course, but you know that.”

            You tried to excuse what happened on the basis that the victims tried to defend themselves.
            This happened after a violent attack on a peaceful protest camp by right wing thugs.
            When the House of Trade Unions was set on fire, people who jumped out of windows were beaten to death by the Right Sector. A woman was strangled inside the building and 48 people killed. How many of them were rightists?

            “Nor has USC had any comment to make about the role of the Whites and other assorted Russians that supported the Axis powers, outnumbering Ukrainians to quite a large degree. Nor is it USC’s role to do so, as these are matters of historic record”

            The point is that the Banderites in Svoboda and the Right Sector were a vital part of the Maidan uprising. Victorian Nuland and John McCain actually met with Oleh Tyahnybok.
            Whereas Putin has never met Alexsandr Dugin & he spoke at the Holocaust Museum in Moscow on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
            “you handwave away the instrumental role of the pro-Russia far right in the Donbass and Crimea, as well as their attacks on leftists, unions and ethnic minorities.”

            Not true. I’m opposed to them, as are the left wing in the Donbass.
            A revival of working class struggle should sideline these people and the Oligarchs.
            “I have no idea what a third positionist like you is doing at LRC meetings, quite frankly.”

            Such comments just prove what a slanderous idiot you are.
            I have a long and active record of fighting against fascists and supporting Labour left-wingers like Tony Benn.

          5. Nestor says:

            “Except for the small fact that right-wing Ukrainian Nationalists have been around since before the Russian revolution!”

            Right wing nationalists have been around everywhere for centuries, so this “small fact” has absolutely no relevance. You were very specific as regards the Orange revolution, and demonstrably wrong. Stop trying to wriggle out of it.

            “I’ve also been well aware of the Ukrainian war criminals who were let into Britain at the end of the war, because it’s quite possible that such people killed my own relatives.”

            Which has literally no relevance to this discussion.

            “I’ve never supported Russian military intervention in Ukraine”

            Which is clearly untrue, because then there’s this:

            “The majority of the people in the Donetsk region wanted Autonomy, which was denied them by Kiev. Russia has the right to aid them”

            Which is clearly support for Russian military intervention in Ukraine. And then this:

            “Crimea is a different issue”

            Well no, it isn’t. Crimea was a recognised part of Ukraine both by international law and by Russia itself. There was no caveat that stated “until there’s a change in government”. On that subject:

            “When the government in Kiev was overthrown”

            Except it wasn’t. Yanukovich’s security forces fired on protesters, massacring them, following which Yanukovich panicked and fled. If anything he “overthrew” himself.

            “the vast majority of the Crimean population wanted to return to Russia.”

            A debatable point, although it’s possible that after unrelenting Russian propaganda, prior to which all data showed that they wished to remain in Ukraine, they had had a change of heart. The fact is that the only “concrete” evidence of this is an exceptionally dodgy referendum conducted under the auspices of an invading army and “monitored” by a ragtag conglomeration of European neo-fascists.

            “However, you have consistently slurred Borotba, who are now mostly exiled from Ukraine.”

            Again, very telling that the only Ukrainian leftist organisation that you have any time for is the Stalinists, who happily fought side by side with Eurasianists and members of Slavic Union. The left opposition, to their credit, have not fought for either bunch of fascists.

            Somewhat hilariously, Borotba are also seemingly exiled from the territories occupied by their former neo-fascist allies.

            “As far as I can see Gubarev is someone who has flirted with Russian nationalist politics
            and oscillated between left and right. He’s not a Nazi by any serious definition.”

            Joining the openly neo-Nazi RNU is a little more than “flirting” with nationalist politics, it’s full sex with fascism, and Nazi by any definition. As for oscillating between left and right, the only evidence for “left” I can find is his memberdhip of the PSPU, a Larouchite organisation with open affiliation to Dugin’s neo-fascist Eurasian Youth Union. I guess that’s “left” for a third positionist such as yourself.

            “You tried to excuse what happened on the basis that the victims tried to defend themselves.”

            Nope. It was an horrific incident in the context of rioting and violence on both sides. THose that perpetrated are clearly murderers and should be prosecuted for it. None of this is helped, however, by the repetition of the propaganda lie of the strangled pregnant woman, as she simply did not exist.

            “The point is that the Banderites in Svoboda and the Right Sector were a vital part of the Maidan uprising.”

            Indeed, after peaceful protests where the far right were not in evidence were brutally put down by the security forces, the far right saw their chance and exploited it. This does not, however, justify supporting Russian military intervention on behalf of the pro-Russia far right. In fact, as the far right have proven to be a busted flush at the Ukrainian elections that have followed, they are much more strongly represented in the “governments” of Donetsk and Luhansk than they are in the Rada.

            “Putin has never met Alexsandr Dugin”

            Whether or not he’s met Putin, which neither of us know, Dugin has served as an adviser to close Putin ally Sergey Naryshkin, former Deputy PM under Putin and now Chair of the Duma. Not exactly 6 degrees of seperation, is it?

            “Not true. I’m opposed to them, as are the left wing in the Donbass.”

            There is no “left wing” allowed in the Donbass. Even Borotba has been forcibly sidelined, and the faux-left Communists were banned from standing in the elections.

            “A revival of working class struggle should sideline these people and the Oligarchs.”

            And how do you see that happening with the far right having occupied Donbass, splitting the Ukrainian working class whilst banning independent trade unions and crushing opposition? Are you calling for a revolution against these little Russian proxy statelets? Do you want a war within a war within a war?

            “Such comments just prove what a slanderous idiot you are.”

            Oh boohoo. If you don’t want to be called a third positionist, stop advocating red/brown coalitions and shilling for Putin.

          6. prianikoff says:

            Nestor:- “Right wing nationalists have been around everywhere for centuries, so this “small fact” has absolutely no relevance. You were very specific as regards the Orange revolution, and demonstrably wrong. Stop trying to wriggle out of it.”

            The so-called “Orange Revolution” had nothing to do with the interests of the working class and everything to do with the interests of the Ukrainian middle class, which wanted to get rich by linking up with the EU.

            They also dominated the “Maidan”, as was shown in the study of it conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology.

            The entire “Orange” discourse ever since Yukoschneko has involved rehabilitating right wing Ukranian nationalists such as Petliyura, Konovalets and Bandera.
            So it’s impossible to disentangle the two phenomena.

            The subsequent development of the “Orange” politicans shows that they have a symbiotic relationship with the fascists.

            https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CEhpCCxUEAEcUGh.jpg

            If you defend the Orange politicians, who are little more than Western Compradors, you are defending this link and the right wing of social democracy too.

            Such as the former Blairite Defence Minister George Robertson who met with Andriy Parubiy when he spoke in London in October

            http://www.therussophile.org/mr-parubiy-visits-london.html

            Right wing social democrats have always been prepared to do whatever the intelligence service tells them to do , even if it means cooperating with people who’ve committed genocide, like the Ukrainian war criminals let in to Britain after the war.

            From the “Daily Telegraph” June 22nd 2003:-

            “7,100 SS troops who were allowed to come to Britain in the late 1940s are still alive.

            All of those identified – estimated to be about 1,200 people – will be investigated either as possible war criminals or as witnesses to atrocities carried out by their former SS colleagues.

            The 7,100 people on the list were Ukrainian members of the 14th SS Division, which operated in eastern Europe during the Second World War. They came to Britain in 1947 after spending two years as prisoners of war in the Italian coastal town of Rimini.
            Most of those allowed to enter Britain were not questioned about their wartime activities..”

            Nestor: “Which has literally no relevance to this discussion.”

            What gives an arrogant apologist for the Ukrainian fascists like you the right to decide what has relevance in this debate?

          7. Karl Stewart says:

            ‘Nestor’/JimD’s repeated apologism for the nazi right sector in the former Ukraine SSR is utterly revolting.

            And his boasts about being involved in building support for the right sector here in the UK through its ‘USC’ front organisation is equally disgusting – although ‘USC’s’ failure to win any support here at all is heartening.

            But I’m also puzzled as to why ‘Nestor’/JimD seems to think his nazi apologism will win him support for his pathetic attacks on the StWC?

  9. Mick Hall says:

    At a time when for the first time since the 1950s we have a LP leader whose policies most left-wingers can support. At a time when the ruling class is using it’s media gofers to spew hatred and lies against the said leader.

    We get a minority of lefties on here, if that is what they are, attacking an organisation which Corbyn is closely associated with. True some are rightwing trolls, but some comrades really should know better.

    If comrades hate StW fine, that is their right, but what they should not do is join the ruling class chorus when expressing that hatred.

    You would need to be brain dead not to understand the media is targeting StW to get at Corbyn, move on, surely we have enough enemies to target without declaring war on StW.

    If those commentators feel so strongly about StW I find it strange not one has suggested how the organisation should change. it has been all you don’t want to do that. Funny that?

    I do wonder if they understand what a broad coalition is.

    1. gerry says:

      Mick – this site is called LEFT FUTURES! I am a democratic socialist. I want socialism in the UK, and hopefully worldwide. Socialism and socialists have many enemies, among whom are stalinists, neo stalinists, and islamists. All of those groups have a long and horrific history of fighting democratic socialism, and usually they have won, like in Iran and all across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. You are happy to be in a “broad coalition” with long standing murderous enemies of democratic socialists. I am not and never will be. Stop the War cannot be reformed. It should be disbanded. Its really that simple.

      1. James Martin says:

        Answer the question gerry, why don’t you form your own anti-war coalition instead if StWC is so bad? Prove you are not the jingo-socialist you sound like.

        1. gerry says:

          James – Stop the War isn’t an “anti War” Coalition, it is an anti West coalition. Its chair is quite happy to support Russian bombing and War, and Assad’s bombs and War.

          I am a Labour party member, and my party contains many different views – and I am happy with that. If the Labour party as a whole supported Stop the War’s “we will ally with anyone against the West including Islamic fascists stalinists and Putinites” poison, then my position would change and I would do all I could to reject and reverse that poison. But as of now I am doing all I can to make sure my party doesnt get infected by Stop the War’s anti socialist politics – including by openly challenging this group wherever I can.

          1. James Martin says:

            Gerry, let me put it this way. I have been a member of CND for decades. CND want the elimination of all nuclear weapons the world over, and will often mention for an example issues like the huge danger the world faces from mutually hostile nuclear powers India and Pakistan. However, there is clearly a limit of what we can do about the situation in either country other than to support anti-nuclear peace activists in both (which we do). Therefore the overwhelming majority of time and resources are spent on UK issues, on things like Trident and UK membership of the dangerous NATO alliance. Using the logic of the anti-StWC posters on here that would make CND vile hypocrites, as how dare we spend so much time talking about UK bombs but hardly mention Indian, Pakistani, or for that matter Russian ones. But here’s the thing. The best thing we can do in ridding the world of nukes is to start with our own, it is why we are proud to be unilateralists. There is no hypocrisy at all in that standpoint, unless of course you are a writer for the Daily Mail or a member of the Henry Jackson Society. Just as there is no hypocrisy at all in StWC being an anti-war coalition focused on UK military and political actions as a UK peace campaign. But the real issue here is that you do not oppose StWC because you want a different anti-war coalition, but because you support the UK bombing – and so the real hypocrites in my opinion are the followers of Bomber Benn on here that haven’t got the honesty or decency to admit openly what they are.

          2. gerry says:

            James – you are becoming obsessed by silly Hilary Benn, calling him Bomber…his speech was a farce, and a fake, and I wrote just that in the Left Futures article on the debate.

            Yours and Karl’s hysteria on Stop the War being called out for its poisonous politics is really over the top, and makes you both look really childish, petulant and unhinged: our socialist rejection of Stop the War has really hit home, hasn’t it? Take it on the chin, James…we clearly won’t convince you and you clearly won’t convince us. But I think that a dispassionate reader of this thread would see that the well reasoned, consistent, factual and moral case put forward by me, John, Nestor. Jim, David E and Phil BC is overwhelming.

            Phil BC’s article is just stunningly good: Stop the War unmasked for the reactionaries they always were. Kudos to Jon Lansman and Left Futures for having the courage to publish it!

      2. Paul Canning says:

        This is so ahistorical as to be laughable. Socialists have been criticising STWC *since 2003*. Didn’t just start cos Corbyn (more on socialist criticism http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/deselect-stop-war-coalition.html)

        1. James Martin says:

          Gerry, I’ll call your bluff too so same questions to you that I put to Nestor: Please tell me what *you* propose to replace StWC with? Please tell me what *you* think is the best way to oppose UK military action, to oppose NATO and to oppose Trident WMDs. Let’s all hear how it *should* be done please.

          1. gerry says:

            James – Nestor’s response to you of 19:48 pretty much nails it as an answer. I would just add: the very name “Stop the War Coalition” is so debased discredited and poisonous that you would need to call it something new and untainted…any ideas?

        2. Karl Stewart says:

          Well you certainly have been.

        3. Karl Stewart says:

          Paul, you’re just making a series of right-wing, anti-StWC comments and then linking to further right-wing anti-StWC comments you’ve previously made.

          It’s like: “I think this…and to prove it, here’s a link to…me”

          1. Paul Canning says:

            Ah, the ‘everyone who disagrees with STWC is ‘right-wing” nonsense. As endlessly pointed out, Karl, this is now and has always been a lie.

  10. Jim Denham says:

    I can agree with Mick that we need to be measured in our criticisms and denunciations of the StWC, given the undoubted fact that the Blairites and the rigtwing media are stepping up their attacks on it as part of their anti-Corbyn campaign.

    Yes, we need to be measured, but not silent. What *should* we say about an organisation that has for years given tacit support to some of the most reactionary forces in the world (the Taliban, the so-called “resistance” in Iraq, Gaddafi and now Assad)? What *should* we say about an organisation that was happy to have George Galloway as its public face for many years? What should we say about an organisation that ascribed 9/11 (and, again 7//7 and the most recent Paris attacks) to “blow-back”/”reaping the whirlwind” etc?
    What *should* we say about an “anti-war” organisation that appoints a supporter of the Assad regime and of Putin’s bombing of Syria as its Chair?

    These outrageous examples of political bankruptcy are not “smears”: they’re on the record *facts*: do you think that leftists should simply remain silent about all this?

    Just as, presumably, we should have remained silent about Soviet human rights abuses in the 1950’s because to raise them would “play into the hands” of the right wing … and in any case – what about racial segregation in the United States (the standard Stalinist “over there!” play at the time, to avoid such a discussion).

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      Jim, (and others on the ‘anti-stop the war’ brigade) the frustrating thing in this debate is that the political positions you’re objecting to are not policy positions of StWC, but political viewpoints held by people within StWC.

      The only political position of StWC is opposition to the UK being involved in military action abroad – that’s it. If you disagree with military interventions by the UK abroad, then support and participate in StWC protests and activities.

      I don’t agree with many of your specific political viewpoints, but neither do I agree with many other specific political viewpoints held by other individuals and organisations within StWC.

      No-one at any of the StWC protests I attended forced me to agree with their specific political viewpoint. No-one told me I had to agree with them over Syria’s internal issues or on how to deal with islamic fundamentalism, or on which political party to support or join.

      But there were also plenty of different individuals and organisations present putting forward their own viewpoints – handing out leaflets, broadsheets, etc. And no-one was stopping them.

      So, if you are opposed to UK military interventions abroad, what’s stopping you from attending StWC anti-war protests? What’s stopping you from backing the broad anti-war movement and still making your points?

      This is what I just don’t get about the arguments you and one or two others have been putting forward.

      1. Paul Canning says:

        Not true. There were attempts to remove Syrians from the last march.

    2. Paul Canning says:

      This would be fine +dandy if STWC were not ‘advising’ Labour, which we’re told they are doing, and if STWC did not have a potential direct impact on not just policy. For example, MEP votes on continuing sanctions on Russia would be my a real concern of mine.

  11. David Pavett says:

    Within a short space of time Left Futures has carried three articles on StWC. These have attracted 62, 59 and 33 comments respectively, many of them full of invective and mutual denunciations.

    In the same period there has been one article on problems of local government and how they should respond to the deeply damaging cuts being forced on them. That article has, at the time if writing, only attracted three comments.

    What do these different responses tell us about the readiness of the left, or at least that part of it that reads LF, to think about politics at the point where it affects people most directly?

    1. Robert says:

      War seems to get in the punters, homelessness is boring.

      merry Xmas

      1. Jim Denham says:

        Sadly, I think that’s true and I accept I’m as guilty as anyone else.

    2. gerry says:

      David – I have written on all three articles that there are way more important and relevant issues for our party to think about, debate and oppose (or not) but in the end those articles got such a huge response because many party members, like me, reject Stop the War from a socialist, or Left, perspective..and our views had not been heard so clearly before.

      Phil’s article was powerful and in fact groundbreaking – it smashed the myth that this group was somehow a part of “progressive politics” and showed that in fact Stop the War is a profoundly anti socialist and anti progressive entity.

      The reaction to Phil’s brilliant article, and the support it has galvanised against this fringe group, has gone far and wide: I understand Jon Lansman has faced massive criticism from the party leadership simply for allowing an alternative, socialist narrative on Stop the War to be printed…but it is to his credit that he did so, and I hope that Corbyn, McDonnell, Abbott and Burgon know now that many Labour lefties reject this organisation’s dreadful politics, and we will not let Stop the War and the Left become synonymous, when in fact they are polar opposites….I think they have got our message!

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Come off it Gerry, a poorly-researched and badly-written criticism of the SWP from a former SP member who supported Yvette Cooper for Labour leader has “galvanised the masses”????

        Don’t be daft!

        PhilBC is not the first former socialist to move to the right and I’m sure he won’t be the last.

        1. Rod says:

          “not the first former socialist to move to the right”

          Particularly when hoping to bag a career opportunity.

          Let’s hope that Jezza’s leadership changes this. Not that the careerists should now be moving to the Left in order to bag a safe seat.

          Rather, the democratic policy-making reforms suggested by Jezza will mean that no one is more important than the ordinary members of the Party.

          When this happens perhaps the careerists will go back to the top-down, Marxist and Blairite sects from whence they came.

        2. John Penney says:

          Karl Stewart , where is your evidence to back up your spurious claim that Phil’s important article was “poorly researched” ? Non existent . As for your sad little schoolboy snipe that it was “poorly written”. I’m afraid it was only too well written to be dismissed in such a cheap shot way. Try taking up the arguments and analysis for a change.

          What Phil’s cogent deconstruction of the StWC has done is blow a well argued hole in the entire StWC posturing “analysis – and clearly exposed it as an organisation run by (though of course not by any means representing the broad spread of views of its previously huge following) cynical accommodationists to an unholy brew of Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Sharia Law enthusiasts in the UK and clerico-fascist jihadists (“resistance Fighters”… “we are all Hezbollah now ” ?) in the Middle East , and the Assad dictatorship and its Russian imperialist backers.

          You may delude yourself that those socialists exposing and opposing the unprincipled politics behind StW are “right wing” – but then as an apologist for Putin’s Russian imperialism and the murderous Assad clan Alawite Ba’athist dictatorship your understanding of what “Left wing” actually means is hopelessly awry – lost forever in a stalinoid political la la land.

          1. James Martin says:

            Do you use language like that because it is so uncomfortable for you to realise you have become a member of the Bomber Benn fan club John?

          2. Karl Stewart says:

            John, a detailed critique of such a poor hatchet job would be to give it way more time and attention than it merits quite frankly.

            The salient points are:
            1. It’s written by someone on a clear rightwards political trajectory.

            2. It quite deliberately misrepresents someone’s individual opinion as a formal StWC position.

            3. It was written at the same time as StWC was under ferocious and sustained attack by the right-wing establishment.

            Basically, if you want to show your opposition to UK military intervention abroad, then take part in StWC protests and activities and if you’ve got some more specific political points to make, then make them – no-one’s going to stop you.

            But by the same token, you might also hear some political opinions that you don’t necessarily agree with 100 per cent – and neither you nor anyone else has the right to stop them.

            It’s called taking part in a broad-based single-issue campaign.

  12. John Penney says:

    And from James and Karl there was, as usual, no actual counter arguments or illustration of the supposed “poorly researched” nature of Phil’s incisive demolition of StW’s compromise politics and associations.

    You need to try harder lads. Simply trying to cover up StW’s very selective cod pacifism and long term compromises with both fundamentalist Islamic groups and the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian imperialist backers, by throwing distractive nonsense like “Bomber Benn fan club” around at anyone from the Left who is prepared to expose the fundamentally unprincipled politics behind the StW leadership, simply won’t wash with a growing number of socialists.

    And surely with a thoroughgoing Assad regime and Russian intervention supporter from the CPB now chairing StW once more , its hard to see how any StW demo from now on called to protest only at “UK intervention” is really going to have any credibility. Presumably the new slogan is going to be something like “No to UK Imperialist intervention….YES to indiscriminate Russian white phosphorus and cluster bombing of civilian areas opposing the Assad regime ” ? A difficult sell indeed !

    1. James Martin says:

      Right, I’m calling your bluff. If the StWC is so rotten then please tell me what *you* propose to replace StWC with? Please tell me what *you* think is the best way to oppose UK military action, to oppose NATO and to oppose Trident WMDs. Let’s all hear how it *should* be done please (and hint, I don’t want to hear about how you oppose Putin, I want to hear how you will oppose the imperialist interventions from the country where you actually live). Well?

      1. Nestor says:

        “I don’t want to hear about how you oppose Putin”

        Of course you don’t, as you clearly think the right wing gitcloud is positivey dreamy.

        1. James Martin says:

          Answer the questions Nestor, yes I don’t want to hear about Russia, France, the USA or any other bloody foreign country – I want you to tell me what you are doing to build the opposition to your *own* country’s imperialism and military non-stop interventions. Explain how you are not just another reactionary jingo socialist where imperialism is always located somewhere far away.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            James, this debate has made clear that the sole objective of our Daily Mail “lefts” is to attack, smear and lie about the anti-war movement.

            They have no genuine criticisms of StWC, none which stand up to even the most basic argument. And they clearly have zero interest in any kind of anti-war protest or activity.

          2. Nestor says:

            I’ve answered you already. This repetition is getting dreary.

  13. Karl Stewart says:

    What an odd bunch you “Daily Mail lefts” are!

  14. John Penney says:

    back at ya , Karl. And what an odd and credulous bunch you “old believers” in the blood-soaked lie that the totalitarian USSR dictatorship was some sort of “socialist” state, and that the vile Assad dictatorship was ever “socialist” either , and with the theocratic Iranian dictatorship , and Gaddafi’s Libya, were ever in some way “progressive forces” in world politics, are Karl.

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      John, *sigh* none of those political viewpoints that you’ve listed are positions held by StWC.

      StWC does not have a view as to whether the former USSR was socialist or not.

      StWC does not have a view as to whether the Assad government is socialist or not.

      And StWC does not have a view as to whether Iran today or Libya under Gaddafi were progressive or not.

      1. John Penney says:

        Sigh – how utterly disingenuous of you Karl. You know perfectly well that the underlying , though of course never openly stated, background ideology of the CPB member, Chair of StWc for a start is solidly based on just these positions. You also are well aware of the bogus ” Anti Western Imperialism Axis of Resistance definition of states like Syria, Iran, Russia, Gaddafi’s Libya, Saddam’s Iraq” ideology held by the entire Stalinist and ex SWP StWC leadership, which has led them continually to exempt the lesser imperialisms of Iran and Russia , and Gaddafi’s Libya , and of course Muslim fundamentalist groupings too, from the same scrutiny and criticisms that Western, US-led, imperialism receives.

        This background ideology is of course also YOUR personal political ideology, explaining your repeated tunnel-vision obsession with NATO’s actions – ignoring of the barrel bombing and cluster bombing of the Assad/Russia forces.

        Your political dishonesty is all too typical of that of the leadership of StW. But for those of us well experienced over decades in the ways of Stalinist apologists , all too familiar.

        1. James Martin says:

          The ‘obsession’ with NATO is quite simple John. First, it keeps starting wars or getting involved in other peoples. Second, and far more importantly, we are a NATO member, it is ‘our’ imperialist military body, and a bloody dangerous one at that. As for not working with an organisation on the basis that, shock, horror, there is a communist or two in it, then boy oh boy, the McCarthyism sectarian dark side force is strong in you isn’t it! Incidentally, I find it hard to work out how a working class united front against class enemies like fascists could be made if you exclude those like CPB members and all the other groups you find so vile? But back to NATO, simple question, do you oppose it or not? And if you do (although I really doubt that is the case) what do you propose as a strategy to build a campaign against NATO membership in the labour movement? Go on, show you are not the jingo-socialist you constantly sound like 🙂

        2. Karl Stewart says:

          hmmm…but isn’t this exactly right back where we started JohnP?

          Stripped of your obsolete, 100-year-old (and frankly rather embarrassing) terminology, what you’re actually saying is that you disagree with some of the political viewpoints of some of the individuals and/or organisations that are affiliated/associated with StWC, not the actual policy positions of StWC itself.

          As I said in my first posting on this discussion, I to disagree with some of the political viewpoints of some of the individuals and/or organisations that are affiliated/associated with StWC.

          But unlike you, I do have an understanding of the concept of a single-issue, broad-based campaign, which is what StWC is, and which StWC carries out remarkably well.

          The fact that StWC’s effectiveness causes such consternation among the right-wing establishment and their useful idiots such as yourself is testament to StWC’s ongoing success.

  15. Karl Stewart says:

    In case anyone’s still in doubt as to the position of StWC, can I suggest they read this brief article, which is an official statement from the organisation:

    http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news/for-the-avoidance-of-doubt-the-positions-of-the-stop-the-war-coalition

    1. Jim Denham says:

      Disingenuous cobblers.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Nothing disingenuous there JimD, just the policies of StWC as set out by StWC in a formal statement by the StWC leadership.

        You and your right-wing cronies on here such as JohnP and ‘Nestor’ oppose StWC because you support NATO, while we on the left support StWC because we oppose NATO.

        1. Jim Denham says:

          You’re either an ignorant person, or a liar.
          Try educating yourself by reading the Communist Manifesto.

  16. Mick Hall says:

    Probably this thread has reached a stage where it will tumble into name calling, so I see little point in revisiting ground that has already been covered.

    I will just add I have always looked upon Phil, who wrote the article, as a level headed comrade who post well written and interesting articles on LF. but like many, (not all) who have been members of ‘small left groups’ he is a conservative with an apolitical small c.

    I like many readers was shocked when I first read this piece as it undoubtedly demonstrates a move to the right, which saddened me as I regarded him as solid. It wasn’t so much about content, although I feel it came close to aping the mainstream media take on StW. It was the timing which worried me, as we know during his period in office PR man Cameron has played a pretty astute hand as far as timing his attacks on Labour are concerned.

    Mick.

    1. John Penney says:

      Phil may, or may not, be “moving to the right” in his overall political positions. I simply don’t know. But, Mick, this vague condemnatory judgement of yours delivered with such magisterial finality is simply not evidence based, It is simply a mud-slinging slur intended purely to discredit his excellent Left Futures article with its closely argued, factually based, criticisms of the disastrous leadership politics and distinct political slant of the StWC.

      The problem for handful of avid posters on here trying to discredit the many socialists with well argued criticisms of StW , is that it is not their criticisms which have left StW so utterly vulnerable to the current attacks of the bourgeois mass media. No, unfortunately it is the sad fact that most of the serious criticisms of the politics of StW made by the bourgeois press are quite true – with ample evidence available to back up these attacks.

      It is the rubbish background politics and highly selective cod pacifism of StW and its long relationships with Muslim fundamentalist groups and its constant turning of a blind eye to Assad, Iran and Russia’s crimes, whilst it focuses entirely on a simplistic model of “western imperialism”, which has left StW open to attack.

      The politics of StW needs to change radically if it is to re-engage with mass public opinion – outside of the tiny bubble of the stalinoid and Trot Left. The effective defence to the attacks by the bourgeois press are not to metaphorically stick your fingers in your ears and constantly mouth the reassuring mantra of “it’s all a right wing plot – and anyone on the Left pointing out that StW’s crap politics are what led it to this vulnerable state are Bomber Benn fanboys too” as a way of screening out the harsh reality that it is actually the narrow sectarian leadership of StW that have screwed it up big time politically over the last decade.

      The bourgeois press is of course a source of a constant fountain of lies – BUT , just because the Right Wing mass media widely exposed the Purges and Gulags and totalitarian nature of the USSR , didn’t unfortunately mean that these crimes against the working class weren’t all true, Mick. Once the Left starts rewriting history and covering up inconvenient facts and creating simplistic fantasy models of , for instance what “imperialism” is – or believes that viciously oppressive anti working class regimes are somehow “historically progressive” – then the Left wingers who fall into this perennial political “subtitutionist” trap are lost to genuinely progressive pro working class politics that can appeal to masses ordinary people.

      1. Mick Hall says:

        John Penney

        As I have said my worry is one of timing. If I remember correctly the western media reported the Moscow Trials in 36-38 as if they were fact, and with some glee at the fate of old bolsheviks like Nikolay Bukharin.

        There reporting of the Gulags came much later after the cold war started.

        Newspaper editors in all probability would have known about the Katyn massacres of Polish officers and intellectuals during WW2, either from Brit intel contacts of from the Nazi newspapers. yet they never wrote a word until much much later.

        As I said it is often about timing, that politics is often grubby is one of the reasons I prefer to be an agitator not a politician.

        Jim

        You ask a fair question about chair of StW and bombing Syria, but I am not a member so cannot help you.

      2. Karl Stewart says:

        JohnP, there’s no doubt or question about PhilBC’s political trajectory. He was previously a member of the trotskyist SP, then he left that and joined Labour and he supported Yvette Cooper in the leadership election. How can you say there’s any doubt about his rightwards political direction?

        1. Jim Denham says:

          I know nothing about Phil B-C and certainly hold no brief for him: but this seems like a McCartharthyite witch-hunt by people who don’t want to /can’t answer his political arguments.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            JimD/’Nestor’, you do know something about PhilBC’s politics because you’ve been told several times.

            He was a member of the trotskyist SP, then he left to join the Labour Party and he supported Yvette Cooper in the leadership election.

            He’s quite open about his own politics, which are clearly on a right-wing trajectory. These are the facts JimD/’Nestor’.

            There’s no ‘witchhunt’ against PhilBC, he’s perfectly entitled to take a right-wing anti-StWC position.

            But it’s worth reminding ourselves of his political direction in order to rebut the false claim that the right-wing attack on StWC has any traction at all on the left – it clearly doesn’t.

            Those supporting StWC include the Labour left, Green Party, SNP, various trade unions, and all of the various organisations across the ‘left-of-Labour-left’ (such as the Communist Party, the SP, SWP, and all of the various smaller groups etc.

            There is absolutely no-one on the left who agrees with your right-wing, pro-NATO orientation Jim/’Nestor’. No-one at all.

  17. Jim says:

    Pro-war, anti-Stop the War critics, please read this article –
    http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news/for-the-avoidance-of-doubt-the-positions-of-the-stop-the-war-coalition

    Then stop telling untruths/lying. This nonsense used to attack Stop the War is an incredibly cynical way of supporting continued Bombing and continued Mass Murder, which has already killed millions of people in the Middle East – http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news/shocking-truth-how-uk-helped-kill-millions-of-civilians-in-iraq-and-afghanistan. Is Jeremy Corbyn, the founder and chair of Stop the War, a “neo-Stalinist”? There are many, many very genuine peace activists and civil libertarians in Stop the War. We need to all join StW and make it even better!

  18. Jim Denham says:

    I have still not had an answer to my simple question (asked now at least three times): what is a so-called “anti-war” organisation doing appointing as its Chair someone who *supports* bombing Syria?

    Karl, please answer.

  19. Karl Stewart says:

    Jim, can you answer a question of mine?

    1. Jim Denham says:

      I’ll have a go – which is more than you’ve done for my question.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Did the Daily Mail pay you double time for trolling on Christmas Day?

        1. Jim Denham says:

          If that’s your “question” you can eff off. Now try answering mine. For the record, it’s this: what is a so-called “anti-war” organisation doing appointing as its Chair someone who *supports* bombing Syria?

          1. James Martin says:

            Jim, I’ll have a go at answering you if you like, but it is with my opinion not any form knowledge not knowing the people concerned. StWC is a very broad coalition around a concentrated single issue. The broad coalition contains various individuals and groups, many of who are not a part of the labour movement. So there are Christian and non-Christian pacifists, ex-service personal like veterans for peace, groups like CND and the Muslim Council of Britain. Outside of StWC some of these groups I will happily support in their work (e.g., CND), some I won’t (e.g., MCB). The same is true of the political groups and individuals who have very different policies and outlooks on all sorts of things (as is the case within CND of course, I’m a member but not a pacifist, but I work with others who are). The key is the single issue, and that single issue is UK military involvement and attacks within the non-stop wars since the first Gulf War. So if the current StWC chair shares my opposition to that then this is the deciding factor. Whether or not his political organisation may have a view on Assad and the Syrian conflict that is different to mine is to me not the issue so long as we can work together in a united front against UK military involvement and things like NATO and Trident, because that is the sole purpose of StWC. I have the same view on this as I did when Bruce Kent was CND gen sec as although Bruce was a Labour Party member (at least latterly) his views on religion and pacifism and all the things that go with that were very different to my own – but we both opposed Cruise missiles and Greenham, we both opposed Trident etc. I could also say similar but different things about Kate Hudson politically I oppose the Left Unity nonsense and always have as a sectarian distraction), but again will happily work with Kate to oppose Trident et al. It’s the nature of any campaign that attracts broad support isn’t it, and is the same in any number of them, so I fail to see what the issue is here other than what seems to me to be the case which is people finding reasons to attack StWC on the basis of this or that individual or group when the real reason is they actually oppose what it is fighting for.

          2. Nestor says:

            So, you’re not actually that bothered about military intervention and the bombing of civillians in Syria, you’re just concerned about who is doing the bombing, to the extent that you’ll make common cause with people who actually support bombing Syria?

            Well, glad you’ve made the point clear, then. It’s not a particularly moral, anti-imperialist or left wing position. More a form of nationalism viewed through a fun house mirror.

            It’s also interesting to note that, by your estimation, StWC would have sat out the entire Vietnam conflict without a hint of opposition.

          3. Karl Stewart says:

            Jim, I’ve got no idea of the StWC’s internal processes at all. I attend some of their protests and rallies from time to time and I respect and admire the work they do.

            I’d guess, like other organisations, they have some kind of AGM at which a steering committee or executive committee is elected and various committee officers.

            Why are you so bitter and twisted about it? Did you try to get elected and fail?

          4. Nestor says:

            “Why are you so bitter and twisted about it? Did you try to get elected and fail?”

            Dear oh dear, Karl. Your really are just a troll, aren’t you?

  20. James Martin says:

    Nestor, again you seem to deliberately confuse what StWC is. It is not an international group, it is a single issue national organisation against UK military action, end of. In answer to your Vietnam analogy, a StWC would have had no reason to exist at the time because Harold Wilson did a fantastic job of keeping the UK out of it so your comment is meaningless, which is not to say that other coalitions were not important for opposing US involvement or supporting the communist north if that is what people wanted to do. Likewise if people want to have organisations in support of the Kurds and anyone else I have no problem with that, but don’t confuse their role with that of an organisation like StWC which is a single issue campaign, and when it comes to the single issue you are either on one side or the other, either you support NATO or you oppose it, which is why the jingo-socialists get so worked up about diverting matters from that central issue at every opportunity.

    1. Nestor says:

      “It is not an international group, it is a single issue national organisation against UK military action, end of.”

      Interesting. So, if I were to check on their website I wouldn’t be able to find any articles on, say, Israel/Palestine and the war in Ukraine, two conflicts which the UK plays no active part in?

      Oddly enough, nowhere is that solely UK-focused stance mentioned in their aims or constitution, which refer exclusively to “the US and its allies”. So not “end of”, sorry. This also puts the complete kybosh on your Vietnam handwave.

    2. John Penney says:

      This is the purest, cynical, sophistry, James, as I’m sure you are very well aware. (though I may be wrong – you could just be a naïve dupe). CND can indeed be a “single issue campaign” , and not be implicated in turning a blind eye to mass murder .

      Unfortunately in the complex multi-sided cauldron of the Middle East it is not morally or politically possible to blithely claim that StWC is “only concerned with opposing UK military action” , and claim that this leaves it’s organisational hands clean of the consequences of this cod pacifist position. The Kurds in particular, but also sundry other minorities facing enslavement and mass murder by the Daesh barbarians (and proxies of Turkish and Saudi regional imperialism) do require arms and close air support to fight off the better armed , death-loving fanatics of Daesh. It is purely a tactical issue as to where the Kurds and others get this military support. Simply having a blanket “no to any UK involvement” position is actually directly campaigning to leave the Kurds and other minorities to be slaughtered by Daesh. That is the direct consequence of the current unconditional StW campaigning demand.

      Of course we’ve been here repeatedly before – in the case of sections of the Left blindly campaigning to stop NATO intervening in both Bosnia and Kosovo – to end the huge scale genocide being perpetrated by the ( supposedly “socialist” ?) Serbian regime. Again sections of the Left, 25 years ago, campaigned against the setting up, of a No Fly Zone in Northern Iraq to protect the Kurds from the then murderous campaign being waged by Saddam Hussein. In all three cases NATO intervention simply did quite evidently save hundreds of thousands of lives. Simply opposing all Western intervention as a matter of unconditional principle is schoolboy-level political posturing. This doesn’t for a moment alter the fact that NATO is the military arm of Western Imperialism – of course it is. However the Left needs to be more tactically flexible, and willing to prioritise and balance the real needs of masses of people in real peril, against the holding of inflexible political postures. For someone obviously as lost in the political maze of Stalinist political models as you evidently are , James, a concept which I don’t expect you are even able to imagine.

      But then you probably actually know this quite well and are simply playing semantic games – to cover up your, and StWc’s leadership’s actual , undeclared, underlying, support for the Assad regime and its Russian imperialist backers. That is certainly the CPB member , and now new Chairman of StWC’s obvious personal political position.

      Your blanket “opposition to NATO” is simply another cover for the ludicrously simplistic soviet-era politics which views ONLY US/Western imperialism as a barrier to socialist progress – with a range of bestial tyrannies like Iran, Assad’s Syria, Saddam’s Iraq, and Gaddafi’s Libya getting a “free pass” as members of some bogus “axis of Resistance”.

      Your cynical sophistry is truly stomach churning. StW today is a cynically manipulative movement, playing on naïve general pacifist anti war sentiments , to promote the narrow sectarian interests of a StW leadership coalition of Islamic fundamentalist appeasers and supporters of the Assad regime and Russian imperialism – not by any means a “single issue campaign”.

      There are plenty of good reasons to oppose the current , purely symbolic, tiny air intervention of the UK in Syria. Its total ineffectiveness and total failure to recognise and tackle the vital huge support for Daesh coming from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, for one. But to object purely on a cod pacifist basis – and ignoring the murderous role of Assad and the Russians, is to be a stooge of these regimes – not proud evidence of being a clean hands “single issue” campaign.

      1. James Martin says:

        Such a lot of words just to say ‘John Penney does not oppose NATO’! Come on lad, I get your meaning, just cut down on the verbal diarrhea – you’re not on one of your daft sect sites now you know! Incidentally, you do know that the NATO attack on Yugoslavia that, let us remember, was allegedly as you say to stop a genocide (that debate is far from conclusive actually) and to stop massed Yugoslavian tanks managed in nearly 40,000 combat missions over the course of 10 weeks to destroy just 14 of more than a 1,000 in the field, but they did kill thousands of civilians in Serbia that were nowhere near any fighting, destroyed a state TV station and a Chinese embassy, and perhaps most telling of all was the fact that the imposed peace treaty that followed had in it a clause that all remaining state property and industries would be privatised. You probably wonder to yourself why would NATO be bothered about privatising state property and industries when it was on an urgent mission connected to ‘genocide’, whereas for a genuine socialist who knows what NATO is all about it is pretty obvious.

        1. Jim Denham says:

          Ah! A Milosevic-apologist: someone whose hatred of NATO takes precedence over any concerns about genocide. At least we now know the sort of moral and political degeneracy we’re dealing with here.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            JimD, you’re a NATO apologist, whose hatred of the left takes precedence over any other concerns.

    3. Jim Denham says:

      Karl:

      it is possible to recognise that NATO (and other imperialist bodies) can occasionally, and for their own reasons, serve a helpful purpose: the Kurds understand this very well, even if the “anti-imperialist” left doesn’t, working as you do on the crude, undialectical “principle” of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” You where it gets you: apologising for the genocide of Milosevic.

      The Allies in WW2 were of course, an expression of “Western Imperialism” and (leaving aside the Stalin-Hitler pact, which is probably outside the scope of this discussion), some Indian (Bose), Palestinians (al-Husseini) and Irish (Frank Ryan, Sean Russell) “anti-imperialists” took that analysis to its logical conclusion, and to one degree or another supported the Nazis. Not a tradition, I presume, that you would want to follow?

  21. John Penney says:

    For Gawds sake, James …How convenient, and utterly disgusting, that you profess to believe that the facts of the murderous ethnic cleansing campaign of the Serbian regime (not the “Yugoslavian regime” – Yugoslavia was toast by then) in Bosnia , or Kosovo later, is in any sort of historical doubt. The bodies in the Serbian death squad pits are still being dug up and Serbian leaders have been sent to the Hague.

    The well known facts are that, like it or not , NATO intervention prevented further mass murder /ethnic cleansing on a genocidal scale
    in both Bosnia and Kosovo. In comparison the relatively tiny casualties among Serbian civilians from NATO bombing were actually minute compared to the ongoing bloodbath from Serbian paramilitary murder gangs in both Bosnia and Kosovo. For you as a Stalinist the only thing that matters is that Serbia afterwards set out on the usual neoliberal privatisation path. Any mass murder involved in protecting the existence of a major state sector appears to always trump the piles of bodies required to preserve a state monopoly of the commanding heights. Of course being a Stalinist you believe this state sector means the preservation of a “socialist state”. But you are completely wrong. The Stalinist state form is indeed based on the state ownership of most productive property – but for the benefit of a state bureaucratic elite- not the working class.

    One would have thought the unopposed (by the working classes) complete conventional bourgeois restoration throughout the USSR and its former empire would have taught you that the Stalinist state model has nothing to do with socialism – but is just a form of state bureaucratic tyranny. But no – you Stalinists just can’t let the illusion go – even when the recent regimes you support because they are or were supposedly “socialist, ie, Assad’s Syria and Gaddafi’s Libya , were well advanced in handing over state property to their families and clan members as their own neoliberal transformation advanced apace. The murderous Syrian regime you and your Stalinist pals are supporting aren’t even “socialist” nowadays on the Stalinist model.

    You, and your StWC leadership co-thinkers are trapped forever in a soviet era Stalinist political bubble , James, with no chance that this type of distorted political analysis will ever win mass approval from Labour voters in the UK. The Labour Right are unconditional NATO supporters in all circumstances. The sensible socialist needs to consider the specifics of each international situation and place the preservation and protection of people, and the protection of socialists, democratic rights, trades unionists and women’s rights, at the forefront of policy determination. All you place in the forefront of your “analysis” is a stale , rigid, stalinoid model which cares everything for staying loyal to the myth that “Stalinism is socialism”, and nothing for the interests of real people. For you, to quote Uncle Joe, in order to pursue your cynical Stalinist agenda ..”One death is a tragedy …a million deaths is merely a statistic”.

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      And once again, in your own words, clear support for NATO.

      As I said earlier, the only difference between you and the Daily Mail is the Daily Mail doesn’t pretend to be on the left.

      1. Jim Denham says:

        Karl, it is possible to recognise that NATO (and other imperialist bodies) can occasionally, and for their own reasons, serve a helpful purpose: the Kurds understand this very well, even if the “anti-imperialist” left doesn’t, working as you do onm the crude, undialectical “principle” of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” You where it gets you: apologising for the genocide of Milosevic.

        The Allies in WW2 were of course, an expression of “Western Imperialism” and (leaving aside the Stalin-Hitler pact, which is probably outside the scope of this discussion), some Indian (Bose), Palestinians (al-Husseini) and Irish “anti-imperialists” took that analysis to its logical conclusion, and to one degree or another supported the Nazis. Not a tradition, I presume, that you would want to follow?

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          I think our differing attitudes to NATO are the root of the disagreement between us. My view is that NATO does not ever serve any positive purpose, in my view, it’s a military alliance of the world’s most powerful nations which exists solely in order to protect and extend that power.

          We should oppose each and every action of NATO, campaign for UK withdrawal from it and work for its ultimate dissolution.

          1. John Penney says:

            So what you are clearly saying , Karl, is that despite the undeniable (by and rational observer without reality denying political filters like you) historical evidence that in a few particular cases , eg, Bosnia, Kosovo, implementing the No Fly Zone over Kurdish Iraq 25 years ago, NATO , despite its undeniable overall role as the military muscle of western imperialism, actually did save hundreds of thousands of innocent people from three separate genocidal attacks , you simply refuse to recognise these “out of general character” actions by NATO took place.

            This means you are simply a blind ideologue – fitting the events of the world into your narrow, blinkered world view. A dangerous and politically fatal flaw for a lot of the Left historically . Leading to generations of support for dreadful Stalinist regimes and their allies.

            By the way, I agree that NATO should be abolished – but this is a separate issue from recognising that the acts of NATO have not always rigidly followed the most “rational” path in the long term interests of western Imperialism. This is because NATO is heavily influenced by the politics of our bourgeois democracies, and “public opinion” and short term political opportunism can and does influence its actions . The most recent example being its intervention in Libya on the side of the rebellion This made no sense from the long term perspective of Western Imperialism – as the Gaddafi regime was by then fully on board with western business interests and the political objectives of Western Imperialism – and the major nationalised bits of the Libyan economy was rapidly being sold off to the Gaddafi clan and its supporters. Also Libya’s oil reserves were by then fully integrated with the objectives of Western oil companies. A NATO acting purely as Western Imperialism’s boot boys would have stood aside and let Gaddafi crush the rebels.

            Your problem is that you fail to see that bourgeois democracy makes NATO operate in a more confused and not always entirely self-interested way than , for instance, the utterly façade “democracy” of Putin’s Russian oligarchic state.

          2. Jim Denham says:

            Karl: read The Communist Manifesto, and Marx on the Free Market. Read these essential essays even if it means missing out on your daily dosage of Morning Star ignorance.

    2. prianikoff says:

      “NATO intervention prevented further mass murder /ethnic cleansing on a genocidal scale”

      Rubbish!
      The ethnic cleansing of 200,000 Krajina Serbs occurred after collusion between the US attache in Zagreb and the Croats.

      The Croat Generals involved were convicted at the Hague but later pardoned when no one was paying attention.

      There were also US and British mercenaries involved, but none of them were ever tried.
      They of course are immune from prosecution in Imperialist courts!

      Furthermore, Sebrenica occurred over 2 years *after* NATO had implemented a no-fly zone over Bosnia. Most of the Serbian planes that were shot down in this period were not attacking civilians, but bombing Bosnian armaments factories.

      The US then went on to give aid to the Kosovo Liberation Army. This included using OSCE monitors as spotters for air raids on Serb forces.

      Yugoslavia (which in fact was the only country in Eastern Europe from which actual Stalinists were exiled) broke up into rival nationalist factions.

      This was encouraged by Western governments, which had the long term aim of destroying the unitary Yugoslav state and what remained of its social system after the debt crisis and economic reforms of the late 80’s.

  22. James martin says:

    Everything is so very disgusting to you except NATO eh John? I’ve been a Labour Party member for 30-odd years and have come across a lot of jingo-socialists in my time in it (you should have joined years ago, you’d have been right at home with Progress I can assure you). Then there are those, normally of a Trot or ex-Trot persuasion outside the Party who in reality are often far more to the right than the Labour left but try and cover it up by the sort of verbal nonsense you partake in and kid themselves that because they are not in Labour they are so very ‘left alternative’ to us. And if someone is to be attacked by these sect types they are invariably a ‘stalinist’ or similar. It is unhelpful to proper debate John. As regards ex-Yugoslavia the ‘facts’ are far more grey than the NATO press release you quote from (and it has since become clear the pretty nasty KLA were not the angels that NATO liked to pretend that they were). But the fact remains that you are a supporter of NATO and UK imperialism time and time again in military intervention after military intervention but twist and turn to try and put some Guardian-like progressive gloss on it (but fail miserably of course). There are no redeeming features to NATO John, and I note that you have not even tried to answer the question I raised – if state property and nationalised industries are so unimportant why was the privatisation of them a key part of the NATO treaty imposed on Yugoslavia?

    1. Jim Denham says:

      James: I’m sorry if I’ve upset you by driving home the bankruptcy of your position on NATO and ex-Yugoslavia, but (believe me) my aim is to educate you in the a-b-c of socialist politics, not denounce you.

      At the yime of the Serbs’ ethnic cleanisng and genocide of Muslims, the forunners of Stop the War, and various Stalinists mounted a – feeble, but that was not for want of trying – Stop the War campaign allied with pacifists and Morning Star neo-Stalinist, uncritical partisans of Milosevic. By way of depoliticised negativism against advanced capitalism and NATO, they back themselves into positive support for Milosevic. They make propaganda – the pamphlet Stop the War, for example – which by deliberately minimising what the Serbs are doing in Kosova is effectively cover-propaganda for attempted genocide. Having no positive programme of their own, except a disembodied “socialism”, they wind up recoiling from NATO into de facto acceptance of the Morning Star’s programme and… Milosevic’s.

      For the three months of the NATO-Serb war Socialist Worker turned itself into a vulgar, pro-Milosevic, war propaganda sheet on behalf of Serb imperialism in Kosova; they excluded mention of the Kosova Albanians except to insist that “NATO” was lying about what was going on in Kosova, and minimise it by indignant, pedantic refutations of exaggerated claims by ministers and newspapers that the Serb drive against the Albanians was the equivalent of the Holocaust. In meetings all over the country they fought against adopting slogans about Kosovan Albanians’ rights. They achieved the difficult feat of being marginally less critical, less “objective” in their “reporting” than the Morning Star.

      The nearest equivalent in the history of the British labour movement to Socialist Worker and the Morning Star in these three months is the hypocritically pro-Hitler (Stalin’s ally) “anti-war” propaganda of the Star’s forerunner, Daily Worker, between October 1939 and the government suppression of the paper in mid-1940, when a German invasion seemed imminent.

      Where Socialist Worker should have taken sides, in Bosnia, for example, it was aloof, sectarian and politically abstentionist. Where it should have taken sides with the Kosovan Albanians, it refused to and in a passion of hysterical negativeism towards advanced capitalism and NATO wound up actively and positively – again see Stop the War – on Milosevic’s side, that is on the side of Serb imperialism as it attempted genocide against the population of Serbia’s colony, Kosova.

      It would be difficult to imagine a more decisive, or more horrible, demonstration that socialists need positive politics – that is independent working-class socialist politics – unless reflex negativism is to turn them into reactionaries. Without positive politics rooted in an analysis of the whole of your reality, independent working class politics is impossible. To be merely negative, no matter how oppositional and r-r-revolutionary it sounds, is in fact to turn yourself into the imprint of whoever you are against. It is the opposite of independent socialist-internationalist politics.

  23. Jim Denham says:

    James: “And if someone is to be attacked by these sect types they are invariably a ‘stalinist’ or similar”.

    You mean, James, that as a Milosevic-apologist, you’re *not* a Stalinist? Just someone who thinks genocide’s OK, perhaps?

    1. James Martin says:

      So if you oppose NATO you are an apologist for those like Milosevik? Really Jim that is very poor, but deliberately so on your part I think. This is not the place to debate that conflict where war crimes took place on all sides and where things were not black and white when it came to the internal participants, but where NATO disgracefully used its military power to force through the free market in the region and complete the break-up of nationalised industries. But if you can point out in ANY of my comments support for any side in the internal civil war in general or for Milosevic in particular please do so otherwise at least have the decency to apologise for your disgraceful lies and smears against me.

      1. James Martin says:

        In fact Jim I can’t begin to describe how angry your lies and slurs against me make me feel this morning. You have accused me of supporting genocide without a scrap of evidence, and have used the sort of sly techniques honed over decades by Stalinists the world over to discredit opponents. Your actions are utterly disgusting and I am asking you to withdraw those remarks and ask LF to delete them as accusing a long-standing Labour Party socialist of supporting mass murder with no evidence at all is simply unbelievable and unacceptable behaviour on your part.

        1. Jim Denham says:

          I will withdraw my comments when I read you accepting that

          1/ Milosevic was guilty of genocide in Kosovo and Bosnia

          2/ NATO forces (belatedly) intervened to restrain the genociders

          3/ You did not, at the time, support the objectively pro-genocide slogan “Stop the Bombing.”

          1. John Penney says:

            Well said, Jim.

        2. Nestor says:

          Oh grow up.

          Your faux-outrage and almost complete lack of self-awareness is astonishing.

          You’ve spent at least 90% of the time on here making completely unfounded accusations and misrepresenting peoples opinions on a frankly olympic level. Anyone who disagrees with you is “right wing”, “Bomber Benn” or a “jingo-socialist”, whatever that is. You’ve straight-out accused people of lying with literally no evidence for it, and when you “called their bluff” and were responded to in detail, quickly ran away and changed the subject.

          You are an utterly dishonest, shameless, amoral individual and have no right to go crying to the site administrators after your behaviour.

          You remind me of nothing more than the Blairite whingers who complained of “bullying” beause people vocally disagreed with their urge to bomb Syria.

          1. John Penney says:

            Well said, Nestor.

        3. John Penney says:

          If I was you, James, I would ask for Left Futures to delete most of YOUR comments on this topic – as what they reveal you as is a narrow stalinoid ideologue, utterly blind to historical fact. and completely uncaring of the fate of millions of real people who have and are and will suffer death and enslavement at the hands of regimes you foolishly believe to be “socialist” – just because they have major nationalised industry sectors – but no workers control at all of course.

          By the way, James, “socialism” is a state in which the majority of the means of production is in the hands of the state AND the state is under the genuine democratic control of the working class. All your favourite “socialist states” are merely self-serving elite-controlled bureaucratic tyrannies based on state control of the means of production. You say you have been in the LP for 30 years ? And never understood the absolutely fundamental DEMOCRATIC basis of real socialism ? Tragic.

          1. James Martin says:

            You are a nasty piece of work Denham I give you that, as are the rest of the right-wingers that appear to have infested this forum of late with the sole reason it seems to attack an anti-war organisation.

            As to the Yugoslav civil war I did not make any comments that indicated that I took any side in it, nor that I supported those like Milosovik, and yet your disgraceful stalinist methods of blackening the character of those that disagree with you was used anyway. As all I did was to respond to the issue being raised by NATO apologist Penney, but your responses are telling. I made the point – and feel free to read it again – that if this was a genocide why was it that only 14 tanks were destroyed but thousands of Serb civilians who were nowhere near any fighting were killed in the NATO bombing campaign? I also asked why, if it was an humanitarian intervention, NATO insisted in the imposed peace treaty that state property and nationalised industries were sold off, as what has that got to do with saving lives? Answers there have been none, but instead I am accused of being a supporter of mass murder. If nothing else it shows how utterly bankrupt and nasty right-wingers like the NATO supporters on here are when it comes to debate. And as an aside, I would make the point that like when using the term ‘fascism’ it is advisable to use the term ‘genocide’ properly and not as a throw away remark. To do otherwise risks degrading the true meaning and danger of fascism, and the meaning of what genocide actually is, as well of course of insulting those victims of genocide like the European Jews and Rwandan Tutsis. And I stand ready to be corrected, but those previous NATO claims of genocide that were used to justify their attacks and forced partitions and privatisations of Yugoslavia have quietly been dropped. It seems that no matter how hard they looked there was no link that could be found to the war crimes of Serb nationalists in Bosnia with the Yugoslav government and Milosovik, and as a result The Hague lawyers no longer use the term ‘genocide’ for this conflict. As I also said, this civil war – that I do not take sides in – was not black and white, there was and is plenty of grey, but it seems just to say this, and to say that the motivations of NATO were clearly not humanitarian based on the casualty figures of their actions, does not make me an accomplice to murder as I have disgracefully been accused – but then in my experience in the Labour Party right-wingers are nearly always like this, the difference with you sect dwellers is you try and put a socialist gloss on your reactionary support for NATO and the RAF attacks.

          2. Jim Denham says:

            James: you have noticeably failed to answer my questions (presumably because you cannot, without exposing your pro-Milosevic Stalinism), but I note your comments:

            “If this was a genocide why was it that only 14 tanks were destroyed but thousands of Serb civilians who were nowhere near any fighting were killed in the NATO bombing campaign? I also asked why, if it was an humanitarian intervention, NATO insisted in the imposed peace treaty that state property”

            …So I presume you *do not* think that Milosevic was guilty of genocide? Just come clean on this matter, and then we can discuss whether or not you agree with the 1996 International Criminal
            Tribunal judgement, indicting both Mladic and Krstic for ‘crimes against humanity’. In July 1999 the Tribunal found that the atrocities in Srebrenica had been operating under a ‘direct chain of military command’ from Belgrade and Milosevic.

            So the massacre/genocide of Srebrenica is “in doubt”/ a “Grey area”, James?

            And you, self-righteously, have the audacity to complain about me calling you a ” Milosevic-apologist”?

          3. Jim Denham says:

            But more especially, Karl: Karl: read The Communist Manifesto, and Marx on Free trade. Read these essential essays, on the relationship between revolutionary socialism and advanced capitalism, and educate yourself in a-b-c Marxism, even if it means missing out on your daily dosage of Morning Star pig-ignorance.

        4. Karl Stewart says:

          This discussion has exposed Denham, Penny and ‘Nestor’ as a pretty revolting bunch hasn’t it?

          Earlier in the debate, I used the ‘pro-NATO’ accusation more as a rhetorical device than as a serious argument, but amazingly, they’ve each argued, apparently seriously, that NATO has actually been a force for good!!

          These individuals really are pro-NATO, and they really seem to expect people on the left to agree with them.

          I’ve never met anyone on the left with such neo-con right-wing views.

          1. Jim Denham says:

            So, Karl, when some of us say that NATO intervention can sometimes (eg Bosnia) do some good, we’re “neo-cons”, but when the Chair of the Stop The War Coalition supports the bombing of Syria, that’s (presumably)OK.

            The truth is:

            Non-interventionism is not always the best option, after the cold war, when the western powers failed to put an end to the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Srebrenica and Sarajevo and refused to take any action that might have prevented the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda.

            Liberal interventionism did not begin in the “west” but in India’s invasion of East Pakistan in 1971, Tanzania’s invasion of Uganda in 1978, and Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in 1978. There were always other interests at stake but in every case the interventions put an end to horror. The principle was established that when matters of genocide, crimes against humanity and mass killings are concerned, there are grounds to override national sovereignty.

            The west has generally been reluctant to adopt the principles of liberal interventionism. The disastrous experience of US and Pakistani troops in Somalia between 1992-94 did not help. Liberal interventionism can be abused by powers and politicians. The invasion of Iraq is the obvious case in point, though lies about WMD had more to do with the justification of war than humanitarianism.

            Isolationists may be be right to say of William Hague’s ill-informed formulation of liberal interventionism that it offers “a licence to attack virtually anyone you choose”. However, it is Stop The War who miss the point. Those who treat non-intervention as absolute demonstrate a genuine imperialist disdain for the lives of non-western others.

          2. Jim Denham says:

            Karl:

            it is possible to recognise that NATO (and other imperialist bodies) can occasionally, and for their own reasons, serve a helpful purpose: the Kurds understand this very well, even if the “anti-imperialist” left doesn’t, working as you do on the crude, undialectical “principle” of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” You where it gets you: apologising for the genocide of Milosevic.

            The Allies in WW2 were of course, an expression of “Western Imperialism” and (leaving aside the Stalin-Hitler pact, which is probably outside the scope of this discussion), some Indian (Bose), Palestinians (al-Husseini) and Irish (Frank Ryan, Sean Russell) “anti-imperialists” took that analysis to its logical conclusion, and to one degree or another supported the Nazis. Not a tradition, I presume, that you would want to follow?

            Please reply.

          3. Jim Denham says:

            This should come as no surprise to any educated socialist: read the Communist Manifesto.

    2. Jim Denham says:

      James: I’m sorry if I’ve upset you by driving home the bankruptcy of your position on NATO and ex-Yugoslavia, but (believe me) my aim is to educate you in the a-b-c of socialist politics, not denounce you.

      At the yime of the Serbs’ ethnic cleanisng and genocide of Muslims, the forunners of Stop the War, and various Stalinists mounted a – feeble, but that was not for want of trying – Stop the War campaign allied with pacifists and Morning Star neo-Stalinist, uncritical partisans of Milosevic. By way of depoliticised negativism against advanced capitalism and NATO, they back themselves into positive support for Milosevic. They make propaganda – the pamphlet Stop the War, for example – which by deliberately minimising what the Serbs are doing in Kosova is effectively cover-propaganda for attempted genocide. Having no positive programme of their own, except a disembodied “socialism”, they wind up recoiling from NATO into de facto acceptance of the Morning Star’s programme and… Milosevic’s.

      For the three months of the NATO-Serb war Socialist Worker turned itself into a vulgar, pro-Milosevic, war propaganda sheet on behalf of Serb imperialism in Kosova; they excluded mention of the Kosova Albanians except to insist that “NATO” was lying about what was going on in Kosova, and minimise it by indignant, pedantic refutations of exaggerated claims by ministers and newspapers that the Serb drive against the Albanians was the equivalent of the Holocaust. In meetings all over the country they fought against adopting slogans about Kosovan Albanians’ rights. They achieved the difficult feat of being marginally less critical, less “objective” in their “reporting” than the Morning Star.

      The nearest equivalent in the history of the British labour movement to Socialist Worker and the Morning Star in these three months is the hypocritically pro-Hitler (Stalin’s ally) “anti-war” propaganda of the Star’s forerunner, Daily Worker, between October 1939 and the government suppression of the paper in mid-1940, when a German invasion seemed imminent.

      Where Socialist Worker should have taken sides, in Bosnia, for example, it was aloof, sectarian and politically abstentionist. Where it should have taken sides with the Kosovan Albanians, it refused to and in a passion of hysterical negativeism towards advanced capitalism and NATO wound up actively and positively – again see Stop the War – on Milosevic’s side, that is on the side of Serb imperialism as it attempted genocide against the population of Serbia’s colony, Kosova.

      It would be difficult to imagine a more decisive, or more horrible, demonstration that socialists need positive politics – that is independent working-class socialist politics – unless reflex negativism is to turn them into reactionaries. Without positive politics rooted in an analysis of the whole of your reality, independent working class politics is impossible. To be merely negative, no matter how oppositional and r-r-revolutionary it sounds, is in fact to turn yourself into the imprint of whoever you are against. It is the opposite of independent socialist-internationalist politics.

      1. prianikoff says:

        “…Where it should have taken sides with the Kosovan Albanians”

        The CIA were fully committed the KLA, which dissolved as an organisation as soon as Kosovo acheived quasi idenpendence.
        At the very least the “Alliance for Workers Liberty” should have warned against this development.
        But unfortunately it couldn’t because it’s an organisation that abandoned theory for post-diction in the early 1990’s.
        Deciding that the USSR was an example bureaucratic collectivism * after* it dissolved was a declaration of complete theoretical bankruptcy.
        Having achieved this, the AWL has just blown with the winds of public opinion in every major international conflict ever since.

  24. Jim Denham says:

    I have had to deal with Stalinists in the course of over 40 years in the Labour Party and the T&G (now Unite): believe me, I know how to do it.

    1. James Martin says:

      Denhem, the Srebrenica massacre is not being questioned by me or anyone else. It happened and was a war crime. The question I raised is whether the situation was an example of ‘genocide’ and I say again my understanding is that it wasn’t (a ‘crime against humanity’ is not the same thing) and as I understand it the Hague tribunal do not even use the term in respect to that conflict. I do think you and others like to use the term though to justify your support for NATO. And ‘genocide’ as a term was indeed used at the time to justify the NATO attacks on Belgrade and other non-military targets well away from the battlefield that cost the lives of thousands of civilians. My view is that the reason NATO attacked so many non military targets and destroyed only 14 tanks out of over a thousand in the field is because they were using a nasty civil war as a cover for other things entirely, and the fact that the otherwise odd insistence regarding the privatisation of nationalised industries that was imposed by NATO afterwards is clear evidence of their real motivations for both the intervention in general and the otherwise odd selection of targets by the NATO bombers in particular.

      I am happy to debate the merits of the allegedly progressive liberal military interventions by NATO into Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria that you are the other right-wingers on here support. I am happy to debate with NATO supporters how these interventions deliberately undermined both international law and the role and standing of the United Nations that NATO subverted time after time. But in your stalinist methods of saying that because I have questioned the motives behind those NATO interventions, because I see the unaccountable military supra-state of NATO as a serious threat to world peace, that I somehow support mass murder you have crossed a line into nasty personal attacks designed only to blacken my name which shows what an utterly nasty right-winger you really are.

      1. Jim Denham says:

        Bollocks – you obvious Milosevic/genocide apologist.

        1. Jim Denham says:

          “I am happy to debate the merits of the allegedly progressive liberal military interventions by NATO into Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria that you are the other right-wingers on here support. I am happy to debate with NATO supporters”

          Name a time and place, comrade: I’ll meet you, and we’ll publicise it: should be good.

          1. Jim Denham says:

            I’d even be happy for your chums from the Morning Star to adjudicate.

      2. Nestor says:

        “military interventions by NATO into Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria”

        Iraq and Syria were not and are not NATO operations. The former because a large number of NATO members were opposed it.

        This is the problem with debating anything with you, as you’re generally a bit clueless.

        NATO isn’t some kind of shadowy “unaccountable military supra-state” but an alliance of various nations, with often conflicting goals.

        I have many, many issues with the often belligerent idiocies of NATO, starting with Operation Gladio and continuing for the intervening decades up to now, but you are clearly unable to debate these issues, as you seemingly have no idea what NATO actually is.

        Your debating style, aside from occasionally throwing in screeches of “right-wing” is incredibly similar to that of far right conspiracist imbeciles. Which is ironic, as you seem to think this is what makes you “left wing” and everyone who disagrees with you, for whatever reason, is “right wing”.

        If this is what we’re reduced to after 200+ years of socialist thought, then god help the left.

  25. Jim Denham says:

    I must insist that Karl replies to this:

    it is possible to recognise that NATO (and other imperialist bodies) can occasionally, and for their own reasons, serve a helpful purpose: the Kurds understand this very well, even if the “anti-imperialist” left doesn’t, working as you do on the crude, undialectical “principle” of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” You where it gets you: apologising for the genocide of Milosevic.

    The Allies in WW2 were of course, an expression of “Western Imperialism” and (leaving aside the Stalin-Hitler pact, which is probably outside the scope of this discussion), some Indian (Bose), Palestinian (al-Husseini) and Irish (Frank Ryan, Sean Russell) “anti-imperialists” took that analysis to its logical conclusion, and to one degree or another supported the Nazis. Not a tradition, I presume, that you would want to follow?

    Please reply.

    1. prianikoff says:

      “it is possible to recognise that NATO (and other imperialist bodies) can occasionally, and for their own reasons, serve a helpful purpose: the Kurds understand this very well”

      The main conclusion that they should draw is that NATO will help you in order to stab you in the back.

      Here are some Kurdish Peshmergas demonstrating in favour of unity with the PKK, who are currently being attacked by a NATO member (Turkey)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnc7KTXHl6s

        1. prianikoff says:

          I’ve never argued it was inadmissable for Kurdish forces to rely on the US airforce.
          Although they will be less likely be double crossed if they ally with Russia too.

          However Denham is promoting the KDP- aligned Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is typical of British right wingers, Blairites the Tories, Fox News, the Murdoch press and the AWL….

          Shhh, don’t mention the PKK, or the repression in South Eastern Turkey because its in NATO!

          The rich Kurdish elite in Iraqi Kurdistan are sustained by Western oil money, have been busy building luxury villas and have their main trading partners in Turkey and Israel.

          Hence it’s no surprise that Barzani’s KDP has allowed the Turkish army to move forces near to Mosul without permission from the Iraqi government and he rushed to Ankara for talks.

          It was the PKK which resisted ISIS when it took over Sinjar last year. The US air force weren’t involved.

          The KDP had the nerve to claim that they liberated Sinjar city, but the PKK were also heavily involved.

          That’s why the Peshmerga in the videowere calling for unity, although they don’t go so far as calling for the resignation of Barzani.
          Many Kurds in Iraq do – in fact he should already have left office.

          First and foremost they need to rely on themselves, and on the Turkish working class , not on Imperialism.

    2. Karl Stewart says:

      No JimD, NATO did not exist during WWII, it was created after WWII specifically as a military alliance directed against the USSR.

      Since the demise of the USSR, NATO has continued as an alliance of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world with its purpose being to defend, protect and extend that power.

      Therefore, NATO’s every action is directed with that purpose and therefore in answer to your question, no of course I don’t agree that any actions of NATO are ever positive at any time, nor is NATO capable of any positive action. That is not its purpose.

      We on the left are opposed to NATO in its entirety, we want our own nation to withdraw from it, and we want its ultimate dissolution.

      That’s the view of we on the left of politics JimD, yes of course the political right-wing such as yourself disagree with this view, but the left-wing view is one of opposition to NATO.

      Briefly to your point about WWII, as I stated at the beginning of this comment, NATO did not exist at that time. The alliance between the USSR, USA and UK was fought under the banner of the ‘United Nations’.

      I do support the UN, I do think it has positive aspects to it and that it has played a positive role.

      The UN and NATO are two different organisations JimD, read some 20th-century history.

      1. Nestor says:

        “That’s the view of we on the left of politics”

        Please stop presuming to speak for the left, Karl. Nothing you write has even the remotest resemblance to a left wing viewpoint.

        There are, of course, many different views on the left, including varying positions on NATO. I have relatively anarchist sympathies, whilst being a practising democratic socialist, so tend to take a generally oppositional stance to the organisation. Others may differ on this subject and remain on the left.

        Your simplistic, Manichaean, view that to be left is to be anti-NATO and to be anti-NATO is to be left is quickly given the lie by the fact that much of the far right is also anti-NATO.

        In fact, your full-throated support for the ultra-conservative, reactionary Putin regime and their neo-fascist proxies in East Ukraine would suggest to me that you might fit in more comfortably on the other side of the equation.

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          No ‘Nestor’ the left is anti-NATO and the right is pro-NATO.

          What this discussion has revealed is that the anti-StWC position taken by the right-wing political establishment, and the attacks on StWC by the right-wing are thoroughly rejected by all of us on the left.

      2. Jim Denham says:

        “No JimD, NATO did not exist during WWII, it was created after WWII specifically as a military alliance directed against the USSR.

        Since the demise of the USSR, NATO has continued as an alliance of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world with its purpose being to defend, protect and extend that power”:

        That’s not the point, though is it, Karl? The point is the relationship between bourgeois democracy nand dictatorship, isn’t it? Think, for a moment. And stop believing what you read in the Morning Star.

        1. James Martin says:

          Spoken like a true Blairite with a mission to extend democracy via NATO bombs. I bet you still have one of those fading old maps on your wall with half the countries coloured pink and go to bed dreaming of the glory days of British colonialism or perhaps wondering how you ended up somewhere to the right of Wesley Clark.

        2. Karl Stewart says:

          JimD/Nestor, your equation of NATO with the UN is nonsense.

          They’re two completely separate and very different organisations.

          On the whole, albeit not entirely uncritically, we on the left broadly support the UN and see it as a potential force for world peace and progressive development. It’s certainly an organisation that we should commit to positively and work to try to increase its influence and resources.

          By contrast, NATO is, as I said earlier, a militaristic alliance of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nations.

          Every single action of NATO is carried out with the single aim of protecting and extending that wealth and power. And that’s why we on the left thoroughly oppose it – and no doubt that’s also the fundamental reason why you on the right support it.

  26. James Martin says:

    Denhem, I believe Srebrenica was a terrible war crime but not by itself evidence of state-sponsored genocide (which is different and as I say seems to be the Hague tribunal position currently). But I didn’t take sides in that nasty civil war, and the problem with you is that you have. So while you mention Srebrenica you fail to mention the war crimes carried out by the groups like the KLA that NATO de facto supported. You fail to mention the mass graves of Serbs and Roma containing whole villages, men women and babies that have since been found, hundreds of them massacred by the KLA. You fail to mention the Christian churches and ancient monasteries that were systematically blown up by the KLA, the Christian cemeteries that were systematically desecrated, the quarter of a million Serbs and Roma that were ethnically cleansed by the KLA Muslims (that included large numbers of foreign Jihadis) and Albanian nationalist nationalist forces. Why is this? Why are war crimes by one side genocide, but similar war crimes by the other side not in your eyes? But while neither of us have responsibility for any of those war crimes (you see I won’t stoop to your nasty stalinist level of guilt by some twisted association), what is worse is that you act as an apologist for NATO war crimes of which we *do* have responsibility for as they were carried out by our ‘own’ military forces. Or do the lives of the thousands of Serb civilians killed by NATO bombs hundreds of miles away from the actual conflict mean nothing to you? Why do you not speak about NATO war crimes in the Yugoslav civil war?

    And incidentally Denhem, please don’t be too keen to meet me face to face as funnily enough I don’t take kindly to nasty right-wingers like you who accuse me of being a supporter of mass murder just because I refuse to take sides in a civil war and expose the real political motivations behind the NATO ‘humanitarianism’ that did and that that you are so disgustingly in awe of.

    1. Jim Denham says:

      So you are unwilling to have a public debate at which you could defend your position of ambivalence towards calling what happened at Srebrenica “genocide”? What a pity: but probably wise, on your part.

      1. James Martin says:

        Denhem, what is this ‘public debate’ nonsense? I can only assume that your ego has got the better of you (roll up, roll up, come and hear the towering figure of Jim Denhem spread his insults and lies in support of NATO bombing), but that is often the case with all the ex-socialists that end up being NATO supporters, quite a few of them even end up being its general secretary, quite a well paid job I would imagine, are you putting out your stall perhaps?

    2. Jim Denham says:

      Wretched Stalinist genocide-apologists do tend to resort to “tough guy” threats when defeated and humiliated in political debate, in my (quitter considerable) experience :

      James: ” …please don’t be too keen to meet me face to face as funnily enough I don’t take kindly to nasty right-wingers like you”

      1. David Ellis says:

        The appearance of the Zionist Denham on the side of the argument that rightly identifies the StWC as a bunch of neo-Stalinist Putin apologists and supporters of Assadist counter revolutionary slaughter is a real shame because far from being a principled opponent of these scum he is in fact merely a mirror reflection. He simply puts a positive sign where they put a minus and defends imperialist racism and genocide in Palestine by the Ziofascists as something progressive. Suggest for one moment that the Israeli-colonial/genocidal state has no right to exist and he will brand you an anti-semite with the same level of vigor as any stooge of the Israeli state.

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          David Ellis, I’ve disagreed with virtually everything Denman’s posted on this discussion, but your ‘anti-zionist’ remarks are pretty dodgy. You need to be careful with that.

          1. David Ellis says:

            Get lost you Putin-loving cretin. You don’t even have the courage to openly call me an anti-semite. Arse hole.

          2. Karl Stewart says:

            Never known anyone get so angry at NOT being called an anti-Semite!

          3. David Ellis says:

            Really? A snide little cunt like you doesn’t make people angry with their mealy mouthed allegations. At least Denham has the courage of his convictions. You cowardly kerr.

        2. Karl Stewart says:

          David, I’m being asked if I’ve invented you in order to make my fairly mediocre contributions look good by comparison.

    3. John Penney says:

      James. you remind me so strongly of an old Maoist I used to bump into regularly in the main Leftie pub in Stockport in the 70’s . He often used to regale us young aghast Trot revolutionaries with his latest holiday trip to what he insisted was a prime example of a “real socialist state” – ie totalitarian police state, Albania ! The Albanian dictatorship of that era certainly met what appears to be your main definition of “socialism” – a nationalised economy . Hell on earth for most of its population – certainly – but the means of production were indeed state owned and controlled.

      We can only assume that you support the crazed , hereditary, dictatorship of North Korea on the same basis ? If not – why not ?

      That you have been apparently a Labour Party member for 30 years and still fail to grasp that without genuine democratic workers control state ownership of the means of production just means there is a parasitic state bureaucratic elite running the society in their own minority interests, rather than “socialism” existing, is extraordinary.

      Citing the many undoubted crimes committed by the KLA and many other former Muslim majority victims of Milosevic’s Serbian state promoted (oh yes it was matey)genocide in Kosovo (and Bosnia) is only useful if :

      1.It isn’t being used to provide a disingenuous cover for the widely internationally recognised INITIATING genocide and vast ethnic cleansing implemented by the Milosevic Serbian regime – which so fundamentally damaged community relations that the “genie of mutual inter communal hatred” will not be put back in its bottle for generations now.

      2. You aren’t deliberately trying to deny the substance of the scale of the atrocities perpetrated by the (supposedly “socialist”) Milosevic Serbian state sponsored murder gangs on the Muslim communities of Bosnia and Kosovo in order to provide a bogus “moral equivalence” between the crimes of the initiating aggressor Serbian Milosevic forces, and the (obviously unjustifiable)later violent tit for tat response of the Muslim victims of this genocidal campaign.

      Your profoundly incorrect rigidly formulaic Stalinist politics have led you into dark and morally indefensible waters, James. I suggest you do a deep review of your baseline politics in time to start the New Year in 2016 renouncing being a captive of utterly corrupted rigidly formulaic ” stalino-socialist” politics serving only to support and justify the murderous activities of corrupt dictatorships, rather than furthering the struggle for real democratic socialism under workers control.

      Happy New Year.

      1. David Ellis says:

        None of the Trotskyist groupings so-called in the UK at least took Trotsky’s position that a revolution no less would be needed to dislodge the usurping Stalinist bureaucracy remotely seriously and as soon as a revolution did break out instead of seeking to arm it with a programme for kicking the bureaucracy out, instituting workers’ democracy etc they sided with the bureaucracy’s violent crackdown thereby helping to ensure that the collapse of Stalinist would not result in the re-surgence of world proletarian revolution but in the collapse of social property in Russia and Eastern Europe and the rise of the Russian imperialist kleptocracy and tyranny.

        1. prianikoff says:

          It might be possible to take Ellis more seriously if his comments bore the slightest resemblance to reality. But they seem to be based on the history of a parallel world. Perhaps Oz?
          Now back to the real world:

          At the conference held in Riyadh Saudi Arabia earlier this month, a Supreme Negotiations Council of Syrian rebel groups was set up.
          This included the’ al Qaeda- lite’ groups Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al Sham.
          The Kurdish YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces, weren’t invited, although they continue to fight ISIS very effectively and have now crossed the Euphrates (and thereby Turkey’s red line).

          On Christmas day, the leader of Jaish al Islam, Zahran Alloush, was killed in an air strike.
          Possibly by the Russian, or maybe by the Syrian airforce.
          Alloush was the son of a Salafist preacher from Damascus, now living in Saudi Arabia.

          Before he’d been forced to “moderate” his statements to qualify for aid, he’d called for Syria to be “cleansed” of Alawites and Shias. He had also denounced the PKK as Communists and supported Turkey’s offensive against it.

          The idea that the Salafist groups such as his can enter a coalition to peacefully negotiate the end of Syrian civil war is complete moonshine. Yet these are the sort of people that Western politicians describe as “moderates”.

          Much the same applies to Turkey, which is increasingly being exposed as an autocratic and repressive state, involved in major repression of civil rights and freedom of speech.
          The “shadow CIA” website ‘Stratfor’ has been predicting for some time that Turkey will invade Northern Syria to stop the YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces taking over the area between Afrin and Kobane.

          By taking over this area, the YPG and its Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian allies could choke off ISIS oil exports and its imports of arms and jihadist mercenaries. This would spell the end of its mini-state in Syria. But Stratfor predicts that in 2016, the US government will give the green light to Turkey to occupy the area.

          It doesn’t require a lot of brains to see that the US is playing a game of divide and rule.
          Their planes at Incerlik airbase bomb ISIS now and again to allow the Kurds to advance a few kilometres, while their Turkish hosts bomb the PKK and repress its supporters in South Eastern Turkey.

          Under the circumstances, it would make it makes a great deal of sense for the Kurds to form an aliiance with Russia. In fact, Selhattin Demritas of the HDP went to Moscow for talks with Lavrov a few weeks ago. Such an alliance would be an elementary act of self-preservation, because Russia is opposed to Erdogan’s government, whereas the US is supporting it and relies on Incerlik airbase to fly missions over Syria.

          Imagine the cries of horror from the “anti-Putinites” if this were to happen!

          But as the Scarecrow observed to Dorothy, you don’t need a brain to talk a lot.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            Problem with all that is that you’re using facts and logic to try to persuade people who just seem frankly a little deranged.

          2. Nestor says:

            Funny how the majority of your posts always get around to you giving a shout out to the Russian government.

            Rah rah Vova! Russkiy Mir 4evah!

            Hurray for the New Eurasian Century, eh?

          3. prianikoff says:

            Nestor, Ellis & Denham are in the WAR Coalition.

            They make ABSOLUTELY no criticism of the Washington, Ankara, Riyadh axis of reaction.

          4. Nestor says:

            “NO WAR BUT PUTIN’S WAR!”

            “ALL HAIL THE DIMINUTIVE KLEPTOCRAT!”

      2. prianikoff says:

        “vast ethnic cleansing implemented by the Milosevic Serbian regime”

        Penney, you continue to dodge the question of the ethnic cleansing of the Krajina Serbs, estimated to have involved 200,000 people.
        (see my earlier point on this)

        Given the scale of atrocities carried out against the Serbs by the Ustace and Bosnian Waffen SS during WW2, it was remarkable that Tito’s Yugoslavia mangaged to keep the republics together. Once the Communists split into rival nationalist factions the dogs of war were let out, but Serbia remains the most multi-ethnic of the former Yugoslav republics.

        “without genuine democratic workers control state ownership of the means of production just means there is a parasitic state bureaucratic elite running the society in their own minority interests, rather than “socialism” existing”

        In which case why would you have defended the NCB against privatisation, which undoubtedly helped to destroy the British coal mining industry in the long-term?

        1. John Penney says:

          Re: Your reference to my “dodging the question of ethnic cleansing of Krajina Serbs”. I in fact unreservedly condemn all ethnic cleansing and inter-communal murder arising out of the break-up of Yugoslavia. and I specifically acknowledged in a previous post the undoubted tit for tat crimes of the KLA in Kosovo.

          However, responsibility , overwhelmingly recognised by the international community, and the International Court at the Hague, for initiating and carrying out by far the most systematic and (Serbian) state organised mass murder and ethnic cleansing resides with the Milosevic Serbian regime. You Stalinists can twist and turn and throw in counterweight atrocities by all sides (particularly appalling of course from the then new Croatian state side late in the break up process ) – but the facts are clear on the initiating culpability and overwhelming balance of the atrocities deriving from Milosevic’s regime. Suck it up, prianikoff.

          You seem bemused as to why I find the state ownership of the means of production by itself no reason to give unqualified, unconditional, support to regimes with this ownership form. It’s to do with the absolute centrality of genuine democratic workers power existing in a society to determine whether a state is “socialist” or not, prianikoff. If there is a repressive police state in place, run by a small , highly privileged bureaucratic elite,- as was the case in EVERY Stalinist dictatorship masquerading as a “socialist” -( once the revolutionary workers and peasants state of 1917 had collapsed into Stalinist tyranny), then State ownership of the means of production represents , not “socialism” but a new form of exploitative society. Some socialists have described this as “bureaucratic collectivism” or “state capitalism” or “deformed workers states” . Whatever the debate on the name, the eventual complete collapse of the USSR and its empire into conventional bourgeois capitalism, and China and Cuba’s more recent moves towards this complete bourgeois capitalist restoration, makes it is clear now that Stalinism historically is not even a higher form of productive system to ordinary monopoly capitalism , but is a relatively transitory aberrant social formation – with the end point so far historically always to transform the Communist Party organised bureaucratic elites of these vicious dictatorships eventually into orthodox private-property-based bourgeoisies.

          Why do I oppose privatisation in a bourgeois capitalist society, prianikoff , and support nationalisation ? Because the state ownership of at least the Commanding Heights of an economy, and the institution of comprehensive state planning is indeed a necessary condition for a socialist state. But the second vital, inseparable, intrinsic, condition for socialism, for the umpteenth time, is the existence of genuine workers democracy and active workers control of that state. Democracy, even highly compromised, unequal,bourgeois democracy, is a very important thing, prianikoff, Why do you find that so hard to understand ? You are obsessed with one particular feature (vital as it is) of a socialist state – state ownership – at the expense of the second , crucial condition – workers control. Sad, but then you are obviously a Stalinist, so all is explained.

          1. prianikoff says:

            What are you Penney?
            I had you down as a Healyite who’d smoked some weed and woken up in Left Unity.
            But your positions are a dog’s breakfast of the Workers Opposition, Mensheviks and the Daily Telegraph.
            What a complete mess!

            I’ve not written a single word defending the massacre in Sebrenica – anywhere, ever…
            But the Hague ruling did NOT say that the *Serbian government* had “organised mass murder”. It said that it had “failed to prevent and punish” an act of “genocide” committed by the *Bosnian Serb forces* (which had also failed to transfer Ratko Mladić to the court).

            As I’ve already pointed out, your assertion that the US no-fly zone prevented “worse acts of ethnic cleansing” is wrong too.
            Sebrenica occurred *2 years after* the no-fly zone was established, followed one month later by the expulsion of 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina.
            The Croat Military leadership and the US military attaché in Zagreb jointly planned the operation, but the International court didn’t describe it as ethnic cleansing.
            Two Croat Generals, initially convicted of war crimes, were later pardoned on appeal.
            Totally different treatment, but by then Croatia had been enrolled into NATO.

            On the question of “workers control” and the “Soviet Empire”;
            As I support workers control and have never argued that Putin’s Russia or Assad’s Syria are socialist, it’s a rather pointless diversion.
            But just to clear up a few of your confused points:-

            According to you, *unless* a state is a fully fledged workers democracy, it’s impossible to defend it against a “bourgeois democracy”.

            You suggest that such a workers democracy existed in Russia in 1917.
            However, during War Communism from 1918-21, the unions were controlled by the state and strikes were banned. According to your definition, the USSR couldn’t have been socialist, even though the economy was 100% nationalised.
            So why would you have supported the “Hands off Russia” committee in 1919?

            What about nationalisation now?

            I presume Penney would defend ROSNEFT’s takeover of Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil company, in the same way that he’d defend re-nationalising British Rail?
            He’d obviously oppose shareholders being compensated to the tune of $50 billion, as the Hague ruled in its Yukos judgement?

            No doubt the courts would overvalue the assets, try to stymie the measure and carry out sanctions against the Labour government.
            Foreign investors would go to the Hague, which would order the seizure of British government bank accounts, much as they’re now doing to Russian ones in France and Belgium.

            Richard Branson would become the British Khodorkovsky, a human rights activist, running a campaign against Corbyn from his deckchair on Necker Island.

            Whose side would Penney be on?

  27. David Ellis says:

    The Arab Spring was the greatest outbreak of popular struggle for emancipation from tyranny for years. It should have universally celebrated and it should have enjoyed unconditional support from the socialist left and the international labour movement but instead was vilified by the so called anti-imperialists, the neo-Stalinists and Putin lovers as some kind of CIA/Jihadi conspiracy. This kind of approach is worthy of the far right not the left. In fact it was the treachery of the West towards the Syrian Revolution that they had imposed decades of sanctions in order to induce and the support the left gave imperialism in that treachery that led to the explosion onto the Syrian scene of the counter revolutionary fascists of ISIS. If the Syrian revolution degenerated into a sectarian civil war it is thanks to Cameron, Obama, Parliament, Congress and the degenerate Western left. And now of course the policy of Western imperialism and that of our neo-Stalinist anti-imperialist chums has more or less converged. The West is working with Russia, Tehran and Assad to break up Syria into spheres of influences and the Putinite left only oppose that and the bombing because they believe that Syria is and should remain in the Russian imperialist sphere of influence. Russian bombing they don’t mind at all or Assad’s barrel bombs. They are intensly relaxed about the mass slaughter up to now and have even marched in London shoulder to shoulder with Assad’s thugs and his right to bomb civilians with impunity.

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