Ken Livingstone

Dick Whittington's heir —The Truth About Mayor Ken Livingstone

Submitted by Anon on 25 August, 2007 - 12:57 Author: John Bloxam

Robbed of the official Labour candidacy by Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone defied the New Labour leaders and in the summer of 2000 was elected Mayor of London. No sooner was Livingstone installed as Mayor than he created a Tory-Liberal-New Labour “popular front” government for London.

The most “left-wing” plank in his election platform had been opposition to Blairite plans to privatise London Underground.

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Left antisemitism and the "#JC9"

Submitted by SJW on 4 August, 2018 - 5:05 Author: Simon Nelson
JC9 voting graphic including Pete Willsman

The decision of Momentum to remove their endorsement of Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) secretary Pete Willsman from the #JC9 slate for Labour National Executive Committee has exposed fractures between Momentum, its supporters, other parts of the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance, and the Labour Leader's office.

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The 1980s and left antisemitism

Submitted by SJW on 30 May, 2018 - 11:28 Author: John O'Mahony
WRP discovers world Jewish conspiracy

Consider Ken Livingstone and the Labour Party, Al Capone and the US government. They jailed Alphonse Capone, a multiple-murderer gangster, for tax evasion. That was odd, but I think it better they got him for that than that they didn’t get him at all.

So with Ken Livingstone’s separation from the Labour Party on antisemitism. Livingstone has for nearly four decades been a public purveyor of political antisemitism.

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Defend Jon Lansman

Submitted by Matthew on 31 January, 2018 - 12:25

The labour movement should rally to the defence of Labour National Executive member and Momentum leader Jon Lansman against George Galloway’s threat to sue him for defamation.

Galloway says he has “instructed solicitors to bring a case for defamation against Jon Lansman”. That is a response to a tweet by Lansman defending Jewish comedian David Baddiel after Galloway made a tweet (now deleted) that “no supporter of the Palestinian people” would march “behind” Baddiel (apparently a reference to planned protests against Donald Trump visiting Britain).

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Livingstone and the “anti-Zionist” left

Submitted by Matthew on 12 April, 2017 - 11:30 Author: Sean Matgamna


Submitted by martin on Fri, 14/04/2017 - 17:05

The version of the article above differs from the printed version in the paper in that a number of typographical errors and misreadings have been fixed.

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Ken Livingstone: Bad History, Worse Politics

Submitted by cathy n on 9 April, 2017 - 1:34 Author: Dale Street


Submitted by lost tango on Sat, 22/04/2017 - 15:39

...has had the knives out for Livingstone ever since the GLC and Labour Briefing days, but this and in particular Matgamna's piece are really going too far. Livingstone essentially backs the same two states programme for Palestine as Jeremy Corbyn and indeed the AWL. Fraternal criticism of a degree of confusion and a crassness of tone is one thing; participating in the weaponisation of anti-semitism to attack an old political opponent is something else. Not cool.

And without denying that left anti-semitism exists, particularly on the internet, this weaponisation is also a real thing. See also Netanyahu's attempts to talk up antisemitism in Europe to encourage migration to Israel and his attempt to blame Palestinians (personified by the Grand Mufti) for the Holocaust.

As a thought experiment, try reading this quotation on the Ha'avara Agreement:

"The Zionists saw [Ha'avara] as a way of attracting Jews to Palestine and thus rescuing them from the Nazi universe even if that meant co-operation with Hitler. For a time the Nazi program of making Germany Judenrein and the Zionist policy of seeking olim coincided...The Zionists sought to attract immigrants to Palestine, most especially the affluent German Jewish immigrants and the Germans sought to get rid of their Jews, increase their exports and a propaganda victory by dividing the Jews regarding the boycott."

No doubt had Livingstone or Jackie Walker said this it would be denounced as a left attempt to tar Zionism with the Nazi brush. However it's from the Jewish Virtual Library:

Submitted by AWL on Mon, 24/04/2017 - 00:15

Livingstone's public record on these matters does not add up to "a degree of confusion and a crassness of tone". The best that can be said (or hoped) for him is that he is ignorant, and impervious, over many years, to contact with facts. The worst, and in my estimation the truth, is that he is a ideologically-convinced left-antisemite, who believes profoundly in the political narrative of "Zionist collaboration with the Nazis" - not the incidental engagements which obviously did take place, when sections of the Zionist movement thought they could save some Jews through working with the Nazi regime in limited ways, but a thoroughgoing political alliance between near-equals on the basis of political common ground, rendering the two parties historical-moral equivalents. This narrative is an ahistorical calumny, which provides ideological weaponry for antisemitism. (For a comprehensive debunking of all that, including an analysis of Livingstone's source material, try this.)

All sorts of people support a two-state settlement: George Galloway (at least until recently; I will admit to not having checked, or, particularly, cared, for some time), and sections of the Hamas leadership, to name two. Livingstone's support for this position doesn't give him a pass.

Left antisemitism doesn't just exist "on the internet". It exists in the real world, in the labour movement. Livingstone has been a propagandist within the left for one of its key ideas for decades.

I oppose his expulsion from Labour, but only because I'm against administrative-bureaucratic responses to political issues, and because "bringing the party into disrepute" is a bullshit charge. On the substance of the matter, on whether Livingstone is responsible for the promotion of antisemitic ideas, I deem him manifestly guilty.

(And I wasn't born during the GLC days, so we can put the "it's just a 1980s grudge" idea to bed straight away.)



Submitted by dale street on Mon, 24/04/2017 - 23:55

In 1983 Livingstone was interviewed by the Israeli trade union newspaper “Davaar”. According to Livingstone, since Begin had been elected Israel’s Prime Minister, “the Jews” in Britain and elsewhere had become “reactionaries, turned right, nearly to be fascists.”

I don’t think that statement can be attributed to “a degree of confusion and a crassness of tone.” Nor is it a statement of what Livingstone thought of Zionists in Germany half a century earlier. It is a statement of what Livingstone thought of Jews in 1983.

Submitted by John D on Tue, 25/04/2017 - 09:15

An Appeal to AWL

The recurrent scratching the irritant of left-antisemitism by AWL on this forum at this time seems to me to be poignantly increasingly irrelevant.

There is an election coming up. I would hope to see focus on “the Top 20 policies the left should be proposing”. Transport, energy, unionization, production, industry, housing, education, free speech, wealth asset redistribution, worker’s rights, NHS and health policy in general, safe foods, policing policies, Brexit conditions, immigration, organizing to achieve these goals – there is no end to the where AWL energies are really needed.


Accept that soft anti-Semitism on the left is a lost cause. That’s how it is. So the left at this time has lost not just the votes of the Jewish communities – a trivial number overall. More importantly the energies, enthusiasm and organizational drive of much traditional left support from within the Jewish communities has faded.

After the election, assess the loss, and see if combating left anti-Semitism is tactically or strategically important. No need to abandon your highly moral principles.

But please prioritize effort for the continuing overall struggle.

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The problem with Ken Livingstone’s “evidence”

Submitted by Matthew on 25 May, 2016 - 11:59 Author: Gerry Ben-Noah

Ken Livingstone states he gets his evidence and ideas for his comments on Hitler and Zionism from Lenni Brenner’s books. This review of two of Brenner’s books, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, was published in Socialist Organiser on 4 October 1984.

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Livingstone, Labour and Anti-Semitism

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 11:46 Author: Sean Matgamna

On one level the sudden media outcry about Ken Livingstone’s anti-semitism is being used and fed by the Labour right, especially the stupid part of the right — and, of course, the Tories — to sabotage the Labour Party in the London mayoral and other local government elections and to discredit Jeremy Corbyn.


Submitted by Matthew on Wed, 04/05/2016 - 13:27

Whatever you think the solution to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is - a single, secular state, two states, a binational federation - it is not anti-semitic to think that the partition of British Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1948 was a mistake and it would have better for both peoples if it had not happened, as it would have if India and Ireland had not been partitioned by Britain.

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 04:01

Sadly, we can't build time machines and prevent such mistakes from ever having happened. There are a hell of a lot of things wrong with Israel. But Israel can no more be abolished than other, earlier colonial-settler states -- from the U.S. to Australia -- can be abolished. The struggle is to (for want of a better word) normalize such states to remove them of their ethnocratic and racist aspects.

Barry Finger is very good on this:…

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When anti-Zionism and anti-semitism are the same

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 11:18 Author: Dan Katz

Dan Katz compares the Socialist Worker Party′s position on the Livingstone anti-semitism row to what we say.

SWP: Anti-Zionism and anti-semitism are not the same thing.


Submitted by John D on Tue, 11/10/2016 - 20:58

I've commented before on the common experience of left-wing "debates" on Palestine/Israel/Zionism/Anti-Semitism being scheduled for Friday evenings, Passover evening, and such. Bit of a waste of time. A lost cause.

What a surprise! (not). Not really worthy of analysis. Honest. Really. We get it.

The latest SWP fun-for-all was scheduled for tonight, Tuesday evening.
All welcome! Free speech on the left! Come and have your say!

A debate entitled ‘How Can Palestine be Free?’ was due to be hosted at Manchester University Students Union, before the institution delayed it, citing concerns over a lack of balance in the debate.

"Due to be hosted by the Socialist Worker Student Society within the union building, the event was scheduled to begin at 5.30pm; half-an-hour before Yom Kippur begins."

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A portrait of Gerry Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party, patron of the Livingstone Labour Left, in 1980

Submitted by dalcassian on 7 March, 2014 - 10:07
Gerry Healy

For describing the WRP as a cross between the Moonies, the Scientologists, and the Jones Cult, which exploited young people, etc.,John Bloxam and Sean Matgamna were in 1981 sued for libel by the actress Vanessa Redgrave. This portrait of the WRP was part of an appeal for labour movement support in fighting the libel action. The WRP was then subsidising and producing Labour Herald, the paper of the Livingstone Labour left.

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