Unison votes to boycott Israel — an opposition statement

Submitted by sm on 21 June, 2007 - 12:51

Today, Wednesday 20 June, a conference of the public sector union Unison voted by a majority of around three to one to support a boycott of Israel. Click here for a report from the debate. The following open letter makes the case against this and all such boycotts.

It is directed at motion 54: in fact motion 53 was debated, but the political essence was no different.

Conference Resolution 54: An Open Letter to a member of Unison


Submitted by DR_SEUSS on Mon, 28/05/2007 - 11:31

For anyone confused by the familairity between some of the people recently posting - it is because it involves some former members. Some of these have moved along way from our politics, while others still support our general ideas. For example Duncan now describes himself thus

I lead, and co-own, the only global consultancy company specialised in serving industry analyst relations managers. We are the only firm focussed on providing measurement, evaluation and training to help develop AR strategies. Our consultants across Europe, the USA and Asia/Pacific help vendors to better win more sales recommendations from analysts at firms like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Ovum and Yankee.
I have consulted on analyst relations to over 100 companies, including BT, Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM and Unisys. I created a 'club' of senior analyst relations managers at 30 global firms and developed it into what is now the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations.
One of my key goals is to innovate uses of business theories in the analyst relations field: I pioneered uses of non-linear modeling, balanced scorecards and brand equity measures. Many of these ideas come by linking with leading business thinkers and business schools. In addition to my MBA (LBS/Tuck) I have studied at Theseus (EDHEC), HHL (Leipzig), and at UCLA's Anderson school. I have led research projects with colleagues at INSEAD and Theseus.

Submitted by paulm on Mon, 28/05/2007 - 13:00

Could someone explain what that means.

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SWP and Islamic clerical fascism: poisoning the new anti-capitalists

Submitted by Anon on 20 June, 2007 - 3:05

By Martin Thomas

It is hard to see how the Socialist Workers Party’s pamphlet No to Bush’s War could convince anyone not already “on side” to oppose the war in Afghanistan.

It seems not to have been written for that purpose, but instead to concoct a story to “make the links” for activists in the “new anti-capitalist” milieu. Its subtitle is: “The military wing of globalisation”.
If its message is swallowed, rather than criticised, it will turn the new left into a caricature re-run of the Stalinist “old left”.

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James-Dunayevskaya? Like the Koran and the Bible!

Submitted by martin on 20 June, 2007 - 12:46

By Barry Finger
Click here for the debate around this contribution
"That is the mentality which sees socialism in the far distance and is really chained to the idea that what workers want is a higher standard of living, ‘a full dinner pail’, ‘peace’, ‘full employment’. All he has done is to hold fast to the existent, making it tolerable by patching up the holes. That is the next stage of socialism. Shachtman is that type complete.


Submitted by rman on Wed, 06/06/2007 - 02:20

In opposing the AWL's deeply flawed position on the war in Iraq, Barry Finger has courageously remained true to the third camp tradition. His writings in New Politics represent some of the finest contributions on the radical left in the last twenty years. It is therefore all the more surprising to read Barry in this polemic trivialize two of the most important political thinkers in recent times. Paul Buhle, author of numerous books on the labour movement and other topics, has eloquently written about the creativity of CLR James and his legacy. James' contributions extend not only to race but in rethinking the nature of the vanguard party, cultural studies, the nature of art and many other topics. It is impossible to read Kent Worcester's biography of James, essential reading for third camp socialists, and not be captivated by the elegance of James' charm and commitment to the working class. It is equally impossible to read The Black Jacobins and not be deeply moved. Given the importance of understanding the class nature of the Russian state, both James and Dunayevskaya made genuine contributions that help to explain the dynamics of the state capitalist economies, whatever flaws one might find in the details. I think one mistake may be to conflate James and Dunayevskaya. The News and Letters tradition associated with Raya Dunayevskaya clearly has some issues of personalism, like much of the far left. But James himself cannot be so easily dismissed. A full explication of James' legacy requires serious consideration of not just his cultural studies and philosophical writings but also the text, Facing Reality written in light of the Hungarian uprising. Given the fall of the Soviet Union, any post-1989 socialists must take the arguments outlined therein seriously. Martin Glaberman made serious contributions to the left on the basis of James' legacy. The small radicalization that occurred since the Seattle demonstrations has had a distinctly syndicalist character in North America. Without defending every aspect of this tradition, it is now more than ever time for social democrats (my own politics), greens, syndicalists and third camp socialists to seriously revisit and explore the contributions of James' thought honestly and in total. In the aftermath of the decline of the Soviet Union and the discrediting of vanguard parties, in a very real sense, the newly radicalized youth of today are all Johnsonites now.

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For the Third Camp – Yes to Palestinian Liberation! No To Anti-Semitism!

Submitted by sm on 19 June, 2007 - 12:16

For the Third Camp – Yes to Palestinian Liberation! No To Anti-Semitism!

By Steve Cohen
(1) Though anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism should and could be distinct yet they have in many respect merged – not least due to the kitsh Left. The immediate political task is to separate them. Paradoxically this can only be achieved by forming a new movement – one based on the principles of solidarity with the Palestinians and opposition to anti-Semitism.

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What is the role of a revolutionary organisation?

Submitted by Anon on 18 June, 2007 - 5:15 Author: Max Shachtman

It is an axiom by now that the defeats and setbacks suffered by the working class throughout the world [in the Twentieth Century] have been due not to the vigour and stability of the exisiting social order, but to the absence or immaturity of the conscious revolutionary vanguard.

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The Hunting of Witches and Ms Clare Short MP

Submitted by cathy n on 18 June, 2007 - 1:30

Parables for Socialists 9

How can you tell when a political purge has turned into a witchhunt, and the witch-hunt has taken on a momentum of its own?

That was easy back in the days when witches were people accused of doing evil things with the Devil and on the Devil's behalf, as distinct from the Labour Party now where people are hunted for politics which the men in suits who run the party consider diabolical.

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Anti-gay backlash in Eastern Europe

Submitted by Anon on 18 June, 2007 - 12:59

By Tom Unterrainer

The past few weeks have seen courageous actions by gay communities in Russia, Latvia and Poland. For the second year running their efforts to celebrate gay identity and organise a movement that will fight for gay rights have been met with violent opposition from the state, religious and far-right groups — more often a combination of all three.

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Two States, or "Secular Democratic State"? There is no "democratic" way to wipe out Israel!

Submitted by AWL on 13 June, 2007 - 12:39

A Letter to an Advocate of "Secular Democratic State"

By Sean Matgamna

Dear Andrew

It seems to me that the terms of the only just solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are clear and unmistakeable.

Unless you think the interests of one side should be entirely sacrificed to the other - that is, unless you are either an Arab or an Israeli chauvinist - there is only one acceptable solution.

Each nation should have self-determination in the territory where it is the majority. I understand that to mean, essentially, the 1967 border.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/12/2005 - 09:23

Caro Compagno Sean,

scusa se ti scrivo in italiano, ma il mio inglese è pessimo. Sono un vecchio militante trotskista che da qualche anno non ha più una appartenenza politica e che sta da tempo riconsiderando molte delle vecchie certezze di un tempo.
Condivido pienamente il contenuto della tua lettera, che rappresenta per me la posizione più corretta sulla questione arabo-israeliana.
Seguo da anni (da quando sono connesso a internet) le iniziative dell'AWL che considero una delle voci più interessanti della sinistra di classe e non solo in Gran Bretagna.
In particolare ho molto apprezzato i lavori tuoi e dei tuoi compagni su Tony Cliff e il SWP.

Fraterni saluti

Giorgio Amico
Savona (Italia)

Se la cosa ti interessa, puoi trovare parecchi miei testi su siti internet.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/12/2005 - 14:24

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Molte grazie per i tuoi commenti. Sarebbe molto interessante per me sapere che cosa pensi adesso della situazione politica in Italia. Quali sono le possibilità per la sinistra dopo la decisione di Rifondazione di fare un'alleanza con Prodi?
Io sono una compagna di Workers' Liberty e sto per trasferirmi a Roma per sei mesi dopo Capodanno, dove spero di seguire un po' la sinistra italiana.
Cath Fletcher

And for English readers a slightly more polished translation of Giorgio's message:
'Apologies for writing in Italian, but my English is dreadful. I am an old Trotskyist militant, who for some years now has not belonged to an organisation, and who for some time has been reconsidering many of the old political certainties.
I fully agree with the content of your letter, which represents for me the most correct position on the Arab-Israeli question.
I have been following for years (since I have had internet access) the initiatives of the AWL, which I consider one of the most interesting voices of the working-class left, and not only in Great Britain.
In particular I greatly appreciated your work and that of your comrades on Tony Cliff and the SWP.
Fraternal greetings
Giorgio Amico
p.s. If you are interested, you can find a number of my publications on internet sites.

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1917: an anti-Jewish pogrom in LondonAnonWed, 30/05/2007 - 20:51

By Sylvia Pankhurst

The following account by Sylvia Pankhurst is of a police-sponsored pogrom against Jewish immigrants in London’s East End is taken from an issue of Women’s Dreadnought from 26 May 1917.

The great Whitechapel and Commercial Roads run through the heart of the London Jewish and immigrant quarter. Russians, Romanians, Armenians, peoples of all oppressed nationalities live here, Jews forming the majority, for Jews, the people who have no country, are always most cruelly oppressed by tyrannical Governments.

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