There is more to add to the crucial points Becky Crocker made about Eddie Dempsey in Solidarity 519.
The picture featured is Dempsey visiting Alexander Mozgovoy, an uber-nationalist, uber-misogynistic paramilitary leader in the pro-Russian militias during the war in eastern Ukraine. When Mozgovoy was killed a week after they met, Dempsey wrote a glowing obituary of his comrade, which I’ll quote below.
If you want to get a grip on Mozgovoy, this is what he declared about women in the territory he controlled as a warlord, and of course by implication more generally:
“If I see even just one girl in a café or a pub tomorrow, she will be arrested. A woman must be the guardian of the hearth, a mother. But what kind of mothers are they after going to pubs? How can they bring up their children? What example are they giving?
“If you want to remain an honest person and devoted to your husband, stay at home and do embroidery. All pubs are full of the female population, all night clubs. What kind of female population do we have here? Are they all prostitutes, or what?”
“So, I repeat. A special order will be issued to patrols: to arrest all women who are found in pubs. I said: all! And then let’s see whether you drink. Stay at home...
“You don’t like what I’ve said? It’s time that you remembered that you are Russians. It’s time to regain your spirituality.”
(For more on all this and on Mozgovoy and the forces he represented, see here.).
Dempsey’s obituary for Mozgovoy has been approvingly republished on the far-right Russian website Russia Insider (I do mean far-right, as shown by its content on “The Jewish Question”, “The Christian-Zionist Complex”, adverts for books doubting the Holocaust, and praise for American slavery). The piece was originally published in the Morning Star but they have now taken it down from the website.
The tenor of the article is summed up by how Dempsey approvingly quotes one of Mozgovoy’s “comrades”: “A man can be murdered, but not his ideas”. It concludes, in Dempsey’s own words: “Towards this precious goal his comrades will continue their late commander’s struggle.”
Self-evidently, this is not a slip or small mistake, but a manifestation of a deeply-held political orientation.
Am I saying Dempsey doesn’t think women in Britain should go to pubs? Of course not. But he is a fairly extreme case of support for right-wing nationalist movements as long as they are in conflict with Western imperialism, even when the people they are as reactionary as Mozgovoy. And that is not unconnected to the political issues Becky raised in her article.
Will any of Dempsey’s apologists try to find a way to explain this away?
Alexander Herman, London