Sunday, 3 March 2019

Right-wing ideologues are weaponising anti-Semitism to silence criticism of capitalism


People who follow Scottish politics may remember John McTernan as the unbelievably inept political strategist who managed to lose 40 of Labour's 41 Scottish seats in Westminster at the 2015 general election.

After masterminding the most catastrophic electoral collapse in British political history one would have thought that McTernan would be treated as the political joke that he is.

However the man with such boundless incompetence that he actually managed to kill the Labour Party in their Scottish heartlands is still routinely given mainstream media platforms and treated as if he's some kind of wise and knowledgeable political oracle, rather than the nonsense-spewing clown-like political figure that he actually is.

For some reason the normally reputable (but always right-leaning) Financial Times has given McTernan a platform to push his cartoonish political nonsense in a column entitled "Labour’s mistake is to believe there are no enemies to the left".

McTernan starts out with a number of obvious lies about Labour anti-Semitism claiming that anti-Semitism in the Labour ranks is "a recent phenomenon", which "coincides with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader".
 

The evidence is absolutely clear that support for anti-Semitic views have fallen dramatically since Jeremy Corbyn became party leader. This is almost certainly due to the massive influx of genuinely left-wing people into the party, many of them from the younger demographics who generally have way more socially liberal and progressive views than the older generations.

And as for the idea that anti-Semitism in Labour is a "recent phenomenon", how is it possible to explain how Labour's chief spin-doctor Alistair Campbell produced vile anti-Semitic attack posters in 2008? How is it possible to explain Campbell telling the journalists who uncovered the scandal to "fuck off and cover something important you twats"? And how is it possible to explain away the fact that the Blairite party leadership decided to take absolutely no action whatever to discipline him for either the anti-Semitic posters, or the abusive and 100% unapologetic reaction to the scandal?

After rambling on pretentiously for paragraph after paragraph McTernan eventually comes out with surely one of the most delusional and self-awareness deficient sentences ever to have featured in the Financial Times.

"Rhetoric about the 1 per cent and economic inequality has the same underlying theme [as anti-Semitic tropes] — a small group of very rich people who cleverly manipulate others to defend their interests. So anti-capitalism masks and normalises anti-Semitism"
This extraordinary effort to conflate legitimate criticisms of issues like capitalism and inequality with anti-Jewish bigotry is extraordinary on so many levels.

According to McTernan's warped worldview anyone who points out that just 8 men own the same wealth as half the world is being anti-Semitic!

Anyone who attempts to critique the excesses of the reckless over-financialised speculation frenzy that late stage capitalism has degenerated into is being anti-Semitic!

Anyone who points out that Tory austerity dogma has resulted in a vast transfer of wealth from the poor and ordinary to the mega-rich elitist class is being anti-Semitic!


Anyone who raises concerns about how mega-rich individuals and corporations routinely buy political influence and use their wealth to cynically manipulate others is being anti-Semitic!

The agenda here is obvious. It's an attempt to defend capitalism from any form of criticism by cynically equating the language of dissent against 
the hard-right economic status quo with unacceptable racist bigotry.

McTernan is hoping to construct a right-wing mindset where anyone who ever complains about the excesses of capitalism or the problem of rising inequality can be instantly dismissed as a racist bigot so as to permanently evade discussion of any of the actual issues they're trying to raise.

It's an attempt to create a right-wing version of political correctness whereby any attempt to ever question the capitalist system can be instantly shouted down and ignored as if it's nothing more than vile and unacceptable bigotry.

But the grotesque cynicism isn't even the worst thing about it. The worst thing is the vile self-righteousness that manifests as an absolute lack of self-awareness.


Even though he'd already proven himself to be an anti-Semitism denialist by whitewashing Labour's issues before 2015 when Blairites like him were running the show, McTernan imagines himself to be some kind of righteous white knight figure who is right, and just, and proper in his opposition to anti-Semitism. But his attempt to use anti-Semitism as a smokescreen to defend corporations and the mega-rich from any kind of systemic critique relies on an obvious anti-Semitic trope in itself.

In order to define any criticism of the greed, wealth-hoarding, manipulation, corruption, and influence-buying that goes on in late-stage capitalism as anti-Semitism, it's necessary to identify all of these issues as being inherently Jewish traits.

McTernan's line of thinking is that 1. Jews are greedy 2. the political left criticise greed: Therefore the political left are anti-Semites.

McTernan's hopeless effort to conflate criticism of the hard-right economic status quo with anti-Semitism is further demolished if we consider the fact that Jewish intellectuals from across the political spectrum have a long history of critiquing capitalism and inequality. Karl Marx was Jewish. Rosa Luxemburg was Jewish. Helen Suzman was Jewish. Hyman Minsky was Jewish. Robert Skidelsky is Jewish. Noam Chomsky is Jewish.

Are we expected to believe that all of these Jewish activists, academics and intellectuals are raving anti-Semites because they have critiqued capitalism and inequality?

Are we expected to believe that all left-wing Jewish people are 'self-hating Jews' simply because this obnoxious (non-Jewish) failure of a political strategist crudely conflates criticism of capitalism with anti-Semitism?

The problem with vile and conniving opportunists like McTernan is that they've realised accusations of anti-Semitism can be weaponised to discredit and silence their political opponents, but they're so base and crude that they end up actually spreading vile anti-Semitic tropes like 'greedy Jews' and 'self-hating Jews' around in their efforts to weaponise the issue for their own partisan purposes.

Conclusion

Criticism of the problems and excesses of late stage capitalism is not anti-Semitism.

John McTernan is cynically using the anti-Semitism issue to smear anyone who dares question what he considers to be the natural order of things.

However in order to weaponise anti-Semitism in this manner he's produced a vile article that stumbles through anti-Semitism denialism, invocation of the vile anti-Semitic 'greedy Jew' trope, to the implication that Jews who dare to ever critique capitalism or inequality must be 'self -hating Jews' who are engaging in anti-Semitism simply by raising their concerns about the state of the world.

Just like almost everything McTernan says, it's entirely useless in actually understanding the world around us, but it does serve to highlight the grotesque self-awareness deficient worldview that him and people like him occupy.

Is it any wonder Labour annihilated their own political heartlands in Scotland after their party became so dysfunctional that utterly repugnant hard-right ideologues like this ended up running the show?



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10 comments:

Antitoria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Antitoria said...

anti capitalism = anti semitism, well that's original but not quite right. Capital is struggling these days because people are slowly
beginning to see that that it has a few issues. The press everywhere has Labour and anti-semitism in the same sentence and
there has not been a line about TMs legislation being illegal or racist.

Anonymous said...

McTernan's views consists of the following:

* Scotland - McTernan wrote: "If you’ve not been to Sweden before, I think you’ll really like it – it’s the country Scotland would be if it wasn’t narrow, Presbyterian, racist etc. etc. Social democracy in action.

* Corbyn - Described Corbyn's popularity as a "strange psychological emotional spasm" and called MPs who nominated Corbyn "moronic".

* Praised tax avoidance is an expression of basic British freedoms.

* Called for the widespread closure of libraries - stating "Middle-class liberals are fighting to keep libraries open out of condescension for the less fortunate and guilt that they, like everyone else, no longer use them."

* Claimed the Living Wage "would destroy jobs".

* Stated that "Privatisation is good for the NHS" - and criticised Andy Burnham for his statements on TV against it.


* Called rail renationalisation "stupid", criticised Andy Burnham again for supporting it, and stated "The first thing to point out is that railway privatisation has worked. And worked brilliantly".


* Called for the Tories to crush the rail unions "once and for all" and attempted to distill the complex issues regarding operational and personal safety by transferring liability for crowd control and passenger welfare from guards to drivers as simple "good (rail companies) versus bad (unions and staff)".

* Stated Mrs Thatcher's changes to the economic structure were a "good thing" and a wider range of public assets should be privatised - including the London Underground.

* Called for a 3rd invasion of Iraq - "We had to topple Saddam – now let's go back to Iraq to rescue democracy."

* Praised TTIP stating "Francois Hollande’s TTIP comment was cowardly—but predictable"

* Called for UKIP voters to be swamped by immigration to teach them a lesson.

* Stated "outsourcing is a powerful public good" - and said "outsourcing brings accountability and transparency to the provision of services – for low prices."

Anonymous said...

I wrote the following in response to the Campbell article:-

"I have made a complaint to the Labour Party about this and copied Tom Watson in on it,as he requested:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I understand the Labour Party is attempting to root out anti-semitism, and was therefore astonished to come across an incident in which a party member superimposed a Jewish MP's head onto a pig:


https://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.com/2018/08/what-kind-of-idiot-accept-alistair.html


https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/feb/08/media.media1

According to the above reports, this was not the only time and the party member concerned admitted it.

I trust those responsible for this crass, insensitive image will be made an example of to demonstrate that we take this issue seriously and even-handedly.

Yours faithfully
XXX

(04 March, 2019 11:44)


...PS I have had confirmation of receipt from both the Complaints team and team@tom-watson."

Anonymous said...

PPS Dame Margaret Hodge wants the Party to show 'zero tolerance' to offenders:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6772293/Jewish-MP-Margaret-Hodge-accuses-Jeremy-Corbyn-going-easy-mates-anti-Semitism.html

Be careful what you wish for. The poster campaign suggests many people at a high level were involved, and the Blairites did not have a problem with AS simply because they chose to ignore it and delete the posters once the damage had been done.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/feb/01/labour.comment

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1482484/Labour-drops-flying-pig-and-Fagin-posters.html

Or maybe such images are OK?
Or maybe there is a 'statute of limitations' for Dame Margaret Hodge's friends?

However, some Jews at the time were less surpportive:

"Rabbi Jonathan Romain, a spokesman for the Reform Synagogues that of Great Britain, told reporters the poster images were “poisonous.” He insisted, “It crosses the fine line between genuine political attack and unacceptable anti-Semitic undertones.” "

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