[Marxism] What Planet Do They Live On? "Antisemitism in the Movement"?

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Sun Jul 16 07:32:54 MDT 2006

kersplebedeb wrote:

> OK, now to try to write something a bit longer explaining why i think it
> is incorrect to jump to negative conclusions about this event happening at
> Bluestockings later this month on "anti-semitism in the movement".

Like Ian Pace, I also found your contribution thoughtful and informative,
especially about "friends who became nazis...arguments about whether the
Holocaust really happened and whether Jews really control the world...with
people i have met at left-wing demonstrations, radical meeting places, etc."

I don't recall ever having to deal with these sentiments on our side of the
street, but my political generation arrived in different circumstances:
Israel's occupation was just beginning; the Holocaust had not yet become
institutionalized and fully developed as a rationale for unlimited Zionist
aggression; the Jewish communities were only just losing their immigrant and
progressive character; and the influence of the old working-class Marxist
left, which was very sensitive to anti-semitism - having experienced and
fought it when it was widespread and deeply entrenched in Western society -
was still strong within the left. There was a close identification of the
left with the Jews, which the right, of course, exploited.

Things have changed since then. Israel is widely seen as an oppressor
nation; the postwar Jewish generations have become increasingly integrated
within white society, reflected in their political evolution and alliances;
racism is now overwhelmingly an issue of colour, anti-semitism having been
pushed underground and to the margins of society; the appropriation of the
Holocaust by the Zionists has been so complete that it's not difficult to
understand why some younger anti-Zionists would be skeptical about its
veracity; the left is more "rootless" than when it was based in the working
class, with an intellectually rigorous Marxism having been replaced by a
vague anarchism at its core. So I can see where some of the the activists
you worry about could be susceptible to anti-semitic sentiments and go over
to the far right in a social crisis.

But the traffic between left and right is also an old story - on both an
individual and mass basis. The crucial change, IMO, is that there is little
danger of anti-semitism becoming the virulent MASS phenomenon it once was,
and therefore a potential "problem" to treat with some urgency within and
outside the left. This is not to suggest that populist anti-semitism - "the
socialism of fools" - would not resurface in some rural areas in a social
crisis, but I think, for the reasons noted above, the sharpening of racial
tension would still mainly express itself , especially in the cities, as
whites against non-whites. In such a case, I'd expect the ties between
fearful white Jews and non-Jews would be strengthened rather than weakened,
and that the far right, as is already beginning to happen, would be built
along these lines rather than anti-semitic ones. In other words, I don't
believe there is an "ontological" anti-semitic component in fascist
ideology. Within the left also, I don't think it would be fear or hostility
to Jews which would be a divisive issue so much as the broader class and
race questions which would pressure Jewish leftists equally.

The only tangible "anti-semitism" I'm currently able detect is of the
synthetic kind, manufactured in Zionist laboratories in the service of
Israeli policy. I would say it's not only false but dangerous for the left
to help fan the issue, insofar as it lends credibility to the efforts of the
Dershowitzes and others to isolate the left from the broader Jewish and
non-Jewish liberal milieu, but that would be laying way too much baggage on
what appears to be an honest, albeit unnecessary, effort to grapple with the
issue in a small and informal left-wing setting.

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