[Marxism] Fwd: I'm a Stanford professor accused of being part of a 'terrorist group'. McCarthyism is back | David Palumbo-Liu | Opinion | The Guardian

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Thu Feb 8 14:11:44 MST 2018


This professor's plight is a sign both of the Trump regime's suppression 
of academia and activism associated with the left, and of the 
long-standing hostility towards the Palestinians and the solidarity 
movement by the US ruling class as a whole. Our solidarity with such 
victims is unquestionable and these cases need to be highlighted as 
Louis has done by posting it.

Now I'm hoping that Amith doesn't have the idea that a few words he 
discovered in print has changed anything at all in relation to a debate 
that has surfaced on this list a few times in the last 3 years. I can 
understand why reading that would have upset him (as I have been upset 
in comparable situations), but I'm pretty sure that if he thinks about 
it he will understand (but I'll spell it out anyway!) why his concern is 
invalid:

On 2018-02-08 18:49, A.R. G via Marxism wrote:

[That the Guardian article links to an attack article which ]
> in turn links to Tablet Mag, a right-wing Jewish sewer hole,
> which wholly uses the criticisms of If Americans Knew written by two 
> other
> ostensibly pro-Palestine groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and US 
> Campaign, in
> order to make their case that there is a consensus that If Americans 
> Knew
> is an anti-Semitic website.

Of course that "case" is a mischaracterization but you'd expect as much 
from the right-wing. Amith's calling the named organizations 
"ostensibly" pro-Palestine is inexcusable and indefensible, but beside 
the point for now. The matter Amith has stumbled upon is that the enemy 
will happily use critical discussion within the left against the left. 
This should have been no revelation as it occurs regularly and is a 
predictable cost for us having our discussions and internal 
disagreements in the open. For those of us who have confidence in our 
mission, that is a small price and one well worth paying!

It is unacceptable to blame those participating in such discussion for 
what the enemy chooses to do with our words; that should be obvious. But 
I do understand the temptation to do so when it is an issue you feel 
strongly about. Less principled forces have had no scruples in that 
regard: Stalinists during their heyday blamed Trotsky (among many others 
on the left) when his criticisms of the soviet bureaucracy were echoed 
by anti-communists. They considered that sufficient evidence to label 
Trotsky a "social-fascist." Discussion within the left around the Moscow 
trials (Stalinist purges) inadvertently provided fodder for those on the 
right intent on identifying revolutionary socialism with dictatorship. 
This is nothing new; this is NORMAL.

What isn't so normal is when a left participant in such discussions 
chooses to blame the other side of the public debate that was intended 
to be among the left. If that were valid then the discussions on this 
list would have to be strongly regulated, or otherwise held in strict 
secrecy among a trusted group. Because, for instance, criticisms of the 
Black Bloc appearing on this very list (or 1000 other places on the 
internet) might be used by the Trump regime or prosecutors. Or take 
criticism of the Black Panther Party (at the time) for their 
ultraleftist tactics. Hell, we couldn't even have a discussion on the 
state of civil liberties in Cuba without the possibility of providing 
ammunition against that worker's state. The reason none of that is a 
major concern, is that the discourse of the right wing among themselves 
is going to be stupid anyway and doesn't mainly affect what our target 
audience hears or understands. But in the cases when someone who should 
be on our side hears from the right on such an issue, then they will 
likely look up the original discussion that had been cited and read what 
we REALLY are saying and in the proper context, which is what we'd want 
anyway!

I trust this reaction from Amith was purely emotional and he'll accept 
that there is no valid conclusion that can be drawn in regards to our 
own concerns from any discussion among the enemy even when it involves 
quoting (or misquoting) our own discussions. If on the other hand he 
sees this as an opportunity to relaunch that previous discussion on this 
list then he's probably making a big mistake and I'm prepared to present 
the evidence I became aware of when Louis cut off the discussion about 
the leader (not the website!) of that organization and her association 
with the far-right (including her holding the presidency of a clearly 
right wing group whose executive director was trained in the CIA). 
Amith's attack at that time (in an open letter) had destructive effects 
such as splitting solidarity organizations.

On this list he claimed bad political positions being taken by the two 
largest and most prominent solidarity organizations in the US. Although 
there was no justifying evidence for those claims, I thought I should 
dig deeper and see what they were telling their own members (as if it 
might be different from their websites), so I made a point of getting on 
the mailing lists (and still am) of both. All I can say is that if 
anything Amith claimed about them is correct, then they are keeping it 
well hidden not only from their website but from their members. What's 
more, Amith goes beyond criticism of the sort that one would use to 
rectify errors in policy or analysis, but once actually admitted that he 
thinks (closely paraphrasing....) we'd be better off if neither of those 
organizations even existed! (Note that I have never said such a thing 
about either IAK or CNI, just that their right-wing opposition to Israel 
is antithetical to the left and precludes collaboration.)

- Jeff


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