[Marxism] To combat left anti-semitism, Corbynism must change the way it sees the world

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Mar 28 14:53:34 MDT 2018

Just a reminder. I posted a link to Richard Seymour's analysis of this 
issue the other day. I don't have much use for his Lacanian mumbo-jumbo 
but he is probably one of England's most insightful supporters of Jeremy 
Corbyn. He wrote:

Mear One's mural was antisemitic. If Trump posted an image of that mural 
on his Twitter feed, it would immediately be recognised for what it is. 
It is the idea that it is in some way associated with the Left, promoted 
by the artist himself and by some of those who offer him platforms, that 
has caused confusion.

This means that what the Left says about antisemitism matters, because 
it can either marginalise it or normalise it among people who listen to 
what the Left is saying. Lutfur Rahman was right to have it painted 
over. Corbyn was wrong to have defended it in a Facebook comment at the 
time, and he's rightly embarrassed about it and trying to fix it. It's 
the least that any leader of the Left should do. I am not suggesting his 
politics should be judged on the basis of an offhand Facebook comment, 
but he's right, and not pusillanimous as some think, to address it at 
the scale that he is.

Nothing would be worse, at this moment, than for the Left to adopt the 
crankish, defensive and pointlessly antagonistic rhetoric of some of 
those organising 'against the witch hunt'. I have no doubt that many of 
Corbyn's critics are recklessly opportunistic, and instrumentalising the 
issue for ends that aren't to do with reducing antisemitism. I also 
think it ludicrous that media reports have consistently inflated 
unrepresentative examples of antisemitic behaviour into evidence of 
systemic, pervasive antisemitism in Labour -- on which issue, the Jewish 
Labour Movement has made some constructive statements. (Also listen to 
Jamie Stern-Weiner.)

But that isn't a reason to dodge this, or the wider issue. At a time 
when various forms of fascism and populist reaction are on the rise, 
antisemitism risks acquiring a degree of political clout it hasn't had 
for decades. The Left has a unique responsibility to address and combat 
this, both in itself and as part of a general increase in racism. It 
would be unable to do so if it was tying itself up in knots defending 
the indefensible.

full: https://www.patreon.com/posts/three-points-and-17775436

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