We’ve been discussing, over the last few weeks, the reasons that some people who think of themselves as socialists and anti-racists have, through the vector of anti-Zionism, found themselves attracted to the arguments of neo Nazis.
The El Salvadorian Left provides a particularly stark example of that phenomenon in action.
Here is a press release from a US Trotskyite group called the Freedom Socialist Party, in which they explain their reasons for cutting their links with Escuela Obrera y Campesina (Workers and Peasants School) and Mujeres Radicales Cuzcatlecas (Radical Women Cuzcatlecas):
The first knowledge we had of this bizarre turn of events was the July 2008 issue of La Voz, the school’s online publication. It was filled with an anti-Semitic rant that blamed a sinister Jewish conspiracy for the economic ills of El Salvador, Latin America and the world.
La Voz editors Salvador Duarte and Marta Consuelo Hernández included lengthy quotes from a notorious and long-discredited anti-Semitic tract, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to buttress their arguments. They proclaimed the legitimacy of Hitler’s National Socialism. They echoed Nazi lies that the Russian Revolution was financed by Jews for Jews and denounced Leon Trotsky, a leader of that revolution and founder of our political current, for his Jewish heritage. Articles in the same vein followed in the August issue.
We immediately notified the leaders of the school and Mujeres Radicales that we opposed this Nazi ideology and were cutting off all support. Duarte responded with an astounding letter in which he contended that “Trotskyists are not Leninists, as the first was a Jew, and the other was not.” He approvingly quoted Hitler as saying, “It’s clear that today’s world is on the road to a great revolution, and everything reduces to the question of whether it will result to the benefit of humanity or to the advantage of the wandering Jew.”
From opposing Israel’s arming of dictatorships and the Zionist persecution of Palestinians, Duarte leapt to attacking all Jews: “When we refer to Zionism, we refer to the economic power of banking, industry, transportation, communications, and to the military-industrial complex (Pentagon), that is to say, that global economic power run by big capital, of which 80% is in Jewish hands.”
We are quite certain that Duarte, a former labor leader, and Hernández had no leanings toward Nazism when we first met and worked with them. They presented themselves as anti-capitalists and honest critics of the FMLN’s social-democratic politics. We appreciated their recognition of the pivotal importance of women and the U.S. working class to world revolution. We were happy to lend support to their efforts to rebuild a revolutionary consciousness in the Salvadoran working class, which had been decimated by the civil war.
Occasionally, they made anti-Semitic references in our presence that we answered. We strove to address these remarks both in person and through correspondence. The October-November, 2007 issue of the Freedom Socialist newspaper featured the article “The persistent plague of anti-Semitism: where it comes from, how to end it,” in English and Spanish in order to emphasize our views. We thought we were having an impact, but this was difficult to ascertain from afar. Clearly, they lied to us about their changing ideology until they went public in La Voz.
Here’s a question.
If anti-semitism is not acceptable when it comes from El Salvadorians, then why does a part of the British Left treat it as understandable and excusable, not only when it comes from groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, but also when it eminates from their allies and comrades in the UK, including those with no connection to the Middle East at all?
For example, I don’t think that either the SWP or RESPECT Renewal has taken action, or said a single thing, about the RESPECT Mayoral Candidate, Abdurrahman Jafar, who told his audience in The Muslim Weekly that the Prime Minister was lying to them about:
“how Israel has been formulating and directing UK and US foreign policy”
Jafar remains on the National Council of RESPECT Renewal. Yet his views on this subject are indistinguishable from those of neo Nazis, such as David Duke or Joe Quinn. What is their defence? That this experienced political activist is an ingenue who doesn’t mean what he says? That his argument is merely a slightly more bold statement of the Mearsheimer and Walt thesis? What?
In these circumstances, is it any surprise that some sections of the British Left include people who take their politics from the extreme Right?