John Newsinger

On Labour and Zionism

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The Labour Party has a long history of support for the state of Israel. It’s the shifting of opinion towards Palestinian rights that has prompted the current antisemitism claims, writes John Newsinger.

Far from being “institutionally antisemitic”, a much better case can be made that the Labour Party has throughout most of its history been “institutionally Zionist”.

The Labour Party embraced the notion of creating a Jewish state in the Middle East even before the Balfour Declaration, and thereafter regularly reaffirmed this commitment. This was a commitment shared by both the left and the right in the Party, although for different reasons.

Fascism and the Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail has a long history of siding with the far right. John Newsinger reveals the key period of the 1920s and 1930s, when the paper’s proprietor Lord Rothermere actively backed fascist movements.

The Daily Mail has always been a viciously reactionary newspaper, prepared to slander and malign anyone perceived to be a threat to the interests of its proprietor Viscount Rothermere and his class.

It most famously published the forged Zinoviev Letter in order to damage the Labour Party in 1924, but also went after Stanley Baldwin, the Tory leader, for being a crypto-socialist in 1931.

The Alt-Right: What Everyone Needs to Know

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The alt-right has attracted a lot of attention over the last couple of years, propelled into prominence by the Trump phenomenon in the US. It is best seen as part of the general resurgence of the far right in the US, across Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, but whereas much that has crawled out into the light of day is familiar, the alt-right is apparently something new.

Still sticking with Trump

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John Newsinger brings his analysis of the Christian right in the US up to the present day, with a look at why they have backed Donald Trump’s administration to the hilt and will likely continue to do so.

In August 2017 white supremacists and neo-Nazis paraded in Charlottesville, killing one protester, Heather Heyer, and seriously injuring a number of others in the process. When Trump refused to condemn them, his various business advisory boards collapsed as the CEOs of leading companies resigned in protest.

There were no resignations from his spiritual advisory board. The leaders of the Christian right, Trump’s evangelical courtiers, stuck by the man they played such an important part in installing in the White House.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Strange Rebirth of Labour England

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Once upon a time there was an enchanted land called Labour England which had “at its heart the idea of social, public and cooperative ownership as part of a mixed economy”.

This Wonderland had been created by a great wizard, Clement Attlee, who had “changed the world”. He had introduced the NHS, a massive house-building programme, nationalised the mines, brought the troops back from Europe and the Far East “and struck at the very heart of British Imperialism by giving independence to India”.

God, greed, and homophobia

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The Christian right in the US has been a bulwark of reaction for decades. John Newsinger discusses its integration in the New Conservative agenda championed by former president Ronald Reagan.

In the late 1940s and the 1950s, the Christian right in the US had been content to act as cheerleaders for US capitalism against atheistic Communism abroad. This began to change in the 1960s and 1970s when social and political change threatened all they held dear.

The first great challenge was the Civil Rights Movement. It is ironic that the Christian right condemned the involvement of the likes of Martin Luther King in political campaigning on the grounds that the clergy should keep out of politics.

Codename Intelligentsia

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This is a very good book. It makes an important contribution to the history of British Communism. Russell Campbell painstakingly chronicles how the Communist Party transformed the upper class socialist Ivor Montagu, a younger son of Lord Swaythling, into a shabby apologist for the very worst excesses of Stalinism, someone even prepared to work for the Russian secret police, the GRU.

In God we entrust money

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Today’s religious support for the US regime is not new but was conciously created. John Newsinger talks about political evangelist Billy Graham and what has been called the Spiritual-Industrial Complex.

The Christian right played a vital role in electing Donald Trump to the presidency in November 2016. Evangelical Christians made up a third of electorate and four out of every five of them voted for Trump.

And, so far at least, they have remained loyal to the man they consider to be God’s Chosen. Understanding the strategic position they occupy in US politics today is vital.

Charles Aznavour: a forgotten episode

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Charles Aznavour, the French singer and songwriter, died on 1 October, aged 94.

The son of parents who had fled the Armenian genocide during the First World War, his family’s involvement with the Communist resistance movement in Paris during the Second World War has not been given enough prominence in the obituaries that have appeared in the British press.

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