Sabby Sagall

Once more on Zionism and antisemitism (1)

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The heart of John Rose’s argument (“Antisemitism and anti-Zionism today”, January SR) seems to me to be twofold: firstly, his emphasis on the need for dialogue between Israeli Jews and Palestinians as a precondition for resolution of the conflict. But secondly, it also raises the issue of the nature of Jewish cultural identity in a post-Zionist state of Palestine.

Alan Simpson (1929-2017)

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Alan Simpson (left) with co-writer Ray Galton (right) and Tony Hancock (centre)

Alan Simpson, who has died aged 87, was half of one of the most talented and socially-perceptive comedy-writing partnerships of post-war Britain. He and Ray Galton created two of Britain’s best-loved comedy series, Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son.

Alan Simpson was born in Brixton to a working class family, the son of a window-cleaner. He attended Mitcham grammar school but left early to work as a shipping clerk.

Livingstone & anti-Semitism

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Following on from my article on anti-Semitism in September’s SR, a few words on Ken Livingstone. The Independent of 6 September quotes him as saying, “It’s now four months since I’ve been suspended and I’m still waiting for the committee to sit down and decide whether what I said was true or not, and I think…the reason they keep putting me off is because I’ve got so much evidence that what I was saying is true.”

Labour, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism

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Over the summer human rights lawyer Shami Chakrabarti reported on her investigation into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Sabby Sagall looks at her findings, and at the continuing problem of conflating opposition to the crimes of the state of Israel with anti-Jewish racism.

Last April a row engulfed Ken Livingstone, former Labour mayor of London, and Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, following remarks they made about Israel and Zionism. They were suspended from the Labour Party, with Naz Shah having the parliamentary whip withdrawn. Shah has been reinstated, and though Livingstone has demanded that he too be reinstated, a decision has yet to be made by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

Don't deny reality of mental illness

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Lucretia Packham’s letter (October SR) replying to my article on Freud contains some rather obscure statements.

She agrees with me that it’s important to differentiate the baby from the bathwater in Freud’s work and claims that my attempt to do this is unsuccessful. But she does not offer her own view of the baby/bathwater separation in Freud.

My argument about the German and Russian revolutions was simply that psychoanalysis has a contribution to make in helping us to understand those events. I would never claim that psychoanalysis on its own can deal with this issue.

In defence of Freud's innovation

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In last month's Socialist Review Susan Rosenthal argued that Marxists have nothing to gain from Sigmund Freud's theories, which simply justify the bourgeois status quo. Sabby Sagall begs to differ, seeing in Freud, and crucially his theoretical successors, a revolutionary potential.

There is much in Freud’s writings that Marxists should criticise, but there is also much of value in the Freudian tradition that needs to be incorporated into a wider revolutionary vision. Susan Rosenthal risks throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Shift to the right?

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Sally Campbell is right to point out that Labour’s general election vote improved on the previous election for the first time since 1997, gaining nearly three quarters of a million votes (Why Did the Tories Win? June SR).

She is also right to point to the factor of fragmentation among the British electorate and that “overall there was no shift to the right’.”

However, the evidence from recent elections suggests that sections of the working class have moved to the right in the last ten to 15 years.

Cornelia Parker

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This exhibition is also the occasion of the reopening of Manchester’s Whitworth gallery following a major expansion and refurbishment. he gallery’s director Maria Balshaw is a fervent advocate of the public space, saying, “This is everybody’s art,” and referring in particular to the large local Muslim community.

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