Opinion

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.

Simmering anger at teachers’ conference

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The new National Education Union held its first conference last month, and delegates met amid much prior speculation and some trepidation. Would the merger of the NUT and the ATL prove a block on moves to action, and how would the turn out in our pay and funding ballot affect teachers and support staff’s commitment to taking on government cuts? Would the commitments of National Union of Teachers to international solidarity, to social justice and the fight for an equal society be side-lined in favour of a narrow agenda? How would we continue our work on curriculum and pedagogy?

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.

Letter from Australia

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Our government’s Islamophobic onslaught led to the Christchurch attack, writes James Supple

The murder of 50 Muslims at Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March was an act of far right terror. It was also the direct result of the Islamophobia and racism promoted by Australia’s Tory government and the political mainstream. Brenton Tarrant, who carried out the attack, is an Australian who left the country in 2011 before settling in New Zealand.

Brexit poses problems for independence

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The response of many in the independence movement to the decision of eight Labour MP’s and three Tories to split from their respective parties is to bemoan the ongoing British political crisis brought about by Brexit, and to use this as further proof of the need for Scotland to split from the UK.

Crackdown on democracy

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The trial against the leader of last year’s campaign for Catalan independence brings to the fore a murky history of undemocratic manoeuvering by the Spanish state. Sara Garcia reveals worrying developments.

On 12 February, after they’ve spent more than a year in preventive custody, the trial against the 12 Catalan politicians and civil movement leaders began. They may be sentenced to more than 25 years in jail, facing charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds among others.

Dispensable human rights

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The decision to revoke Shamima Begum’s citizenship shows the government’s contempt for human rights. Brian Richardson slams a decision that makes no concession to the impulsive nature of young people.

Home secretary Sajid Javid’s response to the discovery of 19-year-old Shamima Begum in a Syrian refugee camp last month was swift, predictable and utterly reprehensible.

At the first available opportunity he rushed into the House of Commons and declared in characteristically pompous tones that:

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.

From Stonewall to Trump

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Fifty years on from the Stonewall riots, the picture for LGBT+ people is very different, yet there can be no complacency in a time when the far right is attempting to weaponise our struggle, writes Bethan Turner.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. These six nights of violent demonstrations in New York’s Greenwich Village transformed the struggle for LGBT+ liberation, from a collection of mainly small and conservative lobbying groups, to a vibrant and radical movement that called for revolution as the way to win sexual liberation.

The gains of this movement were undeniable. By the end of the 1970s homosexuality was decriminalised in most US states and in 1973 homosexuality was removed from the American Phycological Association list of psychiatric disorders.

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