Zionism/Apartheid/Stalinism/Trotskyism: going off on a tangent


Cross-posted from Bob From Brockley with added material at the bottom

Jessica Goldfinch writes at Greens Engage on what Greens might or might not want to affiliate to. This is interesting on the echoes of the anti-apartheid movement in the “Palestinian solidarity” movement.

For the record, I can’t remember any anti-white racism in my Anti-Apartheid branch, but agree about the brushing under the carpet of some of problems within the resistance in South Africa. More importantly, my branch was unusual in that there was internal dissent. There was a significant Trotskyist group, mostly affiliated to eitherthe sensible (“Slaughterite”) faction of the Workers Revolutionary Party* or to Labour Briefing (with close links to South African Trots), who fought against the Stalinist leadership of AA and its slavish following of every ANC line.In particular, the Trots drew attention to ANC murders of internal dissidents, many carried out by or on the orders of the Stalinist Chris Hani, who later became something of an ANC martyr when he was in turn murdered by far right white racists. Those in solidarity with the dissidents were treated as pariahs within the mainstream anti-apartheid movement, and denounced as agents of imperialism. (Worth adding that the denouncing was often led by Jewish South African exiles.)

My early exposure to this apartheid-era anti-ANC dissent inoculated me against the illusions many leftists would have in post-apartheid “black rule”. I think of this often now, as I watch the ANC repression of grassroots social justice activism (such asAbahlali baseMjondolo), its support for Mugabe’s dictatorial regime, the corruption and authoritarianism of the party leadership, and the racist demagoguery of the party left.

I was prompted by Jessica’s post to do a little googling around Searchlight South Africa, the group around Baruch Hirson and Paul Trewhela, South African exiles who had served time in apartheid prisons for their resistance to the racist regime who then fought to get the British left to recognise the totalitarian nature of the ANC leadership and its brutal treatment of dissenters. Few listened during the apartheid years, when most of the left wanted to see things in black and white (if that’s the right term to use!), and few listened during the presidency of Saint Mandela, but their warnings seem very relevant now. Here are some readings: the story of Searchlight South Africathe table of contentsInside Quadro, Trewhela’s expose of the ANC’s Stalinist repressionTrewhela on Mbeki and AIDSTrewhela at LibcomHirson at MIA;Various documents on the Stalinism of the ANC (including “Inside Quadro”, mistakenly attributed to Hirson); Trewhela on John Pilger’s belated discovey of the ANC’s dark sideon the exile history of the ANCPanduleni: A comrade they could neither destroy nor buy.In the 1980s, it was an article of faith across much of the left that apartheid defined the essential evil in the world, and that the ANC defined the essential good. More complex, critical, reflective thinking was almost impossible in this time. Those who raised questions about the ANC, such as the South African Trotskyists, were denounced as traitors and witch-hunted out of the mainstream left. It was right to resist the Stalinist groupthink then, and it is right to resist it now.


From It’s Complicated:

On the Eve of Durban III, Let’s Remember the UN Zionism = Racism Resolution

From the Palestine Poster Project a collection of pro-Palestinian/anti-Zionist
propaganda going back many decades. As its curator says, “…the Palestine poster genre
surpasses (in number) all other preeminent 20th century political poster genres.”

Let’s just take a moment to remember the infamous UN resolution which was sponsored by all of the Arab countries as well as Cuba and passed on November 10, 1975 by 75 to 35, with 32 abstaining. Included in the yes column were Spain and Portugal along with most of the Non-aligned and Communist countries. It took as long as 1991 to revoke the resolution, but, ten years later, it was resurrected in the form of the first World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa. There the resolution was refined to name Israel, specifically, as an Apartheid state.
Here is the full text of the 1975 resolution. Note how Zionism is slipped in among the other forms of discrimination and oppression, all of which in one way or another were and are still manifest in the sponsoring nations. Note, also, how Israel, among all the nations, is still singled out for its unique status as a ‘threat to world peace and security’. []
I would like, at this point, to link to “The UN resolution on Zionism–and the ideological obfuscation also on the Left” by Raya Dunayevskaya, Weekly Political Letter, Jan. 24, 1976, but it is alas not on-line. For unsatisfactory glimpses, see Peter Hudis here.

One Response to “Zionism/Apartheid/Stalinism/Trotskyism: going off on a tangent”

  1. 1 The Palestine Solidarity Campaign « Anti-National Translation

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