National Conservatism: Trump, May and anti-Semitism


Some 75 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain are the responsibility of the far right, says a committee of MPs.

The actual figure may be higher. That is both because the committee has demonstrated a consistent bias in seeking to locate anti-Semitism, absurdly, in the Labour Party and not on the far right, and also because the indirect responsibility is not considered.

Just how much of the anti-Semitic imagery and propaganda which you can find online, and which some people believe, is actually generated on the far right – a lot of it highly professionally by neo-Nazis and White Supremacists based in the US?

All the MPs on the committee are bitterly opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. So for either party (the Tories) or factional (Chuka Umunna and pals) advantage they twist the report to skip over actual anti-Semitism and create headlines against Corbyn and the left.

Next month will see a four-week trial of the man accused of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. At the time, the police said their main line of inquiry was a “far right connection”. The man accused of killing her was reported to have shouted at the murder scene: “Britain First!” or “Put Britain first!”

Last Tuesday in Parliament we had the sickening spectacle of one Tory MP after another waving the shroud of Jo Cox to argue for military escalation in the Syria war, including a preparedness to shoot down Russian planes.

We do not, tragically and self evidently, know what the murdered Labour MP would have said – precisely because she was murdered.

That did not stop Tory MPs who opposed the opening of the borders to refugees, from Syria and from elsewhere, which she campaigned for. And unlike them, she did not vote in December of last year for David Cameron’s bombing.

There is a deeply shocking reality which no one on the left and no anti-racist in Britain can allow to stand.

A Labour MP has been murdered – with all the hallmarks of a fascist-inspired assassination – and there is zero recognition in British public life or from most MPs that that has happened. Instead, there is the most squalid politicking aimed at undermining the leader of the Labour Party and the movements of the left.

There is zero official acceptance, of course, of the endemic Islamophobia in Britain. It is expressed not only in hate crime – as with the woman who was assaulted in north London recently and her hijab ripped off. It is also structured into the state and society – institutionalised, a matter of policy also: the Prevent Strategy.

Then we have Theresa May making a National Conservative turn – with talk of patriotic Britons being undermined by “left wing human rights lawyers” (that would fit Shami Chakrabarti, by the way) and rootless “international elites”.

Donald Trump went further, naturally, in a speech in Florida on Friday. He said that Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international financiers whose wealth and immorality are unlimited and that they conspire to bring down the working man of the US, sending jobs to Mexico and China.

It is precisely in this National Conservative paranoia – of which May’s is but on a spectrum which includes Trump’s – that actual fascist ideology is incubated.

Fascism has little in the way of a distinct ideology. It is everywhere the radicalisation of the domestic drivel of the mainstream, hard right and of the historic ideologies of its state.

All the rudiments of the Nazis’ ideology were to be found in the National Conservative elites of the 1920s – ranging from Henry Ford in the US to Lord Rothermere in Britain – but with a German national specificity.

In theory you could conceive of a fascist movement without racism and anti-Semitism at its centre – by way of a thought experiment of a capitalism with a different history and in a different world on a different planet.

But history is in the present. And the far right and fascism have no comparable instrument other than racism in all its forms. They have to take the instruments they find from their histories; they cannot simply reinvent themselves out of thin air.

In this actual world we face sudden declines in the value of a currency; national antagonisms and chauvinism; illustrated by the cases of Poland and Hungary, huge numbers of a national population who had been encouraged to take out mortgages in foreign currencies by banks overnight find that they have been pauperised, made homeless, by a single movement on the money markets.

In these circumstances – which will get more acute – there is no more potent a lie for either National Conservatives or fascists than the old one of the rootless, cosmopolitan Jew sucking the blood of the nation via the banking system. Perhaps also through the “Jewish socialism” of the Marxist and radical left, “they” are sapping the national unity and will from within.

There has been a big turnout and very productive deliberations at the international conference in Athens this weekend hosted by the KEERFA anti-racist and anti-fascist coalition.

The cynicism of the anti-Corbyn MPs’ parliamentary report stands in absolute contrast. It is enraging. So too is the sight of the usual suspects touring the radio and television stations today to spread the lie that it is the party of labour and not the right which is the danger over racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

The sooner there is a stronger fightback by Labour Party members inside their party over that, the better.

But even that is but a small aspect of the fightback we really need. That is a truly mass movement in the society against racism, wars and national chauvinism – but also providing the radical answers to a world in crisis and flushing down the sewer the radicalising right’s false explanations for that.

There is not a moment to lose.

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