Commission for Countering Extremism and ‘far-left’ extremism

Yesterday (April 9th) the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) issued a (long) press release that claimed to outline plans to tackle political extremism in Britain.  Several papers will be published by academics with input from the public via consultation.

The first sentence of the press release highlighted which extremists will be the subject of the investigations.

The papers will look at the far right, Islamism, the far left and online extremism.”

Under the heading ‘Other Forms of Extremism’ the CCE stated in the press release that there will be “one paper exploring the tactics and objectives of the far left and their acceptance among the public.”

But, is CCE really looking into “far-left extremism?”  In the remainder of the press release, and in associated introductory papers – terms of reference and annexes to terms of reference, there was plentiful discussion of far-right extremism and “Islamist” extremism but “far-left extremism” was mentioned just once across both introductory papers in a sentence on page 13 on the annexes paper.

Concerns were also raised about the impact of other forms of extremism, such as Hindu extremism, Sikh extremism and Hard Left extremism.”

The single reference to the far-left was in a precis of comments that CCE Lead Commissioner Sara Khan claimed to have heard when travelling around Britain consulting the public on extremism.  It was in the final paragraph of such comments, presumably added as an afterthought.

The academics who will investigate “far-left extremism” are Daniel Allington, Siobhan McAndrew and David Hirsh.

Hirsh is a relentless critic of the leftward tendency of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.  In a dramatic letter of resignation from Labour, timed to coincide with the announcement of the CCE investigation, Hirsh declared

I do not want Jeremy Corbyn to be the next Prime Minister; he is so wedded to antisemitic politics that he has been quite unable to address the antisemitic culture which he imported into the Labour mainstream.  And that is linked to his anti-democratic worldview.”

(Aside: Hirsh’s letter complained about Corbyn being “anti-democratic” but Hirsh has given full support to Change UK/Independent Group MPs who are currently stealing parliamentary seats from voters.)

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David Hirsh

Allington wrote a half-baked conclusion-driven piece on Labour’s electorate support (or not) in 2017 that was expertly debunked on the A Very Public Sociologist blog.  Allington demonstrated the popular anti-socialist strategy of refusing to allow logic, reason, didactic narrative, knowledge and intelligence to obstruct an agenda.

DanielAllington
Daniel Allington

McAndrew‘s perceptive qualities were displayed when she described right-wing campaigner against socialism Luke Akehurst as a “moderate Labour activist” in Irrational politics.

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Siobhan McAndrew

Two clear points about the CCE’s choice of “academics” to investigate “far-left extremism.”

  1. They have been asked to regurgitate smears about Corbyn and his colleagues.
  2. There will be no investigation of the “far-left.”

One does not need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that CCE’s investigation into “far-left extremism” is an invention and is designed solely as a political tool to attack leftward politics.  It is unsurprising that the Tory government’s CCE will join in with the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and on socialism: The possibility of a general election later this year is rising rapidly.

 

 

 

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Commission for Countering Extremism and ‘far-left’ extremism

No deal Brexiteer classification

No deal Brexiteers are classified as follows.

1) Ignorant idiots
Understandably, blissful ignorance is a popular political position.  However, Brexit has taken witlessness up to barely visible levels of stupidity. 

Many people think ‘no deal’ means nothing changes.  As unbelievable as that sounds, it is a widely held view.  

Some people think World Trade Organisation trading rules are real things that exist in the world, or think Britain has something that countries in the EU desperately need.

There is ignorance of consequences if Britain leaves the EU via no deal Brexit: Ignorance of Britain’s inability to produce enough food to feed everyone; ignorance of the devastating effects on the NHS by forced removal of EU citizens; ignorance of the urgency of some imports, particularly medical supplies; ignorance of the huge costs of travelling or holidaying in Europe.

The world beyond Europe has changed hugely since Britain joined the Common Market over forty years ago but some people think stepping back to earlier trade arrangements will be straightforward.

2) Xenophobic yobs
Knuckle-dragging, angry, racist filth inspired by relentless encouragement from right-wing newspapers and from manipulative politicians, feted as authentic voices by detached bubble-dwellers in broadcasting and journalism and led by rabble-rousing grifters, the far-right bellowers refuse to see the real source of problems and choose to direct their anger at anything or anyone foreign.  They are willing puppets of the beneficiaries of division in society.

There is no possibility of reasoned argument with them.  Ignorance is celebrated, offence is obligatory and violence is ever-present. 

Their pseudo importance as representatives of an opinion is an invention by those who benefit from the rabble’s behaviour.

A side-effect of the existence and visibility of angry xenophobes is that hapless centrists can point at them disapprovingly and avoid pointing at the major culprits (see below).

3) Wealthy financial vultures and their enablers
A cliff-fall no-deal Brexit would be a huge multi-billion pound windfall for disaster capitalists, for currency gamblers, for vultures waiting to grab what is left of Britain’s vital public services at fire-sale prices, for exploitative corporations salivating at the prospect of the removal of workers’ rights and health and safety regulations, for tax avoiders, for tax evaders, for enemies of human rights, for enemies of free speech and for every despicable low-life anti-human greedy bastard.

Their enablers are working hard, harder than they have ever worked in their disreputable lives, to achieve a no deal outcome.  A plethora of secretly funded right-wing think-tanks, assisted by compliant broadcasters, provide a constant stream of confidence tricks for the benefit of their donors and act as conduits between the vultures and Tory MPs for flows of cash to the MPs’ accounts to pay them for their campaigning for no deal.

So much money is at stake that desperation has started to appear in the rhetoric and actions of the vultures’ enablers.  Raab, Leadsom, Francois, Johnson, Farage and Hannan have become increasingly angry, red-faced and aggressive.  Their demands for violence are becoming less subtle; group 3) requires group 2).

MarkFrancois
Bruges Group’s Mark Francois MP

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No deal Brexiteer classification

Board of Deputies fights antisemitism, except for Tory antisemitism

Is the Board of Deputies (BoD) a strong and effective opponent of antisemitism?  

Brextremist Suella Braverman, Tory MP for Fareham, used the phrase “cultural Marxism” in a speech at a Bruges Group event in March.  “Cultural Marxism” originated as a derogatory description of the politics of Jewish socialists by NAZI party in Germany in the 1930s.  It was used in literature by the mass murderers in Utøya, Norway in 2011 and Christchurch, New Zealand this year.  The phrase is a popular form of abuse by extreme-right screaming heads.

The key points are 1) the origin of “cultural Marxism” and its use today by extreme-right activists are antisemitic in intent and 2) its use as an antisemitic trope is well-known. 

SuellaBraverman
Suella Braverman MP

Context of Braverman’s choice of language
The host of the speech given by Braverman was a far-right think-tank – Bruges Group.  Its director Roberts Oulds co-authored a paper with Niall McCrae called Moralitis: A Cultural Virus.  The second line of the paper’s introduction set its tone: Like the growth of bacteria in a Petri dish, the subversive tenets of cultural Marxism have spread as a pinking of the public discourse.”

The intent of Oulds and McCrae’s paper was to depict liberal ideas as a virus.

In this monograph we present our thesis of a cultural virus.  This manifests in a morality that subverts conventional social norms and quashes dissent.  In this delusional condition, people may seem to be acting with autonomy, but the forces of conformity are such that their freedom is limited, and their utterances merely regurgitate group-think.  People do not necessarily feel constrained, because the viral symptoms are an expression of progressive ideals.  Whereas symptoms of influenza impair physical fitness, the cultural virus enhances social fitness.  It is a pervasive and enduring outbreak of moral hubris.”

We believe that the prevailing values of society, as conveyed by the political and cultural establishment and by the younger generations, have reached the level of moral hegemony.  The process by which this has occurred is analogous to a virus. It is an epidemic disease so powerful that it has a cytopathic effect on society, changing the cognition and behaviour of its hosts.  While older people have developed resistance, younger people are more susceptible to the virus due to their lack of immunity.  Their idealism arises from a lack of ‘real world’ experience.”

The infection is concentrated in metropolitan areas of affluence and in towns and cities with high student populations, and throughout our political and cultural institutions.  People who contract the virus may be divided into two types.  First are the carriers.  Not active propagators, they learn what to say and what values to convey.  As a large brigade of foot-soldiers, their compliance with moral hegemony is vital for the disease to overcome healthy minds.  The second type is the contagious.  This is the opinionated minority, enthused by cultural Marxism, who police social discourse and push boundaries to advance their cause. Often it is such people who are promoted to positions of power.  The contagious sweep others along in their moral hubris.”

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Bruges Group director Roberts Oulds

The content, context, language and tone above by Oulds and McCrae inspired Braverman to speak at a Bruges Group event and to use the phrase “cultural Marxism.”  

BoD response to blatant antisemitism from a Tory MP
How did the BoD respond to Braverman’s deliberate use of an antisemitic trope at an event hosted by a far-right think-tank that peddles extremist philosophy with offensive language?
Was there a comment on the news section of the BoD website? No.
Was there a comment or a link on the BoD’s twitter account?  No.
Was there a press release?  Yes.

BoDBraverman

According to Jewish Chronicle newspaper, a “spokesperson” for the BoD said, prior to the issue of the above press release, Suella Braverman may not have been aware of it, but the term ‘cultural Marxist’ has a history as an antisemitic trope.  We would ask for her to clarify the remarks and undertake not to use the phrase in future.”

To summarise, a Tory MP spoke at an event hosted by a far-right think-tank that propagates extreme politics and she used a well-known antisemitic trope that was used frequently by the think-tank; BoD accepted her lie that she wasn’t aware of the antisemitic meaning of the phrase and completely exonerated her.  “We are sorry to see that the whole matter has caused distress.”  That was how seriously the BoD took antisemitism when the perpetrator was a Tory MP.  

(For Labour MPs, the behaviour of the BoD is different.)

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Board of Deputies fights antisemitism, except for Tory antisemitism

British soldiers threatened to assassinate Corbyn

This week, a short video clip was published of four British soldiers in Afghanistan firing at a large photograph of Jeremy Corbyn.

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Screenshot from the video

Key points about the video
1) The mock assassination was planned.  A large photograph of Jeremy Corbyn was created, a location was found for the firing range and equipment was acquired to record the shooting.  The planning needed time, access to equipment and help from other people.

2) The soldiers in the video chose not to hide their faces.  Their commanding officer would have recognised them instantly.  Clearly, the participants did not think that the video was problematic at all.  They did not perceive any negativity resulting from what they did.  They wanted to be seen to be doing what they did.

3) There was no laughter and no smiles in the video.  It was not fun or dark humour.  It was deadly serious and executed with military precision.  The lack of humour was deliberate.

Restrained reaction
Senior army officers and Tory politicians responded to the video with some woolly comments.

  • Nick Perry, allegedly in charge of four hundred British soldiers in Afghanistan (including the culprits): “The video shows totally unacceptable behaviour that falls far below the behaviour that we expect.”
  • (Former) Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson: “I commend the prompt and clear leadership shown by the Army in investigating this troubling video.”
  • Tory MP and former soldier Rory Stewart: “They should not be political – they are there to defend the country and the Queen.”
  • Tory MP and former soldier Johnny Mercer: Every organisation has good people who make serious misjudgments.”

Perry was quick to add that the soldiers under his command are “doing an outstanding job out there.” 

The theme present in all the comments from Tory MPs and senior armed forces personnel was emphasis on the exceptionalism of the incident and how it didn’t fit the values of the British armed forces.  Similar comments were made by similar people when a large number of young soldiers were photographed with racist far-right extremist and criminal Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

Inspired by politicians
The soldiers who performed the mock assassination of Jeremy Corbyn were inspired and encouraged by comments made by members of the Tory government and others.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in November 2017 in parliament: “Jeremy Corbyn​ doesn’t even believe in the British Army.​”

Williamson on 15th February 2018 at a NATO meeting in Brussels: “Time and time again he [Corbyn] has sided with those who want to destroy everything that is great about this country, whether it is sympathising with terrorists, backing rogue regimes, or cosying up to those who want to inflict pain and misery on the British people.  He cannot be trusted.  He has never had Britain’s interests at heart.”

Former Tory leader David Cameron on September 13th 2015, the day after Corbyn was elected Labour leader, in a social media post: “The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security.”

Tory leader Theresa May on May 20th 2017 in a social media post: “[Jeremy Corbyn] is a leader who doesn’t understand – or like – our country.”

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood on 18th February 2018 in a social media post: “Corbyn’s meetings with the StB [branch of Czechoslovak police] at the height of the Cold War, raises serious questions about his loyalty to Britain that should be investigated.”

Ellwood on 19th February 2018 in an interview with Telegraph: “[There are] legitimate concerns about Mr Corbyn’s patriotism.  What unites all MPs is a sense of duty and loyalty to the Queen, the nation and the people. If legitimate concerns of patriotism arise it is for each MP to justify their actions and provide the clarity and transparency the nation expects and deserves.”

Former Tory (now independent) MP Nick Boles on 14th March 2018 in a social media post: “Today Jeremy Corbyn faced a simple test: would he condemn the Russian government for launching a chemical weapons attack on the UK, and back the actions of the British government?  His failure to do so reveals where his loyalties lie.”

Tory MP and Bruges Group member Mark Francois on 14th March 2018 in parliament: “[Jeremy Corbyn is an] apologist for the Russian state.”

Former head of MI6 Richard Dearlove on June 8th 2018 in Telegraph interview: “I’m shocked that no one has stood up and said, unambiguously, how profoundly dangerous it would be for the nation if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister.  The leader of the Labour Party has forged links with those quite ready to use terror when they haven’t got their way: the IRA, Hizbollah, Hamas.  As a result he is completely unfit to govern and Britain would be less safe with him in No 10.  If Jeremy Corbyn was applying to join any of this country’s security services – MI5, GCHQ or the service I used to run, MI6 – he would not be cleared to do so.  He would be rejected by the vetting process.  Far from being able to get into MI5, in the past MI5 would actively have investigated him.”

(It is not clear whether the vetting process that Dearlove mentioned is the same that cleared Kim Philby to work at MI6.)

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Former MI6 operative Kim Philby

Dearlove on October 7th 2018 in a TV interview on Sky News: “He [Corbyn] has enthusiastically associated himself with groups and interests which I would not say were the friends of the British nation.”

The intent of the libellous analyses of Corbyn by members of the Tory government and Dearlove was to encourage a perception of Corbyn, and of his colleagues, as enemies of Britain.  It is no surprise, given such endorsement, that soldiers decided to enact a mock assassination of Corbyn, coldly, and published a video of it for everyone to see with the shooters’ faces visible.  The soldiers’ intent was to issue a direct threat of assassination to Corbyn and to encourage violence toward him. 

All the participants in the video, in its preparation and in its distribution committed an act of treason against the leader of the opposition in parliament and a member of the Privy Council.  Culpability for the treason extends to Nick Perry, to Gavin Williamson and to Theresa May.  This is not a trivial matter; it is not an isolated instance of poor judgement; it is not misplaced humour.  The video and the message it sent are acts of violent intent against the man likely to be the next Prime Minister.  

Active socialism requires a combative approach and, sometimes, a war-like mindset because its enemies will always be willing to use any tactic.

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British soldiers threatened to assassinate Corbyn