- “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” ~ Douglas Adams
Stone the bloody crows, throw another shrimp on the barbie, and I tell you what, any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum!
Once upon a time I was gonna ‘reply’ to Jean Barrot/Gilles Dauvé’s ‘Fascism/Anti-Fascism’ but: a) I couldn’t be arsed; b) it’s been done (to death) and; c) nobody cares what I think anyway. That said… other materials on Fascism (and fascism) what are worthwhile reading are Roger Griffin’s reader on Fascism (Oxford University Press, 1995) and Robert O. Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fascism (Random House, 2007). Otherwise, I’ve categorised a handful of posts ‘Anti-fascism’, so yeah: go read ’em.
Choice Anti-Fascism quote: “As one might expect of a group of people who, despite their ideological differences, all reject the fundamental organizing principles of Western societies, Antifa members do not seem to be high earners. It is also hard to see how a group of this nature could generate any reliable flow of funding of any sort, or who it would be prepared to accept it from.” (The Blackhoods of Antifa, From the mahogany desk of The Brussels Journal, October 10, 2008.)
While drawing on various (and overwhelmingly Marxian) ideological antecedents, the ‘Anti-German’ camp really only established itself in Germany after re-unification, and as one of many responses to a more general ideological crisis on Teh Left that the outpouring of nationalist sentiment this world-historical event provoked. One of the best Anti-German sauces I’ve tasted is ‘Anti-German Translation’: it’s regularly updated, and contains links to many other writings on the Anti-German tradition. Two overviews of the subject are available via ‘Letter from Berlin: The anti-anti-Zionists’ (Benjamin Weinthal, Haaretz, August 8, 2007) and ‘Antinationalist Nationalism: The Anti-German Critique and Its All-Too-German Adherents’ (Rolling Thunder, No.3, Summer 2006).
Choice Anti-German quote: ‘Do they ever have any fun? “We don’t have much fun,” Dahlmann concedes. “But we are not ascetics. We drink beer and wine”.’ (Meet the Anti-Germans, Luke Harding, The Guardian, August 28, 2006.)
A German hack named Wilhelm Marr is the man generally credited with coining the term ‘Anti-Semitism’ in the 1870s; in her book Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women’s Liberation, Andrea Dworkin (1946–2005) describes Bill as having been an ‘anarchist’. Whatever.
…And now she has published what she believes to be her life’s work, nine years in the making; not another assault on gender relations or the sex industry but a polemical account of modern Israel and the lessons it holds for women. It is a book which many Zionists, non-Zionists, Palestinians, scholars of the Holocaust, pacifists, the left, women, men, are bound to find offensive. Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel And Women’s Liberation, sparked by a visit to Israel in 1988, is a critique of Middle East politics which sees the whole situation as a product of wounded and then enraged testosterone. It is an analysis of the Holocaust and Israel through the eye of gender relations, drawing together strands of Zionism, feminism and Holocaust studies to produce a radical new thesis: that the Jews, downtrodden, had to fight back; and that women, downtrodden, must do the same.
From memory, Dworkin concludes her survey with an appeal to women to seriously consider forming their own, ‘female’, state. A caustic review is available in ‘Dworkin’s Scapegoating’, Veronica A. Ouma, Palestine Solidarity Review, Fall 2005. See also : Prophet with honour the wilderness, Michael Arditti, The Independent, June 10, 2000.
One of the best sauces of raving anti-Semitism comin’ straight outta Australia is provided by Australian Protectionist Party member Martin Fletcher on his ‘Downunder Newslinks’ website. (In fairness to Fletcher, I should point out that on his site he includes vitriolic denunciations of Aborigines, Asians, Muslims, queers, and all the ‘usual suspects’ who occupy the far-right line-up.) Along with his support for the APP — he co-administers their online Forum with Darrin Hodges — Martin’s efforts on behalf of the 14 words — “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children” — are worthy of recognition. So too his provision of a copy of the Muslim Massacre videogame. Martin provides further hours of Yanqui infotainment on his ‘news’ site, including documentary videos on Barack Hussein O’Bama, Holocaust denial, David Duke, Stormfront and dead Nutzi Dr William Pierce (author of The Turner Diaries). Indeed, on Downunder Newslinks, The Turner Diaries, along with The Myth of the Six Million, The International Jew, Did Six Million Really Die? and The Protocols of Zion are all available to help White People interpret the Australian news.
Speaking of the sun-burnt country, Anti-Semitism exists as a cultural undercurrent, but not an especially popular one. Thus, while various forms of abuse and harassment continue to occur — one particular incident involving an angry man from Perth, WA drew some media attention recently — it does not form the important political principle it does on other islands, nor does it constitute an idea or practice with sufficient social weight to propel political careers forward; quite the opposite, in fact. As such, principal political scapegoats are kindly provided by the Muslim menace. (Oh. And The Blacks. Of course.)
Choice Anti-Semitism quote: ‘MY favourite definition of an anti-Semite is “a person who hates Jews more than is absolutely necessary”.’ (Some of my best friends [are] anti-Semitic, Barry Cohen, The Australian, May 21, 2008.)
‘Zionism’, like ‘Anti-Semitism’, may trace its roots back many centuries, but only really became solidified as an ideology and as a movement in the late 1800s, in particular by way of Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl (1860–1904). Like Uncle Ziggy, Herzl confronted Anti-Semitism during the course of his studies at the University of Vienna — unlike Freud, Herzl sought to confront it politically, most famously in his book Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), published in February 1896. (Note that Freud did join the lodge “Wien” of B’nai B’rith in 1897; he also responded to Nazi Anti-Semitism by proclaiming his Jewish identity even more strongly. Further disco on Freud’s Jewish identity is contained in the final chapter, ‘To Die In Freedom’, of Peter Gay’s biography, Freud: A Life For Our Time, Papermac, 1995 (1988). He certainly had a grim sense of humour: Just before 82-year-old Sigmund Freud was allowed to leave German-occupied Austria in 1938, the SS insisted he sign a statement claiming he had been treated well. He complied with a flourish: “I can most highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone.”)
Of course, the realisation of the idea of a Jewish nation-state in/as Israel in 1948 has been considered a triumph for some, and a disaster for others. Like other Big Ideas — Australia, Christianity, Fascism, Germany, Islam, Marxism, Nationalism, and so on — nearly two thousand years after a Jewish carpenter got nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, Zionism has a long and complex history (one antagonistic account is Ralph Schoenman’s The Hidden History of Zionism, 1988) and so too ‘Anti-Zionism’. An examination of the relationship between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism — one of many — is available by way of Robert S. Wistrich’s essay ‘Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism’ (Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol.16, Nos.3/4, Fall 2004). Wistrich argues that “anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two distinct ideologies that over time (especially since 1948) have tended to converge, generally without undergoing a full merger”; the strong link between the two is one of the principal criticisms of the Anti-German camp (for further elucidation, see : ‘Communism, anti-German criticism and Israel’, An interview with Stephan Grigat by Jens Misera. First published in Israel Nachrichten, the German daily newspaper in Tel Aviv in 2004; first published in English at http://info.interactivist.net in 2005.)
The beardy bloke presiding over the meeting is Herr Herzl.
Of contemporary ‘Anti-Zionism’, Jacques Hersh offers some Inconvenient Truths about ‘Real Existing’ Zionism in the Monthly Review (May 2009, Vol.61, No.1); further supplemented by Daniel Lang/Levitsky’s thoughts on how Jews Confront Zionism (June 2009, Vol.61, No.2). Probably the most well-known Australian Jewish critic of Zionism is Antony Loewenstein.
Choice Anti-Zionism quote: “Anti-Zionism has become so widespread and “politically correct” and it is so extreme and so divorced from political and historic reality that one suspects that it masks even more dangerous and more ancient hatreds.” Bill Anderson, The Age, June 20, 2009.
The Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists is the title of a kick-arse 1980 doco by Steve Fischler and Joel Sucher of Pacific Street Films (also available from AK Press, which re-released the film, along with Anarchism in America, in 2006):
See also : Albert Meltzer: The Fascist Objection to Anarchism (January 6, 2006) | Israel, Jews, the state, anarchism… (May 22, 2008) | Black Flag: Bulletin of the Anarchist Black Cross (April 14, 2009) | ‘Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’ by Graham D. Macklin (May 30, 2009) | Messianic Troublemakers: The Past and Present Jewish Anarchism, Jesse Cohn, Zeek, April 30, 2005 | Dolgoff, Sam, 1902-1990 | The Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre.
It is evident that Chomsky’s passion for libertarian anarchism and political debate could not be accommodated by the school system. So, curious and free spirited, he began, at the age of thirteen, to travel alone by train to New York City. There he visited relatives and haunted the secondhand bookstores on Fourth Avenue. In the course of these visits he picked up lots of books, which he devoured at home in Philadelphia. But he also spent many of his precious New York hours with an uncle (his mother’s sister’s husband) who ran a newsstand on Seventy-Second Street. He was a very bright, though little-educated man with a varied background. He taught Chomsky about Freud, and indeed, attracted by his grasp of Freud’s theories, people came to him for analysis. He had also been exposed to “Marxist sectarian politics Stalinist, Trotskyite, non-Leninist sects of one sort or another” things about which Chomsky himself was just beginning to learn (Chomsky Reader 11). A hunchback, Chomsky’s uncle benefited from a program for people with physical disabilities. He was offered employment selling newspapers; however, given the unfavorable location of the stand, he did very little business. Instead, the stand became a lively “literary political salon” for Jewish professional and intellectual emigrés. Says Chomsky, “The Jewish working-class culture in New York was very unusual. It was highly intellectual, very poor; a lot of people had no jobs at all and others lived in slums and so on. But it was a rich and lively intellectual culture: Freud, Marx, the Budapest String Quartet, literature, and so forth. That was, I think, the most influential intellectual culture during my early teens” (Chomsky Reader 11). Chomsky’s uncle eventually went on to become a successful lay psychiatrist, but he made his most indelible mark upon his young nephew during this period of informal contact in New York.
Deeply influenced by what he was reading and by the discussions he was having with a host of new acquaintances, Chomsky was moving more and more in the direction of anarchism and away from Marxism. Otero notes that since a number of his relatives were on the fringes of the Communist Party, the young Chomsky did develop interests related to Marxism, “but by the time he was twelve or thirteen he had already `worked out of that phase'” (“Chomsky and the Libertarian Tradition” 4). So, during his visits to New York, Chomsky also frequented the office of Freie Arbeiter Stimme, an anarchist journal with notable contributors, such as Rudolf Rocker…
Chomsky was reading other anarchist material by, for example, Diego Abad de Santillán, who, a few months before the onset of the Spanish Civil War (in March of 1936), wrote a book that was partially translated and republished as After the Revolution. During this period Chomsky also read works by left Marxists (non-Bolshevik Marxists), including Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, and Karl Korsch. Korsch’s work was an important source of inspiration for some of the more theoretically oriented Marxist thinkers who, in turn, exerted various degrees of influence upon Chomsky. In fact, Chomsky claims that Korsch was a Spanish-anarchosyndicalist-movement sympathizer, suggesting that a broad camp of left-thinking individuals found much that was worthwhile in the Spanish anarchist actions: “Marxism also covers a pretty broad spectrum and there is a point at which some varieties of anarchism and some varieties of Marxism come very close together, as for example, people like Karl Korsch, who was very sympathetic to the Spanish anarchist movement, though he himself was sort of an orthodox Marxist” (Language and Politics 168).
These orthodox Marxists were generally less important to Chomsky because of the extreme level of their commitment to Marxism and because he felt their analyses were overly complex. This is a point of contention for others who, though in pursuit of goals similar to Chomsky’s, nonetheless believe that the mechanisms and strategies of capitalism must be subjected to the kind of deeply philosophical and complex reflection that characterizes some Marxist analysis [–] for example, the works of Frankfurt School theorists. Chomsky comments: “The intellectuals around the Marxist tradition (Lukács, Frankfurt School, etc.) I read a bit but wasn’t much interested in, frankly. I don’t find that kind of work very illuminating, to tell the truth. The ideas that seem useful also seem pretty simple, and I don’t understand what all the verbiage is for” (8 Aug. 1994). His early attraction to anarchism and resistance to the Marxist tradition was eventually translated into a strong interest in local activist work and a rejection of overly complexified studies [of] class analysis, even though he did discover some crucial overlaps between the two…