- Created: Friday, 01 March 2019 15:00
- Written by Dominic Mulgrew
On the 10 February ‘SWP Scotland’ issued a statement on their Facebook page, titled ‘Building the anti-racist movement in Scotland’. The statement is an attempt to address the concerns of those who cannot square the Socialist Workers Party’s formal support for Palestine with their practical capitulation to Zionism in Glasgow. Last year grassroots forces, including the RCG united to prevent the Zionists taking part in the SUTR march, despite the hostility of Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and the police presence. See our report here and footage here.
On 16 March 2019 racist organisations such as the ‘Confederation of Friends of Israel – Scotland’ and ‘Glasgow Friends of Israel’ are being allowed to join the SUTR campaign march for a third year. As the RCG have documented and exposed, this would not have been possible without the support of the SWP, which dominate the leadership of the SUTR campaign. See here.
Despite this disgraceful accommodation of racist Friends of Israel organisations they still attempt to reassure supporters of Palestine that:
‘The SWP is anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian rights. We think Israel is a racist state. We are proud of our record in playing a significant part in building solidarity with the Palestinians over many decades. It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Israeli state's treatment of Palestinians. We oppose the adoption of the IHRA and slanderous accusations that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite. These accusations are designed to undermine and weaken Palestine solidarity and the left.’
After warning of the dangers of the rise of the far right across the world the SWP conclude: ‘That's why we agree with the call for a united mass movement against racism and fascism in Britain. That's why our members throw considerable effort into building Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) as a broad-based, united coalition.’
The SWP can state all these positions until blue in the face – the point is that they are allowing racist organisations to whitewash Israeli apartheid by taking part in their supposedly ‘anti-racist’ march. They cannot deny this so they have to find some way to justify it. After a lot of window-dressing they make their attempt to defend the indefensible:
‘We know that sections of Jewish people may be sympathetic to Israel but still want to oppose the fascists. We may see the contradictions. But it is only by uniting that we can win a space to debate and argue. This in no way means dropping or curbing support for the Palestinian people. But we cannot build a united anti-racist movement if the politics of the Middle East are imported into the movement. Divisions exist over Israel/Palestine [our emphasis] …If a ticket to the UN anti-racism demo is agreement on all these issues we would be attending a very, very small demo!’
If the SWP are ‘anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian rights’ why should they be so concerned by ‘divisions’ which ‘exist over Israel / Palestine’? Only because they are aware that practically standing on the side of the people of Palestine against Israel, in this period, would scupper their unity with Corbyn and the Labour left which is the central pillar of the SUTR campaign. Labour Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott is the President of SUTR.
Zionism is racism and it remains the means by which British imperialism seeks to secure its interests in the Middle East. Today’s Labour Party understands this just as well as all past Labour Governments have done. The SWP understands this. Instead of challenging the baseless and disgusting accusations of anti-Semitism, Corbyn, Abbott and the Labour left are bending over backwards to prove to the ruling class that they are a credible and reliable friend of British imperialism in order to secure a future Labour Government. Their adoption of the pro Zionist full definition of IHRA was part of this.
Groups like the SWP, which temper their solidarity with Palestine to the political requirements of the imperialist Labour Party, are bound to end up in bed with racists. Building an anti-racist movement in Britain means breaking ties with Labour and all other ruling class parties. The people of Palestine demand nothing less!
Join the ‘Zionism is racism’ coalition on 16 March to stand in active opposition to SUTR’s march with racists!
‘Zionism is racism – Scotland Stand Up!’
Saturday 16th March, 10.30am
Facebook event: here
Sign the online petition (which has over 1,100 supporters) to show your opposition to SUTR’s march with racists. Sign here.
SWP slander RCG supporters
In a desperate and outrageous attempt to discredit and isolate the opposition they are facing to their accommodation of Zionists in SUTR marches leading SWP figures have continued to try and tarnish the names of RCG supporters in Glasgow by publicly fabricating stories and spreading lies about them.
After our lobby of the SUTR steering committee meeting on 10 March last year it was claimed that we had spat in the face of the Muslim Council of Scotland representative and attempted to pull off her hijab! On 15 May 2018 during a protest in Glasgow to mark Nakba Day the SWP Glasgow organiser Keir McKechnie, chief steward for SUTR, claimed a young female RCG supporter had phoned his workplace to make death threats against him. See the full report of the protest and footage here. It was in fact McKechnie who was making the threats – making eye contact with the young female RCG supporter while drawing his finger across his throat. During the lobby of SUTR on 10 March 2018 McKechnie was captured on camera physically threatening a supporter of the lobby. See here (4 minutes 50 seconds in). On 21 February 2019 during a protest outside Glasgow City Chambers against IHRA and council cuts, SWP organiser and Unison branch officer Jim Main walked up and loudly accused another RCG supporter of phoning his workplace and threatening him.
Both McKechnie and Main voted to allow Friends of Israel to take part in SUTR’s march. These desperate and outrageous attempts to isolate and discredit RCG supporters ahead of this year’s march need to be called out and challenged wherever and whenever they are made.