‘Ken Livingstone is not an anti-semite, he’s a feckin’ eejit!’

anti-zionism-latuff
“When Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”  – Ken Livingstone
Former Labour MP and London Mayor, Ken Livingstone’s display of astonishing naivety in trying to defend a Labour MP accused of anti-semitism by making obscure historical points about the Nazis attitude to Zionism was, in the words of the conservative journalist Andrew Neill, “a case of pouring oil on the flames.”
That Livingstone maintained this line of argument and agreed to be interviewed by various media outlets on the subject is not only bizarre, but also indicative of the arrogance of the Labour Left. ‘Red Ken’ continued to dig a hole that was entirely of his own making. By doing so he has focused media attention on pro-Palestine activists rather than on the Blairites and Zionists who constructed this witch-hunt.
The Jewish Socialist Group (JSG) have issued the following statement on the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Members of the British Labour Party are currently being witch-hunted from the party, not because they are anti-semitic, but because they are anti-Zionists, who are critical of Israeli policy on the Palestinians. The charges they are facing are political smears and slanders. This is the revenge of the Blairites against the election of the lefty Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.

js68 (2)Statement on “Labour’s problem with antisemitism”

From the Jewish Socialists’ Group

Posted: 28 April 2016

Antisemitism exists and must be exposed and fought against in the same way as other forms of racism by all who are concerned with combating racism and fascism.

Antisemitism and anti-Zionism are not the same. Zionism is a political ideology which has always been contested within Jewish life since it emerged in 1897, and it is entirely legitimate for non-Jews as well as Jews to express opinions about it, whether positive or negative. Not all Jews are Zionists. Not all Zionists are Jews.

Criticism of Israeli government policy and Israeli state actions against the Palestinians is not antisemitism. Those who conflate criticism of Israeli policy with antisemitism, whether they are supporters or opponents of Israeli policy, are actually helping the antisemites. We reject any attempt, from whichever quarter, to place legitimate criticism of Israeli policy out of bounds.

Accusations of antisemitism are currently being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party with claims that Labour has a “problem” of antisemitism. This is despite Corbyn’s longstanding record of actively opposing fascism and all forms of racism, and being a firm a supporter of the rights of refugees and of human rights globally.

A very small number of such cases seem to be real instances of antisemitism. Others represent genuine criticism of Israeli policy and support for Palestinian rights, but expressed in clumsy and ambiguous language, which may unknowingly cross a line into antisemitism. Further cases are simply forthright expressions of support for Palestinian rights, which condemn Israeli government policy and aspects of Zionist ideology, and have nothing whatsoever to do with antisemitism.

The accusations do not refer to antisemitic actions but usually to comments, often made on social media, long before Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership. Those making the charges now, did not see fit to bring them up at the time, under previous Labour leaders, but are using them now, just before mayoral and local elections, when they believe they can inflict most damage on the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

The attack is coming from four main sources, who share agendas: to undermine Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Labour; to defend Israeli government policy from attack, however unjust, racist and harmful towards the Palestinian people; and to discredit those who make legitimate criticisms of Israeli policy or Zionism as a political ideology. As anti-racist and anti-fascist Jews who are also campaigning for peace with justice between Israelis and Palestinians, we entirely reject these cynical agendas that are being expressed by:

• The Conservative Party

• Conservative-supporting media in Britain and pro-Zionist Israeli media sources

• Right-wing and pro-Zionist elements claiming to speak on behalf of the Jewish community

• Opponents of Jeremy Corbyn within the Labour party.

The Jewish Socialists’ Group recognises that ordinary Jewish people are rightly concerned and fearful about instances of antisemitism. We share their concerns and a have a proud and consistent record of challenging and campaigning against antisemitism. But we will not support those making false accusations for cynical political motives, including the Conservative Party, who are running a racist campaign against Sadiq Khan, and whose leader David Cameron has referred to desperate refugees, as “a swarm” and “a bunch of migrants”. The Conservative Party demonstrated their contempt for Lord Dubs, a Jewish refugee from Nazism, when they voted down en masse an amendment a few days ago to allow 3,000 child refugees into Britain while Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn, gave total support to Lord Dubs and his amendment.

The Jewish Socialists’ Group sees the current fearmongering about antisemitism in the Labour Party for what it is – a conscious and concerted effort by right-wing political forces to undermine the growing support among Jews and non-Jews alike for the Labour Party leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, and a measure of the desperation of his opponents.

We stand against antisemitism, against racism and fascism and in support of refugees. We stand for free speech and open debate on Israel, Palestine and Zionism.

anti-zionism-is-not-anti-semitism-2

Hillsborough – The Tip Of The Iceberg

HJC_duckenfieldDavid Duckenfield, the commanding officer at Hillsborough in 1989 is not the only senior South Yorkshire Police Officer potentially now facing criminal charges and disciplinary procedures. It is no accident that this police force was central to the defeat of the miners in 1984/85, a force fetted by Thatcher and her government for defeating ‘the enemy within’ – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). After the Miners Strike and Hillsborough, these officers continued to be promoted up the ranks. Perhaps the greatest insult to the Hillsborough Families and the people of Liverpool was the appointment of Sir Norman Bettison as Chief Constable of Merseyside. Bettison (pictured below left) was a Chief Inspector at the time of the disaster and he led the ‘dirty tricks’ team from South Yorkshire Police who attempted to assassinate the characters of the victims, their families and the supporters of Liverpool FC.

JFT96SYcopsBy Phil Thornton

“Blaming Liverpool fans for Hillsborough is like blaming the passengers on the Titanic for hitting the iceberg.”

FA Cup Semi-finals were always frenzied games in the 70s and 80s when the noble art of the jib became almost obligatory and ‘to pay is to fail’ was a mantra for hardcore fans across the land. Those held at Hillsborough were notorious for the Leppings Lane and it was the same at Villa if you didn’t get the Holte End.

Let’s rewind to 85. A van load of us went to watch the FA Cup final between Man United and Everton. None of us had tickets. We all got in. This was only 11 days before the Heysel Disaster in Brussels. We bribed turnstyle staff,  jumped the barriers and then either bought stubs from grafters or placed pressure on the terrified security staff to open the gates onto the already overcrowded terraces.

We knew sooner or later they’d let us in and so it was. Once inside that shithole of a national stadium we strained to watch a game in a standing section that was so packed I could barely stand, never mind see Norman’s winner.

This was par for the course. Nothing unusual. You wanted to get one over on the snidey FA who only distributed a pathetic percentage of tickets for finals, as they hived vast numbers off to corporate cronies, pals and touts.

This was all possible because the ‘culture’ of the game in the 80s was always semi-militaristic. You hated ‘them’ and ‘they’ hated you and everyone hated the bizzies because the bizzies hated everyone. Mob survival was essential and although the violence was often sporadic and over-stated, nevertheless you were always aware that a kick off was probable at some point in the day.

Some people stayed sober, most drank or had a smoke, some got pissed and or stoned. Some got twatted. That too was part of the ritual.

So, those who continue to peddle this line about Liverpool fans being partly to blame for the death of the 96 at Hillsborough, then remember how you used similar tactics and that even if you had a ticket, you understood the semi final frenzy.

HJC_tv-footageBlaming Liverpool fans for Hillsborough is like blaming the passengers on the Titanic for hitting the iceberg. They paid for their tickets, they entered into a contract with the shipping line, they expected to be treated like valuable customers, they deserved to get to their destination. They hit an iceberg and drowned because of the negligence and incompetence of the crew and the company charged with protecting them. Even the odd stowaway didn’t deserve to drown.

Football fans were never treated like customers. Not by their own clubs, not by the FA, not by the political class and certainly not by the police. Fans were there to be fleeced and brutalised in appalling stadia that remained in the poorest areas of our inner cities.

This bred an attitude of open hostility and whether some of it was deserved or not, the comparison with how fans were treated in other countries was testimony to how divided by ‘class’ Britain was and still is. It’s still them and us.

It’s still THEM and US.

HJC_CameronFor all their mealy mouthed platitudes, the likes of Cameron and his Tory pals will be saying very different things about the despised scousers in private. Jack Straw and Tony Blair will no doubt share the same belief that this would have all been better if, as Nick Robinson, said on Radio4 this morning, scousers had just ‘moved on.’

They always want us to move on and ‘draw a line in the sand’ when they fuck up but never the other way around. If you dare to expose their lies and corruption, their hypocrisies and failures, then YOU are branded a cynic, a spoiler, a militant, a rabble rouser, a malcontent, a subversive, a traitor.

They will use every tool at their disposal to demonise you, their pet media, their spies, their pals in low places and they will try to dig enough dirt to create a smokescreen which they can then hide behind.

It has worked every time. So far.

HJC_sun‘The Truth’ as published by Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper was a conspiracy of lies… The Sun newspaper will never rise again on Merseyside

Like many I don’t believe that ‘the truth’ – the full truth – about Hillsborough will ever be revealed and that the cowed media will have enough nerve to dig where the faceless men who work in nameless offices keep tabs on those who seek to uncover such facts.

To reveal the truth about the fit ups, the bribes, the murders, the lies, the cover ups, the stitch ups, the propaganda, the everyday dealings of those charged with ‘OUR’ national security would be to place their carefully orchestrated fantasy of One Nation Under A Groove at risk.

HJC_scarves

We Have The Truth, Now We Want Justice For The 96…

Men hold a banner reading "We climbed the hill …
Fans hold a banner reading “We climbed the hill in our own way”

 

“In due course the CPS will formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence.”

– Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter-terrorism division at England’s Crown Prosecution Service.

margaret-aspinall-hjcMargaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
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It took 27 years but JUSTICE is almost done today with the jury returning a verdict of UNLAWFUL KILLING to the inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989. The truth has been confirmed, justice must now follow. In the words of Hillsborough Justice Campaigner, Margaret Aspinall, whose 16 year old son died in the stadium, those responsible for the disaster and subsequent cover-up must be held to account.
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“Thank you, thank you”

– Response from one member of the public gallery when the verdict of unlawful killing was announced.

“Justice for the 96”

– Chant repeated by relatives and friends outside the courtroom in Warrington, near Liverpool, after the verdict was announced.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone”

– Relatives and friends sing the Liverpool anthem outside the courtroom.

“I think we’ve changed a part of history now.”

– Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, outside court.

“We’ve done it”

– Trevor Hicks, the president of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose teenage daughters Sarah and Vicki died in the disaster.

“The FA reaffirms its deep sorrow and regret that these tragic events, which occurred at one of its fixtures, led to the loss of life of 96 football supporters on 15 April 1989…Ultimately, the inquests stand as testament to the struggle undertaken by the families so the truth might be brought to light…In looking forward, it is important we never forget.”

– Statement issued by The Football Association, the English game’s national governing body.

“Fantastic to see the reaction of the families outside the court! Very emotional as well. The truth is out AT LAST. Take note all the doubters!”

– John Aldridge, a member of the Liverpool team that played Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough on the ill-fated day.

“Finally, thankfully, justice for the 96! Rest in peace.”

– Former England striker turned BBC television football presenter Gary Lineker.

“Finally and way, way, way overdue, the truth prevails and justice is served. jft96.”

– Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, using an abbreviation for the slogan “Justice for the 96”.

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“After so many years fighting for justice I am really pleased to see the verdict today, which confirms what we have been saying for a long time.“I am especially pleased for the families of the 96 who have sought justice for so long and with such dignity, as well as for the people of Liverpool and for football fans in general.

“Hopefully this verdict today will ensure that this kind of tragedy can never happen again.”

– Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez, Liverpool’s manager from 2004 to 2010.

“Everton Football Club salutes the Hillsborough families and their total vindication as Fighters for Justice. Theirs is the greatest victory in the history of football.

“RIP, the 96. Good night, God bless. From us across the Park.”

– Statement issued by Everton, whose Goodison ground is on the other side of Stanley Park from city rivals Liverpool’s Anfield.

“This has been the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times. But, finally, it is over.”

– Labour MP Andy Burnham
HJC_badge
While it is certainly the case that the truth has now been established beyond question, full justice for the 96 and their loved ones has not yet been delivered. Today’s mealy-mouthed words of of sympathy and apology from politicians, police and media is not enough. These same politicians, police and press were only too willing to muddy the waters at the time and to blacken the characters of the victims by throwing doubt on the eye-witness accounts of the supporters who were at Hillsborough 27 years ago.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s apology and words of support are too little too late. What was Cameron’s position at the time of the disaster? He was a young Tory high-flyer who had been an adviser to Margaret Thatcher’s government. We do not know David Cameron’s personal view back in 1989, but we can say with some certainty that Thatcher was not sympathetic to the plight of the fans and their families and held a political grudge against Liverpool, a city that she and her government regarded as a ‘Red stronghold’ (and we are not talking football colours here). 
JohnsonLiverpoolGaff
We know that one of Cameron’s key political allies and a personal friend since his days at Eton and Oxford had little in the way of sympathy for the Hillsborough families and a low regard for the city of Liverpoool and its inhabitants in general. The London Mayor and Tory MP, Boris Johnson is the favourite to succeed Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party,  it was his apparent lack of empathy that struck home when, a full 15 years after the disaster, he described the people of Liverpool as having ‘a predeliction for welfarism’ and ‘wallowing in their victim status’. He also repeated the outrageous lies of the South Yorkshire Police and The Sun newspaper that the fans were drunken hooligans who had contributed to the cause of the disaster.
 .
It took Boris Johnson a full eight years to apologise for those words which were published in the Spectator as part of a piece on the kidnapping and murder of Liverpool man Ken Bigley by Al Qaeda in Iraq. Even then the apology was half-hearted and qualified by Johnson who lodged the unlikely defence that, ‘a big boy did it and ran away’. In 2012, in evidence to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, Johnson disowned the article, citing it’s real author as the right-wing journalist, Simon Heffer. However, Johnson was happy in 2004, as editor of The Spectator, to commission the piece from Heffer, which he then put his own name to. He is as responsible as editor and attributed journalist for that piece of writing as the person he commissioned to author it on his behalf.
 .
As Margaret Aspinall of the HJC commented after Johnson’s apology in 2012: “What he has got to understand is that we were speaking the truth for 23 years and apologies have only started to come today from them because of yesterday. It’s too little, too late. It’s fine to apologise afterwards. They just don’t want their names in any more sleaze. No, his apology doesn’t mean a thing to me.”[
 .
One of the key campaigners for truth and justice, Mrs Aspinall has said today that now  we know the truth, the people responsible have to be held to account. That includes the police, politicians and press that contributed to and repeated the lies about Hillsborough and its victims for the last 27 years.
96reasonsHJC

Liberation Day Italy: Bruno Neri – Footballer & Anti-Fascist Partisan

April 25 – Liberation Day – Italy

Bruno Neri, Footballer and Anti-Fascist Partisan.

Bruno 1In Memory of BRUNO NERI / Partisan Commander / Fallen in combat in Gamogna, July 10, 1944 / A prominent athlete in sports competition / Revealed as an Underground Resistance Leader in guerrilla warfare /  He showed the great virtues of a fighter and a guide  /  He is an example and a warning for future generations.

“When you have the ball, you must think what you are going to do with it…”

Bruno Neri expressed this in reference to his midfield position on the pitch, but the master footballer made his position on the field a living example that could be put into practice in the daily lives of the people. The strategy and tactics of the midfield general on the football pitch was applied in combat when he became a partisan commander in the Italian anti-fascist resistance movement.

Bruno 2The iconic image of Neri demonstrates the schizophrenic football policy in Italy at the time. It was taken before the opening match at the new football stadium in Florence (Italy) in 1931, which was named after Giovanni Berta, a fascist who was killed by a communist commando after an engagement in February 1921. Neri, who was then a Fiorentina player, was pictured with his arms at his side, unlike the other players who posed making the Roman salute, the emblem of the fascists. Undoubtedly, Bruno’s gesture was a show of courage and defiance against fascist rule in Italy at that time.

This day April 25, 1945 marks the day of liberation in Italy, the movement driven by the Partisans against the Nazi invasion and its fascist allies commanded by Mussolini. Based on the union, strength and organization of guerrilla columns, the Italian Resistance managed to expel the German Army, then three days after the official announcement of the end of the Second World War, the dictator Benito Mussolini was arrested, shot to death and hung in Loreto square in Milan (previously a scene of fascist execution of resistance fighters) while the population in jubilation celebrated the victory.

Remember with pride all of the brave Partisans who were killed in action.

April 25  will remain a day to commemorate the anti-fascist resistance, now and forever.

Thanks to our comrades at Grada Roja for allowing us to translate and publish this article, which first appeared in Spanish on their website.

Who Fears To Speak of Easter Week?

The Proclamation –  declared on this day 100 years ago by Padraic Pearse on the steps of the GPO, Dublin, 24th April, 1916 – was the fuse that ignited the Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland

Pearse 1916

POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN

THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:

THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN Mac DIARMADA   THOMAS MacDONAGH
P. H. PEARSE   EAMONN CEANNT
JAMES CONNOLLY   JOSEPH PLUNKETT

1916leaders

 

TAXI FOR DEILA!

DeilaGoingHome

By Talman

It’s not simply because Sevco beat us in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup yesterday that Ronnie Deila should be shown the door at Celtic, it is the general decline of the team on the pitch that he should be held responsible for… But he’s not the only one.

The PLC board that appointed Deila is also culpable for the decline. Nowhere more so is this fall from grace apparent than in our performances in Europe in the last couple of seasons. Ronnie has presided over one of our most embarrassing periods in European competitions, that is the real indicator of his lack of ability and in the board’s failure to properly invest and build for the future.

For the last 4 years The Celtic PLC board has been treading water waiting for the team that now calls itself ‘the rangers’ getting to the top flight of Scottish football in order that those myopic pygmies who run our club can reignite their ‘Old Firm’ nonsense and lead the fans a merry dance to the usual sectarian undertones. Instead of investing for a future in Europe, we prepared for a future with Sevco… Celtic is a world ‘brand’ led by a parochially minded board of directors.

When an ordinary Scottish Championship team like Sevco can pass the ball around our players as if they were Barcelona – as they did in the first half yesterday – you know that the writing is on the wall for the manager and his coaching team. That was a pisspoor performance from a pisspoor Celtic side, which is led by a pisspoor coach.

Pish: John Collins & Ronnie Deila
Pish: John Collins & Ronnie Deila

There are some very good players in the current Celtic squad that are undervalued by the manager and underutilised as a result. I am convinced that a better coach would have achieved better results with different tactics and deployment of good players currently languishing in the development squad, on the bench or sitting in the stand. And there are players favoured by Deila who have failed miserably on the pitch this season, but have incredibly kept their place in spite of loss of form.

As one wit commented on the TAL facebook page, Ronnie may even be bringing us to the brink in league terms as well, ‘He could be in danger of losing a one-horse race!’ That really would be an ignominious ‘treble’ for the manager to achieve and is not a prospect that the Celtic support is prepared to contemplate over the remaining matches of the season. Ronnie should go and go now, no hanging around until the end of the season in the hope that scraping the league title will win him any respite with the fans. Take ‘gardening leave’ and make way as soon as possible please.

Your taxi is waiting…

CabForDeila

 

Bless Me Tommy, For I Have Sinned…

CONFESSION

By Talman

As Arthur Montford might have described it in one of his legendary commentaries for STV’s Scotsport, there was a bit of a ‘stramash in the penalty box’ on Friday night when the 107 Cowgate blog published an article entitled, “Solidarity and the KKK Grand Wizard” exposing the presence of a former Nazi organiser in the ranks of Tommy Sheridan’s Solidarity party. The blog concerned a certain Gareth Norman from Dundee, who is a former organiser with the BNP and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as his membership of fascist organisations dating back to the mid-1980’s. It seems that Gareth Norman has changed radically in his political outlook since turning his back on fascist politics and becoming a committed Christian and member of the Salvation Army, as well as becoming politically active with Solidarity. His is the 4th name on Solidarity’s 5 nominated List candidates for North East Scotland.

Please Remember to give Bishop Tommy Brennan your 2nd preference vote for Pope, er, I mean Parliament
Please Remember to give Cardinal Tommy Brennan your 2nd preference vote for Pope, er, I mean Parliament…
Big Gareth & Wee Tommy
Big Gareth & Wee Tommy

The questions raised in the 107 Cowgate article concerned the apparent lack of information sharing around Mr Norman’s change of heart and politics. It is not acceptable that one person should appoint himself, judge, jury and, apparently, ‘Father Confessor’ in this case, and the information of Gareth Norman’s acceptance into the ranks of the left should have been more widely shared, particularly with those anti-fascist organisations who came into direct contact with Mr Norman when he was on the side of our enemies. The indignation of Solidarity members at the audacity of the Cowgate Blog editor’s decision to publish the piece was a little misplaced considering that republicans have been on the receiving end of the attentions of Mr Norman and his former colleagues in the BNP, as well as their loyalist allies. The biblical quotes about ‘letting he who has not sinned cast the first stone’ might be appropriate in the Sally Army but not among ‘comrades’ on the left. Tommy Sheridan’s flippant remark, ‘It must be great never to have made a mistake…’ is rather fitting coming from Tommy, but is only appropriate if applied to a teenager who had flirted with the BNP at some point and been won over to our side, but he must surely see that there is a difference between the recruitment of someone on the periphery of fascism and a former fascist political organiser? If not, he risks the security of not only his own organisation but that of the entire left.  Solidarity and others on the left in Dundee should have made this information known to the rest of the left and particularly to those who have been and still are involved in militant anti-fascist activities, at the very least in order to ensure Mr Norman’s personal safety and security should he venture further afield than Dundee and be recognised by those he once opposed on the streets alongside his former Nazi pals.  Anti-fascists are not mind readers.

There is something of the confessional box about Gareth Norman’s statementSolidarityChange, which we reproduce in full below – ‘Father Tommy’ has heard his sins and absolved him of them – but I believe it to be a genuine and sincere statement and accept it at face value. For what it’s worth, I think that he has genuinely changed, even if he is being cute with the facts around the length of time that he was actually involved with far-right groups – we make it about 12 years worth of fascism Gareth, not the brief interlude that you allude to. However, the statement makes it all the more curious as to why his recruitment wasn’t flagged up at the time and Norman given a public platform to state his reasons for leaving the far right? People are naturally suspicious if they think that something is being ignored or even covered up in politics. Transparency and timing is important in matters like this, he could have been given the benefit of the doubt at an earlier stage, but to offer explanation only after being challenged by other comrades on the anti-fascist left is not acting in the spirit of anti-fascism and only leads to further suspicion and speculation. Therefore, I believe that the Cowgate blog was perfectly within its rights to ask questions of Sheridan, Solidarity and Gareth Norman. You may disagree with how the story was reported on the website, but the questions it raises are politically valid ones.

* To clarify a point for the critics of the James Connolly Society since the 107 Cowgate blog published the article. Those who write for 107 Cowgate do so in a personal capacity and are not authorised to make statements on behalf of the JCS. Any official statement appearing on the blog that comes from the James Connolly Society has to be ratified by the whole committee before publication. The article was not a statement on behalf of the JCS, it was the member/author’s own view that was expressed. The society is quite firm about what goes out in its name, although there is obviously a political link between the blog and the group. The Cowgate Blog is a space for official statements, news, reports. discussion around political organisation, theory and political analysis, provided by members, supporters and associates of the James Connolly Society.

FatherTommy2Solidarity

GarethNorman1BNP Gareth Norman 2

GARETH NORMAN – NOW & THEN

STATEMENT BY GARETH NORMAN

I am responding to recent information concerning my past involvement with reactionary right-wing groups like the BNP. I admit previous involvement with this sad group and I sincerely regret my involvement. I severed all links with them and their divisive, simplistic and poisonous solutions approximately 19 years ago. I think it is worth repeating this fact. It was 19 years ago when I realised how wrong and misguided I was. I broke away and tried to re-build my life with my family. I have for the last two decades promoted a multi-cultural and equal society based on compassion, radical wealth re-distribution and unity among the 99% who are exploited by the super rich and powerful 1% at the top of society.

Since becoming a Christian and active member of the Salvation Army, I have had a heart for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged in society and founded a Scottish charity ‘Night Ministry’ working throughout the night taking care and compassion to the street homeless and rough sleepers throughout Dundee.

https://wpcluster.dctdigital.com/…/meet-the-homeless-peopl…/

I have worked with socialists in Dundee to expose the activities of the far-right after leaving them and been subjected to threats of violence and death threats for doing so, including visits to my home by Combat 18 members intent on causing me harm. My mistakes in getting involved with these racist, Nazi and poisonous groups cannot be erased. I wish I could re-wind my life and decide in the mid-1980’s that the response to unemployment with children in the Whitfield estate of Dundee should have been to fight Thatcher from the left not join groups on the right who wanted to blame immigrants for my poverty instead of the real culprits, the rich and powerful.

I was wrong to follow the simplistic and repugnant views of the far right. I know that now. Wisdom after the fact is always easier than at the time. I have left all that behind me 19 years ago and tried to make amends by helping in progressive causes and movements. I supported the progressive pro-Independence campaign and am now convinced, after many years of thought and reflection, that socialism, equality, peace and human solidarity is the way forward for society. I was attracted to both the Communist Party and Solidarity. I have joined Solidarity and feature on their List for the North East region. I informed Tommy Sheridan of my past before applying to join his party. He asked me if I completely renounced the views and activities of the far right and I said yes without hesitation. He asked if I was sincere in my desire to build a new and better Scotland committed to radical wealth redistribution, peace, equality and welcoming refugees to our shores. I again said yes without hesitation. On the basis of my recantation of my former views of over 19 years ago and my support for Solidarity’s radical socialist programme Tommy agreed to me joining and standing as a List candidate. I have now offered to step down because of this latest publicity but Tommy has rejected my offer on the basis that what matters most is what I have stood for in the last 19 years and not what I did years ago. I thank Tommy for showing me such tolerance and compassion. I am not the person I was 19 years ago.

I reject that divisive and racist poison completely. I wonder how many times I will have to apologise before being allowed to move on. For the record, in answer to claims by the right wing, I was never a wizard, grand dragon of the KKK or a secret agent for the state.

I am now a member of a radical socialist party that believes in an independent socialist Scotland. A modern and democratic republic where the sovereignty of the nation is vested in it’s people, black and white, young and old not an unelected Monarchy. That is my politics and my philosophy of life now. Those who wish to throw mud at me and try and bring me down for the mistakes I made in life over 24 years ago are invited to ask themselves if they have ever made any mistakes in their lives. I have admitted mine and regret them. I now want to move on and fight for a better, fairer and nuclear weapon free Scotland.

END.

Gareth

From left to right, Scottish Knights of the Ku Klux Klan: Norman, Gareth, Gareth and Norman.
From left to right, Scottish Knights of the Ku Klux Klan: Norman, Gareth, Gareth and Norman.