Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Atlantic, the Left and the infection of conspiracy thinking, even close-by Labour MPs

[NB: The materials herein are freely available in the public domain, and this is produced as an educational resource for antiracists and antifascists.]
Over the pond
The Atlantic Magazine have a very interesting article on the American Left, how much of its media is sometimes caught up in clickbait or pushing borderline conspiracy theories. It’s quite informative.
In Britain everyone should be grateful that the Atlantic doesn’t study the timelines of assorted Lefties on Twitter, even the odd MP, like Chris Williamson.
Clearly, Williamson is no antisemite, but these people he promotes on Twitter feel comfortable with such views, a few ever have warmth for a sundry neo-Nazi.
Had the Atlantic examined Williamson’s Twitter timeline they would have seen:
1. Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Co-founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Canary (an online publication very popular on the Left, which promotes pro-Assad material and downplays antisemitism occasionally).
2. Scott Nelson AKA @SocialistVoice, kicked out of the Labour Party for racism (but seemingly very acceptable on parts of the British Left).
3. Steve Topple‏ AKA @MrTopple, a Canary “journalist” whose sole qualification appears to be a loose hang up with a certain ethnicity.
That is the mild end. More cranks appear, as if by magic.

4. ARTIST TAXI DRIVER AKA @chunkymark, one time friend of American Alex Jones (him of Infowars and a Donald Trump favourite).
5. Peter Oborne AKA @OborneTweets, unusual for an Oxbridge chap and a Daily Mail journalist, is rather popular the British Left, probably due to his famous ranting on about the “Israel lobby”.
6. philip lewis‏ AKA @philewis, a well-known Leftie. He hates Israelis with a gusto, fond of promoting Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis if the mood takes him, as it often does.
7. Dylan Strain‏ AKA @DylanStrain hates Tom Watson with a passion, says he “Gets paid by Jewish lobby.” Apparently had a Jewish girl-friend once.
8. Devutopia AKA @D_Raval thinks the issue of antisemitism is overblown in the Labour Party, when not sneering at the Jewish community’s concern for safety or retweeting material from the neo-Nazi site, Veterans Today.
9. Christina‏ AKA @55krissi55, a mild tankie, rather soft on Putin and Assad. Rather chatty to neo-Nazis and hardcore antisemites, reads and promotes the neo-Nazi site, Veterans Today. A David Icke fan, who feels he is being given a hard time. A 9/11 truther. Not too keen on certain types of Jews, sometimes.
10. #MurdochsDemocracy AKA @evertonfc2, a 9/11 truther. Intimate of neo-Nazis. Same again. Allegedly, some of his best relatives are…. Has a thing about “blood”.
Grim details
All the points made in these posts are evidence-based and details of tweets, supporting material, etc can be found at the Wordpress post: Chris Williamson, MP, take more care on Twitter.
All materials are freely available in the public domain.
I had noticed these sorry bigoted individuals when I was keeping track of bigger fish, real nasty antisemites or proper 1488 neo-Nazis. They would sometimes engage in pleasant conversation with the dregs of the Extreme Right. It is not something you forget.
They stand out.
You would typically expect the odd neo-Nazi to have animated conversations with, other neo-Nazis. So when someone who is a “Leftie” or isn’t an obvious Hitler lover pops up you tend to remember.
And why’s that an issue?
Because when you have pleasant conversations with hardcore racists you are in effect saying they are worthy of dialogue and have an opinion worth listening to. That is a major error, as it normalises racism and in the majority of these cases genteel antisemitism.
If you were to interrogate any of these individuals they would say they have nothing against any ethnic minority. However, when they are habitually found in the company of grubby antisemites (Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis) or expressing views which almost come straight from the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion then you have to ask why?
Higher standard
If a Labour MP wouldn’t approvingly promote British National party supporters or avid UKIPpers then they should avoid conspiracy cranks, antisemites and their admirers. Antiracists should have higher standards and the sense not to normalise interactions with racists and their hanger-ons.
Just that?
Were it simply the fact that these people pleasantly conversed with conspicuous hardcore antisemites then that might be just one issue, but it’s not. Unsurprisingly, most of these individuals have indulged in some form of polite antisemitism or racial conspiracy theory at one time or other.
That is what the evidence shows.
What must an MP do?
For an intelligent Member of Parliament and a socialist to have promoted one of these cranks would have been bad enough, but ten plus?
Chris Williams is not an antisemite and as such should divorce himself from people who are or like antisemitic views. He and other members of the Labour Party must:
1. Follow a sensible social media policy and learn due diligence.
2. Shun antisemites and their allies.
3. Do some serious antiracist training on the history of antisemitism.
4. Speak out against genteel forms of antisemitism and conspiracy thinking.
[First published on Medium on 6 July 2017.]

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