Fighting antisemitism

Kino Eye: Sunshine - a film about antisemitism

There are many films about antisemitism. I am highlighting Sunshine (1999) by Hungarian director István Szabó. The story concerns three generations of the Sonnenscheins, a Budapest Jewish family — from the late 1890s to the collapse of “state socialism” in Hungary in 1990. The Sonnenscheins are assimilated and successful, their prosperity being based on a popular elixir bearing the family name (Sonnenschein translates as “Sunshine”). They change their name to the Hungarian Sors (“fate”) and convert to Christianity; yet antisemitism becomes ever more threatening. Even the second generation Adám...

Video: What is left antisemitism, and how can it be confronted? With Daniel Randall

Introductory speech by Daniel Randall from a meeting of the same name: video and audio. The publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report, as well as the ongoing fallout from the Panorama documentary and subsequent legal wranglings, have kept the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party in the news and political discussion. But the “debates” so far have tended to generate more heat than light, by keeping the focus on the factional implications rather than the underlying political issues. This discussion seeks to get back to the fundamental questions: what does antisemitism on the left consist of, where does it come from, and how can it be confronted?

Letter: Different layers of QAnon

In response to Cath Fletcher ( letters, Solidarity 565): I agree, in Solidarity 564 I should’ve made the parallel between QAnon and the blood libel more explicit. The reason I didn’t was that the previous article on QAnon already pointed it out, and I had many other things to cover, and I didn’t want to repeat too much. It is indeed a version of the “world Jewish conspiracy” theory, but QAnon has different groups of believers in it. The old guard, who were following the posts back from the 4chan, or 8chan days, are without a doubt antisemitic. After all, QAnon started on a neo-Nazi forum...

The "idiot of Vienna"

The expression “antisemitism is the socialism of fools” is widely attributed to the late-nineteenth-century German socialist August Bebel. In fact, Bebel did not ‘invent’ the expression. Nor did he even agree with it. The original version of the saying is to be found in a speech by Ferdinand Kronawetter, an Austrian liberal sympathetic to the labour movement, at a general meeting of the Margarethen District Electoral Association held in Vienna in April of 1889: “We democrats are called traitors, Jews and lackeys of Jews. We are none of these, but neither are we the boot-polishers of...

Letters: Exam algorithms, QAnon antisemitism, School shutdowns?

Scrap exams Patrick Yarker ( letters, Solidarity 564) defends “personal judgement” in exams. According to recent reports, when English Literature, Drama, Art or History A level papers are re-marked, some 40-odd per cent end up with a changed grade. I’d say the answer is just not to have school exams (or, probably, university exams) in those subjects. “ Diagnostic testing” in schools is useful. It can be reported to the student as the teacher’s judgement, subject to being queried by the student (I don’t mean “appealed”, I mean queried in advance of being recorded) and it being clear to both...

Whipping it up for "The Storm"

By now, you have probably already heard about the American conspiracy theory known as QAnon. What exactly do QAnon followers believe? The answer is complicated. By this point, QAnon has snowballed into an all-encompassing super-conspiracy. Believers frequently disagree with each other on details, but there’s room for you in the movement whether you believe that the Earth is hollow or that it is flat. QAnon centres around a supposed military intelligence officer, “Q”, who is exposing a corrupt cabal in the US government by posting cryptic messages on anonymous imageboards. The first “Q drop” —...

Previously untranslated articles by Trotsky on antisemitism

Articles by Leon Trotsky on antisemitism and Jewish questions, translated into English by Stan Crooke. • The Decomposition of Zionism – And What Might Succeed It (1904) • The Tsar’s Footsoldiers at Work (1908) • The Tsar's Footsoldiers at Work (1909) • The Jewish Question in Romania (1913) • Under the Sign of the Beylis Affair (1913) • "Stalin never had qualms about using antisemitism" (1936) The 1909 "Tsar's Footsoldiers" has had a previous English translation, as chapter 12 of Trotsky's book 1905: online here. The 1913 article on Romania has had a previous English translation, appearing in...

"Stalin never had qualms about using antisemitism" (1936)

Above: Grigorii Zinoviev, one of the Jewish defendants in the 1936 Moscow show trial Extract from) Letter to Michael Puntervold (26/10/36) Translated by Stan Crooke from: Letter to Michael Puntervold (26/10/1936), International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam), inventory number 279. Puntervold was Trotsky’s lawyer during his exile in Norway. In the first half of the letter Trotsky discusses a recent Moscow show trial (19th-24th August), in which the defendants were accused of being Gestapo agents who were plotting to murder Stalin on Trotsky’s instructions. A number of the defendants...

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