Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Street Roots Joins the Cancel Culture?

Or, How I Became "Controversial"


K. Rambo, the recently-hired Editor in Chief of the local Portland paper, Street Roots, apparently thinks anonymous Twitter trolls engaging in a cancellation campaign are a legitimate source of public opinion, and that if you interview someone, that means you agree with their views. This is my response to Rambo.
I got as far as writing the title of this piece here last March, and I'm only just now getting back to it. Every time I write anything about Cancel Culture -- or anarcho-puritanism, if you prefer my own personal more obscure term for the phenomenon, that may be more descriptive of it -- I am told that this is all I ever write about. It's not true, but then, neither is the overwhelming majority of accusations thrown around about people online, coming from this fetid corner of corporate, anti-social media platforms that is what most people are today referring to, when they speak of the internet.

I haven't had much of a chance to finish writing this piece because, perhaps ironically, I've been very busy -- writing, traveling, performing, recording, raising children, and doing the things a professional artist and human being with kids does in life.

One of the reasons I haven't gotten around to addressing the hit piece that ran in Street Roots last March is that I'm much more interested in far more significant and larger-scale cancellation campaigns being waged in this world, against people like imprisoned journalist, Julian Assange, or former British Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. For every smear spread online about me by disingenuous actors, a thousand smears are spread about folks like them.

But with a bit more time on my hands now that summer is ending and school is starting up again for the kids, I'm starting to notice some of the loose ends from the past half a year or so, and that piece in Street Roots is one of them. It's also an instructive case in how character assassination works, in terms of the actual details of this process.

It began with an article that almost never got published. If it hadn't been published, of course even fewer people would be aware of its subject material than the few people who probably actually read the meandering, bizarrely-edited article. In the scheme of things, neither the article or the fact that it nearly didn't get published are of particular significance. But as a teaching aid in unpacking the power of rumors and suggestions, it's a useful and true story.

This little story begins last March. I was in Iceland, about to be performing at a conference of the Icelandic federation of trade unions, when I got a call from a journalist in Portland, Oregon, named Latisha Jensen. Latisha said she was writing an article about my friend Mic Crenshaw, a brilliant organizer, writer, and hip-hop artist also based in Portland, with whom I recently put out an EP called Take the Power Back.

She interviewed me for about 30 minutes, during which time I talked about my experiences living in the same town as Mic, talking about the wonderful role he has played in this town for so many people for so long, as a mentor, as an artist, and as an organizer. I talked about his past as a founder of Anti-Racist Action, about performing together at Occupy Wall Street, about the fairly groundbreaking musical collaboration we had just been involved with, and many other things. Latisha was talking with other folks Mic had recently collaborated with as well, and seemed to be doing the kind of ground work you'd hope a journalist might do when they're going to write an article featuring a local artist.

Sometime after doing this interview, I got the word that this article would not be published, because of Mic's association with me.

One of the other folks who was interviewed for the article was Adam Carpinelli, who was also very much a part of the Take the Power Back recording, as both a producer and a musician, along with Opium Sabbah, who contributed both lyrically and musically to the project as well. When Adam got word about the retraction of the article from publication, he called Street Roots. The editor responded by saying that the article could now run, but only if it included a statement from Mic about his opinions on me and the supposed controversy about me.

Mic wrote the statement as requested. It was as eloquent and on point as one could imagine, including the part that was ultimately quoted in the article that did run in Street Roots on March 23rd, 2022.

I'm sure because of the fact that the article was clearly written by committee, it's very disjointed, and probably did not go viral, to say the least. It's more or less divided in thirds, which is only of particular note to folks who have some awareness of the background here.

The first third is about Mic's background in activism and views on life. The second third focuses on interview material with some of Mic's recent artistic collaborators. Mic is very productive and has many artistic collaborators, to be sure. But as for the album we just put out, if you look it up on any of the platforms, it reads:

Take the Power Back
Mic Crenshaw & David Rovics
Featuring Opium Sabbah

The cover photo is a picture of Mic and I sitting together at Big Red Studio, where we recorded everything. The only musicians that appear on every one of the tracks are me and Mic. So, a bit odd to only talk to two of the other artists on the album and to omit any of the interview with the main collaborator, but that's what the editor decided was best for this article, so there were no quotes from me about Mic, or about anything.

The last third of the article focuses on Mic's association with me. This is the section that I'll quote at length:
In Crenshaw’s newest project, ‘Take the Power Back,’ he blends folk music and hip-hop for the first time in his musical career. The album was made in collaboration with controversial folk artist David Rovics.

Rovics, a figure in leftist music for decades, has been accused of antisemitism due to support for controversial jazz musician and author Gilad Atzmon. Rovics also interviewed Matthew Heimbach, co-founder of a neo-Nazi group found guilty of civil conspiracy by a jury for aiding in the organizing of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right white nationalist event in Charlottesville, Virginia. Rovics denies accusations of antisemitism and addressed his ties to both men on multiple occasions, including an apology for interviewing Heimbach, though he maintains his support for Atzmon's work as a writer and musician. Crenshaw said he doesn’t agree with accusations that Rovics is an antisemite or Holocaust denier, but also said it’s not his job to defend Rovics or explain his actions. Crenshaw said his choice to work with Rovics is based on his personal experience.

“He told me he (interviewed Heimbach) because he wanted to use his platform to understand what the ‘other side’ was thinking,” Crenshaw told Street Roots in a statement. “David stated to me that he felt that, if there was ever to be a successful, revolutionary, mass movement for social change in this society, that people were going to have to come together based on what they have in common and overcome divisions based on demographic differences. I agree with this, by the way.

“David has been a friend, colleague and comrade for close to 20 years, but he is not me.” (Read the full statement here)

OK, so let's unpack this stuff a bit.  Here is where I am first mentioned, though the previous several paragraphs were basically about the EP Mic and I just put out.  Now, this EP is mentioned again, as if it had not just been discussed for several paragraphs already.  And, more importantly, it is first established that I am "controversial."

The next paragraphs go on to discuss why I'm controversial, and perhaps even that there may be some controversy about whether I am in fact controversial, but that's just more controversy -- the fact that I'm controversial is stated and established, and then repeated.  There is no real explanation given, aside from guilt by association.  The closest thing given to any explanation for anything in these statements are links to things I wrote.  This may be some new kind of journalism that's supposed to be OK in the modern era -- putting in a link instead of any kind of real explanation -- but it doesn't work, because the links they put in don't make the statements they claim I'm making.  (I use the term "they" here to reflect the obvious fact that this article was not written by one person alone.  They often aren't -- editors are a thing, you know -- but here it's a whole different level of written-by-committee.)

I am guilty of interviewing former white nationalist organizer, Matthew Heimbach, and of both interviewing and "supporting" jazz musician and author, Gilad Atzmon.  No explanation is given for what constitutes "support."

When the article was published, I contacted the editor, someone by the name of Rambo.  Did Rambo really think it was bad practice to interview and otherwise ascertain the opinions of and understand the views of people who organized white supremacist events, or people accused -- rightly or wrongly -- of antisemitism or other toxic orientations?  In a country that was recently literally run by Donald Trump, is it not a good thing to try to understand his base of support?  Do we not want to try to communicate with them?

To these questions, Rambo said nothing, though they did respond to other things I wrote.  Specifically regarding the fact that the overwhelming majority of the people who have denounced me as an antisemite have done so as anonymous Twitter or Reddit accounts, with the exception of a handful of people who have made it their mission in life to root out "left antisemitism" (a phenomenon they largely fabricated from hot air), Rambo did have something to say, in an email from March 24th:

I'm not making a value judgment of the people who have an issue with you or the choice many of them make to remain anonymous online, nor am I making a value judgment of you or your defenses, and neither does the article.

No value judgements -- just relying on anonymous trolls as good judges of the alleged fact that I'm controversial, being OK with the fact that the source of the controversy is that I'm guilty of interviewing people who are said to be controversial, and that the evidence that there is a controversy is that I am regularly attacked by overwhelmingly anonymous Twitter and Reddit accounts, who constantly and blatantly lie in the process of making their attacks.

What Rambo may or may not know is that those who make it their life's work to try to destroy mine -- of which there appear to be at least a couple (for the full background go to davidrovics.com/trolls) -- spend inordinate amounts of their time and effort trying to rewrite the entries that refer to me on Wikipedia, when they're not writing personal emails and messages to anyone who says anything positive about me online, to make sure they all know I'm an antisemite.

The Wikipedia editors, for years, rejected the efforts of my trolls to update my Wikipedia listing, to reflect the fact that I am supposedly controversial, let alone antisemitic.  Where's the evidence, they would ask, with each new rejection.  But after the Street Roots article was published, this changed.  Now, my listing on Wikipedia introduces me as "controversial," with a section that appears to be lifted right out of the Street Roots article.  

Where's the evidence?  None required.  Or, rather, the evidence that is required is a claim made in some kind of news source -- not just someone's blog or Twitter account -- that a controversy exists.  Once this reference is made, the existence of a controversy has been established, by Wikipedia's standards.  And I am not here complaining about the management of Wikipedia at all -- I think they do a great job.  But eventually, if trolls try hard enough, and have willing assistants in what they view as legitimate press, a controversy can be manufactured.  

K. Rambo, the youthful Editor in Chief at Street Roots, for their part, denies manufacturing a controversy, and is sorry I'm upset by the article.


Sunday, August 21, 2022

The Progressive Industrial Complex and Our Fascist Future

When fascism comes to America, it will delivered by a midwife called the Progressive Industrial Complex.

The Democratic Party leadership, along with the Liz Cheney wing of the Republican Party, seems intent on provoking a war with both Russia and China at the same time, all supposedly out of love for democracy and opposition to tyranny.  The sidewalks of cities across the US are increasingly filled with the stench of the dead, who have passed away inside the tents in which they spent their last days.  And you can still hear liberals wondering aloud why anyone would possibly vote for Trump again.

"I just don't understand it," they'll say.  "How can people be so stupid that they'll vote against their own class interests?"

Don't tell the liberals that the average Democrat in the Congress is worth a bit more than the average Republican.  They don't want to be confused by reality.  In their minds, the Democrats are still the party of the working class.  You know, the party that it almost maybe was, for a few years in the 1930's, when it had to be.

"Have you ever listened to one of Trump's speeches, from beginning to end?"

It's my favorite question to ask anyone on the liberal-left spectrum.  The vast majority of the time, after a bit of hedging, the answer is "no."  

If the average liberal used 1% of the time they spend asking other liberals why Trump is so popular just listening to how Trump and his supporters look at things, a lot more people could start developing some useful perspective here.  But the liberals are as siloed into their propaganda sources as the rightwingers are stuck into theirs.

In the liberal's digested version of MAGA, it's all about scapegoating marginalized people for society's problems.  To the extent that there are real problems the MAGA crowd is upset about, such as constantly declining standards of living for most people in this country since the 1970's or so, this is to be blamed on white people resenting their "loss of privilege."

That is, the Forgotten Man that Trump and his supporters have been going on about for years day in and day out, is to remain forgotten.

But what if these Forgotten People, however they define themselves, don't want to be Forgotten?  What if this massive, intersectional base of MAGA support that the liberals dismiss as "privileged" think there might be more to life than continual decline?  What is the solution offered by the liberals to all of this?

Here in Oregon, if we look to the gubernatorial race currently underway in this state completely controlled by the Democratic Party's supermajority, the three main candidates being mentioned in the press agree that homelessness is a big problem, and the most visionary solution any of them seem to be able to offer is that the state government should find the resources to at least house the homeless veterans.  Which, after all the time they've been running this state, they haven't managed to do yet.

In contrast with the politicians of the more "populist" right and their media outlets, who vilify the marginalized groups they scapegoat for the decline in fortunes of the working class, the line of the elements of the corporate press and politicians who position themselves as progressives, for the most part, is to ignore class, unless it's related to race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, physical disability, mental illness, being an abuse survivor, or otherwise being part of some kind of marginalized group other than the biggest one of them all, that the vast majority of all of the marginalized groups are a member of (the working class).

For those of us who are participating in the creation of or the consumption of news stories, songs, and whatever else seeking to humanize marginalized elements of society that are constantly being vilified, lied about, and scapegoated by the right, what we do we do with positive intentions.  Which, on the face of it, is obvious.  But when all the tales of marginalization come in combination with the clear absence of stories that tie the right's divide-and-conquer scapegoating propaganda in with any kind of explanation for why most of US society -- that is, white people -- are in the impoverished and struggling state that most of us are in, we're left coming up empty.

The ingenuity of the liberal media and liberal academia in terms of finding well-intended journalists and academics to go along with the program and work neatly with the agenda of the liberal elite is it's an easy policy to engage in, with little brainwashing required.  For those who have had experience with corporate or "public" media outlets, or with careers in academia, much less explanation is necessary.  Anyone who has been close to these circles quickly discovers that it is generally not the journalists or the academics who decide what they're doing stories or research about, so much as which stories, documentaries, research proposals, departments, etc., are funded, and which aren't.

Especially if you're not dealing with the one-minute digested version of realities exposed by good journalism or academic research, an investigation into how the housing crisis has affected the Black population of Portland, for example, will undoubtedly also highlight how gentrification has similarly impacted the working class generally.  And there are lots of good reasons to focus research on how the housing crisis affects the Black population specifically.  But when any story or paper related to poverty always has to have a particular connection to forms of marginalization other than the most significant one, in a country where the overall standard of living of the working class has been declining for the past fifty years, an impression is developed.

How and why this impression is developed will vary depending on who's involved.  For the journalist or the academic, the information being provided may be real enough, and also even very important.  For those pulling the strings, and for those consuming the digested results of the research and reportage coming out of what we might call the Nonprofit Industrial Complex, it's fairly clear what they think the takeaway here is:

Ignore the wizard behind the curtain.  This is more or less a classless society is the message.  Anyone inferring otherwise is some kind of conspiracy theorist talking about the Forgotten Man and scapegoating the very groups we are constantly seeking to humanize.  And we're humanizing them all so well, aren't we?  Listen to how well we humanize the scapegoated, and ignore the wizard who isn't really there.  The loss of your privilege is to be expected.  It's not really part of an overall decline under late-stage monopoly capitalism run by a corrupt system led by old, rich, white people, half of whom call themselves Democrats.  Blame those who are blaming the scapegoated groups that we're humanizing.  Once we have a society free of prejudice, everyone will be happy and prosperous, by some magic process that shall not be defined.

And if that's not enough, and we still want to figure out why most of us are so poor, even though we're white?

Good luck. 

This is where the Progressive Industrial Complex comes in.  I may be the first anarchist to use this term, so I'll explain what I mean by that.

If we're defining the Nonprofit Industrial Complex as that complex of entities that together create much of the output of journalistic and academic endeavors coming out of much of the left-liberal spectrum, which tends to define the spectrum's orientation generally, then the Progressive Industrial Complex is what happens with these articles, books, documentaries, and research papers after they're out there in the world.  It is what a Subreddit or a Facebook Group is to the New York Times.

This is the arena in which the ideas that are being continually implied by the Nonprofit Industrial Complex come home to roost, in the form of identitarian psychobabble.  It doesn't seem to be much of a stretch in many social circles, once you've heard enough stories about the suffering of so many different groups marginalized on account of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability, to draw the conclusion that the only suffering that goes on in society happens to these particular marginalized groups.  

Thus, if nonmarginalized (read white male) people are suffering, and it is not because of the scapegoated groups, nor is it because of a broken, rigged, and declining capitalist system, then it is our fault.  The suicide and drug overdose rate among this group of people would suggest a lot of us have internalized this message very well.

Those who are looking for explanations to society's ills that are based in understanding the problems created by the division of society into classes, and the relations between these classes in the context of a capitalist economic system with an extreme, "pro-business" legal framework, will be denounced as class reductionists, closet racists, or maybe even just plain racists, and for good measure, probably sexists and transphobes, too.  For pointing out that the general decline of the working class over the past fifty years in this society is the most central factor in the rise of the far right, which is daily capitalizing on this dire situation, you will be called many names by many people, if anyone's paying attention to what you say at all.

Perhaps the most laughable part about the intellectual infrastructure of the US identitarian, new new left's "loss of privilege" line of reasoning about the rise of the right is how much it requires that you have national blinders on in order to believe a word of it.  Because all it takes is a cursory glance at just about any other country on the planet to see that the decline in living standards for the working class majority in this country is something that is happening in so many other places at the same time, including in countries with very different demographics and histories from ours, such as India or Brazil, where the idea of calling any large segment of the population "privileged" or at risk of a "loss of privilege" is patently ridiculous.

Of course, we could draw the conclusion that the rise of the far right in India is all about privileged Hindus not wanting to share their country with Muslims.  We could draw the conclusion from the rise of the right in Brazil that the more privileged elements of society just want to steal more indigenous land.  We could also understand the Brexit vote in England as nativist Britons wanting to keep their fancy country for themselves, and kick out all the foreigners.  We could interpret the Yellow Vest movement in France as somehow antisemitic, rather than anti-elitist.

Or we could see how the right is defining the situation for people in these and other countries, and how the visible elements of the left are generally talking about everything other than the central problem all of these societies face.  Because those visible elements of the left, or what people see when they're looking for the left's perspective on the situation, are represented by the leadership of entities such as the British Labor Party, the Socialist Party in France, the Democrats in the US, and the equivalents of these parties in India (the Congress Party) and Brazil (the Workers Party), etc.  And all of these parties, perhaps with the exception of the Brazilian example, have long ago embraced all of the excesses of capitalism, and the global model of "development" -- producing ever-growing chasms of inequality -- put forward by the World Bank and the neoliberal economists from the Chicago School.

Why don't we hear from these Democratic leaders -- since the DNC rigged the primaries and made sure Bernie wouldn't get the nomination -- about the division of wealth in this country, or how it keeps getting worse under capitalism, and how we need to radically redistribute it in order to even think about getting anywhere towards a decent, fair society?  For the same reasons you won't hear the Republican leadership talk about this.  Because both parties are led by the rich, in the service of the rich, and the system of capitalism that keeps them rich.

For the right, the logic is pretty consistent for the past century or more.  Harness prejudice of all kinds, weaponize the suffering of the working class to serve your ends, which generally have to do with serving the interests of the corporate elite.  A long time ago, the left sought to address the suffering of the working class by organizing against the corporate elite, and challenging racism and xenophobia as tools of the plutocrats, used to keep the working class divided.  

To the extent that there is anything left involved with the Democratic Party or the class-blind identitarianism it wholeheartedly embraces, the visible left's contemporary answer to working class suffering is to say that the white workers just need to "check our privilege" and get on with the belt-tightening, because now we have to lose our privilege, and make room for the marginalized groups that are now going to share the little tiny slice of the pie we've all been scrapping for for the past 500 years.  As far as I can tell, the message from the liberals to the white working class was summed up by the Sex Pistols forty years ago:  "there's no future for you."

Back in the 1930's, the US had a sufficiently class-oriented progressive government to keep the Great Depression from turning the general population in a more radical direction than it was already going in.  The federal government recognized the importance of a strong labor movement, and for the government to take a central role in housing and feeding the population, and putting people to work building infrastructure, taking care of each other, and making art and music.  In the 1930's, many people naturally began to conflate ideas like socialism and equality with patriotic Americanism.

In Germany, the forces of liberal democracy weren't able to -- or, depending on which ones, didn't want to -- hold the radicals at bay by finding a way to keep the population fed, and the radicals that came out on top were the Nazis.  The National Socialists, as they called themselves.  The ones who talked about the Forgotten Man, scapegoated marginalized groups, and united around a bombastic, charismatic leader, at a time when so many normally non-marginalized members of the population in Germany were destitute.  An overall situation that is almost shockingly familiar -- except from my vantage point, the US today looks far more like Weimar Germany than like FDR's America.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Palestine Action: Smashing Elbit Systems

Have you heard about the hundreds of people arrested in the UK for breaking into weapons factories and smashing equipment?

Normally I tour the UK doing gigs around the country at least once or twice a year, but this was far less the case for the first two years of Covid-19, when I was mostly stuck at home in Oregon.  Despite these unusual circumstances, I still found it very unnerving that it took me two years to encounter the most exciting civil disobedience movement that I've heard about in a very long time, which has been successfully shutting down arms factories in England, and causing serious operational problems at others.

I could spend the next several thousand words unpacking why it is that two years elapsed between the founding of the Palestine Action network and me hearing about its existence.  There is much to be said about the echo chambers created by social media algorithms.  And much more to be said about the priorities of those who run the BBC, the Guardian, and other news sources I consume daily, which haven't seen fit to mention any of these obviously significant developments, unless it was on a rare day when I wasn't paying attention to the news.

Aside from the priorities of the press and tech billionaires to keep us in the dark, the government of the UK has gone to great lengths to keep the frequently-swinging sledgehammers wielded by people smashing equipment under the banner of Palestine Action as quiet as possible.  There will be court proceedings coming up in October involving a number of people and actions, but for the past two years, mostly the state has just been dropping charges.

The significance of what's been going on is impossible to miss when you follow the details of what has been happening with these cases.  

I learned about it first from the horse's mouth, as it were.  Last month at a concert I was playing in the city of Crewe, near Manchester, England.  Several young folks appeared wearing very spiffy matching black t-shirts, with the words Palestine Action written in red and white.  As I listened to stories that evening, I was as excited by the news as I was shocked, despite my cynicism about the media, by the lack of coverage of it.

Just to cut to the most salient aspects of the situation here:  these folks used climbing gear, ropes and such to scale an Elbit Systems factory, that produces drones and other deadly weapons for the Israeli military, and they broke in through the roof.  They then spent three days and nights rampaging around in there with sledgehammers, smashing equipment.  

Three days and nights.  For three days and nights, the police did not intervene.  Perhaps because while they were smashing equipment in the arms factory, thousands of local people were occupying the streets and blocking the entrance to the place, often in the form of whole families with their family cars.  Mostly people from Asian backgrounds, along with lots of others.

It was, it seems, the militancy and obvious goodness of the smashing of military equipment that was going on in there that was so inspiring to so many local people, which had them pouring out in such numbers, and staying in the streets.

Eventually the police moved in and took the trespassers and their sledgehammers into custody.  They were held for fifteen hours and released, with no charges pressed.  A few days later, one of the folks got a call from the police, asking if he would like to go to the station and retrieve the climbing gear, which they had used to scale the building and break into it.

The Oldham factory, and one of the London factories, were forced to close.  

Damage was extensive, but perhaps far more worrying for the arms corporation was the knowledge of their vulnerability, under British law, when faced with this kind of opposition.

The British prosecutors starting dropping charges in case after case because when one of the cases did go to trial, the sledgehammer-wielding activists were acquitted.

There are many flaws in the British legal system -- for some really problematic ones, look at how illegally they are detaining Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.  But when it comes to incidents like the smashing of equipment at the arms factories, what has been a challenge for the prosecutors has been the doctrine of proportionality, in these instances.  I'm no legal expert, but what this is about is when what the activists are reacting to are Elbit Systems' involvement in Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, then doing a million dollars of damage to equipment at the factory is insignificant, proportionally speaking.

There is also precedent in England (as well as in Ireland and New Zealand) of activists doing extensive damage to combat aircraft (or in the case of New Zealand, a CIA spy base) and being found not guilty, on the basis that they were actually enforcing the laws of their countries by doing what they were doing, since in each case their country's government was breaking their own and international laws by doing what they were doing -- in the UK's case, by selling combat aircraft to Indonesia while they were bombing civilians in East Timor.  

The British government is obviously capable of breaking its own laws, or changing them.  It is obviously capable, as demonstrated by fairly recent history, of declaring groups of their own citizens to be subject to things like indefinite detention without charges.  But to the extent that it is subject to its own laws and international covenants, there are legal quandaries involved with manufacturing and exporting deadly weapons to a country that is daily in blatant violation of international law, and using these weapons systems to commit war crimes in territories that are internationally recognized as illegally occupied -- including by the UK, officially.

This sort of thing generally doesn't get in the way of Plowshares activists engaging in identical sorts of sledgehammer-related actions in the United States from receiving long prison sentences on a regular basis, although the US is also a signatory to many of these international laws.  But thus far when it comes to these sorts of acts of civil disobedience, in the UK and some other countries, international law has had a bit more sway.

For those involved or those who have managed to break through the media blackout and hear about these actions, it is an electrifying moment.  

Around the UK as with so much of the rest of the world, much of the public is very critical of Israeli apartheid, and the ongoing slaughter of Palestinians by the Israeli military.  Meanwhile, the governments of countries like the UK, the US, and so many others make the Israeli war crimes possible, with their military aid, trade, and political cover.

And too often, solidarity networks descend into bickering and division.  Then they are attacked from so many different sides if they gain any traction, as can be seen so clearly in the recent history of the British Labor Party, which was briefly led by Jeremy Corbyn, who is a genuine critic of Israel and supporter of the Palestinian people, and was and is therefore ceaselessly denounced with fake allegations of antisemitism and terrorist sympathies.

What has become very clear in recent months across the UK is that it is not only the militant few, willing to get arrested for smashing military equipment, who are tired with more talk, and want to take real effective action now, to try to stop war crimes which are daily being committed by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza.  Because unless I missed other significant developments, we have not seen thousands of people pouring into the streets in a suburb of Manchester in solidarity with Palestinians in a long time.

The logic of endless compromise that seems to be the main thing produced by what we might call the Progressive Industrial Complex is depressing, as well as ineffective.  The actions taken by Palestine Action have been a tremendous source of inspiration for the people of Oldham and many other cities, as demonstrated by their presence on the streets, among other things.  I'm just one of many very biased observers here who hopes this direct action will continue until victory.

A Tale of Two Narratives

Was it a peaceful gathering, a riot, or an insurrection?  That depends on who we're talking about, and who's talking about them. Eve...