Sue Blackwell, whose AUT boycott was tonight humiliatingly overturned, has removed links to Gilad Atzmon’s website from her links pages. This is her explanation:
“Gilad is Jewish (and plays great jazz) but there have been some disturbing reports about things he has allegedly said recently which appear to condone violence against civilians. Not sure whether he said them or not, but anyway I found his “Protocols of the Elders Of London” highly offensive, not least because it slagged off some of my closest Jewish comrades while cosying up to the highly dubious Israel Shamir. So long, Gilad, thanks for the music. “
Sue Blackwell is no longer a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, which is again welcoming Atzmon as a guest of honour at their FrothMouth 2005 conference.
Unlike some of the SWP members who post in the comments section of this blog, she is therefore not bound by the SWP’s strict “democratic centralism”, and is therefore permitted to say this sort of thing about Atzmon.
To describe the article as “highly offensive” is putting it mildly. I’m not going to selectively quote from it. Read it all.
And then ask the SWP what they think they have to learn from him.
There are, of course, many similar examples of Atzmon’s weird racism which have been discussed at length on this and other websites. All of them, as far as the SWP and its fellow travellers are concerned, are entirely unobjectionable.
A little research – which I’ve now conducted too late – would have given the lie to my suggestion that SWP members are not allowed to criticise their own party for making the error of inviting Atzmon to address the faithful.
Lenin at Lenin’s Tomb criticizes Atzmon in clear terms. He describes his ideas as “offensive“, and characterises the content of his website as “stomach-churning bullshit” which makes him “sick to recite“. He concludes that “it was a mistake to invite Atzmon to speak at Marxism“.
“Meaders” at Dead Men Left isn’t quite able express disgust at Atzmon’s explicit racism, but he is obviously not impressed by him: describing his views as “incoherent” and “dire“. He also states that he was given a “rough ride” and was “criticised by some SWP members.
These were comments made in relation to Atzmon’s appearance at last year’s SWP conference. This is the second year running that they’ve had Atzmon as their guest.
Democratic centralism seems to have failed, in this instance.
Oliver Kamm helpfully points out that “Lenin” expressed the view that “it was a mistake to even allow Atzmon a platform as recently as 18 May 2005: just over a week ago.
He is confused by Lenin’s statement “He won’t be getting that [i.e. a platform] again“; because Atzmon had, of course, already at that stage been invited to Marxism 2005, the list of speaker having already have been published.
Lenin: my boltblue mail is down at the moment. However, I would be grateful if you would contribute to this thread. I would be interested to know if there are any steps which you and I can take to bring this error to the attention of the SWP.