Gilad Atzmon is a brother. He puts himself out there, and is often unfairly pilloried for it.1 He is an expert on the subject of Jewish personality politics, and he exposes a significant segment of Jewish mentality that speaks to tribalism and supremacism. Consequently, it explains why Zionist Jews have usurped the land of another people and wage war on their neighbors.
However, when he strays into the more generalized terrain of politics, his message may lack coherence. I sometimes become confused when Atzmon speaks of the Left or progressivism as he did in his recent article, “The Workless Class Woke Up.” Based on the recent European Parliament election results, Aztmon was quite critical of the Left. I, however, saw no Left of consequence in the election. What I saw was a far Right surge apparently at the expense of less extreme Rightists.
Atzmon did not define what the Left was. It is important because when Atzmon wrote of “… the Left and its crony media” and “the Left’s detachment from the working class,” I could only wonder who is the Left that Atzmon is referring to? Left media? Does he mean independent media? I suspect he means the Guardian, but calling the Guardian leftist is like calling the queen egalitarian. I hardly consider capitalist-supporting media leftist.
Does he call the Socialist Party in France leftist? The Liberal-Democrats in Britain leftist? The British Labour Party leftist? Is a political party accorded a position on the political spectrum by virtue of its self-designation? In Denmark, a right-wing party calls itself Venstre, which translates to “Left.” In Canada, one political party uses the oxymoron Progressive Conservatives. By self-designation, the National Socialist Party in Nazi Germany was also leftist.
Atzmon seems to grasp this, since he wrote of “the so-called ‘socialist’ government” in France. So when he writes further along that “The EU Parliamentary election results sent a clear warning to the Left…,” I say the “warning to the Left” (Left defined: Socialism or forms thereof, such as communism, Maoism, anarchism. It is decidedly anti-capitalist because social equality is crucial to leftism.) is, among other things, to better educate, organize, solidarize, and mobilize.
The often heard refrain, “actions speak louder than words,” obviously has validity. Calling capitalist parties leftist is constructing a strawman. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then probably it is a duck. Any Left-Right paradigm that does not distinguish between capitalist and anti-capitalist is a discombobulated Left-Right depiction. To be a left-wing capitalist strikes me as oxymoronic or self-deceiving.
Atzmon writes, “However, the Left’s evident surprise exposes the depth of its detachment from society and is tragically symptomatic of contemporary left thinking and politics.”
Obviously, the Left must not be attached to capitalist society; it is what mires most societies around the world in class war, and it is this type of society that leftism struggles against.
Atzmon asserts, “Open immigration also weakens the host nation.” I find this an amazing charge. First, what nation practices “open immigration”? Second, do immigrants not contribute to the diversity, development, and enlightenment of the “host nation”? Do such qualities not strengthen the fiber of a nation? Atzmon sees Jews outside Israel as supporting immigration, and why not? As Atzmon points out, minority Jews have good reason to advocate immigration, since they “have been subject to animosity and hostility throughout their history…”
Another charge by Atzmon is:
The contemporary Left also invests in weakening society by means of fragmentation. It generally understood that the working classes often ally themselves with nationalist and patriotic ideologies. The British lower class [sic], for instance, is far more excited these days by the Union Jack and the Queen than the remote possibility of a ‘communist revolution’ ahead. For the Left, therefore, the migrant communities provide an oxygen supply that helps to counter Working Class cohesiveness. Support from immigrants also conveys an image of a bond between the Left and working people. However, as we learned yesterday, such an agenda puts the Left in clear conflict with indigenous people and especially with the deprived underclass.
I do not readily understandable what is meant here. I do not subscribe to the notion that any class — per se — is upper or lower. It sounds as if the Left (I believe that Atzmon is still mischaracterizing a centrist faction of the business parties as Left) is fragmenting society because it is not flag and monarch loving like the working class?
Atzmon briefly elaborated to me on what he meant by fragmentation: “created by ID politics… – sectarian conflicts, etc.” However, this is still unclear for me. So the Left is stirring up sectarian conflict?
The Left is hardly about patriotism, nationalism, or stirring up sectarian conflict. Since if patriotism were to be a virtue, then it should apply to peoples everywhere equally; otherwise it is supremacism. Understood solely as love of a country, patriotism may be benign; nonetheless should not the highest virtue be love of humanity — a love unhindered by lines on a map? As for progressivist principles, solidarity is central: the working classes, migrants, Indigenous peoples, and especially the poor are all embraced by progressives — the antipode of sectarianism. Anything that repudiates this solidarity is not progressivism.2
Moreover, if the working class is bent on supporting fascists and closing borders, then is such a stance to be supported or opposed? If such truly characterizes workers as a class, then can the working class be construed as having awakened? Or is the working class still not stuck in the bog camouflaged for it by right-wing ideologues and mass media disinformation: the self-defeatist view of Others (including other workers) as the enemy? If this is the view held by a working class (and I consider myself a worker and, hence, a member of the class), then I would say it is long past time that workers finally woke up. It must be understood that decent-paying jobs are essential for most people to live in dignity. It is easily understood that the presence of many immigrants expands the pool of available labor. This could mean greater unemployment and a downward pressure on wages caused by the competition for jobs. Are immigrants a rightful target for blame? Enlightenment is necessary. As most worker successes have demonstrated, workers will get ahead by solidarizing with fellow workers, and in the present global economy this solidarity should be both at home and abroad. Borders and the state are constructs that oppress workers everywhere. Instead of infighting, workers would be better off tearing down the borders and welcoming open immigration and an open world.
Is Atzmon opposed to open immigration? He says he is an immigrant as well. He enjoys London and notes its diversity.
Yet, the history of Britain is imposing its culture, its religion, its values on peoples around the globe. If only that were the extent of it, but it included genocide, slavery, and looting national treasures and resources. So if it rankles a few feathers among Brits that a migrant minority, particularly if from ravaged former colonies, does not melt into British civilization, then I say good on them. To this day, the British government has not paid reparations to its former colonies.
Atzmon contends, “The Left needs to reinstate its commitment to the working people, to labour, education and health. And in order to do so, the Left must first emancipate itself from its Zionist leadership and its Jerusalemite attitude.”
I never realized that the Left had abandoned the working people, education, and health. If it had, then it wasn’t leftist to begin. Certainly no principled Left would ever embrace Zionism, apartheid, and supremacism. Never mind the fake Left. Do not accord it the false dignity of Left membership — just expose it for the fake it is.
I understand Atzmon as recognizing the humanity of all peoples, as being opposed to supremacism. I am in deep solidarity with him on this. However, coming from my anarchist perspective, I embrace the ubiquity of humanity in all its diversity and the rights of people everywhere to move about freely, peacefully, respectfully, and contribute to communities wherever they might find themselves in the world. Maybe Gilad Aztmon is in solidarity with me on this.
To iterate, labor must have freedom of movement; otherwise borderless capital will more easily dominate the working class. The unknowing part of the working class should wake up to this fact.
- Kim Petersen, “Independent News as Vehicle for Character Assassination,” Dissident Voice, 23 August 2013. [↩]
- I see progressivism as wider ranging than leftism, but that key ethical principles nevertheless underlie progressivism. See Kim Petersen, “What Is Progressivism?” Dissident Voice, 29 January 2013. [↩]