Essay 6: ‘As a Nigger’

I note that I got a mention in the Jewish Chronicle:

“Gavin Sealey, another Labour member, confirmed his expulsion over antisemitism – but disputed that his repeated support for articles written by notorious antisemite Gild Atzmon supported this charge.”

More ..

Speaking as a Nigger continues my resolution to write 52 thoughtful essays or reflections over the course of a year.

Perhaps it will make up for Essay 5: Reflection which is currently just two audio files that I don’t recommend as good listening for anyone and that I will transcribe when I have time to post as a seperate essay.


Poor Baba?

I don’t know the ins and outs of this case but my instinct is to prefer this ‘Waterman’ Rajendra Singh.

He says:

“Rivers cannot be saved by people who have hunger for power and posts. They can only be saved by connecting people with the mission.”

He may as well say (and this is what I believe):

“Our planet cannot be saved by people who have hunger for power and posts. It can only be saved by connecting people with the mission.”

The reaction of the ‘Baba’s’ followers to Singh’s accusations of fraud is interesting:

“shocked and dismayed that someone who had, at one time, set out to do good work should have been reduced to this sort of low personal attack on a most revered being”

I have a certain prejudice against ‘revered beings’ I suppose. I generally assume that those setting themselves above and apart from other humans are likely to be bad sorts.

This is of course a general observation. Nothing in the article give me anything factual to go on with regard to the rights and wrongs in this case. It just reports opposing assertions.

Freedom General Politics


Update for anyone who has been following the saga of my troubles with the Labour Party; here’s the conclusion: I’ve been expelled (freed).

This is the letter I received:

NEC Disciplinary Decision

As you are aware, the Labour Party has been conducting an investigation into the allegation that you have breached Chapter 2 Clause I.8 of the Labour Party Rule Book.

We have previously written to you informing you that an NEC panel would consider your case and the possible use of the NEC’s powers under Chapter 1 Clause VIII.3.A and Chapter 6 Clause I.1.B as amended by Annual Conference 2019. In that letter we invited you to submit any representations and evidence in response to the allegations.

An NEC Panel met on 30 January 2020 and considered all the evidence that the Party put to you and any representations and evidence submitted by you in response. After considering all the evidence in the case, the Panel has come to the following conclusions:

Your conduct was in breach of Chapter 2 Clause I.8, in particular it can reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on race, religion or belief.

In coming to this conclusion the panel considered that your conduct contravened both the provisions of the NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism and the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and its accompanying examples.

That the case was suitable for use of the powers under Chapter 1 Clause VIII.3.A A and Chapter 6 Clause I.1.B as amended by Annual Conference 2019, the following conditions having been met:

a. The proposed charge and all evidence to be relied upon were put to you;
b. You were given a reasonable opportunity to submit any evidence and make any representations in response to the proposed charge;
c. There was sufficient evidence in documentary or other recorded form to reasonably conclude that the charge was proven and justify the sanction proposed;
d. The evidence relied upon was sufficient to conclude that the charge was proven and justify the sanction imposed without the reasonable need for witness evidence;
e. There was no other compelling reason to determine the matter by an oral hearing;
f. No member of the panel taking the decision was involved in the conduct of the investigation or making of recommendations as a result of the investigation.

Taking into account all relevant evidence, and the factors above, the Panel has concluded that the appropriate sanction is to expel you from membership of the Labour Party. The NEC shall not normally consider any application for re-admission until a minimum of five years has elapsed. Under the Labour Party’s rules you have the right to appeal against the decision*

Hardly a detailed explanation of how my “conduct contravened both the provisions of the NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism and the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and its accompanying examples.” But I wasn’t really expecting that.

I have valued working alongside most Labour members in Newham and continue to hold them in high regard wish them well.

Background information here: Case 3641

Discourse Freedom Politics

Revive Discourse

The pictures are from the first time I spoke with Dean Armond on his Revive FM local radio show. This was at the end of October and I was invited back to speak again this morning on the early morning 7 am to 9.00 am slot. I said some things that some might think are controversial but that are really exceedingly obvious. I am not Socrates but just the little boy who points out that the Emperor has no clothes when it seems that no one else is willing to do so.


General Liberty Politics

Measure for Measure

A tweet from Alastair Stewart’s Twitter account, which appears to compare a black man to an ‘ape’, has resurfaced. Alastair, 67, announced he has quit as presenter of ITV News after more than 40 years as a newsreader. ITN confirmed it was due to ‘errors of judgement in Alastair’s use of social media’ and ‘breached’ their editorial guidelines. They did not specify what exactly prompted him to step down.

In light of the news, Twitter users are now circulating a tweet which Alastair reportedly sent on 13 January 2020. It quotes Shakespeare and was sent to a Twitter user, who happens to be black. ‘“But man, proud man, Dress’d in a little brief authority, Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d – His glassy essence – like an angry ape”,’ the tweet read.

For those who still don’t understand what I mean when I say that we face a crisis of antirationalism, please read the article and consider the following points:

A. Stewart does not compare this black guy to an ape. He quotes Shakespeare who compares man in general to an angry ape.

B. Even if Stewart had used the phrase ‘angry ape’ of a black person, in the context of criticising their behaviour, that is not by its very fact necessarily racist. Context is required. Nuance is required. If someone were to say to me, a black man, even without the Shakespeare quote, that I was behaving like an angry ape I would take no particular offence. If they were to call me an ugly ape I would consider that an offensive racist trope as I am neither ugly nor and ape and as insults to the person are different to insults with regard to behaviour. If a person, on the other hand, were to come up to me at a party with a banana and make monkey noises as a black woman has accused Boris Johnson of doing, I would punch them in the face.

C. To assert that a black man’s behaviour should never be even vaguely compared to that of an ape while a white man’s behaviour might, may itself be considered racist. It being, for example quite reasonable to say that the behaviour of the Brexit MEPs as they left the European Parliament was that of uncouth apes, it is not unreasonable to infer that those who consider the same thing offensive when said of black people in comparable situations are giving credence to a racist association of black people with apes.

D. The man who accused Stewart of this is a moral and intellectual pygmy erm dwarf erm person of restricted intellectual and moral development and so is every other person who believes that there is anything even remotely racist in what Stewart tweeted.

E. The only point over which I would remonstrate with Stewart is with regard his apology. He should never have apologised and should be ashamed of having done so.

F. Stewart’s feeling that he had to apologise and other people’s feeling that he had to apologise seems to be a perfect working out of the principle ennunciated by Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey:

“The only acceptable response to any accusation of racist prejudice is self-scrutiny, self-criticism and self-improvement.”

Rebecca Long Bailey 12 Jan 2020

G. ‘But man, proud man, Dress’d in a little brief authority, Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d— His glassy essence—like an angry ape, Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens, Would all themselves laugh mortal.’

To misunderstand this .. To misunderstand this show how far from reason and culture and civility our discourse has fallen. I don’t know about angels but I read this nonsense and weep. I weep for us all especially those who still don’t know why I weep.

Interesting according to the Metro article:

Other tweets from Alastair’s now-deleted Twitter account, includes his opinion on Labour NEC’s Pete Willsman being suspended after allegedly branding antisemitism ‘total lies’.

Alastair tweeted: ‘At best it is anti-israeli and arguable anti-Zionist. Antisemitism is “hostility to, or prejudice against, jews. I’m not saying #PeteWillsman is or isn’t antisemitic, I am merely suggesting this doesn’t seem the strongest evidential case [sic].’<

Bt the measure that ye measure, by that measure shall ye be judged also.

Discourse Freedom Politics

Essay 4: 3641

On Thursday 23 January I received a letter from the Labour Party Head Office, dated 21 January. I was asked to respond within seven days of that date. It would have been be nice to have be able to publish this response by then but I was not able to.

The letter states “It has been determined that this case may be suitable for use of the NEC

There is what they term a ‘Draft Charge’ attached to the letter. This states that I have engaged in conduct online that:

a. may reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on race, religion or belief; and / or

b. may reasonably be seen to involve antisemitic actions, stereotypes and sentiments, and / or

c. undermines the Party’s ability to campaign against racism.

Fourteen ‘pieces of evidence’ are presented to support this allegation. This ‘evidence’ consists of posts that I made on Facebook over a period of from July 2014 to November 2018

The letter asks that I “keep all information and correspondence relating to this investigation private, and that do not share it (sic) with third parties or the media (including social media).”


General Spirit

When Another Makes You Suffer

This is true to a point, and that’s the point at which the other person has more power than you and is abusing that power and you. At that point your first job is to protect yourself and take away their power to hurt you. You can only punish from a place of power and heal from a place of safety. If you have power you should always choose healing over punishment but get to safety first.


Abby Martin and BDS

Since 2014, 28 states, among those Georgia, have adopted anti-boycott laws, including five executive orders issued by governors.

Former teleSUR presenter and creator of The Empire Files Abby Martin was blocked from delivering a keynote speech at Georgia Southern University for refusing to “sign a contractual pledge to not boycott Israel” to comply with the anti-Boycott, Divest and Sanctions state law.

Telesur 17 Jan 2020

Interesting article. If BDS were adopted by the Labour Party there could be no Labour Friends of Israel and relations with pro-Israel organisations such as the Board of Deputies would be problematic but certainly oppositional on the issue of Israel. The same would apply to equivalent institutions in the US.

If support for the state of Israel itself or support for Jewish institutions supporting the state of Israel are seen as intrinsic to Jewish identity then BDS is intrinsically antisemitic.

General Politics

Nandy and Neil

Here is a link to the full Nandy interview with Andrew Neil. She is an articulate women who makes some good points. I find her comments on antisemitism starting at 20:42 to be quite problematic. Her comments on Scottish independence from 18:52 are also problematic particularly her reference to the Catalonian example and particularly in the light of her purported commitment on devolving power.

As the subject that primarily interests me is that of freedom of thought, speech and dialogue, it is Nandy’s thoughts on antisemitism and their implications for free and open conversation that I choose to comment on. Nandy asserts by implication that:

1. It is ‘antisemitic’ to call the Board of Deputies of British Jews ‘Conservative backers’.

[It is either true or false to call the BoD ‘Conservative backers’. Either they are or they are not. If they are ‘Conservative backers’ then Nandy is saying that true statements can be antisemitic. If it is false she is saying that wrongly claiming that they back the Conservative Party is antisemitic. I do not know why an erroneous claim about an organisation that is not in itself a slur should be considered antisemitic or otherwise abusive but before getting to this question we really should ask whether the claim itself is true or untrue.]

2. It is ‘antisemitic’ to demand that they disassociate themselves from the Conservative Party.

[The BoD should be free to associate with whatever political party they wish and people are free to ‘demand’ whatever they want. Making demands that that no one is obliged to act on and on those whose compliance you have no power to command is silly but I do not understand why it should be considered antisemitic.]

3. It is wrong to ‘demand’ that they condemn all Israeli military atrocities in the West Bank.

[Again with the demands. Forget the demands. But is Nandy saying that it is wrong to ask individuals/organisations to condemn ‘atrocities’? Now of course some questions or ‘demands’ may come across as being invidious, and much depends on context but I see nothing intrinsically wrong in asking that atrocities be condemned, that organisations that we work with take a stance that we consider moral.]

Ethically and logically problematic statements are available from other Labour leadership aspirants.


New Beginnings

I’ve deleted my previous posts to this site. This is because I want to focus my writing around the fifty-two essays that I’ve undertaken to write.

So far there are three essays. The first I and I is more personal, the second, Shadow Commander and the third, A Crisis of Antirationalism are political. The intention is to present more philosophical perspectives on politics and, at the same time, make the effort to sharpen my own writing skills.

In addition to the fifty-two essays I will write one short blog post each day.