CounterPunch or Suckerpunch?

How ‚America’s Best Political Newsletter‘ Mainstreams the Far Right

Introduction

CounterPunch, which bills itself as ‚America’s best political newsletter‘, offering ‚independent investigative journalism‘, tends to figure quite prominently in the reading lists of left-leaning activists, who doubtlessly appreciate its consistent antiwar stance, its critical analysis on US economic and foreign policy and US-sponsored Israeli apartheid, and the regular contributions from such leading Left writers as John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Paul Street, Jeremy Scahill, and Tariq Ali. Indeed, CounterPunch generally tends to be thought of as a Left media outlet. However, in writing for, and sharing articles published on, CP, Leftists are unwittingly helping to promote the agenda of the far right.

In addition to the authors relied on by CP for its left cred, ‚America’s best political newsletter‘ also regularly publishes ‚independent investigative journalism‘ by a wide variety of white supremacists, including Paul Craig Roberts, editor of the white nationalist website VDare, Ron Paul (who poses for photo ops with neo-Nazis and warns of ‚race war‘), and Alison Weir, holocaust denier Israel Shamir, and that perennial saboteur of the Palestinian solidarity movement, Gilad Atzmon, author of the racist The Wandering Who.

Although there are some who have expressed concern on this problematic mix, when I have raised this issue in discussions with others in left activist circles, I have often found that it is dismissed as a triviality. In these discussions, the white supremacist contingent tends to be attributed to an unwillingness to bow to ‚political correctness‘ or a mere desire to ‚piss off liberals‘, and generally believed to be an insignificant deviation from an otherwise clear leftist editorial line, the sort of thing only an ‚ideological purist‘ could get excited about.

My own research into the editorial practices at CounterPunch shows otherwise. Not only have white supremacist authors long been a fixture at CP; their ideology is shared by members of the editorial collective. All in all, it is entirely reasonable to say that the formation of a Querfront (an alliance between the far right and the left) is a longstanding project of the newsletter, consistently endorsed by the decisions taken by CP editors and their own stated positions. In the following, I will examine the relationship between the CP editors and the racist Right via individual case studies and several statistical investigations:

 

  1. Publication figures for white supremacist versus prominent leftist authors;
  2. Ron Paul: Supportive vs. critical articles
  3. Gilad Atzmon: Supportive vs. critical articles
  4. Origins of US support for Israeli apartheid: ‚Zionist occupied government‘ or imperialist interests?
  5. Querfront: Supportive vs. critical

Following an introduction to the notion of Querfront/Third-Position politics, we shall see below that a quantitative and qualitative examination of each of the above questions reveals that right-wing populism is heavily favoured by the CounterPunch board, to the extent that on some issues, e.g., the role of Zionist lobby groups like AIPAC in US support for Zionism, left perspectives are so underrepresented as to be negligible.

Querfront: The Right’s Perennial Leftward Overtures

The idea of a red-brown alliance, or Querfront (German for ‚transversal front‘), has been a recurrent motif in far-right thought over the past century. Craving the legitimacy that an alliance with progressive forces can provide, reactionaries seize on ostensibly shared positions, chief amongst them opposition to corrupt élites, to create the impression that progressives could benefit from making common cause with them.

Querfront (also known as ‚third position‘) propaganda can be highly seductive. Today’s (crypto)-fascist and other hard-right suitors, for example, focus on the commonplace left themes of opposition to war and corporate globalisation, the depredations of the ‚banksters‘, civil liberties, and Palestinian solidarity. Because the problems described by Querfront propaganda overlap so well with left-progressive causes, it may even superficially appear to be standard left-progressive discourse. The enemies it describes may even be given the same names – élites, military-industrial complex, corporate power, the US government – that progressives might use. If – as is the case with many of today’s (especially US) left-progressives – one lacks the historical knowledge and analytical tools to recognise this propaganda for what it is, it is quite easy to be sucked in.

Third-position propaganda may have the same ’surface structure‘, to borrow a term from linguistics, as left analysis – working-class people fighting against oppression by entrenched élites – but the ‚deep structure‘ is quite different. Where a left analysis looks to the structure of individual institutions, and to that of the political and economic system itself, the Querfront propagandist attributes the assorted sociopolitical evils to cabals of evil individuals, to unwholesome foreign influences, to secret societies (both real and fabricated) – in a word, to scapegoats. Where a left analysis sees structures that must be attacked and changed in order to end systemic injustice, the third-positionist offers conspiracies. Often, in the modern Querfront worldview, a ‚good‘ élite of ‚enlightened‘ people who know about What They Don’t Want You To Know need only reveal the conspiracy and awaken the masses (often dehumanised as ’sheeple‘) in order for Good to prevail. However, the minions of the third-positionist’s chosen Evil Cabals are lurking everywhere, and must be rooted out. This worldview was usefully termed ‚conspiracism‘ in Chip Berlet’s 1994 work Right Woos Left (RWL). Although Berlet himself is not immune to the sort of wooing from the right (and has been a vocal and dishonest defender, inter alia, of Engage propagandist David Hirsh), steadfastly refusing to apply his analysis to Zionist ideology and propaganda, his work remains worth citing as one of the best analyses of the Querfront phenomenon and its consequences, particularly in the US.

As Berlet notes in RWL:

In paranoid political philosophies, the world is divided into us and them. Evil conspirators control world events. A special few have been given the knowledge of this massive conspiracy and it is their solemn duty to spread the alarm across the land.

Conspiracism and scapegoating go hand-in-hand, and both are key ingredients of the fascist phenomenon. Fascism is difficult to define succinctly. As Roger Scruton observes in „A Dictionary of Political Tought,“ fascism is „An amalgam of disparate conceptions.“

 [Fascism is] more notable as a political phenomenon on which diverse intellectual influences converge than as a distinct idea; as political phenomenon, one of its most remarkable features has been the ability to win massive popular support for ideas that are expressly anti-egalitarian.

Fascism is characterised by the following features (not all of which need be present in any of its recognized instances): nationalism; hostility to democracy, to egalitarianism, and to the values of the enlightenment; the cult of the leader, and admiration for his special qualities; a respect for collective organization, and a love of the symbols associated with it, such as uniforms, parades and army discipline.

The ultimate doctrine contains little that is specific, beyond an appeal to energy, and action.

 ‚Another way to look at fascism‘, Berlet continues,

 is as a movement of extreme racial or cultural nationalism, combined with economic corporatism and authoritarian autocracy; masked during its rise to state power by pseudo-radical populist appeals to overthrow a conspiratorial elitist regime; spurred by a strong charismatic leader whose reactionary ideas are said to organically express the will of the masses who are urged to engage in a heroic collective effort to attain a metaphysical goal against the machinations of a scapegoated demonized adversary.

A great deal of the appeal of Querfront propaganda is likely due to its simplicity. A serious left analysis, say, of US support for Israeli apartheid will start by looking at the documented record of US foreign policy as a whole and the history of US policy in the Middle East in particular, examining the institutional structures that consistently produce some version of the same outcome – in this case, massive US military and diplomatic support for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and its racist internal regime – all of which requires considerable research and intellectual effort to develop, verify, and understand. The third-positionist version, on the other hand, shines in its elegance: A foreign lobby has taken over the US government and media, and is forcing the US to act against ‚American interests‘ and ‚American values‘, and anyone who says otherwise is a Zionist infiltrator. A moment’s informed scrutiny will raise doubts about this account, but it is not designed to appeal to those who are inclined to dedicate a moment to scrutinising convenient narratives.

The Querfront approach to social injustice also allows those on the more comfortable end of certain systems of oppression (e.g., sexism, ableism, racism, cissexism, homophobia) to avoid the hard work and introspection involved in recognising that, despite their own oppression, they benefit in some ways from the oppression of others. A serious left analysis will consider a politician’s appeals to racism, sexism, and/or homophobia a red flag that counsels against aligning oneself with him. The third-positionist sees such concerns as nothing but ‚political correctness‘ and ‚liberal thought policing‘, and even worse, as ‚divisive‘ (and indeed it is divisive: it divides those who oppose systemic oppression from those who support it).

 

These days, of course, the hard right has an image problem: Open bigotry tends to be frowned on, and outright fascist imagery will often put off people who otherwise do not object to reactionary ideology. As such, an organisation or publication exclusively dedicated to publishing reactionary voices is not likely to have a broad appeal. However, when interspersed with genuinely left-progressive content, it may achieve a certain progressive respectability, at least as a legitimate position for debate amongst social justice activists. If you want to sell excrement, you’ll get better results if you surround it with chocolates.

 

This is a lesson the CounterPunch editorial collective, from Alex Cockburn on down, have clearly internalised.

 

The CounterPunch Assortment:

 

From the sort of material shared from CounterPunch in left-leaning circles on Facebook, one could easily get the impression that it is a left media outlet that only occasionally publishes voices from the right. In reality, however, CounterPunch offers a very steady diet of white supremacist and other reactionary authors.

 

To ascertain the number of white supremacist vs. leftist authors published on CP, I did Google searches using the search term site:counterpunch.org „by [AUTHOR NAME]“, with no time restriction, disregarding the inevitable repetitions and uses of the phrase other than in by-lines.

For the white supremacists, a list of prominent white supremacist authors was used, including Gilad Atzmon, Mary Rizzo, Israel Shamir, and Jeff Blankfort, known for their racist conspiracism and holocaust denial, white nationalist and Reagan-era US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, Alison Weir of If Americans Knew, Bill and Kathleen Christison, and Franklin Lamb.

For the left contingent, I cast the net broader to include an assortment of radical left and left-liberal commentators, including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Jeremy Scahill, Norman Finkelstein, Tariq Ali, and John Pilger. The results are shown in Table I:

 

RIGHT/WHITE SUPREMACISTS NO. OF PUBLICATIONS ON COUNTERPUNCH
Paul Craig Roberts 264
Franklin Lamb 170
Bill & Kathleen Christison (includes individually and jointly written articles) 78
Gilad Atzmon 46
Israel Shamir 45
Alison Weir 42
Ron Paul 19
Jeff Blankfort 3
Paul Larudee 3
Paul Findley 2
Mary Rizzo 1
Daniel McGowan 1
William Lind 1
TOTAL RIGHT/WHITE SUPREMACISTS 674
LEFT/PROGRESSIVE
Louis Proyect 59
Tariq Ali 43
John Pilger 38
Jeremy Scahill 34
Noam Chomsky 32
Norman Finkelstein 19
Paul Street 14
Amy Goodman 6
Edward Herman 6
Howard Zinn 0
Naomi Klein 0
TOTAL LEFT/PROGRESSIVE 245

 

The total number of publications by representatives of the racist Right numbers 674, or more than double the total number of publications on CP by the various left/progressive authors. Indeed, with his 264 publications, Paul Craig Roberts, editor of the white nationalist website VDare, has been published more times by CounterPunch than all of the left/progressive authors studied combined.

Paul Craig Roberts, for example, has been given a platform on CP to inform us that:

For the left-wing, Ronald Reagan [in whose administration Roberts served] is the great bogyman. Those on the left don’t understand supply-side economics as a macroeconomic innovation that cured stagflation by utilizing the impact of fiscal policy on aggregate supply. Instead, they see “trickle-down economics” and tax cuts for the rich.  Leftists don’t understand that the Reagan administration intervened in Grenada and Nicaragua in order to signal to the Soviets that there would be no more Soviet expansion or client states and that it was time to negotiate the end of the cold war.  Instead, leftists see in Reagan the origin of rule by the one percent and the neoconservatives’ wars for US hegemony.

The defence of the disastrous Reagan-era economic policies in which he was complicit is a recurring theme for Roberts. Elsewhere, he tells us that ‚In their hatred of „the rich,“ the left-wing overlooks that in the 20th century the rich were the class most persecuted by government. The class genocide of the 20th century is the greatest genocide in history‘, an insight that will surely bring comfort to those left to mourn the dead of genocidal US wars and proxy wars in Indochina and Latin America, and repeats the oft-debunked lie that immigration is responsible for  unemployment.

‚If Americans have any honor‘, Roberts asks in yet another article that makes it clear why he’s so popular with a supposedly left-leaning publication, ‚how can they betray their Founding Fathers, who gave them liberty (…)?‘. However, for someone like Roberts, who can claim with a straight face that the US proxy war against the civilian population of Nicaragua was about ‚Soviet expansion‘ or that ‚the rich were the class most persecuted by government‘ in the 20th century, clearly there’s no reason little things like slavery and denying political rights to all but well-to-do white men should get in the way of the idea that the ‚Founding Fathers…gave [Americans] liberty‘.

Alison Weir of If Americans Knew (a think tank promoting the ‚foreign lobby‘ version of US Middle East policy, to which we will return), on the other hand, has received space on the pages of CounterPunch to tell us – as an aside, no less! – that the blood libel – the European myth of ritual murders by Jews – was true:

In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz (though most of the U.S. media somehow missed it) with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled „Pasque di Sangue“ (“Blood Passovers”) (24) containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

Based on 35 years of research, Toaff had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents.

Gilad Atzmon, for his part, has been invited to CP to spread conspiracy theories that scapegoat Jews in the Palestinian solidarity movement, claiming that ‚Palestinian Solidarity is an occupied zone‘ because of its rejection of Zionist narratives that he holds dear. The Palestinian solidarity movement he has dedicated much effort to sabotaging, he charges, is ‚almost indifferent towards the fate of millions of Palestinians living in refugee camps and their Right of Return to their homeland‘, which is a bit much coming from someone whose Twitter account is pure self-promotion, scarcely even mentioning such banalities as the hunger strikes of Palestinian political prisoners. Rather than focussing on ‚a dull, banal dynamic‘ such as the colonial and racist nature of the Zionist regime and ‚[d]utifully unit[ing] against racism‘, the Palestinian solidarity movement should ‚look at the Zionist crime in the light of Jewish culture and identity politics.‘

In From Esther to AIPAC, Atzmon, who once dodged a phone-in radio listener’s question about whether the Nazi holocaust happened by saying that he was ’not a historian‘, bemoans the fact that:

Though some may dispute the numbers (Shraga Elam), and others question the validity of memory (Ellis, Finkelstein), no one goes as far as revisionism, not a single Holocaust religion scholar dares engage in a dialogue with the so-called ‘deniers’ to discuss their vision of the events or any other revisionist scholarship [sic].

Mary Rizzo’s sole publication thus far in CounterPunch was dedicated to smearing Tony Greenstein, a British leftist who has been prominent in anti-Zionist activism for decades. Greenstein had dared to picket a talk by Gilad Atzmon at the Bookmarks bookshop owned by the not-yet-utterly-disgraced British Socialist Workers‘ Party (SWP). Or, as Rizzo would have it,

He has put forth an edict that Atzmon is an anti-semite (as well as anyone who supports him), that he is associated with anti-semites (because he, like thousands of others, reads material which Tony does not approve of), and that he is a Holocaust Denier or at the very least, an apologist for them.

The reading material in question was The Holocaust Wars by holocaust denier Paul Eisen, which Atzmon had distributed. Although it may seem rather unobjectionable for a member of an anti-racist movement to expect an ostensibly anti-racist party to distance itself from someone who regularly disseminates racist propaganda, to Rizzo this showed nothing other than Greenstein’s ‚desire to weed out the movement, and divide it into Tony-friendly or not‘. Rizzo goes on at some length misrepresenting Greenstein and others‘ opposition to white supremacist hijacking of the Palestinian solidarity movement as some ‚Stalinist‘ quest for personal power (any similarities to conventional racist stereotypes about Jews are doubtless coincidental).

Greenstein contacted CounterPunch seeking to respond to these smears, which, as he has noted, are likely the only thing most of CP’s readers will have heard of him. The response? ‚CounterPunch’s editor, Alex Cockburn, whose father Claude must be spinning in his grave, refused even to acknowledge my correspondence.‘

At CounterPunch, it seems, publishing racist smears against committed social justice activists is entirely acceptable, but allowing them to reply when attacked in CP’s pages is simply not on. Indeed, statistically, it seems a leftist is more likely to get libelled than published by CounterPunch.

Ron Paul: Querfront Standard Bearer

On of the most significant examples of pernicious right-left ‚alliance‘ building in the past decade has been the support of many on the left-progressive spectrum for Ron Paul, white supremacist and occasional Republican presidential hopeful. Thus, if Querfront politics is part of the CounterPunch editorial line, we would expect to see a preponderance of articles praising Ron Paul, and ignoring, denying, or trivialising his racist, sexist, and homophobic views and hard-right economic policies, on the pages  of CounterPunch.

Once again, the CP editors do not disappoint. In addition to the 19 occasions on which Paul himself has been published on CounterPunch, Ron Paul’s presidential aspirations have been the subject of 45 opinion pieces, nearly all of them supportive of a left-right ‚alliance‘ with Paul as its electoral figurehead.

To assess this, I performed a search for all CP articles mentioning Ron Paul by name. In addition to repetitions, I excluded here all mere mentions of Paul (e.g., factual statements mentioning his sponsorship of a certain bill in articles on other subjects). Only those articles were counted as ’supportive‘ that took a clear position in favour of Paul, either by explicit expressions of support or praise for some aspect of his politics. The results are shown in Table II.

Table II: Articles on CP Taking a Position on Ron Paul

SUPPORT FOR RON PAUL OPPOSITION TO RON PAUL TOTAL
33 12 45

As can be seen above, articles supporting Ron Paul on CP outnumber those opposing him by a ratio of more than 2:1.

If it is mentioned at all, Paul’s racism is largely mentioned only to dismiss it as an unfounded accusation (‚No one can attribute a single racist word to Dr. Paul‘) or to trivialise it as being insufficient grounds to oppose Paul’s presidential ambitions (‚Whether or not Ron Paul is, was or ever will be a „racist“ seems a moot point…‘). Tellingly, several of the supportive articles are written by members of the CP editorial collective, including Alex Cockburn and Joshua Frank.

Just as I have defined ’supportive‘ narrowly, to exclude mere factual mentions, even when these might be construed as laudatory, I have defined ‚opposition‘ broadly, to include factual mentions that might reasonably be construed as critical (because they mention some unappealing aspect of Paul’s politics). I have done this in order to address the potential objection that the overwhelming editorial support for Ron Paul is the result of my definition of the terms.

As such, the articles opposed to Paul include one that mentions Paul’s support for stripping the Supreme Court of jurisdiction ‚ to protect first amendment, privacy, and marriage equality rights‘, one article in support of Vermont’s secession from the US that criticises Paul incidentally for being one of those who ‚persist in the belief that the U.S. government is still fixable‘, and one that discusses Paul’s racist and reactionary politics in detail, but concludes ‚In fact, a vote for Ron Paul is certainly a better use of the franchise than a vote for almost any of the other candidates currently running. For better or worse‘ in the context of arguing that ’nothing-especially nothing as important as ending the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan-can be solved simply by voting another face into the White House‘. The last of these differs from those articles that mention Paul’s reactionary politics, but dismiss them as reasons not to support him, in that

(a) it points out that Paul was not the only presidential hopeful at the time to oppose the war, and that the others did not share his reactionary politics and

(b) the endorsement only comes in the context of discussing the pointlessness of electoral politics (‚On the other hand, do I think it’s the end of the world if Ron Paul gets your vote (or gets elected)? Of course not.‘).

The supportive articles, which constitute the vast majority, often compete to see who can heap the most superlatives on the reactionary US Representative from Texas. One informs us that ‚Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who stands up for the Constitution, but the majority of Americans are too unconcerned with the Constitution to appreciate him.‘ Another opines that ‚America has one last chance, and it is a very slim one. Americans can elect Ron Paul President, or they can descend into tyranny.

In Why the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul, Dave Lindorff  hails Paul as ‚an uncompromising defender of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution‘ (except for the bit about birthright citizenship, of course). Lindorff goes on to dismiss criticisms of Paul’s racism as ‚guilt-by-association‘, by association with Paul’s own public statements, that is, and concludes with the following words:

We’d have a hell of a fight on our hands in a Ron Paul presidency, defending Social Security and Medicare, promoting economic equality, fighting climate change and pollution, defending abortion rights and maybe fighting a resurgence of Jim Crow in some parts of the country, but at least we wouldn’t have to worry about being spied upon, beaten and arrested and then perhaps shipped off to Guantanamo for doing it.

‚We‘ of course means people like Lindorff, who will have little to fear from Paul’s scapegoating of immigrants and people of colour.

Editor Alex Cockburn describes Paul as ‚endearing‘ based on his alleged anti-war stance and his support for re-privatising the monetary system. CounterPunch editor Joshua Frank ignores Paul’s vote in support of the murderous, illegal invasion of Afghanistan to declare him ‚the most visible and enthusiastic antiwar candidate in the country‘, a candidate ‚we consistently ignore‘. It’s hard to tell who this ‚we‘ is who ‚consistently ignores‘ Ron Paul; certainly it isn’t CounterPunch, which has positioned itself firmly in Paul’s cheering section. Of Paul’s base, which consists to a significant degree of a wide segment of neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and Birchers, Frank tells us ‚[Paul is] exciting many newcomers to the movement and that must be welcomed‘.

In the same piece, Frank openly calls for a red-brown alliance: ‚As a movement that allegedly grew out of WTO protests in Seattle‘, i.e., a movement against corporate globalisation that saw numerous attempts at co-option by white supremacist and fascist groups,  Frank remarks, ‚one would think the left would be at the forefront in calling for such an alliance again today.‘

Ron Paul is such an instructive case not only because he is a prominent recent example of Querfront building, but because of all that must be ignored or dismissed in order to make a progressive case for supporting him. A left-progressive justification for supporting Ron Paul must not only ignore his call to end Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and to re-privatise the monetary system (‚End the Fed‘); as if all that weren’t enough, a progressive case for Paul must ignore or dismiss his ties to far-right groups like the John Birch Society (at whose anniversary gala a few years ago he gave the keynote address), Stormfront (with whose leaders he posed for a photo-op), the neo-fascist American Third Position Party. Furthermore, it must ignore his misogynist stance on women’s reproductive freedom, the racist newsletters he acknowledged writing back in 1996, and his more recent racist statements on immigration. In short, it takes a mountain of denial to construct a ‚progressive‘ case in support of Ron Paul based on his supposed antiwar views (which do not extend to opposing the war on Afghanistan).

It’s no easy task, but CounterPunch does it as well as anyone can.

Gilad Atzmon

Table III: Articles defending Gilad Atzmon vs. articles criticising Gilad Atzmon

 

DEFENDING ATZMON CRITICISING ATZMON TOTAL
17 1 18

Few people personify the white-supremacist hijacking of Palestinian solidarity activism as thoroughly as the ‚ex-Jewish‘ saxophonist Gilad Atzmon. His entire oeuvre is dedicated to suffusing Palestinian solidarity activism with racist tropes according to which Jewish anti-Zionists are a fifth column in the movement and are to blame for what he takes to be the ineffectiveness of pro-Palestinian activism. Atzmon consistently rejects any analysis of the U.S.-Israeli occupation of Palestine that is based on imperialism, racism, and colonialism (explicitly denying the colonial nature of the Zionist project) because this analysis tends to portray Jews as ‚ordinary people‘. Rather, he blames the ‚third-category racial brotherhood‘ of Jews. He has attempted to portray even the Palestinian-led BDS (boycott, divestiture, sanctions) campaign as a Jewish conspiracy led by George Soros by falsely alleging that the demands of the campaign have been changed.

As such, he has been roundly rejected as a liability by a wide array of Palestinian and solidarity activists. If the Querfront hypothesis holds true, however, we would not expect this rejection to be shared by the CP editorial team.

And, indeed, it is not.

Of seventeen articles published by CP about Atzmon (not counting those actually written by him), exactly one is critical of Atzmon’s racism. The rest are explicit apologias for Atzmon that regularly misrepresent criticisms or defame his critics. It is this latter category that includes Gilad Atzmon’s [sic] A Guide for the Perplexed, by CP editor Jeffrey St. Clair.

In The Case of Gilad Atzmon (February 2013), Blake Alcott purports to examine ‚ The Wandering Who? and some of Atzmon’s blogs and videos with an eye out for the racism, „antisemitism“ and Holocaust denial of which Granting accuses him‘, and gives away the game by singling out antisemitism to put in scare quotes (which Alcott does repeatedly throughout the article), as if the existence of antisemitism were somehow in doubt. He then introduces a familiar trope in Atzmon apologetics with his announcement that ‚I’m restricting my analysis almost entirely to Wandering on the assumption that evidence for the accusations would be there, if anywhere‘, despite the fact that Atzmon’s critics have repeatedly made clear that their criticisms are in no way based exclusively on Atzmon’s signature work on the ‚racial brotherhood‘ of Jews.

As if this sleight of hand were not enough, Alcott proceeds to assert that ‚[Granting No Quarter, the Palestinian call for the solidarity movement to dissociate from Atzmon] claims that “Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project…” The text of Wandering does not support this claim,‘ only to admit in the same paragraph that Atzmon echoes Zionist denials about the colonial nature of Zionism throughout that book. This is not, Alcott tells us, because Atzmon means what he says. Rather, despite Atzmon’s explicit words, what Alcott knows he really means is that ‚ the settler-colonialist paradigm is not sufficient to explain Zionism.‘

Also typical of the Atzmon-related fare on CounterPunch is Who’s Afraid of Gilad Atzmon (June 2005) by Mary Rizzo (also discussed above), in which Jewish activists issue ‚edicts‘, and Tony Greenstein in particular is singled out as a latter-day Beria, who

decides who he likes or not, who has the right to speak or not, and when they do speak, he dictates what it is they talk about. He wants to be master of discourse; the most vocal, most pure, and official voice of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement. Those who disagree with him and his agenda are in his mind on the „other side of the camp“ and gone full circle, having fallen into anti-semitism.

Rizzo, who has elsewhere claimed that there was no organised Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews, also takes ‚Greenstein and his close allies‘ (i.e., everyone except Rizzo and her close allies) to task for criticising Deir Yassin Remembered, an organisation of holocaust denialists including Paul Eisen and Daniel McGowan, who have long since been deserted by the few Palestinian solidarity activists who had previously been on the DYR board (not that that stops DYR claiming them as board members).

The only exception to the consistent diet of dishonest Atzmon apologetics served up by CounterPunch (apologetics engaged in also by CP board member Jeffrey St. Clair) is a single sentence in a March 2011 article about Jeff Halper of the Israeli Campaign Against House Demolitions:

You can be critical of Israel and not be anti-Semitic. You can be critical of Israel and anti-Semitic – like Pat Buchanan, you can be NOT critical of Israel and be anti-Semitic, you can be Jewish and anti-Semitic.“ Halper cites a former friend of his – Paul Eisen. To which list I quickly suggest Gilad Atzmon and Israel Shamir. We also discuss another category becoming increasingly recognisable in Europe at least, the pro-Israel Christian philo-semites, right-wing white nationalists, formerly harsh critics of Israel who, fearful of the „Muslim threat“ to Europe, have shifted to backing Israel.

This single sentence, offered as an aside and without analysis in an article on another subject entirely, is the closest thing to a critical discussion of the racism of Gilad Atzmon that CounterPunch will allow in their pages.

Lobby Fetishism

Table IV: Articles promoting vs. rejecting the ‚foreign lobby‘ explanation for the US-Israel ’special relationship‘

 

PROMOTING LOBBY HYPOTHESIS REJECTING LOBBY HYPOTHESIS NEUTRAL TOTAL
87 5 16 108

Of the individual issues examined for this piece, explanations for US support for Zionism afforded one of the richest collections of material for analysis, with 108 articles found on the subject. To recall the onus of proof, if the Querfront hypothesis is valid, at least a substantial percentage of CP’s output should be supportive of the notion that the US backs Zionist crimes because of the nefarious activities of a ‚foreign lobby‘.

In the event, of 108 articles found, fully 87 promote the Lobby version of history. Articles that take no clear position are in second place (16 of 108), whilst only five approach the question from a perspective that acknowledges the strategic value of Is to US imperialism. In other words, well over 95% of relevant articles on CP advance the notion that the implicitly just foreign policy of the United States is being subverted by foreign (Jewish) influence, or at least do not dismiss the idea. A clearer indication of the CounterPunch editors‘ own views on the matter is scarcely imaginable.

For example, in the June 2010 piece Helen Thomas: an Appreciation, written by white nationalist Paul Craig Roberts, we learn that ‚Allegedly, the US is a superpower, but in fact it is a puppet state of the Israeli government.‘ Likewise, in How Powerful Is the Israel Lobby?, Paul Findley (October 2007) claims:

 There is an open secret in Washington. I learned it well during my 22-year tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. All members swear to serve the interests of the United States, but there is an unwritten and overwhelming exception: The interests of one small foreign country almost always trump U.S. interests. That nation of course is Israel.

It is practically an article of faith on CounterPunch that decades of US support for murderous regimes in the Middle East, Israel included, cannot possibly be anything to do with maintaining control over economic rivals‘ access to a strategic resource. Other elements of the CounterPunch catechism include the belief that US officials are sincere when they utter mild criticisms of Israeli atrocities that they back to the hilt. Whilst the CP articles promoting the Lobby Hypothesis are largely couched in sober-sounding terms, the editors are clearly not averse to publishing ‚analyses‘ like:

 The United States government and a majority of the subjects, especially those members of evangelical churches, grovel at the feet of the Israeli Prime Minister? How is a country a superpower when it lacks the power to determine its own foreign policy in the Middle East?  Such a country is not a superpower.  It is a puppet state.

(The American Puppet State, Paul Craig Roberts, November 2012)

In short, to say that right-wing populism is the default lens through which CounterPunch presents the relationship between the US and its Israeli attack dog is to understate the case. Articles presenting another view are virtually nonexistent.

Querfront: Supportive vs. Critical Articles

Table V: Right-left alliance – supportive vs. critical

 

SUPPORTIVE OF RIGHT-LEFT ALLIANCE CRITICAL OF RIGHT-LEFT ALLIANCE TOTAL
10 2 12

Thus far, we have examined specific issues with a view to assessing the openness of the CounterPunch editorial collective to left-leaning and right-wing voices and perspectives. In every case study examined, it has been shown that CP are much more open to right-wing and white supremacist perspectives than to anything that could be seriously described as left of centre. However, if we are to determine whether CounterPunch can fairly be characterised as a Querfront publication, a publication that promotes the ’suckerpunch‘ (C. Berlet) of left-right alliance, one obvious question remains: What perspectives are published on Counterpunch that bear directly on the desirability of an alliance between the far-right and the left? As we shall see, CounterPunch publications overwhelmingly favour such an alliance.

Twelve articles were found that deal directly with the question of whether a red-brown alliance is a prospect to be welcomed or a disaster to be avoided (though this number would be larger if we take into account that just about every one of the significant body of pro-Ron Paul articles already noted stops just short of being an outright appeal to form a united left-right front). Of these, only two were critical of the idea, whilst two of the supportive articles were written by CP editors.

The overall tone is set by an April 2000 article (25 Years after Vietnam: Beyond Left and Right) by no less a CP figure than founding editor Alexander Cockburn himself. In it, Cockburn reports with amusement how he responded to criticisms in ‚angry e-mails from lefties who seem to feel that any contiguity with Buchanan is a crime, even if the subject was gardening and Dutch tulipomania in the seventeenth century‘ for sharing a platform organised by ‚Libertarian‘ Justin Raimondo with white supremacist Pat Buchanan:

 (…) thanks for yr [sic] note. So far as Buchanan is concerned, I assume he was invited because he opposed the war in Kossovo [sic], and calls for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq. There is a lot that’s funky abt [sic] American isolationism, but frankly, I don’t mind sharing a conference schedule with someone who opposes war on Serbs and on Iraqi kids. Nor do I think B is any more of a fascist — in practical terms — than Albright and Clinton and Gore and Bradley, with the first three literally with the blood of millions on their hands. Go find Mailer’s interview with Buchanan in Esquire a few years ago. See you on the picket lines.

This glib dismissal is all Cockburn has to say about Pat Buchanan, a figure notorious for his promotion of white supremacist and misogynist views: that Buchanan’s ‚isolationism‘ is ‚funky‘. Of note is also that Cockburn distinguishes Pat Buchanan, who helped craft the propaganda that justified the genocidal US occupation of Indochina, from Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore because the latter ‚literally‘ have ‚the blood of millions on their hands. This is the attitude of one of the founding editors towards alliances with white supremacists.

Likewise, John V. Walsh, in June 2013, invites readers to Join Libertarians [sic] and Leftists for a Panel at Left Forum ,noting:

The discussion will take account of the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the Ron Paul libertarian movement, which has been steely in opposing Empire and war. It will take into account the enthusiasm of youth for the Ron Paul endeavor. And it will be a step to prevent Right and Left from being divided on questions of war, Empire and civil liberties, then conquered, by the imperial elite in Washington and on Wall Street.

Like Cockburn, Walsh does not see any need to mention Ron Paul’s white supremacism and his ties to outfits such as the fascist American Third-Position Party, the John Birch Society, and the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, even to dismiss the notion that these might be legitimate concerns for anyone who opposes war from a left anti-imperialist, antiracist perspective.

In his August 2013 Defense of Alexander Cockburn’s Libertarianism [sic] , Walsh opines that the Libertarian (by which he means right-wing ‚anarcho‘-capitalists in the Rothbard-Hayek mould) view of the state ‚is pretty much the same as the Marxist one, an instrument of force and a monopoly on violence which the rich and powerful use to keep their subjects in place.‘ This will doubtless come as a surprise to many ‚Libertarians‘.

In Defense, Walsh uses an article by Vijay Prashad as his foil. After noting that Prashad criticises ‚The deep seam of racism and sexism that runs beneath the dominant strand of right-wing populism‘ and ‚Ron Paul’s racist rants in his newsletter ‚. Prashad’s reference to the racist newsletters that Ron Paul openly acknowledged writing in 1996, Walsh dismisses as ’slander‘, relying on the fact that Paul eventually thought the better of claiming authorship of newsletters that called for ‚race war‘ and described African-Americans as criminal animals 12 years after his initial admission:

More important, his charge against Ron Paul is simply not true.  Let us be clear on Prashad’s slander of Paul.  No one can attribute a single racist word to Dr. Paul.  It is true that a generation ago someone, not Dr. Paul, authored some racist innuendo in a newsletter that bore Paul’s name.  But Paul has said multiple times that he did not write them nor read them at the time nor was he aware of them at the time.  He goes on to say he repudiates them.

Perhaps by way of full disclosure, Walsh acknowledges that ‚This writer spent as much effort and money on the Ron Paul campaign in 2012 as I did with the Nader campaign in 2008 and earlier years.  I found not a single hint of racism or homophobia in the Paul campaign,‘ and closes with the thought that:

The libertarians at least are leading the antiwar, anti-Empire and civil libertarian movement in a principled way, sparing neither the Bushes or Clinton or Obama, which may get us somewhere.

Tellingly, for someone who routinely offers these helpful bits of advice for the left, Walsh has also supported the right-populist account of the US-Israel ’special relationship‘, in his April 2007 Why is The Peace Movement Silent about AIPAC?, a ‚driving force‘ (though Walsh makes an understated nod to reality when he acknowledges that it is not the only one) that ’sinks its teeth into the foreign policy establishment of both parties, perhaps the Dems more so than the Republicans.‘

Similarly, in his April 2014 Left-Right Aliances, Ralph Nader concludes:

 It is a neglected responsibility of the mainstream media to expand reporting on left/right concurrences, especially where they move into action around the country. It is our responsibility as citizens to more visibly surface these agreements into a new wave of political reform. Guess what? It starts with left/right conversations where we live and work. Not even corporatists can stop you from getting that train moving.

If there are any potential drawbacks to this strategy – perhaps evident from the various historical precedents for Querfront – Nader does not see fit to mention them.

Another indicator of the pro-Querfront attitudes that prevail in the CounterPunch editorial collective (albeit one not published in the pages of CP itself thus far) are the attacks (by Amith Gupta) on Jewish Voice for Peace, and subsequently on the US Campaign to End the Occupation, for their decision not to work with Alison Weir because of her long history of white supremacism, published by CP editor Louis Proyect on his ‚Unrepentant Marxist‘ blog (see http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/louis-proyect-remains-unrepentant.html, http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/knowing-difference-between-antisemitism.html). When various long-time anti-Zionist activists responded with evidence that the accusations against Weir are true and extensively documented, Proyect responded with rebuttals such as: ‚You are a fucking joke. I get 5 hate mails a week calling me a ZioNazi or a CIA agent. Do you honestly think I give a shit what you say?‘

Even more germanely for the Querfront question, Proyect remarks in another comment:

You people are ridiculous. I am on the editorial board of CounterPunch magazine and write a weekly article, usually on film, for the website. This is a publication that features the work of Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon. It doesn’t matter to me that they are far worse than Weir.

This, it bears remembering, is the sort of ‚Unrepentant Marxist‘ that is welcome on the CounterPunch board.

The two exceptions to the overwhelming support for the Querfront approach are articles by Anthony DiMaggio, who, along with Paul Street, debunked the media-driven image of the Republican ‚Tea Party‘ as an actual mass movement, (December 2011) and a December 2007 piece by Sherry Wolf (Why the Left Should Reject Ron Paul), which states in refreshingly clear terms that ‚A cursory look at Paul’s positions, beyond his opposition to the war and the Patriot Act, would make any leftist cringe‘, and goes on to discuss the virulent racism of Paul’s newsletters, his position on immigration, his support for ‚free-market capitalism‘, and his opposition to women’s reproductive freedom.

However, a true takedown of the Querfront approach, one that actually looks at the disastrous consequences of such red-brown alliances in the recent and not-so-recent past and the sort of bedfellows one accepts when one decides to work together with the likes of (CounterPunch contributors) Ron Paul and Paul Craig Roberts, will not be found on the pages of CP, where the value of red-brown alliances is received wisdom and the few critics the editors deign to publish at all can expect derisive and dishonest responses such as those of Cockburn and Walsh.

Conclusion

When I first decided to carry out a quantitative analysis of the content published by CounterPunch, my working hypothesis was that the study would reveal a preponderance of left-leaning content interspersed with a significant minority of white-supremacist contributions, indicating a desire on the part of the CounterPunch editorial collective to mainstream far-right perspectives in a predominantly left audience. In other words, the working hypothesis was that CP is run by generally left-leaning editors who have been suckered into believing that alliances with fascist and white-supremacist elements is a worthwhile strategy.

The available data support this view only in part. It is clear that the Querfront approach is endorsed by the editorial collective, both in terms of their publication decisions and of their explicit views. However, the idea that CounterPunch is a generally left-leaning publication with a regular dose of white supremacism turns out to be completely backwards.

Instead, the quantitative analysis of CounterPunch’s editorial decisions indicates that CP is primarily a right-wing publication that attracts left-leaning readers with content from a small number of left authors. On all of the ‚acid test‘ issues studied, right-wing populist views are clearly in the majority, in some cases (e.g. Lobby Fetishism) so much so as to render left views negligible.

It should he stressed that this is by no means a comprehensive study of the political orientation of the CounterPunch editorial team, and much remains to be said in this regard. One might mention, for example, the climate change denialism of CP co-founder Alex Cockburn, or the various articles published in support of Deep Green Resistance’s decision to exclude trans women. CounterPunch provides a wealth of reactionary material to analyse and critique.

All this raises an urgent question: Why are leftists giving oxygen to a publication that is so thoroughly aligned with racist populism and conspiracism, both by sharing CP articles and by publishing there when there are so many worthy left publications that would benefit from the content? By using the CP platform, these authors, whatever their intentions may be, are helping to mainstream a veritable cesspit of white-supremacist ideology. Surely, it would be better to publish elsewhere and expose CounterPunch for the suckerpunch it is.

It seems more than likely that the left authors who publish on CP do not realise what sort of ’newsletter‘ they are promoting. After all, they are probably misled by a biased sample: Leftists on social media are more likely to see Paul Street or Noam Chomsky articles shared from CounterPunch than they are to see the wit and wisdom of Gilad Atzmon or Paul Craig Roberts, and thus may well not realise that CP offers a platform to such bigots at all, let alone sees them as the meat and potatoes of their magazine. However, the true orientation of CounterPunch is undeniable, and it is to be hoped that the leftists who publish there will act accordingly.

46 comments ↓

#1 Connors on 07.20.15 at 14:21

This also helps to explain their perpetual defence of the reactionary white nationalist Russian state.

#2 Tony Greenstein` on 07.20.15 at 14:58

Good article. I share the basics of the analysis. You omitted a couple of things.

One my obituary or rather comment on an obituary of Cockburn
Alex Cockburn – Death of a Reactionary Radical
http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/alex-cockburn-death-of-reactionary.html

and also his open admiration for Marine Le Pen which I cover in a new article:

COUNTERPUNCH – Time for Socialists & anti-imperialists to Boycott It
http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/counterpunch-time-for-socialists-anti.html

#3 Liza on 07.21.15 at 09:56

This is a very good article; thank you for writing it. One might also add Cockburns defense of Rand Paul in his interview with Maddow when the former said he opposed the public accommodations segment of the Civil Rights Act (http://www.counterpunch.org/2010/05/21/the-rand-and-rachel-show/). Cockburn is certainly right that Maddow is a Democratic Party hack and liberals opportunistically take advantage of libertarian racism to shield their own. But he seems to believe that bc paleocons and libertarians are, currently, not terribly powerful, there is no danger in the left allying with them. For instance he claimed in the article that the Civil Rights Act is not likely to come up for review in the Senate, as though it is some irrelevant issue that a politician believes companies ought to have the right to refuse service to black people, or as if there is no connection between domestic racism and imperialism abroad and one can oppose the latter while coddling the former, or as if rallying around a sometimes-coherent libertarian is a better use of the lefts time than building a genuine alternative to the current electoral system. The argument seems to go 1) paleocons may have nasty racist views but they are marginalized so it doesn’t matter and therefore 2) we should help paleocons get more power.

#4 Jeffrey St. Clair on 07.21.15 at 17:06

You are, naturally, quite free to draw what ever conclusions you like about the political slant of CounterPunch, but your assertions should at least have some tenuous tether to reality, especially when you purport to do a deep „statistical“ analysis of stories and authors. We’ve published more than 55,000 articles since 1999. Ralph Nader, alone, has written more than 400 articles for us. Is Ralph left or right? Well, he’s of Lebanese descent, so we can surmise where you would slot Ralph. That’s another 400 articles for your right wingers, I guess. How about Edward Said. Dozens of articles for the pre-eminent intellectual critic of Imperialism. But, yes, Edward was Palestinian and thus by your crafty declinations he was a birth-right right-winger. Kaching! More bonus points for you!! What about Fidel Castro, left or right? We run all of Fidel’s columns, all of Ricardo Alarcon’s, too. Critics of Israel. Shame on them. What about Philip Agee, former CIA spook who spilled the beans? We ran lots of story by Phil before he died. How about Subcomandante Marcos. We’ve published almost all of his dispatches from the Lacondon. Left or right? Hard call. He is a smoker. Right hand column, I guess. Uri Avnery, Jew, former member of the Knesset, served with Begin in the Irgun. 500 articles by Uri. Hmm. Hard call. Put him in the excluded middle I guess. What about Kathy Kelly? Catholic Worker, nominated several times for Nobel Prize. We published more than 300 pieces by Kathy and a book. More bait to lure naives leftists into a ‚trap.‘ Could be. What about one of the greatest living black novelists, Ishmael Reed? He is he dupe? How about his daughter, Tennessee. We published her book on how the US education system throws one roadblock after another in front of young black women. That’s an entire book. How about Kevin Alexander Gray, one of the leading black civil rights organizers in the US, led the campaign to vanquish the Confederate Flag in South Carolina for two decades. Dozens of articles by Kevin and two books. But, whoops, he’s a critic of Israel. Does that make him a black white supremacist? I guess they do exist, consider the spectacle of Clarence Thomas. But I don’t think even you could squeeze Kevin into that box–not in his presence anyway. What about our book, Killing Trayvons? Just another con job? Frankly, I don’t care how you align our writers on your bifurcated little list, which has ominous overtones of other little lists kept by your compatriots in the not-so-distant past, but you should at least acknowledge their existence! And stop calling what you’re doing „statistical analysis“. As that infamous right-winger Mark Twain said, there’s lies, damned lies and statistics. But you don’t even HAVE statistics. Just your own hand-picked glob of silly putty. Good luck with your auto-de-fe.

#5 elisehendrick on 07.21.15 at 17:23

You’ll find I actually mention Nader, citing one of his various articles in support of a red-brown alliance. Given that Nader has a long history of being quite anti-labour, I’d be a bit hesitant to hang him up on the flagpole as an example of leftist thought. As for the rest of your comment, it seems that you prefer straw men to serious argument and would rather try to get me to defend claims I never actually made than actually attempt a serious rebuttal to my findings.

#6 elisehendrick on 07.21.15 at 17:30

The thing is that, even a million articles by Said or Chomsky couldn’t justify having even one by fascist sympathisers and white nationalists like Mary Rizzo, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Paul Craig Roberts, and Alison Weir. There’s simply no justification for giving them any platform at all.

For those keeping track, this is me giving more of a right of reply to CounterPunch than CounterPunch ever afforded Tony Greenstein and Roland Rance, who were smeared on CounterPunch by holocaust denier Mary Rizzo.

#7 N on 07.21.15 at 20:04

How about responding to Jeffery St. Clairs actual points? This is sloppy, ridiculous so called „analysis“. And you do indeed come off as an ADL type, calling all Israel critics „rightwing“. Lazy at best.

#8 levi9909 on 07.21.15 at 20:34

Elise, did you verify that that was actually Jeffrey St Clair? I mean could he really be so lacking in integrity and intellect to come out with such drivel.

Where in your post do you make an issue out of someones ethnicity or even their past? You mentioned Nader but I only saw a description of his politics. Nothing of his ethnicity. Is St Clair pretending that white supremacist is a racial slur? Is that why he brought ethnicity into his comment? And why didn’t he mention that Avnery’s a Jew? That’s not like CounterPunch.

Also, would the real Jeffrey St Clair really not know that statistics doesn’t actually mean counting every single one of something or other but rather, sampling and weighing up proportions?

But maybe it was the real Jeffrey St Clair and all those years at CounterPunch have made him unused to the discussion malarkey. Maybe he forgot the reason CounterPunch doesn’t allow comments is because so much that they publish is simply indefensible. Maybe that lack of comment at CP lulled him into a false sense of security and he thought he could come out with any bullshit without counter-comment.

Ah whatever.

Elise, I hope you won’t be embarrassed if I wish you mazel tov on what is a very informative piece long overdue. Thank you for reading CounterPunch so that others don’t have to.

#9 levi9909 on 07.21.15 at 21:00

And by the way, it was Benjamin Disraeli who said „there are lies, damn lies and statistics“. Mark Twain even said that he was quoting Disraeli.

#10 elisehendrick on 07.22.15 at 00:10

Where do I call all Israel critics ‚rightwing‘? Please provide a quote. Or are you actually saying that Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Jeff Blankfort, Alison Weir, and the rest of the Palestinian-dismissing white supremacist contingent are the only actual critics of Israel who exist?

As for St. Clair’s actual points, I did address them. He reckons that if I included Edward Said, who died in 2003, the leftist contingent would be larger. I personally don’t think that helps him much, since, assuming his figures are accurate, that simply means that the proportion of right-wing populism to left analysis drastically shifted with Said’s death and never recovered. In other words, the best we get out of that is that CounterPunch used to be less shit than it currently is, but that on St. Clair’s watch it’s drifted hard to the right.

He also brings up Nader, whose pro-Querfront views I actually addressed in the article.

What’s interesting is that St. Clair never actually attempts to address the figures on the individual issues which, even if I were to grant – quod non – that the left-right balance is less lopsided than my findings indicate that it is, remains quite damning.

Given that CounterPunch doesn’t have a comment function, and has actually ignored the correspondence of activists who have been smeared in its pages and seek the right of reply, St. Clair is lucky that I published his comment at all. Fortunately for him, my editorial standards are somewhat higher than his.

#11 Emma Rosenthal on 07.22.15 at 00:40

Elise, you are indeed gracious in allowing St Claire’s rant on your blog. It must be truly frustrating for the masters of the media (ha!) that us mere mortals have at our disposal blogs and the option of self publishing.

His crude and sarcastic dismissal of your article, within such a short period of time from publication for any actual reflection or consideration is quite telling and unfortunately adds little to the discussion.

At the very least, this esteemed editor should have provided some real material to challenge you.

I was most amused when he stated “ I don’t care how you align our writers on your bifurcated little list, which has ominous overtones of other little lists“ after all, it’s his publication that claims to „name names“. WOW!

CounterPunch, in its slogan claims to tell the truth and yet it published that horrible article by Paul Craig Roberts claiming that hate crime legislation that simply added LGBT and disabled people to protected classes was going to make any criticism of Israel illegal. (The bill never mentions Israel, religion, governments, etc.)

https://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/654/

Since we have Jeff’s ear, maybe he can explain why such an incredibly faulty article was allowed to grace his „truth“ telling publication?

And if antisemitism doesn’t exist, as he and Alex have asserted, why then would Roberts have used it in an attempt to defeat a bill that had nothing to do with Jews or Israel and everything to do with LGBT and dis-abled people?

#12 evildoer on 07.22.15 at 03:39

Great work! and maybe St. Clair’s utter lack of integrity on display here deserves a book.

#13 levi9909 on 07.22.15 at 03:48

Yes Elise, you’re certainly fairer than CounterPunch but please don’t give obvious trolls like N too many bites of the cherry. Louis did that on his blog but then he wanted to annoy his critics and swamp his own evasions, lies and insults.

#14 Phil Greaves on 07.22.15 at 08:54

There’s a fine line between rightly criticising the deceptive conspiracism of „demonizing individuals/Israel lobby hypothesising“ and wrongly attaching a liberal „conspiracist“ concept to all anlayses of ruling class praxis, and then further turning this false dichotomy into a platform to purvey the liberal sophistry of „systems“ not people, or „institutional structures“ not conscious class actors.

The latter ends up being just as much of an apology for the ruling class as does „Israel lobby“ theorizing or „Jewish conspiracy“ white supremacism.

In opposition to a somewhat crude concept of a right-wing „populist conspiracist“ anaytical mode that is apparently common to fascists, we are offered the concept of a „Left analysis“ briefy surmised as „working-class people fighting against oppression by entrenched élites“ which ostensibly „looks to the structure of individual institutions, and to that of the political and economic system itself.“ Apparently, this is what constitutes concrete class analysis–minus the classes, minus human relations. It is to deem capital anonymous, turning capitalists into „capitalism“, the imperialist bourgeoisie into metaphysical „imperialism“, instead of „scapegoats“ we are left with phantoms, spirits of capital, religious thought.

The dichotomy built therefore is essentially one of: „conspiracism“ vs „liberal structuralism“, there is no room betweem the two, one is either a conspiracist, and therefore a fascist, or one holds to a supposed „Left analysis“ that places „systems“ and „structures“ before actual human relations; class interests and the individuals that carry them out.

What’s interesting though is that the author has spent a large amount of her time falling foul of the very same arbitrary concept of „conspiracism“ portrayed as an „analytical mode“ common to fascists, or more specifically „third position crypto-fascists“–in that the author has consistently and correctly shown the conscious actions of the Zionist ruling class for exactly what they are: planned, premeditated, definite actions from definite individuals that are part of a class with definite interests. And yet contrary to this very basic explanation of ruling class praxis, and in opposition to the „right-wing populists/conspiracists“ view with which it has been assimilated, we are also told that within a „Left analysis“ there is no ruling class, no conscious bourgeois praxis–instead we are given the notion of „institutional structures“ as the driving forces of history. Where white supremacist „Israel lobby“ theorists put ‚Evil Zionists‘ as the driving force of imperialism in the Middle East, the author puts metaphysical „Systems and Structures“ in their place.

It is to effectively apply white supremacist conspiracism to any and all that don’t abide by a metaphysical structuralism as determinate of human relations, but even by the authors own standards, this sophistry is applied selectively.

On the one hand Ariel Sharon is an Evil Butcher with definite class aims, on the other Obama is a Bumbling Imperialist vassal of the „system“.

This contradiction needs an explanation, and the question still yet to be answered is a very simple one: Why does the author apply conscious ruling class praxis as determinate for ‚Israeli‘ oppression, yet substitute this for „Systems“ and „Structures“ when it comes to the imperial hegemon?

#15 Tony Greenstein` on 07.22.15 at 10:44

Jeffrey St Clair is disingenuous. No one doubts that it is anti-imperialist but where it falls short is that it doesn’t see the connection between imperialism and racism or indeed capitalism. Hence why it gives acres of space to reactionary writers such as Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon.

Fascism too can proclaim its opposition to imperialism (& capitalism) whilst we all know (St. Clair and Cockburn excepted) that once it gets its hands on power fascism is the most repressive political system of all.

I didn’t understand much of Mr St Clair’s response. I have no idea whether Ralph Nader is on the left or right. Perhaps he has an idea? Not sure why his Lebanese origin is of any relevance or why Uri Avneri being a Jew is of any relevance either.

In fact a very good case could be made for saying that Avneri is on the right. He supports the existing constellation of repressive Arab regimes but only wishes that Israel could come to terms with them and allow the Palestinians to form a similar regime. That he has spoken out against the Occupation does not, in itself, make him a socialist.

But what I do know is that, Jeffrey St Clair’s sarcasm notwithstanding (the lowest form of wit incidentally) that when some of us were trying to eliminate anti-Semitism from the Palestine solidarity movement, St. Clair published an outrageous personal and political attack by a fully signed up anti-Semite Mary Rizzo, Who’s Afraid of Gilad Atzmon (before that is she fell out with Atzmon and called him an Israeli asset).

Having published Rizzo’s article St. Clair refused me something that even semi-house trained bourgeois publications allow – a right of reply!

I would be interested in Jeffrey St Clair’s defence of that decision or was it all down to his dead comrade, the Le Pen supporting Alex Cockburn?

I think we should be told.

http://www.azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/counterpunch-time-for-socialists-anti.html

#16 Andrew Coates on 07.22.15 at 12:23

Full marks for having gone through Counterpunch with such perseverance!

Their Querfront created another stir in the UK, apart from the Atzmon incidents which Tony rightly highlights.

There was also the Israel Shamir incident, when the British Communist Daily, the Morning Star took, without an article by the anti-semite Shamir on Pussy Riot from Counterpunch and published it.

A storm of protest resulted and the Morning Star apologised for publishing the material….from Counterpunch.

https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/shamir-jewish-lobby-ate-my-morning-star-article/

Shamir’s background is well know enough to merit his own Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Shamir

#17 Ron J on 07.22.15 at 13:05

I would argue that this argument is just plain flawed. I say this mostly because your selection of left writers whose articles you count is limited in such a way as to create the results you wish to prove. I am a leftist writer and have published at least 400 articles on Counterpunch since 2002, yet my name does not appear at all. As for the rigthist writers, I don’t agree with them and am not a believer in the left/right alliance, butI don’t think this proves any kind of reactionaryism on the part of the editors.

#18 elisehendrick on 07.22.15 at 15:39

It’s hard to verify your claim of being a leftist with 400 publications on CounterPunch without your full name (or the name you publish there under) and/or a few links to those articles. If you could provide that information, I’ll certainly check it out and report what I find. If a correction on the figures is in order, I’ll do so.

However, it’s worth reiterating, as I pointed out in the conclusion to the article itself, that I was basically going to make the same overall argument back when I assumed that there was a preponderance of leftist authors and a minority – albeit a sizable and regularly published one – of fascist sympathisers and white supremacists. That still looks a lot like mainstreaming the fash in support of a red-brown alliance that has been openly advocated by the editors of CounterPunch, including Cockburn himself.
Cockburn’s own reactionary sympathies are discussed with reference to his own writings in the article, as are those of other editors (Frank and Proyect). At the very least, it can be said that they are distinctly unconcerned with the white nationalism and fascist ties of some of the people they have praised and defended, to the point of not mentioning them at all, or dishonestly dismissing them.

Plus, it’s worth noting that this argument still doesn’t deal with the case studies on individual issues, where I did not screen for author name, but read the articles (using search terms that would result in articles on the relevant issues) for content in order to determine what sort of position was being advocated by them. Neither St. Clair nor Ron J has actually challenged those figures, which to my mind are much more telling than those on the publications of individual authors.

#19 elisehendrick on 07.22.15 at 15:43

What’s interesting about Greaves‘ attempt to demonise class analysis as ‚liberal structuralism‘ is that it is actually quite at variance with the sort of ‚analysis‘ actually provided by liberals. Take, for example, the writings of Matt Taibbi on the financial crisis. He does an excellent job of reporting the facts in great detail, but his analysis of why this happened comes down to a discussion of individual corruption and venality, rather than the importance of liberalised financial flows as a profit driver in the context of a decades-long attack on the organisation and bargaining power of the working class.

#20 elisehendrick on 07.22.15 at 15:47

Equally bizarre is the claim that there is something metaphysical about capitalist relations of production and class structures, and the class interests that arise from those structures. We are talking about entirely material considerations here: access to and control over markets and natural resources, capital flows, and profit maximisation. Of course, if Greaves had actually looked at my writings on Palestine and the ’special relationship‘, he would be aware that this is my analysis. This would be a much more interesting discussion if he bothered to do so.

Similarly, it’s just plain farcical to claim that I deny the existence of conscious political action in an article where the entire thesis is that (a) there is a conscious, organised political programme of infiltrating and subverting the left (Querfront) on the part of fascists and white supremacists and (b) that the editors of CounterPunch, whose sympathy for this sort of an ‚alliance‘ as a matter of record, are guided at least in part by that sympathy in their editorial decisions. To claim that I deny the existence of conscious political action is to claim that the article Greaves claims to be critiquing doesn’t exist.

#21 Rebecca on 07.22.15 at 16:05

Counterpunch has also published an article by the Holocaust denier Daniel A. McGowan (head of Deir Yassin Remembered): http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/10/25/elie-wiesel-for-president/

#22 elisehendrick on 07.22.15 at 16:21

In addition to my previous questions for ‚Ron J‘ (name and/or links to articles in order to verify his claim), I’m curious about something else:

Ron: You identify as a leftist who has published for CounterPunch. At the moment, you haven’t provided enough information to allow anyone to verify that, so I’ll just take it as read for now:

Were you previously aware that the likes of Israel Shamir, Paul Craig Roberts, Daniel McGowan, and Gilad Atzmon were being published and defended in the pages of CounterPunch? If so, did that cause you to hesitate about publishing someplace where your writings would serve to increase the page rank of a publication that so regularly publishes racists and fascist sympathiser? And, if so, why did you ultimately decide in favour of publishing there?

#23 Phil Greaves on 07.22.15 at 18:25

So instead of actually answering the question, the author chooses to mischaracterize it as „a demonisation of [what the author determines to be] class analysis…“ but what is actually structural liberalism.

Nowhere do i claim the author applies this structuralism to ALL class action, as is evident by my pointing out the author’s (correct) exposure of conscious Israeli ruling class policy–but only in the context of a specific classes‘ conscious action, that being the Western imperial hegemon.

Nowhere either is the claim of metaphysical „capitalist relations of production and class structures, and the class interests that arise from those structures“ made, because the original piece does not speak of any of this, but merely „political end economc structures“ in general. One must also ask what exactly „class interests arising from class structures“ is supposed to mean..

This mischaracterization and refusal to address the points made is then compounded by the author repeating the same liberal sophistry with a claim to „the importance of liberalised financial flows [„the invisibel hand of the market“] as a profit driver in the context of a decades-long attack on the organisation and bargaining power of the working class. ..“

What exactly are „liberalised financial flows“, by whom and how are they implemented?

#24 levi9909 on 07.22.15 at 20:53

Tony – I thought for a while why Jeffrey St Clair was invoking ethnicity as being relevant and it occurred to me that he was actually saying that denouncing white supremacy is racist against whites. The fact is that CounterPunch has been brown so long, it looks green or even red to Jeffrey St Clair. But seriously that is the only point he could have been making since Elise didn’t invoke anybody’s ethnicity to make any point in her post. He was singing the song of white entitlement. Opposition to white supremacy is opposition to whites per se. Of course such a mentality would explain why he publishes so many writers who conflate Zionism with Jews.

#25 elisehendrick on 07.22.15 at 22:01

Now, Greaves claims that he has never accused me of completely denying the existence of concerted political action. Those who are interested in assessing the veracity of this claim can see for yourselves on his Twitter feed (@PhilGreaves).
Note also the dishonesty with which Greaves, who is at this point well aware that this is no such thing, treats this one article out of many as a comprehensive, self-contained statement of my views on history, society, and political economy.
Strangely, he now deigns to praise my ‘(correct) exposure of conscious Israeli ruling class practice’, which is odd, given that I don’t discuss Israeli ruling class practice in any detail in this article. What I do mention, briefly because it’s not the point of the article and I’ve discussed it elsewhere, is the practice of the US ruling class, which is much more germane to assessing the motivations for the ‘special relationship’ on the US end.
I remain puzzled about the point of this exercise. What exactly does Greaves hope to gain from arguing against things I’ve never argued and critiquing an article that exists only in his imagination by an author whose views he has demonstrated complete and utter ignorance of (and a total lack of interest in)? This seems to me indicative either of a total lack of self-awareness (‘My head’s under the bed, so that makes me invisible’) or utter contempt for those he imagines are reading (who he assumes, apparently, will have read his comments and taken them as gospel rather than actually reading the article he claims to be critiquing first). Surely, it would be much more rewarding to have an actual discussion about what I wrote and what my views are, rather than this parade of straw men and the degradation of useful analytical terms (‘metaphysical’, ‘liberal’) to childish terms of abuse.

#26 elisehendrick on 07.22.15 at 23:05

Another thing that makes very little sense to me about Greaves‘ remarks here is that he now acknowledges (at long last) that my analysis includes a role for conscious political agency on the part of individuals and groups. In other words, he now acknowledges that my analysis of capitalism takes account both of the institutional structures of the capitalist system and the agency of actors within that system.

If this is the case, though, it’s hard to see what his objection is. Unless he actually denies that institutional structures play any role at all in the capitalist system, it would appear that we are in general agreement that capitalist social relations are characterised, inter alia, by the antagonistic interests of the classes within a socialist society that arise from the relationship of the respective classes (capitalist, working class) to the means of production and sustenance.

As such, his belated acknowledgement of something I had repeatedly stated over a day ago leaves me more puzzled than ever about the point of this most surreal interaction.

#27 Phil Greaves on 07.23.15 at 02:03

It seems strange the author is incapable of seeing my point after having me repeatedly express it in various ways, and stranger still the author has decided to once again mischaracterize and obfuscate.

No one denies that „institutional structures play any role at all in the capitalist system“, — the question is *what exact role* do such „structures“ play in the „capitalist system“ and whether they are determinate, whether they supersede human relations or whether they are the expression of them.

If the author cares to review my first comment it will become clear to her that from the outset i made clear that the author DOES IN FACT (correctly) focus on Israeli ruling class praxis, but DOES NOT extend this concrete analyses to the imperial hegemon, to whom the author liberally applies her metaphysical structuralist „systemic“ analyses as determinate.

This is the entire point of my contention, as is made very clear with the simple question that still remains unanswered..

„Why does the author apply conscious ruling class praxis as determinate for ‘Israeli’ oppression, yet substitute this for “Systems” and “Structures” when it comes to the imperial hegemon?“

#28 Phil Greaves on 07.23.15 at 02:12

To reiterate, from the first comment…

„…the author has consistently and correctly shown the conscious actions of the Zionist ruling class for exactly what they are: planned, premeditated, definite actions from definite individuals that are part of a class with definite interests. And yet contrary to this very basic explanation of ruling class praxis, and in opposition to the “right-wing populists/conspiracists” view with which it has been assimilated, we are also told that within a “Left analysis” there is no ruling class, no conscious bourgeois praxis–instead we are given the notion of “institutional structures” as the driving forces of history. Where white supremacist “Israel lobby” theorists put ‘Evil Zionists’ as the driving force of imperialism in the Middle East, the author puts metaphysical “Systems and Structures” in their place.“

#29 Matt Osborne on 07.23.15 at 14:45

Great post. I’m glad I’m not the only one wise to this game. You can see another example of Querfront in the ’sovereign citizens‘ movement, which began with the VERY racist, VERY right wing posse comitatus. But the sovereign citizen idea has also been adopted by the so-called ‚Moorish Temple,‘ which likes to pretend they belong to Africa instead of the United States. The white supremacist sovereigns love that a few black people are on the same insane page with them. The whole point of popularizing their tax avoidance schemes and nutty beliefs about admiralty courts this way is to normalize their bizarre ruleset so that it’s „not racist.“ See how that works?

#30 elisehendrick on 07.23.15 at 15:58

According to Greaves ‚It seems strange the author is incapable of seeing my point after having me repeatedly express it in various ways.‘

I am not so sure. What Greaves sees as his ‚point‘ is nothing more than a complete fabrication, as has already been pointed out repeatedly. And if it were not enough that he misrepresents what I have written, he actually has taken to lying about what he himself has written. Is it really strange that I am unwilling to join in this farce?

‚ and stranger still the author has decided to once again mischaracterize and obfuscate.‘

This is a strange statement in a comment in which Greaves refuses to engage with the point I most recently raised, namely: What on earth his his objection at this point, if he now acknowledges (despite outright denying it previously) that I do not deny that there is a role for conscious individual action, unless he denies that there is any role for structures? Instead of addressing this, he now claims:

‚No one denies that „institutional structures play any role at all in the capitalist system“, — the question is *what exact role* do such „structures“ play in the „capitalist system“ and whether they are determinate, whether they supersede human relations or whether they are the expression of them.‘

Again, we see Greaves‘ habit of changing position and hoping no one will look at his previous remarks. If ’no one‘ now denies this, it is because Greaves himself has now thought the better of his previous attacks on me for acknowledging this at all.

I am also not sure why ‚the question‘ is the one Greaves poses, except that he seems quite eager to change the subject after having once again been caught in a lie.

For some reason, having to do with an apparent complete lack of self-awareness, Greaves then sees fit to quote one of his more absurd fabrications:

‚“Why does the author apply conscious ruling class praxis as determinate for ‘Israeli’ oppression, yet substitute this for “Systems” and “Structures” when it comes to the imperial hegemon?“‚

As already noted, I do not. Greaves admits as much by not offering a single actual quote.

Indeed, in the piece that is supposedly under discussion, I do not discuss Israeli ruling class praxis at all. What I do discuss is US ruling class praxis, and the interests and strategic considerations resulting in the ’special relationship‘. However, it is not a comprehensive treatment, because it’s not the point of the article and I have discussed it in detail elsewhere.

Rather than acknowledge the obvious, that this piece is not a comprehensive, self-contained discussion of all of my views on political economy, society, and everything else – since that would require him to read even more before making such sweeping statements and he apparently hasn’t even finished the article under discussion yet – Greaves continues to make strange blanket pronouncements about my views. One might expect someone with so much time to dedicate to the project of trolling me to take the time to look for and provide supporting examples. In all of these lengthy comments, not one bit of supporting evidence has been offered.

And yet Greaves continues, demanding an author he’s never read defend positions she’s never espoused.

I am beginning to think that the whole reason for these long, repetitive, straw man comments (what’s the point of demanding I defend a position after I’ve made it clear it isn’t my position?) isn’t so much to engage in discussion on the issues as to dominate the discussion and get in the way of any serious discussion that might ensue between people who are actually interested in having one.

#31 Guilt by Dis-association: The Landscape of Amerikan* Exceptionalism in the Guise of Palestine Solidarity | Emma Rosenthal on 07.23.15 at 16:59

[…] assert that all and any critiques of Israel and zionism are antisemitic, then nothing is. It uses the Palestinian struggle and other popular concerns to normalize and advance a U.S. imperial…  It is not only anti Jewish,  it is anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Native American, anti-Asian, […]

#32 Guilt by Disassociation: The Landscape of Amerikan* Exceptionalism in the Guise of Palestine Solidarity | ¡Cafe Intifada! -Uniting Art With Critical Consciousness on 07.23.15 at 17:01

[…] assert that all and any critiques of Israel and zionism are antisemitic, then nothing is. It uses the Palestinian struggle and other popular concerns to normalize and advance a U.S. imperial…  It is not only anti Jewish,  it is anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Native American, anti-Asian, […]

#33 elisehendrick on 07.23.15 at 17:25

I just noticed that I incorrectly provided Greaves‘ Twitter handle. It is actually @PhilGreaves01, not @PhilGreaves as I had originally stated. Those who wish to see the interaction that preceded Greaves‘ comments on this blog, and assess the veracity of his claims, e.g., about never having accused me of denying that there is such a thing as conscious political agency, are invited to check that out.

#34 kfreed on 07.23.15 at 19:20

Chip Berlet writes the foreword to this neo-nazi/white supremacist study; 1980’s; publsihed by Toronto University Press: I suggest you read this book (it virtually predicts America’s ‚Tea Party‘ crossing borders): https://books.google.com/books/about/Is_God_a_Racist.html?id=Zy0kAQAAIAAJ

Ron Paul and Pegida neo-fascist movement in Europe, Canada, U.S.: Look into it:

Dialog International – German-American: „Ron Paul and the Neo-Fascists“
http://www.dialoginternational.com/dialog_international/2011/12/ron-paul-and-the-neo-fascists.html

Ron Paul meets with European fascists:
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2013/8/23/144536/636

There’s more. I suggest you begin looking into it.

P.S. Chip Berlet has been on the correct side of these issues for decades. you’d do well to listen, rather than dismiss him.

He writes for Poltical Research Associates: http://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/02/23/the-right-hand-of-occupy-wall-street-from-libertarians-to-nazis-the-fact-and-fiction-of-right-wing-involvement/#sthash.mTIbok7C.dpbs

„John Foster „Chip“ Berlet (born November 22, 1949) is an American investigative journalist,[1] research analyst,[2][3] photojournalist, scholar, and activist specializing in the study of extreme right-wing movements in the United States.[3][4] He also studies the spread of conspiracy theories.[5] Since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Berlet has often appeared in the media to discuss extremist news stories.[3] He was a senior analyst at Political Research Associates (PRA), a non-profit group that tracks right-wing networks,[6]

Berlet, a paralegal, was a vice-president of the National Lawyers Guild. He has served on the advisory board of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University, and currently sits on the advisory board of the Defending Dissent Foundation.“

You’re welcome.

#35 kfreed on 07.23.15 at 19:52

You’re about to be swamped with Ron Paul’s fascist followers. Duck and cover.

#36 elisehendrick on 07.23.15 at 23:40

‚P.S. Chip Berlet has been on the correct side of these issues for decades. you’d do well to listen, rather than dismiss him.‘

First of all, Berlet has only partially been on the correct side of these issues. When it comes to the racism and antisemitism of Zionist ideology, he refuses to apply his analysis of right entryism. Indeed, he is a defender of an excellent example of right entryism/Querfront by the name of David Hirsh, a propagandist with openly acknowledged ties to the Israeli Foreign Ministry who claims to be making a ‚left‘ case for Zionism and against the Palestinian-led BDS campaign, despite not having any background on the left or current ties to left organisations.

Indeed, Berlet’s defence of Zionism goes to the extreme of arguing – in a published interview with Hirsh – that there is something fundamentally illegitimate about even talking about Zionist ideology. I am amongst those he has libelled for even raising these issues.

Interestingly, Berlet has seen fit to share this article, but not with the original subtitle. He replaces my actual subtitle – How ‚America’s Best Political Newsletter‘ Mainstreams the Far Right – with a line from the article itself ‚Are Leftists unwittingly helping to promote the agenda of the far right? ‚, which he has so utterly ripped out of context as to change the entire meaning.

As anyone who has read the article knows, the leftists I’m referring to as unwittingly promoting the far-right agenda are not the CounterPunch editors, as this modified subtitle may suggest, but the leftist authors who publish there, possibly quite unaware of the sheer volume of racist and fascist material CP publishes. Not only that, but it makes it seem as if I am suggesting that CP are doing this ‚unwittingly‘, when I make it quite clear that there is reason to believe that they’re doing it quite knowingly and out of a publicly expressed ideological conviction in favour of a latter-day Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact.

Nor, incidentally, is it really accurate to say that I ‚dismiss‘ Berlet. In fact, I quote him at great length, describing ‚Right Woos Left‘ as ‚ his work remains worth citing as one of the best analyses of the Querfront phenomenon and its consequences, particularly in the US‘ despite the dodginess of Berlet’s own politics and his refusal to apply his analysis consistently.

#37 elisehendrick on 07.24.15 at 01:47

An excellent piece by Emma Rosenthal on a related subject (white supremacism, Palestinian solidarity, and Alison weir)

https://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/guilt-by-disassociation-the-landscape-of-amerikan-exceptionalism-in-the-guise-of-palestine-solidarity/

#38 elisehendrick on 07.24.15 at 15:39

Phil Greaves has thus far flooded this thread with comments that either outright misrepresent the content of the article under discussion, dishonestly treat it as a comprehensive expression of my views on things the article mentions peripherally, and showcasing his own impressive sense of entitlement by either demanding that I defend views I’ve never actually espoused and actually disagree with, or demanding a full accounting of my views on a wide variety of other subjects (a curiosity that does not manifest itself in actually looking at my other writings to see what I’ve said about them).

This is a continuation of his behaviour on Twitter, where, a propos of nothing, he demanded that I recite the 9/11 Truther catechism, and when I refused to play that irrelevant game, immediately declared that I obviously must agree in all respects with the official U.S. government account of the 9/11 attacks.

I had hoped that, free of the constraints of the Twitter 140 character limit, Greaves would show some willingness to engage my actual views, allowing for a proper discussion. He has shown absolutely no interest in such a discussion. Instead, he has flooded this thread with repetitive and dishonest claims, for which he provides no actual evidence, and continues to reiterate his assertions about my views even in the face of my stating that I do not hold the views he has repeatedly attributed to me.

It seems that Greaves is not interested in discussing the subject at hand (i.e., CounterPunch), but rather in derailing this comment thread by incessant and repetitive hammering. This is abusive and dishonest behaviour, and, whilst I have wanted to give Greaves the benefit of the doubt, my patience is not infinite.

This discussion has a specific topic. I would hope that Greaves will, going forward, address himself to that topic. If he is genuinely interested in my views on other subjects, it just so happens that he has found my blog, and no one is stopping him reading the other articles here if his curiosity outweighs his laziness and entitlement.

#39 Justin Raimondo on 07.25.15 at 17:03

Why the scare quote around the word libertarian, Elise? Is this a Stalinists‘ way of deriding the very existence of such a creature?

I have to say the world has never such a laborious, tortured example of name-calling and political fantasy since the Moscow Trials. All those computer searches, all that compiling, in pursuit of a foregone conclusion! One has to give you credit for your Stakhanovite persistence.

The idea that Ron Paul is a „white supremacist“ – an assertion repeated endlessly without offering an iota of evidence – is absurd, as anyone who has heard him speak or read his many books and articles is aware. He „posed for a photograph“ with two neo-Nazis? _That_’s your „evidence“? In that year, when he was running for President, Paul probably posed for thousands of photos with thousands of people. Was he supposed to do a background check on them all? And where is the „evidence“ of his „links“ to the American 3rd Position, whatever that may be? You don’t even bother with evidence: you simply assert it.

This whole amalgam you create is typical of the Stalinist methodology, and represents the endpoint of a crazed sectarianism that concludes by labeling Counterpunch a „rightwing“ and even „white supremacist“ publication. Get help, Elise, because you sure need it.

#40 elisehendrick on 07.25.15 at 18:30

I put ‚libertarian‘ in inverted commas because the likes of Raimondo have appropriated a term that has traditionally referred to anti-authoritarian communism (and outside of English-speaking countries, still does) in order to refer to a highly authoritarian ideology that promotes the unchallenged rule of the capitalist class. Murray Rothbard boasted of this appropriation of the term, but that doesn’t mean that those of us who advocate libertarianism in its traditional sense have to go along with it.

In short, I put inverted commas around ‚libertarian(ism)‘ because I do not accept the authoritarian right’s appropriation of the term.

As for the white supremacism of Ron Paul, I’ve discussed this in detail elsewhere (http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org/post/2011/05/19/189/). The evidence is not seriously in dispute, and I find it telling that my pointing out the racism of Ron Paul is Raimondo’s main objection to this piece.

It is, however, ironic that Raimondo should accuse me of being a Stalinist for opposing a modern-day Ribbentropp-Molotov Pact. Stalin was, of course, so receptive of such overtures that the Soviet Union was caught completely unprepared when Germany ultimately reneged on their end of the deal.

#41 Pete Glosser on 07.26.15 at 08:12

[Note: Since this comment is just a collection of incoherent verbal abuse, displays no evidence of having read the piece under discussion, and misrepresents not only my article but Louis Proyect and CounterPunch, I really can’t be arsed debunking every bit of it separately, so my responses are in boldface here. – ÉRH]

This is a farrago of deliberate lies and stupid mistakes. Since there is no clear agenda, one can only attribute it to mental illness.

[Ableism aside, do be sure to count the number of actual, substantiated articles Glosser provides to back up this claim – ÉRH]

The writer–as evidenced by her sprinkling her English prose with bits of German (always a dead giveaway for anyone writing in English)–believes herself to be a genius when in fact she has not done her homework and does not know the material she is discussing [Or that she’s discussing a phenomenon that is heavily discussed in German and for which she’s accordingly more familiar with the German terminology. We’re incidentally talking about exactly one word here: Querfront. I didn’t sprinkle the collected works of Tucholsky all over the place – ÉRH].

She clearly has not read the work of the writers (no angels to be sure) upon whom she pisses so self-righteously.

[With that in mind, do be sure to check the number of misquotes and inaccurate citations Glosser demonstrates – ÉRH]

Both Paul Craig Roberts and Mike Whitney, to be sure, are weak and disingenuous writers. Whitney is a paid shill of the fascist Putin government of Russia, beloved of pseudoleftists everywhere, but is published because of his unflagging critique of Zionism. Roberts, no doubt because of his Republican background, which he has repudiated, is the sort of American „intellectual“ who doesn’t know the difference between the fall of the Roman Republic and the fall of the Roman Empire. But Roberts is published because he is a former Reagan economist who now influentially attacks neoliberal economics

[As evidenced by his repeated defences of Reagan’s neoliberal economic policies, in which he was complicit, on the pages of CounterPunch. This, and other aspects of his ‚repudiated‘ Republican background, are described in detail with links and quotes, in the article. This one. The one Glosser claims to have read. – ÉRH].

Louis Proyect, on the other hand, while he is certainly no teddy bear, is a brilliant man and a genuinely scholarly Marxist whose pieces on Counterpunch are generally among the best published there. [For what that’s worth – ÉRH] He is one of the few authentic leftists today who clearly sees the folly of heroizing the likes of Qaddafi, Assad, and Putin, and has little in common with e.g. Mike Whitney, who, as I have said, is a whore. One must make accurate distinctions [Indeed. One must distinguish, for example, between Alison Weir, Gilad Atzmon, and Israel Shamir, who actively spread racist lies on CounterPunch, and Proyect, who merely defends them in an impressively disingenuous and vitriolic fashion. – ÉRH].

Counterpunch has a variety of perspectives, all of them meaningful on the contemporary left, and some of them (like much of the left at any time in history) pseudoleftist and poisonous [And some of them from the far right, including fascists like Israel Shamir. No shit it’s got a variety of perspectives. The point of the article was to look at what those perspectives are – ÉRH]. Alison Weir may (or may not) have some sort of right-left scheme in mind–but nobody is more opposed to this kind of thinking than Proyect [who called anyone who criticises this kind of thinking sectarian and ideologically purist in his attempt at a defence of CounterPunch – ÉRH], even though he defends Weir against charges of antisemitism.

Counterpunch has a variety of perspectives, all of them meaningful on the contemporary left, and some of them (like much of the left at any time in history) pseudoleftist and poisonous.

This writer, steeped as she is in petty-bourgeois narcissistic exhibitionism [We’re nearing the end of this name-calling extravaganza. How many instances in which Glosser provides evidence to back up his accusations of ‚lies‘ and ’stupid mistakes‘ have you counted? – ÉRH], clearly lacks the intellectual equipment to contribute anything to the salvage of the left, which is in a desperate condition that she does nothing to resolve. Counterpunch, at least, is trying [This I must agree with. Having read hundreds of CounterPunch articles in my research for this piece, I can confirm that CounterPunch is very trying indeed – ÉRH].

#42 Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir – Mondoweiss on 08.12.15 at 12:28

[…] example, her 2009 article in CounterPunch (a questionable publication in its own right), “Israeli Organ Harvesting,” which was cited by the US Campaign, focuses on a […]

#43 Will US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Respond? - The Arab Daily News on 09.03.15 at 08:49

[…] Elise Hendrick, “Counterpunch or Suckerpunch”, July 19, […]

#44 kfreed on 10.04.15 at 13:10

Elise, not everyone will see eye-to-eye with you on every single issue. I’m not your enemy. Berlet is not your enemy. He obviously values your work enough to further it, so take it as a compliment.

What I’m asking you to do is to look into Political Research Associates. If you want to make a case against a ‚Libertarian‘- progressive alliance (as do I for the same reasons as you), see PRA for source material.

Start here: „Behind the recent surge of nullification bills in state legislatures there is an ongoing battle for the soul of the GOP—and the future of the union itself. The nullification movement’s ideology is rooted in reverence for states’ rights and a theocratic and neo-Confederate interpretation of U.S. history. And Ron Paul, who is often portrayed as a libertarian, is the engine behind the movement.“

See more at: http://www.politicalresearch.org/2013/11/22/nullification-neo-confederates-and-the-revenge-of-the-old-right/#sthash.8VcVuXhP.dpuf

The Ron Paul archives: http://www.politicalresearch.org/?s=ron+paul&submit.x=0&submit.y=0#sthash.dikXoR6I.dpbs

Why does it always have to be this difficult for leftists to engage in simple dialog without a constant battle????

Grüße aus München!

[I think you’re missing some crucial background here. First of all, you’ll note that, in my piece, I do rely on Berlet’s work in my analysis of the phenomenon of conspiracism and the ease with which fascist groups have infiltrated left circles. However, that does not change the fact that he has allied himself with no less dodgy a figure than David Hirsh of the UK-based Zionist propaganda organisation ‚Engage‘, which is entirely dedicated to smearing anti-racists as antisemitic, thus equating Jewish culture with racism. Hirsh himself has openly acknowledged that he works together with the Zionist regime in his smear campaigns. The fact that Berlet outright refuses to include Zionist groups – with their advocacy of racism, their antisemitism, their long list of alliances with fascist and (neo-)Nazi groups, and their support for a brutal hard-right regime – in his analysis is one of its greatest defects, and is why I am forced to qualify my reliance on his work.

As for the notion that this is an example of how everything has to be a ‚battle‘, what you’re missing here is that the only reason that there is hostility is that Berlet himself went out of his way to create it by repeatedly deleting threads, blocking me, and then smearing me for merely bringing up the racism inherent in Zionism and the work of David Hirsh in a thread (which he deleted, but not before I could get screenshots) in which those matters were of central importance.

Similarly, when he shared my CounterPunch piece, he made changes to the subtitle that utterly misrepresented the argument I was making in order to make it appear more serviceable to his own ends.

If Berlet were willing to take the same critical eye to Zionism that he rightly takes to the various neo-fascist groups his ‚Right Woos Left‘ examines, and if he were willing to take responsibility for his indefensible behaviour towards myself and other comrades whom he smeared for raising the same issues that I raised, the issues with his work and his behaviour would be resolved.]

#45 On Keith Ellison | City of Joyful Dread on 12.07.16 at 08:12

[…] from anti-Zionists.  Élise Hendrick provides an excellent overview of who’s who in her 2015 takedown of Counterpunch.  Clearly, obsession with the Lobby (what Hendrick refers to as “Lobby fetishism”) is less […]

#46 Sanders’ Leftists Embrace Trump and white supremacists: A love-affair made in hell | crazy USA presidential elections on 12.11.16 at 18:15

[…] non-white working class and women whose interests they claim to advocate. When they join Trump and establish links with the white supremacists (publishing right-wingers’ opinions), they show it is easier for them to connect with the […]