Smooth operators

It has been brought to my attention that the current regroupment process of the British post- Trotskyist left seems to involve prospective talks and an exchange of ideas between individual activists from the IS Network and Beyond Europe, a self-defined “anti-authoritarian platform against capitalism” consisting of two Greek groups (Antiauthoritarian Movement and Drasi), Plan C from the UK, and Ums Ganze from Germany and Austria.

Just a few words about the German- Austrian component: Ums Ganze is an ‘anti-national’ federation of several local groups from the soft ‘anti-German’ milieu. For them, there is no such thing as human agency under capitalism: it is an impersonal system in which bankers who make a fortune are as much ‘victims’ as workers who now sleep on park benches in Athens. To misquote Marx, their position might be summed up as “Men do not make their own history, only circumstances do”. From this follows that any activism directed against capitalists and their agents is regressive because it is based on a “personalised critique of capitalism” that can only end in barbarism. Examples of such proto-barbaric acts would include strikes for higher wages.

Unlike the hardline end of the ‘anti- German’ spectrum, Ums Ganze are made up of activists who – despite their ideology – have participated in popular struggles such as Blockupy Frankfurt, if only as missionaries seeking to enlighten the protesting plebs about their structural anti-Semitism. One might say that Ums Ganze seeks to cleanse the radical left of its ‘reductionist critique of capitalism’ (read: class struggle) and ‘anti-Semitism’ (read: anti-imperialism) in a gentler fashion than, say, the shock troop ‘AG No Tears for Krauts’ that physically attacked and broke up an Iran-themed leftwing meeting in the city of Halle on November 30.

The federation’s moderate manners do not preclude friendly relations with some usual suspects. Earlier this month, its local group from the town of Tübingen, LevelUP, hosted a talk on Iran by the hardcore ‘anti-German’ war monger Stephan Grigat, a key activist of the misnamed ‘Stop the Bomb’ campaign on whom I have written at length last year (‘Anti-Germans: not part of the leftWeekly Worker October 4 2012). According to the LevelUP advertising, Grigat had been invited to answer burning questions such as “Is Iran’s new president Rohani a bearer of hope or just the friendly face of terror?” and “How should Israel and the west react to the new situation?”. During his presentation, he openly admitted his support for neo-conservative positions – a confession that came as a shock to no-one, seeing as he normally prefers to give his talks to right-populist circles these days.

I have been observing the regroupment process in Left Unity, the IS Network et al, with scepticism. Nonetheless, I trust and hope that the comrades’ ‘broad’ political eclecticism and ‘inclusiveness’ will not extend to post-left advocates of Zionism, anti- Muslimism and the War on Terror.


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