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Aufstehen gegen Rassismus

Stand up Against Racism. Stop the AfD


Aufstehen gegen Rassismus (AgR) Berlin participates in central anti-racist campaigns. The next one will be a decentralized action to commemorate victims of the racist murders in Hanau on 18 August followed by a national demonstration on 22 August in Hanau.

In particular, we focus on the role of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) as the arsonist and parliamentary arm of right-wing terror. The AfD is well networked with Islamophobes, Nazi thugs and hooligans. Their agitation against Muslims and fugitives, their assertion of an alleged “Great Exchange” encouraged the assassins of Hanau, andthe murderer of Walter Lübcke to their cruel deeds.

For the super election year 2021 we are preparing for militant anti-racist and anti-fascist election campaigns. The Bundestag will be newly elected, following the 2017 elections when the AfD – a fascist party in the making – became the third strongest faction and the official opposition in the Bundestag.

In additional to the national election, elections to the House of Representatives and the district parliaments (BVV) will take place in Berlin. The AfD will also stand, and will try to use the election campaigns as a platform for their inhumane theses and to pull themselves out of their current slump. We want to prevent this from happening.

For this reason, we invite all interested parties to participate in our campaign “If you vote for AfD, you’re voting for Nazis!” No event, no information stand, no action of the AfD should remain unchallenged! Because fascism and racism are not opinions, but crimes. Our alternative is solidarity!

Sir Keir Starmer’s Panorama Court Case Drama

(not featuring a llama)


In another predictably disappointing turn of events, Keir Starmer’s ‘New Management Labour’, has settled a court case they were very likely to win; issuing a cringing apology and paying damages to those pursuing legal action. [1]

What (the heck) happened?

A few days ago, the Labour Party settled a court case that their own legal team had advised they had a very good chance of winning. The case related to the controversial BBC Panorama documentary “Is Labour anti-Semitic?” aired in July 2019, in which several former Labour Party officials affirmed that, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, it definitely was antisemitic. These former officials accused Corbyn and his associates of undermining their attempts to take disciplinary action against Labour Party members accused of antisemitism. The Labour Party at the time disputed the accuracy of the programme, describing the Panorama documentary as:

“a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning…Panorama distorted and manipulated the truth and misrepresented evidence to present a biased and selective account.” [2]

The documentary had a significant impact. It gained widespread news coverage, while fuelling negative headlines about Corbyn and deepening the crisis in the Labour Party on the issue of antisemitism and the Party’s response. It formed part of a wider anti-Corbyn narrative in the run up to the 2019 General Election. The BBC received over 1,500 complaints about the programme, but upheld none. The UK media regulator Ofcom refused to investigate the programme.

Who was suing whom?

The person mainly responsible for the Panorama documentary was John Ware. He and the former Labour Party staffers who provided testimony, took legal action against the Labour Party following the Party’s response to the documentary, accusing it of defaming their character.

Credibility of the ‘Whistle-Blowers’

The credibility of the former Labour ‘whistle-blowers’ has been brought into question by a leaked internal Labour Party report. This report evidences a deeply factional anti-Corbyn culture at Labour headquarters during the period covered in the documentary. The leaked report is based in large part on WhatsApp conversations (saved to a Labour Party email account) between senior Labour staffers, including some of the Panorama interviewees.

The evidence in the leaked report suggests that, rather than Corbyn undermining efforts to tackle antisemitism, the very people claiming to be ‘whistle-blowers’ were themselves guilty of the very failings for which they blamed Corbyn. [3] The report contains evidence that staffers responsible for handling complaints were slow to deal with serious cases of antisemitism within the party. In fact they were devoting more time to factional politics, such as prioritising a project to suspend Corbyn supporters during the leadership election of 2016.

The ‘Compliance Unit’, where these staffers worked in senior roles, took 16 months to suspend a member of Labour International CLP who suggested that the Holocaust was a hoax. This same member had defended Oswald Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts online. It took a lot of pressure from ordinary Party members, including a petition and contact with members of the Labour NEC, to get to that suspension.

Schrödinger’s leadership: both interfering in, and failing to intervene in, the disputes process

The Labour leadership was so dreadful that, according to the Panorama documentary, it somehow managed to both fail to act on complaints, and inappropriately interfere in the complaints process. Leaked emails first reported by Buzzfeed in May 2019, show that the Corbyn leadership team made repeated attempts to encourage the disputes team to take quicker and more decisive action on antisemitism cases. [4] There is no evidence to show that they made ‘inappropriate interventions’ in the disputes process beyond this.

However, these emails were selectively quoted by Panorama in order to imply the opposite. An email that Seumas Milne (a former senior Corbyn adviser) wrote to Sam Matthews (one of the ‘whistle-blowers’) was quoted out of context. It was made to appear as though he was sabotaging a decision made by Matthews and trying to interfere in the disciplinary process. However, Milne was responding to a request for his opinion on a particular case. [5]

Jennie Formby, former General Secretary of the Labour Party, also had an email taken out of context. That email was made to appear as though she was interfering in order to change the panellists on a disputes panel. However, the omitted context actually shows that she was just trying to speed up the process.

This failure to accurately report on the leaked emails, and the complete lack of any voices with a different perspective, demonstrates that the Panorama documentary makers had already decided that the answer to the question: “Is Labour anti-Semitic?” was “yes.” They then selectively used email evidence, and the testimony of those with an apparent factional axe to grind, to ‘prove’ it. It is notable that such a one-sided view of this controversial and sensitive subject was produced by the supposedly ‘balanced’ BBC.

Why did Labour choose to settle?

Jeremy Corbyn issued a statement in which he called the decision to settle “a political decision, not a legal one.”  [6] In this he was almost certainly right. Given Starmer’s recent actions to marginalise the left wing of the party, it is likely that this was at least part of his motivation. A win in the courts would have strengthened the left of the party, and brought the leaked report further into the open, showing the anti-Corbyn faction in a negative light.

It suits Starmer to accept that Corbyn was to blame for mishandling anti-Semitism complaints, rather than his own factional allies. Just possibly Starmer may also have thought that he could draw a line under the Labour antisemitism crisis by apologising and paying damages. A signal to the anti-Corbyn sections of the establishment that he is different and willing to play their game. Perhaps he thought he could make it all go away and start afresh, free from the Corbyn-era of fierce factional infighting. If he did think this, I think he was naïve. Time will tell.

What next?

The Labour Party is still investigating the leaked report. This capitulation to some of those named in the report does not bode well for the outcome of this investigation. Already more potential lawsuits are appearing on the horizon, with former General Secretary Baron Iain McNicol announcing his intention to sue the Labour Party. [7]

John Ware has also said that he may sue Jeremy Corbyn; a statement that resulted in a huge outpouring of support for Corbyn. A ‘Go Fund Me’, set up by Corbyn supporter Carole Morgan to help Corbyn with legal fees that may arise from this, currently stands at over £300,000, made up of small donations from around 16,000 supporters. This has upset those on the right of the Labour Party who have suddenly started shouting about how it’s important to fund food banks and help for refugees, rather than old, ‘wealthy’ white men. This shows that they are missing the point entirely. Many of us do fund these things as well, but we’d rather build a fair world where we didn’t have to.

The socialists in the Labour Party stand with Corbyn – because he stood with us. He shared our determination to create a better world; he gave us hope that the Labour Party could be a vehicle for significant positive change. He enthused a new generation with policies on free education, a fair minimum wage for young people, a Green New Deal and so much more.

Those in the Party who worked against a Corbyn-led Labour victory used anti-Semitism complaints to further factional ends. That is – if the Leaked Report is accurate, and there is no good reason to think it is not (the accuracy of the WhatsApp messages has not, to my knowledge, been disputed). The ex-Labour officials with an axe to grind should not get to tell their version of events unchallenged – when so much more, contradictory, evidence exists. Contributing to Jeremy’s legal fund, should he need it, says to the factional wreckers on the right that Corbyn is not on his own, we are with him in solidarity and we are not giving up without a fight.

Anna Southern is still a member of Labour Berlin, but its becoming more difficult every day. She wrote this article for




2 Labour Party Spokesperson, 10th July 2019.

3 For more on the leaked report and its relation to the Panorama ‘whistle-blowers’, see Novara Media.


5 For more on leaked emails see this report in Jacobin.

6 Jeremy Corbyn, quoted in Labour List.


German – Anti-German – Syn-German?

The Afterlife of the Pro-Israeli Left in Germany


While traveling abroad, chatting with fellow activists in a bar or a demonstration, time and again some version of the following perplexed question is put to me after I reveal I come from Berlin: these so-called… Anti-Germans…what on earth is that about? Personal experience or second-hand accounts of relatively young radicals, consciously locating themselves in traditions of Marxism and Critical Theory, organizing antifascist demonstrations, while—this is where the questioner’s perplexed tone sharpens audibly—waving Israeli flags and professing their unconditional support for the right-wing regime firmly planted in the Jewish state? For foreign onlookers it is more than understandable that young Germans might find their own unique ways to politically channel their historical awareness and their inherited guilt, but this uncritical, performative adoration struck almost anyone outside the German-speaking world at best as bizarre . A true German exception, begging for a plausible explanation. Clearly, something more than a simple dynamic of guilt is afoot here.

The beginnings of this all-too-German worldview had, it turns out, little to do with Middle Eastern politics as its intellectual catalyst. Instead, anti-German organizations first sprouted in the interstices of the bleak state of progressive politics in the early 1990s following the Soviet Union’s dissolution and subsequent reunification of Germany. German nationalism reignited as it hadn’t in any of the post-war decades; assiduously, and with great ceremony, among the formal institutions of the newly consolidated state; but also viciously, prompting racist pogroms and igniting Neo-Nazi subcultural momentum, especially in the economically depleted former East. This outbreak of nationalism led much of the left to focus on combating these new dangers. This was the precise context of the emergence of Antifa as first urban and then national phenomena—which until today remains among the most important segments of elaborated activist praxis in the country.

In view of this changing situation and the regrouping of the left, new theoretical challenges arose. How to explain the allure of ethno-nationalism in a globalized, EU-ified, post-socialist context fifty years after the ostensible discrediting of ethno-nationalism with the defeat of German fascism? Did the left fail to recruit the working classes in the struggle for an egalitarian society? And finally, how to countenance the historical sequence, frequently unacknowledged, of the evisceration of German Socialism which was necessary for the Nazis’ ascent and eventual capture of the state?

Some of the answers to these pressing questions were, in an ironic twist, peculiarly ethnocentric – detecting the shortcomings of the local struggle in the supposed uniqueness of German nationalism – primarily in its ability to mobilize anti-capitalist sentiments through antisemitic conspiracy theories and pacify the people with deranged fantasies of racial superiority. A fruitful contribution to this debate was the thematizing of a vulgar critique of capitalism, elements of which could be found in right-wing as well as in left-wing movements. This “abbreviated critique” shies away from a general condemnation of Capitalism and discriminates between economic activities as either “honest”, productive and national-based on the one hand, or “dishonest”, speculative and international on the other, while blaming specific groups or persons for exploiting the system out of greed. Together with crude anti-Americanism and militant anti-Zionism, which were not unpopular at the time, these phenomena have come to be seen by these new critics of German conditions as the gateway drug to fascism and antisemitism. Paraphrasing Brecht’s line on the reemergence of nationalism “The womb he crawled from is still going strong”: the left was by no means exempted from a deep self-examination to the extent to which it itself spread such problematic images.

Such disputes in a handful of small publications laid the foundation for what would be known at the end of the millennium as the “anti-German” trend – a wild mixture of ex-Maoist fringe groups, punk-styled attitude, and a cryptic academic debate. Not by chance this coincided with a much wider mainstream turn toward public Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coming to terms with the past) – in which German officials and intellectuals stressed the need to account for the Nazi past, prompting historical research on the wide collaboration of ordinary Germans with the execution of the holocaust. One could have almost presumed that such deliberation had the positive effect of challenging long-held doctrines within the left, were it not for the outburst of the second Intifada and the global war on terror, which enlisted many of its participants into a dogmatic, and increasingly racist and militaristic support for the neocolonial onslaught on the Middle-East.

How could that happen? Due to lack of space to cover the vast theoretical labyrinth of these groups, I’ll put it briefly: through an astonishing degree of German-centrism and a fully pathological process of projection. Conceptualizing antisemitism as an essential element of German modernity, and setting their only Categorical Imperative in the prevention of a second Auschwitz. These provincial militants, most of whom never even spoke to an Israeli or a Palestinian in their life, have come to see the state of Israel as an antifascist bastion in the midst of the Islamic World, in dire need of protection. The Nazis of the past came alive as contemporary Palestinians, and the new cloak of antisemitism appeared as the critique of Israel. In the name of progress, no in the name of communism, the occupation of the West Bank, the Iraq Invasion and the Iran Sanctions must be justified. Until such (end) times as the abolition of capitalism and /or establishment of a free society, there simply is no alternative to a strong Israel.

For non-Germans this might all sound extremely ridiculous, but let us not forget that such forms of “transferred nationalism” are not new, even on the intellectual left. Self-proclaimed progressives who idolize Assad’s Syria, the Chinese Communist Party or even Putin are not as rare as one might wish. As George Orwell brilliantly pointed out in his otherwise theoretically vague essay “Notes on Nationalism”, such a transference makes it possible for its adherent “to be much more nationalistic – more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest – than he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge”, More importantly, as Orwell stresses out, having found his new fatherland, “he can wallow unrestrainedly in exactly those emotions from which he believes that he has emancipated himself”.

Perhaps it is the need for such clear-cut dislocation of national sentiment which explains the demise of the Anti-Germans in recent years, at least under this banner. Sadly this has little to do with a political failure on their part but actually in their startling success infiltrating the political mainstream. From a radical movement which imagined itself as the enemy of the state, many of its most vociferous proponents have come to occupy leading roles in reformist parties (especially in their youth movements) and publicly funded organizations. And also the German state, under the guise of Merkelism had publicly embraced Israel in ways previously unimaginable – proclaiming its protection as a German raison d’etre and institutionalizing in countless resolutions the fight against antisemitism, or what it perceives as such, meaning mainly critique of Zionism and pro-Palestinian activism. And so, as the circle closes again and not antisemitism, but philosemitism becomes a basic feature of the current German Ideology, the vast majority of Anti-Germans have bid their farewell to a stance of radical dissent and moved toward liberal adaptation or even to an open flirtation with the populist right; dialectically progressing. One could say there is nowadays no better example of a synthesis of the new German Geist.

Yossi Bartal, originally from Jerusalem, is an activist and author living in Berlin. This article was written for

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Berlin

Building the US Left post-Bernie2020


Germany for Bernie has decided to form Berlin chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Despite Bernie Sanders’s disappointing loss in the Democratic Presidential Primary, there is still a strong future for the leftist ideals to grow and gain influence in the US and throughout the world. Progressive victories in recent primaries—including elections for national, state, and local level offices—have shown that left-wing politics still has real purchase in the US.

Throughout this summer’s primary calendar, Germany for Bernie has continued to fight for the candidates that support our ideals, including phonebanking and texting for Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, and Ilhan Omar.

In order to keep up our work as effectively as we can, we have decided to transition into a new organizational form as a group. After much deliberation and consultation with our closest supporters, Germany for Bernie made the decision to pursue forming one of the first international chapters of Democratic Socialists of America.

This will allow us to keep up the work we do best—volunteering for candidates who share our values and discussing progressive ideas—as well as partnering with a growing organization back in the US, fostering ties with similar groups in Berlin and around the world, and fighting for local progressive issues.

As we begin our journey as a DSA chapter, we want to build as large a base of support as possible. Please register your interest at this link, or email Ted Knudsen ( with any questions.

The Uprising of the 20,000 and Clara Lemlich

Rebellious Daughters of History #45 by ,,Judy Cox The Uprising of the 20,000 On November 23, 1909, more than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry. Workers shared common grievances about wages, hours, workplace safety, and workplace indignities suffered […]


Rebellious Daughters of History #45

by ,,Judy Cox

The Uprising of the 20,000

On November 23, 1909, more than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry.

Workers shared common grievances about wages, hours, workplace safety, and workplace indignities suffered specifically by women such as unwanted sexual advances.

The young strikers faced opposition from the manufacturers, the police, and the courts. Bosses hired thugs to abuse strikers, policemen arrested them on trumped-up charges of assault and courts fined them and sentenced them to the workhouse.

Members of the Women’s Trade Union League monitored the picket lines and raised funds. The Forverts, the United Hebrew Trades, the Arbeter-ring (Workmen’s Circle), and the Socialist Party all provided support.

By November, Local 25 had no strike funds left but instead of giving in, Local 25’s fifteen-member executive committee (six of whom were women and all socialists) called for a general strike to shut down the shirtwaist industry.

On November 22, 1909 – thousands of young women packed into a hall to discuss the strike call. For two hours, they heard speakers urging caution. For two hours the leading figures of the American labour movement held forth.Then Clara Lemlich Shavelson demanded the floor. Speaking Yiddish, she electrified the crowd: “I am a working girl, one of those who are on strike against intolerable conditions…. I offer a resolution that a general strike be declared—now.” The crowd unanimously pledged support for the general strike.

The following morning, approximately fifteen thousand shirtwaist workers took to the streets. By evening, the number swelled to more than twenty thousand, 90 percent of whom were Jewish and 70 percent women.

Clara Lemlich suffered six broken ribs and was arrested a total of seventeen times. The strikers -malnourished and poorly clad—handed out leaflets, raised funds, distributed strike benefits and organised meetings.

The general strike was called off on February 15, 1910. The uprising achieved significant gains. Most workshops granted a fifty-two-hour week, at least four paid holidays, no discrimination against union loyalists, no charges for tools and materials and negotiation of wages.

By the end of the strike, 85 percent of all shirtwaist makers in New York had joined the ILGWU. Local 25, which began the strike with a hundred members, now counted ten thousand.

Inspired by the shirtwaist makers, sixty thousand cloak makers—men, this time—launched the Great Revolt in the summer of 1910. After five years of unrest, the “needle trades” emerged as one of the best organized in the United States.

Clara Lemlich (1886 – 1982)

Clara was born March 28, 1886, in the Ukrainian city of Gorodok, to a Jewish family. Clara wrote letters for illiterate neighbors to raise money for her books. A neighbour introduced her to revolutionary literature, Clara became a committed socialist. She immigrated to the United States with her family in 1903, following a pogrom in Kishinev.

Clara found a job in the garment industry in New York. She became involved in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and was elected to the executive board of Local 25 of the ILGWU.

As noted above, she galvanised a strike meeting. Her electrifying speech is bolded below. After demanding to speak, she was lifted onto the platform, and she said:

‘I have listened to all the speakers, and I have no further patience for talk. I am a working girl, one of those striking against intolerable conditions. I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in generalities. What we are here for is to decide whether or not to strike. I make a motion that we go out in a general strike.’

The crowd voted for a general strike. Approximately 20,000 out of the 32,000 workers in the shirtwaist trade walked out in the next two days; the Uprising of the 20,000.

Clara spoke at rallies until she lost her voice and returned to the picket lines with six broken ribs after being beaten by police.

The strike lasted until February 10, 1910, producing union contracts at almost every shop.

Blacklisted from the industry, Clara devoted herself to the campaign for women’s suffrage.
Clara fell out with the middle class suffrage leaders and set up the Wage Earner’s Suffrage League.

Clara continued her suffrage activities for the Women’s Trade Union League. In 1914, Clara married Joe Shavelson in 1913. She had five children.

In 1926, she joined the Communist Party and began organising housewives in the east side.

Clara organised The United Council of Working Class Housewives which organised boycotts and stopped evictions and raised money and organised child care for strikers.

In 1929, Clara launched the United Council of Working Class Women, which had nearly fifty branches in New York City. The Council led a boycott of butcher shops to protest high meat prices in 1935, using flying pickets to close more than 4,000 butchers’ shops in New York City. The strike was based in the Jewish and African-American communities. The Councils were destroyed by the anti communist witch hunts of the early 1950s.

Clara then became active in the Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women’s Clubs, protesting against nuclear weapons, and against the War in Vietnam, stopping evictions and forging alliances with Sojourners for Truth, an African-American women’s civil rights organization.

Lemlich remained an unwavering member of the Communist Party, denouncing the trial and execution of the Rosenbergs. Her passport was revoked after a trip to the Soviet Union in 1951.

She moved to California to be near her children in the 1960s, and entered the Jewish Home for the Aged in Los Angeles where she persuaded the management to join in the United Farm Workers boycotts of grapes and lettuce. She died at the home on July 12, 1982, at age ninety-six.


112Dimitra Kyrillou, Andrew Burgin and 110 others