This post is by Jessica Goldfinch, Norwich Green Party
A lot of organisations can start off with the best of intentions and then it seems some can morph,
over time, into something that is ugly and more worryingly, ‘acceptable’.
Racism becomes acceptable; violent words become acceptable; sharing platforms with known
racists, Holocaust denialists, annihilists and antisemites becomes acceptable. The drip-drip nature
of it allows this to become an acceptable norm. It remains unchallenged and the original cause is
muddied and becomes ugly.
This process can apply to any group and my experiences of being part of my local ‘Anti-Apartheid’
group applied to me. The goal was clear – One man, one vote. If this was achieved, the face of South
Africa would change at the very first free elections. I joined boycotts; I took part in protests; wrote
letters and joined in direct action – all good, all very innocent. Then it turned very ugly.
The anti-white racism grew, the language became violent and threatening, boycotts turned into
witch-hunting and denying opportunities for on-the-ground cooperation – I cannot speak for the
entire Anti-Apartheid movement obviously. People laughed openly about extreme violence against
white citizens. Everything ‘black’ was good and everything ‘white’ was bad. Rational thought turned
to ‘black and white thinking’ – oh the irony.
My turning point came when I found out that a blind-eye was being turned away from the internal
politics within the townships and slums. The internal punishment culture, given tacit agreement
by some known township activists – people being macheted or ‘necklaced’; women being raped;
children being abused; drug and people trafficking; inter- and intra- tribal violence; the killing of
pygmies. These are, of course sadly, common occurrences within the context of grinding poverty,
discrimination and alienation within any group – but not acceptable. There were no trials or internal
legal framework; people simply disappeared and their crimes? In a lot of instances, associating with
white people and often associating with joint peace projects.
Where is my evidence? Sadly, I’ve been unable to find documentary evidence for all my points.
This is based on verbal accounts from all sides and was talked about quite openly within our group
from people who had lived there and I was stunned to find this going unchallenged and that our
donations were not monitored, so, down the chain we were funding and supporting these violent
activities. I left.
Of course, the fall of Apartheid was a fantastic achievement but to ignore torture and abuse for the
sake of expediency and the ‘bigger picture’ is unacceptable to me. Not confronting, in a rational
way, lends tacit agreement and support. Not many groups are immune from this ‘blindsight’, the
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) included.
Sadly, the recent postings on PSC websites are not a surprise to me. It’s been building since
inception, drip-drip, unchallenged from within and so ‘acceptable’.
One can choose to trust the sources or not, but following the links within leads to the original and
makes it pretty clear.
If I’ve said it a hundred times – I do not support violence and racist practice and that includes in
Israel or any dodgy groups associated with it and I am not part of groups that do this and challenge
any internal discrimination when I see it. However, I am weary of trying to just get a fair view of
Israel in these sites. All is evil with no redeeming features.
“It’s not all of us; of course I don’t support that person…this person…you mustn’t forget the overall
cause; some of what s/he says is true; every group has it’s bad apples; just ignore them; they don’t
speak for us all;…” so says a member of the PSC? No, that was me in the 80s; sunlight came in and I
Mira adds: the PSC featured quite prominently in Green Party conference promotion (for example, in the advert in Green World, the party members’ magazine). Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign have an official Green Party Autumn Conference fringe on – uh-oh – September 11th. I wonder, will this fringe succumb to the temptation to ‘commemorate’ the acts of terror against US workers by attempting to implicate Israel? I wish I didn’t find it so likely – perhaps somebody could let us know. At any rate, the obviously antisemitic shoah.org are promoting this fringe. Bad company for the Green Party.
Jess adds: Julia Bacha’s TED Talk, ‘Pay attention to non-violence‘