What’s in a metaphor….or is there really an attempt to shut down freedom of speech or The Lynching part 1
Click here to see a trailer of The Lynching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Juq9r6q_6UE&feature=share
The Lynching is my one woman show. The first half follows the story of my mother in the Civil Rights Movement in the US in the 1950's, my family’s migration to, and settlement in Britain 1959–1965. The second half adresses my own, more recent political experiences as an activist.
The build up to, and fall out from the first public performance of The Lynching at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 has followed an oft times hysterical, sadly predictable arc, with comments coming almost entirely from people who have never seen the performance.
First they try to get The Lynching banned (yes, I used the ‘they’ word but you know, ‘they’ isn’t a trope — not yet, though ‘they’ are working on it). Then if you object to their (at times underhand, unpleasant and unhinged) lobbying, they accuse you of being a conspiracy theorist and, yes - damn you and whatever you have done, as being ….yes you guessed it — antisemitic!
Best way to crank things up is to start with a straightforward statement, get it shared quickly. So something like a simple ‘Walker gets standing ovation for antisemitic play’ makes for a good start.
By the way notice, have I ever called it a ‘conspiracy’? No — and I certainly have NOT mentioned it being Jewish, and I’ve never said antisemitism doesn’t exist but hell, who cares about accuracy when you’re trying to destroy someone’s reputation. I mean, as long as you smear, you don’t have to prove anything … shit sort of sticks like glue (that’s a SIMILIE though a rather confused one).
And even if ‘they’ are already getting busy trying to shut down the next venue I’m due to attend (The Lynching at the Beautiful Days Festival in Devon in a few weeks time -17,000 people attending and all tickets sold out — hope to see you there), if ANYONE, especially me, even suggests this is a plan, they call it a conspiracy theory (again) AND at the same time accuse that awful Jackie Walker of (using another literary term because it seems to work) — a TROPE!!!! Oh no, not a trope! Now I am in trouble….
So — why do The Lynching at all you may ask?
I and many others have faced, in the last almost 2 years, a combination of news black outs if we attempt to counter their dominant narrative (that’s a mixture of a literary term and cultural theory by the way), which centres around antisemitism, constructed (at least in my case initially) by that innacurate and partisan rag, the Jewish Chronicle. This is then followed up with general media smears and a good helping of downright defamatory remarks, repeated, reported and distorted in a game of whispers….
Now I could have gone where a well known Jewish Labour Movement member recently suggested people like me should go — in a hole to die (look, I didn’t take it personally, as it was pointed out a number of times, by the General Sec of the Labour Party Ian McNichol when he sent me an email telling me why said member (Ella Rose) was not to be disciplined, this was only a METAPHOR and the JLM member using the term, and the other threats made against me and others was onlu using it METAPHORICALLY).
So what would silence by me or others in this context mean?
WAKE UP! Silence doesn’t cut it! Look at the relatively silent Malia Bouattia — she got crucified, or lynched, or burned at the stake (ALL METAPHORS) even after staying pretty much silent as her name was dragged through the mud (METAPHOR)…. so much so that she ended up emotionally shattered after a well organised, and ‘spontaneous’ campaign of haters, Islamaphobes, supporters of Israel and the ‘right’ commenced her decimation from the moment she was elected as President of the NUS.
Second, like it or not, silence is complicity — it means those who press Israel’s case, including the ‘right’ who consistently support them and do whatever they can to ‘knock’ the Left, Corbyn and his supporters, it means the majority of the mainstream media — it means it’s them who get to decide the agenda. It means there’s no counter pressure building to support the pro-Palestinian cause. Silence for me would mean accepting the narrative ‘they’ promote; that antisemitism is a major problem in the Labour Party and, while I totally agree it exists in and outside the Party — that’s right IT EXISTS — I don’t agree it is a major and exceptional problem on the LEFT or in the Labour Party.
Then there’s the ‘not now’, wait till we get elected, don’t rock the boat crew, the ‘it’s a distraction’ and the ‘nobody cares’ brigade….. There’s some truth here. When you knock on doors, speak to ‘ordinary people’ very few (in electoral terms) spontaneously if ever in my experience raise antisemitism at the door. Of course this by itself should not be a measure of its importance but it does suggest a question as to why the media is so … obsessed with it.
So — to the ‘it’s a distraction.’ ‘Do we really want to feed the media monster’ that bombards the leadership with questions — not about the economy or any new socialist agenda, not about minorities excluded from the Labour Party, but about one form of racism — antisemitism. And if you aren’t black, care about freedom of speech, believe in the new politics, seek justice in domestic and foreign affairs then maybe you should just sit down, pay your memberships fee and button up (sounds a bit New Labourish but hey — anything to get into power). Mind you, if you think silence would make a difference, you really haven’t been watching the progress of those who conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism have you.
Now having cranked it up let’s go on to the more official style of smearing, for example, the nonsense regurgitated by the Board of Deputies. By the way, at this point I’m ignoring the comment from my FB page that opined ‘If you’re such a threat, how come it’s only the deputies who get involved and not the first team?’ Ahem!!!
Never mind, getting back to the Deputies contribution, let’s also ignore that most of the points they make have been addressed a number of times …
So, while the Board is in the mood to talk of the past, let’s just have a look at some of the history of commentary by the Board (and others) and judge if the METAPHOR ‘book burning’ is in any way applicable.
This one goes back a way, after all the Board has followed me round a number of venues since the start, using its status as a representative of synogogues to ‘pack a punch’ (METAPHOR) when trying to get meetings shut down, in particular, at church venues.
But leaving beside the Board, I’m particularly partial to this example from the self proclaimed ‘Eye on Antisemitism’ run, I think, by that woman called Shitrit (no joke) and a few of her mates from a living room in suburbia that smears by using, for example, a random quote ‘from the rivers to the sea’ (which I have neither spoken or written) couched in another well known and successful technique — call yourself the campaign for apple pie and you look as if you should be taken seriously and, if you are really lucky, you can twist things enough, appearing to be the victim (while you harrass and troll others) being ….victimised.
And we all know what awful warmongerers and thugs the Quakers are don’t we….always silently going in for Jew-hate fests the way they do … ahem!
Now — to the objection to the title, the use of the term LYNCHING!!!
I mean, how dare a black woman make a reference to lynching when much of the first half of the show deals with the American Civil Rights movement, the atrocities her ancestors experienced and, yes you guessed it, lynchings!!!
Who is she? Doesn’t this woman understand it’s up to white people to make those kind of choices of what to call hanging black people from the neck with a rope and bringing your friends to watch it as a way of controlling blacks??!!! And heaven help her if she extends that image (a literary term) and uses lynching as a metaphor (use of literary terms are OURS!!!), as in the well used term ‘a political lynching.’ What the fuck is wrong with her, tweets David Sugarman, an obvious expert on the matter of lynchings, black history, black culture, my family ancestry AND metaphors.
So that’s part 1 — or the background….. to The Lynching, this attempt at ‘book burning’ (a METAPHOR) of The Lynching (a METAPHOR with a historical reference). Part 2 will be along very soon. If I haven’t of course been lynched…..