Between Sanctuary and Sabotage: Was Frank Furedi Simply a “Communist” Trickster?

Once a upon a time in the British Isles, a land in north western Europe, where thousands of centuries ago Homo sapiens dwelt in caves and dyed their bodies blue there emerged a distinctive group of characters who banded together during the latter decades of the twentieth century to form a fringe political group grandiosely named, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Inspired by the works of the nineteenth century communist theoretician, Karl Marx, they supposedly agitated for the complete overhaul of the British capitalist system. The new order to replace this system was no doubt to be headed by RCP personnel or “comrades” as they would then have fondly yet seriously referred to themselves. The group eventually disbanded in the late 1990s to the surprise of no one who takes an interest in fringe political cults. Their story may have ended here but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Members of the Party and others have morphed into Brexit supporting, Zionist championing, anti-Palestinian British populists and their house journal, Spiked-Online, showcases their current interests and thinking. The first editor of Spiked-Online, Mick Hume, was the editor of RCP’s now defunct journal, Living Marxism (LM).

The main leading guru behind the RCP was the academic Dr. Frank Furedi a first generation migrant originally from Hungary via Canada. He arrived in Britain already as a “former student radical” in the late 1960s and then helped set up his cult of “revolutionary” partisans sometime in the late 1970s after supposedly splitting with the UK’s most famous group of failed revolutionaries, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). His acolytes have included former revolutionary Claire Fox who is now ermine draped unelected parliamentarian “Baroness of Buckley” and has now transferred her allegiance from communism to the late British monarch and her descendants including potentially Prince William’s youngest son the toddler, 3 and half year old Prince Louis; the supposed historian and unabashed pro-Zionist coloniser, Dr. James Heartfield who stood for election on Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party ticket and the anti-multiculturalist scholar and author Dr. Kenan Malik who now writes weekly for the warmongering Observer newspaper. Predictably, Malik has used this platform to belittle the Palestinian struggle against British authored occupation and settler-colonialism.

Furedi’s most consequential acolyte must be considered to be Munira Mirza who according to the BBC was a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and is said to have obtained her Humanities PhD under Furedi’s supervision at the University of Kent. She was Boris Johnson’s policy advisor during his eight year mayoralty of London and for most of his Premiership in Downing Street. Political migration from extreme left to right wing populism is of course nothing new in modern European history with Benito Mussolini its most famous and successful political transmutation. The latter ended up hanged upside down from the gallows but that is another story altogether.

A conventional recourse when grappling with this type of left-to-right political migration is to pinpoint the moment when the transition began to manifest itself. That is, at what point did they begin their Damascene march from the extreme left of the political spectrum to the political right? What political event pushed them over the edge to the other side? When in their political trajectory did they draw the conclusion that it was now morally right to do a 180 volt turn and embrace ideas or the people they once considered an anathema? This essay adopts a different approach. Continue reading

Unpacking the Zionism of ex-Revolutionary, Dr. James Heartfield

Between twenty-five to thirty years ago the only political groupings that guaranteed a fair hearing for the Palestinian cause are those that were and are commonly referred to as the “far left”. The Labour Party had always been an overwhelmingly pro-Zionist organisation until very recently. For Muslim or Islamist groups, Palestine wasn’t a major rallying issue for them back in say the late 1980s or early 1990s.

But even within the so-called “far-left” especially amongst the multitude of Trotskyist organisations one constantly encountered strong pro-Israeli sentiment which continues to this very day. Anyway, it was within this political environment that I came across a magazine called “Living Marxism” published by the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a Trotskyist organisation whose leading guru was Frank Furedi. This organisation had ultimately split from the parent Trotskyist organisation that was headed by Tony Cliffe called, Socialist Workers Party (formerly International Socialists). Living Marxism had stood out from the other Trotsky magazines or journals because it took up more pro-Palestinian or pro-Arab positions than the others vis-à-vis the Zionist occupying entity and also during the first war on Iraq in 1991. Continue reading