Smearing a movement is the oldest trick in the book….

I am distinctly unconvinced by the allegations that Aaron Porter was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse.  Of course, you should always add the caveat that if it did happen its utterly contemptible but given the complete paucity of the evidence for the prosecution I am erring towards siding with the defence. Even if it were true the actions of a few have never justified the condemnation of the many.

Remember the movement against the Iraq War? Before it became accepted establishment wisdom that it was a horrific mistake it was routinely implied that those opposed to it were somehow deeply in love with Saddam Hussein and had a strange affinity for his regime. In the case of some this was undoubtedly true but I can’t imagine how you can bend the stick so far such an argument could apply to everybody in the movement and remain logically coherent.

This is the oldest trick in the book. Pick an extreme and therefore probably slightly distasteful point of view and liberally apply to the entire movement with a spray can of blatant untruths the size of which would make you average graffiti artist green with envy. If it has just enough tenuous basis in truth to stick, it will turn comrade on comrade. In this case ‘the anchor’ to reality is not that Aaron Porter is hated for being Jewish but actually is disliked for being perceived, largely correctly, as being a careerist and having sold out his own members. Instead of a frank discussion about this; the media finds it much more useful to its vested interests to invent a shadow truth to hide the real truth.

However, its a tactic that is only usually deployed in fear. Towards the end, the movement against the Iraq War got pretty damn big. It’s not the same this time; what scares the establishment was the militancy, not the size as things stand. Ever since Millbank a full spread of smear tactics have been deployed against the movement. Millbank was something of a failure in terms of a smear campaign, I distinctly remember a poll showing 65% odd support for the student position despite the violence.

Socially the movement is also comprised in a large part of what is actually a core constituency for the government – aspirational middle class families and their offspring. It simply wouldn’t do to have these people revolting against the government. Further down the class ladder the labour movement is in tatters and the poor have been successfully marginalised. The last thing that is therefore wanted is a revolt in the ‘backyard’ of the establishment. For the moment this has worked and for want of a clear and coherent alternative as well as some leadership the energies of the movement seem to be a little diffuse currently.

However, this won’t last… should be remembered that this tactic is a squeal of desperation, not a show of strength and that the movement can overcome these difficulties if it develops a coherent alternative to the status quo.


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21 responses to “Smearing a movement is the oldest trick in the book….”

  1. ianrobo says :

    this is so difficult when 75% of the media are against you and will say whatever they like to ensure as you say the movement is meared

    shows you how worried they are

    however I fear for the TUC march, if that kicks off could cause massive damage


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Indeed it is. This is where we need to be creative in using new media to undermine the power of the existing media.

    It does indeed.

    I do too and seeing how the Manchester demo was policed yesterday does nothing to fill me with confidence as I would expect the Met to be worse.


    • ianrobo says :

      Darrell look at teh reports in the guardian in regards to the protests and the use of CS spray and pepper spray not on the BBC website’s headlines …

      now if that had happened at teh country side alliance ?

      at the TUC march any small incident will be blown 1000 times out of context and Kay Burley will be there in full flak jacket !!


      • darrellgoodliffe says :


        I will do, thank you for the tip-off. I have seen tweets to that effect and frankly its disgusting.

        Indeed….the media would be up in arms ‘defending democracy’.

        Indeed it will….


  3. Paul Perrin says :

    According to the Sunday Time report – Aaron is *not* Jewish at all. The report of the incident in the Mail on Sunday didn’t mention this though.

    From my reading it seems that ‘Jew’ is being used as a term of general abuse/insult (like ‘bastard’, ‘c*nt’) this started up north and its spreading south. It is nothing to do with religion…

    I have to say I find this particularly nasty/distasteful -giving the word itself a negative aura. But that seems to be what is happening.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    If Aaron isn’t Jewish I find that makes the story even more unlikely. I am sorry, I just don’t believe it because I have not seen one iota of convincing proof from a credible source. Give me that and I might change my mind but until then I stand by the above.

    What your saying is pure speculation….and it seems to me to be predicated on you thinking the story is true and I don’t.


  5. John Reid says :

    10secs in and again at 19secs, when at that point there are cheers as two asian lads say anti jewish racist remarks again

    re:guardian story on CS spray used by police, after a girls arrested for criminal damage when protesters get in there way to take her to the prison van, got a link?


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I heard nothing clear at 10secs; from about 20-21 secs I did hear ‘I want to hit you with my shoe’ which could be the ending of a racist chant so yes that is as I say potentially utterly contemptible. Having said that as I clearly say even if it is true it doesn’t change the central point of this post. You cannot judge a whole movement by the acts of a few.

    I don’t think posting a letter constitutes criminal damage now does it…I don’t mind admitting I barracked the police for arresting a protester for swearing yesterday. Didn’t physically intervene but the police have lost the plot on these demonstrations.


  7. Robert says :

    You cannot judge a whole movement by the acts of a few.


  8. Robert says :

    You cannot judge a whole movement by the acts of a few.

    Start again.

    Yes thats what Germany said at the end of the war, it was those nazi’s that did it “not use”.

    But of course since I was not at the march I did not see or hear what went on, so basically have little to say about it.


  9. Paul Perrin says :

    @darrellgoodliffe All I am saying, is that being called a ‘jew’ is not necessarily ‘anti-semitic abuse’ any more than being called a c*nt or pr*ck is sexist abuse…

    You wouldn’t bat an eyelid (or question) aaron being called one of those things, so it is no more surprising (today) for him to be called ‘jew’.

    The big issue is how/why the word ‘jew’ is being used like this, and why the press are choosing to report that as ‘anti-semitic’ abuse.

    The anti-semites are those who have introduced the word ‘jew’ as a general term of abuse, not those who have started to use it like that – thats just how language spreads…


  10. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well the Germans were right to say that. Not all Germans were Nazis. Alot actively resisted and paid with their lives; a great deal more were simply not Nazis or are you implying you feel they were?


    I’m not denying anything you say. I’m just questioning whether he was called a jew at all….in the manner you describe or indeed in any way…thats what isnt proven to my mind


  11. John Reid says :

    If a bloke was constantly swering at the gates of a junior school and was asked to stop and refused and also refused to move long or be moved long and was arrested ,would that be wrong, or is the policy of offensive language to the public wrong.

    I got the youtube link from t he guradian here he apparently is called a f@@king jew, i could’nt make it out either ,but the guardian could,


  12. Robert says :

    Bloody hell John it would be obvious he was a Terrorist if he was at the school gates.


  13. versietaylor says :

    lol @ Robert.

    But I agree that smear campaigns are the oldest trick in the book and the reason they’re still in the “book” is because they just works. You can write anything on some blog post and somebody is bound to believe it.
    I remember having some problems with a cybernut a couple of years ago. This guy hacked my social accounts that I had for my business, and he just started spewing lies and filth about my company wherever he could. Trust in my company plummeted because there were some people that actually believed the lies. Worst part is I couldn’t do anything to protect my image.
    One of my friends directed me to and they helped me get back on my feet and remove this nuisance. They’re professionals that know how to deal with these kind of problems so maybe Aaron Porter might want to give them a try.


  14. John Reid says :

    what you talking about if a bloke at school gates started swearing, that they’d be a terrorist, they could be someone with mental health problems, or drunk, or just an idiot who wanted to make a scene,


  15. versietaylor says :

    Well yea John, that guy would probably be arrested for disturbing the peace. Only then will they find out if he’s actually a terrorist or not…which is dumb from the get-go. You can’t assume that every guy that goes on a screaming-spree just for the hell of it is a terrorist. 🙂


  16. John Reid says :

    are you joking, of course they’re not terrorists, if this Is a joke it’s gone over my head!


  17. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I agree that in principle the problem is that it’s in the book because it works. Thats horrible, I hope you were able to get that trust back and the person who did it was stopped. Problem is that very few people are inclined to scratch the surface.

    Well, assuming Aaron wanders along here I guess he might like to do that. However, I will say that while the actions of any people who racially abused Porter are contemptabile there are some legitmate grievences that he needs to address..


  18. versietaylor says :

    Thanks Darrell. I got my accounts back and the attacks stopped soon afterwards. We have yet to actually catch the bad guys but I’m glad I’ve actually fought back instead of just starting again from scratch.


  19. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Its quite ok. Glad to hear you got your account back but bad you haven’t got them yet – good luck with that. Ye, it is good you did. Thanks for your comments.


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