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In 1998 Dave Black co-signed a letter to Green Anarchist with Larry O'Hara and Michel Prigent. This letter smeared Stewart Home, myself and 'Space Bunny' as 'pseudo-radicals with proven links with the far right' complicit in a state attack on Green Anarchist which does not 'just come from the courts/media/ political police directly'. (Green Anarchist No.52, Summer 1998, p16). Whilst his co-signatories Larry O'Hara may be regarded as a charlatan and Michel Prigent as a buffoon, Black is a major contributor to Hobgoblin, a magazine centred on the Marxist-humanist philosophy of Raya Dunayevskaya.

As Black has been a prominent activist amongst the International Marxist Humanists England (the UK News and Letters Committee) I thought it would be helpful to write to N&L: "I ask you whether you consider his behaviour acceptable for a prominent activist in your network of committees. I feel that he should be asked to make an apology and a retraction of his smear. Of course I am aware that as you do not have my degree of certainty as regards the falsity of his allegations, you may feel it appropriate to offer him the chance to present any evidence he may have to back up his allegations. If you feel such an inquiry appropriate I would be happy to co-operate and respond to the fabrications which may be presented." Since then I have received no reply from you. However I have received two tiresome letters from Black himself, the latest of which is printed over leaf. In the absence of any correspondence from N&L I can only assume that this is all the so-called 'evidence' he can pretend to muster.

Looking more closely at Hobgoblin #1, certain laudable sentiments are soon seen to be be empty platitudes. In a plug for News and Letters we are informed "Since structural racism is the Achilles Heel of capital in the USA, the Black Dimension is seen as crucial to any perspective for the replacing of capital with a New Society based on Revolution in Permanence and 'human power as its own end' Marx." (p. 49). In Black's review article "Has Capital Autonomised Itself', he writes of Black liberation as a revolutionary subject which shares the quest for universality in the face of capital's ceaseless invasion of every area of human existence (p.49). But some how Black and his colleagues at Probgoblem fail to grasp a fundamental issue to emerge amongst Britain's Black communities. They fail to grasp how offensive it is to continually speak of 'immigrants'. The editors offer as their aim 'to bring a Marxist-Humanist perspective to England, and an English perspective to Marxist-Humanism. An important aspect of our work will be to connect to the history of revolutionary subjectivity in our own country, its traditions of protest and rebellion, its labour (note the small 'l') and feminist movements, and the important role of its successive waves of immigrants: the Irish, the European Jews, Afro-Caribbean Black people and Asians." (p. 3).

Despite writing extensively about the Chartists, he fails to notice that one of their leaders was Paul Cuffay, a Black man. But he was no immigrant, being born in Chatham. One of the features of the last fifty years is that now a substantial part of Britain's Black community was born in Britain and generally resent being described as immigrants. This is an issue that Parv Brancil takes up in his play Made in England which was recently staged by Etcetera Theatre as part of the Whose Heritage? conference in Manchester (1-3rd November 1999). The central character is Rez, a musician in a punk band which used a Union Jack as a backdrop. 'Made in England' is stencilled on the banner.

The story revolves around 'Billy India', one of Rez's protegés who abandons the obscure but well regarded indie record label that Rez had built up over tewnty years for the chance of a number one hit. Despite the warnings, Billy doesn't realise how he is being used, and when his second record flops, he visits his old mentor. He hits on the idea of having a Union Jack tattooed on his shoulder. At first Rez objects to this, but then agrees. he thinks it will serve Billy right, when this latest gimmick goes out of fashion. In this, the final denouement, Rez and his friend are astonished that Billy India hasn't grasped why they used a Union Jack as their back-drop because of their hatred for nationalism and all it stood for.

Black is like Billy India. He understands nothing. He does not understand how or why punk used such imagery and why Death in June were seen as confronting militarism and fascism with their imagery on stage. He does not understand the weaknesses of such an approach and how Death In June came to trade off a deliberately ambiguous mixture of fascist and anti-fascist imagery.

Despite everything, Stewart Home has been so kind as to write an article for Hobgoblin analysing Death In June as an example of the relationship between punk and anti-racism. This is an important chance for Hobgoblin to start to grasp some of the important culture issues that they have simultaneously raised and ignored.

I hope News and Letters Committees across North America will encourage Probgoblem to take these issues seriously and Dave Black to retract the ridiculous allegations he has made.

Fabian Tompsett

I have already sent a full documentation to the News & Letters Chicago address, but not been furnished with the courtesy of a reply. I suggest that other News & Letters Committees ask for copies of the material from them.

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