A politics of collective guilt: the sacking of Rebecca Long Bailey and the democratic process of redemption

something to do with the holocaust would really seem like an absolution to me, and that is something I neither wish nor care to grant.

These dead, first of all, have a right to the weak anamnetic forces of a solidarity which those born late can practise only in the medium of an ever renewed, often desperate, in any case restless remembrance. If we ignore this legacy from Benjamin [2], Jewish fellow citizens, any son or daughter of one of those murdered, would no longer be able to breathe In our country (quoted in Doohm 2016, p.266)

The price for establishing and maintaining solidarity is of course that one is regarded and treated equally also when one would rather not be. As long as the ties of solidarity are not severed, all the behaviour of the one will also be credited to the other. [4]

What strikes me most about this article on Starmer tackling antisemitism in Labour is the total absence of any analysis of whether his tackling antsemitism in the party will reduce antisemitism in the party, or any consideration of whether that’s important (Cotterill, 2002c)

Among the most noteworthy characteristics of human beings,” says Lotze, “belongs… next to so much self-seeking in individuals, the general absence of envy of each present in relation to the future.” This reflection shows us that the picture of happiness which we harbour is steeped through and through in the time which the course of our own existence has conferred on us. The happiness which could awaken envy in us exists only in the air we have breathed, with people we could have spoken with, with women who might have been able to give themselves to us. The conception of happiness, in other words, resonates irremediably with that of resurrection. It is just the same with the conception of the past, which makes history into its affair. The past carries a secret index with it, by which it is referred to its resurrection. Are we not touched by the same breath of air which was among that which came before? Is there not an echo of those who have been silenced in the voices to which we lend our ears today? Have not the women, who we court, sisters who they do not recognize anymore? If so, then there is a secret protocol between the generations of the past and that of our own. For we have been expected upon this earth. For it has been given us to now, just like every generation before us, a weak messianic power, on which the past has a claim. This claim is not to be settled lightly. The historical materialist knows why. (Benjamin 1999[1940])

The ideal moment of unconditionality is deeply engrained in factual process of communication, because validity claims are Janus-faced; as claims they overshoot every context; at the same time, they must be both raised and accepted here and now if they are to support an agreement effective for coordination — for there is no acontextual standpoint. The universality meaning of the claimed validity exceeds all contexts, but only the local binding act of acceptance enable validity claims to bear the burden of social integration for a context-bound everyday practice.(1992: 20–21)

What strikes one as indecision in the letters, as though he were vacillating between Zionism and Marxism, in truth was probably due to the bitter insight that all solutions were not only objectively false and inappropriate to reality, but would lead him personally to a false salvation, no matter whether that salvation was labelled Moscow or Jerusalem. He felt that he would deprive himself of the positive cognitive chances of his own position……

What was decisive was that these men did not wish to “return” either to the ranks of the Jewish people or to Judaism, and could not desire to do so-not because they believed in “progress)’ and an automatic disappearance of anti-Semitism or because they were too “assimilated” and too alienated from their Jewish heritage, but because all traditions and cultures as well as all “belonging” had become equally questionable to them. This is what they felt was wrong with the “return” to the Jewish fold as proposed by the Zionists; they could all have said what Kafka once said about being a member of the Jewish people: “ … My people, provided that I have one.” (Arendt, 1970: 40–41)

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