Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gaza/Warsaw Ghetto

UPDATED 25 July 2014 
Auschwitz wasn’t any kind of positive learning experience, and the overwhelmingly majority of the Jews who had anything to do with the Holocaust learned nothing from it because they were killed by it. It wasn’t a learning experience and it wasn’t an experience which made people better, or more left-wing, or more anti-racist. There was no silver lining to the Holocaust. --David Hirsh
I am not going to say anything here for now about the current, awful round of Israel/Palestine conflict. I haven't worked out my thoughts and feel too much anguish to be able to articulate a response. The denseness of the fog of this war - and the manifold untruths, fake pics, claims, counterclaims and viral lies circulating in the media and especially on social media - makes it hard to call what's actually going on.

But something that I do want to comment on is the inappropriate comparisons people make in discussing the situation.

For instance, I've seen pro-Israelis claim Israel is experiencing a 9/11 24/7, because of Hamas rockets, and I've seen anti-Israelis claim that Palestine is experiencing the same thing. Of course, the notion is ridiculous: 3000 people died in a single day in the September 2001 attack (not counting the rescue workers who died later as a result). 3000 is greater the death toll of the entire Second Intifada. Even Assad's Ghouta chemical attack killed only half that number; even Syria is not experiencing a 9/11 every day.

But for me the most pernicious comparison is of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto. Pernicious because the two events are utterly incomparable, and additionally offensive because it uses Jewish suffering against Jews.

Melvin Goodman, one of those ex-CIA paleocon wingnuts beloved of Counterpunchwrote a stupid piece there comparing the two, for example noting that unemployment was a problem in the Ghetto, just like Gaza. Marginally smarter, Glenn Greenwald didn't invoke Warsaw, but did compare Netanyahu to Goebbels, then disingenuously added that to compare two things isn't to say they're the same. A retired academic writing for MondoWeiss uses the Warsaw Ghetto because an Auschwitz comparison is not quite right; what's going on in Gaza, thankfully, is "not exactly the same" as the actual death camps, but is comparable to the Ghetto.

Here's some more examples:

What do these comparisons actually mean?

The Twitter account RealTimeWWII, a project of history graduate Alwyn Collinson, has been tweeting the history of the Second World War as it unfolded on this day 72 years ago. It is now up to 1942: the Warsaw Ghetto. It makes for difficult reading.

In the Warsaw Ghetto, 400,000 Jews were forced into an area of 3.4 square km (1.3 square miles). Gaza is 139 square miles with a population of 1.8 million. The population density of Gaza is high: 13,069.1/sq mi, twice that of Tokyo (but much less than, say Manila's 111,000, Chennai's 67,000, Macau's 55,000, or Paris' 54,000). The population density of the Warsaw Ghetto was 307,692.

In the Ghetto, nearly a quarter died of starvation and disease (that's comparable to 450,000* Gazans). Of those that remained, most were taken to Treblinka and killed, along with 2000 Romani people and some million other Jews. 7000 Jews were taken from the Ghetto to the camp every day in the summer of 1942. Around 20,000 survived after less than three years.

That is what genocide looks like. I don't think that is what Gaza, however bad it gets, looks like. I understand your anguish about Gaza, but please don't make this kind of comparison.

For pointing out that these comparisons are not on, here is the kind of response one gets:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Alison Weir: If Americans Knew

This is a guest post by Spencer Sunshine. It is extracted from the recently published Political Research Associates report Constructing Campus Conflict. I strongly recommend that report, and in particular its opening section "Setting the Scene" by Chip Berlet. A later part of the report consists of profiles of US universities and of key groups and individuals involved in propagating or campaigning against anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racism on campus. The profile of Alison Weir and her organisation "If Americans Knew" is from that section. ---B.

“Alison Weir: If Americans Knew”
Spencer Sunshine

In Chip Berlet, ed., Constructing Campus Conflict: Antisemitism and Islamophobia on U.S. College Campuses, 2007–2011 (Boston: Political Research Associates, 2014),, pp. 103–4.

Few political writers today appear in the publications of both the Left and the Far Right. One rare exception is Alison Weir, the founder of If Americans Knew. Her denunciations of the vast power that Israel and its supporters in the United States allegedly wield resonate on the Far Right with figures like former Klansman and politician David Duke, the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review, antisemitic talk radio host Clay Douglas, and the Pacifica Forum at the University of Oregon, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group. (1)

At the same time, she can be found on the Left in the pages of Z Magazine, Project Censored, and CounterPunch. She has been praised by Socialist Worker, broadcast on affiliates of the Pacifica radio network, and spoken at the Left Forum conference. (2)

Weir is a regular speaker on college campuses. She has appeared at Harvard Law School, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Stanford University, American University, the University of Chicago, Vassar College, and elsewhere. In 2003, she received death threats after she and Hatem Bazian debated with David Meir-Levi and Eric Sirkin at the University of California, Berkeley about how to achieve peace in the Middle East. (3)

Alison Weir blogs at and edits “Israel-Palestine: The Missing Headlines” ( While there is no editor listed by name at the site, it seems that she is also editor of the new IAK blog Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest and sometimes hosts its radio show, “Jerusalem Calling.”

At first glance, Weir seems like a typical Palestine solidarity activist. She says that she founded IF Americans Knew (IAK) after she visited the Occupied Territories in 2001 and witnessed numerous human rights violations that were not covered in the United States press. IAK is sometimes portrayed as a media watchdog group and its tagline is “What Every American Needs to Know About Israel-Palestine.”

But a closer inspection of Weir and IAK reveals disturbing elements. The main focus of their work is not on Palestinian conditions or rights, but on the power of the so-called Israel lobby in the United States. Weir describes the U.S. media’s tilt toward Israel as possibly “the most monumental cover-up in media history.”(2) While she admits that a number of factors may account for this alleged pro-Israel bias, she consistently targets the Jewish backgrounds of editors and reporters.(4) Even if they think they are unbiased, she says, unconscious family influences are likely to sway their opinions. (5)

IAK’s criticisms of Zionism and Israel dovetail with traditional antisemitic narratives, and Weir often cites antisemitic writers and publications as her sources. When asked if the work of antisemitic authors including Israel Shamir, Gilad Atzmon, and Kevin MacDonald were truly legitimate, she replied, “Yes. I suggest people read their work for themselves.” (6)

In 2005, IAK analyzed the coverage of deaths in the Israel-Palestine conflict in the New York Times and other newspapers, and concluded the outlets had a pro-Israel bias. (7) It met with New York Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent, who did not accept their findings. (8) The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, a pro-Israel media-watchdog group, criticized IAK’s report for methodological errors. (9)

In 2008, another controversy erupted after the public library in Greenwich, Connecticut cancelled a talk by Weir that had been scheduled by a member of IAK in one of the library’s public meeting rooms. Under pressure from free-speech advocates, such as the American Library Association, the talk was rescheduled. The controversy received national media attention. (10)

In 2009, based on stories that had appeared in a Swedish newspaper, Weir published articles in CounterPunch and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs accusing Israel of harvesting organs from Palestinians. (11) Weir’s claim was widely denounced as a modern version of the antisemitic blood libel—the myth that Jews use the blood of sacrificed Christian children to make Passover matzos.

Weir says “Israel’s core identity is based on ethnic and religious discrimination by a colonial, immigrant group,” and that it has an “exclusionist identity.” (12) She describes the 1948 founding of Israel as “one of the modern world’s most successful ethnic cleansings,” and a “holocaust” for Palestinians; elsewhere she implies this holocaust continues today. (13)

She has also said that “Israel struck first in all its wars except one. Historically, it was the initiator of conflict.” (14) IAK writers such as Mazin Qumsiyeh, Jeffrey Blankfort, and Kathy Christison and the late Bill Christison claim that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was planned and executed by groups that are identified as being overwhelmingly Jewish.

Weir has been on the board of, an offshoot of the New Policy PAC, whose mission is “to work with citizens, lawmakers, and administration officials to implement longstanding American positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict in the interest of enhancing American security” (15) whose antisemitic website includes assertions that Israel was behind the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In one radio interview, Weir also referred to “the significant role that Zionists played in pushing the U.S. into World War I,” and said, “these same groups [are] trying to push us into a war with Iran.” (16)

IAK claims that Israel, together with its supporters in the United States, controls many aspects of the U.S. government. Weir says, “The Israel lobby became far more powerful than those who originally tried to oppose it: the State Department, the Pentagon, the oil lobby.” (17) IAK board member Paul Findley (a former Republican congressional representative from Illinois) describes the United States as in “bondage to Israel’s misdeeds.” (18) Weir summarizes the situation by saying, “What Israel says, our media repeat. What Israel demands, our government gives. What Israel wants, its well-greased lobby delivers.” (19)

IAK is careful never to blame “the Jews”; instead it consistently refers to subsets of Jews such as “the Zionists,” “the Israel lobby,” or “the neocons.” American neoconservatives in particular are specifically identified as being overwhelmingly Jewish. (20) Jewish subgroups are described consistently as elites who subvert national sovereignty. The “dual loyalties” of these subgroups is a common theme on the IAK website. “Neocons” in the United States and “oligarchs” in Russia receive special attention. Weir says that IAK “is opposed to discrimination in all its forms,” and one of her articles is subtitled “Antisemitism is Wrong.” However, the article does not address the issue other than to say that people should not be dissuaded from criticizing Israel because they fear being called antisemitic. (21) When asked about what constitutes an antisemitic view that she would oppose, she identified statements which refer explicitly and collectively to “the Jews.” (22)

IAK narratives are consistent with the antisemitic conspiracisms of the past century, including the claims that Jews are clannish and cabal-like, have dual loyalties, control the media and the government, steal the body parts of non-Jews, and start wars, often in countries where they are a minority and where the wars are against the country’s interests. Following a classic populist narrative, Weir says that the American people must be informed about this situation to start “reclaiming our nation, our principles and our souls.” (23) One email sent by the Council for the National Interest and signed by Weir even deploys one of the most famous antisemitic images, claiming that liberal J Street and the conservative American Israel Public Affairs Committee are “two tentacles of the same lobby.” (24)

Like many populist and conspiratorial narratives, some of IAK’s information is true and has potentially important things to contribute to public discourse; some of it is misleading, biased, or suffers from serious omissions; and much of it repeats traditional antisemitic conspiracisms. Alison Weir is not a recognized scholar on Middle East affairs, and campus groups and activists working for recognition and rights for Palestinians would be well advised to seek out more legitimate sources of information on the conflict than IAK. (25)


Saturday, June 21, 2014

And this weekend's reads (mostly Iraq, but not just)

Iraq, Syria, etc - It’s quite the contrast: ritual beheadings and jihadist firing squads erupting all across Iraq at the same time that millions of voters in Afghanistan were calmly defying Taliban suicide-bomb threats and queueing for a second-round runoff vote to replace that ill-tempered old nabob, Hamid Karzai.... - I like Twitter; it has helped me avoid wading through the news on what passes for British politics in order to find the interesting stuff—you follow the right people, and the news comes to you. But following last week’s meltdown in Iraq that powerful faction of deranged people who use the platform made themselves felt. Some were antisemitic but there was also all-purpose crackpottedness that included calling for my arrest for supporting terrorism. Among this garbage there was a serious point: the anti-war forces were feeling a moment of vindication. Now that the immediate crisis has passed, and, contrary to some extremely alarming reports a week ago, it does not look as if Baghdad will fall imminently, it seems like a good moment to revisit some of the questions that have dogged us since American-led troops crossed into Iraq in March 2003 to finally take the march into Baghdad they should have taken in 1991.... - As submitted to The Tablet, published 21 June 2014 “Abigail Frymann tries hard to present both sides of the narrative in her feature interview (“The rebels want my head”, 7 June) with Mother Agnes ...

Shared by James Bloodworth - The scale of the tragedy requires a much greater response than the callous and disinterested one shown by the government With the unfolding drama in Iraq climbing to the top of the news agenda, the...

Some articles on ISIS’s Ba’athist allies:

Uneasy Alliance Gives Insurgents an Edge in Iraq –
ISIS’s Secret Allies

Below the fold: Russia, the far right, British politics, the white working class, and more….

Friday, June 13, 2014

Weekend reading

Shared by Hussein Ibish - Chalk up another victory to the mighty Arab ignorance and stupidity brigade. Or should we? Professor Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, who runs the Al-Quds University Department of American Studies and...

Shared by stuartcelliott - Ryan Dawson uses the internet to promote bigotry and Holocaust denial, but on RT, he’s a “geopolitical analyst”, “human rights activist” and “Asian affairs expert.” His attorney defended him in... - When Russian President Vladimir Putin uses military force to menace Ukraine’s democracy and seize chunks of its territory, when he uses authoritarian laws to crack down on homosexuals and minorities... - Apologetics, if not outright support, for the forces of political reaction and oppression have become a hallmark of sections of the socialist left in the two and a half decades following the collapse... - The "New Right" is a lot like the Old Right I recently picked up a copy of New Right versus Old Right by Greg Johnson, the founder and editor of Counter-Currents, an overtly fascist-aligned publish...
The Inconvenient Truth About Jews From Arab Lands: They Were Expelled - (Haaretz) — Nathan Weinstock hadn’t planned to write a book about the Jews of Arab lands. But when he looked for information about the modern history of Moroccan or Iraqi Jewry, he was surprised to... - The row between Michael Gove and Theresa May has - in Westminster, at least - somewhat overshadowed the immeasurably more important news that extremists are operating in our schools. A report out ... - Workers’ Liberty members attended the “Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine” meeting on 4 June, organised by the SOAS Marxist Society (Socialist Appeal). On the panel were Russian ... - Whatever one thinks about the decision in 2003 to finish the war Saddam Hussein started by annexing Kuwait, serious people should be able to agree that the abandonment of the country by American fo... - We might all hope to be vindicated so quickly. I wrote yesterday morning of the way the Iraqi government’s sectarianism and authoritarianism had created the space among Iraqi Sunni Arabs in which... - MOSCOW — Russia’s top diplomat on Wednesday acknowledged for the first time an official relationship with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, the same day that one of their top leaders made... - As the spiritual bedrock of Judaism, Jerusalem had been a magnet for millennial longing. For centuries Jews intensely preserved their spiritual attachment to their Jerusalem. At different times,... - “George Galloway Compares Birmingham Ofsted Report to Iraq War” Only if you are a person predisposed to distorting what others have said. I notice the same trait in those pro Israeli supporters who... - The Eurodeputy for the Front National – Rassemblement Bleu Marine (RBM), -Aymeric Chauprade (wikipedia – in English), took part in strange meeting on Saturday the 31st of May in Vienna.  (Austria) ... - A group of three academies, one other academy, and one council-controlled school in Birmingham have been put into “special measures” by Ofsted government inspectors for allegedly acting like “faith... - Staunton, June 12 – As the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea continue to force out Crimean Tatars from positions of responsibility and exclude them from policy discussions, the Muslim Spirit... - Dubai: Most British tourists have no idea that this seemingly modern emirate gives even Western women few rights (credit: Saqib Khan) Dubai, on the Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates, can... - Khaled, who recently fled from Mosul to the Kurdistan Region, is sure of this. Computer records of officials have ended up in the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the extremist ... - The capture of Mehdi Nemmouche in France alongside his apparent videoed confession claiming responsibility for a shooting last month at a Jewish museum in Brussels offers the first example of death... - Lately I have been struck by the raw anti-semitism evinced on anti-Israel websites (most egregious example, Mondoweiss). There is nothing novel about it. It’s not “the new... - I do remember when having a baby out of wedlock was a serious stigma for a young woman and her family. This was the 1970s in New Zealand, and often the pregnant woman would have her baby in secret ... - What is one to make of a volume of specialised essays in contemporary philosophy – a compilation including some of today’s most prominent leaders in the field – that wants to be both a highbrow off... - The Kurds like to tell a story about the discussions at the end of the Iraq war. As details of the new republic were being finalised there was a row between the US representatives and the Kurds of ...

M.J. Rosenberg Assails 'Mondoweiss’ for antisemitism - M.J. Rosenberg This recent Tikkun Daily blog post by M.J. Rosenberg, "Mondoweiss & Is Anti-Semitism Dead?," drew a sharp rebuke from Tikkun's editor Michael Lerner. (Please be reminded that views... - The policy of “No Platform for Racists and Fascists,” historically adopted by many student unions, is ideologically appalling. Not only is it an affront to the doctrine of free speech, it has been ... - Fathom: Why did you write Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance? Philip Mendes: Growing up as a working-class child in the overwhelmingly middle-class Jewish community of ... - The Syrian Civil War is now grinding on into its fourth year. Over 150,000 people have died, and tens more are being killed every day in the ongoing fighting. Millions have lost their homes. Many ... - The New York Times headline C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition has been cited literally hundreds of times since it was first published on 21 June 2012 by non-interventionists ... - Polat Can: The stance of political parties in Kobane or their regional organizations in Kobane was brave and deserves appreciation. Many party members joined the resistance although their parties... - Mzwamdile Tshofela is a chair of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) branch at the Mercedes Benz plant in East London, Eastern Cape province. He is also a member of the global.. - Barack Obama: leading from behind? In 1999, the French foreign minister Hubert Védrine complained about American "hyperpower", echoing the New Left's genetic disdain for America's unchallenged role... - Despite multiple debunkings, claims that Ukraine’s pro-Western revolution brought about by the Maidan protests was really a fascist (if not neo-Nazi) coup persist, and not just from the Kremlin pro... - We are notoriously bad at learning foreign languages. Actually, we are lousy at learning our own. We rarely recognise that we are a multi-lingual nation and it only really becomes visible if you go... - Assessing President Havel’s legacy in the fight for human rights in Iran will not be an easy task as long as censorship, fear and oppression obstruct a proper study. But today, as an Iranian human ... - [Ian Bone describes how Class War is being confrontational towards speakers at a CND rally in Hyde Park in October, 1983] Next up is silver-mained EP Thompson, author of The Making of the English ... - Taking my family to Iraqi Kurdistan last year raised the eyebrows of friends who haven’t cottoned on to the fact that it is the safest part of Iraq by a country mile. Getting there has certainly be... - cosmicstargoat, regarding the masses of holy zombies seen by millions of Utterly Reliable Witnesses[TM] and attested to in Matthew 27:51-53 does anyone know what happened to them? Logically, as the... - The Eisenstein Mujahideen: A Film Critique of Syria’s Combat Videos Film critics are notoriously disconnected from the fast changing world of self-made film. One genre they have completely ignored ... - In the summer of 2013, I was living out of a hotel room in the regime loyalist coastal town of Tartous, having fled the fighting in Homs and the subsequent battles in my hometown of Talkalakh. Even...
Shared by Sunny Singh - Kurdish photographer, Kamaran Najm Ibrahim, killed in Kirkuk, June 12, 2014. Photo: Photographer's Facebook page

Shared by Mugwump - It seems like only yesterday that Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, was celebrating as the last American soldiers left Iraq. Now, with an al Qaeda offshoot threatening to take Baghdad, Maliki...

Friday, June 06, 2014

Ukraine: the truth war

[Heavily edited 10:48 7 June]

There is a war of words going on in the West over Ukraine. A shocking number of people have been taken in by the narratives and outright lies circulating from the Kremlin and its propaganda outlets. The Kremlin's totally unreliable Russia Today (, which regularly gives airtime to antisemites, UKIP, Holocaust deniers, 9/11 truth cultists and Bilderberg conspiracy nutcases, is somehow seen as the fount of "truth" about Ukraine.

Among those circulate Russia Today material and Kremlin misinformation are: the left/right convergence fanzine Counterpunch, Germany's Stalinoid Junge Welt, the paleocon Ron Paul Institute, the Healeyite Trotskyists at the World Socialist Website, the right-wing Russia lobbyist John Laughland, the moonbat news site GlobalResearch, various Orthodox Christian websites, and the British neo-Nazis in the BNP.

In Britain, a large section of the left - most notably Counterfire, Stop the War, Comrade Delta of Unite Against Fascism, the Stalinist Communist Party of Britain, the Stalinoid ex-Trotskyists of Socialist Appeal and the deranged Trotskyists of Workers Power - is re-circulating this misinformation, and many well-meaning leftists and liberals lap it up.

It seems to make no difference to these leftists that they are saying the same things as an important section of the British financial elite, or that they are on the same page as Nigel Farage, Peter Hitchens, Nick Griffin, Marine Le Pen, Jobbik and the rest of the Western European far right.

Shiraz Socialist recently published a statement from anti-fascist magazine Searchlight on some of the unsavoury flavours in this toxic mix, focusing on the allies of the creepy LaRouche network in something laughably called “Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine”, which seeks to channel solidarity towards right-wing, ultra-nationalist, paramilitary thugs in the so-called "People's Republics". While I don't see Searchlight as a reliable source, they seem to be spot-on about this network and about the "Borotba" fake socialist party it promotes.

Of course there are fascist forces on the fringes of the Kiev government (most notably the Right Sector, which received 0.7% of the vote in the recent elections in un-occupied Ukraine). The Kiev government - led by neo-liberal, centre-right oligarchs - is not particularly attractive. But it is not in any sense a "Nazi regime" as the Kremlin narrative puts it.

The so-called "People's Republics", in contrast, are staffed by all kinds of far right forces, most of which are not actually from Ukraine but from across the Russian empire. Timothy Snyder is the most authoritative writer on this topic. In a series of articles in the NYRB and TNR, he has tracked the role of the far right in both Russia and Russian-speaking Ukraine. In the Donetsk "People's Republic", we have people like Pavel Gubarov, of fascist group Russian National Unity, and Aleksander Borodai, a veteran Russian irredentist, antisemite and fascist. In Moscow pulling the strings are people like new right ideologue Alexander Dugin, and antisemitic far right veteran and LaRouche associate Sergei Glayzev.

A month ago, I posted some links to alternative sources from the area, from left and anarchist groups. Here are some more recent pieces from these sources. If you are not inclined to trust the reporters of the "mainstream media" in the West, listen to the voices of the real anti-fascists in Ukraine:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

#Lewisham2014: Lewisham council elections

Don't forget to vote today.

Here are some last minute comments on a few Lewisham council wards (the "yellow" ballot paper), my last election post. (Check the previous posts on the mayorals and the Euros.)

This is probably one of the better hopes for the Green Party, although, as Clare notes, the loss of their "star" Darren Johnson will not help them. The People Before Profit candidate Toby Abse is very decent politically (Candidates here.)

Crofton Park 
In the last elections, with a high turnout, the Lib Dems took one seat from Labour, so I would recommend an all-Labour vote. (Check out Crofton Park Labour's website.) The Greens did respectably, but not enough to break through, so a Green vote risks letting a Lib Dem in. (Candidates here.)

Forest Hill
This is another ward that has a Lib Dem councillor, who polled very high in 2010, and so I'd recommend an all-Labour vote. Here's the Forest Hill Labour Party site.

TUSC logoThis is a target ward for People Before Profit, who came second there in a March 2013 by-election. In my opinion, Evelyn has been really badly served by its Labour councillors, although I like the look of new candidate Jamie Milne. If you want a left alternative, my strong recommendation would be Jessica Leech, standing for TUSC. She's a local resident of great integrity and determination, who has been involved in several community campaigns, including defending council housing.  (Candidates here.)

Telegraph Hill
In the last election, the Socialist Party (standing under the TUSC label) did well, with around a thousand votes each, which would be enough to win in normal elections. However, the high turnout and Labour surge put them in second place, though still far ahead of the Greens and Lib Dems. This time, though, the left vote will be split, with PB4P's leader John Hamilton standing, so I don't know if TUSC can make it. (Candidates here.)

New Cross
This will be an interesting race, with a very strong and popular Labour team, but also a Green candidate active in the  New Cross forum and three high-profile People Before Profit candidates. In the last election, the Greens got a very low vote and People Before Profit came third, behind the Lib Dems. To win, PB4P would have to more than quadruple their vote, which seems unlikely. (Candidates here.)

The People Before Profit candidate in Ladywell is Helen Mercer, who I believe has been very involved in the Lewisham Hospital campaign. She came fourth in the by-election of 2010, with 233 votes, so is unlikely to be elected. Labour won the ward, but with a majority of less than 200 over the Greens, so this is another key target for the Greens. Mike Keogh, who represented the ward 2006-10, is the most likely of the Greens to break through in Ladywell. There are also strong Labour candidates, including Bill Brown. (Candidates here.)

Downham has the distinction, once again, of being the only ward in Lewisham with a fascist candidate, Tess Culnane, standing this time as an independent. According to Hope Not Hate:
Veteran fascist and former “Nit-Nurse” Culnane has jumped backwards and forwards between the BNP and NF over a number of years. Served as an aide to Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s one time Greater London Assembly member, where she was dubbed a “Nazi Granny” by the media.