The New Zinoviev Letter; Enfield Gazette witchhunts NHS campaigners

Jim Jepps


In 1924 the right wing press sought to undermine the left by publishing a false letter supposedly written by the then President of the Communist International Zinoviev just days before the election in order to help the Tories to victory.

Never let it be said that the modern press does not stand in a grand, if dishonourable, tradition. Days before a by-election in Enfield, the local Gazette, has produced its own version of the Zinoviev letter to aid the Conservatives into victory.

From Enfield Gazette, page 2, Thursday 3rd August 2006

The article, almost entirely copied direct from a Conservative press release, insinuates that the local NHS campaign group "Save Chase Farm" in fact has a "Trotskyite agenda" and "strive[s] for practical unity between the left groups in the interests of the working class and all those oppressed by capitalism"

Leaflets distributed in the area by the Tory candidate (example here) claim that Save Chase Farm is "linked with George Galloway's Respect and other left-wing groups through the Socialist Unity Network" which is a nonsensical suggestion.

Just as the original 1924 version was, let us say, inaccurate when it implied the Labour Party was an extension of the Communist threat the Enfield Gazette, whose editor is rumoured to be a Tory Party member, has resorted to lies to try to damage the Save Chase Farm campaign just days before the election.

The Socialist Unity Network extensively covered the last local election, including the results for grass roots campaigns, like Save Chase Farm, but we never claimed that these groups were socialist, connected to the Network or even that there was any specific communication between us - as part of the press we report news about all kinds of events and groups, that hardly implies that Respect and, say, the Greens are both connected to each other because we, the Daily Mirror and the Enfield Gazette all report on them.

The quote (taken from our who we are section) was written at least a year before Save Chase Farm was even set up but is taken out of context to imply that Socialist Unity and Save Chase Farm "are united" in their opposition to capitalism. Even a cursory look at the page where the quote was taken from can see it means no such thing, yet the Gazette's intention is to mislead its readers, not inform them.

Save Chase Farm is a broad based campaign and as such gets support from both the right and left of the political spectrum. We wish them well in the forth coming election, as do many local residents who are significantly to the right of us.

This broad support is a source of strength and does not imply that the campaign is in the pockets of baby eating Trotskyists (and readers will know we are a down the line socialist publication rather than adherents of Marxist, Trotskyite or any other brand of left political philosophy) or NHS stealing Tories.

The correct response to this kind of McCarthyite witch hunt is to ensure it does not distract you from the task in hand. The Tories have an abysmal record on the NHS so they require a red baiting scandal to try to distract the electorate. If Save Chase Farm allow the breadth of their campaign opposing attacks on the NHS to become damaged by feeling obliged to deny false allegations that they are Communists they are letting those who would smear them gain the upper hand.

 These kinds of dirty tricks should be evidence enough, if more were needed, that the Tories do not deserve the support of voters in Enfield.



Wikipedia on the Zinoviev letter

August 2006

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