Daniel Finn Profile picture
Dubliner, journalist, historian. Features Editor, @jacobinmag. Author of One Man's Terrorist: A Political History of the IRA.
23 Jul
Too much you could say here, but let's start with this: in 2008, the US authorities arranged the overnight extradition of Colombian death-squad leaders because they were about to start talking about Alvaro Uribe's support for their campaign of mass murder. 1/ Image
The paramilitaries thought Uribe had betrayed them when a Colombian court ruled they would have to serve actual jail time for their crimes, so they were about to sing like canaries. The US legal system stuffed their mouths with gold in the form of absurdly light sentences. 2/ Image
The extradition happened literally overnight when Alvaro Uribe realized his allies were about to start talking. He had them bundled out of the country before the Colombian courts could intervene. Washington jumped to assist him without delay. 3/ Image
Read 8 tweets
8 Jul
This article is all spot-on as far as Starmer is concerned. But the reluctance of journalists to interrogate the standard, grossly misleading narrative about how Corbyn "disastrously dealt with Jewish claims about antisemitism" helped bring us to this point.
In reality, Corbyn removed officials who were provably incompetent in handling antisemitism complaints and brought in people who dealt with them properly. His reward was to have the ex-officials lionized as "whistleblowers" by the national broadcaster.

There's a mountain of evidence to show what these "whistleblowers" were actually doing when they worked for Labour. But the idea that they were making heroic efforts to root out antisemitism has been given canonical status by the British media.

Read 6 tweets
6 Jul
This decision is obviously a disgrace, but so is the Guardian's absurd description of Phillips as an "anti-racism campaigner." This isn't journalism: it's ideological warfare against the concepts people need in order to talk about and understand politics.

This is what Phillips does for a living: he writes articles for the Tory press, denouncing anyone who questions a whitewash of racism in Britain by another Tory stooge (complete with ridiculous lies about "Mandingo fighting" being a widely used term).

A much better Guardian article, which correctly notes that the far right popularized a false narrative about grooming gangs. But the far right also had respectable mainstream figures on its side, including "anti-racism campaigner" Trevor Phillips.

Read 4 tweets
21 Jun
I guess we all have our threshold for cringe. Being a Lib Dem means you can stomach this kind of thing; being a socialist means you're comfortable with the word "comrade." Each to their own.

The Lib Dems ran a deliberate wrecking campaign in the constituency where Grenfell happened, lying about Grenfell, lying about their own chances, to ensure it would have a Tory MP who could vote against implementing the Grenfell report's recommendations.

Sam Gyimah lied about Grenfell for the same reason Jo Swinson lied about this: their entire campaign was a deliberate kamikaze mission against the left. As their election report said: "We chose to claim to believe we could win outright ourselves."

Read 4 tweets
8 Jun
Four years to the day since Jeremy Corbyn & his allies obliged columnists such as Jonathan Freedland to write columns like this. The ferocity of the backlash that followed—and is still following—surely owes a great deal to feelings of wounded pride.

No guff here about May being a uniquely awful campaigner (although he did squeeze in a line about the "weakest Tory campaign in at least 40 years" towards the end—a taste of the narrative to come). Corbyn "deserves credit for this astonishing performance", said Freedland. Image
Freedland also acknowledged that Labour under Corbyn won a lot of ex-UKIP votes instead of forfeiting them to the Tories—a trick that seems to be eluding Keir Starmer today. Another point that was scrubbed from the media narrative as soon as possible. Image
Read 6 tweets
4 Jun
I see Margaret Hodge is hamming it up for the cameras like the world's worst soap actress, and journalists are pretending to believe a word she says. It's like the summer of 2018 all over again, albeit without the sunny weather.

Frankly, anyone who believed that Hodge was sincere in any of her claims that summer should atone for their gullibility by wearing clown make-up in public for a full year. Every part of her protracted temper tantrum was planned out on a grid with her factional allies.
You can be quite certain that no British journalists actually took her ravings seriously, although they found it expedient to pretend otherwise. It was a display of cynicism and bad faith with few parallels in modern times—a stomach-churning performance.
Read 7 tweets
17 May
Latest Long Reads podcast is up now, with Paul Buhle talking about the life and work of C. L. R. James (and a few clips from James himself talking about cricket, Haiti, Marxism and more):

Great interview with James by Studs Terkel from 1970 here:

And another between James and Edward Thompson here:

Read 4 tweets
12 May
This article is worth reading, not because it has any positive merits, but because it condenses the sheer malevolence of Blair’s role in public life. No constructive ideas, just a remorseless drive to smash and wreck any progressive political force on behalf of his paymasters. 1/
Labour under Corbyn bucked this trend, increasing its vote share by 10% in 2017. Its 2019 performance was still vastly better than recent elections for the SPD, which averaged nearly 41% of the vote from 1994 to 2005, or the PS, which won the presidency as recently as 2012. 2/ Image
Blair can acknowledge the difficulties now Corbyn has been ousted. But he implies the SPD lost support for being too radical after serving in government with the main conservative party for 12 of the last 16 years. He won’t even mention the name “Renzi” when it comes to Italy. 3/ Image
Read 20 tweets
2 May
There's a steady trickle of these unverifiable anecdotes before the Hartlepool by-election has even happened, getting their excuses in early, but no discussion of what this "breach of trust" actually was—and certainly no mention of Labour's change of line on Brexit after 2017.
Hartlepool voted 70% Leave in 2016. The following year, Labour pledged to accept the referendum result and increased its vote by 17%, two years into Corbyn's leadership. When Labour promised a second referendum in 2019, its vote dropped by 15%.

Lewis Goodall looked at the impact of Labour's change of line on Brexit in an excellent article the week before the 2019 election that accurately predicted what would happen on polling day. You can't talk about "trust" without acknowledging this.

Read 5 tweets
31 Mar
He's right, of course. But I can't help recall that Sanghera signed an open letter telling people not to vote for Labour because of alleged concerns about antisemitism in 2019. It said nothing at all about the racism of Johnson or the Tories, and several Tories signed it.
The implicit but unmistakable message of this letter was: a vote for Johnson is morally permissible in a way that a vote for Corbyn is not. No wonder the likes of Tony Parsons, Frederick Forsyth and indefatigable Saudi apologist Ghanem Nuseibeh signed it.

The hypocrisy was breathtaking: the signatories demanded to know "which other community's concerns are disposable", while giving a green light to the party of Windrush and the "hostile environment". Tellingly, the only other factor they could think of was Brexit.
Read 4 tweets
11 Mar
I came across this piece for the first time the other day, from the height of pre-election madness in 2019, and it's quite a good summary of the sheer dross that passes for commentary on world affairs in the British media—always geared towards having a pop at the left. 1/
The claims of "serious irregularities" and "clear manipulation" from the OAS were complete bunk, as was clear at the time, not merely in hindsight. 2/

Within days of this article appearing, the coup regime had massacred those protesting against the ousting of Morales by the Bolivian army. But hey, don't call it a coup guys: that "doesn't cut it." 3/

Read 7 tweets
17 Feb
This is a very good and depressing piece, and really drives home the point that Uber isn't so much a company as a latter-day version of the Pinkertons, lavishly subsidized by venture capital through its multi-billion losses to smash up workers' rights.

With opponents like these, who needs friends?

"Despite signing the bill [to regulate Uber], Newsom was still trying to negotiate an agreement that would ultimately shield them from it."
Another would-be foe: “The goal of the matter is for everyone to walk away equally unhappy”—the centrist credo really, how inspiring! Can't imagine how Uber has been able to roll over the opposition to its schemes like a tank.
Read 10 tweets
12 Feb
This interview with one of Starmer’s aides, whiny and petulant as it is, is still worth looking at properly to see how inane and vacuous their political vision is. 1/

Harris says that she cries when she thinks about Labour MPs who lost their seats in 2019 (not about the people who have already suffered and will continue suffering under a Conservative government). But why did they lose those seats? 2/ Image
The MPs she mentions all represented Leave-voting constituencies (margins ranging from 9 to 16%). They all gained votes under Corbyn in 2017 but lost in 2019. 3/

Read 6 tweets
11 Feb
Some familiar figures are pushing the absurd and defamatory claim that Ken Loach supports Holocaust denial. The story of this bogus talking-point, which relies upon multiple layers of falsehood and guilt-by-association, makes for a revealing case-study. 1/
It dates back to the 2017 Labour conference. In a NYT op-ed, Howard Jacobson claimed that “a motion to question the truth of the Holocaust was proposed” from the conference floor—a crude fabrication, which the NYT sanctioned in its pages. 2/
If you follow the link supplied by Jacobson or his editors, you’ll see that he was wrong on 3 counts: it wasn’t a motion, it wasn’t at the conference, and it wasn’t in favour of Holocaust denial. Quite the hat-trick! 3/
Read 10 tweets
8 Feb
I wrote this piece back in December, but the plea for consistency was strictly rhetorical: I never expected the NYT and kindred spirits to learn any lessons from Trump. Now they're at it again in their Trumpian reporting on Ecuador's election. 1/

The fact that Latin American left-wing politicians were "accused of corruption and authoritarian overreach" tells us nothing; Biden and the Democrats have been accused of the same by Trump and the Capitol Hill mob. The question is whether those charges have any substance. 2/ Image
Brazil's PT leaders were "accused of corruption" by a rabidly partisan magistrate who went on to take a cabinet post under Bolsonaro after paving the way for his electoral triumph. 3/

Read 8 tweets
19 Dec 20
This Rachel Shabi article is the first proper attempt, I believe, to articulate in detail a certain line (“Corbyn shouldn’t have been suspended, but his statement on the EHRC report was still wrong”). So it’s worth looking at properly. 1/
Shabi takes the EHRC and its report entirely at face value: a “sobering verdict”, no less. This is not the first time she’s done this: she also uncritically endorsed the claims made in the BBC’s Panorama documentary in July 2019. 2/
She then scolded the Labour leadership for stating that the central claims made in that documentary were demonstrably untrue and indeed the opposite of the truth, something that has become even more obvious since. 3/
Read 21 tweets
15 Dec 20
I have no issue with people disliking the Canary—it's never been my cup of tea, either. But I've never seen any coherent argument to explain why left figures should no-platform it while still engaging with Britain's commercial newspapers, whose record is incomparably worse.
Corbyn published this post-election piece in the Observer, for example, which not only supported the Iraq war, but ran a batch of fake stories about WMDs to sell it in advance (Nick Davies has a great account of how that happened in Flat Earth News).

If you put together all the sins of the Canary since it first appeared, it wouldn't come close to matching the harmful impact of those Observer stories on Iraq. Should Corbyn have boycotted them, too?

(They stitched him up with the headline, but that's another story)
Read 5 tweets
10 Dec 20
I think this passage, from Open Labour's Euston 2.0 pamphlet, should kill off the "walk and chew gum" formula once and for all. It's a perfect example of mealy-mouthed equivocation about the complicity of one's own state in war crimes, dressed up as high principle. 1/
"The character of the Saudi intervention" (an aggressive war deliberately targeting civilians) isn't the only thing at stake here. The direct participation of British forces in that war makes it a moral imperative to oppose such complicity. 2/

In 2016, about 100 Labour MPs refused to support a motion calling for an end to Britain's direct participation in the Saudi war on Yemen. Some, like John "Mainstream" Woodcock, openly flaunted their support for that war. 3/

Read 5 tweets
8 Dec 20
Love to be lectured about hard-headed thinking from people whose view of geopolitics has all the flinty realism of a letter to Santa Claus. One of the authors helped workshop the "talking about capitalism is antisemitic" into British media discourse, so no surprise there.
"The hard left, which condemns the 'West' and condones the 'rest' regardless of circumstances"—I would say "citation needed", but that's a bit like asking for more peer-reviewed articles in the footnotes of a Harry Potter book. It would be a category error.
Bold move to stress the unquestionably positive results of hypothetical "humanitarian interventions" in the Middle East after 2011 without so much as mentioning the word "Libya".
Read 5 tweets
30 Nov 20
Unfortunately, this article evades the main issues at stake. It tacitly urges the left to revert to a failed strategy of unwarranted concessions and apologies that just added fuel to the fire, instead of challenging the false narrative around “Labour antisemitism” directly. 1/
Corbyn’s statement was right in every sense: empirically, politically, morally. The idea that basic questions of truth and justice should be subordinated to expediency is unacceptable. That’s part of what allowed this false narrative to take hold in the first place. 2/
A poll in July 2019 showed the vast majority of Labour members agreed with Corbyn’s thoughtful, measured perspective (or went further still). It’s fair to wonder if all those expressing negative views about his statement today even know exactly what he said. 3/
Read 10 tweets
25 Nov 20
The headline on this HP article about John McDonnell's interview is tendentious, but this verbatim passage is a surrender to irrationality. The nature and extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party under Corbyn *is* the issue—it always has been.

The media narrative claimed that there was a dramatic increase in antisemitism under Corbyn's leadership, to the point that it became endemic in the party, and that this upsurge was actively encouraged by the Labour leadership. That narrative was provably false in every respect.
McDonnell obviously doesn't think that he was part of a project that posed an "existential threat to Jewish life in Britain". He should say so bluntly & unambiguously instead of allowing this false narrative to stand by default. "Stay and fight" has to involve actually fighting.
Read 4 tweets