Chewing Political Fat: An Open Conversation with Trade Unionist, Local Councillor and Long Haired Wizard, Tosh McDonald.
In December 2020 via Doncopolitan, I published an article by Doncaster resident Nick Goldstien, which was highly critical of Jeremy Corbyn and anti-semitism in the Labour party. This was especially difficult for me to publish because I am a Corbynista and joined the Labour Party during his reign.
In 2019 on the night of the general election, I cried inconsolably at the thought of more years of Tory rule. For the first time in Doncaster’s history we had elected an unthinkable, a Tory MP. I was left feeling, ‘what went wrong?’ For all the blame I could throw at mainstream media and its slander, a lot of Doncaster residents hated Corbyn.
Almost a year later, I approached Nick Goldstein to write a piece about being Jewish and living in Doncaster; he asked me if he could discuss his views on anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Nick writes for Doncopolitan regularly – how could I not let him express his views on our platform? What struck me about Nick’s words was how he felt ignored by his friends on the left, and that writing the piece helped him to externalise his experience. He felt heard.
Over the summer of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, I made a commitment to listen more. To listen to the views of people I don’t agree with and to the voices of people who feel marginalised. I want to understand and I want to learn.
What Nick’s article revealed to me is that hearing a personal account and listening to personal experiences is important, but also that you need to have scrupulous journalistic practices to seek out the facts too. The latter is something we find extremely difficult to do at Doncopolitan because our work is often done voluntarily. I want to work on this more; we’re working on increasing our supporters over on our Patreon so that we can pay trained journalists to explore these complex issues.
For me, personally, the article I published was a difficult read, as I am still struggling with the idea that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-western or anti-Semitic (sorry Nick if you are reading this) there is still a lot more to drive into on this particular topic. What I did learn from Nick’s article is that as a white working class northern woman, I will never understand the oppression of a jewish man and the way anti-semitism feels. Because of this, perhaps at times, I may blindy overlook issues and intentionally not see them when they are there.
After I published Nick’s article, I wrote to local Labour Party members as a warning; I expected that friends on the left would be deeply disappointed in my decision to publish Nick’s word. I may have lost their trust and respect as a result.
I knew that I would need to create a counter argument from the left of the Labour Party, and I am grateful to our local Councillor Tosh McDonald, who gave up his time to come onto my podcast to discuss the article from the point of view of the left of the Labour party.
This is an especially long episode, so grab a tea or a coffee before you get started. We are covering a wide variety of issues from socialism, trade union movement, the Labour Party, Corbynism and why Tosh has decided to step down as a local councillor.
I started this conversation feeling very disillusioned with politics, but Tosh has reminded me of my socialist roots and what we can achieve through our solidarity with each other. It reminded me of my favourite miner’s banner that I saw when I met the Kent Miners in my early twenties.
There’s a lot to do.
Thank you to both Nick and Tosh for everything this has taught me and for my listeners and followers – thank you for being on this journey with me. Love to you all.
P.S. If you’ve enjoyed my Podcast and follow my work and the content I create online you to can support by becoming a Doncopolitan Patreon. Collectively our work is about giving creatives, activist and residents a voice. It is helping me to create this Podcast and work closely with Rajnish my producer.
From as little as £3 per month you can helping to fuel our movement without us having to rely on grants, which can often be a massive distraction and hugely draining. Follow this link to join and I’ll be in touch. R:)