Friday, September 28, 2007

Battle of Lewisham again

The latest issue of the AWL's Solidarity has a two page spread on the battle of Lewisham and the Lewisham '77 project. Pdfs: p.1, p.2

Bollinger, Coatsworth and Mahmoud (goodbye testicles)

Jogo sent this e-mail to Norm, in response to this post:

I agree with you on Columbia/Ahmedinijad. But you left something out.

There is quite a bit of BAD FAITH in Columbia's invoking freedom of speech and "reasoned discourse" to justify the invitation to Mahmoud. Dean Coatsworth said that even Hitler would have been invited to Columbia to speak. Well, maybe Hitler could have spoken at Columbia ... but ... this is what happened when Jim Gilchrist (a purveyor of "odious ideas?") spoke at Columbia: http://youtube.com/watch?v=PuNXmy0e5fc

As for Bollinger, how stupid does he think we are? He invites a man to engage in "reasoned discourse" and then insults him to his face in public. Everyone knows that such behavior is reprehensible, especially so in Iran, whose traditions of hospitality forbid insulting your guest, no matter who he is. Could Mahmoud, at that moment, have had less than absolute contempt for his host? I do not think so. Mahmoud knows his adversary is a worm, and I know it, too.

Thankfully, Columbia may be exceptional. Not all universities invite monsters to speak; for example, UC Davis, which rescinded Larry Summers' invitation.

I realize I'm sounding like Victor Davis Hanson, but sometimes, Norm, it does seem that a big part of the problem is this:

Thank you for your work,
jogo

Bob adds: I have added some links to my last post on this.

The meaning of revenge

BBC - Radio 4 - The Choice - 25 September 2007
This was a truly extraordinary and moving interview, about Laura Blumenfeld, an American Jew whose rabbi father was shot by a Palestinian terrorist while he was a tourist in Jerusalem, and Laura's journey to track down the shooter. I won't spoil it by telling you how she got her revenge, just listen.
(Norm adds: She also tells the story here. And in her book.)

South London memories

nicing up tha riddim « The Magic Cauldron
This brought back the memories for me.

Future Sound of London's "Papua New Guinea", from the early 1990s, was a real ear-opener for me, overcoming an innate prejudice against certain types of electronic dance music, and defined something that made London special for me.

"Super Sharp Shooter" by DJ Zinc brings back memories of New Cross and Brockley in the mid-1990s, when jungle music was everywhere. The slow opening, the nice squelchy noises, then after more than two minutes the intense drum and bass madness kicks in. This was also massive at Carnival in 1995. Here, insanely, are the lyrics. (Bonus blog link: Dilated Choonz.)

Previous: Sound Murderer (Loafin' in Brockley), Brockley junglism, Sarf London Songs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The first one to say 'Hitler' loses

Brett Stephens in OpinionJournal on the lunatic invitation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Columbia University, thanks to Jogo. A good piece, and also kindly provides a pdf of an excellent piece from Commentary in the 1950s by Lionel Trilling (once of Columbia), entitled "George Orwell and the Politics of Truth".

See also Modernity.
Added: and The Contentious One and HLNK
Added 2: I loved this - Kamangir: Solid Proof that Israelis are Paranoid (via Noga)

Plus, how's this for obscenity at Kos? (via PRNewport and DST4W)

Old Anarchist Joke

"What do you get if you cross a situationist with a mafioso? A guy who makes you an offer you can’t understand."

RespectWatch: SWP versus Galloway

Here's some more about the John Rees/Gorgeous George tiff:

On the Galloway indictment of the SWP:
What Galloway's Document Tells Us (Organized Rage)

Martin Thornett's position:
Respect forum: video and audio (Mac Uaid)

The SWP response to George:
RESPECT - THE SWP RESPONDS (Socialist Unity)

Ian Bone's take:
GALLOWAY WANTS SWP LEADER JOHN REES OUT! (Ian Bone)

The Respect National Council official position:
Statement from the Respect National Council, 22/09/2007 (Mac Uaid)

Salma Yaqoog's response:
The future of Respect (My Random Thorghts)

99th best left-wing blogger in the universe ever

I'm glad to have made (just: I'm in the "91 to 100" section) the Socialist Unity One Hundred Best Left Blogs list (actually 101, Andy humble enough to exclude his own blog from the list). (And, for my trans-Atlantic readers, this is left blogs from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.)

I confess I am new to both the number 1 and number 2, both Irish: Cedar Lounge and Splintered Sunrise, and have to say I am very unimpressed by Splintered Sunrise, with its snide attacks on the "decent left" - although I liked this post on the SWP and Che. There were several others I hadn't heard of, and among those I liked The Scottish Patient, Madam Miaow says, Consider Phlebas and My Random Thorghts.

Some of my favourites are there, including Dave's Part, Shiraz Socialists, Ian Bone, The Early Days of a Better Nation, Three Score Years and Ten, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, The Daily (Maybe), Hak Mao, Gauche, A Cloud in Trousers, The Bristol Blogger, the Popinjays, General Theory, Modernity, and Kathedar.

And there are some that I haven't visited for a while - like KitNotes, Reasons to be Impossible, From Despair to Where?, Whatever Happened to Leon Trotsky? - that I'll have a better look at.

I was suprised not to see Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Republic, Inveresk Street Ingrate, Virtual Stoa, Shuggy's Blog, Never Trust a Hippy and The Poor Mouth.

---

Meanwhile, you can also check out the Torygraph's bizarre list of influential leftists (left meaning Labour Party, with one or two exceptions), or Iain Dale's list of 100 left of centre bloggers, which I'm pleased to see includes Baggage Reclaim.

Three from Ian Bone

Here's three from everyone's favourite class warrior, Ian Bone. (Well, not everyone's obviously.)

1. The Benn dynasty continues: 17-year old schoolgirl Emily Benn, granddaughter of Tony Benn, has been selected to stand for election in Sussex. Contempt for the voters of Worthing that they are expected to be represented by a teenage girl.* This has a South London connection, as Emily goes to St Olave's school in what Ian Bone calls "uber-posh Orpington". I hate to say it, but "uber-posh" is not how we'd describe Orpington down here... But St. Olave's ("a forward-looking selective school", according to itself) obviously is. Ian writes:
If elected it would mean five generations of BENNS sitting in parliament. Mr.BENN is of course firmly opposed to the hereditary prrinciple in politics and has resigned his peerage to prove it………HURRAH FOR ST.OLAVES AND EMILY! DOWN WITH THE HERDITARY PRINCIPLE!
Orpington, incidentally, is home to Gary Rhodes and Brian Moore, and features at class hatred site Chav Towns, which brings us to:

2. Wifebeater Tory MP Wanted to Open ‘Chav’ Shop! This also has a South London connection, as it is about Croydon MP Andrew Pelling, who called his voters chavs.

3. 1968 and all that. On a totally different note, Ian writes:
Andrew Burgin is organising a day of celebration of 1968’s radical culture and events on the 40th anniversary at Conway Hall on May 10th 2008. Amongst speakers being lined up are Angela Davis and ’street fighting man’ (I don’t fucking think so) Tariq Ali. The event promises an exciting mix and there’s a interesting article on DAVID WIDGERY on the website reminding us that in those days people like Widgery and PETER SEDGWICK retained a libertarian non-sectarian presence in Tony Cliff’s outfit now dominated by muslim businessmen, old labour has-beens and chancers. Well worth a look: www.1968andallthat.net

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Islamophobia"

Rumy Hasan’s lost article on ‘Islamophobia’ (part 1) « Shiraz Socialist
in which Jim Denham uses an excellent piece by a socialist of Muslim background as a weapon with which to beat "upper-class hooray Stalinist" Seamas Milne and his Respectnik/relativist apologetics for Islamism.

Walt and Mearsheimer yet again

On the one hand, the eager bloodlust of the anti-Zionists, as they hold up The Israel Lobby as proof that they were right all along about the Zionazi cabal ruling the world. On the other hand the shrill denunciations of the Zionists who think that Walt and Mearsheimer have written another Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the anti-Zionists, the fact that the Zionists object in print is somehow proof of their awesome power, failing to notice that the fact that the book is no.2 on the NYT bestseller list is proof of the lack of power of the Zionist cabal.

Ralph Seliger cautions against the shrillness of the Zionists, recommending two posts by someone smart, Dan Fleshler, who, unusually, has actually read the book: Mearsheimer, Walt and the so-called “silent” Jewish doves and Mearsheimer, Walt and what didn’t really happen at Camp David.

It is also worth noting what Zbigniew Brzezinski actually said about Walt and Meersheimer, as his new connection to Barak Obama is turning sensible anti-anti-Zionists off Obama. This is from the New Yorker:
Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national-security adviser, recently praised Mearsheimer and Walt in the pages of Foreign Policy for the service of “initiating a much-needed public debate,” but he went on to provide a tone and a perspective that are largely missing from their arguments. “The participation of ethnic or foreign-supported lobbies in the American policy process is nothing new,” he observes. “In my public life, I have dealt with a number of them. I would rank the Israeli-American, Cuban-American, and Armenian-American lobbies as the most effective in their assertiveness. The Greek- and Taiwanese-American lobbies also rank highly in my book. The Polish-American lobby was at one time influential (Franklin Roosevelt complained about it to Joseph Stalin), and I daresay that before long we will be hearing a lot from the Mexican-, Hindu-, and Chinese-American lobbies as well.”*
So, it's important to have a sense of proportion about what the book actually says, and what its supposed supporters actually say. What's worrying is that it almost doesn't matter what the book says: its very existence - a book by academics claiming that there is such a thing as an Israel lobby - is permission for antisemites to spout off in the public sphere.

Mort Zuckerman was slurred by W&M as a member of the "media wing" of the Lobby; his nice response was: "I would just say this: The allegations of this disproportionate influence of the Jewish community reminds me of the 92-year-old man sued in a paternity suit. He said he was so proud, he pleaded guilty." Anyway, Huffington Post commendably published a blog post by Zuckerman taking apart W&M's claims. Take a look at the comments in response. Or, rather, take a look at a couple, because you'll start to get sick after a while. Captain Video writes:
When it comes to middle eastern policy, the Israel lobby is the elephant in the room that almost everybody is pretending not to notice because if you say "hey there's an elephant in the room," you immediately get accused of being anti semetic. But everybody who knows what is going on knows that the elephant is there.
Slightly less wacky Pivotoftheuniverse writes:
Zuckerman and other Israel lobby activists are running scared. We now are able to discuss the question of the effect of right-wing, likudnik Israeli policy on US foreign policy. Most Americans have come to see this as true, and many are now uncomfortable about it. And we see it now in the drumbeat to attack Iran. Sorry Mort, cat's out of the bag. M&W may have their problems, but the overall truth of their argument is as plain as day.
These people are "now able" to shit out hate speech about American Jews as much as they like, because Walt and Mearsheimer gave them permission to. Calling them anti-semitic is proof that the Israel Lobby exists.

Similarly, the endorsement and promotion of W&M by liberal media outlets like the New Statesman (better: the Jew Hatesman) is at worst an example of the pervasiveness of anti-semitic thought, at best deeply irresponsible.

For more analysis of W&M, read Noga, Mr Volokh, and Snarksmith.

Meanwhile, read Judeosphere on "The Homosexual Lobby" (ideally read in conjunction with this).


*Not to be read as an endorsement of Zbigniew Brzezinski, another realist Cold War scumbag who has jumped on the Israel=apartheid bandwagon.

All posts on: Walt and Mearsheimer, Barack Obama here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

For a UCU ballot on boycott

Some UCU activists have started a campaign for a national UCU membership ballot on the boycott question. I am ever so slightly hesitant about this - if all key decisions were made by membership ballot, the union would become pretty toothless. However, when we take industrial action, we ballot members. With a boycott of Israel, individual members will then be expected to implement it. For example, I would be expected to sever my links with Israeli colleagues, which would change the nature of my academic work. I have, therefore, decided to sign the call. More here. Please, only sign the petition of you are a UCU member.

Notes from a Tunnel

Notes From A Tunnel is a brand new blog that is surely worth watching. It promises the memoirs of someone who grew up in Ceausescu’s totalitarian regime.
The world that surrounded me for the first nineteen years of my life, shaped by one of the most infamous totalitarian regime of daily kafkaesque assault on rational thought, has been changing radically since 1990 - but also, only partially. There have been volumes written about such societies, countless hours filled with documentaries on the vast political, economical and of course, ideological forces at work...

The following recollections though, from the Romanian pre- and post-Revolutionary years, are street-level snapshots with often surprising similarities between the old and the new country. They come together not as a grand portal into the past and quasi-present, but a small window for just one head at a time to peer through it.

The Jena 6

Confessions of a Closet Republican has an extremely comprehensive post on the Jena 6, the African American youth in Jena, Louisiana, facing charges of attempted second degree murder for participation in a schoolyard brawl that reveals a shocking degree of survival of Jim Crow racial terror in the new South.

More on the Israeli Nazis

More on the Israeli Nazis Alderman's article refered to: Pogrom.org.il - Chronicles of Antisemitism in the Jewish state (thanks to Jogo)

21st century socialism?

And Venezuela is meant to be the home of 21st century socialism?

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Don't forget our fascist past"

Geoffery Alderman in The Jewish Chronicle on the neo-Nazi skinheads of Israel.

Seeds of anti-semitism

Michael Gerson - Seeds of Anti-Semitism - washingtonpost.com
On Walt and Mearsheimer. Conclusion: "These academics may not follow their claims all the way to anti-Semitism. But this is the way it begins. This is the way it always begins."
(Via Jogo)

The socialism of fools?

The new Engage journal is out, with some very heavy-weight contributions, including by Philip Mendes, Eric Litwack and Moishe Postone. Jonathan Green provides a lexicon of anti-semitic terms, from Abie Kabibble to joosh-pipples to Secta nefaria and snipcock.

I'll finish the post with Philip Spencer on left anti-semitism:
And finally, we need to argue that anti-Semitism is wholly unacceptable, that no organisation or movement on the left should tolerate any expression or manifestation of anti-Semitism. It was once (foolishly) said by a great socialist, August Bebel, that “anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools”. It was not and is not any such thing. It is not any kind of socialism at all, of fools or anyone else. A left that tolerates anti-Semitism, that legitimates it, that colludes with it for purposes of mobilisation, as it socialises a new political generation, is in danger of wrecking itself politically and morally.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Protocols of Zion

A guest post by Jogo
 

Huffington Post, one of the most important and widely read websites in the leftwing blogosphere, published this exposé of Jewish power and influence. So powerful are the Jews, apparently, that a minuscule group of them managed to take control of the government and media of the United States, and then manipulated policy and public opinion to produce the war in Iraq. The writer asks a question that must be on the lips of all concerned Americans: How did they do it? The question is urgent, because if this tiny group is not stopped they're going to manipulate another war .... against Iran. So, we need to find out what happened. How did they do it?

Hmm ... I have been wondering about that, too. Because it just doesn't seem possible that a dozen or so men could actually seize the reins of the United States and drive it into a war. There must be something behind it -- sinister hidden forces, conspiracies, the Mossad, Leo Strauss, networks of Jewish money, the Talmud ... fucked if I know.

******

I think you m-i-g-h-t have a little problem with this line of thinking. David Horowitz has a problem with it, too. But his writing style is pretty obnoxious, and he's well known as a rightwinger, so maybe you should just ignore what he says.

******

Also read: Ron Rosenbaum in Slate on Walt and Mearsheimer

Miscellany

Voting: According to this, I should vote for Dennis Kucinich. (Found via Don't Trip Up, in a post on Ron Paul which is very worth reading.)

Lewisham '77: success or failure? Fascinating account and analysis from veteran anti-racist Jenny Bourne

Orwelliana: A new Source for E-books ... George Orwell and others (Shagya Blog)

Boycotts and Ethics: Keith Kahn-Harris on the ethics of the academic boycott.

The Talmud as Marxism: Discordian Communism Basic Dialectics (I think already linked to by the Popinjays)

If Bush really was a fascist: The Nation of Duncan: Things the stupid left does

Richard fights the good fight at the Zimbabwe embassy: Baggage Reclaim - Protesting

An anarchist on the 9/11 "Truth" Cult: Infoshop News - Britain's 9/11 "Truth Movement": Who's Responsible?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On the fetishisation of balance

I've been trying to catch up with my blogroll and it's taken me over a week to see this post at The Contentious Centrist with Martin Amis weighing (by proxy) into the debate that went on here.

Turn off the war, dude

The Blackwater incident is just the latest of reasons to feel deeply ashamed to come from a member of the Multi-National Force in Iraq. But I am disgusted at the rising clamour, in the UK and the US, to withdraw from Iraq. If you believe we helped fuck it up, you should accept that it's our duty to help put it right.

Expat Iraqi blogger, IraqPundit, puts it really well in "Nice rally, shame about Iraq":
a loud crowd of people wearing badges that said "Impeach Cheney First" and who held signs that said "End the war now," as though it could be switched off like an iPod.

How I wish that were possible. It's true that some U.S. soldiers have been guilty of some horrid stuff, that they've killed innocent people, and raped and humiliated Iraqis. But I also know the majority of murdered Iraqis were intentionally killed by the so-called insurgents, by AQI, and by the Iran-backed militias. These and other killers aren't going to respond to a humanitarian anti-war plea. But I'm certain that they all enjoyed watching the TV footage of the march.
Found via Roland D (post nicely titled: "Hey Ma, I'm on TV! That will show Bush!"

Related: MoveOn.org: General Betray Us? « The New Centrist

Genocidal Stalinism in Cambodia, apologists in the West

In a rare piece of good news, Nuon Chea, the no.2 in the one of the most horrific regimes of our time, Khmer Rouge's Kampuchea, has been arrested, hopefully to face justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr Eugenides comments:
Though his lawyers will no doubt bring it up as an issue, it's doubtful that too many Cambodians will have qualms about seeing an octogenarian going on trial. The absence of any formal judicial proceedings against the Khmer Rouge leadership has, moreover, made it possible for the likes of John Pilger to use the tragedy to push his own worldview (in which the US - who else? - bears primary responsibility for the genocide), and for Noam Chomsky to go one better and spend the past quarter century downplaying and minimizing the scale of the Khmer Rouge terror, most notably by comparing it, grotesquely, with French vigilanteism after the end of the Second World War - thus neatly equating the fate of the innocent victims of these horrific crimes with Nazi collaborators.
Hunting down and trying old men for the crimes of the past is not without its problems, but no full and proper accounting for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge has ever been possible. Perhaps, after Milosevic, Pinochet and Hussein, it's fanciful to imagine that this heralds a new accountability for old tyrants; Nuon Chea may never make it to the dock. But it's something, after all.
Much as I have come to hate Pilger, his role in informing the world of Pol Pot's genocide was vitally important. I, for one, vividly remember Pilger's broadcasts, which certainly opened my eyes. And he is right to point out that the West's blindness to the genocide was because of Cold War realpolitik: Pol Pot's Peking-affiliated version of Communism was an ally against Vietnam's Moscow-affiliated version.

Pilger was right to draw attention to the Faustian bargain Nixon and Kissenger made with Pol Pot, which Thatcher and Reagan renewed. He was right to draw attention to the obscenity of America (under George Bush Sr) and Beijing forcing the UN to allow the Khmer Rouge back into Cambodia, indeed back into a coalition government.

Pilger also highlights Nixon and Kissinger's bombing campaign on Cambodia, during Operation Menu, as part of the Vietnam war. He is right to condemn this as a war crime.

However, Pilger is wrong in blaming this campaign for Pol Pot's genocide. Pilger writes that
In dropping the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on a peasant society, Nixon and Kissinger killed an estimated half a million people. Year Zero began, in effect, with them; the bombing was a catalyst for the rise of a small sectarian group, the Khmer Rouge, whose combination of Maoism and medievalism had no popular base.
His logic is flawed here. The Khmer Rouge was morally responsible for its actions - blaming America is like blaming Hitler on the financial speculators who drove the inflation wave of the 1920s. But America, and its then new friend China, then proceeded to prop up the new regime, for which it is morally culpable.

As I have written before (somewhere), if 9/11 taught us something, it should have been that propping up lesser evils (Osama was deemed better than the Soviet Union, Saddam was deemed better than the Ayatollahs) can come back to haunt you. The post-9/11 shift from realism to idealism in British and American foreign policy was a half-learning of that lesson - but it's only been half-absorbed, and if the Decent Left scorn Pilger for making a similar point then we lose our moral high ground.

Chomsky, on the other hand, can rot in hell.


See also: Jim D on losing respect for Pilger
Previous: Hitchens and William Shawcross on Cambodia; Chomsky on My Lai and Pol Pot; Chomsky the revisionist.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Sport of Self Deprecating Jew Bashing at Gawker Media

The Sport of Self Deprecating Jew Bashing at Gawker Media

Street Signs

New issue of Street Signs [pdf], the magazine of the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths College, is out. A couple of things of interest to readers of this blog: "Gregor Schneider’s Black Cube, Malevich and the Muslim Community" by Roger Hewitt (on p.5), "On what the Commission on Integration and Cohesion really said" by Michael Keith (former Tower Hamlets councillor, before being unseated by Respect, p.8), "Strategies of Sharing: the Case-study of Deptford.TV" by maria x & Adnan Hadzi (p.19), "Chickens coming home to roost: Social theory, the left and terror" by Ben Gidley (p.27), and "Lewisham ’77" by Ben Gidley (p.43 - makes an error in saying that the Lewisham '77 event is in October when it's actually November 10).

Red Saunders at Lewisham 77

Photographer and Rock Against Racism founder Red Saunders remembers 1977's Battle of Lewisham, at the Lewisham '77 commemorative walk on Saturday. (Location: corner of Achilles Street and Pagnell Street, New Cross. Film by Dave Bones.)

Come back later for more of this.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just not cricket

For some reason, Beyond A Boundary is the only book by CLR James I have not read. Unlike some of my favourite bloggers, I just don't get cricket. But this review in The Atlantic Monthly this week (c/o Jogo) makes me think I really do need to read it!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Overdose

I don't like it when I post lots of short posts, which I've done recently. So, if you want to jump to the last posts of substance, read:

Realpolitik and Genocide

Snarkmithy at Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for WAR (note new url - I've not changed my blogroll yet) has a long, in-depth post on the issues raised here and here (and in fact in this whole series of posts).

Do the maths

Dave's Part: Not everything can equal fascism
Dave Osler on the trend to equate more or less everthing with fascism. Should be read widely!

George versus the SWP

How on earth did I fail to blog about the fall-out between George Galloway and the SWP, hopefully presaging the collapse of Respect? Here's five versions: Harry's Place: The Long Slow Death of RESPECT; Ian Bone: GALLOWAY versus SWP - When thieves fall out!; Socialist Unity: Respect To Explode?; Mac Uaid: George Galloway’s letter to Respect’s National Council; Dave's Part: Galloway document - first thoughts.

From Non-Jewish Jew to pro-Zionist

I didn't know that Isaac Deutscher, hero of the anti-Zionists, actually renounced his anti-Zionism.

(Via Hak Mao)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Three on America and Latin America

  • The Washington Note looks at the leading Democrats' views on Cuba.
  • Pajamas Media Caracas on Chairman Hugo's Little Red Constitution.
  • This is me!!! on how the leftist surge in Latin America is not bringing forth the abortion rights the North American West holds so dear, partly due to "a widespread tendency in the developing world to associate abortion rights, like gay rights, with an imperialist agenda of the industrialized world."

Three on the new anti-semitism

The "new anti-semitism"

Support the Fremantle Care Workers

LabourStart UK: Support the Fremantle Care Workers

Following the neo-liberal policies that govern care in this day and age, Conservative Barnet Council passed its care homes to a private, "not for profit" company, Fremantle Trust, in 2002. Fremantle's workers were given a chhoice: sign new contracts or be sacked. The new contracts meant less wages, less pensions, less vacation time, less sick days allowed, and more hours at work.

LabourStart has supported the trade union, UNISON, in the campaign for the workers' rights. LabourStart supporters flooded the inbox of Fremantle's chief executive with thousands of messages.

The reaction of the company was swift: on Friday afternoon, they fired off an email message to Eric Lee of LabourStart threatening legal action for "libel".

A couple of days later, Fremantle got even more aggressive, and sacked Unison rep Andrew Rogers.

Click the LabourStart and UNISON links above to express your solidarity.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The left's old neighbourhood... or a new neighbourhood?

A guest post by Jogo

[Bob sez: This e-mail from Jogo after I posted this closely relates to a brief
exchange I had with Nogo at her blog. Noga also gives one sketch of what the new neighbourhood might look like, here, in second half of the post. -B]

This wonderful photograph is a perfect accompaniment to the very strong article you linked to.

I've seen it before on zombietime.com, which you should visit sometime. For fun, click now on this.

Today, in front of my local Trader Joe, there was a table and a big sign that said "Impeach Cheney." There was literature being given away, and I suppose there was a petition to sign. But the outreach had nothing to do with Cheney (impeachment is ridiculous), but rather with Lyndon LaRouche*. And the poor stupid SUV liberals of Encinitas were gathered round, thinking only of Cheney and how awful he is, not realizing that the magnet that drew them there was worse than Cheney.

********

The New Centrist, yourself, the Eustonites, the bloggers-after-your-own heart, all these fellows, are waging an important struggle to reconfigure or shift the center of gravity of the Left. The battle needs to be fought, but it may have already been lost. I and my friend John Seward have taken another approach -- perhaps not the best one -- and simply abandoned "the Left" as our home, while not completely abandoning, even cherishing, certain emotional, ethical and philosophical currents that continue to connect us to the Left. It is as if a bunch of terrible people have moved into the neighborhood, rendering it unfit for (our) habitation. And yet the old neighborhood is ... well ... it's still the old neighborhood and the pickle man's stall is still there with its wonderful, evocative smells. It's hard to resist that smell. And mmm, those pickles are crunchy and delicious, and you can't find pickles like that anywhere else.

However, at a certain point, the conflicts that divide the Left will have (or perhaps already have had) the effect of tearing the Left into pieces: /this Left/ and /that Left/. At that point, I ask: why continue to identify yourself as Left? Why not do as The New Centrist has done and move your community to a new place? When Hell's Angels, winos, whores and crackheads have taken over the neighborhood one can find oneself huddled in one's apartment, reading books and making nice dinners for a few friends, reluctant to take the kind of evening walks one used to do. And I won't put up with that. But I LIKE my evening walks in the neighborhood. Perhaps, think I, if I help create a new neighborhood I might have new neighbors: people who would not have lived in that old neighborhood: people I might not have met if I, and they, had remained in our old neighborhoods. And if the new neighhorhood is a nice one ... well, others might move in.

And here's a thought: perhaps that new neighborhood already exists, though it has no name. Perhaps that's the neighborhood where millions of people actually do live, but they don't quite realize it yet.


[*Bob adds: LaRouche post coming up some time this week! ]

Bayard Rustin


(Sort of a propos of this and this.)

August 24th marked the 20th anniversary of Bayard Rustin's passing. Rustin was a great man, from whom we could take many lessons today: on totalitarianism, on identity politics, on civil rights. There's a very good tribute to him in TNR by James Kirchick.

Steve Clemons at The Daily Dish attacked Kirchick (and through him Rustin) as basically liberal outriders for the neocon movement. The post is very poor, and basically repeats the now-common left/liberal litany that places blame for all ills on a cabal of (mostly Jewish - Rustin is a rare exception) hawks for all the ill in the world, known as the "neocons". A counter-post on The Dish, by Jamie, makes the sensible case that not everyone who supports the spread of freedom is a neocon. (Jamie's position is also amplified by Michael van der Galien.)

Rustin was not right about everything: he was wrong to support the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, he was wrong to support the US intervention in Grenada. But he was right on most things.

For more, read this article by Nat Hentoff.

Hat tip: Jogo (again)

Nina Simone - Erets Zavat Chalav - 1962

Jogo writes:
Nina's pronounciation and phrasing make it a little hard to hear the full verse -- "Eretz Chalav u-Dvash", which means "Land Flowing with Milk and Honey" -- Exodus 3:8

Books and the crisis of American liberalism

I am half-way through writing a post entitled "The crisis of American liberalism", prompted by something which Jogo sent me:
"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,"' Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."
What snobbish, foolish bullshit.

Does reading Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code make you more progressive? Was going into Borders to buy the latest Michael Moore hit a defining feature of the black Southerners who sat in the whites only section of the diner? Did the factory workers who won fought for a ten-hour day in the nineteenth century come home and browse Amazon.com's reader recommendations at the end of working day?

And, as Jogo noted, did "the Karl Roves of this world" come up with slogans like "No blood for oil" or "All power to the soviets"?

With people like Pat Schroeder, no wonder liberalism in America is in deep crisis.

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For some of the books conservatives read, look at these Opinion Journal lists: Five Best books on the relationship between religion and the state or Five best books on the founding of America.

Labor Day post: American labour and British academics

Three items from the Jewish Labor Committee Blog:
Hat tip: Arieh