Monday, January 07, 2008

Critique (Marxist versus Moonbats 2)

I just signed up to an online sample copy of Critique, a UK-based magazine of the independent Marxist left. The below is an extract from their editorial (it's just over a year old), which I post here not to fully endorse, but as another piece of weaponry in the struggle against the rococco left.
Critique Notes - Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory:
"there can also be no question that anti-Semitism is rising, particularly in areas where it has been endemic in the past half-century: Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Bebel's dictum that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools is partly correct in that the role of anti-Semitism is different from that of racism; it provides an alternative populist ideology to the appeal of socialism. Bebel, however, failed to understand its importance by speaking of fools. Anti-Semitism in modern times has served the purpose of diverting anger - in particular that of the peasantry, the small businessmen, the shopkeepers and various middle layers in the population but also of the lumpen proletariat - away from the ruling class. With the very high levels of unemployment and the despair of the masses in general in parts of the world with a history of anti-Semitism, the idea that the world can be put to rights by eliminating the Jews appears real. It may be that the appeal of the anti-Semitism of the President of Iran and of various Middle East governments cannot be countered without a socialist movement to give hope of real change.

One's enemy's enemy is not our friend and such religious fundamentalist nationalists are necessarily anti-Marxist, anti-working class and anti-socialist. The executions of 15,000 Iranian leftists under the Khomeini shows quite clearly whom they see as their enemy. Critique will have a special article on this 'holocaust of the left' in Iran in the next issue. The left has had many martyrs over the years, most particularly from the time of the Paris Commune, but it is in the Stalinist and post-Stalinist period that they have gone unrecognised. The Stalinist massacre of hundreds of Greek Trotskyists, the pogrom of the Viet-Nam Trotskyists, not to speak of what happened in the USSR and Eastern Europe, is the background to the modern murder of the imprisoned Iranian left. That is why the support by sections of the left for Hizbullah and the Iranian regime is particularly heinous.

In any case, Marxists are critical of religion of whatever kind, precisely because it is both irrational and necessarily supportive of an exploitative class even if it is critical of another. The concessions made to Islam in this respect by certain groups demonstrate that such groups are moving sharply to the right. Acceptance of misogyny, homophobia and irrationalism is simply unforgivable. Nor does the fact that many peasants and some workers support Islam or fundamentalist Islam make it any better. After all, ruling class parties would never have accepted democracy if they did not have mass support. If religion is the 'heart of a heartless world, the sigh of the oppressed', as Marx famously put it, that does not make it a worthy ally in the struggle for socialism unless its exponents actually support socialism itself.

The fact that the left appears to be marginalised is no reason to compromise one's principles, though this seems to be the disease of the day. The left has to make it clear that it opposes anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, etc. and not stand by while others on the same platform make odious remarks. Indeed, if political groups do not openly counter such remarks one has to conclude that they are no longer of the left."

Marxists versus Moonbats 1: Do Zionists Run America?


Transpontine said...
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Transpontine said...

Must admit I haven't read Critique for years - thought they were a bit of a one horse critique of the Soviet Union and the horse has long since bolted - or was it put down? Sounds like their might be some life in the journal, if not in the horse.

On antisemitism, I have just posted something at History is Made at Night on a very dubious response to the eviction of a squat in Tel Aviv: Ben Atar eviction: a cosmpolitan response

Darren said...

Isn't the main man behind Critique, Hillel Ticktin, part of the 'Campaign for a Marxist Party' initiative that's getting a lot of coverage in the Weekly Worker?

bob said...

Great post on the squat eviction Transpontine. Critique continues to mine the same theoretical vein it has been for a while, pushing beyond orthodox Trotskyism in the refinement of its critique of Stalinism. Yes, Darren, Ticktim in the main man there. He has been involved in the Campaign for a Marxist Party initiative, along with the Weekly Worker/CPGB and the successor organisation to the "real" (pre-SWP) Socialist Alliance, the DSA, as well as Socialist Democracy, an Irish group I know nothing about. I think the C4aMP (is that the right acronym) is a fairly benign force on the left. Any comments on them here welcome.