Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Sense from Nick Cohen: 1, 2. (On class versus race.)

Nonsense from Dave Renton: here. (On Richard Seymour on Nick Cohen and his ilk.) [ADDED: The Fat Man deconstructs.]

Bonus link: Snook cocker.

1 comment:

maps said...

Kia ora Bob,

I don't think that there's any contradiction between talking about class and race - in fact, neither concept makes much sense, in my opinion, without the other.

We can't understand the position of, say, Maori in New Zealand without reference to both the fact that the overwhelming majority of them belong to the blue collar working class, and the fact that they are an oppressed people who were conquered by imperialism in the nineteenth century and have been subject to various types of discrimination ever since. The fact that many Maori occupy low-paid and insecure jobs is a direct consequence of the fact that their lands were 'enclosed' in the inineteenth century.

In much the same way, gender and class analyses are needed to enrich each other. Cohen's attitude slides quite quickly into a sort of economism which treats groups like Maori as simply 'brown-skinned workers' and which denies the deep-seated racism that still affects the white working classes of imperialist nations. Marx himself often fell into this attitude, until the last decade of his life gave him a better perspective.

I haven't bothered to read Richard's book or follow the progress of the 'pro-war left' for years, since I think they became irrelevant pretty soon after the war went pear-shaped, but I did write an academic paper on them back in 2004, in an attempt to put them into what I consider is the approriate historical context: