Monday, October 19, 2009

This week I have mostly been reading about...

Fascism and anti-fascism: Bob From Brockley transforms the BNP (link of the week, of course). Who are the English Defence League? The looming threat of far right terror. The Ideological Evolution of Horst Mahler: The Far Left-Extreme Right Synthesis.

Alternative histories: Jews versus Stalinists in the Spanish Civil War. The shipwrecked: anti-fascist refugees during WWII. The unknown occupations of the Middle East. Fascinating but overly vituperative comment thread at Terry's post about Marek Edelman. What happens when we talk about the Holocaust. The mask of the Marranos. The search for Srebrenica's dead.

Authoritarianism: Europe's response to Berlusconi has been cowardly. The brutality of the Honduras coup.

UK Politics: Reasons to miss Ken: Boris Johnson's cronyism. The Tory chav tax?

Jew-hatred etc: Alison Weir of CounterPunch continues to promote blood libel. Glenn Beck's softcore Holocaust denialism. Friends of Israel: lavish and over-influential? Chavista antisemitism and the socialism of fools.

Another world is possible: The new contours of imperialism. Code Pink in Iran. Trafigura, Marx and technology.

Sarf London:Blackheath Foot'n'Death Men. Searchlight stigmatise south London.

Zionism/anti-Zionism: The first "anti-Zionist" anti-war movement.

No subtitle would do: A fleshy weekend: Tom Paine, sloe gin and birds. Golf: one topic I agree with Hugo Chavez about!

Bob's beats: Yiddish partisan march with breakbeats (more here). Ethiopian music. Latin music. Finally, if you need chearing up in these dark times, listen to Cornelius Cardew's jolly "Smash The Social Contract", from his Maoist phase (via the wonderful Idiot's Guide to Dreaming).

Bonus: comment trail: on George Galloway at Third Estate (keep scrolling), on Tiananmen Square at Stalinist Unity, on environmental orthodoxy at Third Estate.

8 comments:

bob said...

A note on "softcore Holocaust denial". I take this term from Deborah Lipstadt, who argues that "hardcore" Holocaust denial is largely dead in the water (partly, in fact, due to her court battle with Irving), but that the intellectual danger now is "softcore" Holocaust denial.

By this she means all of the ways in which the Holocaust is not formally denied but contextualised away, explained away, minimised, trivialised and relativised. The most widespread and pernicious version of this today is the narrative that Israel is perpetrating a Holocaust in Gaza/Palestine.

But I think that the flippant comparisons between Obama and Nazism so prevelant today (like the flippant comparisons between Bush and Nazism of a few years ago) are a form of it, and need to combatted too. Even though the likes of Glen Beck are not friends of the Hamas cause, their use of softcore denialism feeds the same beast.

ModernityBlog said...

Hmm, just scanned the article at the Commune, not many sources, be better off if they at least looked at the Allies and Auschwitz by Gilbert, Hitler's Emigres.

On the other topic, funny how even today people are taken in by Galloway, you'd think if they troubled to follow his activities from War on Want to the creation of Respect that they'd see thru him, but no?

I suppose people see what they *want* see to see?

Jogo said...

On the other hand, your linking of Glen Beck to Holocaust Denial (albeit soft -- and I do understand the term) feeds another beast -- the mindless, proggy demonization of Glen Beck.

The lefties HATE Beck. Almost more than anyone else. He is their new Object of Hate, their Emanuel Goldstein. But in fact, Beck is a useful oddball voice, a dissenting voice. ("Dissenting" now means to be against Obama.) Beck helped bust the ACORN story, and he's helping to spread the shameful Anita Dunn "Mao my favorite political philosopher" story.
There's a reason why the 'moids and lefties hate Beck -- /he has their number./ And he is not always wrong.

True, Beck he is a clown, but no more than Keith Olberman, his leftist doppelganger.
It is inappropriate to link Beck to HD because Beck is a conservative DEFENDER of Israel. In no way is he ambivalent or ambiguous on this subject. Not only that, I would guess that virtually all Beck's (non-ironic) listeners support Israel and are not even soft HD-ers.

To say that GB is "no friend of Hamas" is a kind of round-the-back un-compliment. Neither is Pat Buchanan "a friend of Hamas." What is so clean about being "not a friend of Hamas?"

In fact, GB is a fierce ENEMY of Hamas and Hamas-ism. If he spoke
loosely -- (many people, you know, sing the /"first they came for ..." /song without being called Holocaust Deniers) -- well, you should let it go. Don't put Beck in your "jew-haters" category, because he isn't one. Not by ANY stretch of the imagination.

*This is a serious trans-atlantic mis-step of yours. Keep Deborah Lipstadt out of it.*

19 October, 2009 17:00

socialrepublican said...

On your bike, mate

Beck is some weird experiment to make Colbert look like Sam Shepherd.

When he throws out rhetoric like fascism a-coming or stalin is just round the corner like a monkey throws shit, it debase the historical reality of those terms. It compare the deaths of millions and the horror of totalitarianism with a merely inept, politically mid range Democratic administration. Just as 'revisionist' as those BUSHITLER posters or Warsaw=Gaza. Yet those childish and malicious fictions are not nightly pushed by the most popular news network in the States.

You might counter with 'Oh, all the MSN are still not doing their jobs' and their all in the 'tank' (trite term that it is) for Obama. As you put it, dissent. Well, if the emperor has no clothes, doen't mean you can say he's fucking a five year old at the same time.

When he invites invites contrarian racists, 'academics' who demand another 911 to get rid of Obama and members of the Spencer/Geller/VB Eurabia bunkum lot on, how does that count as dissent or 'funny'?

socialrepublican said...

ps. Odd as it sounds to my ear and hurts my delicate mind box, LGF has been leading the charge against Beck's parade of nutballs.

Methinks Charles has realises what the beast he was nurturing since 2001 actually looks like and has decided to get some karma back along with his dwindling band of cultists.

schalomlibertad said...

hmm, Jugo wrote a hell of a lot to disagree with...

"the mindless, proggy demonization of Glen Beck."

The guy has lost his marbles. He's taking every pathetic opportunity to attack Obama, using the birth certificate conspiracy to discredit Obama on the grounds that he is a foreigner. It is anti-communism and xenophobia rolled up together, just as it has always been in the U.S. It doesn't matter that Obama is not a communist, neither were most of the people who were victims of McCarthyist witchhunts.

Glen Beck is also whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment with his rants about "the illegals." He's basically overtaken Rush Limbaugh for the leading voice of the far-right in the mainstream.

"Beck is a useful oddball voice, a dissenting voice. ("Dissenting" now means to be against Obama.)"

That is, if you only have ears for Right-wing shock jocks.

"Beck helped bust the ACORN story,"

What "ACORN story"? It's a campaign against a group that was doing voter registration in poor black communities. The Right sought to destroy and discredit it. They didn't break any story. They falsified one in order to smear the group enough so that it would be ruined.

And in the next line, you finally admit that your political leanings are with the paranoid right:

"[Beck] is not always wrong."

The following sentence makes no sense: "It is inappropriate to link Beck to HD because Beck is a conservative DEFENDER of Israel."

First off, many people "defend" Israel because they see it as a line of defense in the war on terror, in the "civilization clash." These sick views don't make their proponents "defenders of Israel" in any honest sense. Nor does holding such views prevent one from relativizing the Shoah (ie. practicing "softcore Holocaust denial").

Also, not sure what you meant about "keeping Deborah Lipstadt out of it." Want to explain?

The Contentious Centrist said...

A-propo, Marek Edelman, here is another article by Moshe Arens. What caught my attention was this:

" The Bund believed in the solidarity of the Jewish and Polish working classes. Along with the Polish Socialists, a Socialist Poland would be built, they insisted, and there the Jews of Poland, maintaining the Yiddish culture and the Yiddish language, would find their rightful place. Zionism and emigration to Palestine was anathema to them. And so was the religious Jewish community."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1122230.html

The Bundists apparently did not get to figure out what Arendt had realized earlier on, that when you are attacked as a Jew you respond as a Jew.

Also interesting is their hostility to religious Jews. (Where have we encountered this tradition more recently?) At the end, what mattered was not how Jews regarded themselves or how they differentiated themselves from each other. It is interesting how the lessons of the past are so soon forgotten.

(Cue in J-street Conference at the end of the month.)

bob said...

Sorry it's taken me a while to weigh in on this.

I am still thinking through the Glen Beck issue. Basically, I think he is odious and indefensible, but not as much as some of his leftist critics think. He may be a friend of Israel, but Nick Griffin and the EDL claim to be friends of Israel, as does Michal Kaminski. Is Beck's softcore denialism that big an issue? Not really. But then, nor is anything George Galloway says.

On the Bund. Well, history has shown that Poland was not a good place for the Jews to practise doykeyt in the 1930s. Many Poles did of course collaborate in the Final Solution, but they were not its perpetrators. The gamble the Bund wanted to make on Poland may well have been the right one if Germany had not invaded. Who knows?

But I think that they did take a stand as Jews, and they (unlike the Communist left) celebrated Jewish folk culture, and this included the religious heritage. They were antagonistic to religious Jewish movements (the Aguda Israel party stood in the same elections; the Hasidic movements were vibrant competitors for recruits), but not in a fundamentalist way, and I don't think they were disdainful of individual religious Jews. In some ways, I suppose, they were still living out the Haskalah, which seems irrelevant in light of the Holocaust, or in light of Western multiculturalism - but not so irrelevant in light of the internal politics of Israel.