Browsing around Meanwhile at the Bar, I found this excellent summary of "dog shit politics" today, which is the type of politics I advocate (originally from Practically Insurgent). This post from Phil on campaigning against the BNP in Stoke, and its comments thread, is good for thinking about dog shit politics.
I already mentioned the British fellow travellers of fauxialism with Chinese characteristics the other week, or, as Dave Osler puts it, "soft sinophilia". David T's nice use of illustration speaks volumes on that sorry subject. I cannot believe that someone sane can actually celebrate, even conditionally, a regime which has slaughtered so many people. In the Great Leap Forward, the death toll was well over 20 million (some say 40 million); in the three years of the cultural revolution, over a million were killed and perhaps as many as three million, with the same number again maimed; hundreds or even thousands were killed in the clampdown on the June 4th movement. But, as Dave Osler rightly says,
"Marxist accounts of China have long been underpinned by conflicting theoretical frameworks. But those debates are now of historical interest only. Whatever China once represented, there is nothing about an authoritarian nationalist sweatshop for which anyone on the left should rationally seek to cheerlead."As Kellie has noted, it seems impossible for some people to talk about Israel without talking nonsense. For a nice change, listen to Eamonn talking sense.
Two sad deaths to record this week: those of Marek Edelman and Mercedes Sosa. I hope to write something soon about Edelman, the Bundist and Solidarnosc activist whose account of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising inspired me considerably when I read it. This week's YouTube is from Mercedes Sosa, who sadly died on 4 October. I've taken this from Entdinglichung, who has many other videos, but this is my favourite song she sang: "Gracias a la vida". It was written by her friend Violeta Parra, who wrote it before committing suicide in 1967, and expresses a gratitude for life that is so much more poignant in light of her death. The lyrics in English (from which this week's title is drawn) can be found here. Sosa recorded a tribute to Parra in 1971, which included this song. Incidentally, Eamonn notes that "last year she resisted pressure from the boycotters and performed in Israel. From that tour, you can see her singing in Hebrew here."