Monday, June 07, 2010

More flotilla, more EDL, more Londonism, etc

Gaza and the flotilla
More links to add to the ones here: EngageKellie, Greens Engage, Roland, Workrep, Darren Red Star Commando, Nick Cohen, Jim Denham, Linda Grant, Natalie Rothschild, Brendan O'Neill, WAC-MAAN, Lorna Fitzsimons (replying to Mehdi Hasan replying to her), Sean Matgamna, Yacov Ben Efrat, .

Also worth noting, the IDF attack has stirred considerable outrage in Israel itself. This in turn has provoked a right-wing backlash. Octogenarian Uri Avnery was attacked by right-wingers. The right-wards drift in Israeli politics (mirroring the rise of various forms of populist and ultra-nationalist right-wing politics across Europe and in the US), it seems to me, is part of the context for the IDF actions.

The Workrep post linked to above is just one that points out the imbalance between the hysterical indignation around these deaths and the utter silence from the left about several other human rights and labour issues elsewhere. David Osler notes that there "is a certain irony in hearing the head of the Turkish government condemn acts of state terrorism and rail against breaches of international law" given the grimness of the situation in Turkish Kurdistan. Contentious Centrist also notes some situations that get a little less attention, here and here. As Mr Osler says, these comparisons and contrasts do not exonerate Israel's stupid and deadly policies, but they provide some welcome context.

With a few exceptions, such as World War 4 Report and LabourStart, reading the UK or US left and liberal press one would get the impression that Gaza is one of the few places in the world where hardship or brutal repression is taking place. What about the Niger Delta, where villagers experience oil spills equivalent to the Exxon Valdez disaster every single day? What about Gujerat, where Muslims live in fear, de facto denied their political rights by communalist violence? What about Colombia, where the army attacks striking workers with impunity?

Meanwhile, what is life like in Gaza itself? Ask the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights there. The Hamas Internal Security Services are closing NGOs for political reasons and harassing and detaining Fatah activists; the Hamas Ministry of the Interior is clamping down on freedom of association; Hamas-linked armed gangs terrorise a children's summer games camp with impunity... For those, like Mehdi Hasan, who accuse Israel's friends of "No proper acknowledgement of the heartbreaking humanitarian catastrophe inside Gaza", it'd be good to hear an acknowledgement of this sort of thing.

The English Defence League and the British National Party
Libcom on the EDL's "Jewish Division". The Commune on Who votes for the BNP. Pete Radcliffe of the AWL against Unite Against Fascism.

Meanwhile, I was thinking about the EDL when I read this post by Lady Poverty.

Paul Krugman, New York Times:
The mood on the right may be populist, but it’s a kind of populism that’s remarkably sympathetic to big corporations.
Fair enough -- but at least it's populist, which means taking the concerns of ordinary people as your starting point, and reconcilingthem to whatever political program you want. That is fundamentally different than making high-minded appeals to capital in the hope of electoral gain, only to engage the recalcitrant through the force of the state.
It's worth reminding ourselves that, if "neither capital nor the state," populism is an objective. This means we have to be better at populism than those elements that are succeeding at it now -- unless, of course, we like the picture that is emerging!

UK Politricks from a Brockley perspective: immigration, Londonism, Labourism, etc
Apparently, John Cruddas is Labour's most popular politician. This is ammunition for those (like me) who are very worried at Labour appearing to re-brand itself as the anti-immigration party, as Cruddas has a very good take on this issue. Meanwhile, the anti-immigrant dog whistle politics continue to be sustained by the lies of the Daily Mail and other media outlets, which published an utterly false briefing from the pernicious MigrationWatch.

I'm a fan of the Guardian's Dave Hill and his Metropolitan Lines dispatch. So I was very pleased to read this, tucked beneath a report on Ken Livingstone's campaign re-launch.
Bob From Brockley is a learned, witty and prolific political blogger. He devotes only some of his attention to specifically London matters, but he does it extremely well. Browse his categories on "Sarf London" in general, Lewisham in particular and Brockley in, ah, very particular, and you'll be stuck with having to agree with me.
Talking of which, I had a wonderful time at the Brockley Max Hacienda on the Hill on Saturday. Among other things, I had a chat with Transpontine in the sun (who I should tip my baseball cap to for some of the links above), and managed not to heckle Gilad Atzmon as he accompanied local songstress Sarah Gillespie.

Rudolf Rocker, Nietzsche and Yiddish London
As I've mentioned before, the German anarchist Rudolf Rocker is one of my personal heroes, so I was glad to see him getting an outing at Radical Archives, which featured his translation of Nietzsche into Yiddish while he was in London. In fact, I think, his Yiddish was not great, and it's more that he transliterated it into Hebrew characters, but that's not unimpressive in itself!  RA links to Russian-language blogger Laplandian, who I presume is the same person as one of my favourite Wikipedia editors of the same name. This post, on the song "Bella Ciao", requires no Russian language skills! More on that here. (The Gypsy klezmer artist involved, Miskha Ziganoff, also recorded this wonderful doyne, that's the Romanian/Bessarabian song form that is hidden in Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue".

Theme tunes
I don't think I've noted that Graeme and TNC have added their sounds to the theme tune meme. Go listen.

7 comments:

The Contentious Centrist said...

Brendan O'neil: "I don’t support Israel. I think Palestinians ought to enjoy full national independence. But I want nothing to do with the orgy of moralism directed at Israel today by a mish-mash of dinner-party liberals, radical Islamists and clapped-out left-wingers."

After thundering against the gargantuan hypocrisy of the anti-Israeli Left, he sums up by declaring that his own credentials are impeccable as regards Israel, so don't imagine he write all this in defense of Israel. It's merely that he cannot stand all that hypocrisy, you see.

The author is somewhat confused. Or merely incoherent.

To fully understand the cognitive dissonance, compare with Terry Glavin:

"That is what this "anti-war" activism is about, and no amount of histrionics, excuse-making, yes-buttery or cunning public-relations work can wash the blood from their hands. Hideously self-aggrandizing revisionism cannot cover up what this spectacularly narcissistic act of moral exhibitionism was intended to conceal from the start. "This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies." That's not me talking. It's what flotilla organizer Greta Berlin said, before the bloodbath. This is not charity. This is politics.

This is about the continuing isolation and demonization of Israel, undermining the Palestinian Authority, and strengthening Hamas - which now enjoys the support of only 16 per cent of the people of Gaza, its stronghold.

The dead are dead. Some of them got exactly what they wanted out of this - glorious death. From the Palestinian Authority daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: Three of the four Turks killed in the Israeli attack on the 'Freedom Flotilla' bound for the Gaza Strip wanted to die as Martyrs, said their relatives and friends.

While the flotillistas pat themselves on the back, the true friends of the Palestinian cause for freedom carry on, alone. Like One Voice. Like Combatants for Peace. Like Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine:"

http://transmontanus.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-not-way-we-put-end-to-war.html

How beautifully and simply Terry gets it. To be pro-peace is to support both Israel and Palestinians, in the correct way. Even though I often offer contentious comments on his blog I am very happy for Terry's voice. He supports the Palestinians without denigrating Israelis, without frightening me. In these crazy times this is a spectacularly sane and righteous achievement.

kellie said...

Thanks for the link.

I read that Lorn Fitzsimons and Mehdi Hasan exchange. He's incredible. Does he really believe that just pointing out suffering is an argument? Does he really believe that an argument is invalidated if it doesn't include graphic imagery of the suffering?

Perhaps he is not so simpleminded. Perhaps, looking at the comments below those posts, perhaps he just knows his audience.

It reminds me of graffiti I saw in Denmark, a couple of decades ago, in big letters on a wall in Århus, Jordens børn sulter - the world's children are starving. To which I thought, yes, and? What do you propose beyond outrage and guilt?

A number of the NS commenters seemed convinced that Hamas is more popular than Fatah. Perhaps this is true amongst those commenters' friends, but it seems not to be the case in Gaza if this poll is accurate.

That got me wondering about what the real effect on public opinion has been of the flotilla boarding. It would be interesting to see polling to find out how representative of wider opinion the media noise is. I have no sense of it myself anymore.

Waterloo Sunset said...

On a positive note, the EDL are currently spitting feathers because the Soul Crew joined the anti fascist demo in Cardiff. While it seems to have been taken down now, they even started a "Soul Crew the Shame of England and Wales" facebook group. It's all over the Cardiff forums.

Entdinglichung said...

another web page you may find interesting: Support Kurds in Syria

ModernityBlog said...

Atzmon eh? Hmm.

Anonymous said...

Bob - read your little used email asap please

TNC said...

Thanks for the link. I accidentally posted the wrong Savage Republic song. The correct one is up now.