Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just give me one thing that I can hold on to... To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

Continuing our conversations: Martin has an excellent post on nationalism, and Augustinian left and Reinhold Niebuhr (and via him a special issue of Politics and Culture on Michael Berube and the possibility of a post-Manichean left). Simply Jews has a post (with a very good title) about the one state kerfuffle that I meant to link to but didn't. Between the Hammer and the Anvil has taken up, via Carl, my "influential left-wing ideas" meme. 

Islamism watch: The left has failed to learn the lesson of Iran, the AWL suggest, noting that the Labour Representation Committee invited, as its speaker on Tunisia, "Mohammed Ali Harrath, former leader of the Tunisian Islamic Front and now CEO of Islam Channel, a TV station charged by some (including Yvonne Ridley, whom it sacked) with anti-Shia bigotry." And the British police haven't learnt much either, as Paul Stott suggests here, in his comments on the police infiltration of the Clown Army: "7/7 bomb plotter Mohammed Sidique Khan was considered to be a peripheral player in a group of Britons discussing terrorist attacks, so surveillance on him was brought to a close in 2004... In the same period the Clown Army, a group of middle class idiots who dress as clowns on political demonstrations, were considered so important that undercover police office 'Lyn Watson' was paid to inflitrate them."

Police spies: Talking of which, like Transpontine (although I was not as active as him), I recognise Jim Sutton aka Jim Boyling from my time around the edges of Reclaim the Streets in South London in the 1990s. Transpontine quotes the ever quotable Victor Serge, writing in 1926: "Be on your guard against conspiracy mania, against posing, adopting airs of mystery, dramatising simple events, or “conspiratorial” attitudes. The greatest virtue in a revolutionary is simplicity, and scorn for all poses ... including “revolutionary” and especially conspiratorial poses." (And if you haven't already, read my old post about another police spy, Officer A.)

Ken watch: Adam BDave Hill and James B are all good on Ken Livingstone taking the mullahs' shilling to go on Iranian propaganda station Press TV, along with his Boris-ite enemy Andrew Gilligan. 

The Twitter revolution? Oddly, I read a pre-Xmas LRB on the train home the other night, then found a copy of a pre-weekend Guardian on the next train, and so read two articles on the same topic with very different perspectives. Timothy Garton Ash suggests Wikileaks and Twitter didn't give us the jasmine revolution, but they helped, while James Harkin, writing on Iran's green revolution, is more skeptical. Ethan Zuckerman takes a middle view. I like Bill Weinberg's take, responding to the idea that George Soros or Julian Assange must be behind it, concluding "Of course there has to be a white guy behind the Tunisian revolution, right? Well, no. The notion that the Tunisians needed WikiLeaks to know they were oppressed, or needed George Soros to be able to organize a revolution, is deeply condescending." I like his two questions too: "1. Does Obama's comment on Tunisia represent a tilt to the neocons and their hubristic agenda to destabilize every Arab regime—despite that fact that a.) he was backing Ben Ali up to the moment that he fled, and b.) the neocons' supposed agent in the White House, Rahm Emanuel, recently stepped down from the administration to run for mayor of Chicago2. If the White House continues to offer such lip service (at least) to Arab protesters, how long before the Western "left" starts denouncing the protesters as pawns of the US State Department, and cheering on their repression—as it has recently done in the case of Belarus?" (See also my previous Tunisia post, my last Wikileaks post, and my post on the George Soros-Wikileaks axis.)

The soundtrack is a song I've been listening to lots of versions of recently, John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery". This is Susan Tedeschi, a singer I love. The original features in the Sean Penn film Into the Wild, screening at the Brockley Jack Film Club tomorrow night.


Keywords: Tunisia, Islamism, Ken Livingstone, Andrew Gilligan, Press TV, Victor SergeJulian Assange, Wikileaks, Susan Tedeschi, John Prine.

5 comments:

jams o donnell said...

I had not heard of Susan Tedeschi before. Will have to investigate further. Thanks!

The Contentious Centrist said...

On reading snoopy's response to your one state mirage I suddenly thought that never was a Leftist of such colours so coddled by cold-hearted, cynical centrists. Everybody loves Bob, should be the name of your blog, Bob, you unbuilder of states and deconstructor of nations.

http://www.infobarrel.com/media/image/15873.jpg

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Thanks for the link, Bob.

Thanks for the (backhanded) compliment, Noga. If I didn't know that you include self in the group of cold-hearted..., I would be buying a ticket to Canuckistan now ;-)

bob said...

Thanks for the love. I think just "Bob the Unbuilder" will do me.

Waterloo Sunset said...

My, Politics and Culture makes no concessions to populism. Like, y'know, actually not being utterly inpenetrable. I take back everything mean I've ever said about Aufehben.