Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Vermischtes

Antisemitism watch
Modernity takes up the thread on antisemitism in the Green Party. Jonathan Freedland: Antisemitism: the hatred that refuses to go away. David Baddiel: How antisemitism entered the zeitgeist. The last sentence of the latter is especially relevant.

Geopolitics
Libya and the refugee crisis by Heine de Haas (who has the same blog template as me, so don't get confused and forget to come back afterwards). Michael Totten interviews Rick Francona on the Arab revolutions and the geopolitics of the Middle East.

High theory in low places
Andrew Coates with a radical critique of Slavoj Zizek, and History is Made at Night on Foucault in Tunisia.

LSE's shame, but also Blair's and Sarkozy's, Castro's and Chavez's, and lots more besides
More from Peter Ryley. Mod on Fred Halliday. The Mead list of Gaddafi toads, including Berlusconi, Chavez, Farrakhan and Castro and, most enjoyably, "delusional American college professors" (h/t Mod).

Louis Proyect has two posts on the stupid pro-Gaddafi line of some of the "anti-imperialist" left. This one is on Diana Johnstone, and this one is on Jean Bricmont. I radically disagree with his support for Milosovic, but agree with most of his condemnations of Johnstone and Bricmont. We've encountered Johnstone before, as a genocide denialist (see Andrew Murphy here). Bricmont was co-author with Alan Sokal of the wonderful Fashionable Nonsense, but has since become more notorious for his own fashionable nonsense about, for example, the need for the de-Zionification of the American mind, often published by the "vile" CounterPunch.

Two more de facto defenders of Gaddafi are right-wing Cold Warriors turned darlings of the "anti-imperialist" left Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, given space at HuffPo to make their silly non-arguments about Iran and Libya and meddling. We've met the Leveretts before: see here, here and here.

Proyect's comrade Richard Estes (again not someone I endorse in general) also has two good posts on Chavez and the Arab revolution: 1, 2.

The uprising spreads to Hamastan
Yet another fantastic post by Terry Glavin. And as an aside, here's a story from Gaza on the clampdown on male salon workers.

The uprising stalled in Egypt
Andrew Coates has a good, if depressing post on International Women's Day in Cairo.

International Women's Day elsewhere
In Iran 1979 (more in the video via Entdinglichung below). In Iran 2011. In Afghanistan. In Palestine. And across the Middle East.

Carnival of socialism
It's taken me a while to get through Louise's recent instalment. Here are some extracts:
there are some on the Left (if you can call them that…) who believe Gaddafi is some kind of left anti-imperialist…well he ain't! And here’s a map of Libya’s oil infrastructure…. This eyewitness account from Tripoli is very poignant.

But also….what about what is happening in Egypt since Mubarak resigned? Zeinobia introduces us to the military junta of Egypt while Lansbury’s Lido makes a very good point. On the positive side….The fight by workers for independent trade unions. Solidarity!! [...]

While the struggle intensifies globally over here it’s crunch time with councils and their budgets. There has been many discussions about strategy… 10 reasons, can councils resist the cuts, what should councillors do, why we should resist not implement Tory cuts, though at the end of the day people should be working together.
Here's a couple of related things on Left Foot Forward: James Lee on ESOL cuts underming Cameron's integration message and Darren Johnson on how Boris should tackle high pay.

Anti-fascism in the 21st century
Phil on Searchlight, extremism and the squeezed middle.

Sound and moving image


18 comments:

skidmarx said...

What I find unremarkable about this comment from Raphael "What I found remarkable about the thread at Jim’s blog, or at Bob’s blog, as on some GP “discussion” lists, is the impossibility to enter into any kind of rational debate. The level of hatred, the abandonement of rational thinking replaced by slogans, and the constant accusation of bad faith simply make debate impossible" was that he and his friends refused to enter into any sort of rational debate, failed to provide any comeback as their slogans were torn down one by one, and made baseless accusations of anti-semitism which would for any rational observer be far more important than the well-founded suggestions of bad faith. Such doublethink is all too prevalent .

skidmarx said...

I see Phil Dickens has a fairly sectarian attitude to anti-fascism.

The "Counterpunch" link goes to your own article rather than to any information about Bricmont. I thought the first Proyect article was excellent, though I'm sure I'd characterise it as condemnation in the same way (of course condemnation as a political imperative has more attraction in some places than others).

ModernityBlog said...

I find it astonishing that someone like skidmarx can even comment on racism.

He doesn't know anything about it.

He's not particularly interested in it.

And will be almost guaranteed to take the contrary position.

I'm sure that if Raphael had argued that the Earth revolves round the Sun that comrades Skidmarx would be tempted to argue the contrary, that the Sun revolves around the Earth, etc etc

JM said...

There's still issues with Zizek though:
http://qlipoth.blogspot.com/2010/11/zizeks-protocols.html
http://leninology.blogspot.com/2011/01/moving-on-from-zizek-or-not.html#disqus_thread

skidmarx said...

I'm sure that if Raphael had argued that the Earth revolves round the Sun that comrades Skidmarx would be tempted to argue the contrary
If you continue to be such an arse I might be tempted. Actually, with epicycles it is possible to view the solar system (or universe) from the perspective of a static Earth, but its more complicated than t'other way about, so no. You're sure of a lot of things that are wrong.

I find it astonishing that someone like skidmarx can even comment on racism.
He doesn't know anything about it.

Quite a low-calibre of insult. Just because I don't choose to be "educated about anti-semitism" at Camp Modernity... of course as I think So-crates says in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, all I know is that I know nothing.

Duncan said...

One thing that has surprised me is the amount of figures who were central to the New Labour project who have got into bed with Gadaffi. I know they were unscrupulous but did they all have to cuddle up to the same dictator?

In addition to Blair, plaudits and favours for Gadaffi have come from Brown, Mandelson and even the intellectual architect of the 'third way' Anthony Giddens, see this extraordinary piece of his for instance:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/mar/09/comment.libya

Incidently, it as people like Giddens who were whinging about the 'anti-American' left allying themselves with dictators...

Waterloo Sunset said...

@ skidmarx

I see Phil Dickens has a fairly sectarian attitude to anti-fascism.

Does the word "sectarian" here have any meaning other than "disagrees with the UAF"? Besides, considering UAF stewards handed an anarchist over to the cops in Leeds, I don't think UAF supporters should really be throwing stones here.

@ Duncan

Incidently, it as people like Giddens who were whinging about the 'anti-American' left allying themselves with dictators...

Indeed... And it's noticable that some of the people who were most (rightly) condemnatory of Galloway's links with Saddam Hussain seem strangely muted in their criticisms of Blair on this. And I suspect Nick Cohen won't be doing a piece attacking Harry's Place for their support for Blair any time soon.

I wouldn't say I'm surprised, mind you. "Amused contempt" would be a better descriptor.

Richard said...

Does the word "sectarian" here have any meaning other than "disagrees with the UAF"?
Yes.
Besides, considering UAF stewards handed an anarchist over to the cops in Leeds,
Not quite an accurate account even from a quick google.[Prevented from re-entering not quite the same as handed over]. Not hard to find case of anarchist sectarianism.

bob said...

Interesting Skid objects to Phil's "sectarianism" against the UAF but not against Hope Not Hate... I think his article about the UAF petition is a reasoned criticism (in fact I think it is completely correct).

On the Leeds incident, from what I've read it was indefensible. There was a cordon, he found himself on the wrong side of it, the stewards wouldn't let him back it. Whether the police were there or not, that is bad stewarding, when the EDL are on the rampage, and it was done for sectarian reasons, because they didn't like his politics. Some reports say they then called the police to get him arrested, which makes it even worse.

I could list a million incidents of UAF sectarianism on the anti-fascist issue if I had time. Don't get me started.

The question is, what is the right political approach for defeating fascism and its close relatives. It ain't the UAF's, and it ain't HnH's, and if we don't say so for fear of being called "sectarian", we're handing victory over to the far right.

--

On Bricmont, do your own research. My point is that Counterpunch is vile.

On Zizek, I;m not sure I get the words "still" and "though" in "there's still issues with him though". The Qlippoth post is worth a read for the Chris Hedges take; the Seymour link isn't. I prefer Carl's post on that issue: http://raincoatoptimism.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/on-the-multiculturalismzizek-debate/

Lots more on Zizek: http://brockley.blogspot.com/search?q=zizek

--

I don't recall Giddens talking about the anti-American left, but wouldn't be surprised if he had. No reason to be surprised about New Labour types cuddling dictators. They dropped the "ethical foreign policy" stance pretty quickly. Cameron's talking up ethical foreign policy while selling arms to the Gulf states, so plus ca change.

ModernityBlog said...

I remember coming across an ex-SWP member years back and he dreamt of putting his political opponents "up against the wall" and bang, bang.

He didn't much like anarchists either, so I suppose not much has changed, as per Skidmarx comment.

skidmarx said...

Maybe that's why he's an ex-SWP member. I've always had a lot of time for anarchists. Your getting so repetitive you're starting so sound like a bigot in a pub.

Bob - one has only time in life to rail against so many things.

Why did the stewards at Leeds have a problem with this gentleman? Because they knew him already and would do anything they could to cause him problems, or because of what he was doing at the time? I suspect there is more to this story and the stewards are probably being unfairly maligned.
There seem to be a million stories about any anti-fascist mobilisation, from the right complaining that the SWP is intent on violence and disorder, to the ultra-left claiming the opposite. I remember when I first became involved in politics there were people still wanting to go on about ANL actions from a decade before which supposedly proved that the SWP were police agents. Being attacked from both sides isn't necessarily a sign of being right, as we've learned, but I've seen enough of these allegations to be false to think I can discern a pattern.

The question is, what is the right political approach for defeating fascism and its close relatives. It ain't the UAF's, and it ain't HnH's, and if we don't say so for fear of being called "sectarian", we're handing victory over to the far right.
If this is correct then you're right. Even if you're wrong, fear of being called sectarian should stop you putting forward a view.

When you won't debate most of the reasons Weinberg gives for claiming Counterpunch is vile, it's hard to take the repeated assertion seriously.

Bennett said...

I see the right wing anti-semitic troll is back again. Best not to talk directly to him as you would ignore the BNP or the EDL. After all his antisemitism isn't slippage anymore because it's been explained to him so many times.

bob said...

When people claim that UAF are intent on violence or are left-wing extremists mirroring the right then they are liars. Searchlight and the Leicester police have claimed this, as have the EDL, as have right-wing below-the-line commenters at Harry's Place. For what it is worth, I have defended the UAF against these lies on Harry's Place and Socialist Unity. The truth matters.

Just because lots of people make false claims does not mean we should just brush allegations against the UAF under the carpet.

Levi9909 said...

Is no-one going to address Skid's first comment about Raphael Levy's projection?

Anyway, here's Antony Lerman at Open Democracy to try to instil a little calm into discussions about antisemitism. The title is "Celebrity anti-semitism teaches us very little about the reality of prejudice".

HarpyMarx said...

Cheers for the inclusion re Carnival of Socialism :)

I know it had loadsa links but I just felt there are many blogs out there that don't get mentioned esp. ones who are campaigning around welfare reform.

bob said...

Thanks Louise. I don't think there can be too many links in a carnival. Well, maybe there can, but that's have to be an awful lot... It was a good 'un.

Phil Dickens said...

"skidmarx said...

I see Phil Dickens has a fairly sectarian attitude to anti-fascism."


Criticising the activities of particular organisations is not sectarian. Putting the interests of your particular sect above the interests of the working class is.

Which is why "left unity" is a noose around the neck of working class struggle.

bob said...

Relevant re the UAF, anti-fascism and "sectarianism".