I've been reading David Hirsh's excellent working paper on left antisemitism (pdf here). At some point, a proper post about it. For the moment, just one thing.
Hirsh, drawing on thinkers like Robert Fine, Hannah Arendt, Hal Draper and Isaac Deutscher, talks of his analysis as a cosmopolitan one, "a framework for doing social theory which disrupts a methodologically nationalist tendency to view the division of the world into nations as being rather more fixed than it is."Fine, he writes, describes the appeal of cosmopolitanism as having to do with the idea that "human beings can belong anywhere, humanity has shared predicaments and … we find our community with others in exploring how these predicaments can be faced in common."
That's certainly a position I would endorse.
Jogo sent me this extaordinary piece on that paranoid delusional megalomaniac George Galloway, calling the police because two journalists who went to see him turned out to be agents of ZOG, the Zionist Entity (that's how he saw it). Listen to the audio clip.
Gorgeous George sets out his vision for what counts as just and understandable suicide bombing (settlers, soldiers) and what counts as unjust (pizza joints). He sees Hamas as a perfectly legitimate national liberation movement. Etc etc.
The thing I want to draw your attention to is in these passages:
Galloway explained Osama bin Laden is a terrorist since the al-Qaida chieftain, whom Galloway claimed was "armed and financed by the U.S." in the 1970s and 1980s, is a "pan-Islamic, nihilistic leader leading a nihilistic organization which seeks to bring about the collapse of national states and re-emergence of the caliphate."I have commented before on Galloway's racial nationalist worldview: a vision of a world divided into nation-states, each ruled by a fuhrer figure like, say, Hugo Chavez or George Galloway. This illustrates it perfectly: national(ist) movements good/global movements bad.
Galloway stated Hamas, by contrast, is not a terror group:
"[Hamas] wants to liberate their country, which has been illegally occupied, and to reassemble their nation, which has been scattered to the four winds. That's an entirely legitimate goal," he said.
Galloway's nationalist methodology is of course just a slightly more extreme version of the nationally-minded "anti-imperialism" of much of the post-Cold War left: an internationalism which is not cosmopolitan but rather "inter-nationalist".
Within the Marxist left, this sort of "inter-nationalism" gets its authority from Lenin's belief in national self-determination as a fundamental right of nation-states (against Rosa Luxembourg's cosmopolitan view). There were a couple of steps from Lenin's views to Stalin's dogmatic, simplistic version of it, and then another couple of steps to Stalin's WWII embrace of Greater Russian nationalism and increasingly paranoid post-WWII obsession with the scourge of rootless cosmopolitanism. Increasingly, since the end of the Cold War, the "anti-imperialist" worldview has become even more theoretically impoverished, and able to embrace all and any reactionary movement that manages to portray itself as anti-imperialist, whether that is Milosovic's Serbian nationalism, Chavez's authoritarian nationalism or, as in this case, the theocratic-fascist Hamas.
This embrace of the nation-state as the ground for "resistance" to globalized capital, and the consequent demonisation of the figure of the cosmopolitan, serves as a common rallying point for the rococco left, Third Worldists, conservative European anti-Americans (like Jacques Chirac and Rowan Williams), and the far right . Galloway, in all the incoherence of his politics, exemplifies this convergence.
A critical comment from Jogo in the comment thread: