On my first day of blogging, I posted nine short posts. My first ever post was a picture of Prince Harry dressed as a Nazi. My second was a link to the Alliance for Workers Liberty attacking Stop the War's alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood. My third post was extremely obscure, linking "left-wing clown Michael Moore" with poet John Sinclair and a right-winger called Gerald L Atkinson. My fourth post was on Israel/Palestine, linking to AWL again. The fifth was on the French ethnographer Loic Wacquant. The sixth was on another anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, and what he said about cultural relativism. The seventh was the story of a union organiser in Colombia, living in the shadow of assassination by the hired thugs of American mining corporations. The eighth appears to endorse Hugo Chavez's land reforms and links to the appalling website of the Stalinoid ex-Trotskyist International Marxist Tendency. Finally the ninth links to a superb attack by Joe Lockard against a dreadful leftist paean to Iraqi Islamist thugs.
A few themes there, obviously, that I settled on as the main topic for the Bob From Brockley project, especially in the second and ninth: the articulation from within the left of a critique of the kneejerk anti-American, borderline antisemitic bullshit that has become dominant on the left in current period. Here's Lockard:
It is one politics to demand an end to US violence in and neo-colonial occupation of Iraq; it is another matter entirely to call for solidarity with some of the most retrograde theocratic forces allied with equally retrograde ultra-nationalists and remaindered Ba’athists. They have nothing in common with any progressive politics; indeed, when in power in Iraq the latter forces were responsible for suppressing left-wing political movements and torturing their members. A secular call for solidarity with Shiite theocrats in Iraq is reminiscent of when members of the Western left trailed behind pro-Khomeini demonstrations during the 1970s, but were appalled when Iranian progressives followed immediately after the Shah’s supporters on post-revolution arrest and execution lists.But there are also a few discontinuities. I was still optimistic about Chavez, for example. The kind of short one-link/no comment posts would by ephemeral tweets now rather than recorded for posterity on the blog. And I was probably more eclectic in coverage than I became, not having fixed on a core purpose for the blog.
It's been a strange ride. I probably got too obsessive about the blog over the first four or five years, devoting too much time to it for not enough return, as I watched my readership grow from single figures to double figures to triple figures. The times I started getting four-figure readerships were generally later, when I invested in quality rather than quantity.
But I made some good friends, some of whom became in-the-flesh friends not just virtual, both in my neighbourhood and across the world (I won't name you all, but you know who you are!). I found a kind of community that provided some succour as I felt increasingly politically homeless. I'm proud of a handful of posts.
Below the fold, some of my greatest hits, but mainly I wanted to say thank you to my friends and readers and to all those who've been writing on their own blogs stuff that has provoked and inspired me, and those who have fought the good fight along with me.
My most-read posts: