Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Resuming normal service

Here are a bunch of things that I think you should read, which have built up in my list since January but which I haven't managed to find time to post about.

Left ad absurdum
A long article in Logos Journal, "The Treason of Intellectual Radicalism and the Collapse of Leftist Politics" by Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker and Michael J. Thompson,  is a bracing account of how a left that has blossomed in the academy is dying on the streets:
This new radicalism has made itself so irrelevant with respect to real politics that it ends up serving as a kind of cathartic space for the justifiable anxieties wrought by late capitalism... These trends are the products as well as unwitting allies of that which they oppose.
To illustrate this, Coatesy recently hosted some prizes for the most insanely ridiculous writing on the far left. You couldn't make it up...

Confessions of a non-Zionist Jew
This article by Todd Gitlin (via Rokhl) expresses perfectly a lots of the things I feel. Highly recommended.

Drawing clear lines
This deserves a post of its own, but my comrade Spencer Sunshine has written some important texts. “Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism” documented how cryptofascists and pro-White separatists are attempting to make inroads into left political and counter-cultural circles and also sets outs some principles for addressing the problem. Walter Reeves’s Daily Kos post, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Racism, Anti-Semitism and Fascism: Infiltrating the Left” introduced some of its key points, generating some enlightening and depressing arguments. "The continuing appeal of racism and fascism" develops these themes further.

One disturbing example of this continuing appeal comes from the UK far left scene, where a former Marxist, Ian Donvan, has, via the influence of Gilad Atzmon and George Galloway, entered a political space we might associate with David Duke.

Like old times, but different 1: Counter-Englightenment
I'd like to find time to give this fine post the attention that it deserves, but you should read Martin Robb's semi-return to blogging here, on his political trajectory and search for an alternative to the Enlightenment rationalism. 

Like old times, but different 2: from the end of the world
Roland Dodds is also on a complex political journey. He has put together a book of essays from the last 10 years of blogging at But I Am A Liberal, and started up a new blog at In Hope and Darkness. His first post there was "A Radical in Every Institution", on "social justice warriors". He's also writing at Ordinary Times, where he has written nicely about fatherhood and conservatism and also on the trade-off between multiculturalism and social democracy. (I profoundly disagree with his conclusions in the latter, oddly a topic I've been arguing about on Twitter this week. In my view, welfare states in Europe were born at a time when there was not a sense of a common culture; European societies were sharply divided by denominational sectarianism, by class anatagonisms, by regional cultures. Britain in the early twentieth century had many indigenous non-English-speaking communities, and there was an enormous cultural difference between, say, the Northumbrian shore and the Home Counties. And that picture was repeated across the European states where social democracy was tried out. A sense of commonality was born from the common institutions of the welfare state, not the other way around.) 

Like old times, but different 3: wordspiv, layabout, culchie.
Thirdly, Terry Glavin has also deserted blogspot for wordpress. His new site includes blog posts (lately mostly on China), his columns and his "essays and inquiries", as well as a special section on Syria and Kurdistan

Like old times, but different 4: with nylons and coathanger
Finally, a belated welcome to the blogosphere for Trabi Mechanic.

This article in Ha'aretz (reproduced here if you're stuck on the wrong side of the paywall) is very interesting for thinking about the relationship between Zionism, anti-Zionism, imperialism and anti-imperialism. It shows that parts of the British imperial state were actively siding with various Arab forces in 1948 in the attempt to forge a Greater Syria and to subvert (or even militarily defeat) the possibility of a Jewish state.

Ukraine, fascism and anti-fascism
I intend to write a proper post on this one day, but I have been disturbed over the past year to see how many "anti-fascists" have been taken in by the supporters of Russian irredentism in Ukraine, an essentially far right movement. Here is Dale Street refuting one instance of this. Here is a collection of texts from the Ukrainian left on the fake ant-fascists of Borotba. And here is an interview with some Ukrainian anarchists.

Truth wars
I'm not sure if I've linked to Kyle Orton's January post "From Kessab to Cannibals: Syria’s Media War". If not, I should have. It looks at IS's media strategy briefly, but then in more depth at media use by the Assad regime and its allies Russia and Iran. This is important, because a lot of that media is consumed by leftists and others in the West who somehow think it is more reliable than the so-called "mainstream media". (See these previous posts of mine and their comment threads: The Ukraine truth war; The House of Assad and the House of Rumour; Mother Agnes and the fog of war.)

France after Charlie Hebdo
AWL has published a collection of articles on racism against Jews and Muslims in France by Yves Coleman. Also from AWL: After the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket: thinking through the new and rethinking the old - veteran French Trotskyist Pierre Rousset discusses the political aftermath of the January 2015 Islamist attacks in Paris. And Barry Finger explores the connections to the politics of anti-imperialism and what he calls "Third World fascism".

Islam etc
Understanding ISIS: some useful pieces of analysis by Kenan Malik, by Disillusioned Marxistby Army of RedressersUnderstanding the Muslim far-right in Algeria, and beyond: an interview with Marieme Helie Lucas.

A polite hatred
An important series in the Tablet on British antisemitism by Josh Glancy and Ben Judah.

Not so radical
Back in January, James Bloodworth wrote that Syriza's government may not be the radical left-wing triumph we were hoping for. And here is Max Dunbar on Russell Brand, which I completely missed way back in October.

Pseudo-left rape apologists
Steve Hedley not “cleared of domestic violence” with a case still to answer, says the RMT rep representing his former partner in her complaint of physical, emotional and verbal abuse.

Phil BC has a nice series of Saturday interviews. Comrade Coatesy was featured some time back.

1 comment:

disillusionedmarxist said...

Thanks for posting these, the one about the fash infiltrating the left looks interesting and very pertinent at the mo. Will have a look through. Rach