Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top posts of 2015

Here are the posts with the most hits of the year.

1. Who is Milo Samuels?

I'm not sure why this is such a best-seller. It summarises the suggestion (made originally, I think, by Sadia Jabeen) that Martin Smith, the SWP's thoroughly discredited sax-playing "anti-fascist" organiser, might have re-invented himself as Milo Samuels and be funded by trade unions such as the NUT to write boring articles about jazz. If you like that post you'll like these ones.

2. Seymour on the Paris attacks

This was a guest post by my comrade Contested Terrain. It is a critique of Richard Seymour's response to the Paris attacks that opened 2015. I think it got so many hits (a) because we all became obsessed with Paris and Je Suis Charlie for a while, (b) because so many people like to see Seymour getting a (verbal) kicking, and (c) because Seymour linked to it and he has many more readers than I do.

This, from November, was a response to Stop the War's response to the growing calls in the Autumn, from across the political spectrum, for a No Bomb Zone in Syria, A No Bomb Zone was proposed as part of a coherent Syria plan, at a time when Cameron was promising (after four years of war in Syria) to come up with a plan. (Cameron's desperate attempt to avoid committing to anything has been perversely called a "rush to war" by people who should know better.) Spoiler alert: Cameron never came up with a plan and instead decided on effective but muscular-looking air strikes on ISIS. Anyway, the indefatigable Peter Tatchell, one of the advocates of a No Bomb Zone, championed this post on social media, which is why it got so many hits. If you liked that post you'll like these ones.

This post was a short response to Jeremy Corbyn's decision to make Stalinst fellow traveller Seumas Milne his head of communications and strategy. This was one of my most tweeted posts ever, tweeted almost entirely by despairing Labour party members. 

This was a response to the Lewisham East UKIP candidate, former left-secularist turned semi-intellectual outrider for the new far right. The post got some local juice during the election, and then another bounce when Waters teamed up with fake reformed proto-fascist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka "Tommy Robinson") in one of the many attempts the "counter-Jihadi" right has made to relaunch itself this year. 

This post looked at the links between the far right Lyndon LaRouche cult and the then new Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and didn't like what it saw.

7. Assad v ISIS? Patrick Cockburn's economy with the truth

This was an attempt to fisk an article by Patrick Cockburn, widely considered (e.g. by both Tory "realists" like Julian Lewis and Jeremy Corbyn) an expert on Syria but in my view fundamentally dishonest and malignant. 

Another Syria post, arguing for us to help to really stop the war.

9. On extremism, jihadism and counter-jihadism

An excessively long post making a series of arguments about Islamist and far right "extremism", how they relate to each other, and how we might counter them. 

10. Strange alliances: Jeremy Corbyn and the Holocaust deniers

This is another Corbyn investigation, this time into his associations with a bunch of Holocaust deniers on the fringes of the anti-Israel milieu. If you liked that post, you'll like this one.

Nice that one celebratory post has snuck into the top 20 alongside all of these unpleasant negative posts. This one is about the revolutionary miracle that is Rojava, with loads and loads of links.

12. Kick George Galloway out of British politics

This was part of my May general election series. It is one of the few posts I've ever called for something to happen which subsequently happened: Galloway lost his seat in Bradford. Unfortunately, he seems to have not removed himself to a seraglio in Amsterdam or a retirement home in Tehran, as we might have hoped, but instead is attempting to insert himself back into London politics, standing against Sadiq Khan as the ultra-Corbynite candidate in the mayoral election. If you like that post, you'll like these ones.

Gratifying that this, a summary of a decade of blogging, made the top 13 posts. 

This entry in my May general election series now seems quaintly anachronistic, as it runs through a whole bunch of left-wing electoral alternatives to Labour, which have almost all now dissolved themselves into Corbyn's capacious church. I was grimly pessimistic about the left's chances then; I turned out to be wrong but now I'm pessimistic for the Labour party instead. Interesting comment thread. 

Briefly charts the concept of "Jewish privilege" as it travelled from American Jewish liberals to hardcore anti-Zionists to neo-Nazis. 

16, F*ck aspiration, we don't need another Tory party

This was a rant against the idea that Labour needed to turn right after its electoral defeat, but an argument for it having to re-connect with its working class roots as its English working class support leaks to UKIP. Obviously thousands of people read the first half of the post, joined Labour and elected a left-wing, explicitly anti-austerity leader - but failed to read the second half and have not yet worked out how to also reach out to the left behind and pissed off post-industrial proletariat in deepest England.

Finally, a post close to my heart (my decision to feature the un-round top 17 posts of the year was made to be able to include it). This post is about the Palestinian city of Yarmouk, its slow and awful destruction by Assad's regime, and how the British left has failed to hear its cry. If you only re-read one of the seventeen, re-read this one. 

Google's Blogger platform is not as good as Wordpress for stats so it's impossible to see which posts (as opposed to which 2015 posts) were the most-read in 2015. However, one post seems to have been clicked on an awful lot, and has been among the most popular most weeks of the year. 

This was a guest post written back in 2008 by someone who studied or worked at Goldsmiths, University of London, where one Jennifer Jones was a student union activist, in response to Jones standing for the GLA. The post is quite a devastating indictment of her, of student politics, and of Galloway's Respect (then still tied up with the SWP). The comment thread, which I probably should have moderated more strictly, adds several allegations about her personal conduct, although some of them are probably motivated by misogyny or homophobia so should be taken with a pinch of salt. Anyway, I never encountered her directly, but felt that it was worth publishing as a local blogger to hold accountable someone standing for public office. I subsequently forgot all about her. About a year ago, I got in to a conversation or two on Twitter with one "Jen Izaakson", who then started making bizarre allegations about me, and then I twigged that her and Jones are one and the same person. As Izaakson is a mini-celeb on fringe-left Twitter, a kind of dumbed-down Laurie Penny, and as she bullies a lot of people online, I assume her victims google her and find this post; I have no other explanation for its perennial popularity. 

All, in all, quite a year folks. 

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