Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top posts of 2016

Well, not many people I know will be missing 2016, a year of slaughter in Syria, of repression in Turkey, of starvation in Venezuela, of global electoral swings towards reactionary and authoritarian leaders, when truth was de-valued and unfashionable forms of racism were mainstreamed again, when our favourite musicians died, when Putin consolidated his geopolitical power, when the poor got poorer and the rich got richer.

I didn't blog much, but here are my top posts of the year, by number of readers:

1. Trots!
This post, from July, was on the silly demonisation of "Trots" within the Labour party, arguing that the real danger was Stalinists. Since then, bizarrely, we have seen Momentum's leadership and its publicists (Laura Murray, Owen Jones, etc) take up the anti-Trot crusade (not always honestly). With Stalinists claiming Trotskyism is the new neo-conservatism and the American right accusing US liberals of McCarthyism and red-baiting for questioning Putin's role in the Trump election, it almost feels like we are in the age of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact or the KPD's Third Period, when Trotskyists were denounced as social fascists and Hitler was seen by some of the left as the lesser evil. Perhaps it's time to rescue Trotsky's legacy of anti-Stalinist leftism?


2. Strivers and skivers
This post, from April, was my first, rather un-impressive, attempt at creating a visual meme. I think it sums up 2016 well, featuring the Tory/UKIP businessmen and Russian oligarchs who bankrolled the Brexit campaign while patriotically stashing their cash in Panama, juxtaposed to British steelworkers made unemployed by Tory economic policy and the Tory veto on the EU's power to stop Chinese steel-dumping.

Image result for corbyn labour 20163. Free advice to Jeremy
This post, from October, was about what I think the Labour Party needs to do. I probably need to do an update on this, as it has gotten even worse on some of these things but slightly better on others.

4. Undigested thoughts on Labour's antisemitism problem
This post, from April, was a quickly written rant about Labour and the Jews. Conclusion:
I would strongly defend Labour from those who say that this stuff is "rife" in the party. It's not, contra Boris, a "virus" in the party. Most party members are appalled by it. But I do think that Labour, and the left as a whole, does have some kind of a problem with antisemitism. And it needs - we need - to face up to it.
5. Lenni Brenner says Ken's wrong
Following on from no.4, this post showed that even Lenni Brenner, the anti-Zionist pseudo-historian Ken Livingstone invoked to defend his weird views on Hitler, did not support what Ken said. Includes a long and interesting comment thread.

6. Confusionism in Brockley: A cautionary tale
This post, from November, was on some new age fascism close to home.

7. Pegida UK, UKIP and the mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry
From back in January, on Anne-Marie Waters and the new anti-Muslim hard right.

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