Posts Tagged ‘Lunacy on the Left’

Jody McIntyre at ‘Progressive London’

January 13, 2011

Ken Livingstone’s fan club has organised a gettogether. The electic mix of leftie speakers ranges from mainstream, sensible Labour politicians (Emily Thornberry and Len Duvall) through to politicians who stand against Labour candidates  (Salma Yaqoob and Darren Johnson).

I’m sure it all makes perfect sense in Ken’s head!

Progressive London has also invited Jody McIntyre to speak. He is the political activist who has cerebral palsy and came to prominence when he was badly treated by the police at one of the tuition fees protests.

Now I don’t like coppers dragging people out of wheelchairs at protests, but I also don’t think that Jody McIntyre wants to be patronised because of his disability when he is very capable at expressing his passionate political views.

I therefore have no qualms in saying that, having looked at McIntyre’s blog and read some of his articles, his politics are thoroughly moronic. Whilst everyone knows that Ken has a soft spot for obsessive Israel-bashers, it’s hard to tell how McIntyre’s standard Trot views can contribute to the campaign to get Boris Johnson out of City Hall.

Advertisements

Dangers of despising the World Cup

June 14, 2010

I’m not particularly passionate about football, I’m not swept away with World Cup hysteria and I’ve always had a soft spot for radical feminist writing…but even I can tell that this article ‘Why I despise the World Cup’ is utterly ridiculous.

“I refuse to get excited about some wealthy misogynist jocks” – Hmm. A lazy generalisation, for sure. Like decrying all New Statesmen journos as self-indulgent Oxbridge wankers would be. Plus bourgeois complaints about working-class people earning too much money can be a bit unseemly.

“The fact remains, however, that there are more pressing things to worry about over the soccer season than the state of Frank Lampard’s admittedly shapely calves. This country is in crisis. Young people are in crisis, poor people are in crisis, unemployment stands at 2.5 million, the Labour movement is still leaderless and directionless, and there’s a brutal train of Tory public service cuts coming over the hill.”  – All true but following that logic all forms of entertainment must surely be condemned for distracting the masses from the political struggle!

“Of course, not everyone who displays an England flag is a fascist, but a few of the flags in circulation will undoubtedly be re-used at the upcoming EDL rally in East London, which plans to process through the same streets where Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts marched in 1936.”  – Criticising people for embracing English/British flags is such a tired cliché of leftie lunacy.

“The problem with football as commodified nationalism is that it leaves the left wing entirely undefended” – The problem with associating leftist politics with a sneery distaste for mainstream culture is that you will alienate the vast majority of the population and leave yourself vulnerable to mockery by the right.

Most of Comrade Penny’s articles seem designed to provoke outraged reactions rather than inspire sober debate. That’s fair enough from her and the New Statesman’s point of view – these polemics certainly make for good reading so will draw in the readers. But they’re hardly constructive contributions for formulating the future of the left. Plus, when I think of ‘radical left’ journalists with a burning desire to gain attention through controversy, my mind conjures up names such as Julie Burchill and Gary Bushell…

Our honourable friend in the north.

February 28, 2010

I’m annoyed with Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North, at the mo.

Firstly, he had a letter in this week’s Islington Tribune about the future of the Whittington Hospital in which he pointedly failed to mention his colleague in the very marginal southern seat.

Fine, she’s not from the same wing of the party as Socialist Campaign Group member Corbyn, but surely it wouldn’t have hurt to have mentioned that both of Islington’s Labour MPs want the A&E unit at the Whittington to be retained. Not very comradely.

And secondly, I recently got round to reading the Harry’s Place post ‘Jeremy Corbyn: MP for rioters’.

I’m disappointed that Corbyn thinks it’s a good use of his time to campaign for people who throw bricks at police officers and police horses. I’m disgusted by him talking about “our friends in Hezbollah and Hamas”.

Tch, tch.

Odd choice of talking head.

February 5, 2010

Revolutionary agitator and football analyst?

I’m not sure if I hallucinated it. I was watching a report on BBC London news about John Terry no longer being England Captain when a beardy bloke called John Rees was suddenly asked to comment on the matter.

John Rees is, of course, one of the foremost Trotskyists in the country. He’s a former Socialist Workers Party bigwig and parliamentary candidate for the Respect coalition. One solution = Revolution and similar nonsense.

Apparently, however, he is a ‘social commentator’ and therefore a legitimate choice of person for the reporter to interview. I don’t have a problem with far-left weirdos being allowed on the telly, but I was surprised that anyone would consider Rees to be an authority on football. Perhaps the reporter was very, very desperate to find someone to talk to?

I can’t seem to find any reference to the report on the BBC website which is just making me more concerned that the entire thing is a construct of my hyperactive imagination.

Playing the ‘International Bastards League’ game.

January 30, 2010

Dave Osler has devised a new political parlour game.

IMAGINE a scale that runs from one to ten and measures every independent polity in the world in terms of niceness and nastiness.

At one we have Sweden and Norway, because they are permanently cuddly and welfare statey and social democratic, even when the centre-right gets in.

Singapore occupies the half way point with a score of five, because it is authoritarian while desperately trying to pretend to be a semi-democracy. Trade unionism isn’t exactly encouraged, for instance. But trade union activists are not routinely executed, either.

At ten I have placed Saudi Arabia and Burma, both utterly execrable totalitarian regimes with manifold sins that need no reiteration here.

This scale is not designed as a yardstick of democracy as such, but rather an indefinable property that might be described as a ‘bastardness quotient’. You must know what I mean.

The game is this: commenters are invited to place Cuba, Iran, Israel, Britain and the US at points of their choosing along this continuum, giving reasons for doing so.

Dave’s blog attracts a lot of leftier-than-thou leftists who – apparently seriously – give Cuba scores of ‘1’ , Israel scores of ‘9’, etc. Of course, it’s all fun and games, and everyone is interpreting ‘bastardness’ in different ways,  but it’s surprising to see so much socialist adoration of the Cuban monarchy.

It’s also ironic that revolutionary ultra-leftists have a much easier time in democratic, multi-party Israel than dictatorial, single-party Cuba where the Castro regime has periodically locked up or expelled its critics on the left.  

Anyway, here is my contribution:

  • Cuba – 7 – Oppressive, censoring, one-party state must be a real pain. Combine that with a rubbish economy and no wonder everyone wants to leave the country. On the plus side, the weather is better than over here and the dictatorial government isn’t quite as bad as it could be (North Korea, I’m looking at you)
  • Iran – 7 – There seems to be more potential for positive political change in Iran at the moment, which stands in its favour, but all the religion truly does my head in. The fact that the country is still presided over by a Holocaust-denying loon does not bode well.
  • Israel – 5 – I’d love to visit Israel one day. When it comes to democracy and human rights, Israel is the best thing going in the region. But at the same time, there are many obnoxious defenders of the illegal settlements. Plus more religious mumbo jumbo.
  • The US – 3 – Negatives = Anti-communist hysteria in 20th century leading to unhealthy domestic politics and overzealous intervention across the world; love of free-market capitalism; gross social inequalities. Positives = Has maintained system of elected government for hundreds of years; crucial role played in defeating fascism during WW2; gave us The Simpsons, the West Wing, Bob Dylan, and all that other great stuff. If there has to be a single power acting as global policeman I’d still take the US over, say, China anyday.
  • The UK – 2 – Cos I’m patriotic, innit.

Thoughts?

Leftie lyrics that leave me Hmm-ing.

November 10, 2009

I am a great fan of musicians with a political agenda similar to my own. There’s nowt better than a good leftie song. However, sometimes even my favourite socialist-inclined songsters let me down with ludicrous lyrics…  

Anti-Flag – ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’

You don’t have to be a racist
To be a Nazi fuck
Your mindless nationalism
Gives you credentials enough

Hmm. Methinks the political punks of Anti-Flag are getting carried away with labelling anyone they don’t like a ‘Nazi’. Racism was an integral part of the Nazi ideology. It is ridiculous to try suggesting that people who are right-wing and nationalistic but nevertheless not racist should be associated so crassly with Hitlerism. It diminishes the meaning of the term when it is applied so flippantly! Silly Anti-Flag.

  

Billy Bragg – ‘Never Cross A Picket Line’

Technically this is an illegal strike
Never cross a picket line
But technically workers have no rights
Never cross a picket line
You must never cross a picket line

Hmm. Billy usually does so well at being politically sensible, but I can’t help but feel that saying “technically workers have no rights” is inaccurate. Technically speaking, Billy’s argument is balderdash! Even bearing in mind the context in which this song was written – with the Thatcher government’s eagerness to destroy trade union power and undermine the organised working-class – it still smacks of hyperbole to claim that workers had absolutely zilch legal protection. I love Billy which means I hold him up to a high standard and when he disappoints it’s only right that he be called out on it.

The Levellers – ‘Another Man’s Cause’

Now she wonders at it all
Just in whose name do these brave young heroes fall
And how many more are going to answer that call
They’re going to fight and die in another country’s war
They’re going die for a religion they don’t believe in at all
They’re die in a place they should never’ve been at all

‘Cause, your daddy well he died in the Falklands
Fighting for another man’s cause
And your brother he was killed in the Last War
And your mother well she’s lying home alone

Hmm. Rather than simply being anti-war, the main message behind this song seems to be that daddy should not have been fighting for “another man’s cause”. Perhaps the Levellers are attacking the political elite for sending troops off to fight a war from which little will be gained. Yet the critical references to dying in “another country’s war”, dying for a religion they don’t believe in, etc, prompts speculation that the Levellers think only self-interested wars should be fought. This makes me uncomfortable – what about the spirit of internationalism? Would the Levs have been opposed to daddy participating in another man’s cause such as the Spanish Civil War? And would the Levellers have been completely happy to surrender the Falkland Islands to the aggressive military dictatorship that constituted the Argentine government? For shame!

More songs of this nature to be moaned about soon – watch this space. Don’t be shy about suggesting any other leftie lyrics that leave you Hmm-ing!

Like, duh.

November 3, 2009

I saw some Trots running a stall on a street corner. Everyone else was ignoring them. Taking pity upon the pamphlet-pushers, I approached and gratefully received a complimentary leaflet. It was promoting Socialism 2009 – annual Trotfest of the Socialist Party (not to be mixed up with Marxism 2009 organised by the Socialist Workers Party).

The SP is looking beyond New Labour. One of the events taking place at Socialism 2009 is entitled ‘Is Cameron another Thatcher? How can we defeat a Tory government?’ 

I would have thought that one obvious answer to that second question is campaign for Labour victory, but somehow I can’t see there being much support for that common sense proposal at the SP’s ideologically pure gathering.

More ‘leftists’ the Morning Star might want to revere.

September 24, 2009

If the Butcher of Belgrade can make the list on the grounds that he was ostensibly a ‘socialist’ and stuck two fingers up to Western sensibilities, then I don’t see why the following leaders were excluded from Neil Clark’s hero-worship:

 Kim Il-Sung

Happy Kims celebrate their independence from the neocon agenda.

The first leader of everybody’s favourite Stalinist dictatorship, People’s (aka North) Korea, Big Man K ruled his country from 1948 to 1994. That makes him the longest serving dictator of the twentieth century – useful knowledge for pub quizes. Kim bravely took on the mighty forces of US imperialism when he invaded South Korea in 1950. His heroic attempt to unite Korea under a single communist government was thwarted when the Yankees kept beating him in battles. Millions of Koreans died in the conflict. Kim was a man of principle and rejected the fashion for de-Stalinisation after Uncle Joe’s death. In line with socialist teachings, Kim’s son became his designated successor. The people of North Korea today live happy and free lives, grateful that their government pursues an independent foreign policy and that they are not slaves to the neocon agenda.

Enver Hoxha

Sticking it to US imperialism.

Sticking it to US imperialism.

Another long-serving – and therefore presumably much-loved – leader, Hoxha was another solid Stalinist who made the Communist dream a reality in Albania. When the moustached one kicked the bucket in 1953, Hoxha ordered a period of national mourning in Albania. He even reportedly made the Albanian people swear a two-thousand word oath of gratitude to Stalin “the great liberator”. Like Kim, Hoxha rejected the new fangled liberal ideas of de-Stalinization and was especially peeved when Khruschev announced that the USSR sought peaceful coexistence with the West. Hoxha denounced Khruschev as a “revisionist” and cosied up to China instead, but China soon grew tired of sending aid and Albania became the ‘billy no mates’ of the Communist world. Hoxha left a glorious legacy of labour camps, economic stagnation, and international pariah status, but most importantly he never became a lap dog of US imperialism.

 Nicolae Ceausescu

De-stalinisation is for wussies.

De-stalinisation is for wussies.

Despite some unimpressive tendencies to seek cordial relations with the West in the early years of his rule, the Communist leader of Romania soon realised that the best way to serve the interests of the Romanian people was to stop giving two figs what outsiders thought of his regime. Just like Kim and Hoxha, Ceausescu was not a fan of de-Stalinization and stood up for old school Communism when it came to domestic freedoms. His take on foreign policy was erratic to say the least (much like his grip on reality) but was certainly not a neocon, and that’s what matters. Admittedly the Romanian people did eventually rise up against him, but even as he was facing the firing squad he did not sell-out.

Neil Clark on “the leftists who didn’t sell out”.

September 23, 2009

Printed recently in that bastion of sensible socialist thought – The Morning Star – Neil Clark provides a list of heroic leftist leaders who “did not betray the people and who, despite enormous pressure from international capital and their political emissaries, stayed on the progressive path”.

Some of those on his list get the Paintbrush thumbs up. Clem Attlee, Salvador Allende, and Olof Palme, for sure. I’m surprised that Clark is so enthusiastic about Attlee considering that it was his government that developed Britain’s nuclear deterrent and signed up to the Korean War at the behest of the US.

Anyways, others on Clark’s list are thoroughly vomit-inducing. Take Slobodan Milosevic. Serbian nationalism is progressive! Overseeing years of ethnic slaughter demonstrates care for the plight of the workers! Since the US did not approve of him he must be ok! Ousted by popular protests and put on trial for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, Slobodob cowardly snuffed it before a verdict could be reached.

This sort of freaky thinking, this fetishising of the enemies of human rights in the name of ‘anti-imperialism’, is insulting to the socialist creed.

Today is the 69th anniversary of Trotsky’s demise

August 21, 2009

To mark this occasion I call for a mass sing song (to the tune of Oh my darling Clementine):

Leon Trotsky was a nazi

Oh I know it for a fact

First I read it then I said it

Till the Stalin-Hitler pact

 

Chorus:

Oh my darling, oh my darling

Oh my darling party line

Never break thee or forsake thee

Oh my darling party line

 

In a palace in the Kremlin

In the fall of Thirty-nine

Sat a Russian and a Prussian

Working out the party line

 

[Chorus]

 

In Siberia, in Siberia

Excavating for a mine

Was an old Bolshevik

Who forgot the party line.