» RT: @JimBarker @pickledpolitics So, why are you so mean to Iain Dale when you're in your pajamas? The nation has a right to know. 15 hrs ago

» Lame. Right-winger @TomHarrisMP won't even publish my comments on his blog. Apparently he wants debate. http://is.gd/2smBa 15 hrs ago

» Video of Tory who said he wanted an attractive woman candidate now here: http://is.gd/2skEP - excellent scoop by @cathynewman 16 hrs ago

» RT @libcon: Top Tory: I would only select fit women for seat - http://bit.ly/UVYgB Oh dear! 17 hrs ago

» Rupert Murdoch's web strategy isn't doing so well is it? http://is.gd/2sgfe 17 hrs ago

More updates...


  • Family

    • Ala Abbas
    • Clairwil
    • Daily Rhino
    • Leon Green
    • Liberal Conspiracy
    • Sonia Afroz
  • Comrades

    • Andy Worthington
    • Angela Saini
    • Aqoul
    • Bartholomew’s notes
    • Blairwatch
    • Bleeding Heart Show
    • Bloggerheads
    • Blood & Treasure
    • Butterflies & Wheels
    • Campaign against Honour Killings
    • Cath Elliott
    • Chicken Yoghurt
    • Clive Davis
    • Daily Mail Watch
    • Dave Hill
    • Dr StrangeLove
    • Europhobia
    • Faith in Society
    • Feministing
    • Harry’s Place
    • IKWRO
    • Indigo Jo
    • Liberal England
    • MediaWatchWatch
    • Ministry of Truth
    • Natalie Bennett
    • New Humanist Editor
    • New Statesman blogs
    • open Democracy
    • Operation Black Vote
    • Our Kingdom
    • Robert Sharp
    • Rupa Huq
    • Septicisle
    • Shiraz Socialist
    • Shuggy’s Blog
    • Stumbling and Mumbling
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • The F Word
    • Though Cowards Flinch
    • Tory Troll
    • UK Polling Report
    • Women Uncovered
  • In-laws

    • Aaron Heath
    • Ariane Sherine
    • Desi Pundit
    • Get There Steppin’
    • Incurable Hippie
    • Isheeta
    • Neha Viswanathan
    • Power of Choice
    • Real man’s fraternity
    • Route 79
    • Sajini W
    • Sarah
    • Sepia Mutiny
    • Smalltown Scribbles
    • Sonia Faleiro
    • The Langar Hall
    • Turban Head
    • Ultrabrown



  • Technorati: graph / links

    Far left crazyness


    by Sunny on 19th August, 2009 at 12:02 pm    

    At the first year of university I briefly decided to go to some Socialist Society meetings. But that effort at broadening my political horizons turned out to be very short-lived because I realised that most of the people there, rather than expanding their view of the world, were trying to shoehorn every event and situation into one set narrative.

    And over the years this is why I’ve stayed away from far-left politics: there is only one prism through which events are interpreted, leading to some very stupid thinking. For example, here are some reader letters sent to the Socialist Worker:

    Should the left call for Taliban victory?
    As Socialists, we support the right of oppressed peoples to fight for self-determination unreservedly, just as we oppose imperialism, without caveat.

    The idea that the Taliban, as a movement fighting against U.S. occupation, is a force we should be supporting is, unfortunately, a somewhat controversial position to hold, even on the far left. This is a serious mistake and speaks both to the extent to which Islamophobia has penetrated the left, as well as to the lack of understanding of the social dynamics of an oppressed and devastated country like Afghanistan.

    To put it another way, if we, as avowed anti-imperialists, intend to wait around for a resistance movement that agrees with us on every issue, including the need to fight the oppression of women, gays, racial and religious minorities, etc., we’ll be waiting a long time. The Taliban is the resistance in Afghanistan and we must support it, critically, but unreservedly.

    See, if I got an email like that I’d laugh for a bit and press delete. You don’t print it for discussion. But even then, it displays the extent to which stupidity runs deep in some sections of the far left.



      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Current affairs, South Asia




    33 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Rumbold — on 19th August, 2009 at 12:24 pm  

      “At the first year of university I briefly decided to go to some Socialist Society meetings.”

      And you don’t eat meat. You really know how to party don’t you?

    2. Steve — on 19th August, 2009 at 12:25 pm  

      As a socialist myself, I am outraged that these idiots would say such a thing. It is idiots like this why I am ashamed to call myself a socialist in public and started to drift to the center of politics.

    3. Sunny — on 19th August, 2009 at 12:46 pm  

      And you don’t eat meat. You really know how to party don’t you?

      ha ha! bar-steward. Actually during the first year of uni I went clubbing about twice a week. Too much in fact. First year economics was easy :(

    4. Shatterface — on 19th August, 2009 at 1:35 pm  

      ‘As Socialists, we support the right of oppressed peoples to fight for self-determination unreservedly, just as we oppose imperialism, without caveat’

      I think we all support Afghani struggles against oppression: every schoolgirl who risks an acid attack because she wants an education, every homosexual willing to express their love…

      My enemy’s enemy is NOT my friend. Fuck the SWP, they’re as ’socialist’ as the Nazis.

    5. Leon — on 19th August, 2009 at 1:42 pm  

      I don’t know what’s worse: taking a SWP Taliban supporting line or supporting the Afghan government with it’s new law which allows men to starve women if they wont have sex…

    6. steve R — on 19th August, 2009 at 2:20 pm  

      if we are for the defeat of the US&UK imperialists in Afghanistan - which we are, then surely that means being FOR the victory of those that are fighting the imperialists? it does, or it’s a nonsense - and how can we come out with a “plague on both their houses” view - as if the Taliban are as bad as the US imperialists the enemy of the whole of the world working classes!
      I think our role as socialists in the heart of the beast is to support and seek to foster those forces that we would see as progressive in occupied Afghanistan - things like organisations of workers: TUs, political parties etc

    7. Guy Aitchison — on 19th August, 2009 at 2:46 pm  

      Sunny, whenever you discuss the tactics the liberal-left needs to adopt you say that it should spend less time attacking the hard left because we need people pushing at the edges to shift the centre of political debate (I think you said the US right is a good model here). So this kind of post taking a swipe at the far left and calling them stupid seems slightly hypocritical (as well as being undeserved in my view).

    8. damon — on 19th August, 2009 at 2:53 pm  

      I rather enjoy listening to someone like Tariq Ali speaking at the Socialist Worker’s event this summer.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oYdvQZVvrU&feature=related

      He starts talking about Afghanistan and Pakistan at about 14 minutes in. Some fair points there.
      Maybe more valid than supporting NATO in it’s offensive I’d say.

      There were a couple of interesting articles in the Guardian this week from Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, where he meets with the Taliban.
      They can’t be all killed (nor would you want them to be), so a future Afghanistan is not going to be won for Afghans by foreign armies in operations like Panther’s Claw.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/15/fighting-taliban-in-afghanistan-war

      There are times though (aren’t there?) when people who call themselves progressives might welcome the defeat of their own country’s army.

      Maybe in the Gulf war of 1991?
      Or the Falkland Islands, or invasions of Panama or Grenada? Suez, Vietnam?. Northen Ireland even?

      Or is that just mad lefty posturing?

    9. Sunny — on 19th August, 2009 at 3:01 pm  

      So this kind of post taking a swipe at the far left and calling them stupid seems slightly hypocritical (as well as being undeserved in my view).

      Usually, yes, I agree. But the far left needs to push arguments in the right direction for that to happen. In other words they still need to be on the right side.

      In this case these nutbags who are willing to support the Taliban aren’t on the same side. They’ve lost all sense of perspective and the sooner they’re cast into the political wilderness the better.

    10. dave bones — on 19th August, 2009 at 3:52 pm  

      I just emailed you something similar about the green left and the way they fuck things for themselves

    11. Shatterface — on 19th August, 2009 at 4:14 pm  

      Sunny, whenever you discuss the tactics the liberal-left needs to adopt you say that it should spend less time attacking the hard left because we need people pushing at the edges to shift the centre of political debate (I think you said the US right is a good model here). So this kind of post taking a swipe at the far left and calling them stupid seems slightly hypocritical (as well as being undeserved in my view).’

      The ‘far left’ aren’t really of ‘the left’ as soon as they start supporting religious nutjobs, misogynists, homophones, anti-Semites, etc.

      Marx at least recognised capitalism is a stage you work through before you get to socialism: you don’t retreat into feudalism and then try to leapfrog forwards.

      I’ve profound disagreement with Marxists over the role of the state in the transformation of society but on this we agree: socialism isn’t anti-capitalism, it’s post-capitalism.

    12. Joel — on 19th August, 2009 at 5:20 pm  

      Good lawd, that’s some horrible logic in that letter… it’s the simplistic nature that really irks me.

      But don’t anyone let that characterise Socialism. I’m a Socialist, and don’t want to be defined by such wingnuttery.

      I’m the kind of Socialist who would wear one of Ben Goldacre’s “I think you’ll find it’s a little more complicated than that” T’s.

    13. Chris Baldwin — on 19th August, 2009 at 5:22 pm  

      While I doubt that most far-lefties would agree with this letter writer, the amusing thing is the idea that the far-left could “support” the Taliban in any meaningful way. They fail to realise that their attitude to the conflict is pretty much irrelevant.

    14. Andrew — on 19th August, 2009 at 5:33 pm  

      “They fail to realise that their attitude to the conflict is pretty much irrelevant.”

      That was also the problem with the Euston Manifesto, in a nutshell. Supporting Iraqi secularists and trade unionists was always going to be pointless when the war was being run by GWB.

    15. Paul Moloney — on 19th August, 2009 at 5:38 pm  

      There’s nothing “crazy” - as in meaning “exceptional” - about that letter. Pretty much every comment piece on Socialist Unity has that angle - that is, the enemy of our enemy (the “imperialist” countries) is our friend. It’s the reason that the phrase “anti-imperialist” as become as debased and meaningless as “progressive”, the latter word which has to come to mean “like to be thought of as culturally on the left, even though I share some opinions with Eichmann”.

      P.

    16. Sunny — on 19th August, 2009 at 5:58 pm  

      They fail to realise that their attitude to the conflict is pretty much irrelevant.

      Heh. that’s true. I’d urge the ‘comrade’ in that letter to go to Afghanistan and join the Taliban.

    17. MaidMarian — on 19th August, 2009 at 6:00 pm  

      Sunny - I fear it is rather simpler than you suggest. The left has a long and proud tradition of lionising tyrants from the comfort of their own imperfect democracies.

      The taliban just had a religious dimension too. That’s all.

    18. Naadir Jeewa — on 19th August, 2009 at 9:10 pm  

      Sunny, you post this and still actually want to go to Climate Camp? Prepare for disillusionment central in terms of understanding and quality of debate on climate change.

    19. dave bones — on 19th August, 2009 at 9:21 pm  

      you don’t retreat into feudalism and then try to leapfrog forwards

      that is fantastic

    20. Sunny — on 19th August, 2009 at 9:35 pm  

      The left has a long and proud tradition of lionising tyrants from the comfort of their own imperfect democracies.

      So has the right. Remember the ‘Nicaraguan freedom fighters’ comment by Reagan? Hang Mandela?

      Naadir - oh I never go to Climate Camp for sensible discussion. They are there to keep pushing the politicians forward and keep raising awareness of the issue. Direct action people aren’t the ones you go to for policy proposals :)

    21. Carl — on 19th August, 2009 at 10:04 pm  

      We run the risk here, Sunny, of unduly caricaturing a political stance by holding up a random straw man, like Nick Cohen does with the left now. In fact, your entry is just the sort of thing that Cohen might use to say the left needs a sea change, when in fact the left is very much unlike this.

      I’m going to risk something now, too. I, in college - yonks ago - was a member of the SWP and a devout trot, and when I’d had enough with them I moved sideways along to Socialist Appeal. What appealed (excuse the pun) to me about the SA, and its main bloc the IMT, was that they tried to iron out the weak peculiarities of the likes of the SWP, namely by saying anti-Americanism was counter-revolutionary, and that Chavez cosying up with Iran was wrong. They also practised this trot notion of entryism into the Labour party, whereas the SWP wanted nothing more to do with them.

      My politics have modified drastically, although unfortunately for me some articles still bear my name on the IMT website. But I will say that many on the far-left would also look at that letter and laugh and delete. Nick Cohen, on the other hand, would copy it, open up a document called Now Look What’s Bloody Left! paste it, and use it against the entire left. Let us not risk doing the same.

    22. MaidMarian — on 19th August, 2009 at 10:12 pm  

      Sunny (21) - ‘So has the right.’ Oh I don’t claim otherwise, but the article was about the left.

      The difference though is that the right has always thought that such people may well be an SOB, just they are our SOB. The left seems to take the view that places overseen by tyrants are lands of milk and honey.

      The ugly reality that many on PP simply will not have is that Nick Cohen is more right than most will accept.

    23. Carl — on 19th August, 2009 at 10:20 pm  

      (23) Sunny was saying only last night what a nancy (though he didn’t use this word) Nick Cohen is, and as he is PP ed, I’d risk the guess that the PP line on Cohen is that he has shifted very much to the right, almost in parallel with Hitchens, Hari and Aaronavitch.

    24. Sunny — on 19th August, 2009 at 11:30 pm  

      The left seems to take the view that places overseen by tyrants are lands of milk and honey.

      Not really. Even the idiot in the letter admits that. You’re creating strawmen MM.

      The ugly reality that many on PP simply will not have is that Nick Cohen is more right than most will accept.

      Oh dear. Please stop singing the praises of a conspiracy theorist who think there’s a grand conspiracy by the BBC and Guardian to subvert true lefties.

      Carl - I agree with what you say, but we on the left also have to accept there’s a danger that some on the far left end up pushing positions we should be vehemently against.

      I don’t have a problem with radicals on the left. But I’m against the right for ideological reasons and if I see someone who claims to be on the left but on a completely different ideological plane then I have to disagree with that.

      and while I think some discipline and cohesion is important for the left - we also have to be clear about weeding out the wingnuts who do everyone a disservice.

    25. MaidMarian — on 19th August, 2009 at 11:37 pm  

      Sunny - What are your views on Putin’s Russia and Castro’s Cuba?

      And as to Cohen, I accept that What’s Left is a product of its time that aged rapidly, but you are too dismissive.

    26. Don — on 19th August, 2009 at 11:39 pm  

      As Shatterface pointed out, if we conclude it is our duty as ‘left’ or ’socialist’ or human being’ to support the oppressed and the powerless we need to take a look at who that is in any given situation. It is seldom the loud bastard with the gun.

    27. Don — on 19th August, 2009 at 11:41 pm  

      Carl,

      Why would you place Hari to the right of Cohen?

    28. Sunny — on 20th August, 2009 at 12:54 am  

      I wouldn’t say that about Hari. He is a good bloke

      What are your views on Putin’s Russia and Castro’s Cuba?

      Erm, which bits specifically do you want to know about? In short, I wouldn’t like to live in either. Both are authoritarian dictatorships.

    29. Cauldron — on 20th August, 2009 at 5:52 am  

      The SWP merely takes the socialist frame of reference - i.e. group-based analysis rather than the liberal (small ‘l’) framework of treating people as individuals - to its logical conclusions. That’s why the mainstream left finds the SWP embarrassing. Rather like a mad uncle - you’d rather he went away, but he’s still family.

    30. Shatterface — on 20th August, 2009 at 8:34 am  

      Who’s side were the SWP on when Afghanistan was invaded by our anti-Imperialist comrades from the Soviet Union?

      I seem to remember that British and American Imperialist were supporting the ‘resistance’.

    31. MaidMarian — on 20th August, 2009 at 12:42 pm  

      Sunny (29) - ‘I wouldn’t like to live in either. Both are authoritarian dictatorships.’

      Fair play to you.

    32. Carl — on 20th August, 2009 at 8:04 pm  

      I’m a bit late on answering my reasons for saying Hari is rightwing. Of course he isn’t, only he was part of that pack of leftists that sided with the liberal interventionist/neoconservative lot. He has since rebutted this opinion of his which I should’ve mentioned. I liked his article on US healthcare today, but I think his atheism, rather than leading him down a road to reasonable diatribe, hinders his strategy of defeating the US right with ideas. So I like Hari, I think - for those of us atheists - that the fact that he is more Harris/Hitchens than he is Jay Gould/Baggini is a problem, but overall nice guy. So I take it back.

    33. NielsC — on 20th August, 2009 at 9:15 pm  

      And what happened to the left who supported the revolution in Iran in 1979.



    Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2009. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
    With the help of PHP and Wordpress.