Sunday, 9 October 2016
Political correctness isn't just about changing the nursery rhyme 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' to 'Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep'; or changing the word 'history' to 'herstory'. It's also about “affirmative action”, revising curricula (i.e. “canon busting”), police actions and sometimes imprisonments, “no whites allowed” university meetings, censorship, numerous bannings, the “no platform” policy, professors loosing their tenure, and so on. (Now add two new kids on the block, 'safe spaces' and 'cultural appropriation'.) In other words, PC has gone way beyond simply changing the words we use.
George Bush neatly expressed both the pros and cons of political correctness when, in a 1991 speech, he said that "[t]he notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land”. Bush went on to say that “although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones”. He finished off by saying that PC “declares certain topics off-limits, certain expressions off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits”.
So Bush (above) said that the PC “movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred”. And, of course, it's laudable to want to get rid of racism, sexism, etc. Yet it all depends on how these isms are taken. It also depends, in a sense, on where they're taken. The problem with PC is that it's often too extreme, pious and pure. In other words, the things which the vast majority of people don't see as racist/sexist/etc. are seen that way by the High Priests of Political Correctness. Accusations of, say, racism or fascism are simply used as very effective political power-tools to destroy one's detractors.
Thus political correctness is a serious problem. It sustains an overwhelming and omnipresent hegemony of Leftist political/social power and it has done so for at least three decades. So much so that Paul Weyrich (the President of the Free Congress Foundation) claimed that “today, if you say the 'wrong thing', you suddenly have legal problems, political problems, you might even lose your job or be expelled from college”. What's more:
“Certain topics are forbidden. You can't approach the truth about a lot of different subjects. If you do, you are immediately branded as 'racist', 'sexist', 'homophobic', 'intensive', or 'judgemental'.”
I say 'hegemony' because political correctness, according to Anthony Browne, occurs “[i]n workplaces across the country, from companies to army bases, from hospitals to TV stations”. More particularly, “people are being subjected to 'diversity training' to re-educate them and make them more politically correct”.
Peter Coleman (a former government minister in Australia) got to the heart of the political nature of political correctness when he wrote the following:
“Its first and pre-eminent characteristic is that it calls for the politicisation – one might say the transformation – of life. It wants political direction of all departments from, say, children's fiction to judicial judgements. No profession is exempt. All must meet a political test – of correct thinking and progress. Lawyers, accountants, doctors, scientists, novelists, journalists and businessmen must all pass it.”
And the most powerful way of changing the way we think is to legislate/act on the words we use.
Controlling Words to Control Thoughts
The putative political and social consequences of politically-incorrect words (therefore politically-incorrect thoughts) are made clear by academics Jessica Pinta and Joy Yakubu. They tell us that "linguistic constructs influence our way of thinking negatively, peaceful coexistence is threatened and social stability is jeopardized”. These examples are all "the effect of politically incorrect use of language". What's more, politically-incorrect words are said to result in a "climate of repression".
So what's to be done about all this?
Firstly Jessica Pinta and Joy Yakubu believe that “the imposition of a moral agenda on a community is justified". PC also "requires less emphasis on individual rights and more on assuring 'historically oppressed' persons the means of achieving equal rights”.
Thus PC-ers don't just want to be in control of the words we use, they also want to control our thoughts. After all, if the words change, though the thoughts 'underneath' them remain the same, then the PC policy of word-control looses its purpose.
Don't take my word for any of this, take the words of Professor Edna Andrews
In the article 'Cultural Sensitivity and Political Correctness: The Linguistic Problem of Naming' (1996), Professor Edna Andrews says that "language represents thought, and may even control thought". Philosophically this is largely correct on two fronts. One, language is a determinant of thought and even of consciousness itself. Two, political correctness would serve little purpose if, after changing ours words, people still sub-vocalised (or carried out internal dialogues) with words which remained sinfully politically incorrect.
This way of thinking was originally based on, amongst other things, the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis, which argued that language - or even grammar itself - determines the way we see the world. Thus the language-to-thought (rather than thought-to-language) idea was given a political spin; if not by Sapir and Whorf themselves, then by those who accepted their hypothesis.
Edna Andrews is explicit about the language-to-thought idea being a political tool when she states that it's a "reasonable deduction ... [to accept] cultural change via linguistic change". Thus changing our words is but a means to changing both what we think and, subsequently, what we do.
Defenders of PC
The well-known British journalist Polly Toynbee said that “"the phrase [politically correct] is an empty, right-wing smear, designed only to elevate its user". It can hardly be said to be “empty”. It may well be, at times, a “disguise for racism” or intrinsically right-wing/conservative views; though having a (big) problem with political correctness is hardly an “empty” stance.
What Toynbee is doing here is tapping into view (held by political-correctors) that those who commit politically-incorrect sins are not only wrong, they are also evil/bad. The Wall Street Journal expressed (31st December, 1993) this perfectly in the following statement:
“Political correctness, for all its awfulness, is an effort to save souls through language.”
Toynbee refuses to make any distinctions between puritanical and extreme political correctness and the type of political correctness that people often make jokes about.
When Toynbee goes on to say that people who criticise the words “political correctness” are people “who still want to say Paki, spastic, or queer”. As a typical left-winger, Toynbee has a strong dislike of the majority of people who have a problem with political correctness. (Or at least with extreme and puritanical political correctness.) The thing is, even in the 1970s many people had a problem with some politically-incorrect words – long before political correctness had gained total control. Again, it's extreme and puritanical political correctness that's the problem; along with the political-correctors never-ending desire to fundamentally change all aspects of society (from head to toe).
What else would explain the following vicious tirade from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (a British Muslim journalist and anti-white racist). These words are aimed at a critic of political correctness:
“Here, in his own words, are the fearful fantasies of an anti-PC chap gone quite mad, but who is nevertheless taken as a brave prophet by other paranoids.”
She then states his positions on various subjects and, well, that's it! It's as if the very stating of negative facts or truths about political correctness is enough to render the speaker morally evil – at least according to Alibhai-Brown's Islington Set.
The economist and Labourite Will Hutton was a little more subtle (i.e., than Alibhai-Brown) when he wrote the following:
“Political correctness is one of the brilliant tools that the American Right developed in the mid–1980s, as part of its demolition of American liberalism.... What the sharpest thinkers on the American Right saw quickly was that by declaring war on the cultural manifestations of liberalism – by levelling the charge of 'political correctness' against its exponents – they could discredit the whole political project.”
Will Hutton is factually incorrect on one thing. It wasn't the “American Right” that coined and “developed” the words/concept political correctness: it was originally an ironic self-description used by “American liberals” in order to stop them getting too pious or extreme about what is and what isn't, well, politically correct.
Finally, yes, it would indeed be a good thing to “discredit the whole political project” of political correctness; if not also to, as Will Hutton puts it, discredit “American liberalism” itself.
Monday, 3 October 2016
Let the UK Independent introduce us to contemporary conspiracy theories. Nick Harding writes:
“The number of people who believe conspiracy theories is staggering. According to various recent surveys, a third of Brits believe Princess Diana was murdered (a Daily Mail survey), a quarter believe the moon landings were faked (from Engineering and Technology magazine), nearly half of all Americans do not believe global warming is man-made (a Yale University survey) and 84 per cent of them believe 9/11 was an inside job (a New York Times/CBS poll).”
I must confess to being sceptical about most – nearly all - conspiracy theories.Relatively sceptical, that is (as will become clear).
Take this very common problem just to begin with. What does the conspiracist do when he discovers that there are various mutually-contradictory theories about the very same conspiracy (as is the case with 9/11, AIDs, J.F. Kennedy, Jack the London Ripper, etc.)?
However, it's also the fact that particular conspiracy theories are particularly suited to advance a specific political cause (or justify a political obsession, or confirm already-existing beliefs/biases/prejudices) that causes me the most problems. Scratch the average political conspiracist for a while and one will often find that he's a thoroughly political animal furthering a specific agenda – whether of the Right or Left.
There are also a few – or many? - conspiracists who quite literally believe all the conspiracy theories they come across. Of course not many people believe all conspiracy theories. Many will believe a couple or even just one.
So let's think about the term “conspiracy theory” itself. Taken literally, these two words shouldn't really be seen as judgemental or critical. If we were to say, “theories about conspiracies”, then that would make things clearer. As it is, though, the term is almost always used critically or sarcastically. (I believe one “conspiracy theory” in the list above; or, at the least, I partly believe it.)
There are at least two books on conspiracy theories which conveniently tackle each conspiracy theory at a time. They also take fairly divergent views on conspiracy theories as a whole; which, in itself, is worth looking into.
The first book, The Little Book of Conspiracies (by Joel Levy), accepts a degree of truth in many well-known conspiracy theories. The second book, A Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories (by James McConnachie and Robin Tudge), downplays most of them. Up to a point this is strange because their analyses of conspiracy theories are often similar in style and content. However, the fact that Joel Levy's book has the word 'Conspiracies' in the title, rather than McConnachie and Tudge's 'Theories', partly explains their divergences.
Despite that, even the conspiracy theory sceptics - James McConnachie and Robin Tudge - are more than happy to admit that
“all too frequently the term 'conspiracy theory' has provided those in power with a convenient way of brushing serious allegations aside, with the result that the official version of events prevails” (xi).
So it's clear that even sceptics allow the possibility that at least some conspiracy theories portray the facts. In tandem with this, it's also true that some critics of conspiracy theories (at least in government form) do indeed have a lot to gain from retaining the “official version” of events.
The sceptics McConnachie and Tudge clearly don't accept the theory that all conspiracists are loons who're locked-up in their bedrooms with nothing but a computer to pass the time with. Instead, “the official version of events is subject to ever-increasing scrutiny” (xi).
Thus, in this day and age, conspiracists “stoke fear and outrage in the Middle East”. They also“inspire homespun 'patriot' movements in the US”. In addition:
“They make liberal Europeans cynical and apathetic. They influence the politics of the entire Italian nature. They spawn computer games... hip-hop albums... films... and a whole sub-genre of fiction...” (xi)
Surely amongst all the above there must be at least some truth. Perhaps a lot of truth!
Joel Levy, as I said, tends to be far less sceptical than McConnachie and Tudge. Indeed Kenn Thomas (the editor at Steamshovel Press) says that Levy “does not embrace every theory as absolute truth, but neither does he dismiss them as total bunk”. This hints at a progression from conspiracy theories deemed to be “total bunk” to those which Levy accepts as true (or at least largely true).
When it comes to 9/11, even McConnachie and Tudge are positive about some of the theories about these events. Or, at the least, they put the conspiracists' positions without offering much criticism.
As for Levy, take just one example (amongst very many).
Levy writes that there is “evidence that the FBI investigations into some hijackers were squashed from on high in the weeks proceeding 9/11” (56). This points to the idea that Bush and Co. let the attack happen. Or as Levy puts it:
“The President and his cabinet... definitely benefited from the atrocity. Before 9/11, Bush was a lame duck president struggling to escape questions about his fraudulent election...”
There are many other anomalies and problems regarding 9/11 which Levy tackles. However, with his four years of retrospect, Levy believes that
“the most disturbing part if the whole [9/11] scenario has been the remarkable quiescence of mainstream media and its reluctance to challenge the unconvincing official version.” (59)
In terms of Levy (the Believer) being sceptical, he doesn't seem to have much time for conspiracy theories about the Illuminati. Nonetheless, it's not the theories themselves which Levy disparages: it's one of the consequences of them. Levy claims that talk
“about the Illuminati and their new world order simply obscures and detracts from genuinely helpful conspiracy research, helping those with something to hide – the secret state, for instance – to dismiss serious researchers as nuts and fruitcakes.” (78)
Conspiracies & Conspiracies Theories About Conspiracies Theories
Tudge and McConnachie cite various conspiracies which actually occurred. They give the following examples:
“... the politically-motivated plot to kill Fidel Castro, the 'Iran-Contra' affair, the barely-legal rigging of the US presidential elections in 1876 and the Nazi conspiracy to murder millions of European Jews.” (ix)
An even more sceptical commentator on conspiracy-theorising, David Aaronovitch (in his Voodoo Histories), also accepts the fact that conspiracies have and still do occur. He cites a couple of his own examples. Thus:
“Not counting Watergate... the Iran-Contra affair of 1985-6... The great British conspiracy is the Zinoviev letter of 1924... apparently approving of the pro-Bolshevik stance of Labour [Party]...” (8)
Of course many conspiracy-theory sceptics do offer arguments as to why they're sceptical.
David Aaronovitch, for example, detects various problems.
For example, there is “the tendency among conspiracists to quote each other so as to suggest a wide spread expertise lending support to the argument” (12). In addition, we have the “death by footnote” syndrome. In this case,
“the exposition of the theory is a dense mass of detailed and often undifferentiated information, but laid out as an academic text. Often the theory is supported by quotations from non-conspiracist sources that almost invariably turn out to be misleading and selective”. (12)
The following words - from Aaronovitch again - are also a telling critique of conspiracists (which can also be applied to Marxists). He writes:
“Conspiracists [Marxists] are always winners. Their arguments have a determined flexibility whereby any new and inconvenient truth can be accommodated within the theory itself.” (13)
Aaronovitch also cites some examples of conspiracy theories about conspiracy theories. He writes:
“So, embarrassing and obvious problems in the theory may be ascribed to deliberate disinformation originating with the imagined plots designed to throw activists off the scent.”
This is vaguely related to the idea that loony conspiracy theories are deliberately circulated in order to throw “activists off the scent” of real conspiracies. Joel Levy also believes that obviously-ridiculous conspiracy theories are fed to the gullible public in order to divert its attention away from truthful ones.
Some conspiracy theories about conspiracy theories (like conspiracy theories themselves) may also contain some truth – even a lot of truth! What should we make, for example, of the idea that many conspiracists “are even accused (by other conspiracy theorists) of being the public face of a conspiracy to discredit conspiracy theories” (ix)?
Noam Chomsky - an unrelenting critique of both Israelis and Jews - has also become victim of a conspiracy theory about his rejection of conspiracy theories. Chomsky, for example, rejects the conspiracy theories about 9/11. (All of them?) So has George Monbiot; who said that such conspiracies were a “'cowards fantasy! An excuse for inaction used by those who don't have the stomach to engage in a real fight” (328).
Chomsky is Jewish; whereas Monbiot is not Jewish. Therefore Chomsky, and not Monbiot, has himself induced some extreme scepticism about his “real reasons” for rejecting 9/11 conspiracy theories. That's because, in some theories about 9/11, the Jews/Israelis/Zionists are blamed. And, as I said, Chomsky is a Jew. Thus Professor Anthony J. Hall - of the University ofLethbridge in Canada - has written an article entitled, '9/11 and the Zionist Question: Is Noam Chomsky a Disinfo Agent for Israel?' (This article, in theAmerican Herald Tribune, can be found here.)
Conclusion: Total Truth/Total Falsehood?
It may be the case that most conspiracy theories are neither completely true nor completely false. It may simply depend on particular cases.
Levy, for example, cites the good and bad aspects of the theory that “Elvis lives!” He writes:
“... we know that the King did try to fake his death at least once in a bizarre incident involving a bogus assassin and fake blood.” (105)
I suppose the bad here is to assume that because Elvis faked his own death on at least one occasion, then he must have done so at the end too. In other words, there is still evidence for the first case of fakery; though is there similar evidence for the last case?
Not many have argued that there's no truth - or factual correctness – in all conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, what can happen, and what tends to happen, is that accepted/acceptable truths (or facts) are used to lead conspiracy theorists to untruths (or fictions). In addition, the possibility that there's at least some truth even to loony theories may well lead people to accept the entire package of a particular conspiracy theory. Indeed there may be so many variables involved in the majority of conspiracy theories that some of those variables are bound to be true (or factual). Similarly, even in science theories go way beyond the facts (or evidence) in order to explain given phenomena. Thus with conspiracy theories too many conspiracists are bound to go beyond truth (or fact) in order to enter the realm of explanation.... and then speculation! It's then that they may – and often do - go wrong.
*) See my 'One's Politics Determines One's Conspiracy Theories' and 'Cui Bono? The Conspiracy Theorists!' at American Thinker.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Here's a few questions for American Thinker readers:
“Do you take an interest in the way society functions?
“Are you angry or upset about injustice, exploitation and oppression?
“Are you interested in political ideas and theories, even if you don’t yet know much about them?
“Do you want to get involved in contributing to positive social change, if only in small ways at first?
“Lastly, no experience of activism is necessary to attend Demand the Impossible, but some experience should not prevent you applying.”
Does all that sound appealing? Then Demand the Impossible is for you.
So just in case you thought that schools and universities weren't already left-wing enough, here's a school explicitly for radicals. It's called Demand the Impossible and it will take part in London on October the 3rd.
The school is the brainchild of Global Justice Now. Global Justice Now
“is a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world... We need to make really big changes in the world. But this won’t happen overnight because power is rarely relinquished easily by those who possess it....”
This is how the school sells itself:
“Demand the Impossible is an evening course for young people about political ideas and activism, starting October 2016. Organised by Global Justice Now and the Critical Education Project.”
And here's a list of some of the goodies on offer at this school for radicals: “Brexit Britain, London's housing crisis, migration and its causes, capitalism and alternative systems, mental health, Trump vs Clinton and more.”
The agitation/propaganda (agitprop) itself will take the form of “interactive role-plays, talks from activists, film screenings and performance, as well as special excursions, talks, exhibitions and walks in London and elsewhere”.
Finally, do you also want to earn money from your radicalism; as well as forge a career? Of course you do! Thus this school for radicals offers you the “possibility of an additional four-week activism placement with a campaigning organisation such as Global Justice Now, Take Back the City or Momentum”. (Momentum, incidentally, is the far-left group right at the heart of Jeremy Corbyn's attempt to turn the UK into a dreary and depressing socialist utopia.)
And like any business (this is in the business of “radical change”) which advertises itself on the Internet, this school for radicals quotes the words of various previously satisfied customers. Take this example:
“I feel more developed socially and mentally. I have gained new friends, insights and perspectives and I feel like a person ready to take on the world.”
This school also tells us that it has “heard from speakers like the radical academics Doreen Massey, Jeremy Gilbert and Danny Dorling”. (Interestingly enough, yet another left-wing professor - as well as an ex-terrorist and now simply a supporter of terrorism - Bill Ayers, wrote a book called Demand the Impossible!)
Demand the Impossible!
What do the words “demand the impossible” actually mean? Well, that phrase became a well-known piece of graffiti written on various walls during the French “student uprisings” of 1968. The full quote is: “Be realistic, demand the impossible!”
Basically, Leftists demands the impossible – from the state/government – knowing full well that it can't deliver. Thus it's not the demands that these “radicals” really want. For example, if the UK minimum wage were to be increased to £100 an hour, such people would still demand more. Similarly, if an extra 10 billion each year were to be spent on overseas aid, then, yes, you guessed it, Social Justice Warriors would still be up in arms.
The thing is that by demanding the impossible you create a “revolutionary situation” in which the state/government can't deliver. Then, it's hoped, “the people” will rebel or revolt. So, again, if the British government allowed an extra million immigrants a year into the UK, there would still be middle-class revolutionary unrest.
Don't take my word for all this, take to the words of “the greatest philosopher in the world today”, Slavoj Žižek! In a section of Contingency, Hegemony, Universality, entitled Soyons Réalistes, Demandons L’Impossible!, he writes:
“The only 'realistic' prospect is to ground a new political universality by opting for the impossible, fully assuming the place of the exception, with no taboos, no a priori norms ('human rights', 'democracy'), respect for which would prevent us also from 're-signifying' terror, the ruthless exercise of power...” (326)
Why do we need another school for radicals when almost every university in the UK and US (more so in the US) is already a school for radicals? (That's if you choose the right departments.)
Well, the “world is in crisis” - that's why. The world has been in crisis since the mid-to-late 19th century, according to Marxists. In addition, each year, from the 1960s onwards, the UK Socialist Workers Party has proclaimed a “capitalist crisis”. (Sometimes “the final crisis”!) Capitalism, of course, has survived these make-believe crises primarily because it's not a rigid body of theory, as Marxism is.
Firstly we get the oh-so-classic Marxist theory of racism. Or, in the words of this school for radicals, “division and instability are boosting racists and fanatics from the Middle East to the US and Europe”. Yes, “divisions and instability” which are almost exclusively the fault of the Left and of Liberals.
Demand the Impossible (DI) also has a predictable go at the evil rich. Apparently, the “rich, the white and the middle-aged have used the financial crisis of 2008 to strengthen their power at the expense of the powerless and the planet itself”.
Then even Brexit gets a mention. Apparently, “[a]fter Brexit” it's the case that “Britain risks being taken over by the most conservative forces in society”. That's strange because DI appears to be having a go at the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKip). In many ways UKip is far from being “conservative”. The status quo before Brexit included our membership of the European Union. UKip helped us get out of that bureaucratic and anti-democratic setup. UKip is also radical in its various attempts to replace the politically-correct hegemonywhich rules the roost in the UK today. UKip wants to take power away from the universities and the law and give it to the people; such as the seventeen-and-a-half million who voted for Brexit.
Leftism is now conservative (with a small 'c'). It's a solid block of political correctness and conformity which stretches from the BBC to the schools to the law and to the universities – and it has done, to greater or lesser degree, since the 1960s. However, this PC/Leftist onslaught got really heavy in the 1980s when a chasm developed between the Conservative government of the time and various Leftist institutions.
Make no mistake, this school is a revolutionary outfit which wants to destroy capitalist democracy. Or, as the school itself puts it, DI wants to destroy the “old order of cut-throat capitalism, inherited privilege, sexism and racism”; which, in any case, “is crumbling”. As I said earlier, saying that “capitalism is crumbling” is designed to be some kind of self-fulfilling prophesy. Yet even though capitalism is far from crumbing (or in crisis), if members of the middle-class Left say that it is often enough, the hope is that this “revolutionary crisis” may well come about.
*) This article was also published by American Thinker (see here). See article for people's comments.
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
There was a well-publicised (by the BBC, etc.) demonstration in London on Saturday. The theme of the demo, “Refugees are welcome here.” (Interestingly enough, the last “refugees welcome here” demo in London was on the 12th of September; only five days before!)
Various Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and/or charities attended. They included Oxfam, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Amnesty International, the Refugee Council and the Stop the War Coalition. The actual demo was organised by a “charity coalition” called Solidarity with Refugees.
The protestors pointed their fingers at the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. They chanted: "Theresa May, you will say, refugees are welcome here". Various refugees, celebrities and religious leaders also spoke at the rally in Parliament Square.
The end result of protests like this is that the UK is now going to accommodate another 20,000 refugees. This will need financing. By the evil rich? Well, not entirely.
According to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, local authority housing departments have promised to house - under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme - the said 20,000 refugees,
In terms of each refugee, the government will spend £8,500 on each one of them. That will include housing, health care, etc. So that's £8,500 times 20,000; which is £170 million.
But all that, apparently, is not good enough. It's never good enough. You attack the state at every opportunity. You even “demand the impossible” in order to create instability and radicalisation. Thus Solidarity with Refugees director, Ros Ereira, has complained about the state of things regarding refugees. She seems to see this in geopolitical terms. That means that she wants the UK PM to play "an important role on the global stage" (at next week's UN Summit for refugees and migrants in New York) by helping as many refugees as possible.
On the charities or NGOs which “collaborated on the demo”, such institutions can be deeply political entities. Don't let talk of 'charity' or 'humanity” fool you. Helping refugees isn't always an act of moral selflessness: it can be a action carried out to bring about certain political results. In addition, as the revolutionary Left puts it: “political activity and conflict radicalises”. Amnesty International, specifically, is well-known for letting left-wing politics pollute its actions and statements.
It was also interesting to see the many Socialist Workers Party banners on this protest. At least one in three was trademarked with the 'Socialist Workers Party' logo. You see, “tapping into the revolutionary potential” of refugees is almost as good as tapping into the revolutionary potential of Muslims. In fact it's often the very same thing.
It is no surprise that the SWP was there is large numbers – even the BBC tells us that “Stop the War Coalition collaborated for the demonstration”. The StWC is a child of the SWP. Nonetheless, it has made a pathetic attempt to hide its true revolutionary nature simply by pretending to be a “single-issue group”: a group which simply wants to “stop war”. But the facade is ridiculous. The StWC and the SWP are run by similar types of people, politically. Sometimes they're literally the same people! As I said, major instability - caused by refugees and mass immigration - will be a godsend to StWC and the SWP. After all, “the worse it is, the better it is” for the revolution.
“Actor and campaigner” Vanessa Redgrave was there too. She's been a lifelong revolutionary Marxist and she was a well-known activist in the Workers Revolutionary Party in the 1970/80s. She's another upper-middle-class individual hooked on Trotskyism and the idea of transforming the working class – and others - into better, more revolutionary people.
What did she have to say? Something predictably political; but with a hint of lawfare thrown in. Thus:
"The present government and previous governments, both Labour, coalition and Conservative, have been breaking international human rights law. We must hold them to account."
Let's analyse that phrase “refugees are welcome here”.
The demonstrators - made up almost exclusively of students, professors, those with a charity to sell (not forgetting a few refugees/immigrants) - don't look like the sort of people who would “welcome refugees here” – if 'here' means in their own homes. No, they want “the state” to deal with the problem. And that means putting them in homes which have often been taken from working-class English families and which are in areas in which mainly poorer people live. In other words, this is helping refugees at a distance.
Will members of the middle-class Left want their taxes to rise in order to pay for all this? Of course not! They want the platonic “the rich” to pay for it. The rich are sometimes only marginally better off than they are, but without the Stop the War t-shirts and jeans.
Finally, it may seem heartless and cruel not to care about refugees. But we should also care about our own people and the conflicts – even civil wars – which will happen in the future. These are the very high prices to pay for grandstanding piety and being self-indulgently nice. This isn't to say that the said charities never do any good. They no doubt do. However, this fusion of charities/NGOs and revolutionary Leftism can only be a bad thing for the working class and the indigenous English generally.
Friday, 16 September 2016
Jeremy Corbyn - who could possibly become British Prime Minister at the next election - felt obliged to write something about the anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday. What he said is outrageous. At least it's outrageous on a certain reading. The problem is, I don't know how else to take it. Indeed many people have taken it in exactly the same way I've taken it.
Here's Corbyn's short tweet:
“My thoughts are with those whose lives were shattered on 9/11/2001 - and in the wars and terror unleashed across the globe in its aftermath.”
It's crystal clear that Corbyn felt a strong need to politicise these commemorations. And he did so in a particular way.
Let's be clear about that interpretation.
i) Corbyn states that his “thoughts are with those whose lives were shattered on 9/11/2001”.
ii) He then says: “and in the wars and terror unleashed across the globe in its aftermath”.
What connects the first clause with the second? They must have some kind of connection otherwise the whole sentence would be a non sequitur.
Why would a terrorist attack which was “the victims' blow to the motherland” (as Chomsky once put it) - and after which tens of thousands of Muslims celebrated on the streets - have “unleashed war and terror across the globe”? After all, this was a successful act of terror for al-Qaeda and tens of millions of other Muslims.
That must mean that what followed 9/11 - not 9/11 itself! - “unleashed terror and war across the globe”. What followed 9/11? The intervention in Afghanistan in October 2001 and the Iraq War in 2003. Thus in a tweet seemingly to commemorate the victims of 9/11, Corbyn couldn't stop himself from pointing the finger at Blair and Bush (plus another 23 states!) and indeed at all “Western capitalist powers”.
Not surprisingly, many people responded to Corbyn on his own Twitter page. An Andrew HK, for example, said:
“Why not just leave it at those mourning victims on 9/11 today? Awful political point scoring, you should be ashamed.”
Jonny Will Chambers also wrote:
“The real terror was unleashed on New York on that very day. Something you seem to have forgotten. Shameful.”
It's not in the least bit surprising that Corbyn said what he said. He's on the extreme edge of the socialist Left. Even many in his own party, the Labour Party, think this and that's precisely why they've tried so very hard to get rid of him.
Corbyn and the Stop the War Coalition (StWC)
His most recent role was as Chairman of the Stop the War Coalition.
Jeremy Corbyn MP was the Chairman of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) from 2011 until September 2015. A week after his election as leader of the UK Labour Party (in September 2015), he announced that he was stepping down from the role. Nonetheless, he also said that he'd continue to support Stop the War.
First things first.
The StWC is not against “war” - it's against “capitalist wars” fought by “Western imperialist powers”. Wars fought by Islamists, Muslims, communists, African states, etc. are never condemned unless – yes, you guessed it – they can be linked to Western dirty deeds.
Thus Jeremy Corbyn himself is not – repeat not – a pacifist! (It's a disgrace that certain tabloids and commentators have described him in that way.) Instead, he's a self-described "anti-imperialist campaigner" who's working within the system he ultimately wants to destroy.
The founders of Corbyn's StWC were all members (or former members) of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). (It was only the other day that I saw Corbyn share a platform with SWP and Unite Against Fascism leader Weyman Bennett, who was once charged with 'conspiracy to commit violent disorder’.)
Since we're on the subject of the StWC, it's also worth mentioning the strong connections between its leaders and activists and the Iranian theocratic state. Various StWC leaders have presented programmes for Iran's Press TV channel; along with other Islamist outlets. George Galloway, for example, is also an important leader of the Stop the War Coalition.
One other leader - and a founder - of the StWC (its 'national officer') is John Rees. (He's also a founder and leader of the very recent Trotskyist front-group – The People's Assembly.) Rees also effectively works for the Iranian state and does its propaganda business via Press TV and the Islam Channel. (Here's a linkon John Rees's work for the Islam Channel.) Indeed recently John Rees took part in the infamous press conference held by the Islamist group CAGE in which Britain's 'Jihadi John' was both defended and supported.
Stop the War and Jeremy Corbyn are against military intervention in Syria for two main reasons:
i) They are strong supporters of Iran. Iran is a strong supporter of Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. (Here is John Rees saying “Don't Attack Iran!''.)
ii) “Western capitalist states” would be carrying out the military intervention in Syria. Therefore that's automatically wrong because, according to Marxist logic, it will be exclusively driven by the “inevitable laws of capitalist accumulation and imperialism”.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Stop the War Coalition aren't against military intervention in Syria because they're against war or against violence. They're certainly not pacifists. Indeed they are Trotskyists and communists who have a strong commitment to what they themselves call “revolutionary violence”. What's worse, this also partly explains their tacit defence - and sometimes support - of Islamic terror.