More catching up

This was meant to be in my last round-up: Don’t blame Bevan, a robust defence of Nye against the Kinnockite scum.

The author, Carl, also has a piece on Christopher Hitchens and prayer and Andrew Coates has a long and very good review of Christopher Hitchens’ Hitch 22. This provokes quite a long comment thread, involving our comrades Mick Hall and Mike Ezra, who recounts the debate in a post at Harry’s Place entitled A Debate with the Indecent Left. The Coatesy comment thread, unlike more or less any at Harry’s Place, is well worth reading.

Meanwhile, as Carl informs me, a furore has raged in the pokier corners of the leftiesphere about said Place, specifically the association with it of one Terry FitzPatrick, street-fighting man, veteran anti-racist and, erm, bon viveur, recently arrested for racism in relation to statements made to Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote and Lee Jasper, black liberation tsar. (When I lived in Brixton, Jasper’s names featured prominently in local graffiti, which described him as a police informer, on which I will not pass comment). Here‘s Andrew again, but more relevant are posts by Richard Seymour, Lee Jasper and especially this series at Socialist Unity: 1, 2, 3, 4. Here are the charges against Fitz, to which he is pleading not guilty. I won’t weigh in on this debate (although the links to HP posts in the following paragraphs will show that I am not chopping them out of my on-line life) except to note that Woolley and Jasper’s faith in bourgeois law as a tool to punish alleged racists is rather in contradiction to their disregard for due process in making a big deal of this before the court rules – in contrast, say, to Paul Stott, an anarchist who prefers not to upset the legal proceedings.

Some unrelated things: Lucha, lucha, lucha! (Mexican wrestling superhero activist comics). Diane Abbott is the real (Ralph) Miliband. The sins of the grandchildren (obliquely Milibandist and related to this). Ron Radosh on the hubris of Peter Beinart and the politics of Father Coughlin and on Howard Zinn’s FBI files. Alan Milburn’s Trotskyist past. The miracle of News Line.

Umissable: John Sweeney’s World Service documentary on Stalin’s “useful idiots“.

Jimmy Reid: Last of the great Clyde-built liners slips off; Jimmy Reid addresses supporters of the sit-in in 1971; YouTube Remembering a comrade: Jimmy Reid. A great round-up of obituaries at Socialist Unity (featuring Joan McAlpine, Paul Corby from Labour Uncut, Councillor Terry Kelly, Mick Hall and Johanna Baxter from Labour List), to which we can add Francis Sedgemore and John McTernan in the Daily Telegraph.

Marxist theory: AVPS on Gramsci, internal class divisions and the party; Alex Snowdon on the united front; Duncan Hallas on the united front; Tony McKenna on Lukacs and class consciousness; David Mitchell on autonomism versus democratic centralism; Permanent Revolution say it’s all Lenin’s fault.

History notes: Chris Nineham on Harold Isaac on the Chinese revolution; Summit Sarkar on a Marxian history of India; Poplar 1921; Peterloo 1819; Carry On Barcelona 1937; the British Library and the Czech Legion; Anarcho-philately;

From the archives: Socialist Standard 1924The Blackshirt 1935; International Socialism 1975 (Hallas on the Comintern and the united front); Workers Power 1980Socialist Worker Review 1990 (Callinicos reviews Tariq Ali).

To add to the blogroll if they’re not already there: Divergenta, Reifying the leftIn praise of small things, Enchanted Alphabet (via Airforce Amazons, in praise of the mantilla).

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Poumista,

    As always, thank you for all the references and links.

  2. Michael, your persistence on the tendancecoatesy thread has been admirable.

    Poumista, thank you very much for the generous linkage.

  3. Poumista,

    as ever, many thanks,


  4. Maybe mention to your readers that, with reference to the Socialist Standard article linked to, the comments in response to the post over at HP, are now hidden.

  5. poumista,

    Unlike the crawling wankers above, I hate your blog and couldn’t care less whether you give a link or a reference on this piece of shit.

    All the best,


  6. Thanks Lenny, was it something I said?

  7. Mikey, any reason comments don’t appear on the SPGB piece?

  8. well i certainly never imagined i’d see the mantilla mentioned on a website like this. very ecumenical! (certainly more than mantilla wearers)

  9. Yes,

    There is a reason why I stopped all comments after three or four days as opposed to after seven. As you know, new posts arrive Harry’s Post thick and fast. By the time I had stopped all comments, it was already on page 3 or 4 of the blog suggesting that there were 20 or so newer posts on the blog to comment upon. Normally, by this stage, a post stops receiving any comments. On occasion however, an interesting debate can continue. In this instance, there was someone continuing to contribute, a leading supporter of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, a contributor by the name of “spgb gray.” However, there was not really much else. I would not have minded had his posts been of interest, but they were not, they were just insults containing vulgar language and directed at myself. This hardly makes a good basis for debate and so I hid the comments from view. Mt decision was not unique. When thread occasionally degenerate so badly, it is not unusual for them to be hidden from view.

    Having said that, it does not really matter now as three days ago they would have been hidden as standard policy would have meant that to be the case.

  10. Funny that.

    Michael’s quick to hide/delete comments over at HP but takes six days to reply to a polite request from Poumista about said comments? A more cynical soul than me would suggest that he took his sweet time so he could tag onto the bottom of his comment:

    “Having said that, it does not really matter now as three days ago they would have been hidden as standard policy would have meant that to be the case.”

    With reference to that post over at HP and Michael’s claims about why he closed the comments early, cut and pasted below is a comment from an SPGBer who contributed to the HP post. Note his mention of Ezra baiting on the thread. Puts things in a different light:

    From Dave B:

    “Maybe I should have checked out the site and its reputation etc before I posted.

    But I don’t think I would have posted at all on a site if I thought they were
    going to knock it off 12 hours later.

    Moderating before things going up and freezing and ending thread lines etc
    because the moderators want to go holiday or whatever is also OK

    Deleting non `libellous’ comments which are counter arguments to the opening
    piece is another.

    I think the thing went up on the Sunday the 15th and we or `gray’ were being
    baited in the comments including by Ezra I seem to remember to respond. And
    there was some stuff about `waiting for the SPGB to turn up’ etc.

    In a rare visit to Spopen on Tues night I went in an posted two comments
    separated by about 45 minutes at around 10;30 pm.

    They went up and I think the whole thing was taken down by Wednesday.

    I am bit irritated because I feel as if I have been suckered into posting on the
    site that works like that even if it is popular and has a high profile.

    Its not sour grapes or anything and maybe they are going through a bad patch but
    I really think it is crap and not even good crap.”

  11. Darren’s theories about why I have taken so long to respond to this post is simply wrong. I simply did not take note of further comments until I read Bob from Brockley‘s post earlier today which linked to this thread.

    In relation to Dave B’s point that Darren has copied, Harry’s Place receive a lot of comments and the posters do not have the time, or the inclination, to pre-moderate. Pre-moderation also reduces the “flow” of a thread as when the moderator is away – even if just for lunch or dinner, no posts will go up.

    I am not the editor of Harry’s Place and I do not know exactly why the policy changed to hide all comments from public view after seven days of the post going up, but I suspect it has something to do with the problems of libel. Sadly, there do seem to be some people who are determined that Harry’s Place is taken down and possibly feel that the best way of doing so is by suing the site. Concern arises as to who is responsible for comments left on the blog, sometimes by anonymous posters, and it is possible that an anonymous poster who was determined to damage Harry’s Place could on purpose write libellous material in the hope that Harry’s Place was sued. It is possible that this could be done on an old post that was being regularly checked, is not spotted, and the libellous material could be there for some time. The hiding of all posts after seven days of the post originally going up would substantially reduce any damage caused by the libellous material.

    It is true that the thread had some spgbgray (the posters name) baiting by myself. One can still read the main post to see an example of this. But one thing I do not do is use vulgar language in posts or comments. I cannot abide such language for which there is no need.

    In so far as the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB), I am regularly informed that the party has a track record going back 106 years. They also have the resources for a monthly magazine. Harry’s Place is just a blog. If the SPGB leadership are so concerned about my blog post, they can publish something that will be permanent in their own magazine.

  12. And I thought you were an authority on the SPGB which clearly you’re not. It doesn’t have a leadership and neither does it have followers. Just for the impressive track record.

  13. This is my last comment to this thread as I have no desire to get involved in such a ridiculous debate. spgb’s claim is that Lenin was not a Communist.

    In my post on Harry’s Place that Poumista spoke to, I stated clearly:

    [spgb gray] gets very upset if anyone says that Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao or any other famous Communist leaders were Communist. Similarly, he gets upset if one would say that the British Communist Party was Communist. As far as his party is concerned, anyone who would make such a claim is a liar, and any leading academic who might refer to Lenin as a Communist would be inaccurate.

    I stand by this claim. The above comment from spgb gray is an example of him trying to restart an argument on this matter. It is pathetic.

  14. Michael

    whether Lenin was an uber-communist or not isn’t actually the issue. The issue is what happened in post-1917 Russia. You claim that the USSR was socialist/communist. That is – as I see it – factual incorrect. I have provided numerous quotes from Lenin (1917 until his death) revealing his policy of state capitalism for the USSR. Related, I have provided quotes from the writings of Mao – pre and post 1949 – on the state capitalist policy China should follow. The statements of Lenin and Mao, the historical record too, show you are wrong when you claim these countries were communist. If you cannot face facts, reasoned arguments and such, do not bother writing about history as though you were some sort of authority. It is clear that you are not.

  15. Michael’s explanation seems sort of fair enough to me, but I think the HP policy is a bad one. I think moderation, of whatever sort, including suspending or stopping new comments, is fine. But I think the libel justification is a poor one. All too rarely, alas, there are very interesting and thoughtful comment threads at HP, and it is a shame to lose these.

    On the “communism” issue, I have a certain sympathy with SPGB Gray. My definition of socialism excludes the state capitalist USSR; as does my definition of communism. (My definitions are probably more or less identical to those used by the SPGB.)

    However, it seems pointless to argue that the overwhelming majority of users of these words are misusing it, and we alone have the monopoly on the correct definition. To talk, then, about it being “factually” correct or not to describe this or that as socialism seems wrong to me.

    I have a policy regarding the c-word to always use a capital C when talking about the historic Communist Parties and the states they ruled over, and always using a small c to talk about communism as a stateless, classless, moneyless society of common ownership and free access.

  16. […] Denham and (showing I’m not one to bear a grudge) Richard Seymour. […]

  17. […] more on the complicated argument between Andrew Coates and Michael Ezra reported here: Triangulating Bobism 1: Harryism and indecency. Takes in Hitchens, the Slaughter faction of the […]

  18. […] More catching up […]

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