Misk

[Some links via my usual source]

Against Martovism! Some fantastically po-faced Stalinism spotted in the Morning Star letters page.

When tweeting can get you hard labour: Against Socialist Unity’s support for the Chinese regime.

Obituary for an anarchist: John Brailey 1934-2012.

Edd Mustill: The Daily Herald is one hundred years old

Our operaismo: Extract from Mario Tronti’s memoirs. Not read it yet, but I like this from the NLR intro: it offers an illuminating contrast of the springtime of 56 and hot autumnn of 69, and draws a sharp distinction between classical operaismo and its distant echo, autonomism, which persisted on the counter-cultural margins of Europe’s cities from the late 70s, to emerge in more hygenic form in Hardt and Negri’s Empire at the turn of the century.

From the archive of struggle no.74

This material mostly comes from a bumper edition at Entdinglichung. This leads off with MIA’s pdfs of The Workers’ council. An organ for the Third International. For info on this, see here or here. This was from an overwhelmingly Jewish and New York based left faction in the Socialist Party, that merged in 1921 with the WPA, i.e. what became the CPUSA. (more…)

A few pints

Drinking: The perfect pubA tax on the drinking classes. Absent friend. Double Johnny Walker Blacks.

Arguing: Morning Star’s “fellow feeling” with Cameron on EURichard Gott on the Falklands. Socialism and democracy. Michael Foot the extremist. Anarchism and syndicalism.

Less than usual

Stefan Collini on Adam Kirsch on Lionel Trilling. HarpyMarx on Mandy Mudd. Dave Osler on Ian Birchall on Tony CliffChris Strafford on “21st century Marxism” the Morning Star-sponsored meeting of nationalists, anti-Semites, and homophobes. Ben Lewis on historical materialism. German material on Rudolf Rocker here and here.

The Arab spring/Spanish echoes

703577_photo_1.jpgDave Osler writes:

True, Gaddafi has not won yet. But it is starting to look as if superior military hardware is a telling that advantage that will deliver victory to the Libyan strongman sooner or later.

Analogies have already been drawn with the Spanish civil war [here and here, for instance], which seems to me to stretch the historical parallels somewhat.

Although I haven’t had a chance to think the question through yet, my gut instinct would be to support calls for western governments to arm the rebels. But as far as I am aware, no prominent political figure in the US or Europe has publicly backed such a plan.

Jim Denham has some more compelling analogies: The Morning Star: those wonderful folks who brought you the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact / From Jack London to the scabs of the Morning Star, Socialist Worker and Counterfire. Dale Street also notes George Galloway’s Stalinism:

In his semi-autobiographical work “I’m Not the Only One”, Galloway wrote: “”Just as Stalin industrialized the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraq’s own Great Leap Forward. … He is likely to have been the leader in history who came closest to creating a truly Iraqi national identity, and he developed Iraq and the living, health, social and education standards of his own people.”

And in the comments thread at BobFromBrockley:

Clearly, the SWP are taking a much better line than the reactionary hardcore anti-imp position (the scab position, as Jim Denham rightly puts it) taken by Noah and Calvin Tucker, Andy Newman and John Wight. It would be good to see the SWP revert to Third Camp form, having swayed so long to a Second Camp position. (Interesting that John Wight attributes the SWP’s wrongness to their state capitalist analysis: Tucker, Wight, Newman and co are essentially Stalinists, whose very un-21st century idea of “socialism” always involves a strong state and a strongman at the helm.)

Poumicity

Left sectariana: Phoenix Class War post their “joke of the day”, on the Maoist wingnuts of the American RCP at Burning Man festival (note: not to be confused with the British ex-Trotskiyist party of the same name).

Memoires of a democratic socialist: on Michael Foot, Tony Benn and Roy Hattersley.

Tory Francophones: Tawfiq Chahboune posts a quotation from George Orwell on Tory MPs cheering as British ships taking aid to Republican Spain were sunk by the fascist Italian navy – Tawfiq asks if anyone can corroborate this. The resulting comment thread is of an exceptionally high standard, in particular the contributions of Michael Rosen.

Death of an anti-fascist: In this comment thread, Nick Wright also posts the Morning Star obit for its former correspondent Sam Lesser. It’s an odd piece of prose, which manages to smuggle in a good deal of petty and vulgar sectarianism for an obituary. It is also (in typical Morning Star fashion), oddly reticent about Stalinism. It notes that Lesser “was sent by the Daily Worker to cover the 1952 show-trial of Czechoslovakian Communist Party general secretary Rudolf Slansky and 13 other party leaders – an experience which left a deep scar”, but does not explain how he lived with this pain during the subsequent three decades he continued with the Morning Star, including coverage of Budapest in 1956 (where he replaced the great Peter Fryer) and Prague in 1968.

The Spanish cockpit: Darren points me in the direction of a long text I’m not sure if I’ve linked to before: “Spain Turns’ by Roberto, from the International Review, Vol.2 No.3, New York, April 1937. It’s long, and most certainly worth reading. The Socialist Standard adds these further reading recommendations: From the September 1936 issue of the Socialist Standard: The Civil War in Spain; From the May 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard: The SPGB and Spain; From Issue 18 of the journal Subversion (published 1996): Spain 1936, The End of Anarchist Syndicalism?; From the August 2006 issue of the Socialist Standard: For Whom The Bell Tolled.

Petain and the Jews: Modernity points us towards recent research on Vichy France and its shameful record.

This week’s dose of anti-communism: Roger Scruton from 1991.

Also from the archive: The Western Socialist on the Yom Kippur War (1973).

Finally, wearing badges is not enough.

The Stalin school of falsification continued

Two posts by Shiraz Socialist on Stalinist lies:

On the Morning Star’s smear of trade unionist Eric Lee. (Previously on Lee here.)

On Seamus Milne and the Chinese working class.

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Morning Star/Daily Worker: 80 years of lies

Here.

Drawing clear lines

Today’s battles

1. The Popular Front has been one of the great dead ends of the socialist movement. Today, a terrible version of it has emerged in the NO2EU electoral front in the UK, an alliance of Stalinists and Stalinoid trade union hacks with the most reactionary Little Englanders, with a smattering of anorak left groupuscules to give it some hard left legitimacy. Reminiscent of some of the dangerous alliances created by the Communist Party of Great Britain in the 1930s, when they allied with reactionary war-mongerers simply because they were anti-Nazi.  Yourfriendinthenorth neatly analyzes No2Eu here.

2. Historically, the flipside to the “anti-Nazi” Popular Front was (objectively pro-Nazi) pacifism. The argument for pacifism has recently been made by Nicholson Baker in Human Smoke. As mentioned already, Max Dunbar has been taking up the metaphorical cudgels against Baker (here, then here and then here). Terry Glavin has taken note:

I’m happy to see that Max Dunbar has now joined Anne Applebaum, William Grimes, Adam Kirsch and others in helpfully rubbishing Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke for being an ahistorical apologia for pacifism. Baker’s efforts at redeeming pacifism’s ill-deserved reputation in the context of the Second World War appear to follow exactly the same lines as Mark Kurlansky’s Nonviolence: Twenty-Five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea, which I was happy to rubbish a while back.

George Orwell was there, of course, long before us, when he noticed that pacifism is “a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.” Will I still be able to refer approvingly to Orwell’s many expressions of contempt for the bourgeoisie if the Liberal Party proceeds with granting the CHRC its greater powers?

You have to read the whole post for that last sentence to make sense, so please do.

3. The pacifist tradition that Baker and Kurlansky inherit is not an ignoble tradition. In the UK, its home was, for many decades, the Independent Labour Party. I have a lot of respect for the ILP and its heritage. Ken Coates is the contemporary figure who probably most represents the political tradition of the ILP. Over the years I’ve been influenced considerably by Ken Coates, his humanist socialism, his advocacy for workers’ control, his sense of industrial democracy as an extension of the republican liberties fought for by the likes of Tom Paine. However, in his little magazine, The Spokesman, I have long noted an unpleasant drift towards sloppy conspirationist thought, anti-American hysteria, a “New World Order” mentality. Habibi at Harry’s Place nails this trend, and shows how it spills over into very unpleasant antisemitic territory.

After the fold: Historical Notes, From the Archive of Struggle, Book notes, Blog notes. (more…)