Monday, August 16, 2004

What price opposing Bush and Blair?

In The New Statesman Nick Cohen wonders Where have all the children of the left gone?:
Ask an Iraqi communist or Kurdish socialist today what support they have had from the liberal left and they won't detain you for long. Apart from the odd call from the Socialist International, there has been none worthy of the name. One expects the totalitarian left to be stuffed with creeps, but the collapse of the democratic left strikes me as catastrophic. Why couldn't it oppose the second Gulf war while promising to do everything possible to advance the cause of Iraqi democrats and socialists once the war was over? Why the sneering, almost racist pretence that Saddam had no honourable opponents?

The ineluctable answer is, I'm afraid, that there no longer is a left with a coherent message of hope for the human race. The audiences at Michael Moore films don't look at his propaganda images of kite-flying kiddies and pull themselves up short by thinking of what happened to their comrades in Iraq. They have no comrades. They don't support Saddam. They don't support his foes. They have no policy to offer. The noise of their self-righteous anger is merely a cover for an indifference bred by failure.

With plenty of comment from the British democratic Left:

Harry's Place
Norman Geras

Cohen concludes with:
Unless you believe that the failure of the world's peoples to look leftwards is all the result of brainwashing by the corporate media, you have to conclude that the left is dead. The anger that propelled it is still there, and although it won many battles, some of the oppressions it fought against remain as grievous as ever.

The pity of the aftermath is that while the honourable traditions of the left are forgotten, the worst flourish and mutate into aberrations that would have made our predecessors choke.

Sadly, many Lefties do believe that corporate media brainwashing is the reason their views are not held by others.


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