Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A fractious bunch

Just Left comments on the post 9/11 disagreements within the Left in the context of a recent Nick Cohen article.

I tend to agree. Personally I think a large part of the Left had a view of US foreign policy that had fossilised sometime back around the time of the Sandinistas. There has been an inflexibility that has resulted in a bit of confusion especially when a conservative US President steals the Left's rhetoric of freedom, democracy and solidarity.

Marc Cooper broaches this issue in his discussion of Hari's interview with Hitchens. Both Cooper and Hari disagree with Hitchen's over Bush but Cooper has this to say:
Just who on the left refuses to work with International A.N.S.W.E.R. whose propaganda denounces Bush but praises Kim il Sung? Did anyone care that the Not In Our Name campaign, that got squishy anti-war liberals to line up behind it, was organized by the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party, by folks who have defended, I might point out, the public execution of drug users?

Oh perish the very thought! Dare to criticize any of those folks from within the left and it's tantamount to McCarthyism. But trashing a great mind like Hitchens, publicly condemning him as a traitor, a delusional alcoholic or as a queer, as Alexander Cockburn did?
Here in New Zealand Cockburn's role was energetically taken up by ex-Listener editor Findlay McDonald. And there are very few on the Left in New Zealand who are interested in criticising the scary fringe-Left stuff in Scoop.

6 Comments:

Blogger Jordan said...

Speaking personally, I've always found it easiest to focus my fire on the real enemy: the right. I just think the further left are nuts and that nobody takes them seriously, so why should I?

28 September 2004 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Sock Thief said...

That's fair enough. Things have probably moved on in the past year with people like Cohen being read more widely here in NZ. But for a while we had Campbell on National Radio quoting Chomsky and McDonald in the Listener quoting Tariq Ali. The voice of the moderate Left was not being heard.

Matt Yglesias has mentioned how he was more hawkish than he otherwise would be for 2 reasons. 1 - the previous ten years of US inaction in places such as Rwanda and 2 - the complete absurdity of much of the antiwar argument. So it’s possible that a bit of house keeping amongst the Left might have beneficial consequences.

But I don't want to just concentrate on our differences since we probably share more politically in most areas.

28 September 2004 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Idiot/Savant said...

So advocate, don't expect anybody else to do it for you.

As for Scoop, they publish more or less anything that gets sent to them. They even publish me :-) Which suggests a solution to your complaint: work up some longer pieces advocating your moderate-left, pro intervention position, and submit them.

28 September 2004 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Sock Thief said...

Get off, I'm not expecting anyone else to advocate my behalf. That's why I got involved in the blog thing. Possibly consider something for Scoop.

You're piece on the nature of fascism was good. Its certianly true that some on the Right are arguing that it was really a form of socialism and therefore all the fault of the Left. One aspect of fascism you've overlooked is that it was based on race, nationalism being an extention of that.

28 September 2004 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Idiot/Savant said...

One aspect of fascism you've overlooked is that it was based on race, nationalism being an extention of that.Well, I did mention the nation usually being defined on exclusivist or racial terms, and it's generally implicit in the idea of a "nation" as a people of common origin anyway, but it is something I should probably have made more of.

28 September 2004 at 12:31 PM  
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