Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Tariq Ali tells Porkies about the French Left (Parti de Gauche, Mélenchon) and the stand on Greece.

with 21 comments

Tariq Ali : Plenty of Books, Should Brush up his French.

The crisis faced by Greece is extremely serious.

The international left, and in particular the European Left, has expressed solidarity with the Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza-led government.

We expect that there will be criticism from the fringes against their strategy.

We support, absolutely,  the British Greece Solidarity Campaign.

But there is one person, the ageing sage of Highgate, and Norfolk Lord of the Manor, who cannot resist the opportunity to use the drama facing Greece to pursue his personal vendettas.

In this case against Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the French Parti de gauche and a staunch secularist (the latter playing a big part in Ali’s reaction).

Reading yesterday’s Le Monde in an Athens cafe I saw two long articles. Habermas denouncing Syriza for being nationalist and defending the EU and praising MarioDraghi, etc. A long interview with Melenchon arguing against Syriza defaulting because it would hurt FRENCH banks. I had heard that Melenchon was in a state of degeneration but hadn’t realised that the political cancer had affected his brain. The sooner this imbecile is replaced by his group, the better.

Greek Diaries. Counterpunch.

Now there are many reasons to be criticise Mélenchon (if Ali is going to pose as an expert in French politics the accent would seem obligatorily) .

This range from his personal behaviour which is not always very amiable, though personally I find his use of the word ‘connard’ often merited. to his vaunting as a model the alliance between his party, citizens’ groups  and the Greens (EELV) in Grenoble (which has just privatised the town’s street lighting). There is also his belief that the French left needs a form of populist left not dissimilar to Podemos. This, he indicates,  should be led by a bold-thinking leader, whose identity I am sure everyone can guess.

Recently another reason to be wary of the former French Presidential candidate (2012, 11.05%), a bit more than Ali’s  (0,9%) in Southall in 1979,  Mélenchon has been strongly criticised for his pamphlet, le Hareng de Bismark, which attacks the German “poison” (an oh-so-funny pun on “poisson”, fish) infecting European politics (see: Quand le pamphlet anti-allemand de Mélenchon agace.

But to our knowledge Mélenchon has always expressed absolute support for Syriza.

As indeed he did in the Le Monde article Ali half-read, where he laid the blame for the present Greek predicament on…….Germany.

La responsabilité intégrale du danger repose sur Merkel et Schäuble [la chancelière et le ministre des finances allemands], qui ont parié sur la tension et l’inertie de Hollande.

The complete responsibility for the danger (facing Greece TC) lies with Merkel and Schäuble (German Minister of Finaces), who have relied on the tensions facing Hollande (French President) and his inertia.

He indicated, simply,  that France would also suffer from the results of forcing Greece into a corner, and into destitution.

Al in other words, confused the observation that that this would have a bad effect on French banks, with an argument that this was the reason why Mélenchon was worried about a  Greek default.

Or maybe the French was simply too much for the Counterpunch puffer to grasp.

Yesterday Mélenchon issued an argument appeal for France to support the Greek government: Mélenchon à Hollande sur la Grèce: “Tu ne peux pas laisser faire ça.

So, if there is anybody who has “degenerated” it is “Tariq – “Charlie Hebdo had it coming to them” – Ali.

Though – to pursue our own long-standing feud  – his politics have been falling apart for some time now:  Punish the warmongers: vote Lib Dem Tariq Ali. (2007 Red Pepper).



21 Responses

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  1. Hard to see what your complaint is. After all Syriza also wants to repay the French banks.

    Nick Wright

    June 28, 2015 at 11:17 am

  2. You mean you can’t see what Ali’s complaint is.

    My complaint is that he is suggesting that Mélenchon is principally concerned with the interests of the French banks.

    Andrew Coates

    June 28, 2015 at 11:23 am

  3. In general, I’m inclined to just laugh at Ali these days, in the same way I now laugh at another preening buffoon, Galloway.

    But Ali’s treachery towards secularists in P:akistgan remains unforgivable. I commented at Shiraz in January 2011:

    According to the Independent’s obit, Taseer was a close associate of Tariq Ali’s in supporting progressive, secular causes in the 1960’s and 70’s:


    I’ve used Google, but cannot find any comments at all, anywhere, by Tariq Ali about the assassination of his old comrade by an Islamo-fascist.

    Jim Denham

    June 28, 2015 at 11:36 am

  4. Norfolk Lord of the Manor, what is that about Andrew?

    Mick Hall

    June 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  5. He has a second home in Norfolk – one of many we assume.

    As a gentleman, one of whose grandfathers was Sardar Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, KBE, it is natural that this is his sobriquet.

    Andrew Coates

    June 28, 2015 at 12:11 pm

  6. here i agree with you guys. Tariq ‘Oxbridge’ Ali. A very plummy accent for a proletarian. I’ve heard him speak many a time, and he sounds like he should be in the House of Lords.

    surely one reason the UK left is so crap is that its dominated by people such as Lord Ali.


    June 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm

  7. perhaps he likes being near betsy, no that is just me being facetious and we cannot have that 😉

    Mick Hall

    June 28, 2015 at 12:28 pm

  8. On a more serious not, I have just read Ali’s counter punch article, it is full of doom, gloom, and political demoralisation, bourgeois clap trap. He gives no credit to the Syriza negotiators for standing up to enormous pressure. Far from folding as Ali implies they have stood up to Capitals creatures in the EU. From the start they have been trying to ensure if the talks finally break down it will be the EU fault.

    Talk about a two card trick, when the leader of the Greek social democrats came home when they were in a coalition and called a referendum, the EU bullied them in much the same way as they are doing with Syriza now, but unlike them the Syriza government has not folded.

    As a statement from the CPI said today, denouncing of the the Greek government’s decision to hold a popular referendum by the European Union official spokespersons is further testimony as to how shallow the commitment of the ruling classes is to democracy. It is and always has been one of do as we say and do as you are told.

    Mick Hall

    June 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

  9. Mick, exactly: Ali has always been, as Régis Debray once said of Trotskyists generally, “an expert on everything under the sun, and a few more things besides.”

    He consistently claims to be some kind of ‘insider’ – no doubt having the “real dope” helps explain the mutual attraction with Counterpunch.

    But in this case the British left has strong connections with the Greek left, very direct ones, and many of us are very aware of the difficulties Syriza faces and the courage they have displayed in fighting their corner for their people.

    I add one detail: it is doubtful, naturally, if Ali can still be called a Trotskyist, but the description given by Debray continues to ring true.

    Andrew Coates

    June 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm

  10. I agree Jim.

    I was being factitious in my previous comment: he is a lot worse than a fool, he is a traitor.

    Andrew Coates

    June 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm

  11. In what can only be a sign of Erdogan’s backlash against the Turkish election results a pro-Caliphate march is allowed in Istanbul and the Pride parade is attacked by police with rubber bullets tear gas and water cannons.Pride in Istanbul has always been peaceful, until now.

    Paul Canning

    June 28, 2015 at 3:55 pm

  12. Paul Canning

    June 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm

  13. Paul Canning

    June 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm

  14. If Oxbridge Ali can’t be called a Trotskyist, or should that be Trotskyite, then what is his position? left social democrat it seems to me. i don’t know if he is a traitor, that is too strong. Trotskyism is itself such a confused tendency.


    June 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm

  15. Update on Istanbul Pride

    World media is reporting the attack on the march but it stopped and then the event continued on. From what I can tell this was due to the heroic efforts of opposition MPs, HDP and CHP, some of whom were beaten, as well as immediate international condemnation (the UK consul was on the march).

    The march organisers say it was banned just before it was to start, with the AKP governor citing Ramadan, despite an event the previous week and that Gay Pride happened in Ramadan last year. A Hitz butt Tarir march went ahead on Sunday unmolested, note. That the police assault was stopped and the march continued should be seen as a victory. It isn’t being reported that way but without the bodies of HDP and CHP MPs what would have happened?

    These people are heroic. Not just the LGBT but the straight allies. I am in awe of them. Here is a CHP MP, Mahmut Tanal, putting his body in the way of a Turkish water cannon >

    Some Turkish gay pride supporters

    Paul Canning

    June 28, 2015 at 11:06 pm

  16. Does the fascist idiot have a direct brain/computer interface? It appears to shit out out every inane half-formed thought which enters its tiny head.

    Trotskyism is not a tendency. Trotskyism is Bolshevism.

    ‘Stalinism’ is degenerate counter-revolutionary nationalist nonsense.

  17. Thanks comrades, I finally got it together to post http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/new-muslim-lgbt-heroes.html Someone needs to say this :]

    Paul Canning

    June 29, 2015 at 1:45 am

  18. “Trotskyism is not a tendency. Trotskyism is Bolshevism.”

    according to Trotskyists.

    Stalin recriminalised homosexuality, i believe?


    June 29, 2015 at 8:41 am

  19. Stalinism’ is degenerate counter-revolutionary nationalist nonsense.

  20. Excellent.

    Useful that you point out Paul that the march last year was also during Ramadan – the timing is one of the reasons apologists for the Turkish state violence use to try to explain it away.

    Andrew Coates

    June 29, 2015 at 5:21 pm

  21. Thanks Andy!

    Paul Canning

    June 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm

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