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The demonization of the most popular Russian leader (Vladimir Putin) of all time: More Confusionisme. John Wight, Socialist Unity.

with 39 comments

Most Popular Russian Leader of All Time……..

This Blog commented recently that “Political Confusionism” – (from our French comrades’ “Confusionnisme”) is a growing, if marginal, phenomenon on the left.

Larousse defines Confusionnisme as “Fait d’entretenir la confusion dans les esprits et d’empêcher l’analyse objective des faits.”,  That is, “To bring (and keep)  confusion in people’s minds and to prevent an objective analysis of facts.”

From the anti-imperialism of fools to the defence by the co-Chair of the British Young Greens of the reactionary  full-face veil on the spurious grounds that it is being attacked as part of the government’s Prevent strategy we can see how this works.

Emotions, hostility to the ‘West’ and “Empire”, “Islamophobia”  and “racism” are used to confuse people and prevent solidarity with our sisters and brothers fighting nationalist strongmen,  communalist bullies and Islamism.

It is an entirely appropriate extension of the word in English to call “confusionism”  the much more deliberate ideological strategy taken up by those promoting the defenders of Vladimir Putin.

In the comments on an excellent article on Shiraz Socialist about just how reactionary Putin is, and how he has garnered supporters ranging from the European far-right ( Front National, the Hungarian Jobbik, the Bulgarian Attack, the Slovak People’s Party, and various far-right parties in German) to some people on the ‘left’.

Whether they do so for venal reasons (the Front National has benefited from generous Russian loans) or out of conviction, that the Kremlin leader is a bulwark against decadence, or a much needed-counterweight to Western power, is irrelevant.

The facts – that is the record of Putin’s rule – are obscured and confused.

Prominent amongst British confusionists is a certain John Wight, contributor to the Socialist Unity site, run by Andy Newman, unsuccessful Labour candidate (2015) for Chippenham.

Wight, not surprisingly, pops up on Russia Today (RT).

On the 25th of January Wight wrote on RT’s site.

Alexander Litvinenko: Just another pawn in their game

The sight of retired British judge, Sir Robert Owen, shuffling from a dark ante room into an international press conference in London to pronounce that Vladimir Putin ‘probably approved’ the murder of Alexander Litvinenko was pure comedy gold.

It was also a travesty of justice, given the seriousness of the crime and the implications of yet another barrage of anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda it has unleashed across the Western media. Yet further proof that for Western ideologues Russia under Putin’s leadership can never be forgiven for refusing to stay on its knees after the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

But as comrade Dagmar  has pointed out (comments), Wight really excelled himself a couple of days later,

The demonization of the most popular Russian leader of all time.

Vladimir Putin is probably the most popular Russian leader there has ever been, polling up around a phenomenal 80% as recently as November 2015 in a study carried out by a team of American researchers. This makes him inarguably the most popular world leader today, though you would think the opposite given the way he’s routinely depicted and demonized in the West.

Paradoxically, the main reason for Putin’s popularity in Russia is the same reason he’s so reviled in the US and Western Europe. It comes down to the simple but salient fact that when it comes to leadership and political nous Vladimir Putin is playing chess while his counterparts in London, Washington, and Paris are playing chequers.


The most populous country in Europe is not and never will be a Western colony or semi colony. For people who currently cannot conceive of any relationship with Russia other than as a deadly or defeated foe, the sooner they accept this reality the sooner will stability be restored in places like Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

While Vladimir Putin and his government are not beyond criticism – in fact, far from it – their misdeeds pale in comparison to the record of Western governments in destroying one country after the other in the Middle East, presiding over a global economy that has sown nothing but misery and despair for millions, at home and abroad, leading in the process to the normalization of crisis and chaos.

Their deeds, as the man said, would shame all the devils in hell.

American Herald Tribune.

This on-line journal (not to be confused with the greatly respected International Herald Tribune) publishes plenty of other articles of a confusioniste tendency:

The Zionisation of Kurdistan: An inconvenient truth (Ahmad Moussa. Janaury 22nd). And by the same author(14th of December 2015) The self-proclaimed ‘Islamic’ State’ and the ‘Jewish’ State: What’s the difference for the Palestinians? Both entities demonstrate similarities between them particularly in relation to Palestine; the only difference is the international community’s double standards when it comes to intervention.

A taste for US far-right militia-men is in evidence:The political assassination of LaVoy Finicum? January 28th.

But pride of (recent) place must go to this article:

LGBT Organization endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Becky Akers  22nd January.

Men pretending to be women support a Gorgon pretending to be human for president. Nor does the syzygy end there: group and Gorgon also share a set of initials.

“The nation’s largest LGBT rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign”—or HRC—“announced that it has endorsed Hillary [Rodham] Clinton”—another HRC—“for president,” the Washington Post trilled. For anyone blissfully ignorant of PC acronyms, “LGBT” translates as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender.” What, no pedophiles or enthusiasts of bestiality? Seems a tad hypocritical that perverts who sue us for “discriminating” when we exclude them nonetheless exclude their fellow pervs.

At any rate, “HRC President Chad Griffin” felt he (yeah, I’m guessing here at Chad’s gender du jour) had to explain HRC’s choice of HRC: after all, the latter has wavered in her advocacy of debauchery as much as she has on everything else. Her vacillation is especially egregious when compared with Bernie “Socialist” Sanders’ devotion to deviants—but of course, Bernie can’t win, or so his unprincipled constituency at the HRC assumes.

Wight is no doubt at home amongst his confusioniste confrères


Written by Andrew Coates

January 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

39 Responses

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  1. I would add that “confusionism” is also the practice of the Kremlin, a practice which is inherited from KGB Cold War ‘active measures’. Just have a look at the UK Russian Embassy’s Twitter feed for a good example. Just today they tweeted, in a frankly racist way, that refugees in Germany = increased sex assaults.

    This should also be kept in mind >

    Russians Keep Lips Locked in Opinion Polls, Fearing Backlash

    The Moscow Times
    Jan. 22 2016 14:42
    Last edited 14:42

    Denis Abramov / Vedomosti

    A new survey by the independent Levada Center pollster has found that their work might be of limited use — more than a quarter of the Russians questioned said they were reluctant to express their views in opinion polls.

  2. A reminder of another unsavoury aspect of Mr Wight’s political record: https://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/racist-thug-john-wight-attacks-blog/

    Jim Denham

    January 30, 2016 at 12:02 am

  3. That LGBT piece is a shocker – if anyone reading is on more civil terms with John W than I am, maybe they should alert him.


    January 30, 2016 at 3:00 pm

  4. It is quite unbelievable stuff isn’t it Sarah?

    People are interested in finding out more about the background of this “American Herald Tribune”.

    This may indicate some directions to explore,

    “War crimes perpetrated by the West are always dressed in mantles of respectability. MSM spokespeople, all of whom have conflicts of interest, paint civilian murders as “collateral damage”. Some commentators use the phrase “collateral murder”, but more accurately the military doctrine of slaughtering civilians is mass murder. The 9/11 wars are all pre-meditated, the false pretexts are carefully manufactured by State Departments, Public Relations agencies (link), and intelligence agencies, and the mass murder is intentional. The 9/11 wars generate unforeseen developments, but the invasions and occupations were not and are not “mistakes”, as some commentators would have us believe.

    Much of this evil aligns itself with Levy Strauss’ “Chaos Theory”. NATO destroys, loots, and creates chaos so that it can impose its hegemony. Again, it’s an inversion of the ridiculous lie of “spreading democracy”. The destruction also serves to create waves of refugees that serve to destabilize other countries — Europe is arguably being destabilized with a view to keeping the EU subservient to the U.S oligarch interests. Interestingly, countries not being “sacrificed” include Israel and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia – and neither country is accepting refugees/imperial crime victims either.

    All of these pre-meditated invasions point to a larger picture. Humanity is being sacrificed for the illusory benefit of the criminal 1% transnational oligarch class. If Western populations were to awaken to the barbaric crimes being perpetrated in their names, they would rightly bow their heads in shame.

    American Herald Tribune. January the 19th 2016.


    Andrew Coates

    January 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm

  5. Becky Akers (who wrote the LGBT piece for AHT) is also a prolific writer at “LibertyRoundTable” which I hadn’t heard of before.


    Here’s something to give a flavour of the LRT –

    “Famous “Rabbi Finkelstein” Interview is a Jewish Psy Op” (by Henry Markow)

    “It is a hoax, but not one by Patriots as you might imagine. It’s a Jewish hoax to discredit genuine revelations like The Protocols of Zion and The Hidden Tyranny.”


    John R

    January 30, 2016 at 6:36 pm

  6. Jesus! I’ve just had a brief look at the AHT site and it’s very nasty red-brown stuff. Absolute anti-Zionism (ie anti-Semitism, to all intents and purposes) abounds. I notice the pro-Hamas writer Ramzy Baroud, whose stuff is regularly carried by the Morning Star, also writes for AHT: http://ahtribune.com/author.html?id=880

    Jim Denham

    January 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm

  7. It’s a poor political practice to condemn people for what others happen to write on the same site as them or the owners of such sites.

    I comment here (because there are no Trotblogs at all, at least with any prominence, that I know about) but I have no links whatsoever with the several ‘Left’ Islamophobes who both comment and also write stuff here. I am also posting this comment under that of a someone who is often seen on the notorious right-wing site, Harry’s Place.

    Just condemn Wright for what he writes – there’s plenty of that material to bury him deep.

  8. Just looked up AhTribune.com. It’s a Paul Craig Roberts site. He’s a right-wing libertarian, more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Craig_Roberts

    This is not just ‘being published on a website’, Southpawpunch. This is political alignment, as in those who choose to go on Countepunch.

  9. Wright is many unpleasant things but hardly a ‘right-wing libertarian’. Trotsky wrote for the Daily Express. I’d love to have had stuff published by the EDL or Britain First – as long as you don’t change your politics (which is why they won’t publish you), you seek to reach a wide an audience of workers (or students, intellectuals, etc.) as you can – there’s no ‘political alignment’ unless you do actually agree with the politics of the site.

  10. I see that Wight is concerned that Coatsey is concerned >

    That he cites Putin’s popularity as his defence shows he knows sweet FA, He should ask some Russian lorry drivers their opinion on Vladimir Vladimirovich.

  11. Southpawpunch – It is one thing to be reblogged by the ED effin L. It is another to submit a contribution. Counterpunch etal represent a deliberate libertarian project which Wight, and others, have fallen for.

  12. Almost everything to do with the politics of the former Soviet Union is a potential cause of confusionism, both inside and outside the FSU, and not only on the left. Garri Kasparov can march with the ‘National Bolshevik’ Eduard Limonov, liberals can imagine that the enthusiast for the “Russian March” Aleksey Navalny is one of them because he denounces Putin, or a character like Khodorkovsky can be painted as a human rights martyr. Similarly, a victory for ethnonationalists and Stepan Bandera enthusiasts in Kiev, followed by bans on parties formerly popular in the east of Ukraine, and on saying anything positive about any part of the Soviet period, is presented as a triumph for democracy and European values.

    The problem seems to stem from the desire to divide political actors into goodies and baddies, and the belief that my enemy’s enemy is my friend. It is quite possible to dislike Putin while seeing most of the opposition leaders as a bunch of crooks and chancers. It is quite possible to see Western policy towards Russia as stupid and likely to be counterproductive without prettifying the regime there. And it’s quite possible to regard all parties to the Ukraine conflict as more part of the problem than part of the solution.


    January 31, 2016 at 12:53 am

  13. Francis mischaracterises the ‘revolution of dignity’ in Ukraine through use of ‘ethnonationalists’. It has never been the case that ethnicity played a role. This is a myth, fostered by some on the left but also, unfortunately, in the media. I assume what he refers to as ‘Stephan Bandera enthusiasts’ means the forces of the far right, who are indeed present but play a smaller role than the far right elsewhere and a large one principally just in Kremlin propaganda. As I and others have documented, fascists are far more prevalent and in power in the so-called ‘Peoples Republics’.

    ‘Bans on parties formerly popular in the east of Ukraine’ – only one party has been banned and that’s the Communist Party, and that just happened, near two years after the Maidan. The former popular party in the East was the Party of Regions and that has disappeared of its own accord. The CP ban was wrong but you can read here why Ukrainian lefties aren’t terribly upset http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/on-ukraines-ukip-like-communist-party.html Similarly the ban on Soviet symbols is wrong but the context is the current attitude of Russia and the historic repression of Ukraine within the USSR – most notably the Holomodor.

    For background on who is currently most at fault in the conflict I suggest Paul Niland’s piece on the Minsk Agreements. http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/paul-niland-minsk-for-dummies-400227.html

  14. Southpaw makes a reasonable point about Trotsky writing for the Daily Express (Michael Foot too). As for him wishing to have his points published the Britain First etc, well good luck with that.

    The difference between writing for the Express, or even Britain First, and the AHT is at least you know where the first two are coming from and they are upfront about it.

    The AHT seems to be a much stranger beast and it’s not immediately obvious who or what is behind it. What agenda is it pushing? Who are they against? The main impression is the promotion of an “alternative narrative” against “decadent” Western liberalism with a mixture of bigotry, half truths, conspiracies and lies.

    A bit bonkers, in other words and one to stay away from.

    John R

    January 31, 2016 at 12:54 pm

  15. Call it what you like, Paul, although I can’t see any way in which Ukraine is any more “dignified” than it was in 2013. No, as I am sure you realise, official Bandera enthusiasm goes way beyond the organised far right in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, a state institution now headed by the nationalist historian Volodymyr V’iatrovych, is busily rewriting the official version of the twentieth-century history of Ukraine in order to present the OUN(b) as first and foremost freedom fighters. The decommunisation laws which ban postive depictions of the Soviet era also ban negative depictions of the “national liberation” movement in WW2. It always amuses me how people who in other contexts are so sensitive to the slightest whiff of anti-Semitism can find excuses for the rehabilitation of one of the more murderous participants in the Holocaust, simply because the people doing it are in the forefront of the anti-Putin struggle. Confusionism – it affects anti-imperialist lefties, it affects anti-Putin liberals, it gets everywhere…


    January 31, 2016 at 1:11 pm

  16. This is a really good response to the sort of arguments advanced by Wight, Simon Jenkins, Oborne and a fleet of others > The Putinverstehers’ Misconceived Charge of Russophobia: How Western Apology for the Kremlin’s Current Behavior Contradicts Russian National Interests
    Andreas Umland http://hir.harvard.edu/the-putinverstehers-misconceived-charge-of-russophobia/

  17. Francis – I said that both laws were a bad thing. You really should go and read why the left in Ukraine aren’t that bothered with the Communist Party ban. Yes, the growth of nationalism in Ukraine is not healthy but it is hardly surprising when they’re at (undeclared) war. And it is not the same as growth in far right politics, if anything those forces are going backwards.

    NB: ‘Revolution of Dignity’ is how Ukrainians now refer to the events at the Maidan. I didn’t just invent it.

  18. How *some* Ukrainians refer to it, Paul. Not all of them. And that is the problem. The country is divided internally. Some see Ukrainianness as something entirely distinct from, and to be defined against, Russianness. Others see themselves, and Ukraine, as part of a pan-Russian cultural space. In such circumstances, the currently ascendant Ukrainian nationalism cannot be a force for unity. And the more it tries to create a national mythology with heroes such as Bandera, the more it contributes to the fragmenting of the (real) nation.


    January 31, 2016 at 2:09 pm

  19. It is possible, self evidently, to feel part of a ‘pan Russian cultural space’ and be nationalistic about Ukraine as a state independent from Russia. There’s nothing special about a country being ‘divided internally’ either. No one is defending the Bandera stuff but it is marginal.

  20. I tend to agree with Francis about the infinite possibilities for confusionism in all the former states of the USSR.

    The evidence about Bandera enthusiasm is there Paul.

    Andrew Coates

    January 31, 2016 at 3:11 pm

  21. No one is denying it exists Andrew, the point is it is shrinking, as is the far right in general in Ukraine. The annual torchlight Bandera march only a few weeks ago was the smallest it has ever been. The Svoboda leaders didn’t even show up. http://vvc.kiev.ua/news/6798

    What Francis and others don’t seem to understand is that Bandera is a symbol of Ukrainian independence and that does not mean that all those using that symbol endorse – or are even aware of – his actions in WW2. That’s why the history law is so bad for Ukraine.

  22. See the article has gone up on SU (where I’m barred from commenting). There is a giveaway comment about Putin defending Russian speakers in Georgia??? The largest National Minorities in Georgia are Ossetilan (who speak a language closely related to Persian) and Armenian (who speak Armenian, again not a Slavic language).

    Georgians may speak Russian as a result of the Soviet occupation/geographical proximity…but as a secondary language…just like people in the UK speak French/Spanish etc.

    Get the distinct idea that JW doesn’t do much research??

    alex ross

    January 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm

  23. There are also the Abkhazians in the north-west of Georgia, who are largely Russian-speakers. Mind you, they mostly don’t consider their patch to be a part of Georgia. Tbilisi, however, does.

    As a general rule though, “expertise” in geopolitics goes hand in hand with a lack of expertise in the societies and states under discussion. I distrust geopolitics.


    January 31, 2016 at 6:29 pm

  24. Whilst I don’t think it’s as straightforward as “ethnonationalists and Bandera enthusiasts” taking over in Kiev, I do think that the position of those on the left should not be to support the government in Kiev which, although potentially not quite as bad as what came before, is still a centre-right neo-liberal government made up in large part of oligarchs and their supporters.

    The important thing for those of us on the left should be to support the Ukrainian left, workers and Trade Union movement, whilst opposing both the neo-liberal and retrograde nationalist policies of those in power and Russian aggression and their far-right proxies in the South East of the country.

    The latter is particularly pertinent due to the fact that, as Paul noted earlier, the far right is curently far more instrumental in the support for the “People’s Republics” and Putin than it is in support of Kiev. This can be seen not only in support for Russia and its proxies at home (the aforementioned Limonov is now a major Putin booster on the subject of Kiev) and abroad (all major far right parties in Europe are firmly behind Putin), but also in the “anti-fascist” resistance that STWC and its SARU affiliates bang on about, made up as it is of an admixture of White Russian imperialists, Eurasianists and straightforward neo-nazis.

    As for the “rehabilitation”of Bandera, which is completely idiotic and self-defeating, the “People’s Republics” have been more than happy to rehabilitate The Black Hundreds, the White Russian army, the Romanovs and (to add a dash of syncretic querfrontist spice) Stalin. What is also rarely mentioned is that the Communist party was banned from participating in the “elections” in the Donbass, but the like of SARU tend to ignore such things.

    But all this, in the end, would be whataboutery. That is if all of the above (on both sides) hadn’t come about as a direct result of Russia’s aggressive and illegal invasion of Crimea and SE Ukraine.


    January 31, 2016 at 6:36 pm

  25. What Paul and others don’t seem to understand is that Bandera is also a symbol – not least in Ukraine itself – of collaborationism, pogroms and internecine war between Ukrainians. The very fact that such a person is officially promoted as a symbol of Ukrainian independence does not bode well for the future of that state. The real Ukraine – with all its political, cultural, ethnic etc. diversity – has never corresponded with the ideal Ukraine of the Ukrainian nationalists. Bandera’s forces had their own way of trying to deal with that diversity. The history law is quite benign in comparison.


    January 31, 2016 at 6:42 pm

  26. They do have their own native language (Abkhaz – a distinctly NW Caucasian language) but, yes, many very Russified. Many former (cleansed) ethnic Georgian residents of the province see Abkhazia as part of the Georgian homeland (and it is still internationally recognised as such)…but they are not particularly well looked after by Tbilisi either- many staying in squalid former hotels in utterly dismal conditions….

    alex ross

    January 31, 2016 at 6:49 pm

  27. I agree with Makhno.

  28. Francis – I don’t disagree that Bandera is entirely the wrong figure for the country to rally around. I would much prefer it if he was rightly considered the quisling and murderous bigot that he actually was. This is why I do not support the government in Kiev, whilst believing strongly that Ukraine deserves to exist within its existing borders.

    The fact remains, however, that the “People’s Republics” rally around equally foul historical, and current, figures and owe their material existence to Russian aggression and military and financial support.

    If they really need a historical figure to hang all their neuroses off, it would be nice if they could all rally around a figure that fought for liberation of people in Ukraine against both Russian imperialism, proto-fascism and Soviet Communism, without any actual “nationalist” baggage. I’ve got a name on the tip of my tongue…


    January 31, 2016 at 7:34 pm

  29. Nice idea. There’s a figure who would upset almost everybody who deserves to be upset in every part of Ukraine – if they took his ideas seriously. Alas, towards the end of 2013 even he received official recognition and was thereby rendered harmless: http://www.bank.gov.ua/control/en/currentmoney/cmcoin/details?coin_id=595


    January 31, 2016 at 8:30 pm

  30. I think the main things that these discussions show is that few Lefts are capable of looking at the world, except through the prism of their own country or culture.

    British categorisations often don’t apply, even in countries that are similar in some ways e.g. you don’t get populist (or nativist) parties in Britain, like you do in the US. Even in Australia, without a powerful individual president, you can get parties named after people like the (Clive) Palmer United Party (and which enjoyed success); the only ‘personality’ political movement that I can think of in the UK that enjoyed success was Livingstone’s independent campaign that won the London mayoralty.

    So it doesn’t matter how many PhDs you have, it is near impossible to interpret all the various factions in Syria, Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan, etc. We should stick with basic principles – yes to socialists and, sometimes, ‘democratic’ types fighting against those who would stifle such (i.e. against Islamists but also against Putin, etc). I’d also add that you should be automatically opposed to imperialists.

    So enjoy the 6th form debating atmosphere, where you can work out exactly what Russians should be doing (I’m sure they are very grateful to you, their presumed political and cultural superiors, for this) or admit, in the same way, that all the supercomputers and quants in the finance world can not yet (ever?) fully work out the markets, that we also, collectively, often just don’t know – it’s complicated.

  31. Hmm, not sure official recognition of Bandera renders him harmless.

    But you do have a point in that there is a misconception amongst some that Makhno was some kind of nationalist fighter, which is quite ironic given his politics.


    January 31, 2016 at 9:20 pm

  32. No, official recognition of Bandera doesn’t render him harmless. Quite the opposite. But Makhno – well, I can’t imagine that the Yanukovych administration was thinking in radical egalitarian terms when it (presumably) gave the OK to the commemoration of Makhno on the 2 hryvni coin.


    January 31, 2016 at 9:45 pm

  33. “We should stick with basic principles – yes to socialists and, sometimes, ‘democratic’ types fighting against those who would stifle such (i.e. against Islamists but also against Putin, etc). I’d also add that you should be automatically opposed to imperialists.”

    If one is automatically opposed to imperialists, then it should be a fait accompli that one is automatically opposed to the occupation, annexation and continued invasion of neighbouring countries, shouldn’t it?

    “So enjoy the 6th form debating atmosphere, where you can work out exactly what Russians should be doing (I’m sure they are very grateful to you, their presumed political and cultural superiors, for this)”

    Is this that tired old mystical, patronising nonsense about “the Russian soul we will never understand”? If so it’s base level orientalism, and as daft as saying “who are we to judge the German people?” in the thirties or “who are we to judge America, they are an inscrutable and spiritual people” during the Vietnam conflict.

    As for the 6th form debating society crack, are we given to understand that your comments below the line on the internet are on some kind of rarified higher plane?

    But aaaah, everything is ineffable and unknowable. Who are we to decide what is right, what is wrong, what is up and what is down? Wise words of the wisest wisdom.


    January 31, 2016 at 11:30 pm

  34. “well, I can’t imagine that the Yanukovych administration was thinking in radical egalitarian terms when it (presumably) gave the OK to the commemoration of Makhno on the 2 hryvni coin”

    Indeed, but greater education and knowledge as to what Makhno stood for could certainly change that. As one would hope it would with Bandera.

    In either case, Makhno is historically more significant, and could count on a hell of a lot more popular support in Ukraine than the handful of people in the OUN/UPA.


    January 31, 2016 at 11:33 pm

  35. Makhno – if you read my comments, you will see that I refer to many countries, not just Russia.

    I also emphasise the point that I suspect not many of the Brits here (of whatever ethnic background) – or non Brits – probably know enough to crack these issues, despite their learning (and which is usually about historical issues).

    That would apply to details about Scotland (as evidence of this is the big disconnect between the thinking of English far Lefts and their Scottish equivalents on independence) as much as about Siberia or Syria.

    Now, sure, you want to work out an overview – if you offer international solidarity and aid who should that be to?

    But my point, to repeat, is that we should accept the limitations of our knowledge about many things and how to do things – unless, for example, you have a masterplan to reverse the decline in trade union density in the UK?

    It doesn’t do the ego of an ‘expert’ much good to add in a few ‘I don’t knows’, to what they write but that’s far more useful (and honest) than the mutual wank circle of seeing who can outpoint each other in a sort of left University Challenge.

  36. Alex, the Putin’s a good bloke article did go up on Socialist Unity, but has now mysteriously disappeared:

    The page you are looking for is gone. Perhaps searching or one of the links below will get you back on track.


    Andrew Coates

    February 1, 2016 at 1:14 pm

  37. Aficionados of the USSR rewriting history….who’d have thought!!

    alex ross

    February 1, 2016 at 2:53 pm

  38. The idea that populism ain’t a thing in Australia … The author of that has obviously never heard of Pauline Hanson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Hanson), nor are they aware of the politics surrounding the asylum seeker/boat people issue, particularly as successfully deployed by PM John Howard, nor do they know of the power of demagogic talk radio hosts, something we thankfully are largely free of in the UK. The anti-intellectual strain in populism is reflected in having the previous PM, Abbott, rejecting climate change theory and representing a big chunk of moblised public opinion in doing so.

  39. Keep up, Canning.

    I make no such claim the “idea that populism ain’t a thing in Australia”.

    I don’t mention populism in Australia.

    I said 1. “that you don’t get populist (or nativist) parties in Britain, like you do in the US”

    and 2 (separate point) I say “Even in Australia, without a powerful individual president, you can get parties named after people like the (Clive) Palmer United Party (and which enjoyed success).”

    i.e. personality led politics (not mention of populism) have happened in Aus with MPs elected on a ‘name’ rather than just the one-off Livingstone election in the UK.

    Read it slowly.

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