Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Does Galloway Blaze Trail for ‘Left’ Shift to Align with Nationalist Right?

with 10 comments

Galloway Evokes Battle of Britain Spirit in London Mayor Bid.


This nationalistic posturing  reminds me of what’s been happening in France.

While there are admirable protests about the projet de loi Travail (El Khomri) and the interesting Nuit Debout movement anti-Europe nationalism.

They call it “souverainisme“, demands for  national sovereignty, migration, border controls, security, the constitution and cultural identity.

Most of those associated with this trend are clearly on the right, if not the extreme right.

But some on the French left have also been attracted by these themes.

This article from last year describes how some have passed over to the French nationalist right:

PARIS — When the newspaper Libération last month accused self-professed “left of the left” philosopher and best-selling author Michel Onfray of “doing the [far-right party] Front National’s bidding,” French intellectuals circled the wagons.

Onfray, who declined a request for comment for this article, went on to accuse France’s successive governments of “being contemptuous of the people” — what he calls, using the English term, “the ‘old school’ people”: French blue-collar workers, the unemployed, the poor, the pensioners. As for National Front leader Marine Le Pen, he said: “I don’t resent her as much as I resent those who made her possible.”

The first is the fate of France’s poor and working class – the “proletariat” Onfray says has been abandoned by the right and the left alike. In that vision, the governing left’s policies favor the globalized elite and the well-to-do, while catering to the needs of minorities (“the margins,” says Onfray) — such as immigrants, homosexuals and women.

The second theme is the visceral hostility towards Europe and the euro, seen as constraining economic and social policy and a fatal blow to the infamous “exception française,” a large and costly welfare state that’s supposed to shield the French from the turmoils of the global economy.

The drama is being played daily in the court of public opinion. Think of it as “the people vs. the euro.”

Onfray is well known for this vein of rhetoric.

This is what he said of the attitude of those who backed – ostensibly pro-European Constitution referedum (2005) towards those who would vote No to this agreement (the Non won).

They despised the common folk:

Les gens qui vont voter Non à la constitution européenne sont des crétins, des abrutis, des imbéciles, des incultes. Petit pouvoir d’achat, petit cerveau, petite pensée, petits sentiments. Pas de diplômes, pas de livres chez eux, pas de culture, pas d’intelligence. Ils habitent en campagne, en province. Des paysans, des pécores, des péquenots, des ploucs.

The people will will vote to the European Constitution are cretins, morons, imbeciles, uncultivated. They are hard up, small-brained, narrow mined and inward looking. They have no qualifications, no books at home, no culture, no brains. They live in the country, in the provinces. They are peasants, rustics, bumpkins, yokels.

Clearly Onfray hopes to repeat the result of the referendum on the European Constitution.

He however faces a nebulous target.

But British nouveaux réactionnaires have a unique opportunity: the UK Referendum on the European Union.

takes up the Onfray challenge:

Railing against those “a Byzantine system of governance largely beyond the reach of Euro-plebs” the former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and writer for Living Marxism muses, for the anti-elitist Spectator magazine, on The strange death of left-wing Euroscepticism

The further removed the left becomes from everyday people, the more it views the public as an obese, probably racist blob to be re-educated rather than as political citizens to be engaged. The left’s turn from hating the EU to at least wanting to stick with it is directly proportionate to its loss of faith in the masses. Democracy is no longer seen as a tool of progressive change. Lefties now trust EU suits more than they do the loud, odd locals of their own towns.

This comment from Briançon’s article sums up the empty nature of this stand,

““Europe here serves as proxy for globalization,” said a government adviser, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of “adding fuel to the fire.” “I call it the defeatist wing of French intellectual life: There’s no chance we’ll be able to make it, so let’s retract and retreat.”

Will others, hostile to ‘capitalist’ EU but more specifically to the free movement of labour, a substantial group  inside the so-called Lexit camp, follow their French counterparts and align, like Galloway, with the hard right?

Allied with UKIP for the European Referendum Galloway looks a trail-blazer.


10 Responses

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  1. George was very chummy recently with Farage, how anyone of the left could align with the leave reactionaries is beyond me. OK, if socialist wish to support leave EU, they need to plough an independent farrow, like Corbyn LP is doing with the remain campaign. I thought Galloway was using the threat to stand for Mayor as a lever to get back in the LP, but when this was rejected he is splitting the vote, which in my eyes is unforgivable given the Tory candidate’s racist campaign.

    Mick Hall

    April 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm

  2. It has been done before. German Communists in 1932 shouted after Hitler our turn. August 1939 Soviet Russia’s pact with Nazi Germany and I seem to remember in the late 60s or early 70s a photo of a demo against the Common market with the CPGB leader, John Gollan Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Enoch Powell and the fascist leader Martin Webster

    Scott Reeve

    April 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm

  3. I think it’s good that Galloway is once again showing his true colours – he’s always had more in common with the far Right than the Left – his hatred of free speech, his love of reactionaries, be they Muslim or Russian, his palling with dictators and terrorists… stuff him.

    sod-off tax-dodging gits

    April 17, 2016 at 6:44 pm

  4. Galloway is not ‘far right’. what a spurious allegation, a smear if ever there was one.
    Galloway is the greatest working class leader of a generation.
    Galloway for mayor!
    grassroots out!

    down with the EUSSR/Fourth Reich!


    April 17, 2016 at 11:59 pm

  5. When we were in London on Saturday we passed Galloway’s battle bus in Whitechapel.

    There was no sign of any fresh-faced nippers out shouting ‘Cor Bless you Guv’, Pearly Kings and Queens to welcome Galloway with cuppas, or indeed any interest in it whatsoever.

    Andrew Coates

    April 18, 2016 at 4:02 pm

  6. I don’t think so, mate. Galloway is the workers choice.
    London needs a charismatic mayor who isn’t scared of speaking out.
    Respect yourself! vote George Galloway, vote RESPECT!


    April 18, 2016 at 10:44 pm

  7. A lot of middle class tossers, like Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator, and Eliza Filby in Standpoint, are suddenly all regretful about how the left has “deserted” little-Englandism and the great utopian socialist tradition of Tony Benn, claiming this will alienate Labour’s “traditional” support: they should talk top the Unite members in manufacturing, who reversed that union’s policy on the EU, because they understood their jobs depend upon our continuing membership.

    Jim Denham

    April 18, 2016 at 10:45 pm

  8. Galloway: the King of Comedy. London’s already had one vainglorious clown for mayor; time now for a serious working class candidate: vote for the unions’ choice, vote Kahn!

    Jim Denham

    April 18, 2016 at 10:48 pm

  9. George Galloway stands up for the traditional working class, and stands in the tradition of Tony Benn and Michael Foot. Gilad Atzmon promised to teach Galloway to play the saxophone, he wears a stylish fedora and he’s basically a cool guy, which is more than the AWL will ever be.


    April 18, 2016 at 10:59 pm

  10. Galloway in Southall!


    April 18, 2016 at 11:21 pm

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