Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Grand Hotel Abyss. The Lives of the Frankfurt School. Stuart Jeffries. A Review, Grand Theory.

with one comment

Image result for grand hotel abyss

“Terrific” Book.

From the latest – July/August – Chartist Magazine (For Democratic Socialism).

“The Frankfurt School combined Marxist thought with psychoanalytical theory as believed people were socially and economically as well as sexually repressed. Religion, the family, marriage, heterosexuality and gender hierarchies, were all viewed as part of the problem,” explains the Stop RSE campaign. Supporters of the vociferous  protests against “compulsory sex education” promoting ‘gay’ issues in Birmingham primary schools are far from the only ones to seize on the writings of Jürgen Habermas, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Max Horkheimer. Stuart Jeffries writes “..a conspiracy theory” alleges that the Frankfurt school “developed something that overturned traditional values”, by promoting “multiculturalism, political correctness, homosexuality and collectivist economic ideas.”

“It would be Marxist,” its first director Carl Grünberg announced, “in that it adhered to Marxism as a scientific methodology”. The Swiss architect Sascha Roessler called the building in an “austere cube” that housed the Institut für Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research) that opened in 1924 ” a “symbolism of retreat”.

The believer in the ‘actuality of the Revolution’, György Lukács, remarked that in the Grand Hotel Abysses, you looked at the world wrapped up in comfort. They were Mandarins. Even an admirer, Gillian Rose would say “instead of politicising academia, it academised politics.” After Stalinism and the Nazi regime, the Frankfurt theorists would come, for writers like Perry Anderson, to embody the pessimism born out of Western Marxism’s divorce between theory and political practice.

The Frankfurt thinkers did not become famous for Grünberg’s programme of investigation into the history of socialism and economic theory. A growing scepticism was not just affected by the defeat of the post Great War German Revolution. They questioned Marxist ideas about humans defining and liberating themselves through work. Modern capitalism took labour in its grip. It equally took over leisure through the ‘culture industry’. Walter Benjamin saw the Paris arcades, as spaces in which a ‘new social world’, ‘temples of capitalism’ took shape. This picture of a few – now out of the way – enclosed shopping passages, has inspired many later writers. Benjamin aimed to “recast Marxisms for a new consumerist era in which we were in thrall to commodities.” As Jeffries points out, the Frankfurters are remembered largely for the importance they gave to analysing culture as an ‘instruments of capitalism’.

Grand Theory.

If you want Grand Theory the Frankfurt School offered it in plenty. The Grand Hotel Abyss deftly weaves through Benjamin’s celebrated efforts to undermine Marxist, more properly Second International, and belief in its leading role in the inevitable progress of History. This could be said to extend Georges Sorel’s attack on the bourgeois Illusions of Progress (les illusions du progrès. 1908). ‘Negative thinking’ in the writings of Adorno and Marcuse was not just a break with the optimistic positivism that the French writer attacked. It was a reaction to the failures of socialism; the Nazi victories and the Soviet show trials and gulags. What is, “the forces that were to bring about the transformation are suppressed and appear to be defeated?”

Jeffries does not stand back from probing this aspect of the Frankfurt school. That reason has turned out to be a new form of domination, when they tried to demolish it “with its own tools.” The Grand Hotel steps into the murky waters of the Hegelian inspired dialectics employed to demolish the claims of ‘the Enlightenment’. A famous episode, when Adorno confronted Karl Popper, saw their pretensions challenged. The defender of the Open Society, who for all his faults as a political thinker had a deep knowledge of scientific method, maths and formal logic, which was not the case for the Marxist Hegelian, ended up talking across each other. The writer whose work was an attack on positivism was charged with…positivism.

Snobs.

The Frankfurt School are often described as terrific snobs who regretted the loss of traditional high art and intellectual modernism and scorned mass culture. Jeffries calls some of their writings on this “incredibly patronising”. Marcuse also talked in Freudian terms of the manipulation of sexuality and need: Eros was controlled and subordinated. His search for a new revolutionary subject to replace the working class in the “one dimensional society” saw his books being taken up by New Left movements which, if often transient, were at the forefront of calls for sexual and social liberation. More detached Adorno and Horkheimer reacted with hostility to the protests of the 1960s, and attacked student activists who disrupted the, their, universities.

The Grand Hotel Abyss is full of memorable detail. One is a meeting between Sartre and Marcuse. The existentialist turned New Leftist managed to give the author of One Dimensional Man the impression he had read his works in depth, without ever having opened a page. This was just as well. Marcuse managed to cite favourably in that book, at length, Roland Barthes’ Le Degré zero de l’écriture without twigging that, amongst many other topics, Barthes was attacking Sartre’s idea of ‘committed’ writing.

Jeffries achieves that hard task of making abstract ideas accessible. It interweaves biographical material on the thinkers’ Jewish background, their fraught relationship with Marxism and the socialist movement, and the shadows of Nazism and Stalinism. Jeffries suggests that, after a period of neglect in their writings, a revival of interest in the potentially emancipatory side is underway. That may well be true. In the meantime this is a terrific book to get them going.

Andrew Coates.

Advertisements

Written by Andrew Coates

July 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm

After Backing anti-Gay Protests is Roger Godsiff Labour MP for the Chop?

with 2 comments

Protesters holding placards

Bigots still Demonstrating last week against Equality Teaching.

 

The row over gender equality teaching continues to grow.

The campaign is supported by Islamists, some parents, and the far-right StopRSE campaign against ‘sexual liberation’ and “cultural Marxism”.

This is the mixture of extreme right wing and Islamists latest statement (June the 7th).

Muslims against LGBT which we all know it isn’t ….

As Muslims or people of faith we do not need to justify that we are not homophobic – because we are not – in the same way that as Muslims we do not have to apologise for terror attacks – because we are not terrorists…. don’t fall into this trap of apologising for something you haven’t done as it deflects the conversation away from what needs to be discussed …

We are against RSE because it is a clear erosion of parental rights and a state take over of the parenting role which is one of the first steps of a totalitarian regime

We are against RSE because it is open to abuse by nefarious Lobby groups who will use it to push their own sexual ideologies into the classroom

Schools should be about education and that’s all …. ideology must not be allowed through the school gate

The sexual ideologues however are using RSE as a back door in to schools

Do not be fooled by the terms ‘inclusion, diversity, tolerance, equality etc – they have very specific definitions to those who use them than to the way in which the rest of us interpret them …

People are thankfully starting to wake up to the political machinations being played but we have to stay awake and not be lulled back into the warm water 🐸

StopRSE

The protests are continuing now with the backing of right-wing Labour MP Roger Godsiff.

Roger Godsiff reported to chief whip for telling campaigners protesting against LGBT lessons ‘you’re right’

A Labour MP has been reported to the chief whip for telling campaigners protesting against LGBT teaching at a Birmingham primary school “you’re right”.

Roger Godsiff, the MP for the city’s Hall Green constituency, which includes Anderton Park Primary school, also told protesters they had a “just cause” and criticised the headteacher.

The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said she had reported the “discriminatory and irresponsible” comments to the chief whip, Nick Brown.

Parents have staged weeks of protests outside the school against the teaching of LGBT rights, claiming the lessons were “overemphasising a gay ethos” and contradicting Islam.

The demonstrations, which were described last week as “homophobic” by the West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, led the council to apply for a high court interim injunction, which banned rallies outside the gates from Friday.

Godsiff, who has previously said the equality lessons were not “age appropriate”, was seen telling the protesters they were “right” in a video that emerged this weekend.

The veteran MP, who is seen with Shakeel Afsar, the lead organiser of the protests, said: “I think you have a just cause and I regret the fact that it hasn’t been reciprocated by the headteacher.”

He asked demonstrators to consider calling off the protest as he said they had made their point, but added it would be their choice to do so. He then said: “I will continue to try and fight your corner because you’re right. Nothing more, nothing less. You’re right.”

Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, said he would be tabling a formal complaint to the party about Godsiff. He said: “This made me feel sick to my stomach. One of my own Labour colleagues stood with people who have peddled hatred and bigotry on school gates, intimidating pupils, teachers and parents.”

The Labour LGBT group also called for the whip to be removed and condemned Godsiff’s remarks “unreservedly and unequivocally”.

 

Birmingham LGBT row: MP reported after backing school protest

BBC.

The MP for a primary school facing protests over LGBT teaching has been reported to the chief whip after telling campaigners “you’re right”.

In a video circulated on social media, Birmingham Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff told the Anderton Park Primary School protesters they had a “just cause”.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said she had reported the comments to the chief whip.

Mr Godsiff previously said the equality lessons were not “age appropriate”.

A High Court injunction is in place banning protests, which have been going on for months, outside the school.

Parents started to gather at the gates over concerns children were “too young” to learn about LGBT relationships. They also said the lessons contradicted Islam.

In the video, Mr Godsiff, who is seen with Shakeel Afsar, the lead organiser of the protests, said: “If I had the opportunity of rolling the clock back I would do exactly the same thing again.

“Because I think you have a just cause and I regret the fact that it hasn’t been reciprocated by the head teacher.”

Wikipedia.

In the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum Godsiff supported the Leave campaign,[8] although his constituency voted by 66.4% to remain in the European Union.[1] Unusually for a Brexit-supporting MP, he abstained from the vote to invoke Article 50, to commence the UK’s process of withdrawal from the EU, on the grounds that he was respecting his constituents’ pro-Remain vote.

..

In 2011, The Guardian declared that based on his participation in votes, Godsiff was “Britain’s laziest MP”, being absent from 88% of votes at the start of that year. He has attended less than 50% of parliamentary debates during his whole time in office and refuses to take any part in hustings meetings.[14] He responded to the Birmingham Mail about his participation, saying “when you are in opposition and the government has a substantial majority, you know perfectly well that you aren’t going to be able to have an effect on every vote”.[15]

Godsiff opposed marriage equality in 2013, saying that he did not want to “[redefine] the current definition of marriage.”

Written by Andrew Coates

June 9, 2019 at 11:21 am

Paul Embery Resurfaces in Row with Jess Phillips and Defence of Danny Baker.

leave a comment »

Image result for paul embery

Pledge card for a post-Brexit manifesto. 

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) official (Executive Council), Spiked Contributor, Full Brexit supporter, and head of the  Arron Banks funded Trade Unionists Against the EU, Paul Embery, came to wider attention this April after denouncing ‘rootless cosmopolitans’.

He was told to shut up by the highly regarded trade union the FBU.

Union official told to ‘cease’ social media after ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ tweet

On the Nigel Farage Brexit Party supporting Spiked site Embery was unrepentant,

This really captures the divide in our society, as I tweeted, between ‘a rootless, cosmopolitan, bohemian middle class’ and a ‘rooted, communitarian, patriotic working class’.

Bohemian, cosmopolitan, all words often in the air down at the Rose and Crown.

In fact not even bleeding used chez Coatesy except in quotes.

Embery continued,

These scarlet-faced witch-finders are a threat to free speech, and they need to be faced down remorselessly.

The labour movement has turned against the working class

Now he continues his battle for free speech:

In a lengthy thread this can be signaled;

In an attempt to cover his arse he added,

Now he is engaged in a war on another front.

Jess Phillips may not be everybody’s cup of tea.

But she often says things that need saying, even if you disagree with her.

She lives in Brum.

Her children go to an ordinary Birmingham state school. She is seen in the local supermarkets.

I have not heard the city called “metropolitan liberal” before.

Wikipedia says,

Phillips left the Labour Party during the years of Tony Blair‘s leadership, rejoining after the 2010 general election. She told Rachel Cooke in her interview in The Guardian it was because her parents stopped paying her membership direct debit. Her period at Women’s Aid made Phillips “utterly pragmatic… I learned that my principles don’t matter as much as [people’s] lives.”In the 2012 local elections, she was elected as a Labour councillor for the Longbridge ward, taking the seat from the Conservatives.

Embery claims he aims to restore a “sense of belonging”,

Where we currently have disunity and atomisation throughout our communities – not least because identity politics proliferates – we must foster instead a spirit of civic nationalism that generates a sense of belonging, patriotism and shared citizenship between all of our people. (How to fix Britain after Brexit)

Beginning by insulting comrade Jess Phillips.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 11, 2019 at 11:15 am

Notre-Dame: Rebuilding a Masterpiece of the Human Spirit is Everybody’s Concern – L’Humanité.

with 10 comments

Rebuild!

The French communist daily today expressed the thoughts of millions of people across the world.

Le terrible incendie a failli détruire le chef-d’œuvre de l’esprit et de l’histoire qu’est Notre-Dame. Après une immense vague d’émotion, sa reconstruction est l’affaire de toutes et tous, de ceux qui croient au ciel, comme ceux qui n’y croient pas.

The terrible fire nearly destroyed  the masterpiece of the spirit and of history that is  Notre-Dame. After an immense wave of emotion, its reconstruction is the business of everyone, of those who believe in heaven, as much as those who do not believe in it.

Lines from the Communist Poet Louis Aragon.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 17, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Paul Embery, Fire Brigades Union, Arron Banks Funded ‘Trade Unionists’ Against the EU, Denounces “Rootless Cosmopolitans”.

with 3 comments

 

Brexiters Beware: Rootless Cosmopolitan.

Paul Embrey, is the head of Trade Unionists Against the EU, and a prominent supporter of The Full Brexit.

Some suggest that it has got jealous about all the attention paid recently to fellow Full Brexiteer, Eddie Dempsey.

Look at the endorsement that Eddie’s got!

This is a good summary of some of Paul Embery’s background:

Better for the Country Limited and Leave EU, both controlled by Arron Banks, are under investigation by the Electoral Commission over potential breaches of the spending limits during the 2016 EU referendum campaign. Banks also has links with organisations claiming to be of the Left.

Better for the Country Limited made a series of donations to a group called: “Trade Unionists Against the EU” (TUAEU) amounting to a whopping £54,000. This is an unprecedented sum from a prominent Far Right figurehead for a so-called workers’ organisation.

The TUAEU have strong links with the Communist Party but they have also appeared on platforms with the Socialist Party and the Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMT). The RMT made a significant donation of £30,000 to TUAEU during the Referendum campaign. The RMT actually affiliated to TUAEU in 2016.

RMT members will want to know why so much of the Union’s money has gone into an organisation largely funded by an Arron Banks’ company and what checks have been done to investigate exactly what TUAEU is.

The TUAEU National Convenor is Paul Embery the London Regional Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union. Embery is a regular contributor to “Spiked Online” which itself is a relic of a former Left group reborn as a Far Right mouthpiece. We need to open a discussion about the scandal that means senior trade unions and trade union officials are actively pursuing the agenda of a Far Right funded organisation with links to other groups like the English TUC which in turn appear to have been set up to undermine workers’ rights.

TUAEU is also linked to a bizarre group called the English TUC.

This group advertises TUAEU across its masthead and has set itself up as a bona-fide trade union but the nationalist iconography on its website, replete with English heraldry and English flags is unlike anything else on any other Union website. Interestingly the contact number for the English TUC is Trades Union Congress for England Castle Brook House 75 Swinton Crescent, Unsworth, Bury, Lancashire BL9 8PB. Googling this address, it is interesting to see that this house is flying the flag of St George from a flagpole erected on the side of the house.

Evidence of Far Right Infiltration into the British Left

This ruffled some feathers.

He got support: Novara Media:

Family Faith and Flag, or Work Family and Community in their public face, Blue Labour.

La Patrie in French (grammatically female if it does mean”father” land, is etymologically “pays des pères”) also has this connotation for French speakers (amongst whom it is hard to imagine Bastani):

Une version relativement moderne et guerrière dit que la Patrie est le pays, la nation, pour lesquels on est prêt à se sacrifier.

 A relatively modern and warlike version entials that Motherland is the country , the nation , for which we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.

And,

La notion de patrie est lourde d’affectivité identitaire ; elle est une affirmation d’une différence ou d’une proximité avec autrui et il peut arriver qu’elle mène à la xénophobie

The notion of patrie has a heavy connotations of emotional identity, it is an assertion of difference or a bond to others, and it may lead to xenophobia.

What exactly is the “rooted, communitarian, patriotic working class”, opposed to the “rootless, cosmopolitan, bohemian middle-class .”?

Is every worker to be enrolled in the Full Brexit?

Is every worker, by definition “rooted”?

That all plain folks are, like Embery, National Populists?

That’s before we get into “rootless cosmopolitans”, an expression no doubt that comes to the lips of the locals every day down at the Dog and Duck…

 

Parkfield Muslim Parents Campaign to End “Promotion of Homosexuality”.

with 6 comments

Stop Promoting Homosexuality, Say Parkfield Parents (Economist). 

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has spoken out over the Parkfield Community School protests, insisting that ‘intolerance must not win out’.

Taking on Twitter, the mayor called the language used by protesters outside the school over the past week ‘unacceptable’, and stressed the importance of tolerance in the community.

….

Parkfield has insisted that the programme will continue to be taught after the Easter break , despite 350 parents signing a petition against it and several removing their children from classes last week.

The protests have been widely condemned by MPs and councillors from across the city, with Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips saying she was ‘heartbroken’ by a video showing the protests.

Birmingham Live

Image result for birmingham parents lgbt

Police investigate ‘homophobic graffiti’ at Birmingham school amid row over LGBT+ sex education

Police are investigating reports of homophobic graffiti at a school where parents have been protesting against same-sex relationships being taught.

The vandalism at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham was reported to West Midlands Police by a school governor during the February half term holiday.

The force said it was also reviewing video footage circulating on social media to “establish whether any additional offences have taken place”.

Parents have been demonstrating against the school’s No Outsiders programme, which includes teaching about LGBT+ relationships.

In footage posted online, young children appear to be joining in chants of “shame” while adults use the megaphone to voice their opposition.

Responding to the protests, the local Labour Party has got itself into a mess trying to square an impossible circle. Birmingham Labour MP Shabana Mahmood urged schools to take “proper consideration for pupils’ religion and background”.

From James Bloodworth (above).

Birmingham school LGBT lessons protest investigated

Protesters branding school lessons about LGBT rights as “toxic” and “disgusting” have been accused of using “appalling” and “incendiary” language.

It follows footage of continuing rallies at a Birmingham primary school where the lessons have been taught.

A man can be heard telling a crowd outside Parkfield Community School that teaching about social difference is “aggressive indoctrination”.

Police are reviewing the video to see whether any offences are committed.

The footage – in which a vocal and supportive audience is told homosexuality is incompatible with Islam – was taken outside the school.

On Thursday, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for social inclusion John Cotton said: “In recent days, we have been appalled to see attempts to divide the people of our city by using insulting and incendiary language targeting the LGBT community.”

While Parkfield is an academy, not a local authority school, Mr Cotton said the council was monitoring the situation.

Neither the school nor the protesting group, which includes parents of pupils, wished to comment.

Brendan O’Neill (Spiked)  backs the parents:

Those Birmingham parents are right

Teaching primary-age schoolkids about sexual matters is weird.

When it comes to moral and religious matters, parents should exercise the greater authority over their children. It is crucial for the sovereignty of the family and the rights of parents that their moral purview is not casually traduced by officials who presume to know better.

Reports indicate that other ‘conservative’ (that is, reactionary) religious groups are following these protests. It is suggested that they may follow suite.

This is strongly reminiscent of similar protests in France against the teaching of equality in schools, claimed to be the “Théorie” du genre ” which includes  LGBT (Lesbiennes, Gays, Bi et Trans ).

During 2014 the Catholic Far-right and Muslim ‘conservatives’ (that is, the Muslim far-right) joined forces (as they had done against Gay marriage) and organised,by parents, boycotts of schools: “Théorie” du genre : quand extrême droite et musulmans conservateurs font alliance)

Here is an article about one of the founder of this movement.

Gender theory and school boycott (Parents. 2018) Bientôt ou déjà parents, on vous accompagne !

.. …Farida Belghoul, writer and filmmaker, was a leading figure of the anti-racist March of the Beurs of 1984. The present movement is part of the vast constellation of very conservative family associations, fundamentalists and / or extreme right. In a press release, Farida Belghoul urged her supporters to contact representatives of the anti-gay marriage Manif our tous, the association Equality and Reconciliation (whose president is the Holocaust denier Alain Soral), the French Spring (far right), Action française. … In the texts available on the official website of the JRE, Farida Belghoul gives the appearance of reason and moderation. But Farida Belghoul develops an approach which draws both on theories of conspiracy (Masonic), millenarianism and “declinism”, and focuses on a grand alliance between Muslims and Catholics against the spirit of the Enlightenment.

The campaign continues (2018, see first image here, which focuses on LGBT).

Written by Andrew Coates

March 9, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Yellow Vests UK Moblise for Hard Brexit.

with 3 comments

Far Right Fringe of French Gilets Jaunes Have British Imitators.

 British yellow vests announce second London protest

The British Yellow Vests have announced a ‘Day of Action’ in London on Saturday with a meeting point at Parliament Square, Westminster at 1pm.

The Facebook event page says “Bring your vest and join us!” The event isn’t party political and all are welcome. On Friday sixty protesters hit global headlines after bringing a mass rebellion to the capital.

Activist James Goddard, who is part of the movement and targeted Westminster Bridge, just yards away from the British Parliament told Politicalite: “This is just the start.”

“We wanna see people out on the streets challenging the political class.” “We’re gonna bring cities to a standstill, We all need to start doing this”

“There’s no funding, there’s no leader or political affiliation, this is real people taking action, without the help of people who are high up.”

Tracy Blackwell was also part of the protest, she told Politicalite: “It’s about time the British people stood up to the tyranny of what’s going on in our Establishment.”

She added: “We don’t want another Josh, Harry and George to happen to someone else, and it will it’s not a case of if, its a case of when.”

“We the people have had enough of being used as cannon fodder by the Elite in this country,” said Tracy.

Image result for yellow Vests Britain

The far-right opposes “globalism”, which makes it hard to distinguish from ‘anti-globalisation’. Counterfire and their fronts, and many other Brexit Bolsheviks  mobilise against “undemocratic elites”, a pillar of the far-right language replacing class.  It looks increasingly unlikely that the pro-Brexit Counterfire stunt  (below) is going to escape being confused with the national populist right.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 19, 2018 at 5:16 pm