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Millwall Fans Oppose “Virtue Signalling” (Spiked) and “Moral Lectures” (Paul Embery).

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Embery Protests Against Wokeism.

As a member of the Inner Party bourgeois bohemian cosmopolitan elite, after discussion with the Thinkpol it has been decided that this counter-hegemonic discursive formation will be published on our mighty on-line organ of post-colonial and Badiou studies.

Here is a discursive response:

Spiked concurs with bruvver Embery.



Britain’s leading advocate of working class identity politics Brendan Cor Blimey O’Neil opines (The Millwall Revolt. Spiked. )

Nothing horrifies the woke elites more than the noises made by working-class people. Whether they’re saying ‘Let’s leave the EU’ or complimenting a member of the opposite sex on the street, the sounds and statements of the throng often have much of the chattering classes reaching for their smelling salts. So it is no surprise that a 30-second outburst of booing among Millwall fans when their players ‘took the knee’ yesterday has led to Guardianistas across the land thumbing their thesauruses in search of the shrillest words with which to condemn this foul guttural cry of blind hate, etc etc. ‘Is this fascism?!’, they wonder out loud. Yes, dear, of course it is.

Calm down dear.

Down at the Dove and Duck they talk of nothink but cocking a snoot at “identitarian elites” and “divisive agendas of critical race theory and woke re-education.



Written by Andrew Coates

December 6, 2020 at 5:12 pm

Stéphanie Roza, La gauche contre les Lumières ? The Left Against the Enlightenment.

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La gauche contre les lumières - Stéphanie Roza - YouTube

Stéphanie Roza, La gauche contre les Lumières ? Fayard,

The ‘culture wars’ , where to begin, where to end? “We are witnessing” writes Stéphanie Roza, “at the present moment, in some of the academic and activist world.. a “tir de barrage” against “imperial Reason”, the humanist Enlightenment Project originally formed in the 18th century. It stands accused as fundamentally imperialist, neo-colonial, male and oppressive, “in a word, ‘white’.” Against these views the feminist philosopher, specialist in the  Enlightenment ideas, and early socialist thinkers (Comment l’utopie est devenue un programme politique,)  member of la Fondation Jean-Jaurès, affirms that this blanket rejection offers no prospect of human emancipation.

For Roza the anti-Enlightenment currents she surveys offer are more than a dead-end.  Taken as a whole they are a “regression” to conservative and counter-revolutionary hostility towards the Enlightenment, the hatred of Edmund Burke and de Masitre, for the French Revolution. Sexed up by a reading of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and the Frankfurt School’s critique of ‘modernity’ it melds into the view that the Enlightenment has become a prison powered by alienated, instrumental, rationality’s efforts to dominate Nature and Society. The authors of the Dialectic of Enlightenment(1947), in this respect, were precursors of the rejection of “universalism”, and an alternative search for indigenous pasts and ideas, something tying  together (some)  post-colonial studies and the return in force of national populism, and politics based on La Terre et les morts (Maurice Barrès).   Drawing, as she does, on the Zeev Sternhell’s Les Anti-Lumières : une tradition du xviiie siècle à la Guerre froide, (2004) she contends that they are unable to confront, and even are complicit, faced with a far-right founded in the line of the French nationalist Barrès, and his hostility to cosmopolitanism, a ‘biopolitics’ of blood and soil. 

La gauche contre les Lumières ? does not offer ‘an‘ Enlightenment to defend. We should call it a “plural” movement, with debates from differing standpoints on popular rights, on slavery, women, human universality, and religion. Those aware of the issues will recall this immediately. There were figures like Voltaire, who for all his willingness to challenge the authority of inherited values and (at personal risk) challenges to the the French legal system remained a deist, and wished for good government, freed from superstition, not popular rule. David Hume, whose questions undermined the basis of faith itself, adopted a modern form of the ancient Pyronnian scepticism. In the absence of a certain alternatives, it was best to accept conventional political order. There were those (brought to prominence with the Black Lives Matter protest)  who denied racial equality, adopting contemporary views, some claiming proto-scientific status, on a racial hierarchy. This contrasts with the early denunciations of the slave trade and  of European treatment of extra-European peoples, by leading Enlighement thinker, the Encylopedist, Denis Diderot (1713 – 1780), (see: Diderot, de l’atheisme a l’anticolonialisme.Yves Benot. 1970) and who was  prepared for whole-scale reform.  

Roza’s arguments often parallel the work of Kenan Malik in affirming the importance of the “radical Enlightenment” explored by Jonathan Irvine Israel (who put Spinoza as the forerunner of radicality)  which could be said to the forerunner of both the socialist movement and progressivist liberalism. That is the “package of basic values” that refused to accept inherited traiton or an appeal to fixed transcendant religious dogma, and defines modernity and the liberal and democratic socialist left in the broadest sense (including democratic Marxism)  – toleration, personal freedom, democracy, racial equality, sexual emancipation and the universal right to knowledge. As the author puts it, early socialists talked of the 18th century “Lumières des bourgeois” and the 19th as the  “Lumières des prolétaires.”  (Page 31) 

Threads on Michael Foucault recognise the  influence of the ‘genealogist’ within the present ‘culture wars. Roza begins with the thesis that his writings undermined every “démarche révolutionnaire traditionnelle” (Page 53) A critique of the “disciplinary society” – valuable in itself as she has remarked in interviews – and a certain debt to the Enlightenment, cannot hide that Foucault historicised the ideas of universalism, progress, and rationality, to political chimeras. Personal autonomy, she writes, has little meaning, without the ability to make rational decisions. His writings were welcomed, she observes, by the CIA as part of the fight against “socialist egalitarianism”, hopes still alive in 1970s France.  (Page 62) Appendixes are devoted to the further discussion of Foucault’s original philosophical project, later efforts to come to terms with the Enlightenment, and his idea of critique

There are powerful chapters on ‘anti-progressivism’, the association of the left with the idea of “Progress” , and the strain of Green ‘neo-Luddism’, that associates science with present-day ecological disasters,  and  post-colonialist claims that colonisation was an extension of the philosophy of human rights.

The authors covered are mainly francophone, such as Jean-Claude Michéa, who offers a leftist gloss on the Blue Labour loathing of liberalism and ‘Nowhere People’.  and the ‘post-colonial’ anti-semites of the Parti des indigènes de la République (PIR),  with the  exception of intersectionality theorists and the anti-Charlie Hebdo  Talal Assad.Many of the themes are common currency regardless of language. 

What exactly is being proved by denouncing ‘Western’ Enlightenment ideas? Were the movements to free countries from Western rule influenced by western ideas? Roza shows, the very obvious fact, that ‘western’ ideas were employed, and transformed, by anti-colonial movements, such as those in India and Indo-China,  to assert their own rights to independence.  Human rights are in this sense both universal and particular. They are part of the democratic inheritance that needs to be defended and developed in the way Jean Jaurès proposed not ditched.  Roza then  remarks that the original declaration of human rights affirmed that these rights exist inherently to everybody, “abstraction faite de leurs appurtenances communautaires” ‘ from whatever community they belonged to. In short, the mental operation is simple: we are not referring to people in “general” but to each and every person. (Page 145) It is up to people to change, and expand, these rights, not to leave them as abstract ideals..

Perhaps more controversially Roza puts into question the use of the word “blanc”, white, in debates on the left and post-colonial circles. She observes its use to shout down and label ideas put forward by “des universalistes noirs, arabes ou autres”. What is this category? she asks. Is is not a racial one, a symptomatic use, taken, in word at least, from racist discourse? What kind of political debate can take place when all there is stirring the pot is mutual accusation? It is time, she suggests, to go beyond this political stage.

La gauche contre les Lumières ? concludes that at a time of great political confusion, the fall out from so many failures it’s hard to count, has led some to reject the foundations of the left, the “la matrice historique d’où l’ensemble des combat d’emancipation sont issus” (Page 164) For all the setbacks, this remains our common ambition, “La gauche socialiste, anarchiste et communiste est née d’ambition de pousser toujours plus loin, jusqu’à son véritable accomplissement, le projet des Lumières de garantir à chaque être human le pleine exercise de tous ses droits et le plein épanouissement des ses faculties…”(Page 178) The socialist, anarchist and communist left was born with the ambition to push the Enlightenment further, to guarantee to every human being the full exercise of her or his rights, and to develop their faculties to the full.

Writing with clarity and freshness Stéphanie Roza, has, we hope, much to contribue to bringing this project back to the centre of the politics of the left. La gauche pour les Lumières.

Quel avenir pour l'universalisme ? Stéphanie Roza - YouTube






Paul Mason, setting out an Agenda for “The future of the Labour left”.

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“The future of the Labour left? “

A few days ago it was cheering to read this interview with Pablo Iglesias in Le Monde.

The leader of the radical left party, Podemos, believes that the Europe Union  has turned its back on austerity and neoliberal economics.

Spain should be the main beneficiary, along with Italy, of the European recovery plan. Are you satisfied with the deal?

It is a turning point: a historic renunciation by Europe of austerity and a way of facing the economic crisis diametrically opposed to that of 2008. There will be no “men in black” [officials of the “troika” – European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and Commission – sent to Greece during the sovereign debt crisis], nor budget cuts. A few years ago, “eurobonds” and a united and common approach to the economic crisis seemed unimaginable. The neoliberal dogmatism that has done so much harm to Europe and its populations, especially in the South, has finally been corrected.

Iglesias does not skirt around the problems Podemos faces in with its governing partners, the Spanish Socialists (PSOE), its poor showing in the regions where there were July local elections (Mixed bag in Spain’s first pandemic elections) nor the difficulties it has faced with the “cloaques de l’Etat” who did all they could to prevent Podemos entering government.

But, give the context of the pandemic, the EU turn, agreement on a coming new Spanish budget framework,  and an expansionist “neo-Keynesian” economics will be steps in the right direction. Talking of Catalan, Basque nationalist and regionalist movements the  radical politician looks forward to a potential République plurinationale et solidaire”. Le Mode described Iglesias as a “Pillar of the Spanish government” – though an article just beneath it noted disagreement on PM Sanchez’s arrangements with the centre-right party Ciudadanos.

The interview was picked up in Spain.


Back in Brexit Britain the left’s debate continues to be occupied by those who make this (US) gesture.

The rapid accumulation of Jeremy’s defence fund isn’t just a reaction against vindictive elites, it’s a protest against the Labour leader too.

On Jeremy Corbyn’s Defence Fund

By contrast Paul Mason has written on the issues that preoccupy Pablo Iglesias.

The Labour Party faces a historic challenge: the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered state intervention, bailouts, massive borrowing, direct income support and central bank money printing all across the world. And it’s not over.

Paul Mason covers this, without the emotion-charged language that is leading many to recoil from the left.

The Labour left is demoralised and divided. Some activists are leaving the party; others want the left to become an organised opposition to Keir Starmer, producing a continuous negative commentary from the sidelines. The Labour right, and their backers in the British media establishment, are only too happy to fuel this anger with continuous trolling and calls for a purge.

The writer-activist speaks for a constituency that stands apart from any of the above,

I’m part of a left that wants to engage with Starmer’s project and to help shape it, defending its core agenda of climate, social and economic justice from the inevitable pushback from the party’s right, and by solving through practice the strategic problems outlined below.

There is a favourable political landscape inside Labour.

The Labour Together election review gives us an opening: it says the strategy most likely to bring victory in 2024 is the offer of radical economic change, combined with a new narrative and activism aimed at communities currently alienated from progressive ideas, plus a more professional party.

The left’s job is to (a) define what this big change agenda means (b) start fighting for it independently through our activism; and ( c) extend party democracy.

This Blog cannot underline too strongly the boost that Paul’s open-minded suggestions could give to left-wing morale.  They are agenda-setting ideas how the left could build a credible alternative to Conservative rule. They offer the terms for fruitful debate.

The Left, the Party and the Class is a landmark.

The thing to do now is decide: does the anti-capitalist left want to be a component part of the project Labour members voted for, criticising the front bench where needed, and maintaining our distinct organisations, but pushing the whole party towards a radical economic change agenda?

Or does “stay in and fight” mean fighting the leadership and each other, in an atmosphere constantly poisoned by right-wing media trolls? In the end it’s up to us.

Spot on!

Written by Andrew Coates

July 26, 2020 at 11:03 am