Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Nationalism

Socialist Worker and Novara Media Attack Anti-Fascist Anti-Brexit Demo Against Tommy Robinson Great Brexit Betrayal Rally.

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Pro-Brexit Rally Calls for Anti-Brexit Response.

The Another Europe is Possible protest “No to Tommy Robinson, No to Brexit” continues to create controversy.

Leave or Remain, We All Hate Tommy

Callum Cant and Benjamin Walters write,

Another Europe is Possible (AEIP) is an ultra-remain campaign group that positions itself as the left wing of the ‘Stop Brexit’ movement. Its support base varies from Alliance for Workers’ Liberty members to Guardian columnist Zoe Williams. AEIP have called for a People’s Vote/Stop Brexit counter-protest to the far right march.

They argue that it’s not enough to simply oppose racism and fascism – we have to specifically oppose Brexit. For them, Brexit is not just a recruiting ground for the far right, it is actually a far right project in its entirety. So, the anti-fascist response has to be to try and stop Brexit.

After having carefully established that AEIP is “ultra”, AWL backed, no less, and, apparently has a view (which is not referenced) on the Brexit basis of the “far right project in its entirety” they outline an alternative.

Cant and Walters argument appears to be that the left needs to talk to  Brexit supporters, to weed them away from Robinson and UKIP leadership.

Whereas the Momentum-backed counter-protest is using the slogan ‘No to Tommy Robinson, No to Fortress Britain’ without taking a line on Brexit, AEIP are linking together an ultra-remain position with an anti-fascist position. This is a very bad mistake.

It is a mistake because it maps the political division of the Brexit debate (48% Remain, 52% Leave) onto the political division between fascists and anti-fascists (90% anti-fascist, 10% fascist). It gives Robinson exactly what he wants: leadership.

Instead of challenging his attempt to lead Leave voters and splitting the hard core of the far right away from the 52%, it consolidates his position from the other side of a police line. Robinson is a general looking for an army. AEIP’s line, if pursued, will do much to form his battalions for him.

Yes, we “all hate Tommy”.

But, one might ask how, as they suggest,  is the left going to lead Leave voters?

By arguing for a People’s Brexit?

By saying that a Brexit Britain with a “socialist economy” will be (as a Counterfire contributor put it recently) a “Beacon” off the shores of Europe?

Brexit is not a “floating signifier” that you can moor to the left’s politics.

It is a reactionary project through and through.

Trying another tack the authors assert,

…..anti-fascist fronts should only express the limited politics necessary to defeat the fascists on the day. They should appeal to as many people as possible (regardless of what they think about Brexit). They should recognise that the goal of the front is only to prevent the fascists from taking leadership.

Just how limited?

They argue that the demonstration called by the SWP Fronts Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism is against ‘Fortress Europe” is such a step

It is against Europe, that’s for sure.

Here is the SWP:

Unite and stop the racists and fascists on 9 December

Tomáš Tengely-Evans writes,

The Another Europe Is Possible campaign has called a separate mobilisation under the dangerous slogan of “No to Tommy Robinson—no to Brexit”. The organisers link opposition to Robinson to demands for a “People’s Vote” to stop Brexit.

Racism against migrants pushed by both Tory Brexiteers and Labour ­“centrists” who want to block Brexit has added to the racist atmosphere.

So the ‘limited’ united front is also against “Labour ‘centrists'”.

The SWP view on “anti-fascists” who “send volunteers to the Middle East to fight Isis” is not known.

In the meantime back in the real world of Brexit:

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 28, 2018 at 1:58 pm

With Tories in crisis over Europe, Brexit Left (Morning Star) Attacks “Labour’s Confusion”.

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May’s bogus Brexit deal should be rejected in its entirety Editorial.

The Achilles’ heel in Labour’s approach is confusion over EU membership, with the leadership’s consistent position of respecting the referendum decision — which can only mean carrying it through — coming into conflict with flirtations with a “People’s Vote” designed to thwart it.

Subverting Corbyn’s principled stance on the referendum vote would mark a deliberate weakening of his leadership.

Corbyn’s resolute determination to put an end to laissez-faire capitalism’s willingness to let entire communities and multiple generations sink into inexorable decline encouraged many to believe that they might have a future, based on interventionist socialist policies.

Were Labour to renege on these hopes, the consequences would be incalculable.

The Brexit Bolsheviks of the Morning Star hold out hopes for negotiations with EU, and no doubt other partners,. such as Donald Trump.

A mutually beneficial trading relationship, without subservience to EU rules or institutions, would still be negotiable rather than May’s corporate-driven dodgy deal that incorporates City financial domination and the neoliberal status quo.

Meanwhile Counterfire is still wittering on about a General Election, avoiding the issue, which is emerging, of a Second Referendum to get rid of those who would ‘negotiate’ with Trump, and those, like the Morning Star, who want a “go it alone” road to British national sovereignty.

Their principalargument is that a Second Referdum, “Far from bringing the country together, calling a second referendum would cause massive bitterness amongst Leave voters and judging by all the polls would do nothing to resolve the issue.”

Counterfire. Chris Nineham

While it is pleasant to see revolutionary socialists concerned about dividing the country, should be Leave or should we Stay?

This is what the pro-European left is saying:

Patriotism and Nationalism, from Orwell to Trump Mocking France’s War Dead.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "trump attaque la france twitter novembre"

Nice One Trumpy!

Comrade George Orwell wrote,

 “Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”

NOTES ON NATIONALISM  Polemic, GB – London, 1945

People have debated these lines and the article for many years.

But Trump has just clarified the meaning of these sentences.

Trump Mocks France for World War Losses

First thing in the U.S. morning, the U.S. president took another — even more pointed — crack at the French leader. After a fractious visit to Paris over the weekend, Trump returned to the theme of a European army to defend the continent’s interests and took renewed offence. In a particularly sharp jab, Trump implied that the French needed the U.S. to rescue them from the Germans in both world wars.

 

The tweet comes after Trump spent a weekend in Paris with other world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. In an earlier tweet, the American president had called Macron’s suggestion “very insulting.” Trump’s latest broad-side was ill-timed, falling on the third anniversary of Paris terror attacks that killed more than 130 people and left hundreds more injured.

…..

Scroll down to this:

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said in an address to world leaders gathered for Armistice commemorations, with Trump sitting nearby.

His office later tweeted this part of the speech, which went on to say ‘by putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.”

It was seen as a direct rebuke of Trump’s ‘America First’ policies. Indeed, Macron has used social media to mock the U.S. leader in the past. When Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, Macron launched an initiative to recruit U.S. scientists with the tag line “Make Our Planet Great Again” — a play on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan.”

 

The President persists and signs:

 

French Army response to Trump’s fear of a dose of drizzle:

Trump is still at it:

 

For the moment this is the official French response, no comment: 

L’Elysée se refuse pour l’heure à tout commentaire après cette série de tweets, indique l’AFP.

However much one may normally disagree with Marcon, we are in in solidarity with the French President against this draft-dodging flatulent flaccid fraud US President.

Here is Plantu rendering a loving homage to the other side of America:

Written by Andrew Coates

November 13, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Daily Express Hails Corbyn’s “Major Blow to a Second Referendum Hopes”.

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Image result for corbyn Brexit

No Alternative from Corbyn to Brexit.

BREXIT LIVE: Corbyn deals MAJOR blow to second referendum hopes – exit ‘can’t be stopped’

JEREMY Corbyn has dealt a major blow to campaigners pushing for a second Brexit referendum as he declared Britain’s exit from the European Union cannot be stopped.

The Labour leader said Theresa May’s negotiating strategy is leading the UK down the wrong path but when asked whether he would stop the split if he could, he said: “We can’t stop it.”

Labour members overwhelmingly backed leaving the door open to a second referendum at the party’s conference in September.

And activists campaigning for a final say on the divorce deal have been hoping Mr Corbyn will eventually cave to public pressure and support another vote.

But the Labour leader, who is a well-known Eurosceptic, today insisted Brexit cannot be stopped.

This is the Interview in Der Spiegel the story is based on,

The man upon whom the hopes of young men and women in Britain rest enjoys taking pictures of drain covers and making jam. He wears baggy blazers and, when necessary, smuggles English cheese into his Mexican vacation lodgings. In other words, he leads the averagely eccentric lifestyle of your standard British retiree.

This is the key section:

DER SPIEGEL: Not just Labour, but the whole country is extremely divided at the moment — not least because of Brexit. If you could stop Brexit, would you?

Corbyn: We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognize the reasons why people voted Leave.

DER SPIEGEL: And they are?

Corbyn: I think a lot of people have been totally angered by the way in which their communities have been left behind. We had high Leave votes in the most left-behind areas of the country. In a lot of deprived areas, working conditions have deteriorated over the decades, protected by European legislation. Indeed, we would enhance workers’ rights, where the Conservative Party wants to go in another direction of a largely deregulated economy.

This is the “answer” to the issue of what he would do to ensure that Brexit is implemented.

DER SPIEGEL: Wouldn’t you face pretty much the same problems as Prime Minister Theresa May if you were in charge of the Brexit negotiations?

Corbyn: No, because we wouldn’t be trying to face towards the deregulated economy of the United States, which the one wing of the Tory Party is trying to do all the time. We would want to make a new and comprehensive customs union with the European Union, one that would obviously protect the Irish border — that’s crucial — but also ensure that our supply chains worked in both directions. People voted Leave, or they voted Remain, but nobody voted to lose their job. Nobody voted to reduce their living standards or working conditions.

DER SPIEGEL: Some people have argued that if Labour had had a pro-EU leader, the result of the Brexit referendum would have been different. What would the EU have to look like for you to support it?

Corbyn: I’ve been critical of the competitions policy in Europe and the move towards free market, and obviously critical in the past of their treatment of Greece, although that was mostly the eurozone that did that. My idea is of a social Europe with inclusive societies that work for everyone and not just for a few.

DER SPIEGEL: Less neo-liberal?

Corbyn: Well, as you probably gathered from following me, I’m not really in favor of neo-liberal economics.

DER SPIEGEL: Looking at the almost impossible task facing Theresa May, that of sealing a deal not only with Brussels but also with her own party, do you sometimes feel sorry for her?

Corbyn: I am a decent human being, I feel sorry for anyone in distress. But the best way for anyone to alleviate distress is to take yourself away from the source of it.

There are many things one could say about these statements.

Restricting ourselves to one: Corbyn has decided to ignore the decision of the Labour Conference to leave a “second vote” option open.

Labour has taken a significant step towards backing a public vote on Brexit after its annual conference voted to keep open the option of another referendum.

Delegates at the gathering in Liverpool voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion saying Labour “must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.

It says that if Theresa May manages to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU, the government “should not be afraid to put that deal to the public”.

The motion reads: “If we cannot get a general election, Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.

“If the government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from, they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.”

Independent. 25th of September.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm

In Praise of George Soros.

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Soros: Open Diamond Geezer and His Enemies.

Frank Furedi, guru of Spiked,  wrote in the Daily Telegraph earlier this year.

My encounter with George Soros’s bright-eyed missionaries left me deeply disturbed

Soros does not believe in the legitimacy of borders nor in the authority of national electorates. Consequently he feels entitled to influence and if possible direct the political destiny of societies all over the world. Today it is the future of Britain; tomorrow it might be Italy or Hungary that will be the target of Soros’ largesse.

The problem with Soros is not that he is rich. (Note, like the proprietors of the Telegraph, the secretive Barclay brothers).  The rich, like the poor, are entitled to act in accordance with their political views. However, there is something morally wrong when a single individual seeks to use his wealth to alter the will of millions of people who constitute the electorate. It is even worse when an oligarch is able to exercise significant influence over the future of a society that he is not a part of.

Former Revolutionary Communist Party Furedi is not the only disturbed person around:

The Morning Star, happy with millionaire far right-winger Arron Banks backing for the anti-EU cause, and Trade Unionists Against the EU<  threw a wobbly about Soros during the Labour Conference,

The Chuka Umunnas, Anna Soubrys, Tony Blairs, Peter Mandelsons, Vince Cables, Andrew Adonises and sundry nationalist and greenish politicians, bankrolled by George Soros and other financial interests, are linked by their contempt for democracy and their hostility to Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the socialist policies they champion.

Demonising Soros they join the nationalist far-right.

As the Financial Times points out today:

The Soros conspiracy theory goes global

Three years ago, Hungary’s prime minister accused billionaire George Soros of trying to flood the country with Middle Eastern migrants.

In recent weeks, a similar allegation against Mr Soros has emerged in the US: internet conspiracy theorists and some Republican politicians have accused him, without evidence, of funding a caravan of Central American migrants heading for the US border.

Asked last week whether Mr Soros was financing the caravan US president Donald Trump said: “I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of people say yes.”

Mr Soros denies any connection. The frequency with which such unfounded allegations have been aired in the US highlights how divisive the issue of illegal immigration — a favourite campaign theme of Mr Trump— has become. But it also shows how anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories have spread from the fringes to the political mainstream, in both Europe and the US.

Soros can speak for himself. And does:

George Soros has been a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals and causes for more than 30 years. His philanthropic organization, the Open Society Foundations, supports democracy and human rights in more than 100 countries.

As in this:

budgets

 

George Soros is a supporter of Karl Popper’s idea on the ‘open society’.

In the Open Society and its Enemies  (1945) and the Poverty of Historicism (1957) he attacked ‘holism’ and the claim, notably by those claiming to be Marxists, to have discovered the ‘laws of history’ and to subject societies to their closed views. Popper painted a contentious picture of political philosophy. His account of the history ideas, a broad-brush picture of totalitarian inklings from Plato, to Hegel and Marx, is contested. The idea that there is a “falsification””principle in science which demolishes and claim to objective explanations of historical development, how societies work, or how modes of production and class struggle operate, is not one Marxists – of (probably) all stripes –  would agree with. But there are some who would certainly find fault with “total” explanations and the orthodox and Hegelian use of the term “totality” as a category.

Since democratic socialists, including democratic Marxist, stand for open debate and are not afraid of criticism, one can hardly fault Popper for stirring things up.

There is a vast literature on the debates created by these books, open as can be.

And do we disagree with the concluding words of the Open Society and its Enemies?

For to progress is to move towards some kind of end, towards an end which exists for us as human beings. History cannot do that ; only we, the human individuals, can do it;we can do it by defending and strengthening those democratic institutions upon which freedom, and with it progress, depends. And we shall do it much better as we become more fully aware of the fact that progress rests with us, with our watchfulness, with our efforts, with the clarity of our conception of our ends, and with the realism 28 of their choice.

Instead of posing as prophets we must become the makers of our fate. We must learn to do things as well as we can, and to look out for our mistakes. And when we have dropped the idea that the history of power will be our judge, when we have given up worrying whether or not history will justify us, then one day perhaps we may succeed in getting power under control. In this way we may even justify history, in our turn. It badly needs such justification.

Soros’ writings on ‘reflexivity’ need more a a glace oto get to grips with.

But this can surely be met with some sympathy:

Although the primary manifestation of the reflexive process that Soros discusses is its effects in the financial markets, he has also explored its effects in politics. He has stated that whereas the greatest threats to the “Open Society” in the past were from Communism and Fascism (as discussed in Open Society and its Enemies by his mentor Karl Popper), the largest current threat is from Market fundamentalism.

Faced with the kind of attacks Soros has received this is welcome:

Mr. Soros was born into a Jewish family in Hungary, and survived the Nazi occupation as a child in part by posing as the Christian godson of a government official.

After World War II, Mr. Soros fled Hungary for England as the Soviet Union consolidated control in his home country. He worked as a waiter and a railroad porter and studied at the London School of Economics, where he was deeply influenced by the theories of an Austrian philosopher who taught there, Karl Popper. Mr. Popper wrote about the consequences of what he called “closed” and “open” societies — concepts that shaped Mr. Soros’s investment strategy and philanthropy for decades.

His daring investments in companies and currencies proved hugely lucrative, prompting The Economist to call him “surely the world’s most intriguing investor” in 1987. His decision to short the British pound in 1992 earned his funds a reported profit of $1 billion.

By then, he was turning his attention to democracy-building in Eastern Europe.

Mr. Soros and his foundations supported groups and individuals seeking to bring down Communism, including the Solidarity and Charter 77 movements in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The leaders of both groups would later lead their countries in the post-Communist era.

In Hungary, Mr. Soros distributed photocopiers to universities and libraries as a means to fight government censorship, and he paid for dissidents to study in the West. The recipients included a young Mr. Orban, then a liberal activist.

After the end of the Cold War, with the Open Society Foundations as his main vehicle, Mr. Soros funded new work for destitute Soviet scientists in Russia, paid for free school breakfasts for Hungarian children and set up a college, the Central European University, that later drew the ire of Mr. Orban’s government.

In the United States, where Mr. Soros was granted citizenship in the 1960s, Mr. Soros’s efforts often won bipartisan applause. A professed admirer of President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to topple Communist rule in Eastern Europe, Mr. Soros, who at the time described himself as a political independent, was seen by anti-Communist Republicans as a fellow freedom fighter.

As his activities grew more prominent in Europe, and he began funding drug reform efforts in the United States, he started being cast in the 1990s as a central figure in a shadowy Jewish cabal by extremist figures such as the fascist presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. and allies of repressive Eastern European leaders who were targeted by groups funded by Mr. Soros.

The theories were initially confined to the anti-Semitic fringe, though Mr. Soros is not closely associated with Jewish or Israeli causes, and in fact has been accused of being anti-Israel and was criticized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

From: How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream New York Times. October the 31st 2018.

Here are some serious criticisms of Soros (201*

Throughout his career, Soros has made a number of wise and exciting interventions. From a democratic perspective, though, this single wealthy person’s ability to shape public affairs is catastrophic. Soros himself has recognised that “the connection between capitalism and democracy is tenuous at best”. The problem for billionaires like him is what they do with this information. The open society envisions a world in which everyone recognises each other’s humanity and engages each other as equals. If most people are scraping for the last pieces of an ever-shrinking pie, however, it is difficult to imagine how we can build the world in which Soros – and, indeed, many of us – would wish to live. Presently, Soros’s cosmopolitan dreams remain exactly that. The question is why, and the answer might very well be that the open society is only possible in a world where no one – whether Soros, or Gates, or DeVos, or Zuckerberg, or Buffett, or Musk, or Bezos – is allowed to become as rich as he has.

His response:

 I have been a passionate critic of market fundamentalism at least since I first discussed the phenomenon in my essay The Capitalist Threat in the Atlantic Monthly 20 years ago. Moreover, I have been a steadfast promoter of what Bessner calls the “root-and-branch reforms” that could bring about the better world that I and many others desire – for example, I would cite the positions I adopted regarding reforms after the financial crisis of 2008. Anybody who reviews the record will see that my proposals were far from the mainstream “centre left” approach that eventually prevailed. In the same vein, regarding eastern Europe post-1989, Bessner writes: “It was more than a lack of political will that constrained the west during this moment. In the era of ‘shock therapy’, western capital did flock to eastern Europe – but this capital was invested mostly in private industry, as opposed to democratic institutions or grassroots community-building, which helped the kleptocrats and anti-democrats seize and maintain power.” I agree. But Bessner continues: “Soros had identified a key problem but was unable to appreciate how the very logic of capitalism, which stressed profit above all, would necessarily undermine his democratic project. He remained too wedded to the system he had conquered.” To the contrary, my interventions were entirely in support of “democratic institutions and grassroots community-building”, and I urged others, including governments, to follow me in this approach.

Likewise, Bessner’s conclusion that my status “as a member of the hyper-elite and [my] belief that, for all its hiccups, history was headed in the right direction made [me] unable to consider fully the ideological obstacles that stood in the way of [my] internationalism” is unfounded. I don’t think I have ever expressed an optimism that history is headed in the right direction. Martin Luther King famously said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. I am less of an optimist, which is why I have spent my life actively trying to bend the arc in a positive direction. But recognising that I am a biased evaluator of my life’s work, I will submit it to the judgment to history.
George Soros
Open Society Foundations

It is still unfortunate that somebody with money can have a great influence on politics.

But this is hardly ‘post-democracy’ when Soros has helped stir up democratic action and debate from those excluded by the truly powerful – the right and the nationalists.

If we are unlikely to agree with all of his views then, tough.

He is a respected interlocutor.

And clearly, from the enemies he has: Soros is a diamond geezer.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Anti-Fascists Block Democratic Football Lads Alliance March – Reports.

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Anti-fascists block route of Democratic Football Lads Alliance London march

Some reports:

Guardian.

Scores of officers and dozens of police vans later separated a group of counter-demonstrators shouting “Nazi scum off our streets” in Trafalgar Square.

A large section of the DFLA march eventually arrived on Whitehall, where a truck was used as a stage for speeches.

The DFLA, a group formed of mainly middle-aged, white male football fans, had planned a mass march from Park Lane to Whitehall. The organisers had said on Facebook that they were protesting against ”returning jihadists”, “thousands of Awol migrants”, “rape gangs and groomers” and “veterans treated like traitors”.

DFLA march in London: Far-right protest spills into violence as police officers attacked

Evening Standard.

Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance march erupts into violence with one supporter threatening ‘to kill police officer’

Independent.

2,000 anti-fascists deal a blow to the far right DFLA

Socialist Worker.

Around 2,000 anti-racists joined a march and rally against the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) in central London today.

Called by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF), it was an important test in the battle against the resurgent far right.

The DFLA pulled the smallest numbers to date for a national mobilisation—around 1,500 to 2,000 joined its march from Hyde Park to Whitehall. Some stayed in pubs rather than join the march, others left early for the pubs.

And then their generator broke down, curtailing their speeches.

It came on the one-year anniversary of the “original” FLA’s first demonstration, which saw up to 20,000 march under the banner of “united against extremism”.

The SUTR demonstration saw speeches from trade unions, Labour Party members and anti-racist organisations.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott sent a message of support that said, “We’re proud to walk in the traditions of anti-racism campaigners and activists. Your fight is our fight.”

Anti-fascist demonstrators outnumber the DFLA in London 

Counterfire.

Not everybody is so upbeat pointing to the SUTR demo not being *that* big. And there was a separate AFN demo. that tried direct action.

It is also not entirely true that the DLFA march was entirely middle aged male and white, as the video at the bottom illustrates.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 14, 2018 at 11:05 am

“For National Populism”: the Man-Crush of Spiked (former, Revolutionary Communist Party) for Viktor Orbán.

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Image result for orban cartoon

Orban’s Gallant Defiance of EU Elites.

A few days ago Frank Furedi was doing his chivalrous bit by coming to the aid of distressed demagogue Hungary’s PM, Viktor Orban,

The Hungarian government’s values are very different to the technocratic outlook of the EU federalists. The best way to describe the Hungarian government’s outlook is conservative, traditional and Christian. It is also democratic and very human. These are values that the EU oligarchy is determined to abolish, to erase from the European landscape and history, in order that it might replace them with its own technocratic cosmopolitan outlook.

Frank Furedi.  THE EU’S SHAMEFUL CRUSADE AGAINST HUNGARY

Furedi launched this crusade for Orbran and now his minions are now following.

The former High Up of the RCP and ex-Editor of Living Marxism Brendan O’Neill  has leapt into the fray in the right-wing Spectator.

Tory MEPs were right not to denounce Viktor Orban

You would never know it from the shrill media coverage, but Tory MEPs’ refusal to back the EU’s censure of Viktor Orban’s Hungary is one of the most principled things they have ever done. They are, of course, being denounced as Orban apologists, as cheerleaders for the authoritarian turn Hungary has taken under his prime ministership. Nonsense. They have taken a stand against authoritarianism. Against the authoritarianism of the European Union, whose technocratic arrogance has now reached such dizzy heights that it presumes the moral authority to punish nation states for doing what their own people, the electorate, have asked them to do. That is a far greater crime against democracy than any committed by Orban.

Good on the Tory MEPs who refused to back the anti-democratic censure of Hungary. And shame on those who are denouncing these Tories as bootlickers of Orban’s regime. It brings to mind the way that those of us who opposed the war in Iraq were written off as stooges for Saddam. Grow up, everyone: you can be critical of a foreign government while also opposing any tyrannical attempt by outsiders to overthrow or throttle that government.

What lies behind the New Course?

The Chief explained in August 2017.

Residing in Hungary for much of last year, I could see that the attacks levelled against that country by the EU-influenced media were motivated by the same impulses driving the anti-populist crusade across Europe. These attacks said more about the undemocratic spirit of Brussels than anything that was going on in Budapest.

WHY I WROTE A RADICAL DEMOCRATIC DEFENCE OF POPULISM

This book, appearing last year, to all the loud ‘umph of a falling hazelnut, intends to be a kind of alternative to Chantal Mouffe’s For a Left Populism (2018)

..one of the reasons I was so enthusiastic about Brexit, and remain so, was precisely because I see the EU as detrimental not only to public and political life in Britain, but also to the future of Europe. My book is devoted to explaining how the values espoused by the EU oligarchy are actually alien to the longstanding values of European civilisation.

The EU continually upholds the identities of minorities, regions and ethnic and other groups, but the one identity it singles out for attack is that of the nation. The EU prides itself on its celebration of identity politics and diversity; but its love affair with diversity doesn’t extend to appreciating the diversity of this continent’s national cultures. In my book, I argue that the EU is carrying out a culture war against national pride and consciousness.

National sovereignty is important for two reasons. First because it provides the largest terrain that humankind has discovered so far where democratic accountability can be exercised and have real meaning. Popular sovereignty can occur within a local community, a city or a nation – but it cannot be exercised in a territory larger than the nation. And the second reason national sovereignty is important is that it provides a context for the cultivation of a real, felt identity. There are other possible ways for people to develop their identities, but for most people the nation constitutes the largest area within which their identity can be forged and gain real purchase.

Having asserted the case for “identitarian politics” Furedi continues,

 in the course of researching this book, I came to the conclusion that, from the EU’s perspective, the main crime of the Hungarian government is that on many issues it promotes values that directly contradict those of the EU.

It is interesting to set these claims beside those made by Chantal Mouffe (who will be the subject of a full length  reply on this Blog, here is a very critical review in French, in which it is also published: Populisme de gauche, du nouveau ? Sur le dernier livre de Chantal Mouffe KHALFA Pierre) defending her new book, For a Left Populism (2018).

 She asserts that,

The only way to fight rightwing populism is to give a progressive answer to the demands they are expressing in a xenophobic language. This means recognising the existence of a democratic nucleus in those demands and the possibility, through a different discourse, of articulating those demands in a radical democratic direction.

This is the political strategy that I call “left populism”. Its purpose is the construction of a collective will, a “people” whose adversary is the “oligarchy”, the force that sustains the neoliberal order.

Guardian

This raises the obvious point that the demand “out with the immigrants” has no progressive content, nor does a demand for “sovereignty” rub up against markets, capitalism, or any of the left’s targets. That is the mechanisms which create inequality, injustice and oppression.

To put it at is starkest: those who claim that the ‘strain’ on public services ’caused’ is caused by migration and the EU ‘elite’ freedom of movement policy,  divert anger against austerity towards migrants…

Mouffe also claims that her alternative, “cannot be formulated through the left/right cleavage, as traditionally configured. “

It needs,

to bring these diverse struggles together requires establishing a bond between social movements and a new type of party to create a “people” fighting for equality and social justice.

Let us leave aside the point that such a “people” is something which has yet to be seen and touched, and how exactly does a “collective will” take decisions,  outside of her theoretical abstractions.

More significantly Mouffe’s examples, Podemos and La France insoumise, are widely different.

The first is a genuine mass movement with links to social movements (it was formed in the wake of the anti-austerity Movimiento 15-M), which, while not founding Podemos, are in close relation with a democratically organised organisation. Podemos has a proper elected leadership, conferences and internal debates, even ‘tendencies’. It takes decisions, hard ones in the case of the separatists populists of Catalonia, where they recognised national rights without giving way to the creation of ‘sovereigntism’, either of the Spanish state or the Catalan bourgeoisie.

La France insoumise (LFI), by contrast,  is a top-down Rally led by a Chief, Jean-Luc Mélenchon a “Party-Movement dedicated to training actors “in the art of becoming historical agents”. There is a simulacrum of internal democracy for its (massive, I am a ‘member’) on-line ‘membership, conferences of delegates in which a majority are chosen by lot, and policy decided by the Trainers. There are no internal tendencies (unlike their allies in Ensemble). LFI has recently been accused of drifting towards the nationalism which right-wing populism thrives on.

Feurdi and his mates have a simpler answer: they consider not just the kernel but the whole populist nut of people like Orban worth defending.

All the works of Lenin, Trotsky,  Marx, and Engels, all the ideas about capitalism, modes of production, class struggle, have evaporated.

The slate is clean.

The populists, Orban in case you asked,  are the Nation-People incarnate, proudly felt.

Woe betide ‘elites’ who attack them!