Why right wing blogs have it over the left…

Iain Dale with a Tribune article on what leftist bloggers are doing wrong. Though I note he hasn’t mentioned Harry’s Place or Norman Geras two of the most high profile left blogs in the UK. In a nutshell Iain recommends:

Get your blogs talked about. Be bolder. Be funnier. Offer insight, not just predictable diatribes about Iraq and how awful Blair is. And above all, don’t assume that all the readers of your blog share your views. If they all do, the chances are you’ve got a very dead blog. When you get a load of Tories leaving comments on your blog and slagging you off you know you’re making an impact.

  • Garibaldy

    He missed out Lenin’s Tomb, run by an SWP member from NI which as well as the usual Iraq diatribes, has good historical and philosophical stuff, and acts as a mouthpiece for Respect.

  • Pete Baker

    “Though I note he hasn’t mentioned Harry’s Place or Norman Geras two of the most high profile left blogs in the UK.”

    Hmmm.. that would probably be because certain elements of the left-wing reject, incorrectly, the left-wing credentials of those blogs.

    Their own adherence to ideology is blinding their judgement.. which, ironically, is the accusation of the blogs concerned.

  • Garibaldy

    Pete,

    Can people who signed the Euston Manifesto really be termed left-wing? I think not. Just because people used to be Marxists doesn’t mean they can jump through any hoops they feel like and still say but ‘I’m stil a socialist’

  • Pete Baker

    As I [almost] said, Garibaldy:

    [just] because certain elements of the left-wing reject, incorrectly, the left-wing credentials of those blogs [doesn’t make them right-wing]

  • The guy has a point. Much like Ameircan talk radio which is almost all right wing Then one has to quantify influence. Is influence being used as a handy quote or is it supplying had facts? The demographics are also importnat. Indemedia’s Irish group seem to be a group of enthusiastic young Trots running around like headless chickens. The extreme right wing seem to be trailer trash types piggybacking on the organizational skills of some American neo Nazis. So, just like after the War with right wing think thanks, so also today influence can be covert and time lagged.
    Without a group of dedicated volunteers committed to a common cause and without an elastic approach, blogs wil be limited in impact. Maybe the right have it beter that way. In the last British General Election, the Tory first lady spoke about hair dos and the rest, which female voters loved. Maybe she came across as more genuine than Mrs Blair.

  • Mick Fealty

    Garibaldy:

    The political term ‘Left’ predates Marx. A more relevant question might be ‘what does it still mean’.

  • mickhall

    Mick,

    I have to say these days I have met very few comrades on the UK left who regard either Harry’s Place or Norman Geras as being part of the left.

    Indeed the fact that both of these blogs spend much of there time attacking the left, may well be why they have been given such a high profile in the media. When Geras Euston Manifesto has been raised on the Guardians Comment is Free, hardly anyone from the left came to its defense, although many right wing commentators seemed all for it.

    For most people on the left anti imperialism is the bulwark of their politics, the more so when it is your own country illegally invading and occupying someone else’s land and breaking international law in the process. The fact is for many of us leftists, just because someone claims to be on the left does not make it so; and those involved with Harry’s Place and Geras took the easy option and supported their own government and most of them to this day refuse to admit they were wrong, despite Blair having based his justification for the war on wicked lies.

    In politics one cannot but be known by the company you keep, thus one cannot but judge Harry’s Place and Mr Geras harshly from a leftist perspective, as the stench of innocent Iraqi blood is upon them and it gives me no pleasure to say this about former comrades.

    By the way Mick, I would be interested to know why you continue to claim these people are still part of the UK left? When clearly the pro Bush/Blair right has claimed them as if they were brothers in arms.

    Regards

    Mick

  • Pete Baker

    No offence, Mick.. but your “comrades on the UK left” are not a representative sample.

  • Garibaldy

    Mick,

    I wasn’t suggesting that the left started with Marx. What I am complaining about is people who have a background in Marxism who use it as a badge of radical credentials long after they have abandoned the principles that made them radical (like whichever one of the Hitchens’ it is who does this, citing his support for Vietnam as a stick to beat those who support the Iraqi resistance or whatever you want to call it with.). Of course one doesn’t have to have been Marxist to do this – Blair’s letter somebody blogged earlier mentions Paine, and possibly Godwin et al. Does he still count as a radical just because he used to be one?

    In terms of what the left means today, you raise an excellent point. I would say that at a bare minimum for those with a serious claim to be on the left it involves defending – and where possible advancing – the principles that fostered the welfare state across Europe. It involves also I think a suspicious attitude towards the mixing of politics and religion. It involves a defence of human rights and personal freedoms which are under threat in what the French might call the Anglo-Saxon world and in other areas too.

    To answer both yourself and Pete, the question of national sovereignty and independence is also key. For centuries international law has been based on the understanding that the internal affairs of states should not be interfered with by outside powers. In addition, since the French Revolution (as the American had also asserted) the right of nations to decide their own destinies as an expression of the general will/will of the nation has formed an integral part of left-wing thinking. Hence the support of the left, in the second half of the C20th at least, for decolonisation and independence from foreign powers. The programme of the Euston Manifesto, and the individualist interpretation of human rights the neo-cons are seeking to promote across the globe violates that fundamental principle of the left. This is why I don’t think those who signed the Euston Manifesto can any longer claim to be part of the left.

    Have you any reasons Pete to suggest why they stil can be thought of as left wing?

  • mickhall

    Mick,
    If you need to ask the question, what does the left mean, you are not part of the left, simply part of that infantile group who by asking such a daft question hope we will either go away, or it will demoralize future generations from becoming politically left wing.

    They have not a hope in hell, because as St Paul said, the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness cannot overcome it.

    Those who pose this question remind me of the poor sap who kept prattling on about the end of history, even writing a book about it. Only to find out the forces of exploitation and evil [US right] were using him, I suppose the best we can hope from some of those who signed the Euston manifesto is they might wake up to their own exploitation by the right.

    Regards.

  • Simply because that is how they define themselves. If they are not leftist, what are they? And on what basis are they excluded.

    One possible explanation might be that the left/right paradigm is itself atomising, and becoming less meaningful. Or at least unmeaningful to the rest of the citizenry.

    BTW, I’ve not claimed to be part of the left, even if the political compass (http://tinyurl.com/5h7p7) puts me there.

  • Garibaldy

    Mick Hall,

    Have to say I disagree with your attitude to Mick’s question. It’s important to clarify terms, and engage in linguistic struggle. And, if those on the left wish to engage new bodies of people, they have to address what their interests are in immediate and practical terms. It’s about Relevance.

  • Garibaldy

    Mick F,

    Of course there has been a blurring of the left right divide, and a move to rethink those terms. However, those who consider themselves as on the serious left cannot surrender these terms to people like Geras. Another good example is the Henry Jackson Society, run by a group of Cambridge academics, which got quite a bit of coverage when it launched maybe a year ago now. It’s named after a US Democrat Senator, who believed it was wrong to talk to the Soviets due to their position on human rights. Never heard him talk much about human rights in Latin America or the Mujhadeen much though.

    The Society advocates that the US and “Europe under British leadership” use their military might to enforce a neo-con world. While its leading light is Brendan Simms, who is a well-known Conservative, others in the group claim they are to the left. As one of their writers (from NI) roughly put it, I’m left wing because I believe in democracy. Well, ripping up the independence of other countries, and refusing to accept their democratic decisions, is not very democratic, nor very revolutionary. More reactionary I, and the serious left would say.

    As I said to Mick Hall, this is why linguistic struggle is important. And why the serious left seeks to define the left in its own terms.

  • mickhall

    Pete,

    Explain yourself, so for you comrades who have been active Trade Unionists, some for decades, who hold positions from Shop Stewards, lay officials and at district, regional and national level, right up two General secretary of two of the largest TU in the UK are not a representative sample. How so, I fear you have no idea who my comrades are, nor very little about the Left.

    You may feel a small group of middle class intellectuals are representative of the UK left, but you would be very much mistaken Pete. If you wish to understand my politics ask, don’t listen to gossip or make a judgement not knowing the facts, your be saying next I’m a member of the SWP or some such sect, although I tell you bluntly compared to those you regard as the left I consider them to be comrades to, for unlike Geras and co, when push came to shove, the trots, as they do more often than not, came down on the right side; and stood with those getting shafted, not those doing the shafting.

  • mickhall

    Garabaldy

    Your wrong, we on the left do not define ourselves on are own terms, but how society is structured, which today in the UK is basically by oppressing or exploiting the majority for the benefit and advantage of the few.

    Reaching out to people is fine, so is taking on new ideas and methods of struggle, but of course the people we are debating did not do this, they moved backwards, repeating what many who have broken from the left have done in the past, they moved towards their own government whilst it was engaged in an oppressive act.

    Nothing new or unusual as it happens periodically when people move from the left to right and are either to cowardly or stupid to acknowledge publicly they have changed their political perspective. As you said it is no accident the Jackson society has hovered many of them up, as the man often claimed to be a progressive democrat, whilst supporting the most brutal crimes of his own government at home and especially over seas.

    Comradely regards.

  • Garibaldy

    Mick Hall,

    When I said the left must seek to define itself on its own terms, I meant in terms of what policies and principles can be rightly considered left wing. I appreciate what you’re saying about social structure, but ideological debate is heavily affected by language.

  • mickhall

    mick,

    Must go to bed, I realize you have never claimed to be part of the left and I did not mean to refer to you personally, but those people who seem to me to be forever making the proposition that the left is a dead duck etc.

    If they mean Stalinism and the Leninists method of organizing a party and State, then yes, hopefully it is a thing of the past. But what they really mean imo is it is foolish to struggle for equality, against the harsh reality of the unrestricted free market and US hegemony.

    Far from being a thing of the past, the left is growing in a thousand different ways, from the environmental movement, anti privatization, the need for social housing, better health care for all and education. Plus the events in South and central America and the magnificent courage shown in the third world by ordinary people fighting on a daily bases to better their own and their families lives in a hundred different ways.

    Far from being the past, we are the future and the only bulwark against barbarism. This century will be one of Democratic socialism.

    good night all you night owles.

  • Pete Baker

    You misunderstand my point, Mick.

    Which is.. simply because you declare someone else not to be left-wing does not automatically mean that that’s where their political allegiances lie.. regardless of whom they may have sworn allegiance to in the past.

    I’ll take on-board their current declarartions and assess them on that basis.

  • Shay Begorrah

    I seem to remember that around the time Blair was trying to come up with a philosophy that could underpin his policies and myserious new poltical movement the third way he claimed that to be on the left it was enough to support equality of opportunity in society (rather than equality of outcome as radical, eh, liberals would have had it).

    Since then the barrier for entry to the left has been lowered still further – now you can support US imperialism, wax lyrical about the benefits of colonialism, be comfortable with large inequalities in society, be for widepspread surveillance of the populace and the unrestrained movement of capital between countries and still make it into the big tent, join the big conversation and really just be non-dogmatic and practical about the whole right/wrong rich/poor oppressor/oppressed thing which we can not really change and we really just need to put a sticking plaster on. Actually lets put “sticking the plaster on” out to tender.

    Nuts to that. Blogs on the right owe their popularity to the fact that the average blog reader is a self described libertarian and IT “professional” with an exaggerated sense of their own intelligence and an unhealthy does of contempt for those who are less well off. Why the poor and dispossessed should get off their peasant asses and join a really exciting technology start up. Flat taxes for all. Freakonomics is a really insightful book. Etc.

    I remember reading Instanpundit and thinking “if this is one of their intellectuals – how are they in power?”.

  • Harry Flashman

    Hmmm, they wonder why no one bothers with left wing blogs, well just read through the comments above and you’ll find out why, fuck me I never read anything so dull in all me born days. No wonder that all the good, humouous writing is on the right these days.

    Tell me you lefties, do yez ever laugh? You know joke around, take the piss, that sort of thing? Or do yez just drone on interminably for hours and hours on end about fuck all? Christ you lot could bore for Britain [or Ireland or Northern Ireland if you like], it’s like wading through written Mogadon, sheesh I need to read some more Mark Steyn to wake me up.

  • Harry Flashman: You beat me to it. I fully agree with your post.

  • Nevin
  • I just came back to re-iterate the Dale quote from above:

    “Get your blogs talked about. Be bolder. Be funnier. Offer insight, not just predictable diatribes about Iraq and how awful Blair is. And above all, don’t assume that all the readers of your blog share your views. If they all do, the chances are you’ve got a very dead blog. When you get a load of Tories leaving comments on your blog and slagging you off you know you’re making an impact”.

    In this case Harry’s slagging, I would submit, is the wrong kind of slagging.

  • DK

    The Euston mainfesto was a call for some elements of the left wing to reign themselves in as they were becoming, extremist right wing, by: supporting everything that was anti-american in an uncritical way, calling for the destruction of Israel, supporting suicide bombing, etc.

    It was a call for a return to human rights for all. Not qualified human rights depending who was fighting america at the time. (e.g. they may keep their women locked up, but as long as they are fighting the americans in Iraq then that is alright then).

    Here is a link to the manifesto:

    http://eustonmanifesto.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=41

    Read it & then claim it is not left wing!

  • I wouldn’t describe myself as either leftie or rightie, and I read blogs of both flavours. I think that one of the things that makes readers keep coming back to right-wing blogs is the fearlessness with which their authors express extreme or even outrageous opinions. A Tangled Web is a good example of this. Back in the day when I used to read it, a good chunk of its readership would have political opinions the complete opposite of David Vance and Andrew McCann. It’s like rubber-necking when you pass a car crash, you just can’t stop yourself from taking a peek at it, even if you know it’s going to upset you. And it’s not just bloggers either but commentators in the regular press too. It’s why Kevin Myers was so popular in the Irish Times, or why Ann Coulter is such a big name in the USA.

    There was an interesting article in last Sunday’s Observer about Coulter, btw.

  • Jo

    “the fearlessness with which their authors express extreme or even outrageous opinions”

    ..and this is thought a good thing?

    Is there a denial of a relationship between speaking the unspeakable and those who actually go out and DO the unspeakable?

    The outrage of those who espuse outrageousness for its own sake – when confronted with an outrageous expression of a view opposed to theirs- is indeed something to behold.

    And it also has a name: Hypocrisy.

    I think the slowing down to look at a car crash analogy is apt: but such slowing down says or does little for human dignity.

  • Gerry O’S: Good post and good aobut Ms Coulter. I have heard her, watched Fox News and listened to Rush. Some of the crap they say is jaw dropping. But there is a huge market of punters who believe it all. Their genius was in seeing that market and catering to it.
    Kevin Myers: maybe a little bit the same. It amazes me the Indo would headhunt him. Maybe they want to go the Sindo route.
    Maybe the right wing bloggers serve their readers and the left wingers don’t. The Blanket often has good articles, some by Mick Hall but it is eratic publication wise.

  • mickhall

    Harry,

    You may feel having a laugh at the expense of people who are being oppressed is a fun way to spend your time but I do not. This has nothing to do with having a sense of humor either, I have no doubt you used to laugh at irish jokes at the hight of the war, funny is it not that few jokes are made at the expense of the people of the oppressor nations like the England and the US, but thousand are made against occupied and oppressed nations for example Iraq Poland and Ireland.

    Harry please, your liking for right wing blogs has nothing to do with a lack of humor, but the fact that they reflect your political opinions, nothing wrong with that but at least be honest enough to say so.

    DK
    Your totally wrong in what motivated the Euston Manifesto, the real motor behind it was the fact that those who wrote it had moved from the left to right by supporting an illegal war and occupation of Iraq that daily breaks the Geneva convention. Instead of facing the fact that they had changed their minds politically they are trying to convince themselves that it is the left that has changed viz a viz human rights etc.

    You my friend are not on the left but support this outfit and spout their prejudice, by the way, who on the left supports suicide bombers, understands what may have driven people to behave in such a way perhaps, but support them no one. The same is true with you nonsensical claim that the left wishes to destroy the State of Israel. The reverse is true as the two state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is almost universally supported on the left.

    Why tell such lies or with respect are you just a poor sap willing to be used, if so make some inquiries, instead of relying on right wing blogs and hand outs from the US embassy..

    The most important thing about to days left is we do not have all the answers and thankfully we no longer act as if we do. Although unlike the right we have not of late made any mistakes on the scale of Iraq, which many right wing columnists, due to their human decency have very much come to regret supporting.

    Finally on the Euston outfit, I have nothing against people challenging fixed opinions and without a doubt many of us on the left needed a wake up call, but the problem I have with Euston is that they only ever seem to condemn the left, for example they demand of us that we leave Iraq to one side. How can we when the slaughter in that tragic land continues unabated on a daily basis.

    All the Best DK and Harry.

  • Harry Flashman

    Yes Gerry it could be the car crash phenomenon, but here’s another theory why people like Kevin Myers, Ann Coulter, Mark Steyn etc are very popular (aside form the fact that they write terrifically sharp stuff, unlike ninety nine percent of the pompous lefty droners in the Guardian and NY Times), it could be because people agree with them perhaps.

    Hey don’t shoot me down, it’s just a thought, I know, I know, no one you’ve ever met in your Workers’ Collective meetings agrees with anything they write but here’s an amazing fact there are millions and millions of people out there who don’t actually wake up every morning in a fevered rage about George Bush.

    There are actually people out there – and I understand this is hard to believe – who aren’t knuckle dragging mouth breathing trogladytes who actually think that Islamic fundamentalism is really a threat to modern freedoms. These people also believe that they should have the right to decide for themselves how much of their own money should be confiscated from them by the government in taxes, they also believe that they know better than civil servants and teachers’ unions how to raise and educate their children, they don’t subscribe to the theory that only government agencies can create a perfect society, they think liberal free market democratic societies have a better proven track record of peace and prosperity than collectivist revolutionary societies. They hold other crazy viewpoints too, like oh I don’t know, that the place for dangerous criminals is prison, that a sovereign nation has the right to decide who may or may not be admitted into the country, that electoral mandates should have more influence on law making than foreign courts, that sort of insane stuff.

    The thing is that these people, and amazingly there are an awful lot of them out there, don’t feel that their opinions are represented in the mainstream media. Yes I know we all know that the BBC, Guardian, Channel 4, RTE, Irish Times, Hollywood, CNN and the other US networks as well as all the major US newspapers are one step removed from Fascist propaganda organisations but alot of the crazy people think that they display a marked left of centre liberal bias. This has resulted in a an explosion of “right wing” (frankly the whole left/right analysis of modern day politics is utterly redundant today) analysis in the alternative media, cable tv, the internet, talk radio etc. This has led to a massive fall off in audience figures for the dinosaur media and is why Left leaning blogs just can’t cut it, I mean why log on to a blog just to hear the Guardian or Today Programme talking points being repeated?

    The only way that Left wing blogs such as Daily Kos and democraticunderground in the US can keep up is by driving themselves further and further into the lunatic fringe and driving ordinary voters further and further away, it’s a win win situation for the Right wing Bloggers.

    Of course as I mentioned before the biggest problem for the Left is that they’re a bunch of whiny, humourless, pompous, illiberal, uber-bores.

  • Jo

    Taigs:

    You will excuse, if I and others think your use of the word “genius” is somewhat misplaced. 🙂

  • Harry Flashman

    Yes, of course there will be many who read right-wing blogs and agree wholeheartedly with everything written there. In fact, some will read them because they articulate opinions that they hold themselves, yet would never have the courage to express for themselves.

    However, rather than make assumptions about me or my political opinions (unnecessary “Workers’ Collective” jibe), at least do me a favour and read what I wrote:

    1. “I wouldn’t describe myself as either leftie or rightie, and I read blogs of both flavours.”

    2. “I think that one of the things that makes readers keep coming back to right-wing blogs…”

    Cheers.

    Gerry.

  • Harry Flashman

    Yes, Gerry, I was only having a little joke.

  • mickhall

    “Of course as I mentioned before the biggest problem for the Left is that they’re a bunch of whiny, humorless, pompous, illiberal, uber-bores.
    posted by harry flashman”

    Unlike you harry I suppose, after all did you not choose your handle because flashman was ill-liberal, a braggart, a bully and b i g o t, much like most of those people you admire.

    I loved your joke about the media being full of left wing journalists and columnists, it is the way you tell them harry. By the way, people like me rage against out Prime Minister because he sent our sons and daughters off to war, to kill and be killed on a wicked lie, unfortunately the likes of you just wish to pat such a charlatan on the back. You really do have high principles harry, lets hope none of your kids join the military and come home in bits or a body bag.

    Harry you are a toady of those with power, if you lived in a Stalinist state, in all probability you would have touted on your neighbours and be singing the same hymn of praise as you sing to Capital, accept it would be directed at the politburo, have you ever opposed anything in your life? have you ever fought for anyone bar yourself?

    All you ever do is moan on about the left without an argument in sight. I doubt you could name 20 left wing blogs for all your criticisms without doing a google. I despair sometimes how a reasonable intelligent individual such as yourself can spout such rubbish without a fact in sight..

    Still I suppose you serve a purpose in giving me something to moan about, which is better than beating the wife.

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    sovereign nations have rights. I totally agree. Like the right not to be invaded whenever they aren’t doing what other countries want. Or the right not to have a coup mounted a democratically-elected government. Or the right not to have their airspace invaded by spy flights.

    And as for Islamic fundamentalism, who did you back in Afghanistan in the 1980s? I have a feeling it wasn’t the government that guaranteed women the freedom to work, drive, walk down the street, be educated, have medical care etc

  • Harry Flashman

    Mickhall

    Did I mention yeez are humourless? Jeez, now why do you think I said that? Oh fer fecks’ sake man get a wee life for yourself.

  • Jo

    Rightist Strategy II: when defeated in argument, never concede. Belittle or ridicule.

  • DK

    Mick Hall said of the Euston Manifesto: “those who wrote it had moved from the left to right by supporting an illegal war” and “they demand of us that we leave Iraq to one side.”

    This is not true. Here is an extract from the manifesto:

    “The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against. … We are, however, united in our view about the reactionary, semi-fascist and murderous character of the Baathist regime in Iraq, and we recognize its overthrow as a liberation of the Iraqi people. We are also united in the view that, since the day on which this occurred, the proper concern of genuine liberals and members of the Left should have been the battle to put in place in Iraq a democratic political order and to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, to create after decades of the most brutal oppression a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted — rather than picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention.

    This opposes us not only to those on the Left who have actively spoken in support of the gangs of jihadist and Baathist thugs of the Iraqi so-called resistance, but also to others who manage to find a way of situating themselves between such forces and those trying to bring a new democratic life to the country. We have no truck, either, with the tendency to pay lip service to these ends, while devoting most of one’s energy to criticism of political opponents at home (supposedly responsible for every difficulty in Iraq), and observing a tactful silence or near silence about the ugly forces of the Iraqi “insurgency”. The many left opponents of regime change in Iraq who have been unable to understand the considerations that led others on the Left to support it, dishing out anathema and excommunication, more lately demanding apology or repentance, betray the democratic values they profess.”

  • Shay Begorrah

    DK said:

    “they may keep their women locked up, but as long as they are fighting the americans in Iraq then that is alright then”

    Of course womens rights were right at the top of the Bush agenda when they invaded Iraq (which famously had excellent women’s rights by comparison with its neighbours). Yes, I remember well when Tony Bliar made his claim that Saddam Hussein could remove womens right to leave the home or work in less than forty five minutes. Thank God you guys destroyed the country before something bad happened to it. When I say guys I of course mean “dumb schmucks”.

    The Euston manifesto can not be taken seriously if one of the premises is that support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq is a valid left wing position.

    I dont want to get all Galloway on your asses but in everything we said we were right, in everything you said you were wrong. Human rights and womens rights in Iraq have been set back by a decade (or perhaps two) thanks to this misconcieved invasion, somewhere between a hundred and two hundred thousand are dead – liberated into the freedom of the grave. Dubya got reelected thanks to the war and Blair’s support and we all know what a friend to the left he is, the Palestinians are worse off than ever and the chances of the UN now being able to stage a humanitarian intervention in any other country (lets say Sudan) are precisely nil.

    Tell me, what more exactly would have to go wrong in Iraq before you sorry Atlanticist sons of bitches would admit that it was the wrong to support its invasion and occupation?

  • DK

    Shay,

    I will repeat the section from the Euston manifesto that you are having difficulty with: “The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against”.

    So, the Manifesto does not, in your words, have as one of it’s premises “that support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq is a valid left wing position”.

    The manifesto is about combatting the uglier side of extreme leftism where my enemies enemy is my friend, regardless of what they are like. Maybe that is too idealistic for some.

    The homepage of the manifesto has a campaign to send old mobile phones to Iraqi trade unions. Very right wing I must say.

  • Shay Begorrah

    DK kindly quotes the Euston manifesto so that we dont have to read it:

    “The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against”

    I have no difficulty there at all DK. Their thesis is that you can hold different views on the morality of invading and occupying Iraq and still have your other opinions on left wing goals and actions taken seriously. I would suggest that the majority position world wide on this is that you can not.

    It might also be a useful exercise for you to find out exactly what proportion of the “founding supporters” of the Euston manifesto opposed either the invasion or occupation of Iraq just so you can discount the theory that the whole thing is a pathethic attempt at ass covering by “liberal hawks” who think that they can rejoin the fold without admiting that they made and are making a very serious political and moral error. An error the consequences of which will continue to undermine the struggle for liberty, justice and sisterrhood around the world for some time.

    Leave supporting the Iraq war to the right DK and get back on track. It is not too late.

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh I’m sorry Jo dear, I hadn’t realised that I had been defeated in any argument, I pointed out that by and large Lefties are humourless whiners and in response the Lefties produce more humourless whining, was I wrong then?

    Shay

    Keep digging old son, the Nazi-Soviet pact that the Left is creating today whereby they ally themselves with the most fascistic, mosogynistic, racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, tyrannical political movement on the planet merely because it is opposed to the current United States administration is piling more and more fuel on to the funeral pyre of the Left.

    When this war is won, as it will be, as it is being won even now (ask the Zarkman how the Caliphate is looking these days), the millions of liberated Muslims whose freedoms will have been won will look at the bien pensant drawing room lefties with the utter contempt they deserve. They will spit in their faces in the same way that the liberated peoples of Eastern and Central Europe regarded the useful idiots of the Western Left who actively colaborated with their jailers before Ronnie and Maggie set them free.

    Bush Derangement Syndrome has taken such terminal hold of the body politic of the Left that I frankly feel the entire edifice is on the point of collapse. Listen folks I gotta let ya in on a secret, George W Bush will be stepping down as president in less than three years time, you’ve really got to spend that time trying to come up with some coherent policies. Building grotesque papier mache heads to take to demos is great fun but if you lot ever want to see power again in the US or the UK you’ve actually got to start using your brains again. Foam flecked shrieking about BusHitler and Halliburton isn’t actually considered to be coherent policy proposals.

    Try being adults for once, try to see the real world not the make believe world created by the campus radicals (I remember them in the 1980’s you know, they told me what a marvellous state Albania was, seriously they did, just before it imploded of course). We on the Right do actually need sane opposition and constructive criticism and I have to tell you lads we ain’t getting it just now from the Left, you’re collectively marching your way into oblivion and you know it – oh and puhlease don’t tell me how you’re winning because Mad Hugo bought another couple of dodgy Mig jets off the Russians for the Venezuelan airforce, as I said we need credible opposition not more clowns.

  • seedot

    As one of the ‘young trots’ involved in irish inymedia (although I’m not a trot and, unfortunately, not very young either) i think the nature of blogging suits a more individualistic approach to politics. Too many on the left are either hampered by a desire to avoid offending anyone or by having to check a party line to produce a really entertaining blog.

    On the right it is deemed grand to be an ego ridden contrarian who is just getting a rise.

    On indymedia, jokes tend to be about the relationship of the socialist workers party to the krondstadt uprising in 1919 – absolutely hilarious I can assure you but something of an acquired taste.

    (sorry for being on topic, let the iraq debate continue)

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    I await your own comic masterpiece in the contributions to this blog.

    I also note you haven’t made clear your position on Afghanistan in the 1980s. Did you support the Mujhihadeen you now so despise? If so why? Is a free market more important than freedom from religious tyranny?

    And let’s be very real about the type of Iraq that is emerging. A massively Balkanised state, where religious headcases – albeit ones who are happy to take support from the US – are dominant in large parts of the country, and with enough death, hatred and violence for hundreds of years of division. On top of that, look at the price of petrol, and the amount of oil the US and Uk import. With Saddam out of the way, and a weak, divided and dependent government in place in “control” of the world’s second largest oil reserves, I guess we’ll be able to breathe a little easier for the next 50 to 100 years or so.

    Why did Chavez, who has a progressive rather than a socialist government, buy those planes and weapons? Oh yes, the attempted coup the Americans backed.

    More generally, I agree absolutely that no-one who is serious about left-wing principles can ally themselves to religious extremists. A lesson I’m amazed people haven’t learnt from NI, never mind Iran or Algeria or the other countries where progressive forces allied themselves to such groups.

    Maybe Mark Thompson or Mark Steel will start blogs, and provide the laughter you so desperately desire.

  • Mick Fealty

    seedot,

    I think you hit something dead centre here:

    “…the nature of blogging suits a more individualistic approach to politics”.

    But to which I would add, the community life of the individual blogger arises through mutable networks. The staple form of communication within these networks is ‘conversation’ – ie a loose batting back and forth of gossip, information and ideas.

    I’d also flag up another detail that Dale mentions, which is that in the US, the left is now bigger than the right in blogging. In which case I wonder if it is an oppositional thing.

    You know, the MSM tends to get itself plugged directly into the government machine (ie where the power is), and excludes ideas and projects from the opposition’s general quarter.

  • Emily

    Mick F.,
    I don’t think it’s an “oppositional” thing. For all the speculation we used to read about why the right seemed to have a bigger blogging presence and the rubbish about how it’s because the left control the regular media and conservatives have no other outlet blah blah blah, I think the answer was a lot simpler. The first I’d ever read about blogs and blogging was in a Jonah Goldberg article at NRO about five years ago. The number of blogs sharply rose after this, and it’s my guess that the reason why there were more conservative blogs to start with is just because more conservatives had actually *heard* of blogging. I’m glad things are more balanced now because the days of the self-congratulatory echo chamber where every blog just ripped Drudge headlines and wrote the same thing over and over were very, very dull. Left blogs don’t solely exist to oppose the right (though some do and vice versa), but also stand as gestures of personal expression on their own.

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah Garibaldy, I try me humble best in the comic efforts my apologies if it falls a bit flat for you.

    Sorry I didn’t realise you were that bothered about who I supported in Afghanistan in the 1980’s (I mean seriously where you that concerned then?) however if you must know then my kinda guy was Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjir, heroic battler against the Soviet invaders, friend of Maggie T and Ronnie and fearsome enemy of the Taliban.

    He was a true hero who kicked seven types of shite out of your friends the Red Army and taught them a lesson they never forgot. He hated the Taliban and the Al-Queda as he recognised them as the tyrants and disgusting pieces of work that they were. He was murdered by the Taliban a few days before 9/11 but his forces went on to assist the US forces in liberating the people of Afghanistan from the grip of Islamofascism at the same time as cheerleaders on the Left were hoping desperately for a Taliban victory.

    You know Garibaldy you guys on the Left need to get over this idea that the Islamofascists defeated the Russians, they didn’t, the Afghans did. The Arabs of Al-Queda went to Afghanistan and got their arses handed to them by the Russkies every time they put their heads outside their caves. Osama brought a shed load of volunteers and money to Afghanistan, the Afghans took the money and looked with contempt on the virgin soldiers of Allah that came from Arabia. The very idea that Pashtun warriors, the humblers of empires, needed help in fighting from a bunch of Arabs who hadn’t won a battle in a thousand years is laughable. Osama spent two weeks in a hole in a mountain with his Arab batty boys, the Soviets bombed it to smithereens and eventually Osama led his bedraggled little band of heroes (less fifty percent of the original contingent) back to the Pakistan madrassas without having fired a shot.

    The Taliban were installed in 1994 by the Pakistanis against the will of the Afghan people, stop trying to pretend they were a creation of the CIA, the Yanks had given up on Afghanistan and headed home years before that.

    Anyway what exactly is your point? Are you saying that the brutal unprovoked invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets was a good thing because my campus friends (the ones who thought Albania was a socialist paradise) thought that too or are you saying that the Afghans should not have resisted or that the US administration shouldn’t have assisted that resistance because you’re kinda floundering whatever you say. If you support the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan then presumably you’re keen on what the Russians are doing in Chechnya or do you only support jihadis who fight the West?

  • Shay Begorrah

    Harry said, revealingly:

    “…a bunch of Arabs who hadn’t won a battle in a thousand years is laughable. Osama spent two weeks in a hole in a mountain with his Arab batty boys”

    I seem to remember someone earlier complaining about racist homophobes. Now who was it?

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    I don’t, and never have, supported any jihadis. Can you say the same?

    As I’ve said, I don’t believe politics and religion should be mixed. As for the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, my belief is that the Soviets instead of sending in troops should have limited their presence to advisors and military and other logistical support when they were asked for aid by the socialist government. And yes, I think the Afghan people were better off under the socialist regime, even when it was propped up by the Soviets, than either the Taliban or the present chaos.

    I think your disctinction between the Afghans and the Mujihadeen is vastly overdrawn. The Afghan population was unfortunately further radicalised by the presence of the Soviets, to the extent that the two causes became indistinguishable. As for Massoud, if I remember correctly he was an Afghan officer who switched sides when he saw which way the wind was blowing, although I might be wrong and am happy to accept correction. What I will say is that he and people who thought like him were a minority of the Afghan anti-Soviet movement. The best of a bad bunch certainly, and I’d rather have seem them win the civil war than the Taliban.

    The Taliban movement was not a Pakistani imposition, but a natural outflow of the Mujihadeen. If they were simply a Pakistani segment, now that Pakistan has withdrawn support how come they are able to dominate so much of Afghanistan still?

    As for Chechnya, an extremely complicated situation. Let’s not forget that the war there restarted after the Chechen Islamists bombed several blocks of flats in Russia. At bottom, I guess I’d support the pro-Moscow government with reservations. Better them than an Islamofascist regime seeking to spread its hooks throughout the rest of central Asia. What’s your opinion?

    My point in raising the 1980s is that if people like yourself backed the Mujihadeen then it wasn’t for human rights but simply for anti-communist reasons. At best, it was in defence of national sovereignty. If my assumptions are correct, then people with such opinions have been inconsistent. Either the human rights issue is a lie when applied to today, a cover for baser motives, and they’re being inconsistent as they weren;t too worried about it in the 1980s. Or, in not defending the national sovereignty of Yugoslavia then Iraq – two wars launched by lies – they have made liars of themselves in the 1980s.

    In short, they are opportunist and not principled positions. At least Kissinger admits that. I wish the neo-cons would do the same.

  • Harry Flashman

    Shay

    A fair point, I withdraw that remark, I wrote it in frustration after watching the winners of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Argentina, play phenomenal football, however my disappointment shouldn’t have allowed me to use such disparaging terms (I don’t suppose you feel like addressing my substantive points now do you?).

    Garibaldy

    I think you’re too hung up on who supported whom in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. I think British Paratroopers who siezed Pegasus Bridge in June 6th 1944 were magnificent heroes in a battle against fascism, however I think the British Paratroopers who opened fire in William Street in Derry in January 30th 1972 to be a bunch of murdering bastards, I am not a hypocrite for believing both things at the same time. Likewise I support the actions of Soviet soldiers in Stalingrad in January 1943 but loathe what they did in Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1968 and 1956 respectively.

    So I can admire Mujahaddin killing Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan in 1985 but hate them killing schoolteachers in 2006. It’s not really complicated if you think about it.

  • Garibaldy

    Not complicated if you couch it in terms of interests. Very complicatd if you couch it in terms of principles. Hence why I raised the point

  • my kinda guy was Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjir, heroic battler against the Soviet invaders, friend of Maggie T and Ronnie and fearsome enemy of the Taliban.

    Interesting example, just at the moment:

    What distinguishes Monday’s rioting is that Kabul is a largely Tajik city. It seems the agitators carried posters of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the legendary “Lion of Panjshir” who led the Northern Alliance during the anti-Taliban resistance and was assassinated by al-Qaeda on the eve of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the US and eliminated from the political equations with clinical precision, just as Afghanistan’s need of his leadership would have become most pressing.

    The agitators in Kabul burned banners of President Hamid Karzai. The violent incidents had heavy anti-Karzai and anti-American overtones. It is a very bad sign indeed that the Tajiks, who constitute about 30% of Afghanistan’s population, are openly turning against Karzai, caricaturing him as an American puppet. (Asia Times)

  • EWI

    There’s no left of centre equivalent of the leading right wing blog ConservativeHome

    Just answer me one question – who the f**k are “ConservativeHome”? Because maybe in Dale’s universe everything revolves around Tory bloggers, but I’ve never heard of them before today. This Dale piece is just Left-baiting nonsense, though I am sad to say that I’m not surprised to see it reproduced here on Slugger these days.