Readers of this blog will have noticed a lack of activity lately. Do not be alarmed, there are several articles in the pipeline that will be up to the usual standard. I have however been preoccupied with things that are very time-consuming and outside the blogosphere and indeed politics itself. This will soon be resolved (hopefully) and then normal service will be resumed. Watch this space!
The following worthwhile and thought-provoking article is from this week’s Weekly Worker, paper of the CPGB. While I would not endorse everything in it, particularly its somewhat jaundiced view of George Galloway’s previous election victory for Respect in Bethnal Green and Bow, it does make a number of very useful points and could be the basis for some worthwhile discussion on the left.
Galloway shows what can be done
How can the left make the most of the Bradford West result? Peter Manson joins the debate
George Galloway: viable
George Galloway’s tremendous win for Respect in Bradford West has given the left a real boost. Standing on an anti-cuts, anti-war, anti-establishment platform, he swept to victory with a huge 55.9% share of the vote.
It is fair to say that this result took everyone by surprise – apart from the Respect campaigners on the ground, who began to realise within the last week or so that they had an excellent chance of winning. I have to admit that I was among those who thought Galloway would do well to save his deposit – especially after his failure to get elected to the Scottish parliament last year, where the Coalition Against Cuts list he headed in Glasgow picked up only 3.3%
Growing out of the discussion on Syria in a previous thread, one fellow partisan of the Syrian revolution, using the name Voltairepaine, made series of criticisms of the perspective put forward in my article Imperialist Hands off the Syrian revolution. When composing the reply, I realised that to do the issues justice would require more than just another comment.
For those interested in following the debate, Voltairepaine’s full comment is here.
“Your definition of imperialism is ‘the West’.”
No, imperialism is the form of advanced capitalism that dominates the world today. The productive forces that it gives rise to are international in their social significance, and have a degree of social power that demands that they be subordinated to democratic social control, again on an international level. But in fact they are both largely privately owned and depend on particular very powerful nation states to defend the interests of the ruling classes that command these resources. That is, to defend their predatory interests against political developments in those countries which are its victims, which threaten its interests.
In that regard, Russia as I pointed out is hardly a world player, having a smaller GDP than India. China on the other hand has struggled very hard and by virtue of its natural resources and enormous population together with an state-owned economic system that in some ways has substituted quite effectively for its lack of a cohesive capitalist class (and more recently has been instrumental in developing such a class), appears to be on the verge of joining that exclusive club. But it is not there yet.
Voltairepaine continues his criticism with the following substantial point about Hizbullah and Lebanon:
“Hezbollah was an Iranian project. Funds, arms and training from Iran’s revolutionary Guard corps filtered through to Lebanese Shiaa militants. It was a resistance to an extended Israeli occupation, yes, but equally, it was the empowerment of the Shiaa community and their status as a sect in Lebanon, backed by ‘Al Fakih’ (the Shiaa supreme leader and direct representative of God on earth). Hezbollah was a materialization of Ayatollah Khomeini’s dreams of exporting the Islamic Revolution. On a more grounded level, it was about expanding the re-born Shiaa empire. Lebanese Hezbollah members will tell you this themselves. They’re proud to be part of it. Khomeini’s war with Iraq was also about exporting the Islamic revolution. It failed back then, but Iran’s aims haven’t changed today. This spiritual concept of ‘exporting revolution’ in reality amounts to Iranian military expansion and the securing of a regional status-quo that is protecting the Assad regime.”
At the time of writing, French police are besieging a gunman in a house in Toulouse, South-West France. The gunman is believed to be an Algerian Al Qa’eda supporter, and to be responsible for the murderous attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse that left three children and a rabbi dead, as well as earlier shootings of members of the French armed forces which killed three men.
With the news of Rebekah Brooks’ second arrest of suspicion of police bribery, what can be said legally about the seemingly rampant criminality of Rupert Murdoch’s business empire is perhaps limited. The former editor of Sun and News of the World, and until-recently bigwig of the Murdoch empire, previously appeared to boast to a parliamentary hearing about bribing the police, so her arrest is hardly a surprise.
Assuming she is charged, that is. One wonders who else may eventually be charged.
Murdoch’s empire was a key driving force of the severe defeats of the working class movement in the UK suffered in the 1980s at the hands of the Thatcher government. The relationship between the cops and Murdoch press was particularly cemented in the miners strike, as the ‘Daily Shit’ vilified workers in struggle while the police battered the heads of strikers, and subjected pit villages to a form of martial law. This alliance of unspeakables is at last being exposed and unravelled, which is something to celebrate for those who seek to reverse these defeats.
I admired this little ditty when it first was published, before this blog was up and running. So, for the amusement of readers today, here it is: