• antisemitism,  Book Review,  The Left

    Review and interview with Dave Rich

    Guest post by by Karl Pfeifer Dave Rich, author of “The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism,” is the deputy director of communications at the Community Security Trust, a group that monitors anti-Semitic incidents and provides protection services. I can only recommend his book, which reveals how people on the British Left have tried to make sense of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how much of the Left stopped loving Israel, how some leftists moved from Anti-Apartheid to Anti-Zionism, how anti-racists banned Jews. Nowadays leftist anti-Semites do not just deny antisemitism, they accuse Israel’s supporter of dishonesty and intimidation. David Hirsh named this phenomenon the Livingstone-Formulation, after Ken Livingstone wrote…

  • The Left

    Venezuela: A Corbynvista warning

    This is a cross-post by Paul Canning “Negative campaigning works against other candidates but not against Corbyn,” one Smith aide said. “For a lot of people he embodies something about themselves. It’s a statement of intent about your personal identity, a personality marker to like Corbyn. So attack that and people take it personally.” Jim Waterson signalling how a Corbyn identifying left will gladly sell out the likes of Venezuela’s starving. Watch them – If/and you help this go viral. Even before they fell silent on Venezuela’s food crisis Jeremy Corbyn and others had failed to support Labour’s cousins in that country. They cheered Chavismo but run away like cowards as…

  • Stateside,  The Left

    “Stop calling groups of voters stupid”

    To paraphrase the movie publicists, if you follow only one Twitter account in 2017, make it this one. Chris Arnade is a former Wall Street bond trader who observed first-hand how the financial industry has screwed ordinary people. He now travels the US chronicling the stories of struggling people in left-behind communities. 1. Let's hope 17 is year political writers/pundits stop calling groups of voters stupid or idiots. & understand how deeply offensive that is — Chris Arnade (@Chris_arnade) January 2, 2017 6. One of my biggest disappointments of last year was seeing progressives (my group!) dismiss entire groups of voters as lesser. — Chris Arnade (@Chris_arnade) January 2, 2017…

  • antisemitism,  The Left

    “The Briefing Room” on Left antisemitism

    David Aaronovitch hosted “The Briefing Room” on BBC Radio 4 with a discussion of antisemitism on the Left. David Hirsh is excellent, Owen Jones is better than I expected and anti-Zionist Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor of The Canary, is awful. Her effort to compare the alleged “forced sterilization” of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel with Nazi genocide is disgusting. If some women were misled or misinformed about injections of Depo-Provera (which acts as a contraceptive for three months and is not equivalent to sterilization), it is indeed appalling, but still in no way comparable to the systematic slaughter of six million in Europe. And to call it an example of Israeli…

  • The Left

    Another Socialist Tragedy

    The New York Times has published a heart-wrenching and shocking look inside a hospital in Venezuela, a country whose embracing of Socialism was hailed as a model by the Western Left, and which is now facing devastating social and economic collapse. It seems glib, given the scope of human suffering, to qualify that observation with “predictable”, but honestly, how many times does this have to happen before these grand social experiments are written off for the predictable failures they are? At this very minute there are still many thousands of Socialist activists in the UK, undeterred by these catastrophic failures, campaigning against our liberal democracy and capitalist-based economy. The Western system…

  • Academia,  The Left

    Not about anti-Semitism

    This is a guest post by Eve Garrard In spite of the temptation offered by the current goings-on within the Labour Party, this post will not be about anti-Semitism.  It will be about the UCU, but about another and different problem raised by some of its current activities.  I resigned from the UCU some years ago, thankfully shaking its dust from my heels as I walked off into the sunset. But looking at what it’s presently getting up to, some things just don’t seem to have changed.  Consider the motion presented by the Brighton branch for adoption at the next UCU Congress in June (http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/html/UCU722.html, scroll down to SFC8).  It…

  • History,  Movies,  The Left

    Trumbo: Stalinists as victims

    Cross-posted from Eric Lee “Trumbo” is a the latest in a series of Hollywood films that looks back nostalgically at the McCarthy era, a time when the good guys were blacklisted writers accused of membership in the Communist Party, and the bad guys were the US government, studio bosses, and right-wing media. The first of those films was probably “The Way We Were” (1973) starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Made only a few years after blacklisting had ended, when the Cold War was still raging, it became a template for future films on the subject. The film takes place over several decades, as Streisand and Redford fall in and…

  • Israel,  The Left

    Washes Pinker

    This is a guest post by Eve Garrard As a splendid article by Jamie Palmer points out, a new way to protect the world from any possibility of  Israel appearing to do good things has recently become popular among those who make it their business to provide us with such protection.  It arises in response to Israel’s properly liberal approach to the rights of gay people  – an approach which includes providing safe haven for gay Palestinians who face violence, up to and including murder, in Gaza or the West Bank on account of their sexual orientation.  Since this might look like something to Israel’s credit, it has to be…

  • The Left,  UK Politics

    Some positive developments on the Left

    Cross-posted from Howie’s Corner With the civil war in the Labour Party preparing to take a new turn after Corbyn completes his purge reshuffle of the shadow cabinet there have been some moves to try and rebuild what the far left call the “decent” left. First is the announcement of Luke Akehurst (of Labour First) to stand for the Labour NEC gives a rallying call to those remaining “decents” in the party that there is hope in the struggle against the totalitarian left emerging around Corbyn. Luke has published a Manifesto that begins: Resisting the “lurch to the left”. I’m proud of what Labour achieved in Government and want to build…

  • Stateside,  The Left,  The Right

    Wisdom from the Left and the Right

    This is from the leftwing American academic Fredrik deBoer: I know men and women, people of every race, gay and straight, trans and cisgender, and of every other facet of human diversity, who have deep reservations about the current habits of the American left and are desperate for a realist left movement that cares about winning and does what it takes to make winning more likely. I would name some individual names, but then I’m associating them with me, and I have no interest in forcing others to answer for my position. It’s enough to say that every day, I encounter more people who are convinced that contemporary left practice…