Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Left In Bed With The Far-Right

What comes to mind when you think of old-school right-wing thought that the European left dedicated its life in opposition to?

  1. Nationalism - Or anything that divided people other than the true problem of class, whether that was race, nation, religion, sex or any other classification.
  2. Religion - Plenty of feminism is rooted in psychology and other secular topics like biology, but plenty of feminist theory was born in opposition to religion.
  3. Racism - Probably one of the greatest struggles of the 20th Century post-WW2 was the struggle for equality and to see different races as equal.
  4. Conservatism - Rejecting the 'reactionary' ways of the right, who looked to heritage and culture instead of working class unity and progress.
  5. Internationalism - Defending fellow members of the left and other persecuted minorities abroad.
  6. Feminism - Uniting the sisters against male patriarchy.
  7. Free Speech - In direct opposition to dictators of the 20th Century, Orwell was the bible of the left in opposition to authority and censorship (unless it was in the Soviet Union of course!)

Well, on point number one the left has certainly done half of the job. Only an absolute fringe minority in Britain or Europe today would describe themselves as a 'nationalist' a term synonymous with racism and totalitarianism. Unfortunately, they seem to have given up on large amount of the fight. One common form of nationalism alive today is that of the 'Ummah' or Muslim 'nation' which we repeatedly hear about when the topic of Israel or Iraq is brought up. We hear waves of far-right Muslims decrying the desecration of Muslim lands and of their Muslim brothers and sisters all with the support of the European secular left. Instead of supporting the Muslim and brown-skinned members of the left in countries like Iran and Iraq who are attempting to bring about a society with the right for women to vote and free speech, the left now support the religious fundamentalists on incredibly reactionary terms. There is no reason why the left should not support Muslims if they are as they perceive it oppressed, but they should help because they are oppressed not because they are Muslims. In Iraq, they abandon the Muslim and other members of the left under the banner of socialism, in place of the Muslim right under the banner of nationalism. For some reason the idea of uniting everyone under the banner of socialism, falls trump to non-European religions, which are given a free pass to divide people up however they wish. 

Religion used to be the opium of the people that broadly supported ideas that the left were generally opposed to such as attitudes against abortion, patriarchy and authority in the hands of the church. The 'right' of European Islam has more in common with the 'right' of European Christianity than most liberals care to admit on these topics. Broadly speaking most conservative Muslims are opposed to abortion, are heavily in favour of men in positions in the mosque and wider society, and you will find more Muslims in Europe today opposed to evolution than you will Christians, the type of 'unenlightened' thinking the left is supposed to be opposed to. Try today, to find some condemnation from the left of Muslim faith schools, that divide children up from an early age, teach superstition, girls to cover themselves and all the rest of it and I will be impressed. Try and find a member of the left criticising the babyish behaviour of grown men taking to the streets and screaming death and murder over some cartoons.  In fact, try and find a member of the left who will categorically say that the oppose Sharia Law in any form becoming a part of British or European life, and I will be impressed.

I mostly dealt for now with the racism point, in my post 'The Evolution of Racism' but it has long been the case that the left applies staggeringly different standards to ethnic minorities. This is not merely in areas where it might be expected such as in employment law to avoid discrimination, but a lot of the standards that are expected of the seemingly 'superior' white population such as an opposition to religious bigotry, homophobia, equal treatment of women (the list is endless), is never applied to the seemingly backward and 'inferior' minorities from the the third world, who the left apparently don't expect and do not think of as capable of living up to the same standards.

I have similarly dealt with the idea of conservatism and the left in previous posts but to recap lightly here. The left spent a large part of the 20th century emphasising unity along class lines and a rejection of 'backward' notions of heritage and nationalism. This has now morphed where it not only expects, but actively state sponsors disunity and division amongst people, by emphasising not their individuality or unity, but their heritage and where they come from even if they are second or third generation migrants. While bizarrely nationalists in their own country and considered reactionary and bigoted, nationalist migrants are the elevated exemplar citizen.

Nowhere is the betrayal of the modern left more apparent than in their abandonment of internationalism. Whatever one thinks about the Iraq War, whether it was a good idea, bad idea, good idea that was poorly executed, a war for oil, whatever. Surely it was not asking too much to first of all consider the idea that Iraqis deserved a say in their own government and not to be tortured and sent to rape rooms, but also that even if one thought that costs outweighed the benefits, to support the trade unions and other factions in Iraq that were fighting to bring that society about after 2003 instead of spending all one's energy harping on about WMD's. Regardless of whether one believes the situation is now worse, regardless of whether one believes it could have been avoided, surely in the current situation between religious fascists, the left would be capable of showing their support to their fellow workers and members of the left, instead of following the Muslim-right, and offering a unity instead with the insurgents.

I can deal with six and seven in barely a sentence because it is one of the few areas where the betrayal is open and undisguised. Where are the feminists rallying against the burka? Where the are members of the left that defended Salman Rushdie, or more importantly the Danish cartoonists in 2005? You won't need but a second to find a member of the left condemning a Christian pastor threatening to burn a Koran but try and find the same if the opposite is the case. Very little else to say, as sadly this is a topic where the betrayal is not hidden and yet still embraced. 

I cannot pretend to know what the great Karl Marx would think or assess today, either about the destructive attempt to apply his work in the Soviet Union and elsewhere or any other of these topics I've mentioned, but I can be fairly certain that he would not be a supporter of spreading religion and ethnic nationalism in the name of 'diversity' and would certainly be appalled to see members of the SWP that supposedly continue his legacy carrying banners that say 'We are all Hizbullah'. 

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