Dead Men Left

Monday, October 11, 2004

Abandon hope, all ye who enter

Following the appearance of Iraqi Federation of Trade Unionists' London spokesman, Abdullah Muhsin, at the Labour Party conference, that bastion of reaction/last hope for the left (delete as applicable) Harry's Place have rejoiced in their usual sneers at the anti-war movement. Specifically, they criticise former Labour MEP Ken Coates for daring to question Muhsin's credentials. Coates reasonably points out that, despite the grandiose claims of the T&G's pet Blairite, Jack Dromey, Muhsin can no more claim to represent "200,000 Iraqi trade unionists" than, say, Allawi can claim to be head of a legitimate Iraqi government. Muhsin, of course, makes both claims, writing apologetics to the The Guardian on Allawi's behalf.

Naturally, finding an apparently bona-fide Iraqi trade unionist prepared to crawl before the occupation is a source of great delight to the pro-war "left": an Uncle Tom with a trade union badge must be an reassuring figure for these latter-day colonialists. As the (mostly) ex-Stalinists of the Iraqi Communist Party collude with the occupation, their (mostly) tame trade union organisation in tow, the (mostly) ex-Stalinists at Harry's Place can surely only conclude "socialism in one country" is but cruise missile away.

In a similar style of unregenerate wilful illiteracy, there is a peculiar reading of Socialist Workers' declaration that the millions marching against the war were drawn from the new working class in Britain. This leads Harry's Place to conclude a wild lurch to the right has occurred in the SWP, alongside the abandonment of basic marxism and the trendy redesign of Socialist Worker. All nonsense of the highest order: perhaps Harry's Place should follow another tabloid journalist's practice, and start reading International Socialism: John Rees' article on the reformation of the British working class - phrased in the best possible marxist fashion - may prove helpful. Alternatively, they could continue to deliberately misread unambiguous statements. The doublethink involved makes supporting imperialism so much the easier.