Dead Men Left

Friday, April 30, 2004

This made me chuckle, though probably not in the fashion it was meant to. It was posted on an interminable email "discussion" list following an advert for a Respect meeting and manages to condense every single anti-Respect argument/smear into a suitably demented and vaguelly libellous whole; the image of Bill Rogers, Shirley Williams and Saddam Hussein appearing on the same platform is one that may haunt me for some time yet.

"Comrades and Friends.
   I too am voting Green. Another nice point from the Reester. Respect is something we see the UK left do every 10-15 years: remember the SDP? It is crazed parliamentary reformist nonsense with a tint of the 'get-a-mass-movement-going-quick-until-the-police-tell-us-to-sit-up-straight' rubbish that we saw recently from the people who brought you, um, nothing: our chums in the SWP and that allows it to pose as socialist or whatever. The Respect line-up so far? All people banking on some Tony Benn style fame: Galloway (working for MI5) Monbiot (working for ASDA in v. near future) Saddam (also now working for MI5/possibly also ASDA if the book deals go wrong). Gimme a break from all the egos. And, actualy, stop splitting the left with nonsense promises of projects that will be a new dawn or 'something important to defend' and go work on the already existing components of the social movement however dull that may seem. Respect, unlike the Green Party, will be yesterdays news, I think, the day after tommorow when it a) fails to change anything because it exists for the inner pruposes of Galloway's swollen head b) fails to get that swollen head re-elected in a Labour safe seat. My local elections tied the Greens and Labour with the BNP and the Conservo-Fascists no where to be seen (until Labour won the seat on lots). Nuff said. Vote Green and keep the real socialism for things that don't name themselves after a P-Diddy record.
Maximum Respect."

Now, whilst I don't think that this is typical of some of the anti-Respect stuff the groupuscules and particules of the British Left pump out, it does rather conveniently illustrate just how inconsistent and often how ill-informed their arguments are. We've got to both oppose "crazed Parliamentary reformism", and then vote Green; stop splitting the left, but then slander significant parts of it; and so on.

(Strange how email discussion lists attract this sort of thing, descending rapidly from lofty ideals about free exchange of ideas and open access into a sectarian-infested swamp. This is why god invented moderators, I suppose. Personally, I never bother posting to them. Life is too short.)

Still having some problems with publishing on this thing. Whilst I work out what I'm doing wrong, here's something I wrote I while back. It was buried on my hard-disk as "a load of old cobblers.doc" and I have very little idea what purpose it served. Anyway:

Fischerspooner is a challenge; its very materiality is a stance against the Mobification of culture. Symptoms of crisis: music is diverging once more – on one side is the privatised retreat, the turn to the (fictive, ideologically-constructed) “inner”, represented best by Moby himself and the ersatz mysticism of “Play”, but cropping up everywhere: a sort of musical cotton-wool, something to plug the ears with, and ignore the screams from outside. (How far, I wonder, does Ani Difranco fall into this category? I don’t think I’ve heard enough to form a reasonable opinion, though I have my suspicions…) On the other, a material, a turn to reality in all its grim and dreadful glory: Fischerspooner is the exemplar, but to a lesser extent so to are Peaches, and – before the Mobified “Private Press” – DJ Shadow. No sanctum, no haven, no retreat; barbarism triumphant cannot be met with a merry whistle. The Blairs may well crawl back from the corpses to a mystic charlatan murmuring sweet lifestyle nothings, who shall wipe their troubled brows and close their fevered eyes – but the bodies remain, their charred and accusing fingers point in one way, and one way only; and, alas, our guru can do nothing about the terrible stench.
Frustration abounds: they are going to invade Iraq, they are going to do it on my dad’s birthday (coincidentally, I presume – I’ll ask him later). A relentless diet of pap is shoved down gullets for week upon week: it’s not quite working this year, a careful eye on the consumer spending statistics suggests the wind is going from the consumer boom – but the pulpy mash continues, gulp gulp, lines upon lines of tanks readying themselves in Dover and helicopters overhead. (Ever heard a fighter jet, up close? I was buzzed by a Tornado whilst doing the Pennine Way, no more than 300 metres above my head: they needn’t bomb anywhere, just send in jets to fly low over houses and schools, terrify the population that way.) I’ve been reduced to reading, no bad thing I suppose, driving myself mad in the Quad café by ploughing through all the books I should’ve read some time ago, pausing to hold long, self-indulgent discourses on literature with Andrew, who works in the bookshop there.

Bought a copy of "Naked Punch" from Lorenzo on the End the Occupation march. Not quite sure what to make of it as yet, though it has a lead article by Ben Watson on Marxism and art - clearly a Good Thing. I'll let you know once I've read the rest. Naked Punch can be found here.