Influences, ideas, interventions
Internationalism – Arguably another platitude, and one that most of the left lays claim to. But I wish it was a little more influential, that people who pay it lip service actually worked out how to put it into practice, actually applied it, say, to the Tamils languishing in refugee camps in Sri Lanka’s interior, to the Chinese workers who make all the plastic tat we put in our kids’ party bags, to the women who are stoned for adultery in western Asia.The one state solution – Many of my friends on the anti-anti-Zionist left think that the one state solution is essentially equivalent to the genocidal destruction of the Jewish nation. They argue that the Arabs (who have demography on their side, and formidable military allies in the form of the Saudis, Iran and so on) have proven themselves unable to share space with Jews. I reject this fatalistic view, and having recently been in Northern Ireland am more confident than ever that we can forge our own futures if we unshackle our imaginations. It feels to me that the idea of the one state solution is steadily gaining ground, not just among the hardcore advocates of a “free Palestine”, but among younger Jews in both Israel and the diaspora. This slow awakening comes with a growing sense that another Zionism is possible, and a recovery of the memory of pre-1948 Zionism, the Zionism of Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, Joseph Trumpledor, AD Gordon and Judah Magnes, which called for a “national home” for the Jews and not necessarily a nation-state. By the way, I have at various other times in my life called for a one state solution also for South Africa, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Ireland and Cyprus.
Anti-Fascism – The left must be opposed to all forms of fascism, be that from the white working class, the black middle class, the Asian upper class, or the unintelligible Aristocracy of all countries.
From Bob’s list:
National sovereignty – What is a nation? How can a nation have a “self”? How is that “self” supposed to determine itself? Why should that self-determination take the shape of a state? Why should we respect the systems of rule that history has randomly bestowed on other nations? Why should we go to war, for example, out of respect for some Kuwaiti hereditary monarch’s right to use his kingdom as a personal bank account? Equally, why should we “stop” a war out of respect for some national socialist or clerical-fascist’s right to use his country as a personal fiefdom?
Demonising and delegitimising Israel This hardly needs further glossing here, but I’ll briefly mention one specific element, the (over)use of the word Zionism. Zionism is used as a term of abuse by the most zealous haters of Israel but it is also used almost as a rather random term of disapprobation by those whose views aren’t perhaps substantively different from those on the Zionist (or anti-anti-Zionist) left. Zionism – as a word bandied about in debates about I/P – is imprecise, (usually) superfluous and sometimes actively unhelpful and divisive.
From Carl’s list:
The Chavista Movement – A Bolivarian alternative to NAFTA or other free trade movements that ideologically reduce poor South American workers to the wretched of the earth? Yes. A catch all anti-American policy that incorporates people holocaust denying scum like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not just as an economic ally, but as a friend? No!
From Sackcloth & Ashes’ list:
Kneejerk occidentalism (namely, the automatic assumption that any act of US and British policy is automatically evil, and also the concurrent belief that any opponent of the West – no matter how malevolent or barbaric – should be supported on the grounds that they are ‘anti-imperialism’. This disease could well be described as Pilgeritis.
Not influential enough
From Bob’s list
No borders – The abolition of borders is, of course, an impossibilist demand, a utopian dream. There is no way a single country can abandon its borders: the call for no borders is immediately a call for a totally transformed world, a world with no borders. This is not something we can work towards in a practical way, but rather a way of imagining the world, and thus making our world different.
Concern about anti-Roma bigotry It’s parties and politicians from the Right, such as Hungary’s Jobbik, who are most associated with discrimination against the Roma, and I raise this matter less because those on the left are unsympathetic, more because it is an issue which simply tends to get overlooked and which needs, I think, to be kept an eye on. This site is an excellent source of current news stories about the Roma in Europe.
Via PD: The Speed of Life: The significance of Karl Marx’s concept of socially necessary labour-time by Michael Neary and Glenn Rikowski, now online: www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles⊂=Speed%20of%20Life%20-%20Part%20One
Education is a duty: from the kittens at the Wine and Cheese Appreciation Society.
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