Friday, April 14, 2006
1) We support human rights for all, regardless of gender, creed, colour, nationality, sexual orientation, gustatory proclivity, hair colour, height, mass, adiposity, nose shape, tooth length, provenance, sumptuary propensity, or indeed, comrades, any other kind of human variation.
2) Let's go kill some untermenschen.
This absurd 'initiative', based on the resentments of a collection of bloggers and journalists of the petit-bourgeois liberal-left (the introduction is co-written by Nick Cohen and Norman Geras), is quite possibly the most comically inept excuse for supporting imperialism that I have yet read. Identical in tone to the equally preposterous 'Unite Against Terror' statement, it retails the usual array of charges made by these purblind bigots. The anti-imperialist left is antisemitic, fascist, Islamofascist, totalitarian, anti-American, terrorist-loving or willing to accomodate all of these. Anti-Zionists are either antisemitic or tolerant of antisemitism. We are heterodox, while they - they Decent Left, the One True Left - are keeping it real.
The impressive diligence with which the pro-war left repeats this pathetic list of McCarthyite denunciations is rendered slightly absurd by their complaint about those who devote "most of one’s energy to criticism of political opponents at home". And the charge of tactful silences comes from one blogger who could write five separate posts about the mutilation of four US mercenaries in Fallujah, but could not manage one about the subsequent siege which, we now know, killed thousands, and one journalist who could find not a single word of condemnation for that epic war crime, in many ways worse than Srebrenica, described by these pro-war liberals and many others as genocide. The solemn vows about resisting double standards and holding human rights dear for all human beings are underwritten by unambiguous support for the right of Western imperialist states to engage in massive atrocities. It contains within it the proposition that a racist state that has come into existence through ethnic cleansing and theft and sustained itself through war and expansion must perpetuate itself: "There can be no reasonable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that subordinates or eliminates the legitimate rights and interests of one of the sides to the dispute." Their proposed resolution negates, ex nihilo, the legitimate rights and interests of Palestinians, while upholding an entirely illegitimate and spurious claim by Zionists based on Biblical exegesis and racial domination. These people profess to oppose racism and religious fundamentalism, by the way.
The statement professes to originate from the socialist Left, and it certainly mimics a certain strand of Fabian imperialism, but it isn't difficult to discern the authors' complete break with socialism. The authors espouse "universal principles, for the establishment of which the democratic countries themselves, and in particular the United States of America, bear the greater part of the historical credit". This simply submerges the achievements of the Left, largely the radical Left, awarding the credit for their labours to 'democratic countries' with no trace of irony - a formulation carefully designed to be inoffensive to Mr Blair and Mr Bush, as if the latter pair and the ruling classes they act on behalf of and advocate for are the inheritors of the tradition of the Chartist movement, the motley crews, Toussaint L'Ouverture (!), the Mau Mau, the NLF, the FLN, the civil rights movement, the ANC, the PLO, Imre Nagy, the Black Panthers etc etc. The authors bemoan global inequalities" as "a scandal to the moral conscience of humankind", but betray not the slightest understanding of the way in which these inequalities have been created and perpetuated by imperialism. Instead, they prove that they are just as scandalised by "a blanket and simplistic ‘anti-imperialism’". I don't want to be simplistic or anything, much less a blanket (damp or otherwise), but I'd suggest that if anti-imperialism is not a part of your political purview, then you have no right to claim to represent the 'real' Left. And if you have exerted yourself on behalf of governments who have killed and continue to kill in vast quantities, then you really have to be dead to shame, incapable of a flush not brought on by a pint in a Euston pub, to wheedle about the 'alliances' others have made. Finally, if you find yourself exercised about the crimes of official enemies, but have no time to examine the crimes resulting from and included in actions you support, or carried out by states whom you support, then you have no business sniffily denouncing the alleged double standards of others, or allowing the word 'apologist' to cross your lips. You are as guilty as hell.