01/08/2007

Homage to Catatonia

There is a new Labour kid on the block Homage to Catatonia (I not sure if its the former pop group or the illness that is given homage by the title).

The blogger asks us to Remember that disagreement is the soul of politics, and asks for no consensual nonsense here please.... But he also states in his profile that he likes warm beer.

Now how can anybody disagree with a person who has the sense to realise that the traditional way to serve beer in Wales is at room temperature? The problem with Welsh politics today is that too many of our politicos drink stone cold beer. Cold beer effects their reasoning and detracts from a commitment to proper Welsh values!

A campaign for warm beer is something that a Labour - Plaid coalition should work together on. Its the only thing that connects both the socialist tradition and traditional Welsh values

18 comments:

  1. More British nationalist blogs from Leighton Andrews's office methinks.

    Funny how Labour go on about the Spanish Civil War when the left-wing were supported by the cultural nationalists of Catalonia and the Basque Country - bit like the new Lab-PC government if they're care to admit it.

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  2. Even more ironic that in Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell stood for a very different kind of socialism to any espoused by members of Plaid and Labour:

    "It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red
    flags ow with the red and black flag of the Anarchists; every wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties;
    almost every church had been gutted and its images burnt. Churches here and there were being systematically demolished by gangs of workman. Every shop and
    cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivised; even the bootblacks had been collectivized and their boxes painted red and black.
    Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal.
    Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. Nobody said 'Sen~or' or 'Don' ort even 'Usted'; everyone called everyone else
    'Comrade' or 'Thou', and said 'Salud!' instead of 'Buenos dias'. Tipping had been forbidden by law since the time of Primo de Rivera; almost my first
    experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy. There were no private motor-cars, they had all been commandeered, and the trams and taxis and much of the other transport were painted red and
    black. The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like
    daubs of mud. Down the Ramblas, the wide central artery of the town where crowds of people streamed constantly to and fro, the loud-speakers were
    bellowing revolutionary songs all day and far into the night. And it was the aspect of the crowds that was the queerest thing of all. In outward appearance it was a town in which the wealthy classes had practically ceased
    to exist. Except for a small number of women and foreigners there were no 'well-dressed' people at all. Practically everyone wore rough working-class
    clothes, or blue overalls or some variant of militia uniform. All this was queer and moving. There was much in this that I did not understand, in some ways I did not not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of
    affairs worth fighting for. Also, I believed that things were as they appeared, that this was really a workers' State and that the entire bourgeoisie had either
    fled, been killed or voluntarily come over to the workers' side; I did not realise that great numbers of well-to-do bourgeois were simply lying low and disguising themselves as proletarians for the time being." - Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

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  3. Homage to Cerys01/08/2007, 15:49

    Homage to Catatonia - this is not Catalonia blog fellas.
    So anon mis-hit there.
    Citizen - not George Orwell either
    But a good blog

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  4. Thanks for the mention, MoF. Will link to you on my site.

    For the record, the title of HtC is not an attempt to insult nationalists - merely a quite limited attempt at a play on words (something socialist, something Welsh).

    I have not and will not use my blog to claim that there is any link between Welsh nationalism and fascism. I know a few nationalists and none of them would do anything other than condemn Franco. Let's be civil to one another, argue our points and disagree with some respect.

    I do admire Orwell and Catatonia though. And yes, he espoused many beliefs that I would not. Oh, and I certainly don't work for Leighton Andrews. Fair point made about the complexities of the dividing lines in the Civil War too.

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  5. Anonymous - way off the mark, methinks. I take HTC remarks here at face value.

    BTW much as I like Orwell's book, anyone who wants a really comprehensive picture of conflict in question should read Hugh Thomas' mammoth 'The Spanish Civil War'. The paperback weighs in at almost a thousand pages but it's really worth the effort.

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  6. Just another over moderated Labour party blog ... stuff 'em

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  7. The Thomas book is as good a single-volume account as exists. Gerald Howson's 'Arms for Spain' is good too.

    The Spainsh Civil War was a very complex conflict, with suprising alliances that are often very hard to fit into the mould of other conflicts of the 30s and 40s. I agree that it is something that should not be over-simplified.

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  8. On the subject of beer and socialism: Roger Protz, A former editor of the far left newspaper, Socialist Worker, is now head of the Campaign for Real Ale.

    A leading member of Respect, Film director, KEN LOACH (of Cathy Come Home, Kes, Wind that Shakes the Barley fame) made an interesting film about the Spanish Civil War that dramatises some of the debates between supporters of POUM and the Communist Party (as people will recall the CP were carrying out their own war within the war, bumping off anarchists and trotskyists)

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  9. But Respect and the Socialist Workers Party are fascist parties

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  10. Anon - gotcha! You are the same Nonnie that left a comment on my blog damning Respect ten minutes later...

    Never trust an Anon with an agenda. Or one that just repeats everything wherever he may post.

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  11. Yep I've certainly got an anti-fascist agenda and when a Welsh blog or a comment there on mentions Respect or the SWP I feel honour bound to point out the true nature of this party. Just as hateful as the BNP.

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  12. I am feeling my age, I don't think I'll ever understand this blog thing.

    If I write a contentious post that says that Labour is the spawn of the Devil, the Tories should rot in Hell, Plaid are Englishmen in drag and the Liberal Democrats are just cuddly nonentities, I get no comments.

    A jocular reference to a new kid on the Welsh bolg block and I get loads of comments and a 50 year old argument resurrected!!!!!!!

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  13. Unfortunately, Anonymous you haven't actually given an argument as to why RESPECT is a fascist party.

    Probably because there is no argument because this is blatant nonsense. RESPECT are, in fact, an alliance of socialists with other radicalised groups in society, for example young people involved in the anti-globalisation movement, environmentalists, trade unionits,left wing muslims radicalised by the war, disaffected Labour voters and members etc.

    To sumarise:

    1) RESPECT is unequivocally and pro-actively anti-racist. We defend the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. We also oppose islamophobia. I should also note that in 2005, a higher proportion of our candidates were from Black and Ethnic minorities than any other party in the UK. Our elected representatives include a White Scottish Catholic, White atheists, Pakistani and Bengali Muslims, Bengali Atheists.

    2) RESPECT is heavilly involved in anti-fascist activism in South Wales and campaigning against the Nazi BNP and has initiated much anti-fascist activity working alongside members of Plaid, Labour, LibDems and trade unionists. In Cardiff, I personally worked closely with a Plaid Councillor to organise an anti-racist rally following a fascist attack on a local mosque.

    3) Fascist parties aim to smash working class organisations such as trade unions. Yet, the General Secretary of the civil servants workers union (PCS), Mark Serwotka is a member of RESPECT, the President of the Postal Workers Union (CWU), Jane Loftus is a member of RESPECT.

    So please retract your offensive statement.

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  14. Retract? ......

    Sorry, I go along with Oliver Kamm's thoughtful summing-up of SWP/Respect:

    "Respect is a front organisation for the Socialist Workers' Party, whose adoption of traditional antisemitism in my judgement parallels the history of the British Union of Fascists.

    Antisemitism is not central to the SWP's founding (or rather that of its predecessor organisation, the International Socialists), and the SWP's adoption of it is partly cynical; but having adopted antisemitism, the SWP is campaigning hard on it, and has made the issue fundamental to the party's current political identity.

    The SWP is not alone on the far Left in its resort to standard anti-Jewish themes, and I have written of other instances. But it is the most influential antisemitic organisation active in Britain today.

    It is properly regarded as the ideological heir of a particular strain of pre-war fascism, and the Respect 'Coalition' is aptly compared to the Mosleyite tradition"

    More and more people are coming to realise the true nature of the SWP and Respect ... they may not like being outed as fascists but they're going to have to get used to it.

    How gwe can link to Cardiff Respect under the heading blogger comrades, well .....

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  15. Oh dear, you really are silly.

    So you are arguing that Jewish author and broadcaster, Michael Rosen, who stood as a RESPECT candidate and is currently the Children's Laureate and regularly appears on Radio 4 (presenting programmes such as "Word of Mouth"is a member of a fascist, anti-semitic organisation?

    You bandy rather odd accusations around. For example, you claim RESPECT are the heirs to Oswald Moseley's British Union of Fascists. Yet, in East London, many of the old veterans of the 1936 Battle of Cable Street when Moseley's fascists were driven off the streets are members of RESPECT! -
    See: http://www.respectcoalition.org/index.php?ite=1189

    Your main mistake is quoting the looony Oliver Kamm (a pro-war, pro-Blair member of the Labour Party but really a neo-conservative).

    People would be surprised to hear that NOAM CHOMSKY and JOHN PILGER are hardcore anti-semites. They obviously aren't - but Kamm thinks they are!

    Kamm and his pro-war pals also hate organisations such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

    He claims the entire Far Left is anti-semitic!

    The basic smear is to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism, to say that those who criticise the State of Israel do so because they hate Jews.

    In fact, the reason why lifelong anti-racists (many of them Jewish) criticise Israel is not because they have a blindness when it comes to Jews but because it is founded upon the oppression of the Palestinian people and practises racism towards them.

    Now you may think that this interpretation of the Israel/Palestine conflict is wrong, but to argue that those who argue this case are motivated by anti-semitism and hatred of Jews doesn't hold up.

    On the subject of the SWP, I'm not a member of them, but two of its founding members were Jewish anti-Zionists, one of them grew up in a Jewish Zionist family in Palestine in the 1920s and 30s before coming to the UK.

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  16. Rosen said something quite wise in Socialist Worker back in the autumn:

    "What is curious here is that, in my experience, if people both hate Jews and the state of Israel then they say so. One of the classic forms of antisemitism is to say that “the Jews” are in a “conspiracy” to take over the world, or that they are running the world.

    Sometimes, they may say there’s a “Zionist” conspiracy to run the world - but that’s hardly a cunning disguise for a hatred of Jews.

    Within this bit of conspiracy theory is the antisemitic idea that “the Jews” or “Israel” or “Zionists” run the US. Again, the people who believe this say so."

    A lot of people on the left say that don't they ... the bit about the Zionists running America and which is quite rightly identified by Rosen as coded anti-semitism.

    It will be interestig to see how long Rosen sticks with the SWP given its support for Hamas and Hizbullah and it's coalition with clerical fascism.

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  17. I think we've started a bit of a barney there, MoF. I certainly have my doubts about Respect, especially their leader and their conduct in Bethnal Green in the last general election. But to call them fascist is a bit much. Think we should all have a nice warm beer - say a pint of OSB, for example - and calm down a bit.

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  18. Firstly, your allusion that RESPECT conducted itself badly in the 2005 Bethnal Green and Bow election is erroneous and probably based on media smears mainly emanating from the New Labour spin machine and hatred of the fact that an MP who was expelled from New Labour took them on and won. There has also been the ridiculous media attack that it was somehow wrong for RESPECT to stand against a Black MP - this is actually a form of racism and would logically imply that ethnic minority candidates should stand in uncontestsed elections!

    In fact, it was New Labour who fought an incredibly dirty campaign that led to their candidate twice paying money out in the libel courts and also making an out-of-court settlement with their electoral opponent - pretty unheard off in an election

    Indeed, twice in the course of the Battle of Bethal Green, Oona King, the Labour MP who lost her seat, was forced to pay out money in the libel courts. Once I should note for continually publiclly accusing George Galloway of visiting prostitutes!!?? She was forced to make a grovelling apology to Galloway and pay court costs + make a thousand pound donation to charity.

    Labour also issued press releases alleging that a 69 year old pensioner had been assaulted by RESPECT canvassers that was refuted by the police:
    http://leninology.blogspot.com/2005/04/labour-smears-respect.html

    Secondly, to my knowledge, Michael Rosen is not a member of the Socialist Workers Party. I'm not sure how RESPECT is an alliance with clerical fascism? There are practising Muslims who are members of RESPECT (as indeed their Plaid in Wales has elected representatives who are Muslim). Indeed your terminology smacks of racism.

    You are probably equally ignorant about the politics of Hezbollah and Hamas - I'm happy to debate these with you any time, but needless to say that RESPECT doesn't, in fact, support the political programmes of either of these organisations, anymore than supporting the right of the Vietnamese to resist US agression meant that you signed up to the one-party state that Vietnam became post-1975.

    A comrade of mine commented on the mentality of those who argue that the Left is in alliance with clerico-fascism:

    "According to Nick Cohen, one of the British-based B52 liberals,

    ‘For the first time since the Enlightenment, a section of the left is allied with religious fanaticism and, for the first time since the Hitler-Stalin pact, a section of the left has gone soft on fascism’.

    Why has the left behaved in this way?

    Because ‘when confronted with a movement of contemporary imperialism—Islamism wants an empire from the Philippines to Gibraltar—and which is tyrannical, homophobic, misogynist, racist and homicidal to boot, they feel it is valid because it is against Western culture’.

    An empire is certainly being constructed ‘from the Philippines to Gibraltar’, not by Muslims, but by the very American state whose military apparatus Cohen is constantly exhorting to invade still more countries.

    Against this reality, one is tempted to quote a great passage from one of the founders of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke: ‘You are terrifying yourself with ghosts and apparitions, while your house is the haunt of robbers’."

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