Monday, April 27, 2009

34th Carnival of Socialism

Hello, and welcome to the 34th Carnival of Socialism. Pull up a virtual seat, open your favourite brand of ethical Cola and enjoy this fortnight's round up from the Socialist blogosphere, feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. Thanks to those who sent in suggestions before hand.

I did this at short notice so it may be slightly demographically skewed - apologies for leaving out so many excellent lefty bloggers, these are the quality posts that I've read in the last two weeks so I'm bound to have missed many - regard it as a taster.

First let's have some reports
  • Jess Hurd is a lefty photographer who took this snap of a stop and search in progress.
  • Joseph attended the annual Stop the War coalition conference in London
  • HarpyMarx reports on the Left Economic Advisory Panel conference
  • An Unrepentant Communist reports on the Rome rally launching the left's Euro-election campaign.
  • Jon Rogers hopes to encourage UNISON members to vote for the left.
  • Lenin reports on the sacking of a key union activist.
  • At Stroppyblog they take on the council leader who is cutting a swath through education.
  • Jacob attacks the "students leaders" who wont support lecturers' strikes.
Now some historical themes
  • Reading the Maps looks at the changing meaning of Anzac Day
  • The Nation of Duncan remembers the Hillsborough disaster.
  • Splintered Sunrise has been reading and wonders whether some of Marx's writings might be a bit embarrassing for today's Marxists.
  • Mick Hall remembers trade union leader Jack Jones.
  • Charlie Pottins takes a historical look at the fight for trade union rights.
A number of bloggers have discussed Labour
  • Cruella thinks that the plans to address the gender pay gap are crumbs from the table.
  • Neil Clark just interviewed Alice Mahon a long serving MP who just left Labour.
  • Sue regrets her decision.
  • Dave Osler reflects on being spammed by the Labour Party.
  • Next Left says the best way to support Climate Minister Ed Miliband is to protest against him.
  • Gill George asks us to prepare for public sector cuts.
  • On a similar theme NUJ left asks what are public services.
  • Some Roses Are Red takes a different tack and attacks the Tories - in song!
Some reflections on international affairs
  • Jews Sans Frontiers look sat Iranian President Ahmadinijad's recent controversial speech.
  • Left Luggage thinks the Left in Britain romanticises international movements while ignoring their organising lessons.
  • Greater Surbiton writes on Moldova's so called twitter revolution.
  • Septicisle writes on the terror plot that never was.
And now some miscellany
Then there are some interesting cultural themes
And finally
  • Roobin asks whether the end is nigh.
As far as this edition of the Carnival is concerned - yes it is. The next Carnival is over at BoffyBlog on the tenth of May.


ModernityBlog said...

Is that the new word for it? Controversial?

Years back we would have said racism.

So are Ahmadinijad's outbursts now just "controversial"?

I would have hoped that socialists would see thru his racism and state clearly what it was, racism.

I wonder, when Ahmadinijad next invites some neo-Nazis to Tehran for a Holocaust Deniers conference will that be called "edgy" or something equally as euphemistic?

Roobin said...

The end is always nigh, we're always doomed. Every year we're doomed!

Jim Jay said...

Keep it up Roobin :)

Mod: A. is anti-semitic - but his speech (or at least all the bits reported in the news) wasn't. He said Israel is a racist state - it is. He said it was formed with violence - it was.

That's why his speech is controversial, because whilst he may hold obnoxious views the things he said on this occasion did not denounce the Jews or deny the Holocaust.

I'm perfectly happy to criticise the Iranian regime and its leaders - but I'm not obliged to pretend he said things that he didn't.

ModernityBlog said...

Well Jim,

It is probably because I expect more of socialists and political activists that I'm a bit annoyed at this pandering to the Iranian President's racism.

But let's suppose it was slightly different, instead of Ahmadinijad, suppose, hypothetically that the subject of our discussion was David Duke, then would you have written:

'David Duke is anti-semitic - but his speech (or at least all the bits reported in the news) wasn't. He said Israel is a racist state - it is. He said it was formed with violence - it was.'Of course not.

You wouldn't even think of it, yet the Iranian President is given a pass, a get out of jail card as long as he attacks the Israelis.

Can't you see the flaw in that line of reasoning?

Socialists should be at the forefront of opposition to anti-Jewish racism, even if it comes from leaders in the Middle East, but nowadays it seems that all one of them has to do is change the word "Jew" to "Zionists" and that seems to fool otherwise highly educated socialists in Britain.

I am just mystified and rather annoyed that such a contrite mechanism manages to fool modern-day socialists/Greens.

As for the content of his speech, it was a little bit more than controversial, the racism is there if you wish to see it.

If you, or others have a problem working out, what is that particular form of anti-Jewish racism, then might I suggest doing the quiz on my blog for "anti-Zionists" and that should help you distinguish anti-Jewish racism, even when the word "Jew" is changed to "Zionist".

Benjamin Solah said...

Nice work on the carnival. Kudos for finding a link of mine because I was too lazy to put one up.

And I loved the cultural selection!

ModernityBlog said...


I really think we should continue this discussion, there are many constructive points to be raised.

I do appreciate that you are a busy man, but such a discussion, I believe, would be beneficial to you and the Greens as I think this line of thinking is fatally flawed and needs dealing with.

Over to you :)

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Is that the new word for it? Controversial?" asks modernity.

Reminds me of the time when the BBC characterized Ahmadinejad's genocidal fulminations as "trenchant criticism":

bob said...

That's why his speech is controversial, because whilst he may hold obnoxious views the things he said on this occasion did not denounce the Jews or deny the Holocaust.Am I reading you right Jim? You're saying it was controversial precisely because... it wasn't racist? If he'd said something more explicitly racist we could have all comfortingly said, 'ah that Mahmoud, he's so predictable', and then got on with our lives?

When I was becoming acive in the socialist movement, I think most socialists would have responded to the opening of the speech - calling for the hastening of the reappearance of the Hidden Imam - as something not to take seriously.

Then, when he opened the substantve part of his talk with a condemnation of the way that "In the Middle Ages scholars and scientists were sentenced to death": what a cheek! From the president of a country which has hounded out most scholars and scientists, which has the second highest execution rate (and highest per capita) in the world.

But anyway, the key to why his speech is racist is his use of the words "the Zionists". If someone talks about "the Zionists" and refers to the Jewish nationalist movement, then they're probably not being racist. But if someone talks about "the Zionists" and refers to a shadowy global conspiracy with tentacles in every world capital, able to initiate wars and financial crises, then they're probably being racist.

Jim Jay said...

No Bob. I'm not saying it was controversial because it wasn't racist. Glad to clear this up for you.

I'm saying there was controversy (people walking out, heckling etc) and, seperate point, that I didn't describe *the speech* as racist because he actually didn't say all the things people are rightly angry about on this occasion.

Some people seem to be pretending he did. I don't see the point in that and it undermines their argument to say that he did.

He denies the Holocaust. That's disgusting. However it doesn't define the speech he made on this occasion so the single sentance description didn't happen to go into this - a list of links is unlikely to contain in depth analysis of each post rather than simple descriptions.

He is a racist and I've always maintained that he is a bigot in this and many other ways. I'm not obliged to outline my entire position on every occasion he's mentioned.

ModernityBlog said...


Stop digging, please.

Admit it, you wouldn't even THINK about including David Duke in such a round up, no matter what he said.

As I pointed out earlier, if hypothetically Duke made a similar speech to Ahmadinejad, this wouldn't happen:

'David Duke is anti-semitic - but his speech (or at least all the bits reported in the news) wasn't. He said Israel is a racist state - it is. He said it was formed with violence - it was.' and you have to ask why?

what line of thinking means that Ahmadinejad is given a pass on these occasions when a similar bigots (Duke, Enoch Powell, etc) wouldn't be?

Socialists and Greens shouldn't use the “he’s is a racist - but” type of reasoning