Golden Dawn’s MPs in the Greek parliament
by KEVIN OVENDEN
Below are the points, updated and a little amplified, I made in a contribution to the highly successful Unite Against Fascism conference in London on 2 March. The speech (and I’ve incorporated my summing up) was in a workshop with Petros Constantinou from Greece, Marwan Mohammed from France and Glyn Ford MEP from Britain, who all made extremely clear and thought-provoking contributions.
Tears in parliament, but no solution in sight
Left Flank has been away on holiday, but we’re back now. Below is a repost of my response to the sickening asylum seeker “debate” that happened in late June. Since then the issue has been shifted off to an elite “expert” committee which, as The Piping Shrike has pointed out, represents the exhaustion of the Gillard government’s agenda in political terms.
MUA protest against the Enterprise Migration Agreement
I’m reposting a recent piece I wrote for Overland Journal’s blog, in response to the debate over the contentious Enterprise Migration Agreement negotiated between the Gillard government and Gina Rinehart to allow the mining billionaire to import up to 1700 skilled workers from overseas. It was written as an open letter to Paul Howes after an op-ed he wrote. He has indicated he’s interested in responding formally at some point.
For some background on the question of migrant workers in the context of the notorious “British Jobs for British Workers” campaign a few years ago, this excellent essay by UK-based political economist Jane Hardy is highly recommended.
And here is an excerpt from a speech by AMWU Western Australian State Secretary Steve McCartney at a fringe event at the recent ACTU conference.
Friends or enemies? Police corral an EDL rally in Tower Hamlets
Later this week Left Flank will be looking at the controversy over the reporting of Breivik’s trial in a post at our regular blog at Overland, asking if the media has handed him an effective platform for his fascist ideological arguments. In the meantime, today we post the second of two parts of an extract from our e-book On Utøya: Anders Breivik, Right Terror, Racism and Europe, looking at the how the Left can develop a strategy to combat the rise of far Right extremism. This version was originally prepared for the Greek magazine Re-Public. If you haven’t yet done so, buy and download the book via the Amazon stores in the United Kingdom or the United States.
In the face of far Right intransigence, should the Left go further and demand some kind of state action against the Right?
In Australia the rise in right-wing rhetoric has come at the same time as the Murdoch press has campaigned hysterically against the left-wing Greens party. Its flagship broadsheet declared it wants the Greens ‘destroyed at the ballot box’ and has run opinion pieces suggesting the party has an agenda akin to fascism or Stalinism. In response, Greens leader Bob Brown has called for tough media regulation, in part to curb such rhetorical excesses and partisan bias.
However, one doesn’t have to be a Spiked-style libertarian to see how such calls can play into a culture of greater state regulation that could easily be turned against the Left and social movements.
A ‘normal’ trial for a most abnormal criminal: Breivik shakes hands with a court psychiatrist
With Anders Breivik’s trial underway, Left Flank will be analysing the politics both here and at the Overland website. Below we reprint the first of two parts of an abridged extract from the e-book that Guy Rundle, Elizabeth Humphrys and I edited last year, On Utøya: Anders Breivik, Right Terror, Racism and Europe. The chapter examines how some mainstream voices have responded to the rise in extremist language, and how the Left can formulate a response. If you haven’t yet done so, buy and download the book via the Amazon stores in the United Kingdom or the United States (if you don’t have a smartphone/iPad/Kindle, you can read it on your PC with a free Kindle app).
It seems a fitting place to start because if the first few days of the trial have proven anything it’s that the efforts to provide the terrorist with as ‘normal’ a trial as possible are being used by him to turn it into a platform for his propaganda and to legitimate his defence of ‘necessity’. Even if Breivik ends up getting what the criminal law would suggest is a ‘just’ outcome (found sane, responsible and guilty, and locked up in perpetuity), the liberal democratic response to his fascist political strategy is likely to be found seriously wanting.
This post was first published at Overland Journal earlier this week.
In high school my English teacher gave advanced reading to students who were keen, and the first novel was To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee’s book is a story of racism in the American South, as everyone knows, but it also included a salutary lesson about gender for me.
Lee’s narrator is Scout, the daughter of an Alabama lawyer defending a black man wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. For quite some time, as I eagerly turned the pages, I assumed that Scout was a he. Whether this is because Scout’s gender was deliberately hidden, or because I was skimming (which I’m sadly only known to do with fiction I impatiently adore), I’m not sure. But when I realised ‘he’ was really a Jean Louise and a ‘she’, I found myself fixated on my own sexist supposition as I was, after all, a feminist-in-training at 14.
Welcome to the first post of the new Left Flank. We’ve moved from Blogger to WordPress, hosted at the lovely http://brellabee.com/ As you can see we’re still working on porting all the old comments from Disqus to the new platform. Time to change your RSS feed or subscribe by email (see the sidebar on the right of the page).
While we’ve been effecting that change, we’ve also started our new fortnightly blog at the Overland Literary Journal website, which has also had a spiffy redesign! My first post went up on 29 March, a review of David Marr’s latest book on the politics of fear, which is reposted below for your pleasure.
Special guest post by KEVIN OVENDEN*
What did people expect? Just over a year ago, during the general election campaign in Britain, I remember George Galloway on the stump warning that the last time the Tories came in to replace an already dead Labour government and pursue full-blooded, class war policies, Britain’s cities went up in flames. That was 1981. Three decades later the Sunday supplement features on Brixton, Toxteth and St Paul’s all situated those events in the aggressive policing, racist exclusion and darkening hopes of the young of the time.