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.
Introducing AN INTEGRAL STATE, the new blog by Elizabeth Humphrys
Recent years have seen a big increase in Marxist theorising on the state and its relationship to the capitalist system. These discussions have gone through several phases, from debates over the nature of globalisation in the late 1990s, to renewed interest in imperialism in reaction to the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, to the connections between capitalist interests and state agencies as governments dropped their “free market” pretensions to bail out the financial sector after the GFC.
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.
Since I last wrote about the situation in Greece the debate I mentioned at the end of my post — about whether all tendencies on the radical Left should get behind the election of a Left government led by SYRIZA — has been hotly debated by various Marxists on the internet. This should not be surprising: The question of which party wins the 17 June election is not an insignificant one. It would be much better if parties committed to breaking with the terms of the socially destructive “bailout” memoranda won out over the old political elites in New Democracy, PASOK and various smaller formations who are committed to maintaining Greece’s position in the Eurozone by acceding to the Troika’s demands for catastrophic austerity measures.
Not only would this be a massive blow to the state and business elites who want the costs of economic crisis to be borne by ordinary people in the Eurozone “periphery”, it would be a clear political signal that Greeks refuse to support parties that want to implement austerity.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras at a pre-election rally in Athens
Read mainstream accounts of the massive electoral realignment in Greece and you notice a strange use of terminology. The pro-austerity parties — especially conservative New Democracy and centre-Left PASOK — are called “pro-bailout” and “moderate”, while the parties that oppose austerity are called “extremist” and “hard-line”. And there’s a tendency to portray the rise of new forces on the Left and Right as part of exactly the same phenomenon — an electorate driven to irrational choices by austerity.
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.
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.