Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nick shows what he's about

Well Evil BB was close, but got the wrong man. Nick is our guy for the Diana conspiracy theories. Others can do the line-by-line but I was struck by the following passage, which must tell us something of what is in the forthcoming book:

Today's far right needs to deny the Nazi concentration camps for the same reason today's far left needs to deny Serb concentration camps in Bosnia. For modern fascists or Serb nationalists, the images of Jews at Auschwitz or starving Bosnian Muslims behind barbed wire have to be dismissed as the forgeries of conspirators because the crimes they record are huge obstacles in the way of a revival of support for fascism or Serb nationalism.

FFS! Serb concentration-camp denialism was more-or-less confined to the Living Marxism/RCP crowd. The same people propagated a whole range of crap theories -- including that AIDS was a bit a scaremongering designed to roll back the sexual revolution -- before they morphed into semi-libertarian chat show comperes and the like. Pretty much everyone on the "far left" thought that the RCP were a bunch of nutters and provocateurs. But Nick takes what the RCP said to be something that "the far left" needs to believe! I used to think that Nick was deluded, getting crazier, but basically committed to telling the truth as he saw it. But he must know what he's doing in writing this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diana and the RCP-it's all very 1997 isn't it? Ever decreasing circles it seems.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the Observer editorial office everytime Nick's copy comes in. I think he's more of less given up at the moment and wonder how much longer they can carry him.

12/17/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Backword Dave said...

I think Nick is thinking of Neil Clarke, something of an obsession of the man-who-has-written-nothing this month.*

*+/- 20,000 odd words on Media Lens.

12/17/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cohen needs the images of Bosnians behind barbed wire in Serbian concentration camps so that he can write his own black-and-white history of the Balkans. In the Cohen version of the last 20 years in ex-Yugoslavia, the Serbs are fascists and so clearly are the bad guys. The western European encouragement of the break away of Croatia and Slovenia, and ethnic cleansing by the Croats, have all disappeared down the memory hole in Cohen's version.

12/18/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick has more likely been having dinner with Attila again. Given that virtually all Serbs, even the most frothing nationalists, are immensely proud of their resistance to Hitler, and that a fair proportion of Croats identify with the wartime quisling state... not to mention what the Iranians were at in the Balkans.

The LM crowd were a pretty mad bunch, essentially contrarians. Although IIRC they didn't deny atrocities as such, they just argued that Serb atrocities were exaggerated and non-Serb atrocities played down. They had a point, but made it so stridently it looked very much like making excuses.

Most of the far left hated the RCP's guts, and I don't know of any other group that shared their position. The RCP = far left argument seems to derive from a pamphlet Attila wrote on this subject around 1994.

Given Attila's recent offerings in Decentiya - did anyone see his attempt to blame the Serbs for the Armenian genocide? - Nick should be picking his sources with more care.

12/18/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Explain to me who Attila is, please.

12/18/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Marko Attila Hoare. Son of former New Left Review editors Quintin Hoare and Branka Magas. Used to be a fellow traveller of the Workers Revolutionary Party, now a pillar of the Decent Left. Bigwig in the Henry "Scoop" Jackson Society. Big mates with Nick, Aaro, Kamm and Wheen.

Attila ventures far and wide in his pontification, but he's made his reputation as a Balkan specialist. Which is to say, he's an obsessive Serbophobe. His writings are even more deliciously bonkers than Nick's.

On the H"S"JS's website you can find an article ascribing responsibility for the London bombings to Milosevic and the SWP. IIRC the reasoning goes something like this:

a) Lots of Muslims are angry at the West (observant bloke)

b) They say they're angry about Iraq and Palestine, but that must be false consciousness because they have no cause for complaint on either score

c) They must be really angry at John Major and Douglas Hurd for not bombing Serbia in 1992

d) Progressive opinion could have forced the Tories into bombing if only the SWP hadn't tried to develop its own policy instead of outsourcing its line to Attila's mummy

e) Therefore the SWP bears responsibility for 7/7

f) But mainly it's Slobo's fault because anything bad must be, on general principle.

I'm paraphrasing here - I haven't read the article in a while and my memory might not be entirely accurate - but I think that's a fair sample of the Attila worldview.

12/18/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info about Attila. Did any of the Decents have a normal upbringing? Were they all at some time members of tiny political parties that claimed that everything could be resolved by a violent revolution?

12/18/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were they all at some time members of tiny political parties that claimed that everything could be resolved by a violent revolution?

This goes into slightly too much detail about Alan 'not the minister' Johnson's political leanings, but is worth a read:

12/18/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Oh dear .... whilst I find it regrettable that Attila has fallen in with a bad crowd (the HJS, the decents generally) I'm afraid I can't share the views put forward by "splinteredsunrise" here. Though the Serbs weren't the only people who did bad in the recent wars, I'm afraid they managed to do much worse than any of the others, and, yes, Milosevic bears more of the blame than any other single individual.

12/18/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there room for the obvious joke for Grauniad readers that Attila is so named because of the controversy over his surname: is it 'Victim of Circumstance' or 'Sex Worker'?

12/19/2006 12:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't want to get into an argument with CC over atrocities in Bosnia. Suffice to say I was never a fan of Slobo or a member of the RCP.

As for Attila getting into bad company... does Cliff Slaughter count as good company? The WRP were a pretty rotten bunch even before they embraced Croat nationalism.

Actually, I've said this before but it bears repeating cos it's often missed. That is, the role of Bosnia in crystallising the Decent Left. People forget this because lots of decent leftists (in lower case) supported intervention.

I always maintain there's a big difference between people like Glenny and Kaldor, who came round to supporting intervention on pragmatic grounds, and the proto-Decent element like Aaro and Wheen (Nick being slightly less consistent). It's a close little circle, and Branka was the key ideologue. I'm more than familiar with Branka's work, and she's been pushing the line of "Serbo-fascism" since long before Slobo was ever heard of.

What this boiled down to was a Clash of Civilisations worldview, with Orthodox Slavs taking the role now ascribed to the Muslims. You still get a lot of this in the Hoares' journal Bosnia Report.

A bonus point to anyone who can find Attila's pamphlet, "Bosnia - the acid test". Nick plagiarises it wholesale.

12/19/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a feeling that Alan "not the Minister" Johnson was a deeply confused individual. Some of his stuff on CiF left me deeply perplexed. He signed the Euston Manifesto (billed as a manifesto of the pro-war left) but claimed to have been against the invasion of Iraq. Then he said that he wasn't on the big anti-war demo because he couldn't bear to be on the same demonstration as people from SWP. (In a crowd of more than a million there are bound to be some people that you don't like, I guess, but if you take that attitude then you're never going to protest against anything.)

The AWL article does go on a bit, but seems to confirm my initial feelings.

12/19/2006 03:38:00 PM  

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