Thanks to our lovely commenteers for the heads-up on this one; as a service back to the community, Decentiya, Digested. Editor's Page
: Alan NTM delivers a passionate and heartfelt encomium to himself. Then revisits his "post-left" brainfart:
Its high theory and low sensibility are increasingly important in the mass media, the arts, the academy and in what we might call graduate-popular-culture
... and Decentiya too, apparently; there are about a dozen references to "governing narratives", "discourses" etc etc scattered through this ish. Anyway, the only thing that the modern "post-Left" does is says "We Are All Hezbollah". That's it. And they say it all the time. (parenthetically, although WAAH was a monumentally stupid and counterproductive slogan for the five or six grouplets that used it, and for that reason I don't really begrudge the Decents their propagandistic use of it, I do think it's a little bit pathetic for Not The Min and his mates to totally ignore the circumstances of the invasion of 2006, still more to pretend that it's a slogan that's ever been used outside that context).Letters to the Editor
: Lyn Julius gets called on some particularly egregious bullshit about Mearsheimer and Waltz, pretends she hasn't.The Mighty Walzer: The Democratiya Project
: Epitomises the "will this do?" style of preface for the freebie Decentiya interviews compilation that you get free with the £100 club (or alternatively, that you pay £100 for). In words suspiciously close to those of Alan NTM Johnson, he tells us exactly the same thing that Alan NTM Johnson told us in the "Editor's Page".Robert "Don't call me Wilhelm" Reich: The Paradox of Supercapitalism
: Book chapter, doesn't make me want to buy the book. Reich was a puddle-deep thinker in the Clinton administration and is no better now; god help the publisher who thought that the world needed a lite- version of Joe Stiglitz.Bring Your Daughter To Anne-Marie Slaughter: Are We Rome?
: All about whether the USA is an imperialist power or not. Amusingly, the entire essay is written about the consequences for Americans of imperialism and the chances of the US hanging on to imperial power for a bit more and/or suriving the Fall. Idea that being an empire might be a bad thing to be, absent. Also amusingly:
The essence of this trend is reflected in the changing definition of the Latin word suffragium. It originally means voting tablet, or ballot. In the relatively brief days of the Roman Republic, (450 years. Are you ref. to a shorter period when a certain voting practice held, perhaps?) citizens could vote to elect individuals to specific offices,
Emphasis added; presumably this was an NTM note to A-MS which accidentally made it into the final draft.Mark Major Major Major: The Politics Of Economic Inequality
. A book report, not a review. Adds nothing. Presumably they print these to keep the review copies coming?David Lowe: On Sharansky on Identity and Democracy
. Also a bit of a book report, but Sharansky's thesis is interesting, if mental. Basically, there's nothing inconsistent between universal values and bombing the shit out of the Arabs. See, we
democratically elect the leaders we
like, and they
democratically elect the leaders they
like, and then if we
don't like what they
like, then there's a fight. Sharansky is basically the Id of Decentism - I'm sure none of them really endorse this, but psychologically it's what's at the bottom of the pool they're swimming in.Ben Gidley: Jacqueline Rose and the 'Non-Jewish Jew'
Not a bad essay, actually makes me want to read the book. Which, by the way, is apparently chock full o' postmodernism, Freudianism and all sorts of other naughty non-Enlightenment stuff and is endorsed by Slavoj Zizek - not sure why this one is in Democratiya at all. Gidley mentions in paragraph one that it contains an excellent essay about Edward Said, which is never mentioned again at all; presumably Rose did not toe the Decentiya line on Said (which is to say, him being a bastard).David Milliband: Georgia: Choices For the West
. If you liked it on the Foreign Office website, you'll like it again in Decentiya, I suppose.Eric Lee: Global Labor Notes / Georgia: Why is Labor Silent?
. Utterly pointless. Not even a book review; just Lee whinging on about the global labour movement not sticking up for plucky little Georgia, not like those paragons did in the 1920s. If you like trivia about the 20th century labour movement then you might like this, but Lee's politics are so absurdly slanted that I suspect his history might be too. I thought on reading this that maybe being a member of the Democratiya £100 Club (now by far the cheapest option btw; don't even consider the $200 or EUR130 options) gave you the right to have an article printed, because I can see no other reason for it. But Lee has a regular column doesn't he on "Global Labor Notes"? There must be literally fuck all happening in the world of trade unions. God. (imagine me doing a Gordon Ramsay voice on that word, like he says "God" when a chef tells him that he uses frozen spaghetti sauce).Martin "Not Bodie From The Professionals" Shaw: Georgia: Lessons for the West
. Visibly commits all the sins Alan NTM accuses the "post-Left" of (ie: blames lots of it on Bush, also takes 'conspiracy theories' seriously with regard to the question of actual US instigation of the Georgian attack). Visibly all the better for it. A lot of home truths here for Decentiya readers.David Clarke: Georgia: The Meaning of the Conflict
"Review to follow". That's the entire text. Great editing Alan.Elizabeth Porter: Building Global Feminist Movements
. Book report.Martin Shaw/David Hirsh: Antisemitism and the Boycott: An Exchange
Hilarious. If you only read one article in this issue of Democratiya, it should be this one
. Shaw decides to upbraid Hirsh on the whole issue of being Big Chief I-Spy of British anti-semitism. Makes lots of points that have been needed to be made to the ENGAGE tendency for a very long time (including the completely incorrect use of the phrase "institutional racism"). Hirsh attempts to patronise Shaw and gets his head handed to him. Max Dunbar: The Ideas of Tariq Ramadan
If you read Paul Berman's longer and more dreadful attempt at a hatchet-job on Ramadan you are excused this. Not very good. Decents still seem to think that presenting Ramadan's "moratorium" quote is some kind of killer gotcha even when it's clear from the quote, even out of context, that Ramadan didn't mean what they (and Sarkozy at the time) claim.Tom Gallagher: Nationalism and Islamism in Scotland
. "Narratives" and "discourses" all over the braes in this one. Blah blah SNP. Apparently they are the first people in Scotland ever to have played ethnic politics, who knew? Lots of "white working class" as well. Basically Scottish Labour is fucked and its supporters a) don't like this fact, b) can't, apparently, find any substantial or important connections between Salmond and Islamism.Eric B. Litwack Paddywhack, Give A Dog A Bone: Collective Apology and Moral Responsibility
: Somewhere between a book report and an undergraduate essay on "Can there be such a thing as a collective national apology?". Only original bit:
Two of the editors of The Age of Apology have claimed a need for American apologies for waging a war on terror in their piece: 'Apology and the American "War on Terror". [...] As much as it is entirely reasonable to expect clear contrition on errors made during the current campaigns against terrorism and extremism, it is regrettable that not the slightest mention is made by the authors of the humanitarian arguments for the toppling of the Saddam Hussein Ba'ath Party tyranny, made both by many Iraqis and by many non-Iraqis. Furthermore, they elide any acknowledgement of the real threat that fanaticism and terrorism pose both to the democratic West and to the entire Middle East itself. Their focus here is entirely on errors of emphasis, flaws in the remarkably complex and error-prone world of military intelligence, and on atrocities and abuses. On the issue of imperfections in security and military intelligence before 9/11, it is important to invoke here the 'lighthouse effect' – one always hears of the one shipwreck and its horrors, but not of the solid function of preventing possibly thousands of other shipwrecks that the lighthouse performs.
yep, "picking over the rubble". Und so weiter.Lawrence J. Haas: Letter from Washington / Searching for Barack
. I see that Democratiya isn't printing anything by Fred Siegal this quarter, hurray. But why on earth does it need a great big wordy compilation of McCain campaign sneers about what "ordinary Americans" think? Particularly not from someone who transparently wouldn't know an ordinary American if one bit him on the bum.Cathy Lowy: Letter from Hungary
. Blog post.Gary Kent: Letter from Baghdad
. Blog post. Even has a bit in it about going to Blaydon to see the red kites.David R. Adler: Arts / On Jazz, Hip-Hop and Democracy, Kevin Higgins: Poem / Letter To A Full Time Revolutionary, Michael Weiss : Arts / On Victor Serge's Unforgiving Years
There is no way on earth I'm reviewing the arts coverage. Life's too short.
And some archive material from Denis Healey, and an interview with Robert Reich in which he reads out his book chapter and Alan does his poor man's Stern act. And we are done for another trimester. Hey ho hum.Update
: I said above that, thank the Lord, Democratiya had stopped publishing the awful Fred "France is going through an intifada" Siegal. This judgement may have been premature