Bastani- the latest from the Novara capo di tutti capi

Submitted by Battlescarred on January 27, 2018

Aaron Bastani
"A section of the left, what I call the ‘fuck you dad left’, think it’s progressive that police officers are outsourced, have lower wages or are precarious. Let’s get that straight: it isn’t "

And

"The 'fuck you dad' left would jettison an emerging social democratic hegemony on the economy to have a culture war we'd currently lose. We can only win that culture war if we engage with people, where they are, and persuade them. Thats a lot harder than choosing a left 'scene' over a left movement granted - but its something we have to do. It means having conversations with people we disagree with".

"Astonished at how many *still* don’t get cheering on protest whatever it’s demands and whatever the political context. Any breakdown in Iranian regime *could* make Syria look like theme park. Yet many Brits still cheer on regime change"

"Saudi’s and Israel would aid separatists in Baluchistan/Khuzistan, Iranian Kurdistan too. Any power struggle would see a straight military junta replacing current polyarchy and distribution of power. More suffering, more unrest, more refugees, ISIS spreads. Think!"
From the guy who brought you "What is Libertarian Communism? On this week's show Aaron Bastani and James Butler discuss libertarian communism. What does it mean and how should we relate to it? "

I imagine the ‘fuck you dad left’,phrase is one he's going to use in his imminent book, yet another stage in his attempt to furtherr his career in a forthcoming Labour regime

Battlescarred

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/media/2017/09/luxury-communism-now-rise-pro-corbyn-media

wojtek

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If he believed any different, he wouldn't be where he is. Same as you and i.

I don't see the point of critiquing/beefing with 'influential' people other than for kicks. If your stuff is tight then they'll be irrelevant, if they weren't to begin with, soon enough.

Battlescarred

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This misses the point entirely.

wojtek

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You're very welcome haha. yolo

adri

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Aaron Bastani
"A section of the left, what I call the ‘fuck you dad left’, think it’s progressive that police officers are outsourced, have lower wages or are precarious. Let’s get that straight: it isn’t "

Don't see what's "progressive" in police officers beating striking workers or siding with employers against workers as they historically have. I guess he didn't get the memo police aren't the working class's friends.

bastarx

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

zugzwang

Aaron Bastani
"A section of the left, what I call the ‘fuck you dad left’, think it’s progressive that police officers are outsourced, have lower wages or are precarious. Let’s get that straight: it isn’t "

Don't see what's "progressive" in police officers beating striking workers or siding with employers against workers as they historically have. I guess he didn't get the memo police aren't the working class's friends.

Is any of that actually happening to those poor oppressed cops?

My understanding is that the state usually makes sure cops are looked after pretty well even when other public sector workers are getting shafted.

jura

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wasn't the payrise cap for police and prison wardens recently abolished (as opposed to caps for other public sector workers)?

jef costello

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It was very funny in France when Sarkozy was President, the cops went for everyone who protested against cuts. And then got upset when they got cut, funniest of all they started talking about strikes, marches and demonstrations. They just took it instead.

Rob Ray

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

His sterling defence of a new green card system and hard migration limit on their Brexit podcast (which would apparently undermine racism in Britain) was similarly eyebrow-raising. At one point he jokingly suggested that in his passionate defence of the superiority of the British constitutional system to formal written ones (while talking about how Lexit was definitely going to be a real thing) he might be channeling Edmund Burke. Mm.

He seems to be in an accelerating process of jettisoning all non-Labour views from his oeuvre, presumably so when he goes for the MP/senior apparatchik job he can answer media quote-miners with "yeah but here's a quote showing definitively that I changed my mind ages ago, youthful indiscretions etc etc." It's not terribly surprising given his political trajectory for the last while tbh.

rat

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good post by Rob Ray.
The Novara Media Editorial Team also currently contains an erstwhile anarchist who seems to know which side his bread is buttered.
As this lot are probably the next bunch of wankers who we could feasibly see take up positions in the Labour Party or in significant media roles — what do we do about them?
Maybe nothing? Maybe a relentless critique of social democracy? Maybe a smart smack in the gob next time we spot one of them?

Serge Forward

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jack Straw, David Blunkett, etc. of the future innit.

adri

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

removed

Shorty

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Battlescarred

"The 'fuck you dad' left would jettison an emerging social democratic hegemony on the economy to have a culture war we'd currently lose. We can only win that culture war if we engage with people, where they are, and persuade them. Thats a lot harder than choosing a left 'scene' over a left movement granted - but its something we have to do. It means having conversations with people we disagree with".

Eh, if you change out 'social democratic' and ignore the lack of hegemony, this could have been said on here any time since libcom started. It's ok when other anarchists say it, right?

I think 'fuck you dad' is funny, I remember seeing this graffiti in social centres and housing projects in Berlin over ten years ago.
Bit of comedic self insight.

Mike Harman

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Shorty

Eh, if you change out 'social democratic' and ignore the lack of hegemony, this could have been said on here any time since libcom started.

It's a specific line of argument, most explicitly put forward by Paul Mason (who recently started writing for Novara - has already been appearing on panels and interviews with them) that the Labour Party should focus only on 'opposing neoliberalism' (meaning increasing social funding and infrastructure investment, 'national investment bank' and similar), while maintaining the UK's military, police and border regimes intact, with only the mildest critique, if any. The idea being that such an approach will gain support from the CBI and other establishment groups who aren't happy with the current Tory leadership - so might support, or at least not actively sabotage as much, a Corbyn government as long as they don't mess with the repressive functions of the state too much.

So 'we engage with people, where they are, and persuade them' is an appeal to public opinion (pro-Trident, anti-immigration, pro-police), an approach to online and media discourse, rather than for workplace or community organising. In other words it's talking about positioning and triangulation, rather than methodology. Specifically, it's a way of defending Labour's calls for more police funding, where a police abolitionist framework is conveniently dismissed as simply wanting lower-paid, less-well-trained police and a well funded police force is expected to have more capacity for 'reform'.

This comes at a time where there has been some recent anti-police campaigns with the demonstrations for Edson da Costa and Rashan Charles in London towards the end of last year.

Dannny

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rat

Good post by Rob Ray.
The Novara Media Editorial Team also currently contains an erstwhile anarchist who seems to know which side his bread is buttered.
As this lot are probably the next bunch of wankers who we could feasibly see take up positions in the Labour Party or in significant media roles — what do we do about them?
Maybe nothing? Maybe a relentless critique of social democracy? Maybe a smart smack in the gob next time we spot one of them?

Is that a joke? Either way a daft thing to put on a public forum.

Dannny

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone think the lamentable trajectory of the Novara project might be used for more general reflections on the turn of events since 2010-11?
It seems like quite a lot of people were introduced to or seemed receptive in one way or another to anarchist ideas around this time. Subsequent to the 'turn' to statist approaches there are any number of examples of individuals or organisations in the UK and beyond whose ideological drift and caving in on basic questions seems to vindicate the classic anarchist position. However, rather than making that position more visible and giving libertarians increased confidence, there seems to be more confusion than before, with 'anarchists' coming up with all kinds of justifications for involving themselves in statist projects... Is that a fair assessment and if so could we have made a better effort to avoid it?

Mike Harman

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Social democracy doesn't have anything to offer in terms of social change, but it has a lot to offer people who'd like to make a living either as politicians or journalists, at least since there's been a collapse in the Progress wing of Labour since 2008. What shouldn't have surprised me but nevertheless has is the rapid jettisoning of positions even with the merest whiff of proximity to power, would have expected that to happen after an election win.

Khawaga

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Social democracy doesn't have anything to offer in terms of social change, but it has a lot to offer people who'd like to make a living either as politicians or journalists, at least since there's been a collapse in the Progress wing of Labour since 2008.

Now while, I think you are correct in your assessment, there are plenty of people who've turned towards social democratic reform, but do not have a desire to be a journo or politician. It may simply also be the case that people want to see some change and think that with the lack of anarchist projects getting anything done, it is better to settle for at least something. While I can't really speak to the UK situation, I have quite a few friends in North America who've softened up on electoralism. This has also something to do with the general political confusion that reigns and with the rise of the (alt) right; it is seen as more important to combat them through the ballot box and electing more friendlies/less shitty people in power. In Canada, there was the "anyone but Harper" line of agitation that got Trudeau (who is but a liberal Trump) elected.

Mike Harman

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

When you say softened up though, are they just hopeful about someone half-decent getting in or are they actually expending energy on electoralism? Either way that's a more interesting point.

With the UK situation, I think there had not been a pressing need for a consistent critique of electoral politics for at least two decades. With Blair vs. Major or Brown vs. Cameron it was pretty obvious to anyone in vaguely left wing circles that there was 'no difference' between them.

This meant that the Trot groups mostly tried to erect new political parties to run against Labour (and the extent of soft-anarchist involvement might have been voting Green or something) - both of which are pretty marginal political projects - so actual communists and anarchists could mostly ignore these completely. Equally projects to 'move the Labour Party to the left' were written off with scorn. So Corbyn actually getting elected surprised a lot of people and some of the older boilerplate critiques did not apply to that situation.

With Theresa May at the very right of the Tory party, and Corbyn at the very left, it does not really make sense to say "they're all the same" - so you get into what the constraints would be - all the other Labour MPs, the local councils, the state as opposed to the government), capital itself, or examples from other countries like Syriza. That's a much less obvious thing to get across.

Khawaga

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

When you say softened up though, are they just hopeful about someone half-decent getting in or are they actually expending energy on electoralism? Either way that's a more interesting point.

It's been both, though more of the hopeful kind than actual electioneering (among people I know at least).

Ghost Whistler

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

His sterling defence of a new green card system and hard migration limit on their Brexit podcast (which would apparently undermine racism in Britain) was similarly eyebrow-raising. At one point he jokingly suggested that in his passionate defence of the superiority of the British constitutional system to formal written ones (while talking about how Lexit was definitely going to be a real thing) he might be channeling Edmund Burke. Mm.

He seems to be in an accelerating process of jettisoning all non-Labour views from his oeuvre, presumably so when he goes for the MP/senior apparatchik job he can answer media quote-miners with "yeah but here's a quote showing definitively that I changed my mind ages ago, youthful indiscretions etc etc." It's not terribly surprising given his political trajectory for the last while tbh.

Do you have a link to that particular podcast?

I know he changed his mind on brexit during the campaign going from leave to stay (iirc).

Personally I just find them insufferably arrogant and very much n their own cosy little bubble.

Reading Paul Mason argue that we should get on the streets if May quits - but only insofar as to press for another election - was disappointing.

I doubt any working class types really pay them much heed.

jolasmo

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

EDIT: Generally agree that these types aren't worth wasting brain space on, but felt no list of Bastani's most cringe inducing tweets would be complete without the above absolute gem.

Rob Ray

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Think it was this one

http://novaramedia.com/2018/01/12/lexit-2019/

jolasmo

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also this from literally just now:

Steven.

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jolasmo

Also this from literally just now:

That is typically awful for contemporary Bastani.

However I think it's a pretty good example of the change in perspective people go through when they move from a radical perspective to a social democratic politician's one. When you cease to view the working class as something you are part of, whose task is to liberate itself and each other, and instead view it as a mass you can direct for your own ends (which you probably see as being "for their own good").

I mean I'm sure that Bastani wouldn't have wanted to join the Army himself, nor would he have wanted to force his uni mates to do likewise. But now I guess we are just an amorphous mass, who can be whipped into shape to serve a mythical future Labour administration…

By the way to the person above suggesting violence, sorry but that is completely stupid and embarrassing thing to suggest. Yes, this is someone who has quickly abandoned any of the radical principles he briefly at least claimed to hold, in return for a couple of brief segments on Sky News and some selfies with Corbyn, but violence is in no way justified. If I were you I would remove that comment.

Red Marriott

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Prince Charles is “a decent person” and “the Queen is one of the most remarkable individuals of the 20th century”. - Aaron Bastani, Any Questions, BBC Radio 4, 9th Nov 2018.

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@Red do you mean Any Questions? I'm going to do myself a favour and not listen to that.

Grace Blakeley, who was a fairly recent addition to the Novara line-up iirc, has just landed a job as economics columnist for the New Statesman.

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2018/11/grace-blakeley-appointed-new-statesman-economics-commentator

She's written lexit-y stuff like this, pitting national capital against global finance capita:

Grace Blakely

Any attempt to build a socialist government in the UK requires opposing global financial capital, the interests of which are protected by international institutions such as the EU. Brexit provides the left with an opportunity to build a definancialised economy, disentangled from the international financial system that caused the crash of 2008, and free to direct capital away from useless speculation into productive investment.

https://novaramedia.c om/2018/06/24/financial-globalisation-has-been-a-disaster-brexit-gives-us-a-chance-to-resist-it/

Red Marriott

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MH

@Red do you mean Any Questions? I'm going to do myself a favour and not listen to that.

Yeh, my mistake, I've edited in the correction. Bastani started by getting slagged by the rest of the panel (and Dimbleby) for his Youtube video apparently criticising Poppy Day etc. But he's a natural as a media politico, able to opportunistically modify his words according to his audience and to which way the wind is blowing.

rat

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

These are probably daft questions, but I wonder what would happen to Novara Media if Corbyn fails to get elected?
Also, how long before some of the Novara Media Editorial Team work for the BBC?

Noah Fence

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rat

These are probably daft questions, but I wonder what would happen to Novara Media if Corbyn fails to get elected?
Also, how long before some of the Novara Media Editorial Team work for the BBC?

Yes, they probably are daft questions - this is evidenced by the fact that I’ve been wondering them myself.
I also wonder what line they’ll take if he does get elected when the inevitable failure to implement policy happens. Either way, I’ve not doubt that strong anti emetics will be required!

Dannny

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah I've been wondering about this too! Have any of the older posters got relevant memories from the 80s? What happened to the 'in and against the state' people after Foot's defeat? I'm guessing there was a mixture of some people drifting further right and some bowing out of activity - did any ex-radicals leave Labour and reflect critically on the experience?

Serge Forward

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not to my recollection. The only ones who ever came our way were occasional disillusioned trots from the Militant, etc. I'm aware of one former non-trot Labour Party member who joined the ACF in the late 80s/early 90s. I don't think he was ever an 'in and against the state' type when he was in the Party though.

Noah Fence

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, my experience is the migration is always in the other direction. I also know of at least a couple of tub thumping Millitant Labourites from days of yore that now see Corbyn as too far to the left which is as hilarious as it is pathetic.

Dannny

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for the responses. It's a pity. I'd have thought by any measure the last time a bunch of radicals decided to throw in their lot with Labour it was (at best) a waste of time, but it seems like there's no collective memory of that, or even an acknowledgement that it might be a relevant or comparable experience to draw on.

Noah Fence

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah, but what you’re not getting Danny, is that as always, it’s going to be different this time!

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Danny

I'd have thought by any measure the last time a bunch of radicals decided to throw in their lot with Labour it was (at best) a waste of time

Don't people get media/advisor jobs out of it though? That seems to be pretty clearly the trajectory of most of the Novara people.

I do wonder a bit more about Plan C and the people around New Socialist though, who are less obviously going for the pundit/talking head route.

Dannny

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Danny

I'd have thought by any measure the last time a bunch of radicals decided to throw in their lot with Labour it was (at best) a waste of time

Don't people get media/advisor jobs out of it though? That seems to be pretty clearly the trajectory of most of the Novara people.

I do wonder a bit more about Plan C and the people around New Socialist though, who are less obviously going for the pundit/talking head route.

Yeah I'd forgotten the thread is about Novara tbh, was thinking more about the latter types.

R Totale

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, I think focusing on the career trajectories of the Novaraites themselves rather than the politics they represent is a bit of a red herring - we're talking thousands and thousands of people, who obviously aren't all going to end up with their own column in the New Statesman or wherever.
On memories of last time round, one of the worse Plan C articles from around this time last year tried claiming that "The roots of Corbyn’s journey into the LP... was historically encouraged by comrades in the ‘autonomist feminist/Big Flame‘ milieu of the late 60s/70s" which is not a claim I've ever seen made anywhere else, and feels like a kind of weird attempt to reverse-engineer a genealogy, or an apostolic succession or something.

Red Marriott

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

D. Harvie comments below the Plan C article;

it's incorrect to suggest "Corbyn’s journey into the LP ... was historically encouraged by comrades in the ‘autonomist feminist/Big Flame‘ milieu of the late 60s/70s". Corbyn was a Labour Councillor back in 1974 and was always much closer to the Trots of London Labour Briefing than to any autonomist tendency.

wojtek

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bastani doesn't focus on rank and file workers does he? He seems to promote McCluskey at home and never comments on labour struggles and repression in Iran, despite emphasizing his Iranian heritage and writing about its government.

R Totale

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

Bastani doesn't focus on rank and file workers does he? He seems to promote McCluskey at home and never comments on labour struggles and repression in Iran, despite emphasizing his Iranian heritage and writing about its government.

From what I remember, he came out with some really bad stuff about Iran earlier in the year - he started off with the "regime change" line that tries to conflate workers' struggles and the possibility of revolution with imperialist wars, and then shat himself so badly that he accidentally denied that the American Civil War ever happened. Fair play to him for leaving it up though, if I'd come out with something like that I'd be very tempted to quietly delete it when no-one was looking.

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wow that take is half way between defending the confederate south's right to self-determination against yankee imperialism and historical denialism, which seems about where his politics are on international issues generally.

rat

3 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Aaron Bastani defines communism on the Daily Politics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=372&v=6Z-85q3eE0U

Is this a case of live by the media — die by the media?
Or does Aaron Bastani survive well on TV? Although this clip is from July 2018, Novara Media posted it up on their Twitter account recently as Bastani was also on BBC Radio 4 yesterday:

AaronBastani was on @BBCRadio4 discussing Karl Marx.

https://www.facebook.com/novaramedia/videos/vb.404716342902872/445042282917193/?type=2&theater

R Totale

I think focusing on the career trajectories of the Novaraites themselves rather than the politics they represent is a bit of a red herring - we're talking thousands and thousands of people, who obviously aren't all going to end up with their own column in the New Statesman or wherever.

I see what you mean, but maybe the politics that the actual editorial group of Novara Media represent are also linked to their career trajectories?

R Totale

3 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rat

I see what you mean, but maybe the politics that the actual editorial group of Novara Media represent are also linked to their career trajectories?

Yeah, quite probably, but I'm less interested in the actual Novara group themselves, and more in the people you might run into in your union, or tenants' group, or anti-fascist group or whatever who read/watch Novara and think it's good and are influenced by it. Those are the people we should be arguing with, and calling them careerists is a bit of a non-starter.

Mike Harman

3 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

rat

I see what you mean, but maybe the politics that the actual editorial group of Novara Media represent are also linked to their career trajectories?

Yeah, quite probably, but I'm less interested in the actual Novara group themselves, and more in the people you might run into in your union, or tenants' group, or anti-fascist group or whatever who read/watch Novara and think it's good and are influenced by it. Those are the people we should be arguing with, and calling them careerists is a bit of a non-starter.

So this is true, but how much do people actually absorb the ideology/positions of Novara vs. treating them like a media organisation that supports the Labour left? (to the extent that it does, increasingly it's clear that Novara are to the right of some sections of the Labour membership/Corbyn supporters, particularly in comparison to the people around New Socialist). I don't mean this as a rhetorical question it's a real question I don't know the answer to.

wojtek

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

'Anarchism is for children, has no plan, doesn't achieve anything'
http://tomballard.com.au/151-michael-walker/

Rob Ray

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lol Walker can talk, he's the least capable mind on Novara - his endless inane smugness makes their Tysky Sour show almost unwatchable.

What is it about people moving away from a political position which inspires so many of them to get so pathetically pissy about it? It's like they see politics as some sort of relationship where they need to distance themselves from an old flame by badmouthing them to their new mates.

Noah Fence

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Michael Walker is a ...

Class War Social Democrat

Fucking hell, I’ve heard it all now!!!

explainthingstome

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

What is it about people moving away from a political position which inspires so many of them to get so pathetically pissy about it?

I think it may have something to do with some kind of self-hatred one feels towards ones former self for having had a different political opinion or religious faith or whatever.

Agent of the I…

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

What is it about people moving away from a political position which inspires so many of them to get so pathetically pissy about it? It's like they see politics as some sort of relationship where they need to distance themselves from an old flame by badmouthing them to their new mates.

When he was an anarchist, it was probably at a time when he was shopping in the marketplace of political ideologies, moving from one position to another. He was probably not very much committed to anarchism. This just reminds me of an old friend of mine, who was discussing politics with another friend, and one of the topics was anarcho-syndicalism. This was before I even became a leftist. What I took away from this discussion was that my friend basically admitted he was looking for a label that made him sound like an intellectual. Today he's just a liberal.

R Totale

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is a prime example of why I really don't like the turn to audio/video over written content - if this was a written interview I'd skimread it, maybe even think of writing a reply if there were any actually interesting points there, but there's no way in hell I'm going to spend a full hour of the only life I'll ever live listening to some social democrat explain why he's a social democrat.

Agent of the I…

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's not worth it. If your curious, you can fast forwarded it to the five minute mark, and then listen to the next seven minutes or so that covered their discussion of his brief involvement in and eventual abandonment of anarchism for "class struggle" social democracy. After that, the discussion moves on to another topic, so you just turn it off right there. That's what I did. I didn't find anything substantial worth responding to; pretty typical stuff you'd expect from social democrats.

Spikymike

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Roberts (and Carchedi) do a good demolition job on the Novara Media and New Statesmen commentator Grace Blakeley's new book, pulling in criticism of Lapavitas, Harvey and Piketty along the way but then Roberts falls back on his bank nationalisation as the next step to democratic control of, what else, but still an essentially (state) capitalist economy! which he likes to describe as 'socialism' .
Still worth a critical read here:
https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/theft-or-exploitation-a-review-of-stolen-by-grace-blakeley/

Spikymike

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It seems Blakeley is also a regular contributor to Jacobin and Tribune (is that still going) and is promoting her book next week in Manchester, I'm away but if anyone else is going I'd recommend the above linked critical article again.
Noticed as well that the academic anarchist Ruth Kinna is on Novar Media offering up a version of anarchism as some kind of contribution to the resolving of the current UK constitutional crisis!!

Mike Harman

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tribune collapsed and was bought by Jacobin, amidst quite a lot of controversy because there were allegations that Bhaskar Sunkara misled and failed to pay redundancy to the previous editorial staff.

While Tribune has always been something to ignore, it's now a horrible combination of Guardian columnists, Novara contributors, Jacobin, and Morning Star types.

Rob Ray

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

They did a statement about it, on Tumblr a little weirdly. Sounded like a mess.

Great masthead though.

Noah Fence

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rat

As this lot are probably the next bunch of wankers who we could feasibly see take up positions in the Labour Party or in significant media roles

I’ve long seen the appalling Novara crew as being in training for high paying BBC jobs. I’d rather associate with a thousand Tories than any of these smug liberal fucks - their self seeking careerism seems blatantly obvious to me although plenty of people seem to hold them up as paragons of journalistic integrity. Whether I’ve judged their character correctly or not, it makes me sick to listen to their insipid bleatings. Ugh.

Maybe a smart smack in the gob next time we spot one of them

Good praxis comrade, good praxis!

R Totale

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone know Ronan Burtenshaw's background/political affiliation, btw? Editor of Tribune doesn't seem like something you just walk into, but I'd never heard of him before a few months ago.
I see he has a website that says "He was recently installed as editor of Tribune Magazine, leading its relaunch as part of the Jacobin stable where he had previously worked as Europe editor. Ronan has ten years of experience in politics and media. His writing has appeared in outlets across Europe and the United States, while his work in politics has ranged from political advisor in Dáil Éireann to consulting work for think tanks Transform and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation." But that doesn't really say too much.

Rob Ray

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

His background is more Irish which might account for it. He was vice-chair of ICTU Youth in 2015 or so, then seems to have gotten into the Jacobin writing team when he guest edited Jacobin's Easter Rising special back in March 2016 and was listed as their Europe editor last year, so looks like a "safe pair of hands" parachute job.

Spikymike

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Given that Novara Media and company are in overdrive supporting the Corbyn lead Labour Party during the current UK elections thought this previous longer analysis of their fault-lines from MH was worth another plug here:
https://libcom.org/blog/poverty-luxury-communism-05042018

Rob Ray

2 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Full circle for the man who made his name castigating the tendency of media pundits to get everything wrong about elections followed by a brazen "oh of course this is why the other pundits were wrong" U-turn/memory hole.

December 11th

"28 seat majority for Tories. I think that’s optimistic & unlikely. Make no mistake Labour, with their get out the vote campaign on day & youth turnout, can win this."

December 14th

"No, we aren’t going to talk about rejoining the EU before we’ve even left, we are going to talk about class - finally.

Places Labour generally failed to defend from 35 years of economic stagnation no longer vote for them by default."

wojtek

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Is ACAB still bad?

adri

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

Is ACAB still bad?

He doesn't seem all that inspired by US protests and is posting about the need for more "socialist" MPs

https://twitter.com/AaronBastani/status/1266730889620398087

wojtek

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I had more the other presenter in mind who once disagreed with the slogan and its utility.

wojtek

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Michael Walker thinks strategically a diversity of tactics should be rejected and the oppressed need to be non-violent in the face of state violence to reach a critical mass of supporters. The state *wants* a violent reaction, hence agent provocateurs.

He said 'moral leadership' is needed, that MLK provided that for black people in the past and such a figure as landlord liberal Killer Mike can do so today.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5neYJqmYksM

wojtek

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

At least he is consistant in thinking people (workers, black people) ought to be subserviant.

Black liberal, your time is up

rat

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Novara Media seem a bit hot under the collar tonight.

Noah Fence

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rat

Novara Media seem a bit hot under the collar tonight.

What have the liberal luvvies got to say for themselves then?

rat

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's just their latest video after Corbyn was suspended. Mainly Bastani ranting.

Freedom Press seem a bit fed up too:

https://freedomnews.org.uk/against-anarcho-smugness/

Rob Ray

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A writer at the Freedom Press news site seems a bit fed up too.

Fixed it for you. Freedom hosts writers, it doesn't collectively sign off on every article.

rat

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for that Rob Ray.
That does make much better sense now.

R Totale

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have a fair bit of sympathy for that Freedom article. I mean, does anyone really want to argue with "My contention is that we in the British anarchist movement are way overdue such a period of radical reassessment. Capitalism is in crisis, fascism is in the ascendency and yet we have never been more politically irrelevant. Now is not the time for smugness or schadenfreude."?

Fozzie

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I’d say that whining about a few unnamed people in a bookshop and some unidentified posts on Urban75 is not the radical reassessment that we need.

Spikymike

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anarchists may have no reason to 'crow over all this' but then what kind of anarchist thinks the Corbynista defeat involves ''... the defeat of the first mass movement for socialism.'' ?

R Totale

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, there is something to that I suppose. Also, I bet you that there must be a few trots who've been wanking themselves silly with excitement these last few days over the possibility that Corbyn may have to end up joining TUSC or something.

rat

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

what kind of anarchist thinks the Corbynista defeat involves ''... the defeat of the first mass movement for socialism.'' ?

Leftists?

Reddebrek

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not only are such responses politically moribund but they are also premised on a fundamental misunderstanding. As comrades in Plan C pointed out way back in 2017, the mass of hope that was invested in Corbynism wasn’t so much a sign of people’s political naivety, as it was an index of their complete desperation:

“Anti-capitalist social movements and Left organisations have been in crisis for a decade or more; old strategies and tactics don’t work any more; governments and corporations are seemingly immune to anything and everything that we throw at them. The turn to the Labour Party is an act of desperation: we don’t know how else we can change anything! Our crisis of faith in our own ability to transform the world means we turn instead to a saviour who can do it for us. The revolutionary project is reconceptualised as a strategy for gaining state power – or more precisely public office.”

I agree the brief reversal of popularity for the Labour party under Corbyn was a product of growing desperation but I don't get why naivety and desperation are being treated as distinct and oppositional positions, surely this desperation was born at least in part by naivety?

I also agree that there is a culture of smugness around anarchist/communist circles that is pretty self isolating and largely useless, but a couple of people who hang around a bookshop and Urban 75 seem like small fries, and this is probably the worst hill to try and stand your ground on the issue, since as infuriating as the Itoldyouso crowd are, they were completely correct here. Corbyn is possibly the best example we've ever had of the inability of an established and entrenched political party to be a vehicle for social change even when its built up a large populist base of support and a solid core in the highest levels of leadership.

Though as for "Mass movement for socialism" unless things are very different in London it wasn't a mass movement for Corbyn never mind socialism. Momentum were essentially just another of Labour's many caucuses, one that was made up exclusively of long time Labour members (some lapsed, others spending months or years as paper members) and a handful of Trots from a couple of entryist organisations.

The Labour vote went up under Corbyn in 2017 as did the membership but, most of those were rejoiners or were just taken under the wings of the party branches, because Corbyn had zero interest in challenging the fundamental structure of the party. If you wanted to actively support Corbyn and his policy ideas, you had to go out of your way to join a momentum group and most of what they did was just campaign for labour candidates anyway, including the anti Corbyn ones.

Fozzie

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think also the anarchist triumphalism needs to be seen in the context of Corbynista triumphalism.

Over the last five years we’ve been repeatedly told that we’re irrelevant (fair enough), wrong (not so) and that if we were serious about creating social change we would get on board the Labour bandwagon.

During that time most of us have been pretty quiet tbh and have not suggested that an anarchist utopia is on the horizon. Whereas the Corbynistas have been very loud and have suggested that socialism is within their reach.

Personally I don’t see Corbyn’s defeat as a victory for us. I think a lot of working class people will now see anything left of centre as unworkable and a waste of time.

And we will need to be welcoming (and not dickheads) to the comrades we lost (many of whom I have huge affection for) who are now licking their wounds.

wojtek

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

History is a circle
https://www.marxists.org/archive/foot-paul/1982/3letters/letter2.htm

wojtek

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Waiting for the Novara intelligentsia to give in-depth coverage to the IWGB victory/any grassroots trade unionism rather than LP gossip... closest I've seen is AB lionise McCluskey as a 'w/c scouser' on twitter.

R Totale

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I mean, not wanting to be Billy Buzzkill, but that's a bit of a weak criticism, if you really want to read Novara coverage of IWGB stuff then there's this from Lydia Hughes. Granted, that's about a month old by now, but since then they've also published stuff like "voices from the care sector", Jane McAlevey's strike school thing, and one about renters' unions the other day. That probably holds up pretty solidly in comparison to Freedom or libcom newswire's coverage of similar issues over the same period. On the other hand, if you're just looking at Bastani's twitter page, then that's not really a problem I can help with, beyond reminding you that no-one really has to look at Bastani's twitter page.

wojtek

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I mostly watch their video content. My point is that electoralism takes precedence.

Rob Ray

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

That probably holds up pretty solidly in comparison to Freedom or libcom newswire's coverage of similar issues over the same period.

Lining Novara, which has paid staff and a serious income aimed ata broad audience, up against Freedom and libcom, neither of which have this and which regularly ask people to write things (usually to no avail, as people seem to have endless time to complain about the things we've written/not written but none to fix the problem themselves) because there's very limited energy or time for our volunteers to write is a bit of a weird comparison to make tbh.

Fozzie

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I reckon Novara would cover the IWGB stuff if a young ambitious wannabe pitched it and did all the work. They have nothing to lose by chucking out as much content across the left as possible. Like the very good prison abolition podcast they did - why not? It’s all clicks and Bastani can gently mock it on one of the bigger vehicles to reassure the more cautious members of the audience.

Clearly they won’t prioritise this stuff, but they’ve not made a political decision to exclude all mention of it.

Reddebrek

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

R Totale

That probably holds up pretty solidly in comparison to Freedom or libcom newswire's coverage of similar issues over the same period.

Lining Novara, which has paid staff and a serious income aimed ata broad audience, up against Freedom and libcom, neither of which have this and which regularly ask people to write things (usually to no avail, as people seem to have endless time to complain about the things we've written/not written but none to fix the problem themselves) because there's very limited energy or time for our volunteers to write is a bit of a weird comparison to make tbh.

I can't speak for R but that comment read less as a criticism of freedom and libcom and more as a mild defense of at least part of the Novara groups content by saying its about as good as them. Which given its cashflow and greater resources is still a bit damning with faint praise.

R Totale

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Has Novara been reading this thread? https://novaramedia.com/2020/11/04/hasta-la-victoria-university-of-london-cleaners-win-ten-year-battle-against-outsourcing/

Anyway, yeah, point taken, but surely we're all required by statute to get at least one mostly unconstructive moan about the UK anarchist movement not being as good as it should be in per year? I suppose I just think it's always worth being aware of when we're in glass houses when we criticise Novara/social democrats for some stuff.

Red Marriott

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Despite evidence that even loyal leftists are starting to question Cuban state policy; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/25/cuban-leftists-begin-to-turn-their-fire-on-the-harmful-practices-of-the-state - Novara repeats the official line that recent protests have just been whipped up and manipulated by 'outside agitators' and defends the Cuban state and its repression of dissent;
Novara

Cuban authorities have made it clear that violent disorder will be punished through the legal system. There may be more conflict ahead, but as the lines are drawn, no-one should underestimate the resilience of the Cuban Revolution.

Helen Yaffe is a senior lecturer in economic and social history at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of We Are Cuba: How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World and Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution. https://novaramedia.com/2021/07/20/whats-actually-going-on-in-cuba/

R Totale

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Helen Yaffe being, I'm around 95% sure, the kid of the RCG's guru - see, for instance:
https://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/author/9:david-yaffe
https://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/shop/product/44-we-are-cuba-how-a-revolutionary-people-have-survived-in-a-post-soviet-world

Red Marriott

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That would make sense, Cuba having always been RCG's sacred socialist paradise.

sherbu-kteer

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Aren't RCG the ones that think WWIII is going to happen between Europe and the US?

R Totale

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's a new one on me, but then I'm not an expert on their doctrine. Mostly notable for being the closest thing to proper third-worldists you're likely to run into in the UK?