Bastani- the latest from the Novara capo di tutti capi

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Dannny
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Nov 27 2018 18:17

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?

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Serge Forward
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Nov 27 2018 18:35

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.

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Noah Fence
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Nov 27 2018 19:04

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
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Nov 27 2018 20:03

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.

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Noah Fence
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Nov 27 2018 20:38

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

Mike Harman
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Nov 27 2018 21:15
Danny wrote:
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
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Nov 27 2018 21:57
Mike Harman wrote:
Danny wrote:
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.

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R Totale
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Nov 27 2018 22:21

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.

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Red Marriott
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Nov 28 2018 00:29

D. Harvie comments below the Plan C article;

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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
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Dec 4 2018 14:22

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.

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R Totale
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Dec 4 2018 18:28
wojtek wrote:
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
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Dec 4 2018 19:29

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.

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rat
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Apr 5 2019 12:23
Quote:
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:

Quote:
AaronBastani was on @BBCRadio4 discussing Karl Marx.

https://www.facebook.com/novaramedia/videos/vb.404716342902872/445042282...

R Totale wrote:
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?

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R Totale
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Apr 6 2019 09:48
rat wrote:
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
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Apr 6 2019 12:50
R Totale wrote:
rat wrote:
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
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Sep 14 2019 17:52

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

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Rob Ray
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Sep 15 2019 16:09

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.

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Noah Fence
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Sep 15 2019 18:56

Michael Walker is a ...

Quote:
Class War Social Democrat

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

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explainthingstome
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Sep 16 2019 06:50
Rob Ray wrote:
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.

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Sep 16 2019 14:00
Rob Ray wrote:
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.

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R Totale
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Sep 16 2019 20:20

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.

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Sep 17 2019 15:30

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
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Sep 19 2019 17:39

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-...

Spikymike
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Oct 4 2019 10:54

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
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Oct 4 2019 14:17

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.

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Rob Ray
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Oct 4 2019 15:07

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

Great masthead though.

300x

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Noah Fence
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Oct 5 2019 14:15
rat wrote:
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.

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

Good praxis comrade, good praxis!

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R Totale
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Oct 5 2019 16:50

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.

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Rob Ray
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Oct 5 2019 19:56

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.