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From Radical to Right Wing

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TeflonMaster
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Jun 17 2010 01:36

Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

Boris Badenov
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Jun 17 2010 01:51
smg wrote:
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I am not criticizing the Left from an ultra-left POV; if it seems like that to some people it's probably because they have spent too much time in the "radical milieu" to realize that it is possible to be "political" without being this or that label. I am criticizing the left as a worker, and from the POV of what the Left actually does for the working class.

Can you elaborate on this Vlad. I agree with sentiments that it possible to be "political" without leftist baggage. It is probably preferable. Some of my neighbors have strong communist sympathies but for them the Left is completely irrelevant, I on the other hand have spent far too much time on the "radical milieu".

First of all, it wasn't meant as a dig; everyone's free to do whatever they want with their "free" time, and there are worse things than being part of the "radical milieu" (see examples above). Second of all, I'm not sure there's anything to elaborate. The most fundamental criticism of the Left is, imo, not ideological but pragmatic. Some people like to think that the Left handed us the more benign aspects of the welfare state, like "free" health care, on a platter, out of the goodness of their bleeding hearts, but that is obviously bullshit. Whatever was won, was won through struggle not leftist parliamentary gymnastics, and whatever was lost was lost because of state violence, in which the Left has always taken part. So from the point of view of a waged worker who is not terribly concerned with political stuff, the Left is a joke not because it's "lost its way" and no longer believes in "socialism," but because it's never actually done anything for the working class. Seriously, even a cursory look into the history of Western leftism will prove that.
What I'm interested in is not to tell people that anarchism is "the Left done right" but to let them understand why leftism is nothing but pie in the sky at its worst, and that if we want something, we have to fight for it. This is how I see anarchism. Farce may be right in a sense when he says that if some people like to define the Left as some sort of "invisible city of God", a place for all the righteous radicals to call their own, they should be allowed to because it's harmless, and I agree, but only partially, because I don't think it's ever truly harmless to let your ideological imagination run free. The Left is not value free, and I don't think I exaggerated when I compared its appeal and influence as a "philosophical concept" (i.e. a reality that transcends the immediate manifestations of contemporary left-wing politics) with that of the Nation. It is the same wishful thinking at work, the same desire to be part of the Great Community (partially because of a fear of turning into an isolated "sectarian").

Boris Badenov
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Jun 17 2010 01:53
TeflonMaster wrote:
Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

My favourite example has always been Garibaldi. He started out as a Romantic monarchist-liberal, and ended up being friends with Bakunin (although never really an anarchist or even a socialist per se).
Tbf, I don't know of many other examples. That's an interesting quesiton.

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Hughes
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Jun 17 2010 01:58

I seem to recall at least one member of the Weather Underground coming from a privileged, right wing background.

EDIT: That's not an endorsement of the WU.

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smg
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Jun 17 2010 02:02

Thanks Vlad. I didnt take anything as a dig.

Quote:
So from the point of view of a waged worker who is not terribly concerned with political stuff, the Left is a joke not because it's "lost its way" and no longer believes in "socialism," but because it's never actually done anything for the working class.

Right on.

Steve_j
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Jun 17 2010 02:28

A former Student union rep at my former uni, reportably at one point attended the marxism fest, and then signed up to the SWP at the end, a few years later he was running for East Finchley Councillor as a tory on the basis that .......

Quote:
The good folks of my bit of Finchley haven't deigned to vote a Tory for a number for a number of years, but as a creative lot who like freedom of speech and don't want to loose their houses to a socialist state there's plenty to wake them up to their need to elect yours truly as their champion to within Barnet.

Im not sure what to make of that, was the issue the left in general or did the SWP just scare the shit out of him?

petey
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Jun 17 2010 05:00

just remembered: james burnham

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Entdinglichung
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Jun 17 2010 08:41
TeflonMaster wrote:
Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

as far as I knwo, Galvano della Volpe had in the 1920ies been a follower of the italian fascist Hegelian Claudio Gentile and became a marxist in the 1930ies or early 1940ies, Hans-Jürgen Krahl, who was probably the most creative thinker of the 1968 student movement in Germany, was in his youth a member of the völkisch-religious sect Bund für Deutsche Gotterkenntnis of Mathilde Ludendorff but he may have been born into that milieu

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 17 2010 09:21
Entdinglichung wrote:
TeflonMaster wrote:
Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

as far as I knwo, Galvano della Volpe had in the 1920ies been a follower of the italian fascist Hegelian Claudio Gentile and became a marxist in the 1930ies or early 1940ies, Hans-Jürgen Krahl, who was probably the most creative thinker of the 1968 student movement in Germany, was in his youth a member of the völkisch-religious sect Bund für Deutsche Gotterkenntnis of Mathilde Ludendorff but he may have been born into that milieu

Curzio Malaparte, fascist in the end of the twenties-early thirties and maoist after the IIWW.

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jura
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Jun 17 2010 10:39

Lucio Colletti, the Italian marxist philosopher (with some interesting contributions in my opinion), a disciple of the aforementioned Della Volpe BTW, ended up as an MP for Berlusconi's party.

Sidney Hook, a marxist in the 1920s, studied under Korsch and worked at Riazanov's institute in Moscow, turned into a Vietnam war supporter. He even got a nice medal from Reagan.

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oisleep
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Jun 17 2010 10:48
TeflonMaster wrote:
Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

Matthew Collins ex-combat 18, NF and BNP full timer is now an 'anti-fascist' working for searchlight - this far from makes him a solid leftist though. He regularly puts out unsubstantiated smears against those who are nominally on the same 'side' (one such one was done only last week) And given that combat 18 was essentially a searchlight pet project/brand anyway you could argue there was very little switch involved

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Jun 17 2010 10:58

On the topic of the OP didn't a regional secretary in the Anarchist Federation become an economic liberal tory who know thinks capitalism is a natural part of the human condition?

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madashell
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Jun 17 2010 11:08
oisleep wrote:
On the topic of the OP didn't a regional secretary in the Anarchist Federation become an economic liberal tory who know thinks capitalism is a natural part of the human condition?

News to me if they did. When was this?

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oisleep
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Jun 17 2010 11:15

long time ago - newcastle area

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Entdinglichung
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Jun 17 2010 11:16
oisleep wrote:
TeflonMaster wrote:
Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

Matthew Collins ex-combat 18, NF and BNP full timer is now an 'anti-fascist' working for searchlight - this far from makes him a solid leftist though. He regularly puts out unsubstantiated smears against those who are nominally on the same 'side' (one such one was done only last week) And given that combat 18 was essentially a searchlight pet project/brand anyway you could argue there was very little switch involved

and wasn't the singer of the Blaggers (who has died around 10 years ago) in his youth a member of the British Movement?

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oisleep
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Jun 17 2010 11:28

yes i believe so

I flirted with the far right in my early youth as well - no serious political involvement just an attraction based on not really knowing much and looking for something to lash out at and at the time they offered a ready made reason/scapegoat for things that I knew weren't right (poverty, inequality etc..) but didn't know why they existed

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Entdinglichung
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Jun 17 2010 11:34
Valeriano Orobón Fernández wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
TeflonMaster wrote:
Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

as far as I knwo, Galvano della Volpe had in the 1920ies been a follower of the italian fascist Hegelian Claudio Gentile and became a marxist in the 1930ies or early 1940ies, Hans-Jürgen Krahl, who was probably the most creative thinker of the 1968 student movement in Germany, was in his youth a member of the völkisch-religious sect Bund für Deutsche Gotterkenntnis of Mathilde Ludendorff but he may have been born into that milieu

Curzio Malaparte, fascist in the end of the twenties-early thirties and maoist after the IIWW.

Hellmut von Gerlach (1866-1935), he even wrote an autobiography with the title "From the right to the left" (don't know if translated into English) which means from a member of a populist and anti-semitic party in the 1880ies to a vaguely socialist radical democrat and pacifist and anti-nationalist

gypsy
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Jun 17 2010 11:36
oisleep wrote:
yes i believe so

I flirted with the far right in my early youth as well - no serious political involvement just an attraction based on not really knowing much and looking for something to lash out at and at the time they offered a ready made reason/scapegoat for things that I knew weren't right (poverty, inequality etc..) but didn't know why they existed

U a rangers fan? wink

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oisleep
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Jun 17 2010 11:37

not yet no

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oisleep
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Jun 17 2010 13:28

other one i meant to mention was ex-AFA member laurence rustem (half turkish) who besides being the chair of the 'ethnic liason committe' of the BNP has stood for parliament for them a couple of times and from 2005 till up until the elections this year was a BNP councilor in dagenham

TeflonMaster
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Jun 17 2010 13:47

I think there are plenty of right wingers who went to the left, we just don't hear a lot about them because being an Ex-Marxist or Ex-Leftist is a much more interesting self-advertisement, like David Horowitz who has spent much of his career talking about being an "Ex-Marxist", the implication being that now that he has left the left he has "wised up" and is now smart enough to not be a member anymore.

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Hughes
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Jun 17 2010 13:55
TeflonMaster wrote:
I think there are plenty of right wingers who went to the left, we just don't hear a lot about them because being an Ex-Marxist or Ex-Leftist is a much more interesting self-advertisement

Good point. Calling oneself a leftist revolutionary, if only a former one, has a romantic appeal that even right-wingers are not immune to. Probably helps sell books. Having gone to a couple WASPy Republican fundraisers just doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi.

gypsy
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Jun 17 2010 14:03
oisleep wrote:
other one i meant to mention was ex-AFA member laurence rustem (half turkish) who besides being the chair of the 'ethnic liason committe' of the BNP has stood for parliament for them a couple of times and from 2005 till up until the elections this year was a BNP councilor in dagenham

Lawrence Rustem, a man of mixed race allowed into the BNP because, in the words of one of his fellow candidates, he is "only half a wog".

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-mayor/article-23478458-bnp-picks-psychic-and-a-gay-porn-director-as-candidates.do

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oisleep
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Jun 17 2010 14:07

his other half should be allowed in now as well since the EHRC fuckup

gypsy
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Jun 17 2010 14:09
oisleep wrote:
his other half should be allowed in now as well since the EHRC fuckup

Yeah have any non whites tried to join since then?

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oisleep
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Jun 17 2010 14:11

they had a sikh and that join did they not

don't know if the new constitution is actually in place now or not, lost track of all that stuff

gypsy
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Jun 17 2010 14:18
oisleep wrote:
they had a sikh and that join did they not

don't know if the new constitution is actually in place now or not, lost track of all that stuff

googled it, and found him his name is Rajinder Singh. He probably uses whitening cream.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 17 2010 17:25

How about this guy?

Michael Savage:

"are you a sodomite"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2n7EqECgok&feature=related

From the Michael Savage Wikipedia page:

Savage introduced himself to certain writers in the North Beach area of San Francisco in the early 1960s. He befriended and traveled with Beat poets Allen Ginsberg... Stephen Schwartz, also an acquaintance of Savage from this time, reported Savage possessed a photograph of himself and Ginsberg swimming naked in Hawaii and used the photograph as sort of a "calling card."

....

During this time Savage also worked for famous psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary as keeper of the stone gatehouse on Leary's Millbrook estate.

.....

His 1980 book Savage's Herbal: The Guide to Herb Medicine advocated the medical benefits of marijuana

bootsy
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Jun 17 2010 20:45

Completely forgot but Chris Trotter, he writes a column in the daily paper 'The Dominion Post' called 'From the Left' but he is pretty much just a Labour Party stooge. Says he used to be a Marxist-Leninist however he wrote an article attacking the people rounded up on October 15 which lead to Workers Party member Don Franks writing a song with the lyric 'Things are getting hotter and hotter, got the pigs and the pigs' trotter...' Classic.

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Tojiah
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Jun 17 2010 21:17
TeflonMaster wrote:
Max Eastman

Are there any examples of a right winger becoming a solid leftist?

Uri Avnery, a social-political leftist (while being economically somewhat right-wing), started out in Irgun.