Saturday, April 23, 2005
A Plague on Both Your Houses!
Take this item, for example. More here. The student organization of the British Socialist Workers Party joined in a walkout together with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, in protest against a speech by Houzan Mahmoud. Houzan Mahmoud happens to be an activist of the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq, which condemns both the occupation and, rightly, in my view, the sectarian and reactionary resistance. Here's an interesting article by Houzan Mahmoud on the deteriorating situation for women in Iraq and the resurgence of political Islam. The homepage of the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq is here. One might think it's opportunistic for the pro-war Harry's Place to point this out - after all, the WCPI resists the occupation as fiercely as they resist political Islam - but that does not make the SWP students' behaviour in this any less nauseating.
And then there's this infernal "Academic Boycott" of Israel, which, unfortunately, passed in case of two Universities (scroll down from here if the link doesn't work). Let me be absolutely clear on this. I am as disgusted by Israel's policies in the occupied territories as I am with, say, Russia's policies in Chechnya. But academics supportive of this thing should be tarred and feathered, as far as I am concerned. A University is not the place for political sandbox games and playground logic. Academic Boycotts are a betrayal of the universal values academic work should serve. And don't come to be with postmodernist bullshit about academic research being always political or ideological in nature - if I were to believe that, I would leave University immediately, and do something else.
There's two points in which the detractors of the Anti-War/Pro-Palestinian movement are right on. There's doubtlessly more. That does not mean that the sliver of the left supportive of the war in Iraq is any more fertile a ground for a resurgence of the left as the SWP or the Respect Coalition or similar organizations in other countries are. World-weary moderate Social Democracy has been as gutted by the downfall of the Soviet Union as the more radical left and reached its political bankrupcy when the "progressive" babyboomers - Joschka-Fischer, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Susan Sontag, you name 'em - supported bombing Yugoslavia to ashes. Watching them and their anti-war opponents slagging it out is a bit like watching a deathmatch between T-Rex and Spinosaurus after the big comet hit.
A plague on both their houses.