David Thompson
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June 11, 2013

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rjmadden

Hell indeed. I don't think I can handle the whole thing in one go. Socialiats do like their meetings, don't they?

rjmadden

Socialists, even.

David

Socialists do like their meetings, don’t they?

Well, display is very important in leftist psychology, what with all the social positioning that has to be done. So a captive audience must be quite appealing.

Setting aside the aching tedium of it all, I suppose what’s funny is the mismatch between the stated goal of reaching out to the Average Joe and the need of the speakers to signal their own credentials with guff about intersections, theoretical critiques and “neoliberalism as a conjuncture.” (All of which is done “in a spirit of humility,” obviously.) It’s rather like when Occupy’s “theoretician” David Graeber seemed to imagine that the lumpen masses would thrill to a vanguard of middle-class poseurs “destabilising the country” with a “vision of revolution inspired by anarchism.” Because the one thing that nice Mrs Wilson down the road can’t wait for is a communist coup and lots of burning cars in the street outside.

ACTOldFart

I think I like "Socialiats". It sounds like a felicitous combination of 'Socialist', 'liars', and 'latte set' - which just about sums up what these pretentious poseurs are all about. Can someone please tell Laurie Penny that this is what she now is? It might help her overcome her false consciousness.

Rafi

“We need to be talking seriously about trauma,” says she. Because “it’s quite difficult for the left to talk about how its feeling.”

It's obviously not difficult for the left to talk about itself.

Anna

Well I'm convinced we should put these people in charge right away. Anyone who can sit through meetings like that must want it really badly.

Runcie Balspune

The problem with fascists is (a) the authoritarianism, and (b) the football hooligan mentality of racial/cultural/intellectual superiority. Those of a libertarian mindset can see that the authoritarianism is root cause, but those on the left don't see authoritarianism as a problem, in fact they see it as an essential necessity for the aims of making a socialist paradise come into being. Already the authoritarianism makes it hard to wedge that cigarette paper between fascism and leftist/communist ideology, but as the committees and social meetings become carnivals for leftists to express their manifest destiny of the true leaders of society, you look from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but it is impossible to say which was which.

David

Anyone who can sit through meetings like that must want it really badly.

No, don’t laugh. They’re “an insurgent movement” that plans to “break the government” and initiate a “revolutionary transformation of society.” Making us like them (whether we like it or not) is good for us, you see. They just know that, being so egalitarian and therefore better than us. That’s why the word “humility” is used, what, six or seven times.

But as I’ve said before, this is what often happens when people who want to dominate others are really crap at sports.

Rob

It's like a Star Trek convention, except without the seriousness of purpose.

David

Incidentally, I also spotted this, which seems vaguely relevant:

Critical theorist and musicologist Theodor Adorno was a contrarian, almost contradictory figure - a committed Marxist thinker who was also a cultural elitist.

An elitist Marxist, you say? Heavens. An elitist Marxist who wanted to tell other people what kind of music they must listen to while transforming the world. Music like his own, in fact. So not so much a novel contradiction, then. More a standard feature of the lie.

Mitch

this is what often happens when people who want to dominate others are really crap at sports.

LOL

ftumch

I admit, I skimmed. Too long, life waaaay too short. For people like me, a much shorter version is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P2jJdrz9bY

Bandit 1

Aha. Got it. All we need to do is invent a new sport that lefties can be the best at.

Mrs 246

Who *are* these people?

David

Who *are* these people?

The first speaker, Chris Nineham, is a generic anti-capitalist and protest organiser, an enthusiast of revolution, and formerly a prominent member of the Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyist micro-cult and home for bedlamites. As should be obvious from the video, self-awareness isn’t his strong suit and he seems to like slogans that were hackneyed and embarrassing fifty years ago. The “discussion” (in which no-one seems to discuss anything) is chaired by Penny Hicks of the Stop the War Coalition, a woman who once described her views as “the voice of the people” despite all available evidence suggesting something quite different. The moral compass of the middle-class Marxist Mr China Miéville - a member of the International Socialist Organisation, former Swuppie and teacher of creative writing - is noted here by Theodore Dalrymple. And the psychodramas of Laurie Penny have been entertaining our regulars for quite some time.

So, a gathering of titans.

Severian

I do have to give people like this some credit, though -- they helped me outgrow my own youthful leftism. The idea of these people in charge of anything scared me straight.

Mark Twain nailed it: "When I was sixteen," he said, "my father was so ignorant I could scarcely stand to be around him. When I talked to him again at twenty three, I was shocked to realize how much he'd learned in just seven years." Having been at the helm of a few projects in my post-adolescent life, I know the orbit of my competence is considerably smaller than "society as a whole." Something tells me Laurie Penny can't regularly meet a column deadline without attacks of the vapors.

RightofGenghis

Is it as obvious to everyone else as it is to me that what these people are doing is creating gigantic mental and psychological distractions for themselves in order to avoid looking at the dismal failures they are? All of their blather is nothing more than an elaborate self-deception to protect their egos from the dismal reality of their shitty little lives.

Stuck-Record

Just dipped in for 5 minute random snippet.

Amazed at the ability of China to use so many words to say so little.

He's so timid about offending other leftists. Contrasts strangely with enthusiasm to offend non-leftists who are supposed to just 'deal with it'.

David

Amazed at the ability of China to use so many words to say so little.

I suppose that’s his function, at least at gatherings like the above. That, and a kind of, um, VIP glamour. Dalrymple pretty much nails Mr Miéville’s well-rehearsed unrealism.

[ Added: ]

Interviewed last year, Miéville said Occupy had left him “absolutely excited, blown away, buoyed up and freaked out in the best possible way.” Yes, “blown away” by these guys. I say again, by these guys. But then, like so many bien-pensant lefties, Mr Miéville likes to excuse all manner of mob coercion and delinquent thuggery, provided he can construe it as validating his own adolescent politics. Interviewed in 2011, he claimed to be “horrified” by the use of the word “feral” when describing what he refers to as “troubled” teenagers. To describe as “feral” the kind of people who punch pensioners unconscious just because they can, or who rob children of their clothes in broad daylight, or who burn women out of their homes – randomly, for fun - is, according to Miéville, our “moral degradation far more than [theirs].” Yes, by referring to such behaviour as “feral,” we are the degraded ones, the ones in need of fixing. And naturally, Laurie Penny agrees.

Again, it’s a well-rehearsed unrealism, a ludicrous pretension expected of the type.

Watcher

Not only do lefties like meetings, they meet with the intention of forming committees and sub-committees to meet regularly in order to report back to other meetings.

I am sure there must be something about that in Alice In Wondermarx.

PS I am, for no great reason, reminded of a sketch years ago on Smith and Jones(?) where a meeting of the inner cabal of the TUC votes for coffee or tea, and one beverage wins by several million votes. But that's the democratic process in action for you, and meetings give the illusion of agreement so democracy gets a much-needed filip.

Watcher

David, on China and the use of the word feral. This last weekend my daughter told me of a 14 year-old yoof with a track record of vandalism got into a supposedly secure local public facility after dark and did tens of thousands pounds worth of pointless, malicious damage just for the fun of it. China and Penny would be pleased however to hear a police officer and local council workers and others involved all avoided the derogatory word feral. They preferred, instead, the term 'little shit.'

Sam

To describe as “feral” the kind of people who punch pensioners unconscious just because they can, or who rob children of their clothes in broad daylight, or who burn women out of their homes – randomly, for fun - is, according to Miéville, our “moral degradation far more than [theirs].” Yes, by referring to such behaviour as “feral,” we are the degraded ones, the ones in need of fixing. And naturally, Laurie Penny agrees.

If these arseholes ever find themselves on the receiving end of some "troubled" thugs I wonder what they'll say then.

West

"What's the point of the Left?"

Last century, it was hundreds of millions of dead people.

As regards this video it seems to be a room full of self-congratulatory boring ones.

I'd say that given a chance, though, these buffoons would gladly attempt to beat the last century's record.

Spiny Norman

Bandit 1,

Aha. Got it. All we need to do is invent a new sport that lefties can be the best at.

They already have one: lining up contras against a wall and ordering uniformed men to shoot them.

David

If these arseholes ever find themselves on the receiving end of some “troubled” thugs I wonder what they’ll say then.

It’d be unkind to wish on them an opportunist beating by the vermin they excuse, but you do have to wonder how their pretensions would hold up. And of course China, Laurie, Nina, Jody, Priya and co weren’t alone. For days, the BBC, where similar pretensions are apparently quite common, insisted on referring to the looters, arsonists and muggers as “protestors.” Protestors who were presumably vexed by the existence of Mothercare and small ethnic restaurants, and therefore burned them to the ground. Protestors who took exception to female fire-fighters and so dragged them from their vehicles and punched them insensible. Protestors, it turned out, who were mostly known thugs and career criminals – 75% having previous convictions for an average of fifteen crimes, some more than fifty. But hey, according to Mr Miéville and his peers, they were just “troubled” teens in need of some lovely socialism, and nowhere near as depraved as the people calling them “feral.”

It was grimly comical, watching so many prominent lefties squinting and tilting their heads until they could see what they wanted to see. And what they wanted to be seen seeing. As Dalrymple notes,

Leniency toward criminals is not a form of sympathy for the poor, but a failure to take either their lives or their property seriously. For Miéville to talk of “panicked reaction” in these circumstances is a form of moral exhibitionism. He is showing off in front of his peers.

But that’s who they are. They need to display because it’s all about them.

Torquil Macneil

Didn't Hitchens say something somewhere to the effect that the trouble with revolutions is that they all end up being run by the people who never want the meetings to end (Robespierre rather than Danton).

Stuck-Record

That's the great thing about socialism and communism; there aren't any criminals in those societies because they are fairer, everyone has what they need and is fulfilled.

These links are simply capitalist propaganda.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Venezuela
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_mafia

David

If these arseholes ever find themselves on the receiving end of some “troubled” thugs I wonder what they’ll say then.

Actually, we’ve seen what happened when another leftist, George Monbiot, met the noble savage. Plenty of dissonance and quite a bit of comedy, but still no sign of realism.

pst314

"For days, the BBC, where similar pretensions are apparently quite common, insisted on referring to the looters, arsonists and muggers as 'protestors'."

Cory Doctorow, who like China Miéville writes science fiction, made the same claims. Doctorow claims to have rejected all those old totalitarian, thuggish forms of socialism (his parents were ardent Trotskyites) but somehow his claims never have the ring of truth. I wonder why. :-)

jones

Oh god that hurt........and there was another 51 minutes to go....Not even the heroin eased things...

I can imagine the whinging at corporate greed whilst fretting as to where ones iPad has got to in order to inform the masses at some new insight or other.

Oh and how one simply cannot in all good conscience consider oneself a part of this society.

Except on giro day of course.

Stuck-Record

Cory Doctorow is a really interesting case.

If, like me, you regularly read Boing Boing you'll find this strange cognitive dissonance in people like Cory.

They abhor interference. His personal obsession is freedom of information and surveillance. He detests government and corporate intrusion and control in people's lives. He celebrates and praises individuality…

… yet subscribes to a political and economic philosophy that is only possible by creating a political system that has the maximum control and intrusion into individual lives. A system, in fact, that even claims that it can't work without complete control (the planning myth).

Weird.

dicentra

Having taken a graduate-level course in Spanish-language feminist literature, during which time I watched my colleagues have lively discussions about stultifying books that none of us had read (beyond a few pages), I can claim, without looking, to have lived through an entire semester of those videos in real time: no pause button, no sporks available with which to scoop out my eyeballs.

I've taken a vow to avoid alcohol and drugs — clicking Play would no doubt drive me to break that vow within a few short minutes.

Tim Newman

I'm reading Theodore Dalrymple's The Wider Shores of Marx at the moment, and in it he mentions how mind-numbingly boring Communists seem to make everything. How pertinent.

David

Socialist meetings do tend to attract people for whom bureaucracy is a perverse kind of pleasure. And for whom the promise of having socially authorised power over others makes the tedium worthwhile.

[ Added: ]

And speaking of meetings, let’s not forget this.

The first speaker, Sarah Knopp, wants to peddle the “enlightenment” of communism to the children in her care. When they believe as she does – and only as she does – then they’ll be “critical thinkers.” Then they’ll be “emancipated.” Just like her. (As well as being economically illiterate and of course an Occupier, Ms Knopp is also an apologist for Hamas and Hizb’allah.) The second speaker, Megan Behrent, merely intends to subvert the proprieties of the classroom in order to propagate her own communist politics at someone else’s expense. The preferences of parents, students and those who her pay her salary are to be circumvented in the name of “social justice.” Again, the students in her care will be “thinking for themselves” when they think and act “radically,” i.e., just like her.

With such sweet fruits on offer – so many soft young minds to bend - tedious meetings are a small price to pay. If you’re so inclined.

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