21 July 2005

The Left are not apologists for terrorists!

I wanted to comment on this article quoted below, and linked to on this site- it's at Norm's Blog and is printed in today's Guardian, but there isn't a comment opportunity there so I'm putting it here!

"Within hours of the bombs going off two weeks ago, the voices that one could have predicted began to make themselves heard with their root-causes explanations for the murder and maiming of a random group of tube and bus passengers in London. It was due to Blair, Iraq, illegal war and the rest of it. The first voices, so far as I know, were those of the SWP and George Galloway, but it wasn't very long - indeed no time at all, taking into account production schedules - before the stuff was spreading like an infestation across the pages of this newspaper (guardian), where it has remained."

The article goes on to say that the left wouldn't be apologists for the BNP and criticise asylum policy when the BNP were carrying out attacks so why be apologists for Islamist terrorists?

The answer to this is that the cause of the BNP attacks is not asylum policy but a media that feed people's ignorance of asylum seekers with negative stories. Granting asylum to victims of oppression is a valid policy, killing civilians for oil in Iraq is not!

Norm goes on to say that the left does not criticise the propaganda that feeds Islamist terrorism. That is categorically not true and a deliberate slur. It does criticise the religious extremism but equally points out Western foreign policy extremism. The right however will only criticise one side. To them it is one side only at fault. Livingstone calls it two sides of the same coin, i.e both sides are in the wrong.

The left are not apologists for either side, they criticise both. Just because the left criticise Western foreign policy doesn't mean that justifies Islamist terrorists, it just explains it. Whereas the right ARE apologists for Western foreign policy.


  1. Steady on there: Norm didn't say, "the left does not criticise the propaganda that feeds Islamist terrorism". He did refer to "those amongst us", i.e. some people who are Guardian readers and would undoubtedly claim to be on the left (e.g. fascist-regime-backing SWP and Respect), even if their claim isn't backed by anything as simple as support for 'progressive' policies.

    Besides, if Norm isn't on the left himself, who is? The man supported the liberation of Iraq from tyranny and the introduction of democracy - isn't that something a left-wing person should be proud of? The 'right' hardly come into this story at all - the Conservatives have been utterly shameless, and their predecessors allowed the Iraqi regime to stay in place.

    I do think that to cast this issue as a traditional left-right battle risks excusing the behaviour of organisations we on the left should be ashamed to have had any association with. The SWP are the viper in the bosom, not the salt of the earth.

  2. Maybe I was a little all encompassing in this post by using the term left. I would suggest though that even the SWP/Respect would recognise these Islamist terrorists have a fascist ideology. As much as they are trying to be pally with Islamists they deplore their misogyny and irrational religious beliefs.

    I'm not really sure a lot of these blogs are on the left. Normblog, Harry's Place, Stephen Pollard, Popsensible, all seem suspiciously right wing to me. I don't see how backing the Iraq War puts Norm on the Left?

    Maybe Ive become more Leftwing in my old age and not noticed.

  3. Interesting question about left/right blogs - got to be worth a blog post. It's heavily influenced at the moment by the fact that (a) Iraq/terrorism are such pervasive issues, and (b) support for war/the war is seen a "right-wing". I think the term "liberal hawk" is a very relevant one. Bring up a liberal issue like, say, abortion or gay marriage, and I bet you'd get a very different picture.

    Some very well-known pro-Labour bloggers are for the free market and for free trade, i.e. they're "economic liberals", which is very much what Labour was not. Well not before 1976, anyway. I shouldn't name-drop, but Oliver Kamm combines on the one hand: many years as a Labour activist, being socially liberal, a supporter of radical change, and a deep hostility to the Conservative Party (especially post-Major), with support for Britain's nuclear deterrent, support for the Iraq war, and support for Bush against Kerry. Answer me that one. Here, "left" means "progressive" - improving and challenging things, rather than accepting status quos (dodgy Latin there) or, let's say, "traditional Labour" policies, like nationalisation, let alone the conservative/neocon views about class, religion, or family values.

    It's reassuring to think that people can change their views on various issues without worrying about whether they're "moving to the right or left" because as we can see from the example, the traditional stereotype doesn't really apply, and that's quite liberating.

  4. The Iraq War was a tough one for me, I actually quite like Tony Blair but I've come to the conclusion he made a big mistake.

    Maybe all us bloggers should give our profile scores from political compass. That could be very interesting in the cases I mentioned.