Friday, 3 July 2015
The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has just criticised the BBC for referring to the Islamic State as the “Islamic State”. In response, the BBC's John Humphrys made the obvious point that, well, it's called the “Islamic State”. So what's Cameron's preferred alternative? It's the acronym 'ISIL'.
In full, Mr Cameron (during an interview on BBC Radio 4) said:
“I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State because it's not an Islamic State; what it is is an appalling, barbarous regime.
“It is a perversion of the religion of Islam and many Muslims listening to this programme will recoil every time they hear the words 'Islamic State'.
“I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State because it's not an Islamic State; what it is is an appalling, barbarous regime.”
Various other political Islamophiles have got in on the act too. The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader (Angus Robertson), for example, also called for politicians and the media to stop using the words 'Islamic State'. Roberson added that the US Secretary of State (John Kerry) and the French foreign minister (Laurent Fabius) were already “using the appropriate term” (which, apparently, is Daesh).
Mr Robertson went on to say:
“The time has come in the English speaking world, to stop using Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL, and instead we and our media should use Daesh as the commonly-used phrase across the Middle East.”
So it's seems that Mr Roberson has seen the flaw in Cameron's own alternative. Yes, 'ISIS' or 'ISIL' isn't good enough either because it also includes the word “Islamic”.
However, Cameron himself said that he doesn't
“think we will move them all the way to Daesh so I think saying ISIL is better than using Islamic State because it is in my view neither Islamic nor a state”.
Now I don't want to spoon-feed readers, but Cameron preferred alternative (as Mr Robinson noted) stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Yes, the first two words are “Islamic State”. This is also almost like saying: “Don't call Nazis 'National Socialists': call them 'Nazis'.” Anyway, as the phrase goes: “A rose is a rose by any other name.”
Is Cameroon attempting to do what Leftists, postmodernists and post-structuralists do in our universities, councils, law firms, etc. – alter the way we think by changing the words we use?
In any case, the fact is that the Islamic State almost perfectly replicates Mohammed's own state and that of his “companions”. It does so more closely than any other Islamic/Muslim state or empire has done since Mohammed's death. The fighters of the Islamic State have replicated almost everything Muhammed and his own fighters did: slavery, sex slavery, beheading, child marriage, crucifixion, expansionism/imperialism, jizya (the Islamic tax) and the rules of dhimmitude.
If anyone doubts me on this, simply spend a few hours reading the Koran, hadith and the various lives of Muhammed. I'm tempted to advise people not to read Muslim accounts of Mohammed's life. However, even they aren't averse to chronicling the fact that Muhammed was a slave trader, a warrior, a beheader, a plunderer and someone who married a six-year-old (who later consummated the marriage when she was nine years old). If Muslims were adverse to chronicling these facts about their prophet, then there wouldn't be a problem with the Islamic State in the first place.
In a certain sense you can almost understand what Cameron and so many others are trying to do. They think that by lying or dissimulating about Islam, Muhammed and the Islamic State that they'll help further the cause of that almost mythical beast: moderate Islam. In fact he's doing what many Leftists do all the time: he's “lying for Justice”. However, precisely because the entire enterprise is based on a mountain of lies and deceits it probably will never work. Yes, both Muslims and non-Muslims know that Cameron is lying about Islam and Muhammed. His pet project, therefore, is almost bound to fail.
What Cameron is doing is utterly perverse anyway. Fair enough, historically all sorts of Christians have said their own version of Christianity is the “true one”. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists have said the same to their own co-religionists. Nonetheless, in all these cases it was people from within their own religion that they were castigating. (Protestants criticised Catholics and vice versa, Sunni Muslims criticised Shia Muslims and vice versa, etc.) However, in Prime Minister Cameron's case we have a non-Muslim preaching to the Muslim world about “true Islam” and, correspondingly, the “perversions of Islam”. This is utterly incredible. It's almost like Britney Spears lecturing Steven Hawking on the true nature of physics and cosmology.
Posted by Paul Austin Murphy at 04:06
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Salon: It’s not about mental illness, Palestine, Iraq: The big lies that always follow terrorist attacks by Muslims*
*The following is simply a rewriting of an article published by Salon (last week) entitled 'It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males', which was written by Arthur Chu. I have, of course, made a few additions and amendments.
Blaming “mental illness”, “alienation”, “unemployment”, “the invasion of Iraq”, “the price of bread”, etc. are cop-outs - and ones that let us avoid talking about Islam, Muslim hatred, the violent passages in the Koran, the violent life of Muhammed, etc.
I get really really tired of hearing the phrases “mental illness”, “alienation”, “the intervention in Iraq”, “unemployment”, “lack of identity”, “Islamophobia”, “the price of bread”, etc. thrown around as ways of excusing Islamic terrorism and avoiding saying other terms like “toxic Islam”, “jihad”, “Islamic misogyny”, “Muslim hatred of kuffar”, etc.
We barely knew anything about the suspect in, for example, the Ottawa killing of Corporal Nathan Cirillo by Muslim Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in October 2014. We certainly didn’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all. (Though he was a drug user and criminal.)
The media insists on trotting out the phrases “mental illness”, “alienation”, “the invasion of Iraq”, “unemployment”, “racism” and blaring out these non-stop in the wake of any mass killings by Muslims. I had to grit my teeth every time I personally debated someone defaulting to the mindless mantra of “The real issue is the US invasion of Iraq” over the New York, Madrid, Boston, Paris, London and other Islamic atrocities.
And “The real issue is Western imperialism and oil” is a goddamn cop-out too.
What I hear from people who bleat on about, say, “The real issue is Muslim disempowerment” when pressed for specific suggestions on how to deal with said “real issue,” is terrifying nonsense designed to excuse Muslims and Islam itself. Western Muslims should attempt to get their own house in order before they complain about the actions and legislation of European and American governments. What about the rights of the victims of Islamic terror and Muslim grooming-gangs? Where are the super-posh and super-rich Leftist lawyers when we need them?
What’s interesting is to watch right-wing groups and counter-jihadists being thrown under the bus to defend Muslim killers and their fellow travellers in the Muslim community. In the wake of the Lee Rigby killing, for example, Muslims and Leftists focussed almost entirely on the so-called “surge in Islamophobic attacks”; which turned out to be almost entirely bogus. (The idea of a plague of Islamophobic attacks in the UK was mainly spread by Fiyaz Mughal and his Tell Mama organisation.)
We’ve successfully created a world so topsy-turvy that being a member of the English Defence League (EDL) or the Tea Party is a stronger evidence of terrorism than purchasing the Koran, reciting its violent passages and going on demos which have banners which proclaim “Death to the West!”.... Indeed not blowing things up is stronger evidence of terrorism and violent intent than blowing things up itself... God bless America.
What’s also interesting is the way, say, the phrase “The real issue is Israeli oppression and Palestinian rights” is used to defend Muslim mass murderers. When you call someone “alienated”, “unemployed”, “angry at Israel and the invasion of Iraq” in this culture it’s a way to excuse Muslim killers and the tens of millions of Muslims who passively support them.
This is cruel, ignorant bullshit when it’s used to discredit those groups and individuals who speak up for the victims of Islamic terrorism and Muslim grooming-gangs.
Posted by Paul Austin Murphy at 02:19
Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron has come out explicitly, and in detail, about the dangers of Islam... or, at the least, about “extreme” Islam. Except, of course, he doesn't actually use the word “Islam” (not once); though he does use the word “extreme”. He talks, instead, of an “extremist ideology”.
David Cameron's words (which were spoken at a security conference in the Slovakian capital Bratislava) are partly a response to the Muslim family (from Bradford, in the north of England) which travelled to Syria recently. The sisters (Khadija, Sugra and Zohra Dawood, along with their nine children) first travelled to Saudi Arabia (on a religious pilgrimage) and were then thought to have travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS).
Cameron isn't only reacting to this case, but also to reports of the death of Talha Asmal. Asmal (who was only 17 and again from West Yorkshire) is believed to have become the UK's youngest-ever suicide bomber.
In tandem with all that, Cameron has also criticised those British Muslims who “quietly condone” Islamic extremism in the form of the Islamic State and Islamic groups. He knows that what's happened with the British sisters travelling to Syria (or at least similar things) has happened too many times before for it to be a small problem or a problem with, as they say, “a small minority of Muslims”. After all, this case has almost exactly replicated the former case of another group of three British Muslim girls/young women who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State. So much so that we've had a replication of the previous press conference: concerned fathers and what looks like another Islamist lawyer. You may recall that in the last case, the seemingly concerned father (who spoke at the press conference) was himself a radical Muslim who'd attended a violent rally (led by Anjem Choudary) which also included the killer of Lee Rigby. Abase Hussen can also be seen (in a photo) burning the American flag.
As I said, Cameron has been very explicit this time. He said that the “cause is ideological”. Cameron continues:
"It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and Caliphate trumps nation state and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims.”
He immediately followed those words up with this question: “How do people arrive at this worldview?”
As for moderate Muslims (or at least pseudo-moderate Muslims), Cameron went on to say:
"I am clear that one of the reasons is that there are people who hold some of these views who don't go as far as advocating violence, but do buy into some of these prejudices, giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims, 'You are part of this.'"
This could almost have been said about the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which is currently agitating to be part of the government's “de-radicalisation” programme. That's strange because - as Cameron believes (both very recently and as far back as 2007)- the MCB is actually part of the problem.
Cameron also makes the point that this isn't just about “firebrand preachers” (such as Anjem Choudary) or “extremist websites” – it's about the entire Muslim community. Sure, not every Muslim in the Muslim community; but Muslims who are undoubtedly part of that community.
Cameron says that "[w]e need to treat the causes, not just the symptoms”. This means that, when it comes to de-radicalisation, it's not just the “government which has a role to play, so do communities and so do families too". Cameron continues:
"I think part of the reason it's so potent is that it has been given this credence.
"So if you're a troubled boy who is angry at the world or a girl looking for an identity, for something to believe in and there's something that is quietly condoned online or perhaps even in parts of your local community then it's less of a leap to go from a British teenager to an Isil fighter or an Isil wife than it would be for someone who hasn't been exposed to these things."
Cameron (indirectly) says that Islamism (or violent Islam) is to many young Muslims what revolutionary socialism is to many young middle-class students. He said that "angry young men and woman" have always found "supposedly revolutionary causes" appealing and that this fact is "particularly potent today". Moreover, radical Islam (or, depending on your position, Islam) "paves the way for young people to turn simmering prejudice into murderous intent" and to "go from listening to firebrand preachers online to boarding a plane to Istanbul and travelling onward to join the jihadis".
***********************************************Of course all the usual suspects will speak out strongly against what David Cameron has said. Not all of them will accuse him of “racism”/”Islamophobia” or of “victimising the Muslim community”. The clever ones (such as the Muslim Council of Britain and Hope Not Hate) will use the classic “encouraging Islamophobia” (or “encouraging racism”) meme instead. Those two words are subtly different from the words “racism” or “Islamophobia” on their own... aren't they? Yet if Cameron knows that he's encouraging Islamophobia (or encouraging racism), then isn't he an Islamophobe (or a racist)? Thus accusing someone (or some group) of “encouraging Islamophobia” is effectively accusing someone (or some group) of Islamophobia.
Unite Against Fascism-Socialist Workers Party, Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK), Owen Jones, George Galloway, Press TV, 5 Pillars, etc. won't be so subtle. They'll use their favourite word and accuse Cameron of being either a 'racist' or an 'Islamophobe'. They'll also use the classic phrase “generalising about the whole Muslim community” (as Owen Jones does) if they can. That isn't to say such people won't at times also use the words “encouraging Islamophobia”. It'll depend on which journalists or broadcasters they're talking to at the time.
Posted by Paul Austin Murphy at 19:17
Monday, 22 June 2015
In the news today it can be seen that thousands of foreign nurses working in the UK may be required to leave under the Government's new immigration rules.... Or at least that's the story as offered by union leaders.
Perhaps I'm being too conspiratorial when I say that when the BBC runs an article entitled 'Migration rules may cause NHS chaos', you have a nagging feeling that this is the BBC's rather clever way of doing a positive editorial (in the dis/guise of a news item) on the unadulterated glories of immigration (in the style of the BBC's very own Mark Easton).
What the BBC and many others consistently fails to mention is that most new immigrants (as well as many old ones) claim benefits and/or are unemployed. That's why the NHS-needs-immigrants story is trotted out so much. Sure, many immigrants do work for the NHS; though does it follow that the NHS would grind to a halt without them? And even if that's true, why did we allow this to become the case in the first place? Is it, as with other areas, that these immigrants are prepared to accept lower wages than British workers? And if that's the case, is that also automatically a good thing?
Indeed low wages is part of this story. If immigrants earn less than £35,000 after being in the UK for six years, they'll be required to leave the UK. Not only that: this is a specific Government action to help reduce the need for immigrant workers in the NHS and elsewhere.
In response to union scaremongering, a Government spokesman has said that that all those involved have had four years to prepare for these changes. He also said: "There are exemptions to this threshold where the UK has a shortage."
All in all, then, this is part of the Government's plan to cut net immigration. Having said, according to unions, only 3,300 NHS nurses will be affected – and that's by 2017. So considering the fact that there are 400,000 nurses working in the NHS, that's a relatively small number.
Posted by Paul Austin Murphy at 00:44
Friday, 19 June 2015
The Oxford Union (not to be confused with Oxford University's Student Union) is, according to Wikipedia,
“Britain's second oldest University Union (after the Cambridge Union Society) and it has gained a worldwide reputation for its debates, having trained politicians from Britain and other countries”.
At the end of last month, Oxford Unite Against Fascism demanded that the Oxford Union “recognise that inviting fascists to speak is also a reflection of the institutional racism that exists within the Oxford Union”.
The Oxford Union has faced the ire of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) before when it hosted Tommy Robinson (his first visit was cancelled), Nick Griffin, David Irving and Marine Le Pen.
Apparently the Oxford Union (when the thumb screws were tightened during a recent anti-racist inquisition) confessed to its racism. Or, if not to its racism, then to its lack of fanaticism and zeal when it comes to “fighting racism”.
These accusations of “racism” are flying around (as they tend to do in universities) partly as a result of the “colonial comeback” controversy in which the Oxford Union dared to joke about colonial times in the form of a cocktail drink. Apparently, the joke - according to the University Student Union's Black and Minority Ethnic Students' and Anti-Racism Officer (what a mouthful!) - was “highly offensive”. Indeed PhD student Adam Cooper told the Telegraph:
“Oxford still has a problem with racism. I think racism is widespread at Oxford and I think this kind of poster is a crass example of how unashamed that racism is. I can't think of anything worse than a cocktail that celebrates enslavement."
To top all that, Triska Hamid wrote this on Twitter:
"This is perhaps one of the least shocking incidents of colonial #racism to have happened at Oxford Uni."
You see, in a progressive society (or in British and American universities) there's no place for humour. There's only a place for piety and intolerant political correctness. In the past, such people as the the 16/17th century Puritans, Stalin and the Khmer Rouge had similar views to Oxford Unite Against Fascism. They too saw laughter as impious or counter-revolutionary. It's abundantly clear to all puritans that such a joke would inevitably lead to the genocide of all black people and other ethnic groups in the UK... Well, if not one single joke, then perhaps two or three... Don't you know the theory?
Partly as a response to the “colonial comeback” comeback, the Union offered this statement:
“With these commitments we join the pre-existing movement to address the pernicious problem of racism.”
“The Standing Committee commits to eradicating racism and addressing the issues of institutional racism that it has recognised.”
The first quote mentions “the pre-existing movement”. Which movement is that I wonder? The Trotskyist movement that is Unite Against Fascism (or at least the movement which includes Unite Against Fascism)? Whatever the case is, the Union's President, Olivia Merrett, has bitten the bullet and said that the Union shouldn't “issue any further invitations to fascists to speak”.
Oxford Unite Against Fascism itself has puts its case explicitly. It said that the Oxford Union mustn't give a platform to any “far-right” groups or individuals or to those who have “anti-immigrant and Islamophobic views”. (Clearly UAF will deem UKIP to be “anti-immigrant”... as well as sections of the Conservative Party.) Oxford UAF's Kate Douglas said:
“Fascists express the most extreme forms of racism and for the Union to refuse to recognise this would show the Oxford Union’s apology to be insincere and their commitment to anti-racism to be a sham.”
This is all part of the ubiquitous (or universal) “no platform policy” which UK Trotskyists and communists want to impose on quite literally all right-wing groups and individuals outside the Conservative Party. Indeed it's a milder contemporary version of the Bolshevik Gulag.
Debate, Theory, Politics
So Unite Against Fascism is having a go at the Oxford Union again. Basically, the main problem UAF has with the Oxford Union is that's it's not a Trotskyist outfit. It follows that if the Oxford Union doesn't have the same views as UAF on race, “fighting racism” and whatnot, then that means that the Oxford Union itself must be racist.
The logic of UAF's position is excruciatingly crude and laughable. Because the Oxford Union has invited people who UAF deems to be “racist” and “fascist” (some of the invitees have been racists; though not always right-wing racists), then it must follow that the Oxford Union itself is racist (surely fascist too?). Indeed Oxford UAF has called it “institutionally racist”.
That's the theoretical position of Oxford Unite Against Fascism.
But don't expect sophistication from UAF. The views it upholds are monumentally infantile and deeply hypocritical. The activists of UAF have almost zero skills when it comes to self-analysis and self-criticism.
For example, although UAF has a big problem with right-wing extremists being invited to the Oxford Union, it has no problem whatsoever with Islamic, Leftist and other kinds of extremists being invited to the same place. Take these names which didn't even cause a storm in teacup from hypocritical Leftists: Malcolm X, Yasser Arafat, Gerry Adams, O.J. Simpson, Pervez Musharraf, Sheikh Masina and Zakir Naik.
The Oxford Union is a debating society. Hence it believes in debate. If the views it debates weren't controversial, then there wouldn't be much point in debating them. The Oxford Union may as well invite people to offer the motion than the earth isn't flat or that 2 plus 2 equals 4.
The Oxford Union doesn't “recognise” these “most extreme forms of racism” (as Oxford UAF has it) because it wants to debate them. If such views aren't debated, then they'll never be truly understood and therefore never effectively counteracted.... or, for that matter, endorsed.
You don't show your sincerity about extremism by adopting extreme views and banning everyone. You do so by debating the issues and convincing people.
UAF activists think that because all their views are based on Marxist or Marxist-derived theories (which were probably concocted in Kings College, Goldsmiths or the London School of Economics), that this alone makes their positions sophisticated. (Apparently these theories scrape away the “false consciousness” that's a result of “capitalist propaganda from the mainstream media”.)
Apart from the fact that most UAF are only dimly aware of the theories which lead to their absurd and hypocritical views, the theories themselves are primarily designed to further various political causes. They're not ways of understanding the world or social reality. Just like many conspiracy theories, Marxist theories are designed to achieve certain political ends. They're also tailor-made to suit various political agendas. Thus the UAF or Marxist theoretician first decides what political results he wants, and then he designs the theory which will be best suited to bring that result about.
For example, take the Marxist theory that results in the proposition that “only whites can be racist”. That has nothing to do with the fact that, well, only whites can be racist. What it's to do with is the desired political results such a theory will help bring about. The theory, you can assume, is designed to bring about a “non-racist society” and to help stop “the oppression of people of colour”. It's believed, in tandem, that saying that “blacks can also be racist” won't help further those particular goals. Thus an arcane and convoluted theory (which only very few Leftists can fully articulate) is designed to further the “liberation of black people from capitalist oppression”. It's not meant to to be true. It's meant to work.
Everything that's just been said can therefore be applied to Oxford Unite Against Fascism's theoretical position on the Oxford Union's purported racism. It's all theoretical trash designed for various purposes which are deemed to advance both the revolution and anti-racism. Basically, at this moment in time, anti-racism itself is literally the best weapon in that revolution.
Posted by Paul Austin Murphy at 20:53
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Rachel Dolezal has the perfect credentials to, well, fake being black. She's a professor in the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University. She's taught such things as African History, African American Culture and the Black Woman's Struggle.It seem also that's she's an adherent of the recently popular theory of “intersectionality” in which (to simplify) race, gender and class “oppressions” are said to merge into one; though one such oppression (usually racial oppression) is often given primacy.
Ironically, this story has elicited some racism from what is often called the “black community”.
For example, one Twitterer, a Kim Moore, said:
"Don't talk to me about how #RachelDolezal understood/knew the Black struggle when she could pick & choose when to be 'Black'."
Now what's being said here? Does she have a problem with Dolezal's lies or with Dolezal's race? I think it's the latter. She's saying that whites can't understand the “Black struggle” quite simply because they're white. That's tricky because it assumes one of two things: that every black has been part of the “struggle” or that those blacks that haven't suffered struggle (if that possibility is so much as allowed) can't understand the black struggle either.
The claim is also a little unfair.... in a sense. I don't suppose that Dolezal did “pick and choose when to be 'Black'”. What she did is choose to be black once and then retained that racial identity. It's not as if she was black during Christmas and white in the summer.
Another black person (a Broderick Greer) magnified this black racism even more when she said, "Only a white person could get this much attention for being black."
I'm not sure what her point is; though it sounds like anti-white racism to me.
Bizarrely, this case has engendered a new genre (as it were): that of being transracial. This, of course, follows the genre/condition of being transgender.
Well, we've all heard the term “wiggers” applied to white kids who want to be black and, according to many black “racial essentialists” (as poststructuralists and post-modernists put it), fail miserably. I've personally witnessed many white kids and adults (usually middle class) mimic black speech patters and jargon – and not just the use of the word 'man'. There's also the case of whites who're obsessed with black culture. This is a very common phenomenon. So much so that there are many whites who only ever listen to black music. Needless to say, this is often a very self-conscious anti-racist stance from such white people.
In the case of Rachel Dolezal possible transracialism, it has had negatives criticisms from blacks and some positive support from whites. For example, one Tweet, from ReignOfApril, said:
"There is nothing 'trans' about #RachelDolezal. Stop w/ the false equivalencies to transpeople. Rachel is a lying, deceitful fraud. The end."
In any case, have you ever heard the cliché that the best way to be is to be “colour-blind”? You hear it a lot from Leftists or 'progressives'. That's strange really: large segments of the Left are utterly obsessed with race. Rather than colour being the last thing Leftists see, it's the first.
Because anti-racism is the most important tool in the revolution (or for 'radical change'), race becomes everything. Thus racism is seen everywhere and everwhen.
Take the case of Rachel Dolezal again. Perhaps she thought that the best way to fight racism (or prove her love of blacks) was to actually to become black.
Posted by Paul Austin Murphy at 00:19
Monday, 15 June 2015
The accusation of “cronyism” can be applied to just about anything – not just capitalism. In the 20th century, for example, you certainly had crony communism in virtually every communist or socialist state. You also have cronyism in universities (especially in left-wing departments) councils, political parties, anti-fascist groups and so on.
The same is true of that broader term which has become so popular with verbatim Chomskyans and followers of Naomi Klein – 'corporatism'. In this case you have fascist corporatism, Christian corporatism, Communitarian corporatism, kinship corporatism, and even “progressive” and socialist corporatism.
In addition, what's been said about cronyism can be said about corruption and the abuse of power. These two things aren't peculiar to capitalism either. Yet, as we know, all sorts of things have been attributed to capitalism which have been pretty much universal in nature.
Cronyism seems to occur in all systems. That doesn't mean, of course, that we shouldn't do anything about it.
So, yes, businessmen and corporations do use their wealth or status to buy political power and influence governments; as do left-wing think tanks, universities, environmentalists, newspapers, pressure groups, etc.. All this can be dealt with. It has been dealt with. However, that doesn't mean that cronyism has ever been obliterated. It hasn't. It hasn't because no system has ever been perfect. And, as I said, cronyism was much worse in communist countries than in capitalist ones. (Where such cronyism, of course, featured different players.) In addition, well before capitalism, cronyism obviously existed.
The term “crony capitalism” is also a massive generalisation. Are Leftists really claiming that crony capitalism is prevalent everywhere there are businesses or private enterprises? Is every corner shop, every small and large business, every private art gallery, every service, etc. subject to crony capitalism?
Crony Capitalism = Capitalism
|Russell Brand & Naomi Klein|
“... the alliance between a small corporate elite and a right-wing government has been written off as some sort of aberration – Mafia capitalism, oligarchy capitalism and now, under Bush, 'crony capitalism.' But it's not an aberration....” (316)
Thus those who speak out against crony capitalism are actually speaking out against, well, capitalism; just as those who speak out against what is now called “neo-liberalism” (a term which was resurrected very recently) are really speaking out against, yes, capitalism. (See my “'Neoliberalism'? They Mean Capitalism'.)
In any case, if Leftists were truly against crony capitalism, they would be in favour of the free-market position which states that the government or state should have virtually nothing to do with private enterprise.... Yes, Leftists are against that too. Not only that: free-marketeers argue that crony capitalism is closer to socialism than it is to free-market capitalism. After all, interfering with the market is what socialist governments do, isn't it? What's more, free-marketeers make the obvious point that when the government involves itself in business, true competition is lessened and even ended entirely. Free-marketeers also believe that what they call “natural monopolies” rarely occur without both governments and the wealthy colluding in various ways by placing limits on competition.
Now, is this the type of capitalism Chomsky and Naomi Klein, for example, want? Of course not. To state the obvious, they want socialist collectivism run by people who adhere to the views and values of, well, Chomsky and Klein.
Capitalism = Fascism
There's a dangerous line here; though Leftists aren't always explicit about it.
This is a transitive argument that's often (though not always) hidden in the prose:
i) Capitalism is crony capitalism (or vice versa)
ii) crony capitalism is corporatism
iii) corporatism is fascism
iv) Therefore capitalism is fascism.
This is the line of argument which has been delivered by Marxists galore; both today and throughout the 20th century. However, it can take different forms.
For example, you can begin with the words “crony capitalism is corporatism” (or even with the inverted “crony capitalism is capitalism”) and then work through the transitive identities to end with “capitalism is fascism”. It doesn't really matter as long as you end with fascism. And that's because all the terms are taken to be virtual (sometimes literal) synonyms.
Despite that argument being applied to all capitalist democracies, what happened in Italy and Germany (in the 1920s and 1930s) has of course been given massive attention by Marxists (hence the conclusion - “capitalism is fascism”). Just as Leftists say that “capitalism inevitably leads to crony capitalism” (e.g. Naomi Klein, Chomsky, etc.); so the older refrain “capitalism always leads to fascism” has been heard throughout the 20th century (especially in universities and in Trotskyist/communist parties or groups).
Thus capitalism isn't only tainted with crony capitalism: it's also tainted with fascism. That's one reason why Chomsky (who said that the United States need to be “de-Nazified”), Naomi Klein and Leftists generally believe that capitalism (in toto) must be completely destroyed.
Now for an account of how corporatism is fascism which is ironically (perhaps not ironically) offered by a believer in “free capitalism”. He writes:
“I would say that corporatism is just another name for fascism.
“Corporatism/fascism is basically when private companies use the government to gain unfair advantages in the market. So it's when the private companies take over the government, and the government and the private sector team up to seize power and screw over the average citizen and take their rights away.”
And this is his preferred alternative:
“With capitalism however, the government is small and run by the people and the private sector works for the benefit of the citizens.”
So how can crony capitalism, corporatism and indeed fascism fit the capitalist template when capitalism is surely about providing the goods and services which people want and are prepared to spend money on? Crony capitalism, corporatism and fascism are about governments and businesses/corporations conspiring together to effectively decide which products and services to produce. In these systems, the government basically hands out tax-payers' cash in the form of concessions, subsidies and bailouts to businesses and corporations. The government also creates laws and regulations which are tailor-made to benefit the aforesaid businesses and corporations. All this violates capitalism and comes closer to socialism... surely.
The Socialist Solution
To democratic socialists (if they exist), it's important that governments fully regulate the economy – both in political, social and economic terms. But isn't that plain socialism? Indeed, once the economy and society have been regulated or collectivised, where the hell is the capitalist remainder?
Such socialists also say that that the political power of the wealthy has to be circumscribed and controlled. Yet in a socialist state, the only wealthy people would be socialist politicians and, perhaps, union leaders and Leftist activists. Thus the wealthy (the capitalist wealthy) wouldn't need to be regulated because they wouldn't so much as exist. Instead it would be socialists (of various descriptions) who'd need to be regulated; though since it would be socialists doing the regulating, there would be an obvious problem.
If crony capitalism or capitalism is the problem, capitalism has always proved to be the solution too. Revolution (or the world made in Naomi Klein or Chomsky's image) is an attempt to create utopia. In the process, it will create hell – as the 20th century graphically displayed.
Capitalism is like an animal which evolves to suit the environment. (As the Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek, for example, is more than willing to admit.) Capitalism responds to people by giving them what they want, whether that's jacuzzis, horror films or, according to Žižek, post-modern philosophy/politics. It also gives them health foods, clean air, medicines, internet websites (that preach violent revolution), punk, non-polluting cars and books by Chomsky, Naomi Klein and Slavoj Žižek. In addition, it responds to people's demands for the “better use of finite resources”. Though, admittedly, only if that's what people want. So if people want environmentally-friendly goods and books by Al Gore, it will give them such things. And, as the phrase goes, capitalism will “relocate resources” too. Though, again, only if people want this.
Leftists say in response: But what if they don't want these goodly things?
And it's here that Leftists display their undemocratic and even totalitarian instincts. Because people don't want such things (though sometimes they do), the socialist demands that the state provide them instead. Thus people will get the supposedly good things even if they don't want them. Consequently, the government/state will gain complete control because it knows what's good for us in all respects. Goodness will then be imposed upon us from above.... regardless.
And when socialist goodness is imposed it becomes badness – as the 20th century graphically shows.
1) Karl Marx himself must have known that capitalism isn't always cronified. Indeed the success and productivity of Great Britain's Industrial Revolution was partly a result of de-cronification (as it were) – that is, of true competition. What this meant is that people and even politicians took action against cronyism between government and business. More specifically, these people stopped those who wanted to “block innovations” because such innovations were a threat to various business-government alliances.
So, Marx was also against the opposite of crony capitalism; as are contemporary Leftists. Indeed in Marx's own Germany there was far more crony capitalism than in the United Kingdom. For example, there were merchant guilds which put severe limits on competition. Such merchant guilds were actually given that power by governments.
2) I myself have some problems with capitalism. Or rather, I have a problem with some people who happen to also run businesses; as well as governments. One is immigration. In the UK, it can be said that one reason for mass immigration is that businesses require cheap labour and thus cheap workers are imported to increase the profits of certain businesses. Despite saying that, most immigrants end up on the dole and the experiment in mass immigration carried out by New Labour between 2000 and 2010 was done so for ideological reasons, not for reasons of economics. However, mass immigration in the UK was sold as to do with economics - not that the British people were told much about what was actually going on.
3) It's claimed that the term “crony capitalism” was first used as recently as 1997. It referred then to what was going on in Thailand, Indonesia and other countries involved in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Thus its use is almost as new as the term 'neoliberalism' (which became fashionable again very recently). Later the term “crony capitalism” was also applied to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Russia. Here again, this has probably more to do with human nature than it has to do with capitalism. It may also have more to do with Asian states and Russia than it has to do with capitalism.
Posted by Paul Austin Murphy at 01:29