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Friday, January 08, 2010

2010 Man of the Year: George Galloway?

Well, we're only 8 days into the year, but George Galloway has already established himself as an early favourite for the 2010 Man of the Year award.

As one of the commenters on The Guardian thread says: This is the kind of politician we need in this country.
A politician who doesn't just talk about injustice, but who tries to do something practical to help end injustice.

And as for Egypt, the country which has arrested and deported George, what can we say? There have been many calls for a boycott of Israel in response to its cruel treatment of the Palestinians and its inhumane blockade of Gaza, but if we are concerned about the plight of the Palestinians, then surely we should also be talking about boycotting Egypt too- so long as the current corrupt regime stays in power.

As Seumas Milne pointed out yesterday, it's interesting- and revealing- to compare the virtual silence of large sections of the western media when it comes to anti-democratic practices in Egypt, and the brutal clampdown on opposition forces there, with the wall-to-wall coverage of anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

UPDATE: In similar vein, Mehdi Hasan over at the NS writes:
In recent months, there has been much talk of a "boycott" of Israeli goods but -- as defenders of Israel often point out -- advocates of such a strategy have to be consistent. If you're going to boycott Israel because of its morally reprehensible and near-criminal economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, why not boycott its accomplice Egypt as well?


Socialist said...

While I agree with you overall point, I have to say something about this talk about "consistency" regarding boycotts.

The reason why a boycott (academic, trade etc.) of Israel could work, is that the country is still democratic enough that people there can have some influence on its government. There is no point in boycotting a dictatorship - Mubarak won't feel it anyway. Just remember the disastrous boycott of Iraq. I think Egypt is probably more in the latter category than the first.

David Lindsay said...

Respect is campaigning for an elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets. Never bet against a man who, though blessed with unusual eloquence, is politically a pretty standard pro-life-Catholic of the Old Labour variety (a couple of divorces, but never mind), yet is able to win a parliamentary seat by having SWP students distribute leaflets contrasting his traditional Catholic moral views with the views of his New Labour opponent, leaflets in Bengali, a language not read by those students.

Now that the Egyptians have let him go again, then the Mayorality of Tower Hamlets beckons for the most brazenly brilliant and brilliantly brazen political operator in Britain today.

Madam Miaow said...

Egypt's actions in preventing humanitarian aid reaching the Gazans is shameful. This is one of the occasions were Galloway excels.

Czarny Kot said...

Pan Kowalski won't have anything to do with neighbour Belarus, because it is Europe's last dictatorship, but he won't hesitate to spend his hard-earned cash in the Red Coast riviera of Egypt.

Galloway is like abortion: no matter how much I think or read about him, I still can't make up my mind.

vladimir gagic said...

Mr. Galloway has my vote.

Undergroundman said...

Well, I'm going to have to be subversive here. Galloway is an expert rhetorician and can expose flaws in opponents arguments in the way MPs ought to in challenging consensus.

Any politician who berates the smug clone parties and their utter uselessness at holding power to acccount is a good thing.

The problem with Galloway is his "tranferred nationalism" his way of seeing "good" and "nad" nationd according to outdated Cold War realpolitik.

Galloway's sucking up to Arab dictators is as odious as Hitchens has pointed out and the idiocy of Hitchens was to think that by supporting Iraq he was defeating "totalitarianism".

Into the bargain, a victory in Iraq would "prove Galloway wrong. Unfortunately, Galloway was right, though he sheds crocodile tears over the Iraq War that he knew he could not prevent but exploited to push his media career ( key word "credibility" ).

The division of the left into the "decent left" or "pro-liberation left" is consumer branding of a new form of "leftist" identity politics from which Galloway is not immune.

Galloway has cashed in on populist anger at the way New Labour isn't social democrat but a neoliberal party with a slither of "leftist" identity politics whilst the Tories offered no real opposition to the war in Iraq.

Parliament is dead as a debating chamber, where mediocraties trade platitudes and do not even scrutinise legislation with a principled view other than in scoring political points on the "opposition".

Moreover, the fall of the Soviet Union was a Good Thing for those who'd had enough in "Eastern Europe" and left wing double standards are present too: L America can have its liberation struggles but not Esastern Europe.

Galloway's demagoguery over Western neo-colonialism in the Middle East has hesat but no light. How ridiculous is iy that a self confessed admirer of Colonel Nassser leds a Respect Party whose cadres are Islamists influenced by Sayyid Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The irony of Islamists crying out Allahu Akbar at Galloway's speeches whilst Galloway's Nasser executed Qutb and banished the Muslim Brotherhood in 1966 shows the absurdity of RESPECT and identity politics.

On the point that Halloway gets people talking, that's his job. He workd for Talk Tadion and essentially he's becomne a a left winf version of the US shock Jocks and his rudeness to callers is often unnecessary.

Galloway isn't that principled: this is disappointing but true. He's a demagogue who trades on the nostalgia for the political passion that socialists once had.

But beyond a vague wish list his RESPECT party is a vehicle for him and his ego as well as ramping up Muslims as some new proto-proletarian spearhead of global resistance to US Imperialism.

Though RESPECT claims to encourage Muslim and non-Muslim membership. when the propaganda is about drawing on atavistic passions between East and West that gives the liberal interventionists firepower in claiming they have a universalist position whilst Galloway is sectarian.

As a former Communist, Galloway's Clyside Communism and anti-British imperialism stems from sticking up fot the underdog against the "braying classes" in Westminister from the Celtic fringe and noe the alienated Muslims.

It's yet more boring ID politics and part of what JF Ballard calls "the entertainment economy".

neil craig said...

I like & admire Galloway & wouldn't trust him an inch, except to support the underdog (right or wrong). I remember how, despite being a friend of Albania he was one of the few, at the time, to stand up to oppose our genocidal war in Kosovo.

Rather him than a wilderness of Livinstons & Shorts.

Heavy reporting of our alleged enemies' minor infractions together with total censorship of our own & our allies genocides is one of the staple ways of manipulating public opinion.