November 20, 2013

Harry's Placer Calls AWL on Guru's Racism

Here's a remarkable comment from Sarah Annes Brown of Harry's Place and a few other zionist sites.  She's criticising Sean Matgamna for a racist screed from 2002 reposted recently on the Shiraz Socialist blog of Jim Denham.

Denham doesn't actually post the most explicitly racist part of Matgamna's piece, which is here, but Sarah, who did a bit of digging, quotes it in her comment:

Sarah AB said,
Jim – some of the analysis may be reasonable, whether or not one agrees with it. But this seems different:
“Like desert tribes of primitive Muslim simplicity and purity enviously eyeing a rich and decadent walled city and sharpening their knives, or country folk in former Yugoslavia eyeing a city like Dubrovnik, so, now, much of the Islamic world looks with envy, covetousness, religious self-righteousness and active hostility on the rich, decadent, infidel-ridden, sexually sinful advanced capitalist societies.
Neither covert Western encouragement, nor neo-con manipulation, is the fundamental root of the luxuriantly thriving Islamic fundamentalism.
The existence of large Muslim minorities in Europe is making political Islam a force well beyond the traditionally Muslim world: the Islam which failed outside the walls of Vienna over 300 years ago is now a force in the great cities of Europe.”
There’s a nasty snark in the first sentence which implies a low view of Muslims generally, appearing to imply almost praise for the ‘simplicity’ of these tribes and then making it clear they are bloodthirsty savages (unlike other people in the Dark Ages/Middle Ages). There are problems with political Islam, sure, but this language is tendentious. Also in the last sentence the enemy is not ‘political Islam’ – just Islam – and this becomes a continuation of a clash which notes dates back to at least 1683, an existential clash with Islam, rather than a clash between one particular manifestation of Islam which has arisen due to a range of social and political factors as Matgamna seemed at first to be arguing.
Now that is good.  But it gets better when Jim tries to pull rank on the non-Marxist Sarah:
Jim Denham said,
I honestly don’t see any “nasty snark” there, Sarah. I realise you don’t share all the “leftist” criticisms of Sean’s piece, and also that you’re not a Marxist (so, for instance the fact that much of Sean’s terminology derives from Engels, won’t cut any ice with you),but the following strikes me as a pretty devastating riposte to “leftist” critics of Sean’s piece:
Now Sarah responds in a way that would get a regular opponent banned:

Sarah AB said,

Hi Jim – don’t you think there’s a disjunct between ‘simplicity and purity’ and ‘sharpening their knives’? I can’t say I find that article deals satisfactorily with my first objection or, I think, at all with my second (the Vienna one). I do indeed find the invocation of Engels a perverse kind of appeal to authority. A bit like citing Marx to excuse Atzmon.
 Wow!  What's that rule again?  I think Sarah just bravely broke Godwin's Law but there's nothing wrong with that.

Of course there's a quick reversion to type when Jim denies invoking Engels as an authority and Sarah denies having accused Jim of that anyway.  But those old one-two comments were well worth posting.  Now she's made me late for the gym but at least she's confirmed I'm not too old to like surprises.


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