On waving other people’s flags – Alan A

Alan A writes on the vicarious nationalism that some English Defence League supporters extend towards those they perceive to be the enemy of their enemy. Most Palestine solidarity work of the keffiyeh and flag-waving variety belongs in this category of bogusness.

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7 thoughts on “On waving other people’s flags – Alan A

  1. modernity

    “towards those they perceive to be the enemy of their enemy.”

    Fair point, but isn’t it rather universal?

    I seem to remember coming across a post by Alan A where he argues with apparent seriousness that “PSC is the EDL of the Left”.

    So he’s guilty of the very thing he’s arguing against, not terribly logical.

    PS: I have little time for the PSC but they are NOT a proto-fascist street gang stuffed full of ex-BNPers and neo-Nazis, thus to argue an equivalent is intellectually insulting and factually wrong.]

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      It’s not universal, I don’t think, Mod. We try not to go that way on this blog, for example. I agree with you that the PSC is not the EDL of the Left – they’re more like UKIP.

      Reply
  2. modernity

    Sorry, I didn’t express my self very well.

    What I was trying to get out is at “supporters extend towards those they perceive to be the enemy of their enemy” is exceedingly common across the political spectrum, be it knuckleheads in the EDL, some Greens, many American conservatives to cranks on the “anti-imperialist Left”, etc

    That includes many of the fevered posts at HP, which simply generate more heat than light on these topics and are often contradictory when viewed against past posts.

    Overall, in many political debates there is a “word inflation”, wherein the meaning of words is often lost, exaggerated or stretched beyond breaking point.

    We have seen many examples of this in the Greens and the natural reaction against such stupidity (as shown by posts here), but Harry’s Place has played its part in this idiocy, in inflammatory posts, racism in the comments boxes and allowing links to be posted to the EDL Facebook page, etc

    So, *if* they are going to take the moral high ground in these issues than they had better put their own house in order, or at least make some token effort to dampen down the racism found in the comments boxes at HP.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      Mod, “Harry’s Place has played its part in this idiocy, in inflammatory posts…”

      Yes, I feel particularly left high and dry by Libby T’s stuff on Greens, for example. Betrayal is not too strong a word for how I feel about Harry’s Place sometimes. I also think that the inflammatory posts have given HP the following which it now can’t shake off. But then there is Sarah, whose writing couldn’t be more different, and Michael Ezra, whose historical knowledge is so impressive, and who is so resilient to the antisemitism he has experienced on other blogs. I was speaking to somebody just last night who uses HP as an important fact-finding resource about extremists, and never looks below the fold or at any other post than the ones Google turns up for him.

      “… racism in the comments boxes and allowing links to be posted to the EDL Facebook page, etc”

      I think those are two different issues. I found the weekly sweep of the comments an acceptable compromise between free speech and welcoming racist garbage. The linking to the EDL pages is bad – I’m of your persuasion I think, Mod – quarantine. Go and talk to them on their own places, but keep them far away from your readers.

      Reply
  3. modernity

    I am afraid the “free speech” argument is largely bogus, if they *want* to remove comments they will, but they make a choice not to when EDLers and their mates plaster the place with Far Right PR.

    You can’t complain about others and their questionable linkages then go and do it yourself, as HP often does. So it is left up for 7 days? Why not, 14 or 28? Allowing the Far Right to spread anti-Muslim hatred by *any* means is not right, number of the days are irrelevant.

    “Go and talk to them on their own places, but keep them far away from your readers.”

    Exactly, I normally don’t read HP, but even the above post has EDLers and their uncritical friends splattered in the comments boxes, including:

    “Flaming Fairy 3 October 2011, 6:01 pm
    The EDL is not the problem. As someone so eloquently puts it in a comment on CiF”

    When you have a readership (or in part) which is immune to anti-Muslim bigotry and racism, (or antisemitism on other blogs), then it is time to rethink what you are doing.

    We would be, rightly, critical if hypothetically a Green or Left blog argued that “Right-wing street gangs who attack Jews are not a problem” then we have to apply the same when it comes to the anti-Muslim bigotry, which is endemic at HP.

    Even if you allow for the idiocy in the comments boxes, a selection of the posts at HP are either politically illiterate, unnecessarily inflammatory, long ad hominems (invariably aimed at someone who happens to be Muslim) or incredibly petty.

    Therefore, if we wouldn’t stand for such conduct on other blogs, which frequently employ paralleled idiocy, when they attack “Zionists” (or other choice euphemisms), then why should we accept it from Harry’s Place?

    They should know better. They are adults and have made conscious choices, the result is not pretty nor should anyone who considers themselves to be an antiracist think useful.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      Mod, I don’t think the free speech argument is bogus. I remember a David T post from a good few years ago saying he thought that people should expose themselves to the arguments of racists and totalitarians, and become good at arguing back. I happen to think that puts an undue burden on your readers and takes a of a bit boot-camp stance on opposing these people which doesn’t really work outside a boot camp – but it’s no such an outlandish or ill-meant position to hold. When it emerged that the racists were more tenacious, more dedicated, than the other commenters, Harry’s Place opted to obliterate everybody’s leavings after time for debate had elapsed. This is because, not being a commercial or funded outfit, they don’t have the resource to moderate closely, nor are they prepared to close comments. I think HP bloggers are generally responsible in their attempts to disrupt the views of their more Islamophobic commenters – it’s significant that they are invariably opposed to the EDL point of view, though I agree that some of the pieces do not themselves make that adequately clear, being too outraged and focused on the single issue at hand. Others always do. Sarah’s and Edmund Standing’s pieces – for example – are always responsible, and yet they attract some of the most virulent tirades in their comments – usually from people whose views they threaten.

      Reply
  4. modernity

    ” I remember a David T post from a good few years ago saying he thought that people should expose themselves to the arguments of racists and totalitarians, and become good at arguing back.”

    Firstly, that’s not what happening, and I’m basing my views on the evidence of reading HP threads.

    Antiracists gets sick and tired of being surrounded by Daily Mail readers with a chip on their shoulder about Muslims and leave. I did.

    Secondly, it makes the assumption that you could win such people over with arguments. That may be true in academia but in HP threads I can’t say I seen any evidence of it.

    In fact most antiracists will freely acknowledged that it is torture to argue with the derange thinking of bigots, be they in the threads of Harry’s Place or SU blog.

    We can argue this until the cows come home, but HP were warned persistently that they risk becoming a hellhole for anti-Muslim bigots, they did nothing about it and it came true.

    As for moderation, were you to put in a libellous comment into HP I’m sure it would be removed swiftly, and I fully appreciate that they are not full-time, but they don’t make *any* effort to counter the EDLers. If they made a serious effort that would be something but they don’t.

    And it still leaves the question of their politically illiterate and petty posts outstanding.

    Reply

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