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Censorious July 16, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

For those reading the Observer at the weekend there was a piece on the ‘leftish authoritarianism’. Who could have written this piece, why none other than Nick Cohen. And what exercises him, none other than a letter penned by a range of worthies in Harper’s ‘protesting at the stifling of debate’. Apparently this has been controversial. In truth I think that far too much energy is expended on flocks of people on social media who act and react to one another and too little energy is expended offline in political activity. So the letter didn’t concern me one way or another. Signatories going to sign, or something like that. Nor is easy to believe that when so many people have access to short attention span social media like twitter that one should pay too much attention to same.

Interestingly though, although Cohen frames all this in the context of the ‘left’ the one concrete example he can offer of a genuinely problematic example is from the Washington Post, surely a bastion not of leftism but of US centrism, and liberal centrism at that. It’s not a hugely edifying story in any regard, and the fact that those at its heart are not public figures and it referenced a private event is particularly distressing. But again, does this characterise anything more broadly than the story itself and the mis-handling by the Washington Post? I’m not sure that it does.

There are other problems too with his analysis, even on its own terms:

The British ought to know the dangers of thinking there are no enemies to the left. Because Labour members failed to confront the crankery and racism of the Corbyn movement, they drove millions into Boris Johnson’s clammy embrace.

Does that make much sense? Did supposed ‘racism’ in the BLP send voters rightwards to… er…Johnson’s supposedly non-racist Tories? I find that unlikely. Is it not more likely that Brexit and political chaos and a general ineptitude common to almost all parties had more of a part to play? Some of that can be ascribed to the Labour Party, some to people on all sides within the Labour Party, but all of it, the most part? And did people vote Tory because ‘because the loudest strain in progressivism has embraced censorship’. I think there’d need to be a lot more evidence of same to make such a bold statement (in fairness I’m paraphrasing, but not unfairly, that appears to be his logic). But again even on his own terms this seems curious. One presumes he welcomes the arrival at the leadership of the BLP of a new leader. How does he explain that if all is so grim? Or is it that what he is discussing is in fact unrelated to much apart from itself. Something that exercise some out of all proportion to the actual problem.


1. EWI - July 16, 2020

We can LOL at the very silly Nick Cohen try to claim that people vote for the Tories as an anti-racism vote.

Why is this man not on Spiked!?

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - July 16, 2020

Didn’t they have a run in with them? I recall him being very hostile to the RCP. I guess for Nick Cohen they’d be a step too far!


2. tafkaGW - July 16, 2020

The whole ‘debate’ is silly. Really not worth our time.

People on twatter are outraged. Outraged I tell you! 🙂

And yes, it was “Brexit and political chaos and a general ineptitude common to almost all parties” – and a militant Tory media including the BBC – what won it for the Tories.

Liked by 2 people

3. Pasionario - July 16, 2020

There’s a lot of pots calling kettles black here.

Cohen and his ilk applaud when people get “cancelled” within the Labour Party on flimsy anti-Semitism charges, most recently Rebecca Long-Bailey for tweeting the Maxine Peake interview.

And leftists like Owen Jones can be just as keen to call for the heads of people they don’t like.

It’s all both silly and toxic. And I find it distressing that leftists can display the insouciance of a nineteenth-century mill owner in their attitude towards terminating other people’s employment.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - July 16, 2020

Yes, that’s true this weird indifference to people’s jobs being lost. There’s gradations in my view. The person who confronted the man chalking BLM outside his house on the wall was obnoxious but I’m not sure they should have lost their job. By contrast the Central Park person wtih the dog who called the cops and gave a completely false account of circumstances I think is in a different position (granted there’s an issue of calling the police on any person of colour which is potentially problematic given the paramilitarised face of policing in the US full stop). But someone who goes to a party does not in my view deserve to lose their job in this context.

Liked by 2 people

Pasionario - July 17, 2020

The woman involved in the Central Park incident has been charged with making a false report to the police.

That seems right to me.

I’m less comfortable with the fact the she was summarily fired from her job before being charged.

Firstly, there’s a lack of due process involved in such terminations. Secondly, people who break the law should not be thereby excluded from employment (which is a huge problem throughout the US and a major contributor to racial inequality).

On the whole, I think racists should be exposed and condemned, but they still have a right to earn a living. Labour rights shouldn’t be contingent on the vagaries of public outrage.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - July 17, 2020

Yes, that’s a very good point re losing job before charges brought. Agreed.


Pasionario - July 17, 2020

It’s also far too easy for corporations to wrap themselves in the flag of wokeness — for instance, by firing someone for a misjudged tweet — as a way of deflecting attention from old-fashioned, class-based exploitation.

Amazon has two women of colour on its board, and Bezos is always tweeting about his great love of diversity.

Meanwhile, the workers on the shop floor are wearing nappies because they’re not given enough time for toilet breaks.

Liked by 1 person

CL - July 17, 2020

“A white woman walking her dog who called the police during a videotaped dispute with a Black man in Central Park was charged Monday with filing a false report, but the victim has said he doesn’t support the charges…..
“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” Mr. Cooper told the New York Times. “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.”

In the U.S. people who work for govt. have a right to due process; those in the private sector, no.


Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - July 17, 2020

He’s a more decent person than I suspect many of us would be in the same circumstances.


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