Counter demo


Aaronovitch in The Observer:

I had to laugh, albeit bitterly. In the publisher’s blurb for Tariq Ali’s forthcoming Bush In Babylon, it is being claimed that the book – a polemic against the occupation of Iraq – will ‘stand apart from the morass of sycophantic books now being presented’, by ‘eschewing the fashionable lurch to the Right by some former leftists’.

This ‘morass’ of pro-war literature has somehow slithered past me unseen. In the bookshops I visit the politics sections are dominated by Chomsky and Pilger (the negative Marx and Engels of the new far-Left), and staff recommendations seem to attach themselves exclusively to anti-Bush polemics.

The ‘fashionable lurch to the Right’ is, in terms of the war in Iraq (which is what we are really talking about), the least fashionable thing that some of us have ever done. The entire bien-pensant world, every political actress, every talking painter, every modish singer, every T-shirt designer, every clever cartoonist, every radio quiz-show panelist, every TV critic, every professionally young person who can string three words together, has been against us and with Tariq Ali. We have not just been wrong on balance, but wrong beyond discussion, wrong beyond the possibility of being the slightest bit right. Fashionable? We might just as well have ventured into Tate Modern wearing mullet hair and tartan hot-pants.

Quite. I suppose being accused of trendiness over Iraq makes a change from the usual charges of being ‘sell-outs’, ‘taking the Yankee dollar’, ‘naivety’ and ‘wishful thinking’. Anything to avoid dealing with the core arguments.

There are also some good points in the piece on the return of ‘radical chic’ with the rehabiliation of ‘post-terrorist’ figures on the European far left such as Antonio Negri and it is worth reading it all – if only to discover who Tariq Wolfowitz might be.