Swooning for George

Like Harry, I think we’ve pretty much said all there is to say about George Galloway’s performance before the Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. (For now anyway– the subcommittee’s final report will almost certainly provide fresh material.)

But from an American’s perspective, one thing worth noting is the swoon of admiration for Galloway by some liberals and leftists.

Subcommittee chairman Norm Coleman proved to be Galloway’s perfect foil– that is, he was both polite and clueless. Writing on his blog at The Nation, John Nichols concludes from this one-sided affair that Galloway– unlike wimpy US politicians– “comes from places where voters and politicians do not suffer fools.” Galloway, Nichols informs us, “tore through Coleman’s flimsy ‘evidence.'” (It was Coleman, more than the evidence, who was flimsy.)

One of the bloggers at the popular liberal website Daily Kos wrote that Galloway “said things yesterday that our leaders damn well needed to hear” and added, “See, Democrats? That’s how you do it.”

But Stan Goff, writing an “open letter” to Democratic elected officials for the odious Counterpunch website, was transported by Galloway’s appearance to extremes of nihilistic fantasy.

Galloway’s testimony, he writes, “serves as an example of why your party should be abandoned by the U.S. working class, by U.S. women, by oppressed nationalities in the United States, and by anyone who professes to be a progressive or a leftist.”

And he offers this carefully-reasoned advice:

Tell the Democratic Leadership Council to eat shit and die. Stop working, stop obeying, block the streets and highways, shut down the capital, and watch them choke on their own sewage. If Americans weren’t so bewildered by television, so addled and soft from junk food and cars and electronic appliances, and so addicted to their own cultural superficiality, they might begin organizing general strikes: women’s strikes, workers strikes (without union bureaucrats to calm them down), Black people strikes, Brown people strikes, info-tech strikes, eco-strikes, all working our way up to One Big Strike.

It’s a ways off, but it’s coming. Of course, there won’t be any Democrats there. They’ll be wringing their hands about their defunct careers, and conducting focus groups to see how they can shift further to the right in the next election.

And the reason this doesn’t happen is that people still hang their thin hopes on you, on electing Democrats who stab them in the back the first chance they get. But Galloway’s appearance before the U.S. Senate moved us an inch closer to the Big Strike, and an inch further away from your worthless asses.

I hope most sensible antiwar leftists who watched Galloway were not similarly swept away. And notwithstanding Mr. Goff, I suspect Galloway’s visit to Washington will have no measurable effect– revolutionary or otherwise– on US politics.

A British commenter to Nichols’s blog— while agreeing with Galloway’s “counterattack” before the subcommittee– offers some good advice to American leftists gazing longingly at the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow:

[T]he US anti-war movement should resist the temptation to see Galloway as an unambiguous hero. Its true that the right wing and the press have conducted a long-standing smear campaign against him. However, some of Galloway’s controversial statements have been genuinely problematic from a progressive left-libertarian point of view.
Once the cheers have died down, US progressives should still look elsewhere for their inspiration.