Book Review

Kamm Kompetition

Oliver Kamm has saved us the trouble of reading Richard “Lenin” Seymour’s book. Apparently, it is shit.

The New Statesman carries a review of a book called The Liberal Defence of Murder by Richard Seymour, a blogger and a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party. The reviewer, Owen Hatherley, says that the book “is probably more valuable as history than as polemic. It delves into areas that are usually politely ignored, carefully uncovering liberalism and reformism’s own shameful record of collaboration with mass murder.”

The publicist for Verso Books, Seymour’s publisher, has kindly sent me a review copy of the book with the message that she “thought the title might be of particular interest to you and I hope you find much good in what Richard Seymour has produced here”.

If Seymour’s effort is more valuable as history than as polemic, then imagine what it’s like as polemic. I have an instinctive aversion to throwing books away, so if any reader wants my copy and is prepared to collect it from The Times‘s offices in Wapping, then by all means shoot me an email and I’ll leave it downstairs for you.

There is also this intriguing little item:

The Holocaust denier David Irving once complained that an article I had written that briefly referred to him had “smeared him in person”. On another occasion he declared that my behaviour towards one of his supporters was “truly odious”, and he coined an amusing name for me that alluded to an item that some people use for heightening sexual pleasure.

Kammisole?  Kammbrator? Kammcaine?

No, I’m lost.

What is it?

Gene adds: The News Statesman review gives us a shout-out of sorts:

“The Tomb” has been noted for attacks on the “pro-war left”, those liberals and ex-socialists associated with various convocations – the blog Harry’s Place, the Euston Manifesto – which argue that the “Islamofascist” enemy must be fought by any means necessary. Essentially, this is the subject of Seymour’s first book.

By any means necessary? That doesn’t sound like us. Where did we see that phrase used?

Ah, yes.

The [Stop the War Coalition] reaffirms its call for an end to the occupation, the return of all British troops in Iraq to this country and recognises once more the legitimacy of the struggle of Iraqis, by whatever means they find necessary, to secure such ends.