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Friday, January 13, 2006

Is Galloway a Stalinist?

So, DLA's, this comes from the comments of my earlier post "He is a dick, but he's our dick. (George Galloway)" but i've decided it needs a more visible place on the front page. Nod goes to wardytron who provided this exerpt and a link to the original [title link] interview which sparked off the squealing and hair pulling.
"He says his political position is no different now than it was then; that while there are so many politicians marching across the ideological spectrum without explanation, he has stayed put. What is that position? "I am on the anti-imperialist left." The Stalinist left? "I wouldn't define it that way because of the pejoratives loaded around it; that would be making a rod for your own back. If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the US would not be rampaging around the globe." [my emphasis]
~ Simon Hattenstone Monday, September 16, 2002 The Guardian
From that isolated paragraph it would be easy, if one were of a mind to, to conclude that the only reason George would not describe himself as a Stalinist was because it would alienate him politically and possibly socially also. One could further postulate that in reality he is one, just not prepared to say so. I'd urge you all, DLA's, to read the entire thing however. [title link]

Simon Hattenstone's piece for The Grauniad, of Monday September 16, 2002, begins with a description of George which frankly borders on the homo-erotic and, having thus placed 'the thrust' (fnah fnah) of his article firmly into George's person rather than his politics, Simon proceeds to subtly caress the notion that George is in fact nothing more than a fop whose political ideas are hardly worth even considering, they are so outr�. What he actually achieves is as subtle as a grab of the bollocks.

Now, do you see how easy it is to take the "inverted pyramid" style of writing to set the whole tone of a piece so as to rubbish a person's image whilst seeming to be merely commenting on their efforts? Here i've called the credibility of The Guardian into question by repeating Private Eye's satire which referred to a propensity for spelling mistakes way back in the day. I've then gone on to suggest that Hattenstone's objections to Galloway are based in homosexual jealousy or, for the nastier of mind, simply that he lacks credibility because he is gay. Is he gay? I have no idea and i'm not interested. I further compound the notion that he is however by the use of first names, sexual innuendo, pretentious French and sexual idiom.

That's not what we're about at DLA however: we're not interested in Hattenstone; what we want to know is, "What the fuckin'ell is Galloway about?" Well, i'll tell you what i think, based on this evidence.

We do not get a verbatim report of the full interview and, given the tone of the piece, if Galloway had said something like, "I abhor the atrocities committed under Stalin's regime as much as I oppose and have consistently protested, as an MP and private citizen, against Human Rights abuses by the US, UK and Saddam Hussein's regime." It's unlikely to have made it into Hattenstone's copy. Why? Not simply because the purpose was to marginalise Galloway, but to marginalise the issues by concentrating on personalities.

That is the purpose of bringing Stalin into it in the first place. Wooo, Stalin: "The Man of Steel;" death camps; brutal suppression of dissent; plain grey uniform and 'uncompromising' moustache; wasn't he a course jumped up peasant too? In response to Galloway's "anti-imperialist left" the question wasn't, "Marxist-Leninist left?" Because, whether one believes in it's tenets or not, Marxism-Leninism is widely understood to be a political, economic and social belief structure which cannot be dismissed as a 'fringe lunatic' idea, but rather begs debate about the issues it seeks to address. Then again, what is Stalinism actually about? Find out. Of course, my perspicacious DLA's, it will not have escaped your attention that "Uncle" Joe Stalin was our ally, as was the similarly moustachioed Saddam Hussein, when it suited us.

If asked, the fact that Galloway is likely to have said something very similar, to that which i've postulated, not only chimes with what we've heard from him elsewhere but is reinforced by Hattenstone's later:
"Galloway is quick to remind you that he, and his comrades on the left, were among the first to condemn Saddam's human rights record, even if the chief motive was that the country had become a virulently anti-communist puppet of America." [my emphasis]
Of course in the context of the piece, he is trying to further the undermining by suggesting that Galloway is merely blowing his own trumpet. Is he? Well, he's not shy anywhere else, so i'd say yes, but not "merely," as what he says is the plain and simple truth. Hattenstone goes on to state his opinion of the "chief motive" and suggest it would have included glossing over similar in the USSR. But Galloway never said any such thing, because if he had, Hattenstone would have delightfully reported it verbatim.

There are countless examples of this kind of arse in the piece, but i'm sure you're getting bored: read it yourself; draw your own conclusions. There are two points i'd like to draw to your attention however:

1. Galloway's
"Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability,"
statement to Hussein. Was he really speaking to the Iraqi people, or was it a serious political mistake? I suspect the latter. However, i have to tell you that i salute the skill with which the team that put Dubya in The White House undermined the US electoral system and manipulated the media to get away with it. If i ever get within two feet of him however, his broken nose will be all anyone needs to determine my opinion of the man himself, but that's me. I'm not a statesman: i'm not trying to build bridges. The fact that Galloway is capable of admiring facets of a man despite what he may think of that man's overall contribution to humanity is pointed up later in the article when Hattenstone reports Galloway's admiration of Churchill, surely not a person one would expect to find in the list of a self-confessed "anti-imperialist's" list of heros.

2. Harold Pinter thinks Galloway rocks. If you've got this far in this article of mine, you must be interested in left issues: the word of a Nobel Laureate must surely carry some weight.

Actually, it occures to me that i may have done Simon Hattenstone an unwarranted disservice here, because it's possible that by concentrating the critical rhetoric into the beginning of the piece, but including these tidbits later, he may have been just pandering to editorial policy, but that achieved, sneaked some balance in by the back door, as it were (fnah fnah) [i'm sorry but i couldn't resist it! But see how easy it is?].

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