Back in the 1970s, Australian feminist Germaine Greer showed how hip & randy she could be by posing full frontal/spread eagle in Al Goldstein’s tabloid SCREW. Is SCREW still around? It seemed to have no purpose except to make Larry Flynt’s HUSTLER look classy by comparison.
But my purpose is not to critique Ms Greer’s pose, but to comment on her politics. Ms Greer around that time was said to be a supporter of the United Secretariat, the Majority Ernest Mandel/Alain Krivine wing of the Trotskyist Fourth International. (Tariq Ali was a leader at the time.) In 1979, Greer was quoted as saying that the veil was a sign of progressive resistance. Say what?
Much of the Left, not just the Trots, was taken in by the Khomeini Revolution against the Shah. About the time Greer made her remark, the new regime of the mullahs was busily incorporating SAVAK, the Shah’s hated secret police, into their own machinery of state. What, Ms Greer, is progressive about that?
The Far Right–at least, outside of the USA–was also taken in. Inside the USA, one guy named Dietz, a German immigrant & Realtor based in Reedy, West Virginia, also grooved on Khomeini, probably because of shared distaste for the Jooooz. Dietz published a woefully misnamed magazine, LIBERTY BELL. He also did some neat leaflets which were marred–and hence made ineffective–by placing swastikas all over the place. Dietz has since expired but presumably has been reincarnated into David Duke, the comic book Klansman, who now grooves on the regime of the mullahs. They probably have to pay him but I imagine he comes cheaply enough.
Back to Germaine Greer. I don’t know what her politics are today or whether she still poses spread-eagled. But her spirit lives on in the Trotskyoid British Socialist Workers Party. Over the past few years they’ve had a number of joint anti-war demos with Muslim orgs where they agreed to the segregation of men & women. Yes, you read me right. The emancipation of women was always a signature issue of the Left over a couple of centuries. Now it’s thrown overboard for what?
Is David Horowitz right in claiming an unholy alliance between extreme Left and Radical Islam? Maybe. But I think it’s really a shotgun marriage of convenience. The Left needs numbers and elan; Radical Islam needs a few Western faces as a cover.
A similar shotgun marriage has existed in the US Republican Party between plutocrats and preachers. The former needed bodies, the latter are money hungry. Both try to use the other.
But these debacles of the pathetic British Left are a shared sickness of the entire Western Left.
The critical point is 1968. A mass strike–to use Rosa Luxemburg’s terminology-by workers & students nearly toppled the regime of Charles DeGaulle in France. But instead of signalling a return to genuine working class socialism (e.g. Voix Ouvriere, now Lutte Ouvriere), the Left went Maoist, including the petit-bourgeois rinky-dinker, Jean-Paul Sartre.
What peasant-based Asian socialism had to offer the West I’ll never know. In any case, the infatuation didn’t last. Deng, the capitalist roader, took power after Mao and embarked down the capitalist road; albeit a smarter capitalism than finance-Capital foisted on Russia after the Soviet collapse.
So the Western Left retreated to academia. Their fruits? Best described by Michel Rienzi:
“The intellectuals in the left-wing movement are not a vanguard and could never become a vanguard. Marxists, neo-marxists, frankfurt-marxists, post-structuralists, queer-theoreticians and all other post-working class idiotologues and mental midgets high on political correctness . . . are ultimately parasites, vermin, yes a scourge on the back of the working class.”
The worst of the worst in the USA were the non-Marxist father of the American New Left, C. Wright Mills, and Frankfurt School hack Herbert Marcuse. This led to the poisons of Identity Politics and political correctness. Seeing minorities, immigrants, et al, anyone but workers as the agents of change, left the movement weak and helpless against the ruling class. But the dogma was very useful to the multicultural designs of finance-Capital.
Likewise the dogma of political correctness served the same purpose. In the words of Michel Rienzi:
“The idea that the fair-skinned Europeans, both the bourgeoisie and the working man, is collectively guilty for the suffering of the third world has poisoned the European left as a whole, and is more and more stigmatizing and compromising the left-wing movement in the eyes of the workers.”
(One exception in the USA has been the tiny and very brain-dead Socialist Equality Party, formerly Workers League. They are a surviving remnant of the International Committee, Gerry Healy’s wing of the brain-dead Fourth International. Why so many Trotskyist groups? They’re like amoeba, they think they can grow by splitting.)
The academic Marxists and official Left should join Germaine Greer in the spread eagle position. And stay out of the workers’ way!