Christopher Hitchens - Tammy Bruce - Cesar Chavez - George Orwell - Adolf Eichmann - Grin Without a Cat/The Base of the Air is Red 1977 - Lefties TV - The Rise of Sweden’s Far Left Militants TV - Paul Foot - Malcolm Caldwell - The Corbett Report - Abby Martin & The Empire Files - Sewers of Gold 1979 - John Lydon - A Very British Coup 1988 - John Avlon - Oh Jeremy Corbyn: The Big Lie 2023 - Simon Winlow -
I believe that the American left, American radicals, American liberals, many of them, in starting the Civil Rights movement for black Americans, in combating an unjust war in Indo-China and in beginning the emancipating of women in the way we think about sex changed the way everyone thinks and the way everyone lives far beyond the borders of the United States. Christopher Hitchens vs William Buckley, Firing Line interview December 1984, ‘Is There a Liberal Crack-Up?’
As to the ‘Left’ I’ll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our ‘national security’ calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of ‘Left’ intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush’s legitimacy. So I don’t even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction. Christopher Hitchens
Does anyone of the American left give a damn about what their brothers and sisters in these countries feel or want? No, they don’t even ask. Doesn’t come up. That’s betrayal. That I would call treason. Christopher Hitchens, interview Iraq: Conflict & Hope
The Left Elite only pretend to be concerned about what’s best for everyone else because it is the most effective way to manipulate you and your children into their abyss. Tammy Bruce
Once social change begins it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid any more. We have seen the future, and the future is ours. Cesar Chavez
So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't even know that fire is hot. George Orwell
My political sentiments inclined toward the left and emphasized the socialist aspects every bit as much as nationalist ones. Adolf Eichmann, memoir cited Aly’s ‘Hitler’s Beneficiaries’
‘Vietnam was, and still is, the only question that can mobilise the masses. Grin Without a Cat aka The Base of the Air is Red, Paul Verges, 1977
Saint-Nazaire May 1st 1967: End of the longest strike of the post-war in Sud-Aviation. ibid.
1967: ‘We feel we had a real movement.’ ibid. striker
‘On April 11th 1968 Rudi was gravely wounded by gunfire while he cycled in a Berlin street. He’d written, We Must Revolutionise Revolutionaries. ibid.
Paris 1962 Metro Charonne: ‘A new attitude in the demonstrations, more aggressive, born from a real need of striking back.’ ibid.
‘This is where the New Left was born.’ ibid.
‘It’s a struggle between rich and poor.’ ibid. Douglas Bravo
May ’68 and all that: ‘For me, May ’68 happened in the Boulevard Saint-Michel. ibid.
‘But never have this authentic courage, this everyday courage, which consists of sacrificing your personality completely to become effective.’ ibid.
‘Indeed, we have occupied the Sorbonne.’ ibid.
Paris, Latin Quarter May 6th: ‘At once the State reveals its oppressive side; the one that stays more or less hidden in everyday life.’ ibid.
‘The occupation of the Latin Quarter went fine until 8 p.m. It was the police that set off the incidents attacking us with chlorine grenade-launchers.’ ibid.
‘Birth of a legend. Birth of an image.’ ibid.
‘It’s always the same scene: a few blows and then they arrest them.’ ibid.
‘That time showed us that street violence does not lead automatically to political change.’ ibid.
‘In Latin America a whole generation of political fighters would end up under fascist regimes.’ ibid.
‘They want a change: political and economic.’ ibid.
‘In Saint-Etienne, however, the CGT strikers shunned by their comrades from the other two unions take to counter-attack and attack the CRS with stones, screws and iron bars.’ ibid. Newsreel October 1948
‘Anyway, history wasn’t being written in Avignon that summer; it was being written in Prague.’ ibid. striker
‘In Prague, the archives of the Gestapo were thrown into the streets.’ ibid. French newsreel
‘The first Soviet tank that entered Free Prague carried the number 23. It was the same tank, now a monument, that was surrounded by other Russian tanks in August 1968.’ ibid. commentator
Dubcek goes to Moscow and finds another Brezhnev who threatens with military invasion and ‘normalization’. ibid.
‘What are you doing in Prague? And you call yourself a communist.’ ibid. demonstrator to man in tank
‘Student demonstration, May ’68, quickly repressed the Mexican way. Two hundred dead, and the game opened in a pacified capital.’ ibid. commentator
In the 1970s Villa Road in South London was a squatted street. Behind these doors anarchists mixed with hippies and communists … This was a generation who wanted to change the world. Lefties I: Property is Theft, BBC 2006
They believed in collective living and collective action. ibid.
This rejection of the nuclear family was born of an intellectual analysis which saw the family as an essential unit of the capitalist society. ibid.
By the mid-70s there were about 5,000 squatters in Lambeth. ibid.
1976: under threat of eviction the squatters on Villa Road decided to defend the houses by barricading themselves in. They were now living behind their own iron curtain in a state of siege. ibid.
‘We had plenty to be angry about; we still do.’ Lefties II: Angry Wimmin
In the late ’70s politics in Britain became more extreme. As the state moved dramatically to the right, the left began to fragment. The women’s movement was already an established political force. ibid.
The Revolutionary Feminists advocated what they called political lesbianism. ibid.
As well as marching there were other forms of direct action like defacing sexist posters. ibid.
‘We were not successful … It’s extraordinary we achieved what we did.’ ibid.
By the mid ’80s the Left in Britain was on its knees. Thatcher was riding high having swept to power for a second term. The miners had been defeated after a year-long strike. Lefties III: A Lot of Balls
Faced with a tabloid press as right-wing as the government committed left-wingers began to wonder whether they could rally support for their cause if only they could publish their own newspaper. ibid.
The News on Sunday was the extreme left’s first attempt to enter mainstream public life. ibid.
One of the most high-profile and violent industrial disputes of the mid ’80s was Wapping. Rupert Murdoch had sacked 5,000 of his workers and moved production of the The Sun, The Times & The Sunday Times to a new high-tech plant in Wapping, East London. ibid.
Having walked out, Pilger went public and penned a series of articles attacking the paper. ibid.
‘It wasn’t even left-wing: that was the betrayal.’ ibid. Pilger
In the absence of a big topical story the paper led with an article about a man in Brazil who was selling his kidney. ibid.
‘Unexciting and pretty bland.’ ibid. employee