I had a spat with someone I respect on Facebook recently. I shared a Guardian article by Kevin Bolton that
modestly asks why the Ukrainian community weren’t consulted about the Engels
Ukraine placed outside the HOME arts centre in Manchester by the artist
Phil Collins. I received a swift, angry response telling me that to share this
article was anti-communist and that the British Ukrainian community was largely
formed out of SS troops who murdered Jews en masse. Bolton’s opinion therefore
was to be refused. I disagreed. This spat went on for a while and then fizzled
later, I circulated a link to a timely post by Cathy Nugent, on the Shiraz Socialist blog, titled ‘Stalinist iconography is not acceptable‘. This was greeted by laddish sneering from
the same ‘comrade’. It was telling that the jeers could not defend using
Stalinist symbols directly, they skirted around the issue.
simultaneously, I had a Twitter spat with a well-known writer. I had circulated
a survey asking for responses to a series of words. He tried to undermine this
by picking at the admittedly loose methods. But what became clear was that he
didn’t want me to make science at all. He was frantically paranoid that I might
write an article claiming that Corbynism is a cult. He didn’t want me to write
objectively, he wanted me to write dogma. His dogma.
isn’t a cult. It can’t be, not with such a huge groundswell of voters. The
centre is a cell of sorts, a core, but then that can probably be said of any
government or shadow cabinet since parliament began.
characterises the discourses of the new left I encounter in conversations like
these, largely in and around Manchester, is that when historical examples are
reached for they are often rooted in the 1930s and 1940s. My own ‘side’ shares tropes
that seem valid to me – of the bad (fascism) and…