Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2010

The Tokenization of Jewish Activists and Subsequent Marginalization of Palestinian Activists

There was a time, approximately seven or eight years ago, when Palestine solidarity movements required the massive participation of Jewish anti-Zionist activists in order to combat the spurious charge of "anti-semitism." Since supporting Palestinian self-determination was always bad-jacketed by right-wing and Zionist groups as "anti-semitic" it seemed logical, and perhaps even necessary, to always emphasize the large number of Jewish leftwing activists who rejected Zionism and supported the Palestinian struggle. The problem with this strategy, however necessary it might have been, was that it led to the silencing of Palestinian voices and the marginalization of Palestinian activists. Thus, at every rally, Jewish activists would speak for the plight of their Palestinian counterparts who, watching from the sidelines, cheered them on. If we remove the labels "Jew" and "Palestinian" and, instead, look at the context through an abstract anticolonia

More Adventures Amongst the Idiot Left

I do not understand people who join protests and yet have no understanding of what "solidarity" means - even though they sometimes chant it really loud and sing it in songs. So the award for "Best Show of Pseudo-Solidarity" goes to fifty per cent of the bikers in the G20 Bike Rally yesterday who demonstrated this quality very well. Here's a clip of them. Look at how they cheer and ride! At the Jail Solidarity rally that started at 10 AM, was broken up by cops at around noon, and then reassembled sometime before 1 PM, a bunch of us were waiting to show solidarity for those friends/comrades/fellow travellers who were being kept in the makeshift prison of Toronto Film Studios. Sometime after they started letting people out [I'm guessing this was around 3:30 or 4:00], the Bike Rally arrived. At first, those of us whose numbers were small and who had been there for hours were excited. Hey look: hundreds of bikers coming down the street chanting "solidar

Adventures Amongst the Idiot Left

There should be an award for "Most Stupid Marxist Sect" and this year it should be given to "Fight Back." Of course, it is always difficult to know which Trotskyis t group deserves the Most Stupid award but I do think that, this year, Fight Back gets the trophy. [On another note, there should also be an award for "Most Egotistical and Self-Congratulatory Anarchist Group" but that, perhaps, deserves its own post.] The reason I would like to nominate Fight Back for this award is because of an article called "Against the Blanket Boycott of Israel: A Working Class Solution." Here, demonstrating that they are behind the left by at least a century - and that, despite calling themselves "Leninists" have probably never read Lenin's work on the National Question or the debates surrounding this issue (and that actually dealt with the Question of Palestine) in the 3rd International - they condemn the BDS movement against Israel because it

Red Detachment of Women

I just finished reading a very interesting article on the China Study Group site about the film art produced during the Cultural Revolution. For a long time I have been obsessed with investigating the critical history, rather than the North American pseudo-history (usually orientalist and reactionary), of the GPCR. Normally I have focused on the broader details contained in the works of authors like William Hinton, Mobo Gao, Han Suyin, and Dongping Han. These studies, however, have rarely touched on cultural production. Thus, while they have argued against dominant western narratives that erroneously claim the Cultural Revolution was some massive and murderous tragedy, they have rarely argued against that other anti-GPCR argument: all the art produced in the Cultural Revolution was didactic garbage. The article on the China Study Group site, however, argues for a proper understanding of film art during this seventeen year period and has listed films I definitely want to see. My o

We Need Some Real Internationalism

In less than a week the G20 will come to Toronto. Perhaps I've turned into a grumpy and jaded activist hermit over the past few years, but it is difficult for me to feel any excitement for the possibility of confronting this massive manifestation of imperialism. To be fair, due to my past couple years of hermitage, I have not participated in any of the organizational meetings/activities leading up to this weekend's events. And though I will be marching with my former local, and fellow comrades, I am somewhat out of the loop. I remember the anti-globalization excitement back in the late nineties. I remember going to Quebec City to confront, along with thousands of other outraged activists, the FTAA summit. I recall the adrenaline of police confrontation in these anti-globalization movements - the belief that, since you were actually confronting a physical manifestation of the state, there was a possibility of victory. Except there was no victory and the movement - disorgani

Holy Islamophobia Batman!

So apparently the father and son duo behind Aqsa Parvez's murder pleaded guilty today . Obviously these misogynist crimes are despicable. Unfortunately, this murder has also proved that, once again, the Canadian public can ignore systemic misogyny and focus instead on racist scapegoating. Even before today's sentence noxious websites and blogs (like JihadWatch and Islamization Watch ) are awash with the typical reactionary blather. The first comment on the JihadWatch "analysis" even claims "What excuse does a Pakistani have to call himself a 'refugee'?"... and the following racist comments grow more and more abhorent. It is clearly disgusting that the male members of a family would think that it's permissible to murder a female member of the same family for transgressing patriarchal rules. The point, however, is this is not a phenomenon limited to Islam, or to the so-called "backwards people" in other parts [read: "non-whit

The Weight of Story: Review of Elias Khoury's Bab Al-Shams

If there is one quote that could adequately describe Elias Khoury's novel Bab Al-Shams [Gate of the Sun] it would be Marx's famous statement in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte : "The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living." For Khoury's magnum opus about the colonization of Palestine and the resulting trauma of exile is primarily concerned with the crushing weight of history and innumerable dead generations. Or, as Khoury writes: "but tell me, why does history only ever come in the shape of a ravening beast? Why do we only ever see it reflected in mirrors of blood?" Although Yousry Nasrallah's four hour film adaptation of Bab Al-Shams succeeded in capturing the expansive power of the novel, because of Khoury's concern with the haunting shadow the past casts over the present the novel itself defies complete adaptation. This is not to say that Nasrallah's epic was not a brilliant fil