Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 12, 2010

Platypus Review publishes racists

Filed under: Islam,racism,sectarianism — louisproyect @ 2:09 pm

The Platypus Review is published by a group of mostly academic super-sectarians bent on a mission to vilify the existing left that I discussed here. Whatever problems I have with the existing left, I doubt that it would make the kind of mistake identified by Angelus Novus in a post to the Marxism list today:

The latest issue of the Platypus Review has an article by the fanatical anti-Muslim racists of the “Initiative Sozialistisches Forum” of Freiburg.

This is an organization that publishes nasty little racist tracts making claims about the psychopathology of Muslim males allegedly breast fed until the age of 8 (For a refutation of this filth, see here (in German):

ISF also publishes book with covers that could be caricatures straight out of Der Stürmer:

The truly shameful thing is that ISF’s publishing house finances this racist filth by also publishing the work of council communists like Anton Pannekoek, Cajo Brendel,  and Johannes Agnoli, none of whom are alive anymore to defend themselves from this sort of association.

I imagine the Platypus Review people will justify this shameful association by trying to claim that they don’t actually share these views and are just trying to provide “food for thought”, but that just means they don’t have the courage of conviction to stand behind their own racist associations.  Anyway, here’s the article:

http://platypus1917.org/2010/10/08/communism-and-israel/

22 Comments

  1. that is precisely the reason why so many people (Muslims) in the Islamic world are so distrustful of Communism, Socialism, and secularism. Because of this ugly racism and xenophobia.

    Comment by Jihad Punk 77 — October 12, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  2. Anti-Muslim racism on the Left is a serious problem. It continually needs to be addressed these days.

    The fact that so many cite Ayaan Hirsi Ali as their source on all things related to Islam and women, for example, is quite disturbing.

    Comment by dh — October 12, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  3. The Platypus Review is published by a group of…super-sectarians

    I don’t think that’s fair. Labor Zionism is a pretty big tent ideology.

    Comment by Slaney Black — October 12, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  4. The real question is not whether the ISF is composed of racists or have published racist material (but I would question the conflation of Islamophobia with racism per se), but whether the article in question makes a racist argument, or whether it raises real issues of the (historical) Left.

    One contention Platypus has is that the Left has disintegrated between its “anti-imperialist” and “anti-fascist” dimensions. Capitulation to Islamism is the result of the “anti-imperialist” disintegration, and capitulation to Zionism is the result of the “anti-fascist” disintegration. But one cannot really understand the problems of the contemporary “Left” if one excludes consideration of half of the problem.

    Comment by Chris Cutrone — October 12, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  5. So my question to you, Louis, is if you’d blow as much hot air about Verso publishing the book Messages to the world: the statements of Osama Bin Laden, who views are obviously racists against Jews.

    Comment by Chris Mansour — October 12, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  6. Tariq Ali published Bin Laden obviously in the public interest so that his views could be seen by the reader who would not have to rely on characterizations of them in the bourgeois media. Ali’s hostility to political Islam is rather well-established.

    You people publishing this tripe is a horse of another color. Clearly it jibes with your Islamophobic Eustonite politics.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 12, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  7. i have neither Islamiphobic nor Eustonite politics, nor does Platypus. Looking at the variety of articles we publish, this should be obvious. I do not understand how publishing an article that you proclaim as “racist” is any different than what Verso was doing–on our end, we were offering a platform for articles that are comnpletely obscured by typical leftist media here in the states. Ijn my mind, the intention is not far off from Ali’s et al.

    Comment by Chris Mansour — October 12, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

  8. The real question is not whether the ISF is composed of racists or have published racist material (but I would question the conflation of Islamophobia with racism per se), but whether the article in question makes a racist argument, or whether it raises real issues of the (historical) Left.

    One contention Platypus has is that the Left has disintegrated between its “anti-imperialist” and “anti-fascist” dimensions. Capitulation to Islamism is the result of the “anti-imperialist” disintegration, and capitulation to Zionism is the result of the “anti-fascist” disintegration. But one cannot really understand the problems of the contemporary “Left” if one excludes consideration of half of the problem.

    Comment by C. C. — October 12, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

  9. i have neither Islamiphobic nor Eustonite politics, nor does Platypus.

    Well, clearly we disagree on that. I find this bit of business below indistinguishable from what you might hear from Paul Berman or Christopher Hitchens. I have also heard the same crap about Katyusha rockets from a guy I used to work with downtown who was in the Jewish Defense League when he was in his teens. He at least doesn’t try to gild his arguments with Marxist rhetoric about “working-class Israeli towns”.

    From http://platypus1917.org/2008/05/01/catastrophe-historical-memory-and-the-left-60-years-of-israel-palestine/:

    But Palestinian nationalism has also clearly reached a dead end in both its Fatah and Hamas variants. Neither the endless “peace process” nor Katyusha rockets shot by Islamic fundamentalists at working-class Israeli towns point towards an emancipatory politics.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 12, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  10. Labor Zionism is a pretty big tent ideology.

    It’s interesting how much more bitter Palestinians are at those who gave them lectures in the name of “socialism”, “universal values”, etc. than they are at those who openly advocated “transfer” and “warrior values”. There are many precedents of this, as recounted by someone who was unmentionable by fans of Labor Zionism for decades:

    According to Jabotinsky, a group of Arabs approached him in 1926: “You are the only one among the Zionists who has no intention of fooling us,” Egyptian intellectual Mahmoud Azmi is reported as having thanked him for not disguising the true nature of his aims.

    Comment by sk — October 12, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  11. Louis,

    Your post is so scurrilously ad hominem that instead of offering a summary or a judgment on the article, you post a cartoon, making it seem that Platypus would publish such a thing. All of your attacks against Platypus avoid the issues, and simply attack by association (Hitchens! Berman! ISF!) Please compare your hysterical mudslinging to the openness and seriousness of dialogue we have in the Platypus review, where an interview with Chomsky stands side by side with the ISF article. If this is ultra-sectarian, what are your attempts at anti-platypus character assassination?

    Please point to an actually racist article published in a review (and not just one that calls attention to the reactionary character of political Islam, that is not racism.) In fact, what IS racism is to conflate, as you do, Islam with race.

    Comment by M.A. Torres — October 12, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

  12. Anyone who sees that vile cartoon Louis has brought to our attention as other than a vile piece of racism is not a leftist.

    And several commenters have it exactly wrong: those who consider Islamophobia something that the left should embrace are committing an act every bit as much a betrayal as the voting for war credits by the socialist parties at the beginning of world war 1.

    Comment by ish — October 12, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  13. instead of offering a summary or a judgment on the article…

    It is really not worth my time to offer a judgment on the article other than to say it is a disgusting bucket of shit that is typical of the “anti-German” left. For people curious about this pro-Israel current in Germany, the wiki is a good place to start:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Germans_%28political_current%29

    Comment by louisproyect — October 12, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

  14. Well its EASIER for you to not offer such a judgment on the article. Its EASIER to call it a “bucket of shit.” You’re too lazy to engage, so you just sling mud and post cartoons and wikipedia articles. It’s this comfort with accepted wisdom and sectarian crustiness on the Left that Platypus tries to fight by having opposing and unexpected views in a serious publication. You are cordially invited to write a critique of the article in our pages, or even a critique of Platypus as a whole, as long as it is not lazy like the stuff you’re doing above.

    The submission guidelines are on our website.

    Comment by M.A. Torres — October 12, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

  15. Yes, that’s repugnant. Utterly. I have to say, though, that the tendency of many to label any criticism of Islam or cultural practices amongst muslims, as racist or Islamophobic does concern me. We have to be able to critique religious belief and practice – any religious belief and practice – and everything else. Stupid cultural relativism (and it is stupid) will be the death of us. But let me repeat: that cartoon is appalling. That’s not a critique: it’s a form of violence.

    Comment by sophia — October 12, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  16. Protestations about reading a simple article “not being worth” one’s time are a bit hard to take from a man who devotes an inordinate amount of his time to blog-stalking the President of his alma mater (thought: is Proyect the Andrew Shirvell of the Left?).

    I hope Proyect’s fans take note of his unserious attitude in this comments thread, his total refusal to actually engage with members of Platypus at the level of ideas and his continued recourse to lazy ad hominem attacks.

    Comment by Ryan H. — October 12, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

  17. If we are to assume good faith on the part of the Eustonites, we might say say they’re ill-informed and have a seriously distorted sense of proportion and priority.

    Dealing with “cultural practices amongst muslims”, as Sophia puts it, when our government is waging wars, overtly and not-covertly, in Muslim countries, has already shattered one Muslim country to pieces, and is doing little to prevent the scapegoating of US Muslims, who as a group have no political power and presence whatsoever… is a little silly. If not fucking stupid.

    Platypus doesn’t seem very relevant. Hip, theory-flinging grad student belle-lettrist types don’t make history. They make trendy magazines.

    Comment by dh — October 12, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  18. “It is really not worth my time to offer a judgment on the article other than to say it is a disgusting bucket of shit that is typical of the ‘anti-German’ left. For people curious about this pro-Israel current in Germany, the wiki is a good place to start…”

    Since Louis apparently does not have time to actually write intelligently about the things he posts to his own blog, perhaps we should attempt to take up the slack? I’d be glad to start us off.

    A better background of the ISF and the anti-Germans can be gleaned from an interview available in English at http://www.ca-ira.net/isf/beitraege/bruhn-who.are.the.anti-germans.html

    Rather than simply list their positions, this gives a better sense of the reasoning (and thus politics) of at least one segment of the anti-German “current,” and its history. Though the translation is a bit messy in a few places, I’d recommend it to all who would prefer to disagree with something rather than merely feel righteous in their anger toward it.

    As for my own disagreement, I think the problem at the heart of the anti-Germans is the reduction of communism simply to anti-fascism, which the ISF article republished in the Platypus Review takes to its extreme. However, this reduction (ultimately liquidation) was itself conditioned by, and a response to, the problematic kinds of “anti-imperialism” that a lot of the Left had reduced itself to in the early and mid-2000s. Even today, “We are Hamas” signs continue to pop up at protests and rallies–that is, at the very few protests that continue to occur now that Bush is no longer in office.

    — NLS

    Comment by Nate — October 12, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  19. Protestations about reading a simple article “not being worth” one’s time are a bit hard to take from a man who devotes an inordinate amount of his time to blog-stalking the President of his alma mater (thought: is Proyect the Andrew Shirvell of the Left?).

    This is really funny. Shirvell is the assistant attorney general of Michigan who writes Chris Armstrong Watch, a blog devoted to attacking the openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan. As if calling attention to Botstein firing Joel Kovel or building Soros-backed anti-Communist colleges in Eastern Europe has anything to do with this. Frankly, this kind of intellectual and political fruit salad is one of the main reasons I won’t waste my time debating the Platypus. Most normal people, like the subscribers to Doug Henwood’s mailing list, view Platypus and Chris Cutrone in particular as a bunch of schmucks. Who wants to waste time debating schmucks?

    Comment by louisproyect — October 12, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

  20. […] Proyect is upset over the publication of a translation of the Antideutsch article “Communism and Israel” in the Platypus Review.  This isn’t the first time Proyect has devoted a blog entry to discussing […]

    Pingback by Louis Proyect is again “Provoked by the Platypus”; Again Fails to Say Anything Meaningful in Response « The Charnel-House — October 15, 2010 @ 5:55 am

  21. Platpussies are schmucks because they are a wing of the Cruise Missile Left. Their intellectual origins flow from the logic of siding with the UK’s armada in the Falklands, then with the Pentagon against Iraq in order to preserve Kuwait’s sovreignty, then with the UN in the Balkans to stop mass rape, then with Bush in Afghanistan in the war on terror. Not everything the Pentagon does abroad is bad, you see. Zionist Israel is of course to be defended against its barbarian enemies. Like the DSA, all points of view are welcome except Leninist ones. Creationists should even be allowed on the podium at a biology symposium I suppose?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 16, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

  22. […] of its individual members — this did not prevent hysterical misrecognitions on the part of Louis Proyect, Gabriel from Jews sans frontieres, or Max Ajl with regard to the first and comparatively […]

    Pingback by Hysteria in Historical Materialism | The Charnel-House — March 30, 2013 @ 2:43 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: