China Mieville is a youngish (born 1972) highly regarded speculative fiction writer in the UK. He burst onto the imaginative fiction scene with two highly regarded novels, King Rat (1998) and especially Perdido Street Station in 2000 (the latter now widely regarded as a modern masterpiece of the modern fantasy/neo-fantasy genre). He continues to churn out speculative fiction novels fairly prolifically (his latest is the novel Embassytown), and he has won a big following on both sides of the Atlantic, along with numerous awards. In fact one of his latest novels The City & The City won the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award, 2010 Hugo Award, and 2010 World Fantasy Award, as well as being a Nebula Award nominee.
Mieville is a major SF&F writer (in terms of commercial and critical success), in a genre cluttered with hacks he stands out. He also breaks the mold/stereotype of what an imaginative fiction writer should look like. Awkward geek he is not. He looks like a very fit tough guy, a hard man, the kind you would be wary to avoid in a dodgy part of South London at a late hour, if you didn’t know who he was. He has studied at Harvard (where he had a Frank Knox fellowship), has a big interest and background in music (drum & bass) and as if all that ain’t enough he is very active in British politics. More so than any other Brit SF writer I can think of. In fact he has been active as a politician per se.
Although British SF writers have a habit of being politically vocal, Mieville takes it all the way, and actually ran for the House of Commons on the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) ticket and is/was a ranking vocal member of this party, the SWP. Although a very marginal party in the UK, basically communist/socialist/radical Left – the SWP makes up for its modest support and marginal significance on the British political landscape by making a big noise and wading all too eagerly into controversies in both British homeland and foreign policy. Love ’em or loathe ’em, the SWP is not boring. Controversy and the like follows the SWP like high-price hookers the Tory MPs.
Mieville is one of a very few notable figures in the SWP who has a strong intellectual background. In fact he may well be one of the party’s most ‘intellectual’ figures. Mieville has authored a widely regarded Marxist tract entitled Between Equal Rights, setting out a thesis (influenced by Marxist legal scholars) on the unjust and implicitly violent power relations in capitalist societies, sanctioned and condoned by legalities and the legal framework itself.
“The attempt to replace war and inequality with law is not merely utopian but is precisely self-defeating. A world structured around international law cannot but be one of imperialist violence. The chaotic and bloody world around us is the rule of law” is how Mieville puts it.
Mieville has also authored a number of scholarly articles on Marxism and capitalism. All this has given him a significant reputation within the SWP. Mieville combined his two loves Marxism and science fiction in a book he co-edited Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (co-editor), 2009.
Mieville’s Marxism is not where my beef lies. It’s with the SWP/Respect of which he has been a proudly conspicuous and high-ranking member. He is not just a vocal supporter of the SWP, he is part of the party’s upper echelon, since he has run for parliament on their ticket and platform under the Respect umbrella.
Thing is, let me cut to the chase, the SWP (including especially in its incarnation as the Respect Party the last decade past) represents the very worst of the radical hardline UK Left’s numerous sins. And that is saying a lot. The SWP is a successor to the radical Left and communist groups of yesteryear that – with their enemy of my enemy is my friend thinking – cheered for Stalinism, even after the horror stories of the Gulags, forced exiles, mass executions and show-trials were stale news in the West, gave their uncritical support to Mao and barbaric socialist regimes from Africa to Asia (killing fields, what killing fields? as Chomsky himself retorted in so many words).
However in this day and age, what stands out about the Western radical Left (and the British far Left as much as any) is their explicit and intense Judenhass and all that is associated with it; overt sympathy and support for far right-wing Muslim extremist jihadist groups included. The surreal alliance of the secular radical Left anti-clerical communist and socialist Brits raised on a diet of Marx and Lenin with far-right wing Muslim Sharia and Jihad supporting extremists who wish these self-same communists, socialists and anarchists dead (they are infidels and they are secular) is so bizarro and surreal, that it would be comical if it wasn’t so chilling. Not only is the truth of the radical Western Left’s alliance with the Muslim Jihad (not only in the UK) stranger than fiction, it is a stranger monster than any of the denizens of Mieville’s ‘new wierd’ imaginings in his fictional New Crubizon.
Let us take a closer look at the SWP (and later Mieville’s own active role in this party), especially in its association and affiliation/incarnation as the Respect Party (Respect-The Unity Coalition) beginning in 2004 until its public rift and split with George Galloway in late 2007 over electioneering tactics and associated. http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1617
Mieville was highly active and vocal in the SWP in its incarnation/affiliation as Respect during the period 2004 -2007. It’s also important to stress the split with Galloway in late 2007/early 2008 and his supporters was over strategy, tactics and the like, not ideology.
Respect ostensibly operated on an anti-Iraq war platform across a broad allied front – disaffected communists and anarchists, including the SWC (Stop the War Coalition) and alienated British Muslims affiliated with the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). What’s wrong with opposing the Anglo/US war effort in Iraq, I hear you bleating? Nothing in principle. It’s how you go about it, what you say exactly and who you stand with that counts though.
Eren Benedek’s scholarly piece here on Respect, its evolution and its allies and what the party truly stands for, is highly informative and it makes for scary reading. Well especially if you are an authentic Jew (to use Sartre’s term), one can get a little hot under the collar. In fact if you simply have any moral bearings at all…
Respect’s and the SWP’s extreme, rabid and vicious hostility to Israel (and no other nation in the Middle-East, Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America), its soft spot for Muslim jihad networks is encapsulated by its most vocal and megalomaniacal figure – the odious, obscenely anti-Semitic Saddam Hussein, Hezbollah and Hamas supporter and fundraiser (and former MP) George Galloway. Galloway is Respect’s central figure and indeed co-founder, the hub in the Respect wheel. Respect’s anti-Semitism (see link above) is nothing new, it was already there in the truckload with the SWP.
“The SWP has long deemed Israel to be imperialist America’s Middle East garrison, a traditional Trotskyite position that is best encapsulated in the title of the SWP’s classic pamphlet, Israel: The Hijack State-America’s Watchdog in the Middle East. For decades, the SWP has incorporated the Arab Palestinian issue into its political agenda, revising the history of Israel’s establishment, ignoring historical Jewish links to the Land of Israel, advocating binationalism, glorifying “Palestinian resistance,” and branding Israel a “terrorist state.” According to the late Jacob Gewirtz, the SWP is allegedly the British far-Left group largely responsible for having imported the Soviet anti-Zionist allegation of Nazi-Zionist collaboration. More recently, the SWP went even further and invoked the deicide libel by printing a cartoon implying that the Israelis killed Jesus.
During the Israel-Hizballah war in the summer of 2006, Respect’s anti-Israeli views were given vivid expression. On its website and in party fliers, Respect published a number of maps referring to Israeli attacks against Hizballah as “Israeli terror.” These maps define all of Israel south of the Lebanese border as “Occupied Palestine,” reaffirming Respect’s belief that Israel is entirely illegitimate.
During an SWC rally on 17 July 2006, Respect official Lindsey German stated that: “whatever disagreements I have with Hamas and Hezbollah, I would rather be in their camp…they want democracy. Democracy in the Middle East is Hamas, is Hezbollah.” In the Socialist Worker, Galloway declared that: “I glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and I glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.”
The article informs us that Galloway met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in 2006…
‘who, according to a pro-Hamas news source, “hailed Galloway’s courageous stands in support of just questions and national liberation movements along with his opposition to American and Zionist imperialism and the aggressions against Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon.” Respect national-secretary John Rees also participated, along with two other members of Britain’s SWC, in the November 2006 Beirut International Conference, which was organized by Hizballah’s Center for Strategic Studies. Among the conference’s objectives was to support Hizballah against “Zionist aggression” and establish a worldwide anti-imperialist strategy to “improve the resistance capacity and strategy to face any new imperial attacks.” ‘
All numbered references are in the relevant article.
Galloway himself has personally handed over 25 000 pounds (UK) to the HAMAS leadership in Gaza. Galloway proudly relates “And, if I could, I would give them 10 times, 100 times more.” http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/29203/viva-palestina-did-not-give-money-hamas
Ain’t that sweet.
UK liberal journalist Nick Cohen is one of the leading courageous voices exposing the elephant in the room, the hardcore Jew-hatred of so many elements of the British Left, along with the latter’s apologetics/support for far right-wing Muslim jihadist groups. He shows up the chilling zeitgeist here, that so encapsulates the venom, hatred and slanders of the anti-Semitic British Left (that so defines the SWP as much as any other group). http://www.newstatesman.com/200510100023
The SWP isn’t just anti-Semitic, nothing unusual or rare in that unfortunately, the SWP is rabidly and pathologically anti-Semitic. Its anti-Semitism is extreme and frenzied. Hardcore. The SWP (pre and post Respect) has engaged in knee-jerk apologetics and worse, open sympathy for and alliance with Sharia law supporting Muslim jihadist groups (in the UK and abroad) who openly call for another holocaust of Jewry in the Middle-East. It is as obscene as it is frightening.
Yet this is hardly surprising, it is nothing but consistent. Respect was an open coalition of the SWP, the SWC and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). The MAB are strongly extremist, openly anti-Semitic, support Sharia law and glorify jihad (although they can pretend otherwise to a gullible Western audience).
As the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University informs us:
The leading members of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) are expatriate members of the Muslim Brotherhood who promote Islamist ideology within the Muslim community. They include Muhammad Sawalha, its former president and a former West Bank Hamas military commander, and Azam Tamimi, a former Muslim Brotherhood activist in Jordan. The MAB was founded in the UK by Kamal Tawfik el Helbawy. In 2004, the MAB invited Qatar-based Muslim preacher Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London where he addressed several conferences..
The MAB denies Israel’s right to exist and promotes antisemitism. In its October/November 2000 edition of The New Dawn, it reproduced the Benjamin Franklin forgery “The Jewish Threat on American Society,” written in 1934 by an American Nazi sympathizer. Towards the end of 2004, MAB members took over the Finsbury Park Mosque which previously had been the base for jihadi recruitment under its previous imam, Shaykh Abu Hamsa al-Masri.”
The MAB is Muslim extremist, its sympathy for jihadist groups around the world and its support for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and Sharia law among many of its members so brazen; that it has alienated and been sworn off by whole swaths of British Muslim society, where it at least appears to enjoy only modest support. Not that the MAB’s extremism was a problem for the British SWP though, which (through Respect) was in open alliance with the extremist MAB in the middle years of the last decade. Well they do have common enemies – their own government, the Tories, the Great Satan America and the Little Satan, the Jew nation which is blithely grouped with the former by the SWP and the MAB alike.
Here in response to a far right-wing BNP event, the far left-wing SWP has an ‘explanation’ of the Holocaust that leaves out the Jews and the associated genocide altogether http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2055
This would be funny if it wasn’t so chilling.
This is a scholarly, well-researched and thorough exposé by Ehud Rosen, a 56 page report entitled “Mapping the Organisational Sources in the Global Deligitimization Campaign against Israel in the UK”.
As Rosen relates, the SWP is conspicuous within the British Left, in its alliance with and politicization of disaffected British Muslims; anti-Semitism (as extreme, dishonest and rabid anti-Israelism) is employed as a selling point, a big hook. As Rosen’s report informs us, the SWP’s founder was an Israeli Jew Yigael Gluckstein (aka Tony Cliff) and had a strong Israeli Jewish presence and leadership (Mike Kidron and later Akiva Orr and Moshe Machover who came from Israel to revive the fledgling party!). Yes the gods love irony.
Yet it’s not as if these Israeli Jews were anything other than hostile or indifferent to their homeland and its struggles. The SWP party-line has been consistently and overtly anti-Israel for decades. There has been no u-turn by the SWP, only an intensification of its anti-Israel bias.
The SWP is a mirror version of the far right-wing British National Party (BNP). The fact is that their position on the Jew nation is, if not identical, very similar with common obscenely dishonest anti-Israel tropes and slurs employed; an irony as obvious as it is lost on both the far-left SWP and the far-right BNP. The difference is that the SWP has openly fetêd far right-wing Muslim extremists as political partners (in the Respect coalition most nakedly and unashamedly), whereas the BNP is openly hostile to the British Muslim community as a whole. It’s a crazy crazy world.
In Part 2 (coming soon) we look at Mieville’s conspicuous high-profile role in the SWP/Respect Party, his campaigning for them, the Tom Paulin affair and more.
Also the outrage from the genre community that greeted Mieville’s campaigning for this vicious and rabidly anti-Semitic political party the last decade back. No not really. I’m being sarcastic naturally.
PS My apologies for this post being so long in coming, especially to my biggest fan Tim Lieder.