Apologies for the blog being a little light these days; I’m in the final stretch of getting a 4-year degree and frantically trying to cover all my bases. So if you don’t see a new post for a week or so, know that I am not shirking my responsibilities and having fun somewhere, nor I have I run off to join a Latin American guerilla movement. I’m probably at the library wondering if I can bullshit 2000 words on Richard II by noon or struggling to give a damn about the Beaux Artes movement.
Sitting here this Monday morning with my coffee, clicking through the news and jamming out to a little Candy Apple Grey, the world seems an interesting place. The strikes in Greece, and growing unrest among workers in Europe generally, seems to have been the most important news of the last week. A lot hangs on what the Greek working class is able to accomplish. The kerfuffle between Israel and the US seems to me to be so much theater. Perhaps the Netanyahu folks went too far and did piss off the imperial person. It’s possible that Israel will have to pay a price for dissing Joe Biden, but it won’t be a price paid to Palestine. The right in Israel is certainly arrogant enough to bite the hand that feeds it, but so what? The White House is not going to turn pro-Palestinian, though they may turn ever more pro-Livni. Anyway, I imagine that Israel will push another confrontation with the occupied or its neighbors soon and we’ll all be back to talking about Israel’s security. Two other things caught my attention and seemed worth a mention:
The far left in the French regional elections did quite badly by French standards. Years of Sarkozy have given back some of the lost luster to the Socialists and one can already hear the “Anybody But Sarkozy” argument that would corral all of the left opposition into an alliance with the social-liberal SP (as a “party of government”) in 2012. The left was divided about how to relate to the SP and we imagine that will continue to be a topic of intense debate. Daniel Cohn Bendit’s “European Ecology” party had a breakthrough becoming the third largest party (the wine is stale, the bottle recycled), while Le Pen’s National Front came roaring back to life winning up to a 20% of votes in some places. The campaign was replete with xenophobia and anti-Muslim hysteria. The attacks on the NPA by a large swathe of French political thought for having a candidate, Ilham Moussaïd, who wears a head scarf were part of a larger mood that sees French civilization besieged by the barbarians at the gate. It would seem that the Fifth Republic has a serious racist cancer still metastasizing in its body. Appeals to secularism and the Enlightenment are a traditional cover for French imperial rapine, it should be no surprise that they are used against “the other” at home as well. That the NF scored over 11% nationally is just one manifestation of a French exceptionalism that infects a good deal of politics from the fascist fringe to the far left.
As it’s Saint Patrick’s Day week we’ve been graced by any number of politicos from Ireland coming over with bowls of shamrocks or bowler hats in hand, as the case may be, to supplicate themselves at the feet of the Emperor. They get a framed photo of their fawning to bring home to share with the kids and amaze the neighbors as a memory of their pilgrimage. As usual, Gerry came here with his “mind of his money and money on his mind”, though I doubt his hidebound homey Martin “came through with a gang of tanqueray and a fat ass j”. It used to be that a Sinn Fein rep would speak about Ireland’s fight for justice at a union hall or community center. Those days are long gone. These days you are way more likely to see a Shinner ringing the bell on Wall Street and talking about tax breaks. Gerry spoke at Boston’s male-only Clover Club, home to East Coast Irish-American elite, to engage in a little Tiocfaidh ar Latte and drum up some investment to grease the palms back home in the Old Country. Later, Adams joined the straights-only south Boston parade as a Guest of Honor. Where’s the “parity of esteem” for women and gays Gerry? Boo, hiss, boo.