The New Orientalism: Why Posh Leftists Adore Muslims & the Muslim World
by Paul Austin Murphy (December 2013)
I feel that we in the West could be helped to rediscover those roots of our own understanding by an appreciation of the Islamic tradition's deep respect for the timeless traditions of the natural order." – Prince Charles
"Where else can you sit down in a single evening and listen to senior people from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood…?" – John Rees (ex-SWP, now Counterfire/ Stop the War Coalition (StWC), and a regular contributor to Iran's Press TV and the Islam Channel)
Leftist Posh Boys and the Brown Exotic
There is a long tradition of posh Trotskyists/progressives condescending what they take to be the brown exotic. (Prince Charles, who's not a Trot, also indulges in this pastime with all things Islamic and Arabic; just as Sir Richard Francis Burton, another upper-class gentleman, did in the 19th century.)
Since the Left often indulges in what it calls 'class analysis', it can hardly fault me for my class analysis of the thoroughly middle class – and often upper middle class – nature of the Left (or, at least, of the leaders and theorists) over the years.
Since its birth, and into the next few decades, the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers' Party (SWP) was, if anything, more upper middle class than middle class. It certainly wasn't a good example of the plain and much-hated, by Trotskyists, petite bourgeoisie.
In other words, many SWP leaders, both today and in the past, went to public schools and had upper middle class backgrounds. Indeed two current leaders, Alex Callinicos and Charlie Kimber, have upper-class backgrounds.
Let's start with Alexander Theodore Callinicos of the SWP Central Committee.
He's a descendant, through his mother, of the 19th-century Englishman, Lord Acton. His mother was the Hon. Aedgyth Bertha Milburg Mary Antonia Frances Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, the daughter of the 2nd Lord Acton and granddaughter of Lord Acton (the historian). Callinicos himself was educated (colonial style) at a St George's College, a private school in Zimbabwe. He then went on to Balliol College, Oxford.
Then there's 'Charlie' Kimber, a fairly recent arrival to the SWP's Central Committee. Who's he related to? He's related to Sir Henry Kimber, 1st Baronet.
Let's just take two of the more famous Trotskyists for good measure.
Firstly, there's the actress Vanessa Redgrave. She was once a prominent member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party and went so far as to defend its leader, Gerry Healy, when he raped for the revolution (in the manner or Martin Smith - SWP style). More recently, there's Gareth Peirce – the female 'superlawyer' who once freed Abu Qatada.
All these people are so far up the backsides of Muslims, Islamists and the Arabs that they even present 'anti-Zionist' historico-docs (on the Islam Channel and Iran's Press TV) on how uniquely evil Israel is when compared to the sweetness and light of the Sudanese Janjaweed, Boko Haram, the Pakistani Deobandi, and even the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Hamas.
Now take two non-SWP lovers of the brown exotic, Seumas Milne and the 'right wing' Peter Oborne.
Seumas Milne is a columnist and associate editor at The Guardian. He's the younger son of the former BBC Director General Alasdair Milne. He attended Winchester College (a public school) and read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Balliol College, Oxford. (He may have met the SWP's Alex Callinicos there.)
Milne is more Stalinist than Trotskyist. He's always writing in defence of Muslims. Then again, he has also written in defence of Stalinism, the IRA, Saddam Hussein, Mao, China and Pol Pot. Basically, he will defend any individual or group that doesn't remind him too much of his privileged background and the people who crossed him as a kid or when he was growing up at home or at public school. He'll defend anyone – or anything – anti-Establishment in order to cleanse the Establishment from within himself.
Peter Oborne of the Daily Telegraph is perhaps notable for being seen as a conservative defender of all things Islamic and Muslim. He was educated at Sherborne boys' public school and then Christ's College, Cambridge. He too is a perfect positive or inverse neo-colonialist in the tradition of the upper-class Trotskyists of the SWP who also simply adore the brown exotic.
Finally, let's take an Islamophile (or dhimmi) who's a former member of the SWP but only a lowly university professor. Her name is Professor Sue Blackwell. She's the supreme anti-Zionist of the UK. She works at Birmingham University. I've included her because she graphically displays the hypocrisy and condescension of Muslims by posh Trotskyists.
Let me explain all this. In one breath Trots/ SWP/ UAF patronise Muslims. In another they argue, or Marxism does, that Islam, being a religion, is a 'mere epiphenomenon of the socio-economic substructure' devoid of any intrinsic truth or even merit and, in fact, 'deeply illusory' in nature. (Marx's "religion is the opium of the people" and all that.)
Professor Sue Blackwell exemplifies this hypocritical or even schizophrenic approach to Islam/ Muslims. She tells us that she admires Muslims and Islam; but does she also tell these very same Muslims (some of whom are 'her friends') that she thinks Islam 'is a mere epiphenomenon of the socio-economic substructure which underpins it'? Of course she doesn't! Ms Blackwell, being the atheistic materialist that she is (or was?), even goes so far as to say she admires Islam and the Koran itself.
How do Sue Blackwell, the SWP-UAF, etc. sustain this deeply cynical, condescending and opportunistic attitude towards Muslims and Islam?
The Leftists' Positive or Inverted Racism
I use the term 'neo-colonialist' for two reasons.
One: most of those who have led leftist/ Trotskyist groups – the ones who formulated their policies and wrote their doctrines – have backgrounds not dissimilar to those of the colonialist rulers of the British Empire.
Two: these people, and their student-automaton followers, have resurrected colonialism and Orientalism.
Instead of talking about 'foreign Johnnies' or 'the white man's burden', they invert these sentiments and patronise and adore the brown exotics. It is exactly the kind of racist and colonialist mindset they are supposed to be against. However, it is inverted or irredeemably positive. In other words, they patronise Muslims rather than belittle them. (Interestingly enough, the prime contention of Edward Said's Occidentalist book, Orientalism, was not only that Western Orientalists and colonialists belittled and dismissed Arabs and Muslims, but also that they romanticised and idealized them.)
Both the original colonialists and our own leftist neo-colonialists treated and treat Muslims as children. Colonialists of the old school were said to have treated Muslims as (bad) children who often ought to be punished. In leftist neo-colonialism, Muslims are treated as children who must never be punished because they are never responsible for anything they do (even if they blow kuffar children up).
There is a lot of evidence that Muslims, especially hard-core Islamists, are aware of being patronised by the Left. However, because this is a tawdry affair of mutual use, that doesn't really matter to them.
The Trots are attempting "to tap into the revolutionary potential of Muslims" (the words of John Molyneux, formerly of the SWP); and Islamists are grateful for any help they can get in their goal of Islamising Britain.
So Leftists are doing a great job for Muslim extremists. But will Muslim extremists one day return the favour by becoming Marxist revolutionaries? Not a chance in hell!
The Marxist/ Trotskyist Theories Underneath It All
SWP/ UAF/ Trotskyists/ progressives will never uncover Muslim wrong or even speak about it. Instead they concentrate entirely on white 'Zionists', white Western leaders, capitalism and the white (non-Leftist) working class of the UK – that terrible bugbear of London dinner parties, the very same class formerly despised by those ultra-posh leftist advocates of eugenics for the working class, the Fabians.
No Muslim can ever do wrong in the middle class Trotskyist's eyes; just as brown and black people cannot, by Marxist stipulation, be racist.
The Left's racism is inverted or positive. (Yes, but need I say 'inverted'?) Brown and black people can never do wrong – only EDL 'chavs' and 'knuckle-draggers' can do wrong. (They say 'EDL' when they nearly always mean the white working class as a whole; save the leftist ones.) Trotskyists/progressives believe that Muslims – because they are an 'oppressed' minority – can never do wrong.
Yet Trotskyists or progressives can be as against religion as anyone. Well, they are as against Christianity as anyone, because Christianity is a 'white oppressor religion'.
At the heart of this is the hatred of many Leftists of their own country and the Sins of Their Fathers, as well as of their own class and their own civilisation. And that's one reason why most of them take such a soft position on Muslims and Islam. Muslims, in the present period of history, are seen by them to be the main enemy of Western civilisation; just as Nicaragua formerly occupied that position; and before that, North Vietnam; and before that, Cuba; and before that, China; and before that, the Soviet Union.
These people are still rebelling against a Western imperialism which only existed many, many years ago. And that imperialism was led by people who weren't that unlike their own grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Thus they must embrace the brown exotic.
Leftists are indirectly arguing that Muslims are incapable of acting morally; of acting with free will and conscience; and of being adult human beings. They argue that because they are brown and Muslim, they can do things which they would never allow a white person to do.
For God's sake, how pure do you want your racism to be?
Paul Austin Murphy is a writer who lives in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He has had articles published in American Thinker, Think-Israel, Liberty GB, amongst other places. He also runs the blogs, Jihad/Counter-Jihad & Politics: News & Comment and Counter-Jihad: Beyond the EDL, as well as Paul Austin Murphy’s Poetry and a more general blog, Stuff.
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