[lbo-talk] Christopher Hitchens

Rob Hoveman robhoveman at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Dec 16 13:56:06 PST 2011

Oona King was never a member of the SWP. She claimed a year or two ago to have worked with the SWP as a student but even that seems to have been untrue. Ms King was never known for her ability to tell fact from fancy and. This is no different. See http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=6314.

George Galloway, on the other hand, is the finest socialist orator speaking on public platforms today in the UK. Some in the tradition of socialist oratory may have been deranged. That is certainly not the case with Galloway, even though it's been frequently claimed by opponents like Christopher Hitchens when they haven't been claiming he is the incarnation of evil.

Galloway has been consistently vilified by the same people and the same establishment now praising Hitchens. For example, the war criminal Tony Blair has been on British TV this evening singing Hitchens' praises. Galloway, on the other hand, was expelled from the party of which he had been a member for 35 years for opposing a war based upon a lie and which has resulted in the deaths of at least 150,000 people, on conservative estimates, with the killing still going on.

Despite the vilification and the attempts to crush him politically, Galloway has carried on fighting for the principles in which he believes and opposing imperialism even when that is the position only of a tiny minority of people. I, for one, think that it is immensely valuable to have someone who is so effective at putting over the principled socialist case to so many. What a pity Hitchens didn't use his talents to try to do the same.

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On 16 Dec 2011, at 20:29, "James Heartfield" <Heartfield at blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> Ravi: ‘I do not know Galloway’s background, but he gives off the vibes of a backroom brawler, the kind of guy who might just reach across and slap that sneer off your face’
> Galloway has his own flaws, no doubt, but I thought he demonstrated the best of the left-Socialist tradition in his agitation against the war. A friend of mine stood as a revolutionary communist candidate against Galloway when he was the Labour Party candidate in Fife or some such place. He was a pretty effective operator, and left no room on the left for her to get any votes.
> Later – a bit too late in my view – Galloway broke from the Labour Party to set up a left-wing alternative. I suppose the underlying weakness was that he was pitching ‘Old Labour’ (Keynesian counter-crisis spending, welfare state reformism) against New Labour, which gave the whole thing a kind of Old Time Religion, nostalgia for the days of Keir Hardy feel. Still, where he was very effective was in building up a coalition that was anti-war, and gave a political voice to Britain’s excluded Muslim minority. His high point was defeating the Labour Party candidate Oonagh King (sp?) in the Bethnal Green and Bow by-election.
> Later the coalition split when Galloway clashed with its largest component – the SWP (of which both Hitchens and King were graduates, by curious coincidence).
> Galloway’s own political views are a mix of left-wing Labour, with a hint of Stalinism (hence the insult ‘drink-soaked Trotskyist popinjay’). But mostly he comes from that slightly deranged parliamentary socialist orator tradition. Like Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt or Hamer Shawcross in Fame is the Spur.
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