The term "systemic alternative" is used by both ex-CPGB member and worshipper of Chinese superpowe Martin Jacques and Seumas Milne: its a term that means it does not matter whether people were repressed or reduced to privation as long as the hope of an alternative existed.
Not of, course, through something as mundane a democratic liberalisation within the "Eastern bloc" but through a solidarity of Communist nations which would check US capitalism and via Moscow funf politically correct anti-imperialist movements.
The Guardian has a number of journalists who support the idea that the USSR was a 'deformed state' that at least checked the rampant crimes and invasions of the USA, what John Pilger justly calls "rapacious power", from becoming "the New Rulers of the World".
The idea proposed by Neil Clark that Galloway is one of the few politicians left in Britain with grit and principles is pure wish thinking no less than the idea that "life was better under Communism", though it had more stability and transition was led by callous neoliberal ideologues
The resentment in "Eastern Europe" was similar to that of workers in Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s where centralised authoritarian power and neoliberal economics was used to destroy social solidarity, traditional working communities and create the illusion of a "service economy"Galloway in the 1980s opposed all that but since 1991 and the fall of the USSR which offered a "systemic alternative" as former CPGB activists still maintain, is and was an expert rhetorician and can expose flaws in opponents arguments in the way MPs ought to in challenging consensus.
Any politician who berates the smug clone parties and their utter uselessness at holding power to acccount is a good thing. But Galloway is not principled as he works directly for Press TV which is funded by the Iranian regime.
The problem with Galloway is his "tranferred nationalism" his way of seeing "good" and "bad" nations according to outdated Cold War realpolitik which ignores the reality of divisions within those nations and would rather support authoritarians so long as pro-Western reformers lose.
The bitterness comes from politics globally within every nation being skwewered between a layer of the super rich and "haves" and comared with increasingly militant hard done by middle classes who have lost their professional status and become white collar proles.
And that's only in the West. Elsewhere the creation of a thin later of the rich and Westernised plugged in to the global economy and IT contrasts with those who have nothing to lose but to hope violent change will bring some chance of forcing change.
That;s clear in the Middle East, Galloway's sucking up to Arab dictators is as odious as Hitchens has pointed out and the idiocy of Hitchens was to think that by supporting Iraq he was defeating the global "totalitarianism" posed by Galloway's Communist alliance with "Islamodascists"
Into the bargain, a victory in Iraq would "prove Galloway wrong. Unfortunately, Galloway was right, though he sheds crocodile tears over the Iraq War that he knew he could not prevent but exploited to push his media career ( key word "credibility" ).
The division of the left into the "decent left" or "pro-liberation left" itself s consumer branding of a new form of "leftist" identity politics from which Galloway is not immune. The very word "lefistism" is indicative of broader trends within the West.
"Leftism" acts as word denoting more an inclination towards tadical or trendier progressive causes or causes that can be branded as such-fighting "Islamophobia", fighting for "gay rights" and other boring and self-indulgent identity politics.
Galloway has cashed in on populist anger at the way New Labour isn't social democrat but a neoliberal party with a slither of "leftist" identity politics whilst the Tories offered no real opposition to the war in Iraq.
Parliament is dead as a debating chamber, where mediocraties trade platitudes and do not even scrutinise legislation with a principled view other than in scoring political points on the "opposition".
Moreover, the fall of the Soviet Union was a Good Thing for those who had had enough in "Eastern Europe" at the time and left wing double standards are present too: Latin America can have its liberation struggles but not Eastern Europe.
For those sunburnt journos like Pilger associating with the dissidents, quoting the oddline of Kundera and praising Charter 77 receives minimal treatment in his works: the nations of Eastern Europe were white, anti-communist and boringly ethnically homogenic.This even in 2006 Pilger fails to ask questions about the morality if realpolitik when Lukashenko and Chavez all and praise each other: for Lukashenko is authoritarian populist and rules a "social state". But Belarus also is the last European state to have the death penalty.
Pilger suggests that Galloway, on record for claiming the demise of 'the Soviet Union was the saddest day of his life' is one of the few principled politicians standing up for the workers, but he is hardly special in opposing Iraq and his pro-Soviet politics contains Orwellian doublethink.
Firstly, Galloway is a stated admirer of Colonel Nasser who was supported during the Cold War by the USSR.
Yet he always whips up Islamist mobs by chanting 'Allahu Akbar' and supporting the Palestinian offshoot of the Eygptian Muslim Brotherhood which was repressed by none other than Colonel Nasser.
Secondly, whilst the USA and UK did give aid to the mujahadeen, it was invaded by the USSR that Galloway continued to support right up until its dissolution in 1991. So for Galloway, Islamists are only termed 'resistance' when the enemy is the West.
Thirdly, the usual line is that the USSR only invaded because the USA destabilised Afghanistan prior to the invasion in 1979. Whilst it's true that Brzezinski did funnel aid to the mujahadeen before, it only tipped the balance further towards intervention. It was not the sole cause.
The USSR invaded for a number of geopolitical reasons and only one of these was the fear of growing US influence and the rise if Islamist politics some 70 years after Trotsky proclaimed "the putresecent tissie of Islam will vanish at the first puff".
The mujahadeen revolt was already in full swing and Afghanistan collapsing because of the PDPA's draconian attempt to frogmarch a traditional Sufi Islamic nation to Communism by terror and murdering village clerics
Afghanistan was destabilised by the PDPA but by the rise of the revolutionary Islamism of the similar kind that Galloway supports when it fits in with his half-baked ideological preconceptions and platform demagoguery. Far more Muslims were killed in Afghanistan by the USSR.
The ultimate absurdity of Galloway's political stance is made plain when the nature of his Respect Party is considered.
While it has been supported by otherwise unheard of Communist sectaries, it is also supported by the Muslim Association of Britain, a British based offshoot modelled on the Muslim Brotherhood.
The intellectual leader of the Eygptian Muslim Brotherhood was Sayyid Qutb, whose Milestones has been a key text influencing not only Hamas but also Al Qaida. It also convinced Galloway's anti-imperialist hero Colonel Nasser to have Qutb executed in 1966.Something those cretins chanting 'Allahu Akbar' before Galloway in his London speeches might be better of reflecting on in what passes for their minds. But Galloway and his supporters are not the only ones who need a lesson in Cold War politics'
Pilger's doublethink is curious too in using Orwell to put forward a politics that Orwell would have seen as ultimate doublethink in praising Chavez only because he's anti-US and though praising Chevez's undoubted social, educational and healthcare reforms ignores difficulties.In 2006 in response to a question about Belarus's domestic policies, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela said "We see here a model social state like the one we are beginning to create."
Bilateral relations have improved between the two nations since then as part on the non-alingned bloc Belarus, Iran, Chinas etc but Pilger never writes anything about it or human rights because he has sunk in his support unconditionally with Chavez.
An article of 2009 makes the scale of the co-operation clear from realpolitik terms it makes sense to defend these nations from US depradations but do human rights either have to used cynically as a tool of US regime change or for that reasonn repressed as "destabilising"
As Gomel Region news in Belarus revealed at length in September 2009,
Belarus will fulfill all the agreements reached with Venezuela, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez 8 September. “Belarus will stay committed to the agreements reached before this visit and those that can be made during the visit,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian leader thanked Hugo Chavez for the support and assistance Venezuela offered Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko praised the first successes of the joint refinery set up in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan head of state added that “he is always glad to visit Belarus”. “Every time I go on a tour I will not leave an opportunity to stay in Belarus for a day or two,” the President of Venezuela said. Venezuela tends to further strengthen the relations with Belarus, Hugo Chavez stressed.
According to him, Venezuela just starts learning things about Belarus. “There are signs of new dynamism in Belarus-Venezuela relations. We have not known anything about Belarus before”.
Speaking about the visit to the Minsk Automobile Plant, Hugo Chavez stressed that Belarus was able to retain a low unemployment rate despite the global crisis.
The problem with Pilger is that he then conflates several instances of shoddy British realpolitik and craven hypocrisy over human rights over the arms trade, Saudi Arabia and Iraq
Pilger's romanticism retains a somewhat Trotskyist ideological position that makes the USA and UK one 'root cause' of all the world problems in which the world in starkly divided into Rapacious Empire and Monolithic Nationalist Resistance,
As we hear the moralising drone of ex-British military "security experts" telling us what to think about current events in Mumbai, we might recall Britain's historic role as midwife to violent extremism in modern Islam, from the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the 1950s through the overthrow of Iran's liberal democratic government to MI6's arming of the Afghan mujahideen, the Taliban in waiting.
The aim was and remains the denial of nationalism to peoples struggling to be free, especially in the Middle East, where oil, says a secret Foreign Office document from 1947, is "a vital prize for any power interested in world influence and domination".
Now that's odd because Pilger in the past has actually given his limited blessing to Hamas and Hizbollah.
The first movement has its roots in the ideology of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood which is also the model for the MAB, one of the main partners of the SWP in the RESPECT that Pilger supports. And it doesn't give a fig about human rights when sponsoring suicide bombers.
The second Hizbollah cannot be said to have been set up by the British in any sense. Islamist revolutionary movements have their own agenda and history in the opposition to what is considered the failure of the secular Arab nationalist revolutionary movements.
Islamist ideology was present in Afghanistan in the 1960s before the UK supported the mujahadeen.
The failure of Colonel Nasser, Pan Arabism and Arafat et al cannot simply be blamed on Britain.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, there have been continuous territorial and national problems which owe as much to Britain's post-WW1 role as to the lack of any concept of territorial jurisdiction based on a secular rule of law .
Following 1918, it was difficult to create states with much territorial legitimacy because the legacy of the Empire. Not the British but the Ottoman. Many flashpoints are still a consequence of that, even in the Balkans. Yet Pilger ignores that because it doesn't fit in with the ideology.
In the same way the atrocious human rights record of Iran which has the highest rate of executions next to China does not stop Pilger's hero Hugo Chavez from aligning with it.
States often operate according to self interests whilst prating about universal values. That's as true of Britain as Venezuela. But Pilger never mentions that despite giving vocal support to Chavez.
Hugo Chavez is also aligning himself very closely with Russia which is not known bu Western socialist standards for having a particularly good record on human rights in Chechnya.
Venezuela and Russia have been conducting joint naval manoeuvres and have arms deals agreements as well.
Yet Pilger does not condemn that. Nor does he condemn the bilateral deals with Belarus which also have an important role in propping up the international arms industry. If Britain is to be condemned, then it must be because the trade is inherently bad to Pilger.
Pilger does not make that argument with regards Venezuela. So it must be that it is the choice of nations that Britain chooses that is wrong.
Yet if Chavez is doing deals with Russia and also voting in the UN General Assembly not to to oppose the Burmese military junta, then Pilger is demonstrating the hypocrisy he has made a living from exposing and is thus doubly hypocritical.
The reason for this is that Pilger's interpretation of morality is the defence of the myth of the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Most of the oeuvre of the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist left is based on trying to prove that the failure of revolutions is wholly due to imperialist machinations that derailed them into "Stalinist" excesses.
Never that the original sin was planted within the revolution itself as experience has repeatedly demonstrated. If it can be proved that Britain had a Gulag in Kenya, then Stalinism is nothing out of the ordinary and can't be used as a reason why revolution cannot be tried again and again.
Mike Davis is another Trotskyist who wants to use history as propaganda in Late Victorian Holocausts.
The Stalin terror famine Davies contends was part of a deliberate attempt to kill people in Ukraine and to exterminate the kulaks. Yet in British India the effects of a natural famine were compounded by incompetence.
The people killed in the Indian famines were victims of manslaughter and callous laissez faire policies whereas those victims in Ukraine were murdered intentionally in full consciousness of what was happening.
The failure to distinguish is a rationalisation of an ideology of revolutionary change. Double standards are hated to the point that the only standard is destroying the old world: in other words sheer nihilism, the point made by Koestler in Darkness ar Noon ( 1940)
The one that goes from one extreme-that a crime is not a crime if 'we' commit it to the equally hypocritical one that crimes are only real crimes if we commit them whilst Stalinism is a historical 'detour' or 'deviation'
Hence no metion during the Vietnam War was made by Pilger of Tariq Ali od the NLF's Stalinist command structures : condemnist the USA's war crimes was right and necessary but to glide over those committed on behalf of the Vietnamese was disingenous.
At one level, of course, Galloway gets people talking, that's his job. He works for Talk Radio and essentially he's become a a left wing version of the US shock Jocks and his rudeness to callers is often unnecessary. But it just provokes.
In posing as a Scottish Catholic and yet a non-sectarian ( hence the Communism ) Galloway cultivated a pose that enabled him to side with Irish Republicanism when people cared about it, but he never cared about Poland's subjugation under the USSR.
Galloway is not that principled: this is disappointing but true. He's a demagogue who trades on the nostalgia for the political passion that socialists once had and the rhetoric of which he can still put on in thatrical performances using Marxoid terms like "lackey" and "lickspittle".
The failure of socialism and social democracy in the West has thus been transfered it on to sectarian "resistance" movements to US geostrategical allies like Israel whose creation and support until the 1950s came from the USSR and not the USA.
But beyond a vague wish list, his RESPECT party is a vehicle for him and his ego as well as ramping up the outrage of Muslims and trying to forge some new proto-proletarian spearhead of global resistance to US Imperialism.
Irish Republicanism once had that cachet but its become a bore now and few give a fig for it as those like Gerry Adams become forlorn and forgotten figures who cannot command media attention compared with "the Islamist threat".
Though RESPECT claims to encourage Muslim and non-Muslim membership, the propaganda is about drawing on atavistic passions between East and West that gives the liberal interventionists firepower in claiming they have a universalist position whilst Galloway is sectarian.
After all, what good in served in working for Iran's Press TV, obfuscating about the Tehran regimes condemnation of homosexuals to death and repression simply because Iran is anti-American. This is a politics of psychopathology.
After all, it is possible to bear in mind it is possible to oppose US plans for invasion and the regime in Tehran whilst drawing attention to the human rights abuses it supports and does not condem, as Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez do not.
Naturally, if Britain allies with repressive regimes like Burma for realpolitik reasons, John Pilger leapt upon it but, curiously, he never presses Chavez on the morality of supporting regimes based on murder and killing like Chavez's ally Zimbabwe or his support for, um, Burma.
That mindset derives from Ostalgia for Soviet Communism, the idea that to criticise the Soviet power bloc gives succour to the USA and Imperialism and despire "divertions" and "imperfections" the eventual global triumph of Communism
For the ultimate triumph of "the noble cause" will mean that the dirty realpolitik necessary now will be brought to an end, a fallacy which led so many fellow travellers to screen out perception of Stalin's crimes in the 1930s.
As a former Communist, Galloway's Clydeside style Communism and anti-British imperialism stems from sticking up for the underdog against the "braying classes" in Westminister from the Celtic fringe and now the alienated Muslims from the former dominions of the British Empire.
Hatred for British and now US Imperialism gets transferred into uncritical support for any power unit that can stop the USA, whether its some mythical "the resistance" in Iraq which both Tari Ali and Pilger warble on about like its Vitnam all over again
Moreover Seumas Milne speaks of "the Iraqi resistance" but it does not exist in the same way Third World anti-colonial movements backed by Moscow's finances and arms once did. It's sectarian, divided, ethinically and tribally.
It's yet more boring identity politics and part of what JG Ballard called "the entertainment economy" at one level but parlt the craving for the release from the boredom of neoliberalism and consumerism whilst Pilger's books sell like hotcakes and he's still regularly on ITV