That's brilliant Frederic. I have not followed French politics for years
and I am glad to hear what you say!
Here, maybe I am missing it, but it seems there is no parallel.
Tell more about it, what you think are the strong points.

On Tue, May 3, 2022 at 3:19 PM Frédéric Neyrat <> wrote:

> dear Brian,
> "Archaic communism" is certainly a wrong way to speak about Mélanchon: I
> mean, it's certainly what Macron thinks, what all the persons who used to
> vote for the "Parti Socialiste" (sic) in order to set up a neolibreal
> society think, what many former leftists in Multitudes think (some
> renegades, to use Badiou's concept), but to call "archaic communist" an
> anti-nuclear Party promoting one of the most daring ecological programs
> that exists nowadays is weird, to say the least. That being said, there are
> many problems in La France Insoumise, but Mélanchon was able to evolve in
> so many good ways that, well, what do you want? And it seems that a leftist
> coalition is possible these days for the next elections. That's not bad I
> think. That's something al least.
> In solidarity,
> Frédéric
> __________________________________
> ________________
> On Tue, May 3, 2022 at 3:08 PM Brian Holmes <>
> wrote:
>> I think this debate is totally interesting, and I certainly would be
>> against screening articles for political correctness! The latter can only
>> be achieved by debate and real understanding.
>> What's characteristic about this moment is that established political
>> positions have collapsed, including that of the socialist Left whose
>> blindspot has always been communist authoritarianism, whether historical in
>> the case of the USSR or extant in the Chinese case. This could be an
>> important chance for everyone to learn something new, and crucially, to
>> come up with new policies. But it isn't happening, not yet anyway. Instead
>> we have a "fog of partisanship" in which center left, center right and far
>> left all rehash their worldviews, even as the old authoritarian demons
>> reassert themselves and the new challenges of climate change start getting
>> serious. The victor of the ideological struggle, for the moment, is the
>> emergent national-populist right, whose core program of deglobalization and
>> re-shoring is buried under culture wars and the thrill of polarization. We
>> may soon get the chance to see what that buried agenda gets turned into in
>> the USA, where the culture-war rhetoric appears primed to score major
>> electoral victories.
>> Under these conditions it becomes harder to categorize and label
>> individual positions. As in the case of Applebaum, valuable concepts and
>> assessments are mixed with confusion and self-justification. You have to
>> simultaneously identify the true parts AND remember the enormous mistakes
>> that these individuals have made, as well as the horrors perpetrated within
>> policy networks that they still support. It is so easy for an old Cold
>> Warrior to talk about the cities bombed during WWII, and still easier to
>> just forget Fallajuh in Iraq, where the Americans, acting in a rebooted
>> Cold War mode, committed one of the most murderous acts in human history.
>> To think there is no danger of another Fallujah is, imho, as naive as to
>> think that Russia should not be confronted today.
>> The article that Michael Benson sent on Applebaum continually makes the
>> point that she is unable to ascribe any fault to her own side for
>> generating the fascistic national-populism that so many of her old friends
>> now embrace. Perhaps the author is keenly aware that the center left is, if
>> anything, worse on that score. Global neoliberalism and the ardent belief
>> that borderless commerce would soothe the slumbering authoritarian beast
>> were the creations of the center-left in the Clinton-Blair-Schroeder years.
>> Not only did that fail spectacularly with Russia and China, it also failed
>> with the US, British, French and perhaps other working classes, leaving
>> them desperate on both the economic and cultural levels, and therefore open
>> to all kinds of opportunistic rhetoric.
>> I was certain that capitalist globalization would ruin national systems
>> of solidarity, spark a populist backlash and supercharge climate change, so
>> I opposed it. Now in the US, neither the center nor the far left can even
>> talk about political economy in any coherent way - the center because it
>> can't admit abysmal failure, and the socialist left, because it has
>> accepted its role in the culture war, which is to call the other side
>> racist pigs and consider that a platform. In France the situation is worse:
>> the center parties have disappeared in favor of a national-populism aligned
>> with Russia (Le Pen), a catch-up neoliberalism that arrived decades too
>> late to succeed (Macron) and what looks to me like another archaic
>> communism (Melenchon). What you don't see are assessments of the major
>> trends attendant on capitalist globalization: their origins, their effects,
>> and the ways to valuably intervene.
>> thoughtfully, Brian
>> On Tue, May 3, 2022 at 6:11 AM allan siegel <
>>> wrote:
>>> Dear Michael and Nettimers,
>>> I do not favour a pre-screening of articles or anything of the like.
>>> Rather I am concerned about pointing out and contextualizing certain
>>> political arguments. Although she may think otherwise Applebaum represents
>>> a strata of opinion makers that specialises in a specific political
>>> terrain; in her case the Soviet Union, Eastern and Central Europe, etc. She
>>> operates within binary paradigms of East vs. West, democracies vs.
>>> autocracies etc.. She sits in an intellectual grandstand formulating
>>> opinions not exactly based on rigorous research but rather stemming from a
>>> form of entitlement in which the publications and books she has written
>>> spotlight and self-validate her opinions. She is not alone in her role as
>>> an ideological agent whose mission is to buttress forms of political
>>> discourse that take place within specified boundaries. These forms of
>>> delimited discourse are the bedrock of mainstream media - within the U.S.
>>> especially. A mainstream wherein the voices of activist movements in the
>>> U.S. have been historically marginalised, silenced and sometimes killed. I
>>> am simply stating facts here.
>>> So, let me cut to the chase: the CIA, FBI, and all the various stripes
>>> of intelligence agencies have used journalists and writers as pollinators
>>> of skewed opinions and ostensible facts in order to maintain a
>>> superficially neutral status quo - all under the banner of a so-called
>>> democracy.
>>> Given the current extreme political tensions, and the proposals to
>>> hopefully avoid a full-out war and resolve the crisis, I was prompted to
>>> draw attention to Anne Applebaum's bona fides and the pool within which she
>>> swims. Especially given the clouds of misinformation floating across the
>>> horizon.
>>> Best
>>> Allan
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