What Defines the Left? (Mind of a Skeptical Leftist ep #28 plus Red Reviews #3)
Updated: Jul 21, 2022
This is an interesting episode, in the first half I talk to my friend Jay aka Fallingrateofprophet about what he thinks qualifies various ideologies as being on the left or not and I think he makes a good case for how defending the kinds of authoritarian states that exist now or have existed in the past isn’t actually a leftist ideology but rather places one on the economic right by virtue of not moving towards a worker owned and run society. I’m sure there are many who can and do argue the opposite well but he makes his case and largely I agree. I think I also contradicted myself in this one because during the interview we talk about China and the Uigurs and I have since learned a few things which changed my mind to a certain degree. The change of mind shows up in the book review segment with Justin Clark where he is reviewing Michael Parenti’s book Inventing Reality.
Beyond that I don’t have a lot to discuss in the intro here. I think we’re seeing a lot of false framing in the media relating to Palestine and Israel as though both sides are equal in power and willingness to slaughter innocent people but anyone applying critical thinking to the situation can certainly realize that this isn’t the case and that it isn’t antisemitic to criticize a state when it’s imposing apartheid conditions onto a segment of the population.
The term apartheid is actually from the situation in South Africa and just means that a state is upholding a type of segregation of one segment of the population. In South Africa it was in regards to non-whites and specifically Black Africans and was meant to keep power, land, and resources out of the hands of anyone who wasn’t white. Similarly in the case of Israel and Palestine you have a state with a lot of armaments using the threat of violence as well as other methods of withholding resources in order to gain land and maintain power in the hands of the Jewish population.
If that sounds like antisemitism to you then you’re equating the practices of the state with the existence and actions of the citizens and that’s not entirely accurate or fair. If you were making the claim about Jewish power controlling things in America or Canada or any other state than Israel then you would be spreading an antisemitic conspiracy but when we’re talking about a literal ethnostate trying to assert it’s power over a population within shared borders then you’re talking about settler colonialism and the way that is maintained is through apartheid and war crimes.
A lot of conservatives for some reason have attached themselves to Israel and the power that it holds so they like to draw a false equivalence. They also like to equate the actions of Hamas with the actions of individual Palestinians. It’s a little funny that a group which claims to be all about individual responsibility and is anti collectivist ends up equating citizens with the state so often. They do it in terms of American patriotism and Canadian exceptionalism all the time too.
Anyway, my point is that a free Palestine would be one that doesn’t have colonizers taking land,housing, and resources from the indigenous population. You may notice that I used the word Indigenous and if you’re from Canada that might remind you of the Indigenous tribes in Canada that have had land taken by colonizers and then were shuffled off onto small barren sections of land with all their resources stolen and expected to survive under a foriegn and intolerant society and I think we might need a wake up call regarding our own treatment of Indigenous Peoples because we’ve largely been truly awful and essentially genocidal towards them and a lot of folks still dismiss that within the context of Canada.
I just see a lot of parallels between settler colonial states and this kind of apartheid segregation and theft of land and resources needed for survival. It’s really shitty of us and we need to side with the people who are being slaughtered and not with the states that are doing the slaughtering.
That’s all I have for now and I hope you enjoy this interview but remember that this is only part of the chat and if you want the entire thing then all you have to do is become a patron at patreon.com/skepticalleftist or you can just email me with the subject line Full Interview with Fallingrateofprophet and stay tuned in after the first half for another great book review in our Red Reviews segment
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