Monday, April 11, 2011


Emancipating the Left and Feminists


Dr. Gautam Sen
Published with the kind permission of the author.

A quiet revolution has been sweeping the Western world. It is the
integration into mainstream society of the two radical movements that
emerged during the political upheaval of the 1960s. Many Leftist radicals
who once protested the Vietnam War and argued in favour of the dispossessed
have now lined up behind President George Bush Jr., cheering on the utter
destruction of Iraq. The women’s movement in the West has also come full
circle and re-discovered their real enemy of long-established colonial
folklore, non-white men. Their own are doing some sporadic labour in front
of the kitchen sink and occasionally delivering the children to school and
are now comrades-in-arms. They stand shoulder to shoulder together to
confront a much greater threat out there against Western civilisation

The former Leftist radicals of that era, nowadays anxiously thronging the
gates of the sedate British Academy and entering it too, turn out to have
never been what they sought to project. Much of the anti-Soviet Trotskyite
Left was a creature of Western intelligence services. The latter was not
worried about radical student protest as such, reasoning intelligently that
it was all part of teenage angst and growing up pains. But they were very
concerned about a whole swathe of highly educated middle class students,
with pro-Soviet sympathies, potentially ending up occupying sensitive
positions within the establishment at some later date. Quite understandably,
they feared that once compromised early in life through contact with Soviet
agencies they might become life-long Soviet moles, doing untold damage to
Western interests.

The response of the intelligence services was to promote Trotskyism. The
implied premise was that advanced Western democracies were better suited
to the Marxist musings of the cosmopolitan sophisticate Leon Trotsky and the
inferior Asiatic, Stalinist variety should be denounced and resisted.
Trotskyism was already a bitter enemy of Soviet communism and unlikely to
assist it against the Western democracies. The intelligence services also
quietly set about infiltrating the Leftist radical movement, dominated by
the Trotskyite Left, and recruited some of its key leaders. They also funded
it in various ways by, for example, buying bulk institutional subscriptions
to their publications, including some of the hallowed radical journals that
emerged in the period. Quite clearly, some of the leaders had become paid MI5
agents as well, the sophisticated counter-intelligence organisation of
Britain. Any local damage radical students did on the street level by
putting up posters in upmarket commercial areas, urinating against lampposts
and hurling the occasional missile against the police was considered
entirely tolerable.

The antecedents of some members of the current British Cabinet vindicate the
astuteness of the judgement of the intelligence community that the young
radicals would eventually tire of it all and rejoin the political
mainstream. Indeed some the young radicals had come from wealthy, upper
class backgrounds and were probably easy to corrupt because personal
contacts could be exploited. The activities of these erstwhile radicals
today confirm their murky origins because they have become public supporters
of on-going Anglo-American imperialist wars against third world societies.
Thy include some of the most famous radical names of the period from France,
Germany and Britain, including the most renowned radical Marxist
theoretician in the latter. He and a leading German philosopher now
apparently support carpet bombing Iraq, and Kosovo as well in the latter
case, to advance the class struggle no doubt!

A similar phenomenon has overtaken their US counterparts too, raising
intriguing questions about the nature of their original involvement in
student and 1960s radicalism. European Left radicals have also sought
legitimacy for contemporary imperialist wars by ensuring the co-operation of
their Leftist third world co-conspirators, often occupying positions of
influence within their own societies. This execrable group has always sought
intellectual and emotional sustenance from the Western Left and their
livelihoods depend on various forms of intelligence-derived sponsorships,
i.e. the funding of local NGOs and lucrative foreign assignments. A small
fragment of these third world Leftists has been accommodated within Western
academia, mostly conniving as fraudulent human rights activists.

The women’s movement, primarily an educated middle class affair, though it
did have wider socio-economic repercussions for women as a whole has also
made progress by leaps and bounds. The door to well-paid, high status
professional jobs has largely opened to them though a glass ceiling to the
very top for significant numbers remains somewhat unbroken. Nevertheless,
changes in the past forty years have transformed opportunities for this
dominant white feminist cohort. Well-paid jobs galore in the public,
quasi-public and private sectors have altered their matrix of choices. Once
combined with the incomes of their partners, life is unusually comfortable
for this new aristocracy, the beautiful people, apt to quote Proust in
English and Yeats in French. A whirl of parties, good food, excellent wine
and genteel discourses on third world poverty and the awfulness of
patriarchy in such societies preoccupy them. And all under a gratifying
public gaze.

The one final frontier, concerning how to get domestic chores done, has been
overcome by employing hourly-paid third world women, barely human enough to
be noticeable through crystal wine glasses in manicured hands. It wouldn’t
really do to irritate the well-paid liberated partner who loves to
demonstrate his political consciousness by changing the occasional nappy. He
himself is also eager for his partner’s success in her high income career
that allows a lifestyle that most, the world over, will not enjoy in several
centuries to come, if ever. And Rosie from Manila or Ruth from Accra do need
the money to send back home to feed their children.

One final piece of the jigsaw completes the wondrous world of self-seeking
deceit. A small, but influential group of non-white feminists in Europe and
the America have joined in with hysterical denunciation of their own ethnic
and religious progenitors. The paradox of their situation, like that of the
entire comprador intelligentsia abroad, irrespective of gender, is that they
are only paid to interpret their societies of origin. And their unspoken
brief is to demonise them and legitimate their subjugation and destruction
by Western imperialism.

Their own personal assimilation, indeed escape from the terrifying abyss of
their origins, occurs through relationships with white partners. It is
strikingly noticeable that Asian women in the Western media, academia and
the professions rarely have partners from within their own community. Access
to this privileged white world and their sense of personal self-worth are
anchored to this inter-racial imperative. Despite complex subterfuges and
deceptions about opposition to Western imperialism their emphatic hostility
to third world self-assertion, even when subliminal, legitimates deadly
assaults against it.

(Dr. Gautam Sen formerly taught political economy at the London School
of Economics).

No comments:

Post a Comment