Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
It’s your last chance to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch in 2017. Help us gear up to fight the status-quo in 2018! Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Two Johnstones and a Leftish Dilemma: Nationalism vs. Neoliberalism

by

Two pieces ran in CounterPunch recently attacking and ridiculing the popular political blogger Caitlin Johnstone, one of them by the Managing Editor, and other CounterPunch writers have been piling on with them in the several online debates about these attacks, debates in which I participated in some cases. Then on Thursday, a rebuttal was published in Counterpunch taking these attackers to task and defending Ms. Johnstone, and I found it very good. I had not seen the original attacks – I don’t read CP every single day, and when I do, three or four articles is usually about as far as I get, since about 8 or 9 hours on the internet per day is already too much and I’m trying to cut down.

I praised Ms. J on this page in my recent piece “Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome” for making me feel optimistic about our progress in discrediting the neoliberal corporate media. Optimism is always welcome at my house these days, being a scarce commodity in my political consciousness. And I felt that her series about Rachel Maddow was the best and most entertaining (I need that!) on the Russiagate psychosis I had seen. After CP published my piece, I was picked up on social media by quite a number of her many readers, and some of them are now following my own articles and my many political posts. Some of them were very upset about the pieces here attacking her, and wanted me to know it. I see no point in rating the political consciousness levels of our readers, who are very diverse, as I never fail to notice (to put it politely) from comments in the Facebook group “Counterpunch Friends and Supporters”. I assume we are glad to have them all, and want – in particular – to keep newer ones who might not be as “ideologically pure” as we old veterans of the 1960s (and even earlier…). But perhaps I assume too much.

One of the main points in one of those attack pieces involved Ms Johnstone’s advocacy of working on some issues with right-wingers who were identified as racists. I am torn on that issue myself. I hate racism and xenophobia with a purple passion, being an American refugee in Europe and feeling as I do that NATO wars are one of the main causes of the refugee crisis taking a huge toll on European Union solidarity. But I also despise neoliberalism and bankster-driven austerity economics, and the idea that neoliberalism and globalism are supposed to be our bulwark against fascism and racism. And it is that dilemma, and its relationship to the issue of making common cause with nationalists, which reminded me of the recent pieces on the French presidential election by Diana Johnstone (no relation as far as I know), who is held in quite high regard at Counterpunch, or at least that is my impression.

Diana Johnstone very rightly heaped scorn on Macron, and pointed out accurately that Marine Le Pen’s Front National and the Left party “La France insoumise” of Jean-Luc Mélenchon had a great deal of common political ground, far more than either party had with Macron, a classic neoliberal bankster. Diana Johnstone came very close to saying that LePen was a better choice for the Left than Macron, although it was not quite that explicit. But in any case, she downplayed the significance — in the big picture — of racism, which made me a bit uncomfortable, as much as I have always admired her highly astute political analysis. Nonetheless I had found my instincts being pulled in that direction for weeks, as I heard the incessant barrage of mainstream media attacks on Le Pen here in Germany, where Macron was portrayed as Europe’s only hope against racist fascism and “extremist populism”.

In the UK election, I was thrilled to see Corbyn’s good showing after watching him smeared for two years, often by the Blair faction of his own Labour Party because he is not a big EU fan, for the very same reasons that Diana Johnstone is not. I saw an awful lot of excitement about Corbyn’s achievement in CounterPunch too. I have read many, many pieces since the Brexit vote from writers on the Left tearing apart the idea that all of the “Leave” Brexit voters are racists. Ditto with Trump’s election.

This is one of the central dilemmas for the Left in our present time. I am very conflicted about it myself. I despise nationalism as much as I despise neoliberalism. But if anyone at CP has ever attacked Diana Johnstone for her position on the French election, or piled on those writers on the Left who believe that nationalism is where the anti-neoliberal action is at the moment, then I must have missed it. Which is entirely possible. Please send me the links. And thanks to CP for publishing rebuttals, even of its editors’ views.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
December 15, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
What’s Not Happening With Mr. Jones
Timothy M. Gill
The Height of Racial Resentment: White Cops
Andrew Levine
Democrats Have Much to Learn and the Odious Have Much to Teach Them
Luciana Bohne
Operation Jerusalem Capital: Second Balfour Declaration or Arab-Israeli NATO?
Anthony DiMaggio
#Me Too: Women are Speaking Out, Are We Listening?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out Walked Monk
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
The Demoralizing Impact of Trump, But Hope Has Arrived
Samantha Paez – Sandra de los Santos
The Most Dangerous Place for Mexican Women is in the Streets
Martin Billheimer
Assassins of the Image: the CIA as Cultural Gatekeeper
Jérôme Duval
From Slave Trade to Debt: Occupation Disguised as “Discovery”
Vijay Prashad
The October Revolution
John Wight
The Grenfell Fire UK Establishment Circus
Steve Martinot
Twisted Thinking: Police Militarization in Berkeley
Robert Fantina
Juvenile Delinquency in U.S. Government
Dave Lindorff
Stupidity and Blindness Have Destroyed Whatever Democracy the US Ever Had
Pete Dolack
You are Working Harder and Getting Paid Less
Joseph Natoli
The Axioms of the Other
Susan Babbitt
Why Don Quixote?
Ralph Nader
What Does Trump Mean by “Make America Great Again”?
Ramzy Baroud
Towards a New Palestinian Beginning
Binoy Kampmark
Escaping Reality: Roy Moore and the Rage of Decency
Mark Luskus
Corporate Interests Are Warping the Internet
Brian Terrell
A Story of Two Blockades: New York City and Yemen
Ron Jacobs
Sinking in the Swamp
Brian Cloughley
Prepare! Pursue!! Prevail!!!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: The Tanzania-Zambia Train to Nowhere
Jill Richardson
We Agree Assault is Bad, Now Let’s Agree on How to Punish It
Jeremy Corbyn
The Greatest Threats to Our Common Humanity
Walter Clemens – Stephen Advocate
The Amoral Code of America’s Dirty Old Men
Sheldon Richman
Trump & Co.’s Vile Anti-Immigrationism
Jessicah Pierre
Trump’s Cruel Policy on Haitian Refugees
George Wuerthner
Water Rights or Water Privileges?
Nick Pemberton
What I Learned in Ghana 
Missy Comley Beattie
It’s Capitalism
Tom H. Hastings
Stop Trump movement
Thomas Knapp
The Real Internet Censorship Threat
Robert Koehler
Peace on the Far Side of Nuclear Weapons
Kary Love
Christmas Letter to Jesus
Tom Clifford
China: From the Treasure Fleet to One Belt, One Road
Charles R. Larson
Trump’s Blueprint for State Capture
M. Shadee Malaklou
Jay-Z’s 4:44 Moves Black Radical Thought Through and Beyond the Classroom
Michael Dickinson
What About Our Debts, Pope Francis?
Phil Rockstroh
What Was Verifiably Great About America: Fragments of a Memoir Set to a Musical Soundtrack
David Yearsley
Froberger’s Musical Therapy
Edward Curtin
A Man Turns
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail