Democratiya

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Democratiya was an online journal edited by Alan Johnson.[1] Sixteen issues were published before Democratiya was incorporated into Dissent in Autumn 2009.[2]

Johnson has identified Democratiya as part of a 'Eustonian' current that also includes the Euston Manifesto and groups such as Labour Friends of Iraq and Engage.[3]

All of these groups share a hostility to the antiwar movement which is reflected in Democratiya's 'About Us' statement:

Democratiya believes that in a radically changed world parts of the left have backed themselves into an incoherent and negativist 'anti-imperialist' corner, losing touch with long-held democratic, egalitarian and humane values. In some quarters, the complexity of the post-cold-war world, and of US foreign policy as it has developed since 9/11, has been reduced to another 'Great Contest': 'The Resistance' (or 'Multitude') against 'Imperialism' (or 'Empire'). This world-view has ushered back in some of the worst habits of mind that dominated parts of the left in the Stalinist period: manicheanism, reductionism, apologia, denial, cynicism. Grossly simplifying tendencies of thought, not least the disastrous belief that 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' are once again leading to the abandonment of democrats, workers, women and gays who get on the wrong side of 'anti-imperialists' (who are considered 'progressive' simply because they anti-American).[4]

A number of Democratiya writers have been associated with the Social Democrats USA and the National Endowment for Democracy. For example, the Spring 2008 issue reprinted a 1985 article by the late Tom Kahn.[5]

Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews

A Democratiya anthology Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews, was promoted and published by the Foreign Policy Centre as part of their work about (and engagement in) 'Public Diplomacy' and can be downloaded from their site[6]. It contains Democratiya editor Alan Johnson's talks to Jean Bethke Elshtain, Martin Shaw, Kanan Makiya, Paul Berman, David Held, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Ladan Boroumand, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Joshua Muravchik and Mary Kaldor.

The work harks back to the spirit of cold war anti-communism, in its reliance on disillusioned leftists. In the preface, Michael Walzer cites Ignazio Silone, a co-author of the 1949 ex-Communist anthology, The God that Failed on the importance of the "choice of comrades".[7] Kanan Makiya is described as "an outstanding representative of those from the '68 generation who turned from revolutionary Marxism to liberal antitotalitarianism".[8] Similarly, the work describes how Joshua Muravchik's "disillusionment with the left began with his counter-rebellion against the left's rebellion against anti-communism, and grew with his conviction that the seed of totalitarianism lay in socialism's promise of 'heaven on earth'" [9]

In his introduction, Johnson presented Democratiya as a response to Walzer's call for a "decent left"[10] and attacked what he called "neoconitis"

Neoconitis is now an obstacle to grown-up political debate on the decent left. It renders invisible the liberal / social democratic antitotalitarian position. It keeps many stuck inside the Pilger-Chomsky-Moore-Moveon bubble. It stops others being as bold as they need to be in promoting democracy, opposing tyranny, projecting force – of ideas or arms – against Islamist terrorism, and making urgent solidarity with democrats in the Middle East.[11]

As an example of neoconitis, Johnson cited "the reaction of the Muslim Council of Britain in October 2007 to the finding by a think tank, Policy Exchange, that antisemitic and anti-western hate literature was on sale at a quarter of UK Mosques."[12] He did not mention the fact that Policy Exchange's report had also been challenged by the BBC on the basis of discrepancies in the receipts provided as evidence of the alleged sales.[13]

Dissent takeover

Democratiya was incorporated into the US magazine Dissent in autumn 2009.[14]

Principals

Advisory board

Contributors

Michael Allen | Gideon Calder | Michael J. Thompson | Claire Garbett | Harry Hatchett | Abdullah Muhsin | Gary Kent | Jean Bethke Elshtain | Mike Brennan | Peter Ryley | Derek Catsam | Andre Glucksmann | Oliver Kamm | John Strawson | Judith N. Shklar | Elisabeth Porter | Bogusia Puchalska | Dick Howard | James Woodard | Evan Daniel | Susan Green | Philip Spencer | Rayyan Al-Shawaf | Anja Havedal | Shalom Lappin | Nicola Pratt | Sarah Montgomery | Ian Roxborough | Mandy Turner | Patricia Chilton | Alexandra Simonon | John Bew | Simon Thompson | Stephen de Wijze | Rob Jenkins | Jonathan Derbyshire | Anja Havedal | Nicola Pratt | Sarah Montgomery | Ian Roxborough | Mandy Turner | Patricia Chilton | Alexandra Simonon | John Bew | Simon Thompson | Stephen de Wijze | Rob Jenkins | Jonathan Derbyshire | Bob Glaberson | Eric Lee | William Arthurs | Mary Kreutzer | Muchael Yudkin | Brendan O'Leary | Irfan Khawaja | Ladan Bouromand | Richard Sandbrook | George Lawson | Ali Hili | Peter Tatchell Jay Lefkowitz | Jules Townsend | David Clark | Tony Blair | Andrei Markovits | Sanjukta Ghosh | David Zarnett | Oren Ipp | Michael Ezra | Claude Lefort | Todd Gitlin | David Adler | Barry Rubin | Gerard Alexander | Mark Gardner | Mary Kaldor | Carrie-Ann Biondi | Lawrence J. Haas | Ophelia Benson | Dave Rich | Dan Erdman | Tristan Stubbs | Sasha Breger | Chandrahas Choudhury | David McKnight | Neil Robinson | Fred Siegel | Michael Kleinman | Jacques Roumani | Eugenia Kemble | Rachelle Horowitz | Simon Cottee | Gabriel Noah Brahm Jr | David Miliband | Michael Weiss | Juliet O'Keefe | Donna Robinson Divine | Zora Hesova | Matthew Omolesky | Jeffrey Herf | Thomas Hale | Johnny Meyer | Robin Simcox | Russell A. Berman | Eric Chenoweth | Marko Attila Hoare | Jason Farago | Robert J. Lieber | Carl Gershman | Robert Reich | Anne-Marie Slaughter | Mark Major | David Lowe | Ben Gidley | Max Dunbar | David Hirsh | Tom Gallagher | Cathy Lowy | David R. Adler | | Denis Healey | Terry Glavin | Maajid Nawaz | Maryam Namazie | Lyn Julius | Inna Tysoe | Vivien Pertusot | Mark Hannam | Siobhán Campbell | Michael Walzer | Ghada Karmi | Martin Shaw | Alex Stein | Menachem Kellner | Sol Stern | Hazel Blears | Gina Khan | Rashad Ali | Samuel Helfont | Will Marshall | Joschka Fischer | Tim Stevens | Ethan Porter | Paul Thompson | Eric B. Litwack | Dick Wilson | Kevin Higgins | Tom Hale

Posthumous contributors

Sidney Hook | Max Schachtman | Leon Blum | Ernest Bevin | Tom Kahn

External Resources

Endorsements

Democratiya is a fascinating and much-needed forum for liberals and left-wingers who are trying to sincerely find a way to oppose fascism in all its guises.
--Johann Hari, Columnist, The Independent[15]
Democratiya is the only voice coming out of the left that is attempting to find responsible solutions for the twin scourges of our age: terrorism and dictatorship emanating from the failed and failing political systems of the Arab and Muslim world.
--Kanan Makiya, author of Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq, Professor at Brandeis University, founder of the Iraq Memory Foundation.[16]

Contact

Alan Johnson -- Editor, Democratiya
Contact email: Alandemocratiya@aol.com
Department of Social Science
Edge Hill College of Higher Education
St Helens Road
Ormskirk L39 4QP
Lancashire
United Kingdom
Website www.democratiya.com

References

  1. About Us, Democratiya, accessed 9 March 2009.
  2. Dissent Democratiya, accessed 23 November 2009
  3. Alan Johnson, The Euston Moment, guardian.co.uk, 21 April 2008.
  4. About Us, Democratiya, accessed 9 March 2009.
  5. Beyond the Double Standard: A Social Democratic View of the Authoritarianism Versus Totalitarianism Debate, by Tom Kahn, Democratiya, Spring 2008.
  6. Public Diplomacy, Foreign Policy Centre, accessed 9 March 2009.
  7. Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews, p.xx, accessed 9 March 2009.
  8. Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews, p.18, accessed 9 March 2009.
  9. Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews, pp.20-21, accessed 9 March 2009.
  10. Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews, p.xiv, accessed 9 March 2009.
  11. Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews, p.xxii, accessed 9 March 2009.
  12. Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews, p.xxii, accessed 9 March 2009.
  13. Peter Barron, 'Disastrous misjudgement?', The Editors, BBC News, 13 December 2007.
  14. Democratiya, dissentmagazine.org, accessed 3 October 2009.
  15. About Us, Democratiya, accessed 9 March 2009.
  16. About Us, Democratiya, accessed 9 March 2009.