Paul Anderson

From Powerbase
Revision as of 11:07, 4 May 2009 by David (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

Paul Anderson is on the advisory board of Democratiya. He also runs a weblog Gauche where he serves his "democratic socialism with a libertarian punch". He works at City University in London as programme director of the BA in Journalism and a Social Science. He was deputy editor of the European Nuclear Disarmament Journal 1984-87, reviews editor of Tribune 1986-91, editor of Tribune 1991-93 and deputy editor of the New Statesman 1993-96. After leaving the New Statesman he wrote (with Nyta Mann) Safety First: The Making of New Labour, published by Granta Books, and worked as a sub-editor on the Times Educational Supplement and the Guardian (where he still does shifts during vacations). He joined City Univerity in 2000 and is currently working on a history of the British left and the Soviet Union.[1]

He is a former member of the libertarian socialist group Solidarity.


Pro-war left or 'decent left'?

Anderson has a nuanced relationship with the key pro war left authors:

I don’t agree with everything Hitchens, Cohen, Aaronovitch et al have written since 9/11. I was a reluctant rather than gung-ho supporter of the toppling of the Taliban by force, and I opposed the invasion of Iraq (though once it started I argued that the best thing would be for it to be successful and quick, and I believe that now the priority is to do everything in our power to ensure Iraq becomes a stable, civilised democracy, which means I am against an immediate withdrawal of coalition forces). The tone of the pro-war left — particularly of Hitchens and Aaronovitch — has often been intemperate and hectoring.[2]

In an exchange with Scott Lucas Anderson writes of Aaronovitch, Cohen et al that

I agree that they have sometimes caricatured anti-interventionists as appeasers of "Islamic fascism". But: (1) caricature is an entirely legitimate rhetorical device; (2) there is a strong case for drawing parallels between the ideology and practices of 1920s and 1930s European fascism and those of al-Qaida, the Taliban and Ba'athist Iraq (although I wouldn't for a moment claim these three are identical);[3]

Anderson's defence of the neoconservative trope of 'Islamic fascism' ignores the reality that this has not been limited to a caricature of authoritarian movements like Al Qaeda, but in the hands of Douglas Murray and others, it has been used to smear Muslim communities as a whole. Nor has its use been limited to an analysis of ideology and practises. Rather, it has been employed in neoconservative propaganda campaigns that sought to portray Iraq as a military threat analogous to Nazi Germany.

Anderson says he is not a Neocon. In response to Oliver Kamm’s book ‘’Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy’’, he writes:

I… agree with its basic thesis, that at some point in the past half-century much of the left in Britain and America -- and elsewhere, though most of his examples are decidedly Anglo-Saxon – forgot a crucial lesson of the 1930s and 1940s, that opposition to totalitarianism should be at the very core of foreign policy in every democratic polity. But when it comes to the detail, I’m afraid I part company.[4]

Anderson concludes that being ‘anti-totalitarian’ need not make you a Neo-con:

There’s more than one way to be anti-totalitarian, in other words, and it’s not essential for anti-totalitarians always to adopt the most hawkish foreign policy stance available. The utility of confrontation or military intervention or negotiation and diplomacy has to be judged case by case. Kamm is right to emphasise the principle of anti-totalitarianism – but there’s no need for anti-totalitarianism to make you a neo-con. .[5]


In one of the posts on his weblog, Anderson takes "cretin-leftists" to task for complaining about Che Guevara's image being commodified:

Guevara should be no one's hero. He was a Stalinist scumbag who played a major role in the creation of a police state in Cuba, and his political strategy of guerrilla warfare set the left in Latin America back two generations. OK, he was good-looking - but so were Oswald Mosley and Eva Braun.[6]


Contact, References and Resources





  1. [1]
  2. Paul Anderson, DISAGREEMENT IS NOT SUPPRESSION OF DISSENT Tribune column, April 23 2004, posted April 17, 2004
  3. Paul Anderson, DISAGREEMENT IS NOT SUPPRESSION OF DISSENT – 3 ‘’Gauche’’, 19 April 2004, Posted at 00:04
  4. Paul Anderson, KAMM’S NEO-CONSERVATISM, Gauche, December 25, 2005
  5. Paul Anderson, KAMM’S NEO-CONSERVATISM, Gauche, December 25, 2005
  6. Paul Anderson Che was a Stalinist disaster Gauche,