Martin Smith thinks that the media portrays EDL as ‘working class yobs’. But he thinks that the media is wrong. (That means: as a statement from an upholder of ‘scientific Marxism’ – the media must be wrong because this socialist scientist says it is wrong. Full stop.)
‘many [EDL] come from “petty bourgeois” professions – the classic base of fascism’.
He been reading his history books again. You know: the 1920/30s-And-All-That.
Well, I never! I didn’t know that I was ‘petty bourgeois’. The EDL members I have talked to didn’t know that they were petty bourgeois either. Thank God for Quasimodo’s insight on the matter.
Doesn’t it show what a sad little train-spotter Smith really is when he resurrects terms like ‘petty bourgeois’ from the dustbin of Communist/Trotskyist theory and history? Anyone who uses these quaint little pseudo-technical terms must be a complete arse. These words are dead today. They are used by no one except the Trots who use them… if you know what I mean.
In any case, the SWP/UAF Alliance is full of middle class people. Alex Callinicos, of the Central Committee (yes, Central Committee, as in the Soviet Union’s Central Committee) and a few others are upper-middle class. Actually, Callinicos is from an aristocratic background.
But they are not ‘bourgeois’! Why is that? Because they are Marxists. A Marxist may be middle class, but he can’t be bourgeois. In fact no Marxist can be bourgeois, no matter how rich he is. How neat. And how tidy. It not their income or class status which saves them embourgeoisement, but which books they have read and how well they know their Lenin or Trotsky. And that’s why there are so many lecturers and professors who call themselves ‘working class’, etc.
Yes, I too talk about class. Specifically the middle class and professional/student base of the UAF/SWP Alliance. That is not because I’m against the middle class. I’m not. What I am against is middle class people who pretend they are not middle class. Or middle class people who speak out against what they call ‘the middle class’. As well as those Marxists middle-class SWP-ers who class right-wing middle class people as ‘bourgeois’ or ‘petty bourgeois’. It’s not the middle class I’m against. It’s middle class far-leftist hypocrites.
You see the EDL can’t win. If it were full of working class members it would be accused of being full of ‘yobs’ or ‘chavs’. Now Smith is saying it is full of, or run by, the ‘petty bourgeois’. You know. As in ‘the Zionists run the EDL’. Or ‘the BNP runs the EDL’. Or ‘football gangs run the EDL’.
In any case, this fixation with the ‘petty-bourgeois’ is simply a result of SWP members reading too many books about the rise of fascism in Nazi Germany and Italy in the 1920s and 30s. They are trying their very best to fit the EDL into their own potted histories of fascism – the things they have read about again and again (in that vast and boring corpus of Marxist history and theory).
But the cap doesn’t fit. This is Britain in the year 2010. It’s not Germany or Italy in the 1920s or 30s. The situations are completely different. The British have always despised Nazis and Trots equally. Extremism doesn’t sit that well in England, unlike in Europe. That’s why far right and Trot groups still do better on the Continent. That’s why the British hate both the SWP and the far right.
In any case, what point is the SWP actually making by stressing the ‘petty bourgeois’ fan-base of the EDL? Is it really the simple point that historically the petty bourgeois were seen, by Marxists, as the backbone of the Nazi Party? Is that what they are getting at? Eddie Hitler was also an artist and a vegetarian. Perhaps some sociologist should do a study of the EDL and see how many artists or vegetarians there are within it.
Martin Smith become even more pathetic than, well, Martin Smith when, in hushed tones, he tells us that the ‘leading figures behind the Luton protest [were] a self-employed carpenter and another runs his own internet company’. Really! Now I’m definitely not going to vote for the EDL. I mean, carpenters – they’re all Nazis! What the EDL should be full of, instead, are lecturers from the London School of Economics or from the Embrace Diversity Department at Staines University.