October 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm (political groups, politics, rcp, Rosie B)

If you want to read serious and considered analysis about the group formerly known as the Revolutionary Communist Party, have a look at a piece by Bob over here.

The RevCommParty members are band sluts who play in outfits like Libero!, London International Research Exchange, Transport Research Group and a festival line up of others as well as getting together for all stars performances at the Battle of Ideas while being the house band at Spiked (producer, Brendan O‘Neill, the hands-on head of the record company, Frank Furedi). They are the punk rockers of the left, who love to outrage the progressive dinosaurs, and their set list contains numbers like Dead Polar Bears – Who cares?;  Melt the glaciers! and Speech Free, Markets Freer.  After a while their riffs become predictable and their intellectual progression sticks at three chords but with their glossy production they get gigs all over the radio and the press.

One of their favourite themes is Piss off the Liberals (Any Way You can) and how they tackle that is best described here (scroll to August 22 – for some reason can’t do a proper link to it.)

This is the work of the Furedification Machine

1) Open a newspaper; grab the dumbest media spaz-out in it as your subject material, then put pen to paper.

2) Lay out the entire, sorry episode, making it entirely clear that it’s an electorally-driven spankathon confected out of bugger all by insane right wing bigots for political purposes, with the support of dupes and cranks.

3) Concede that liberal criticisms of said spankathon are essentially correct in every major aspect.

4) Suddenly announce that the real issue is not the confected right wing spankathon, but is instead the fact that condescending Yankee liberals think they’re so bloody clever.

5) Waffle at length about how out of touch with, like, working class concerns and shit the libs are by pretending that belligerent stupidity is a class issue.

6) Round it all off with a spurious declaration about how, if only those godawful libs weren’t so obsessed with political correctness, they would somehow magically squash the controversy by focusing instead on some unrelated horseshit.

You can see the above method in action here.  The Tea Party, you understand, is all the liberals‘ fault.

Liberal activists’ dismissal of the Tea Party as ‘insane’ only shows how cut-off they are from the American masses.

The masses, working class and sturdy proles are useful bricks which Spiked always keep at hand to hurl at the dismissive liberals.  I haven’t yet come across a piece about the liberal fear of and contempt for the EDL only shows how cut off they are from the English masses, but it must be out there somewhere.  The history revisionism wing of Spiked is working on very short monographs with the following sub-headings:-  “Liberal dismissal of lynch parties as “outrageous and murderous bigotry” only show how cut off they are from the Southern states masses” and going back to the nineteenth century, “Abolitionist dismissal of slavery as “vilely unjust” only shows how cut off they are from the secessionist masses.”

So when I heard about the London Anti-Street Harassment Campaign I was waiting for Spiked to come out with an article that this was just a middle-class attack on sturdy proles.  Sure enough when I was listening to Weekend Women’s Hour a few weeks ago there was an item covering the campaign and the BBC’s obligatory dissenting voice was from Spiked’s editor Brendan O’Neill (fast forward 15:41 minutes here).  Brendan O’Neill regards street harassment as a freedom of speech issue and describes guys shouting “Nice tits” as “interchange” or “banter”.  Then the sturdy prole moment came:-

BO: What’s really going on [very Spiked that, the “what’s really going on“] is that a really old style Victorian attitude is being rehabilitated because the idea that women are fragile and easily victimised particularly by working-class men really comes from the Victorian era when women would never go out. .

Women’s Hour presenter – It’s not just working class men

BO: This is the implication.  When you read these discussions, when you read the newspaper reports it is often the implication, dustbin men as we heard in the earlier report.

The answer to that of course is that 1) those are the men who work outside and so the ones you encounter in the streets:- 2) it’s only some men, not all or most; 3) men who work in the City can be total sexist bullying jerks as well but they’re tucked behind their glass walls.

BO goes on:-

Feminism used to be about liberating women and now feminism has become about policing men.  Policing men in the workplace Policing men on the streets.  Policing men’s speech.  Policing men’s thoughts and attitudes. This is actually what you’ve called for.  I think it is a great tragedy that feminism has sunk from demanding liberation and equality for women which I 100% support to demanding the closer policing and the authoritarian control of men.

As no-one on Women’s Hour pointed out a big part of feminism was getting the crime of rape to be taken more seriously and rape victims not to be sorted out into the chaste and unchaste.  Another part of feminism was getting domestic violence to be treated as a crime, not a private family matter.  In short, quite a lot of feminism has been about policing male behaviour when it is criminal. Also, the women on the programme were asking for policing against actual intimidation and for the rest thought education and campaigning were a good idea – which is not “policing thoughts and attitudes” but influencing them.

Anyway, that was the editor of Spiked in action calling for female empowerment, which, for a woman trailed by a gang of blokes in a car shouting remarks at her, could only come if she was armed with a Kalashnikov (something many women would like to have folded in their handbags at such times). Very Spiked, very predictable.

Spiked are libertarians and lay great stress on not stifling individualism.  You could reasonably expect that this would be shown in the Spiked writers’ quirkiness and sudden, surprising opinions along with a highly idiosyncratic and distinctive expression.  When it comes to wide cultural range, wit, and richness of expression the Spiked stable should out gallop Howard Jacobson, Christopher Hitchens and H L Mencken.  They may of course be producing brilliant prose and original ideas but before any of these are published, they go through the special Spiked software  MediOcs.  MediOcs, as well as filtering out any dissension from the Spiked political line, puts the style through a word blender.  Designed with advice from Tony Parsons MediOcs flattens any sparkling cascades into the bright shallowness of the overflow from an air-conditioning unit. and the result is the universal tabloidese that arrives at my in-box every Friday.

I do read Spiked, and find their freedom of speech absolutism meets my mood when the last government was passing its anti free speech laws and when some idiots are arrested for burning Korans. They are a funny lot though – a trained squad of contrarians who march in unison carrying the standard of individual self-development.


  1. David K said,

    There is something alluring about spiked. At work on lunch If I am tired of of Football365 or the type of crap Comment Is Free churns out I do like to read something confrontational. Spiked fits the bill. However I do think your anlysis is spot on.

    Its being mentioned that along with their “Bracing Libertarianism” you do get strong whiffs of their support for dictators and reactionary regimes as long as they are “anti- imperialist”.

    However there is another deviation that actually in some ways is more pathetic. This is what they say when faced with the reality of working class struggle. They argue that the working class a a political agent and social force is pretty much dead and try to hammer this home by pointing out the lifeless and decrepit nature of much the trade union movement and the Labour party. Yet when it comes to the type of fight they have been bemoaning as a thing of the past like we might see in the Anti-cuts battle, they struggle to have any thing coherent to say except “nothing will happen”

    One of their latest articles is the same, the revival of the Irish Labour Party has to be “dead cat bounce”, because if it was real they would be forced to out themselves as Tories or Fianna Fail supporters.

    PS: Duleep Allirajah’s opinion pieces on Football are pretty damn good though. I particularly like his demolition of the “we are still a massive club” arrogance and entitlement of fans of certain once great teams.

  2. FlyingRodent said,

    I was hoping will might jump in here and make my points for me.

  3. maxdunbar said,

    Nothing the RCP says means anything except ‘Please look at us’

  4. BenSix said,

    …a really old style Victorian attitude is being rehabilitated because the idea that women are fragile and easily victimised particularly by working-class men really comes from the Victorian era when women would never go out.

    Oh, aye, I bet women hear the shouts of “Oi, love, get yer tits out” and think, “Oh, how far we’ve come!”

  5. Rosie said,

    I did read a good piece today in Spiked about how Swedish intellectuals are pissed off because Mario Vargas Llosa has won the Nobel prize for literature. The piece made me vow to read some Mario Vargas Llosa one day.

  6. Clive said,

    I recommend The Real LIfe of Alejandro Mayta.

  7. luke said,

    “Liberal activists’ dismissal of the Tea Party as ‘insane’ only shows how cut-off they are from the American masses”

    I’m from the United States. I know two people in the Tea Party. One thought that the BP oil disaster was probably an act of terrorism “because there are a lot of people out there that hate America.” The other person I know is a die-hard NRA member who keeps a gun in his truck.

    Insane? Yeah, kind of.

  8. You can bet on some things « Shiraz Socialist said,

    […] wrote a piece about Spiked on 12 October 2010:- The masses, working class and sturdy proles are useful bricks which Spiked […]

  9. James atwell said,

    While some of the spiked online material I have a sympathy with.
    1 The opposition to hate crime legislation . If someone is abused verbally or physically the former and current laws cover this . This silly and dangerous legislation is not required.
    2 Their belief in science , although as a scientist in does concern me that they think science can solve every social problem
    3. Economics by Phil Mullan with the emphasis on productivity
    They have become the political establishment. They sit there with the great and good of the ukip and conservative parties and attack corbyn and allow his links to the ira to be used against him whereas their links to Irish Republicanism are far deeper . Also this boring need to be contrarian. They think they are going against the stream but they are the stream. They are now the political establishment alongside Murdoch. Professional Politicians have been by passed by these opinion formers and the press barons they work for. My god they even had a film premiere with great and the good.
    Read any article by any spiker and could have been written by any crusty right wingers such as Toby Young, James Delingpole, Charles Moore, julie burchill or tony parsons . It’s not contrarian but boring and predictable .
    As the rodent says you can see it coming a mile away.
    The worst thing you can say to a spiker is not that article was inaccurate but the article was for the establishment .
    Also where are the policies, I gave yet to read an article from a spiker with any ideas. Yes get rid of the welfare state but replace it with what . The return of the workhouse, work in freak shows for the disabled .
    Also this mock love for the working classes , I bet they run a mile if they had to live on a council housing estate in Salford.
    They adore Michael Gove and the libertarian right but still hang onto the empty title of libertarian Marxists. It’s all right slagging off social democracy as long as you have credible policies to replace it. So man/sister up spikers and show how your different from the right libertarians . You cannot keep hanging onto the shirt tails of Gove and the policy exchange .

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