(fwd from Keaney) New Left Review

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Tue Sep 16 10:24:51 MDT 2003

Yesterday a copy of the latest issue of New Left Review arrived. Unlike Mark
Jones, although in complete agreement with his general distaste for the
editorial stance adopted by the journal, there is usually something
interesting to compensate for the other "Western Marxist" apologetics that
Melvin refers to in his response to Henry's piece "The Global Economy in

Even prior to Perry Anderson's notorious relaunch editorial, in which the
journal was recast firmly as a coffee table accessory for salon socialists,
some rather odd contributors had been known to appear in its pages. Thus,
for example, Vietnam War apologist Michael Lind can be found explaining why
no revolution will take place in the USA, in issue 233, Jan/Feb 1999. But I
fell out of my chair when I discovered that the latest issue featured none
other than regular contributor to the National Interest and Thatcher-lover
Kenneth Minogue. Minogue is best known in the UK for his promotion of
Thatcherite views and aversion to things European, in keeping with his
heroine's predilections. However, less well known in the northern hemisphere
is his dubious role with respect to the efforts of Australian aborigines to
claim reparations for generations of what amounts, without question, to

A few years back John Pilger broadcast a documentary prior to the Sydney
olympic games of 2000, in which the exclusion of aboriginal sporting heroes
by the white Australian sporting establishment was laid bare. Pilger
referred to the work of Colin Tatz, who was interviewed in the documentary.
I contacted Tatz thereafter who forwarded me some material of his on
genocide. In this research paper was contained reference to a long-running
debate between himself and Minogue, in which Minogue basically denied the
whole issue of genocide, and instead accused others of "moralising", or
propagating a view of Australian race relations as one of "unmitigated

A copy of Tatz's paper is available here, and in it you will get a flavour
of what sort of arguments Minogue is propagating:


Needless to say, I am aghast that New Left Review editors should feel it
necessary to include Minogue in their journal without asking him to defend
this particular aspect of his views. Instead he is allowed to waffle for
five pages on the subject of nationalism alongside Brendan O'Leary, a fellow
political science professor at Tony Giddens' LSE, whose main claim to fame
is his expertise on British constitutional issues as these relate to
Northern Ireland.

NLR's record on Northern Ireland has never been admirable, of course, but
there must surely be plenty of talent around capable of putting something
together far more worthy of an appearance in NLR than the suspect offerings
of Kenneth Minogue.

It is possible, however, that this is the result of some kind of quid pro
quo on the part of NLR, because Verso, the imprint of New Left Books, has
already published Colin Tatz's "With Intent to Destroy: Reflections on


Is Minogue being kept quiet by a timid NLR editorial board? Whatever the
reason, it's another significant episode in the decline of this formerly
influential journal.

Michael Keaney

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