[Marxism] Spiked online takes umbrage at charges of corporate funding
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Feb 24 11:23:07 MST 2006
Over the years, there have been frequent allegations that rightwing
millionaires or security agencies have funded Frank Furedi's sect, which
has morphed from a sort of neo-Kautskyist belief in capitalist progress
into full-bore libertarianism. In other words, they have retained the
breathless "Better Living Through Chemistry" and "What's Good for General
Motors is Good for the World" part of the deal but dispensed with any
future hope for socialism.
In today's spiked-online, sect leader Brendan O'Neill tries to fend off
these charges, which is something of a first for the sect, as far as I know:
"There have been a fair few articles and rumours over the past few years
accusing spiked's editor Mick Hume and managing editor Helene Guldberg, as
well as contributor Frank Furedi and Institute of Ideas director Claire Fox
(with whom spiked shares an office), among others, of being involved in
various conspiracies headed by everyone from the Serbian government to the
drugs companies. Many of the arguments made by contributors first to Living
Marxism and LM and later to spiked, all of which were edited by Hume, have
been challenged, not substantially or politically, but by a kind of
muck-raking search for the secret financer [sic] behind the arguments.
Those who oppose what some of our writers have said about Western
intervention, environmentalism and free speech have not taken up the
arguments head-on but rather have said, 'Well look who's funding
them....look who they have meetings with....what do you expect?' These
attacks should be understood as part of the broader climate of
conspiracy-mongering today, where robust political debate has given way to
a kind of cowardly dinner-party whispering campaign about individuals'
motives or personal interests and private lives."
To begin with, it has been years since anybody has attacked them for what
they have written about Yugoslavia. Mostly, it is people like Diana
Johnstone, Michael Parenti and Edward Herman who are the target of the
Cruise Missile Left. In a way, it is unfortunate that there is so little in
the way of anti-imperialism in spiked-online nowadays of any sort. Granted,
they are anxious to put all that in the past, but there is no contradiction
between being libertarian and being against the war in Iraq. Take a look at
antiwar.com for one example.
The question of corporate ties to drug, petroleum and chemical companies is
much more complex. I think it is wrong to look at spiked as simply a bunch
of whores who write things whatever evil corporations pay them to write.
That is much more the model of their frequent collaborators, the Hill and
Knowlton PR firm. You'll recall that Hill and Knowlton developed the
propaganda campaign for the first Gulf War, which included the false
allegation that Iraqi troops were pulling Kuwaiti infants out of their
cribs in a hospital nursery and throwing them on the cold floor. I imagine
that if the Iraqi government had been able to put together a bigger bundle
of cash for Hill and Knowlton, they might have written something that
Michael Moore might have been proud of.
No, I don't think we are dealing with payoffs here. Instead, it is a matter
of deep conviction that anything that gets in the way of Exxon, Pfizer and
Monsanto is an obstacle to progress. When Monsanto came up with GM crops, I
am sure that created as much excitement in their ranks as did Cuban victory
over South African soldiers at the battle of Cuito Carnevale for people
like us. Once you are absolutely convinced that capitalism = progress, why
would you refuse to discover ways to finance your goals through
contributions from the Exxons, Pfizers and Monsantos of the world? Frankly,
if a search of tax records revealed that Furedi's various think-tanks were
being funded by such outfits, my reaction would be similar to Claude
Rains's (as Colonel Renault) in "Casablanca": "I'm shocked, shocked to find
that gambling is going on in here!"
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