Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Harry's Place: An Apology

In recent days, I have described the website Harry's Place (which has close ties to the Euston Manifesto and to which I refuse to link) as, like neoconservatism generally, "Trotskyism gone Fascist". I wish to make it clear that its roots are in fact within the Straight Left faction of the old Communist Party of Great Britain, which emerged in resistance to that party's leading lights' opposition to the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. Harry's Place is therefore accurately described as "Stalinism gone Fascist". I apologise for the error.

Reid, Clark, Mandelson, Aaronovitch, Cohen: you can at least understand old Trots like Milburn and Byers going neocon, but these people do not have the excuse that Trotskyists have never actually run anywhere, and so have no blood on their hands (not true - the future neocons were a significant disruptive element within the American Left during the Vietnam War, which they supported provided that they did not actually have to go there). Rather, they were rigidly pro-Soviet right when it mattered most. And does anyone on the Eustonite pro-war "Left" not have either a Stalinist or a Trotskyist background? Why ever are they so coy about it all?


  1. And does anyone on the Eustonite pro-war "Left" not have either a Stalinist or a Trotskyist background?

    You might be disappointed to find the figure is more like 95%. Take me, for starters. Or are you free to pre-select the individuals to whom you apply your test?

  2. David

    I was never in a trot or communist group. In fact, I spent much of my teenage years fighting against Socialist Organiser (now the AWL), who I have to admit, now look relatively sane.

    I'm much more interested in things like The Smiths, folk music, British cooking, dogs and so on.

    But if people are going to be a bit mad politically, you've got to get involved, haven't you?

    I mean, I'm sure you feel the same.

    Anyhow, good luck with your project, which seems very diverting.

  3. If you mean that ninety-five per cent of them do indeed have that sort of background, B4L, then you are right. Just look at the list.

    The one thing that these people now absolutely nothing about is the Labour Movement. They know nothing about Scotland. They know nothing about Wales. They know nothing about the North. They know nothing about the Midlands. They know nothing about the working and lower-middle-class parts of the South. They know nothing about the unions, or the co-operatives. They know nothing about Ruskin, or William Morris. They know nothing about Methodism, or Catholic Social Teaching, or Anglo-Catholic Socialism. And so forth. But they know every tiny detail of Britain's always peripheral Marxist subcultures. Funny, that.

    Everything that I wrote about the origins of Harry's Place is a matter of fact. Straight Left? I ask you! That's the "decent Left", is it? Oh, no, it isn't!

    Yet look at David T, most notable for his attempt to destroy the career of his "friend" Johann Hari. He is in fact David S Toube, of the American law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton. That company's website informs us that it is:

    "is one of the leading international law firms, with 12 closely integrated offices located in major financial centers around the world. For more than 60 years, the firm has been preeminent in shaping the globalization of the legal profession. Our clients include multinational corporations and international financial institutions and sovereign governments and their agencies, as well as domestic corporations and financial institutions in the countries where our offices are located."

    And it won the "Privatisation of the Year" award for Latin America in 2002.

    "In Cleary Gottlieb’s innovative practice that crosses borders and boundaries, the firm structures and guides the privatization of state-owned enterprises. Our lawyers regularly advise sovereign governments and private sector bidders when state-owned enterprises change hands", says the website.

    Of Toube himself, we are told that:

    "David S.Toube is an associate based in the London office.
    Mr. Toube’s practice focuses on United Kingdom and European regulatory securities law matters, anti-money laundering law and practice, and in particular the Financial Services Authority requirements to which regulated companies are subject. He advises in relation to a broad range of investment banking, fund management, corporate finance and other financial services sector matters. Mr. Toube is a co-author of “A Practitioner's Guide to the FSA Regulation of Investment Banking,” Sweet and Maxwell’s “The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, A practical legal guide” and is a contributor to Oxford University Press’ “Financial Markets and Exchanges Law.”

    Those who would like to contact Toube about his many activities, not least his strong hostility to anti-privatisation leaders in Latin America, and about his writing for a Straight Left website, may doubtless feel free to email

    Harry's Place is the latest manifestation of Straight Left, and should be seen in that light. Similar things can be said about everything, and almost everyone, associated with the Euston Manifesto.

  4. I've read the list of signatories, and 90% of them are people I've never heard of. How do you know their backgrounds?

  5. I mean the original signatories, the ones who matter. The rest might be sincere, but they are in that case essentially deluded about the nature of the project. Or they are trying to get noticed by the original signatories, the ones who matter. A very, very great deal. Unfortunately.

    Just look at something like Nick Cohen's 'What's Left?', and marvel at a man who presumes to speak for the British Left yet knows little or nothing about its principal historic manifestations (closely connected among themselves), beyond the fact that he hates them for very mercifully and successfully having arrested any rise of his own Marxist lot, which he simply depicts as if they had ever been normal in Britain!

    The Euston Manifesto, Harry's Place, and so forth represent the triumph of these people, converted to the victory of their own bourgeoisie but otherwise with their paradigm intaact, over that which they hate most of all: the Labour Movement, with its boringly practical solutions to the problems of boringly ordinary people, who therefore have no need of Marxism.

    Well, the triumph until now, that is.

  6. I couldn't agree more, David. The Eustonites and Respect/the Stop The War Coalition are just fighting old private battles within Trotskyism or the CPGB (defunct). Who cares?

    Yet look at the coverage that they are getting, because they are able to give it to themselves. Says it all that such people are now in such positions. You are right to talk about a coup.

    Well done for bringing back the real British - have you got that? BRITISH - Left, owing "more to Methodism [and Catholicism] than to Marx." Owing nothing to Marx, in fact.

  7. Thanks for a very interesting post. Harry's Place is fascinating in a pathological sort of way and you've helped me understand it better.