Sunday, March 16, 2008

What is the Left Forum?

In their own words . . . and better late than never, I guess:

Wait up . . . what's that that Francis Fox Piven says in the clip?

She briefly mentions the differing traditions and movements that make up the attendees of the Left Forum but when she mentions the Anarchist Left the camera pans to a copy of the magazine, Left Turn, on a shelf. Are the Left Turn touting themselves as anarchists these days? That's a bit of a departure from their (brief) time as the American franchise of the International Socialist Tendency after Callinicos and the SWP leadership in London expelled the ISO in murky circumstances back in 2001/02.

Had a quick nosey around the Left Turn website and, at first glance, it does look like they've dropped the S-word in favour of social justice this and anti-capitalist that. I guess that's the sort of misbranding that gets the punters in these days. Bit cheeky that, and it's also a wee bit naughty that they don't clarify their real origins in their 5 Year Anniversary Editorial that they've published online.

But I put it down to the fact that we're living in interesting political times for the left. Revolutionary? No. Confusing? Definitely.

Why else would you have the Left Forum citing Left Turn as the public face of activist anarchism whilst, at the same time and at the same event, the anarchist publishers, AK Press has a mini-bookcase solely devoted to books about and by Che Guevera on its stall at the event.

The world truly has been turned upside down.


Karl-Marx-Straße said...

I note that while Left Turn claim their online archive contains the contents of every issue published, in fact, they mean "since issue 8, published in March 2003" - but if they've only just celebrated their 5th anniversary, I suppose there is some amount of (lying) constistency going on somewhere, along the lines of SWP members (those who know better) who deny the the fact that their paper was once called "Labour Worker"...

Darren said...


You're obviously more clued than me on such matters as I didn't realise their wee bit of revisionism.

Though I won't claim they have the numbers, they definitely have a presence of sorts in the NYC radical scene. A couple of their members were panel speakers at prominent meetings at the event - the big hall, etc - and they have some sort of relationship with both the NYC indymedia newspaper, The Indypendent, and the Brecht Forum.

A group to watch, I think.

Karl-Marx-Straße said...

I was just (sadly) looking to see how they justified in print their "left turn" (?) so to speak, as, as you point out, they don't state in their so-called anniversary editorial, where they really come from. Anyway, from your description, they sound like a post-modernist version of the SWP, or a kind of 'Marxism Today' bunch. On a similar theme, I was harrassed by the German Furedi-ites at the Leipzig Book Fair on Sunday, trying to get signatures on some "petition" (and sell their very glossy mag).