“Tropes” – The Curse Of Contemporary Public Discourse

 


trope
noun

1./ a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression. “both clothes and illness became tropes for new attitudes toward the self”

2./ a significant or recurrent theme; a motif. “she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope”


The problem with “tropes” in any discourse is that they are essentially interpretive and require interpolation (the insertion of something of a different nature into something else). They involve the ‘discovering’ and ‘decoding’ of malign meanings, motives and intentions from statements which in and off themselves may not be malign.

If someone were to make the assertion that, “Indian and Pakistani immigrants are good at running corner shops”, this is, in and of itself, a fairly innocuous statement that contains an  element of truth, i.e. in the UK Indian and Pakistani immigrants have in the last 50 years made great success out of running corner shops and local grocery stores.

So what’s the problem? Well, anyone with a liberal sensitivity will have immediately  been on the alert reading that sentence because the statement while containing some truth, is also regarded as a racist “trope”. Why? Because it is an idea that generalises about millions of people and because it is an idea that is sometimes used by racists to characterise people of Indian and Pakistani heritage in order to denigrate, demean and limit them.

Thus some people of a liberal bent would read the fairly innocuous statement that “Indian and Pakistani people are good at running corner shops”, as in fact a racist statement in and off itself, even though the speaker may never have intended it to be. Continue reading

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Momentum: The Glory Year of 2016… Crushed By Labourism

The online discussions of the LP leaked report have made me reflect sadly on the first year of Momentum back in 2016.

I joined the LP on 9th September 2015, the day Jeremy Corbyn was elected party leader. By January 2016, 3 months later, there had been no meeting of my local CLP, Stratford Upon Avon, or my local branch, Shipston-on-Stour. I had had only one email from the CLP which was a sniffy reponse to my offer to help set up a branch meeting in Shipston.

I had partly joined the party in order to connect with fellow Corbyn supporters in the LP but instead still felt as isolated as I had before I joined. So I contacted Momentum and asked if there was a local group. There wasn’t so I asked if I could start one. They said please do. So I did. Continue reading

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Labourism; Is the Labour Party part of the solution or part of the problem?

Many years ago a friend of mine in the SWP told me that with regard to social and economic justice the Labour Party is not part of the solution but part of the problem. Another friend in the SWP said that after New Labour the left v right divide in UK politics no longer ran between Labour and The Tories but ran straight down the middle of the LP. Continue reading

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The right wing of the Labour Party are the most morally bankrupt fuckers in UK politics.

The right wing of the Labour Party are the most morally bankrupt fuckers in UK politics. They are worse than Tories, worse than Farage, worse than Dominic Cummings… Truly, truly evil.

The whole of “The Party” machine was and is entirely corrupt. The double-dealing, swaggering, hectoring, bullying, playground moral bankruptcy of Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, taken up as a philosophy of life by small, small men. Pathetic if so much wasn’t at stake. Continue reading

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There may be a a small number of racist morons in the LP but that is absolutely NOT what the anti-Semitism crisis was/is about.

There may be a a small number of racist morons in the LP but that is absolutely NOT what the anti-Semitism crisis was/is about.

It is all about the fact many on the left believe that the Palestinians have been treated unjustly by the state of Israel, not by ‘Jews’ as a race or creed but by the sovereign state of Israel and some Jews and certainly the state of Israel regards support for the Palestinians across the world as a clear and present threat to its survival as ‘Jewish only state’ and its ability to expand its borders into a very broad area of the Levant and to erase the very idea of a ‘Palestinian people’ from history. Continue reading

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Does anyone else on the left care about freedom of speech?

I grew up during the Cold War (b.1956) and right up until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989,  ‘freedom of speech’ really mattered. A common refrain in public discourse was the phrase, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” attributed to Voltaire by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

The narrative was that the Nazis and the Soviet Union were brutal totalitarian systems that used torture and violence to narrowly restrict what was sayable in public spaces and that they did so in under to maintain control by eradicating anyone who disagreed with what the regime’s rulers were doing.

This was contrasted with Karl Popper’s idea of the ‘open society’ illustrated by the Western democracies that allowed free speech and thus prospered both economically and morally. The idea was that a free society was dependent upon free speech.; that no institutional power or social group had the right to decide which things were sayable and which were not; that free speech was the single most important moniker of freedom itself; that the right to openly express your political, economic, moral and scientific ideas without legal or social restriction IS freedom. Continue reading

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Proud to be a Corbynista

So democratic socialism is defeated for at least another generation. Brexit will be ignored and the right will paint this as a failure of the Left. Just as the presence of the SDP has been forgotten in the history of the 8O’s.

The figures are clear. It is Brexit and specifically the role of the Brexit Party that has delivered the Tory landslide and that shifting Labour to an

increasingly Remain position since 2017 has been disastrous. Something many of us have been warning of since the Referendum result.

But none of this will matter to the centrist Remainers who hated Corbyn. The story will be that it is ‘the Left’ who were the problem and that ‘never again’ can a left slate be put forward by a Labour Party. Continue reading

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