Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Monday, December 15, 2008

The 2008 Histomat Awards

What a year 2008 has been! We have seen Karl Marx's prophecy of potential capitalist downfall through the system's own internal contradictions once again vindicated, a black guy become the world's most powerful man and one of the leading lights of the European fascist movement, Jorg Haider, make one right turn too many for his own good. And just when you thought 2008 couldn't get more momentous, the annual Histomat awards come around again. Hallelujah! I mean, what are the chances of that happening?

2008 Histomat International Hero(es) of the Year:
The people of Greece for coming closest to paying true honour and respect to the memory of '1968' by having a general strike and rioting against murderous police brutality in the grand style.
Runners up: The people of America for making sure that after a long eight years there is village somewhere in Texas that will finally be reunited with its idiot.

2008 Histomat International Idiot(s) of the Year:
The international banking community should win hands down, but that would let the stockbrokers and the rest of the Western ruling class off the hook somewhat. Hmm, tricky. I think if I had to single out one merchant banker in particular for people to channel their anger against it would be this one...
Runners up: The people responsible for this tragedy at Walmart - a tragedy which illuminates the competitive and alienatiing nature of life under modern capitalism - above all blame here lies with the greedy bosses of Walmart.

2008 Histomat National Hero of the Year:
Tony Benn - an 'ideological thug' if I ever knew one.
Runners up: The Archbishops of York and Canterbury for hammering capitalism while praising Marx.

2008 Histomat National Idiot of the Year:
Its a dead heat between Phil Woolas, (Dumb) and James Purnell (Dumber) - both New Labour apparatchiks with only one thing on their mind - their slimy rise up the greasy pole of political power. Purnell, for those not in the know (and to be honest, you are best off not in the know), wants to force those on incapacity benefit (akin to 'the undeserving poor' in his world view) back to work at a time when anyone watching the news would know that firms are not exactly rushing to take on new staff at the moment...
Runner up: Former London mayor Ken Livingstone for championing first Sir Ian Blair then Cressida Dick for their 'talents' despite their presiding over the Met police slaying of Jean Charles de Menezes.

2008 Histomat Socialist Blogger of the Year:
As always this is such a close call, but I am going to give it to Hossam el-Hamalawy for not only running the best blog about labour struggles in Egypt but for initiating the Lenosphere project earlier this year...
Runners up: Ady Cousins/ Resistance MP3 for their services to the international proletariat. Check out audio coverage of recent Marxist day schools on the economic crisis.

2008 Histomat Most Idiotesque Blogger of the Year:
'Harry's Place' for among over things launching a nasty McCarthyite witch-hunt against cultural critic Owen Hatherley.
Runner up: As controversial as this sounds, I have to say that for all the massive attention that the blog initially rightly attracted when set up, George Orwell has been slightly disappointing as a blogger so far. Okay, the guy is new to the blogosphere, and needs time to find his feet, but his blog has rarely been worth dropping the dead donkey over (despite his interesting location in Spanish Morocco amidst the dying embers of the Spanish Civil War). We have however learnt a lot about Orwell's taste in food (he is partial to an egg or two a day), and we have had insight into his love of nature and fascination with the animal kingdom - which no doubt helped shape his great novel Animal Farm. I still have high hopes that Orwell will develop as a blogger over time, even though he is not quite currently living up to my initial billing (as a 'very much needed new presence in the blogosphere given the kind of idiocy which currently dominates it, not least from those who claim to stand in his legacy yet cheer on imperialist war' - like 'Harry's Place' - above)

2008 Histomat Most Incredible Quote of the Year:
George Bush admitting his biggest regret of his time in power was a 'failure of intelligence'. Yeah, like that was ever on the cards once he became President...
Runner up: David Blunkett on Clem Attlee: 'In freeing hundreds of millions of people from imperialism after the war (not least in India), he laid the foundations of a commonwealth of equals.'

2008 Histomat Most Idiotesque Quote of the Year:
'It was absolutely brilliant...an Obama moment a la Britain.'
Ian Gibson, Labour MP on, er, Gordon Brown's speech to this years Labour Party conference.
Runner up: George Galloway's idea that the world economic crisis means that the left has to stop talking about 'dead Russians'. Presuming Galloway is talking here about the likes of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin rather than say Leo Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, the argument is still idiotic. As someone once put it, 'those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it' and while of course the Left should always be doing far more than simply arguing the toss about the Russian Revolution and how it was lost ad infinitum, the destructive historical legacy of Stalinism cannot just be wished away by socialists - and those who stand in the real revolutionary democratic vision of 'socialism from below' still have much to critically learn from the likes of Lenin and Trotsky.



At 5:29 am, Blogger Charlie Marks said...

Comrade, Stalin was from Georgia. So, good news - we can still argue about him!

At 10:47 am, Anonymous Hossam said...

Thanks Christian for this lovely posting and for all the kind words you wrote about my blog..
Keep up the good work...

At 11:53 am, Blogger Snowball said...

Hossam - no worries - great to meet you this year - keep up the good work yourself etc.

Charlie - good point, but there is just one snag - by your reasoning doesn't that make Trotsky from Ukraine though?

At 12:14 am, Blogger Charlie Marks said...

So it is Lenin we must keep quiet about! Unless it turns out he was born in Belarus, or something.

At 12:33 am, Blogger pauly said...

America, fuck yeah!
-acceptance speech on behalf of the nation.


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