First Violent Attack Against Jazz Audience

August 07, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Drummer Will McClure (73) who attended my concert last night was subject to an attack outside my concert by some anti Atzmon hooligans. He was injured in his eye and suffered a shock.

A week ago, Oxford Albion Beatnik Book Shop that hosted my concert received a threatening letter from Stephen Silverman (CAA). Silverman hinted that something may happen unless the club surrendered to his demand and cancelled the concert.  Tonight we saw the first violent attack against Jazz audience. Will was bleeding from his eye for an hour.

We had a packed room in Oxford, I can assure you, they were not impressed.  Brits do not like to see their little cosy Oxford turning into a battle zone. If the CAA is genuinely concerned with antisemitsm it better go out of its way to make sure that such an event never occurs because as things stand, the Campaign Against Antisemitsm (CAA) together with other Jewish organisations such as Jewdas are introducing violence and hooliganism to British arts scene. This is unacceptable and it won’t be tolerated!

I should mention that the Jewish members of the audience were devastated and embarrassed by it all, They insisted to disassociate themselves from this unfortunate event.

The police are involved

Update: July 7 10 AM GMT. Will couldn’t open his eyes this morning.. He is now back in hospital

The following message was left by Will’s wife on my FB page; 

Ann Saxton Mac I hope the person responsible for throwing the egg tonight that was obviously intended for Gilad Atzmon reads this. You see I am the wife of the person you assaulted with the egg. We are not from this country but here on holiday from New Zealand. We first met Gilad 17 years ago when we attended a concert in London & over the years whenever we have traveled we have managed to catch Gilad performing in several different countries. My husband is 73 years old & also a musician. He did not deserve this attack & neither did Gilad or any other person.. The egg struck my husband in the eye. The egg shell shattered & penetrated his eye cutting the eye ball causing it to bleed. He eye sight is badly affected & there is great swelling to his eye socket & no doubt by morning it will be bruised & black & blue. However you will not get away with this the Police are now involved, Your car will be identified by CCTV footage & we will press for criminal charges to be laid & hold you financially responsible for all medical expenses & any physical or emotional damage caused by this random act of stupidity. What you did tonight was nothing short of cowardly behaviour & you should be thoroughly ashamed of what you have done & the harm you have caused my husband. I have been married to this lovely gentle man for 52 years & he really did not deserve this to happen to him. If you had the decency you would admit responsibility & apologize in person but from your behaviour tonight I doubt if you would have the guts to do so, Shame on you whoever you are I hope you are proud of your actions. If you were my son or daughter I know what I would do to you.

Denni Harrison is the owner of Albion Book Shop. He was subject to pressure by the CAA. The following message was left on my FB page:

Dennis Harrison I have hosted Gilad Atzmon perhaps 30 times in ten years, many venues, music and talk. Never ever any hint of problem from audience or any outside (never protesters). Only after receiving a letter from the ‘enforcement’ officer of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), who has an “understanding that protests… are likely,” do I have trouble. Silverman did not issue a threat, but I draw my own conclusions. The CAA is a sham charity with no conviction that seeks to get others to do its dirty work for them; it believes that “individuals should be at the forefront of the fight,” so should be held accountable for this serious and violent crime upon an innocent bystander.

Insight Vox: Gilad Atzmon and the attack on dissent (video)

August 03, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Author and musician, Gilad Atzmon, has published several books on identity, politics and philosophy; most recently “Being in Time” which examines the post-political world.

He now faces a desperate attempt to destroy his musical career and take away his livelihood. In an extended interview we examine what he is saying that is “forbidden”, who seeks to silence him, how it is done and how we should respond.

Anonymous and unfounded charges of “holocaust denial”, “antisemitism” and of unspecified “hatred” are being used in these attacks. But never is evidence given, let alone tested. The allegations seem to have a power that does not require any underlying truth. How does rationality respond to such incantations?.

He is under attack for his ideas, but it is his music that is targeted, not the ideas themselves. Why should this be? Perhaps it is a simple and crude ploy to cripple him financially. But perhaps it is because in Atzmon, jazz remains a form of resistance. Beauty, spontaneity, grace and authenticity are the hallmarks of his music. Perhaps it is these qualities that his opponents cannot allow to exist.

Join Gilad Atzmon and David Scott as they explore the battle raging around “Being in Time”

Gilad Atzmon’s book Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

Learn more on Jewdas: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2016/2/2/jewdas-a-glimpse-into-jewish-left-duplicity

theduran.com: Gilad Atzmon on politics in music, Roger Waters, Palestine and humanitarianism

by Adam Garrie

http://theduran.com

Jazz musician, author and philosopher Gilad Atzmon spoke with The Duran about Roger Waters verses the Israel lobby, the place of politics in music, freedom versus dogma and Palestinian freedom in the 21st century.

Recently, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has been in the news, not for his North America musical tour but for his politics. As an outspoken supporter of Palestine, he has come up against the Israel lobby in many western countries.

Recently, various pro-Israel activists have financed the making of a film against Waters called Wish You Weren’t Here,a mockery of the Pink Floyd album and song Wish You Were Here.

Even among politically minded musicians, few talk about the Israel/Palestine issue. I recently spoke with acclaimed jazz musician, philosopher, social commentator and pro-Palestine thinker Gilad Atzmon about his reaction to the latest attempt to smear Roger Waters over his advocacy of Palestinian justice.

Adam Garrie: As someone who started life as a musician, I have a special affection for music and I would personally never judge my emotive experience at listening to a piece of music based on the politics of the composers and/or performers. At the same time, I am deeply political and am consequently always attentive when musicians decide to get political.

It is nothing new. From Beethoven’s 9th symphony, to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture and Strauss’s 4 Last Songs, musicians have always been immersed in world events. People look to the revolutionary attributes of jazz heroes like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Roland Kirk and Miles Davis to the folk, pop and rock music of Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Pink Floyd as a source of meaning that ties the political into the emotional and dare I say the spiritual also.

What do you think the connection is and ought to be between music and politics?

 Gilad Atzmon: To start with, although historically musicians and artist have been highly involved in politics, I am not so sure that this is the case anymore.  The culture industry has evolved into a subservient operation. First it reduced beauty into a commodity and  then utilized it as a propaganda tool. Our (music) festivals are funded by banks and politically oriented cultural institutes.

There is no doubt, for instance,  that Jazz, the voice of the oppressed, has lost touch with its original poignant revolutionary impetus. It has been mostly reduced into emotionless scholarly noise verging on academic masturbation.

While politicians operate within a giving symbolic order, artists question conventions and re-invent symbolism. At present, the domineering aspect of the industry reduces the artist into a propagator of accepted conventions utilizing acceptable symbolism. I rebel against all of it. I prefer to dig and to seek the truth, I don’t claim to know the truth but I love excavating.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcYy1L67S-I

 AG: When it comes to the issue of Palestinian freedom and dignity, three people who can justifiably be called music legends stand out as  artists who have used both their music and their voices to speak out, there is yourself, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine). Are these artists different than others who talk about political issues, people who tend to flirt with the establishment for example like Bono?

GA:  First, thank you for considering me a ‘legend.’ Supporting Palestine is no doubt a noble cause. Moreover, since the music industry is largely an extended Jewish syndicate, opposition to the Jewish State is a self-inflicted death sentence. As you would expect, not many reasonable people choose to sentence themselves to death.

Robert Wyatt has been supporting Palestine because he is the most authentic mench around. Waters performed in Israel a few years ago, he witnessed the oppression, he was moved by it. He joined the solidarity movement. My case is a bit different.

I was born in Israel. It took me many years to grasp that Israel was Palestine and I was living on someone else’s land. When I understood this, I immigrated to London where I found that Diaspora Jews who operate politically as Jews (Zionist as well as ‘anti’) are far more obnoxious and even dangerous than Israel is. The Lobby (AIPAC, LFI, CFI, CRIFF) dominates USA, UK and French foreign affairs. It pushes us into wars. Unfortunately,  a similar Jewish lobby dominates the Palestinian solidarity movement and has managed to reduce the Palestinian call for a ‘Right of Return’ into an internal Jewish debate about the ‘Right to BDS’ (Boycott, Divest & Sanction Israeli goods).  I started to ask myself questions relating to Jewish power and the Jewish past. I realised that Palestinians are just the Goyim du jour. If we want to help Palestine, we have to understand that by now we are all Palestinians.

Bono, is an interesting case. I would love to believe that he is a genuine and empathetic human being. But too often his activity somehow coincides with neocon interests, colonial imperialism and mammonism in general. Whether Bono is informed enough or not is beyond me. I have never looked into his case in a scholarly manner.

 

 AG: Have you ever personally feared that your musical career could be harmed because of your philosophical, sociological and political statements even though you’re an ardent advocate of peace and human dignity for all?

GA: Assaults against my artistic activity occur daily. Promoters and presenters of my work are subject to a constant barrage of pressure and even threats. Very rarely they succeed in having a gig of mine cancelled.

However, this is crucial. In Europe there are broad hate speech prohibitions. Despite the endless attempts to silence me, not once have I been questioned by a law enforcement body anywhere around the world about anything I said or wrote.

AG: Imagine you are the child in a secular Jewish/Zionist home. You like listening to Pink Floyd’s records as almost all young people have done since the 1960s. Your parents then tell you not to listen anymore because of Roger Waters’ views on Palestine. What might you feel? Would listening to Roger’s music become an act of youthful rebellion decades after The Dark Side of The Moon and The Wall were recorded?

GA: If Zionism was a promise to make Jews people like all other people, then stopping your children from listening to Pink Floyd guarantees that they won’t be people like other people.

AG: In addition to speaking out against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, Roger Waters encourages all musicians to boycott Israel. What are your views on this and if you were invited to Israel to perform your music would you go? If you went would you feel that you would be at risk of violence due to your philosophy and statements?

GA: Yesterday in Prague I met two Israeli musicians who used to work with me in the 1980s. We ended up talking about Roger Waters. They weren’t politically oriented people however, they suggested that Waters is on shaky moral ground because Waters mounts pressure on artists to join BDS and boycott Israel. Let me shock you, I am also troubled by that. The fact that Palestinian solidarity activists can’t differentiate between a tomato and a poet or between an avocado and a historian troubles me.  I am an avid advocate of freedom of speech and expression. I want beauty and ideas to travel freely.

Every discourse is a set of boundaries.  I was invited last year to participate in the 30th Red Sea Festival. My personal boundary is that I will not visit the Jewish State or any other state that is set to serve the interest of one race. I vowed not to visit Israel unless it is a state of its citizens and by that I mean that it is Palestine from River to the Sea.

AG: Roger Waters often pens open letters to fellow artists. Here is your opportunity to do the same. What would you write to Roger?

GA:  Dear Roger:

As a hero of humanity and freedom who made the prospect of a bright future into a song, I urge you to distinguish between Athens and Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city of revelation and commandments, it provides us with a set of laws that define right and wrong. Athens, on the other hand, is the symbol of philosophy, beauty, science and reason.  Activists belong to Jerusalem, philosophers are from Athens. You cannot fight Jerusalem while being a Jerusalemite. Athens is where you belong. Let’s enable people to think for themselves and learn to make ethical judgements. Let us choose Athens rather than setting a different tyranny of correctness.

AG: Roger Waters is now 73. His musical statement has been very much ingrained on the world and that won’t be taken away. If there was a young man of 17 with the musical talents of for example yourself or Roger and the political views of either yourself or Roger, would you advise them to hold their tongue for the sake of their career assuming you were asked with sincerity and respect?

GA: I guess that I pay a price for being outspoken, but I am very happy. I am a free agent. As I said above, I am not an activist, I don’t advise people what to do or what to say, I endeavor to help people form their own thoughts as they move along. The same rule applies to me, my thoughts are shaped and reshaped constantly. For me this is what Being in Time is all about.

 

AG: Gilad, you recently played on Pink Floyd’s ‘final’ record, The Endless River featuring the line-up of David Gilmour, Nick Mason with archived recordings from the late Richard Wright. If you are able to do so, can you disclose if your politics were discussed during the recording sessions given that the elephant in the room would have been the fact that your politics are most similar to the ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters who was not on that particular album?

GA: We didn’t touch upon politics, we were there for music. What fascinated me was that I initially experimented with my tenor sax. It wasn’t easy, I am not the ideal Pink Floyd saxophonist. Then I went into the control room and told David Gilmour and Phil Manzanera that in my mind, I  heard something completely different—a Turkish clarinet. I played one take, there was silence. David said that it was beautiful but totally foreign to Pink Floyd’s sound.  I agreed, he was correct. But I told him that this was what I heard. I didn’t think that my clarinet would make it into the Album, but it did. The explanation is simple: through art, beauty reveals  itself as an authenticity.

 

 AG: Do you think condemnation of artists like yourself, Roger Waters, Robert Wyatt and others from the Israel lobby has any negative effect on how your music is perceived and enjoyed? On the contrary does it have a positive effect or is it immaterial to most music lovers?

 GA: If anything, the attacks provide humanity with a glimpse into the vindictiveness that is unfortunately embedded in Jewish Identity politics, both Zionist and anti. My response; the more they attack, the faster and louder I play. Still, there is something I fail to understand. If the lobby is upset by my criticism of Jewish Identity politics, all they have to do is make sure that the saxophone is constantly shoved into my mouth. They should insure that I play 24/7, they should book my gigs rather than try to cancel them.

Gilad Atzmon’s book Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

Athens versus Jerusalem-a book review by Taxi (Plato’s Guns)

June 24, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: The following is an incredibly clever book review by one of my favourite political commentators. Taxi  sees in  Being in Time an expose of  the ‘Athens vs. Jerusalem struggle.’ Taxi is  absolutely right – this is a battle  for our survival. It is far from being an easy one, We are both infiltrated and run over.

PLATO’S GUNS

Athens versus Jerusalem

by Taxi

https://platosguns.com/2017/06/24/athens-versus-jerusalem/

A review of ‘Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto’ – by Gilad Atzmon/Skyscraper Publication

First, I must make stern objection to the subtitle of this book: “A Post-Political Manifesto“.  No, dearest reader, this is no manifesto at all.  A manifesto is usually instructive and Atzmon’s book is actually reflective.  A manifesto is imbibed with strict political dogma, whereas Atzmon’s book is charged with a free-flowing, philosophical energy.  The book is, in fact, an astute and remarkable comment on the metaphysics of our current political condition: using the age-old blueprint of Athens versus Jerusalem to unravel the dark and twisted marvels of our current political dystopia.

For over two thousand years, a war between rationalist Athens and messianic Jerusalem has ensued, but not to clear conclusion.  For several millennia, this epic war has vacillated and the victor’s scales have tipped hither in one era and dither in another.  The war between Athens and Jerusalem continues relentlessly into our present day, and this side of the 21st century, it is cultural philosopher and Jazz artist, Gilad Atzmon, who now updates us on this epic and raging battle where each side is struggling to occupy the very perception of humanity itself.  Both sides claim to be the saviors of mankind; and currently, the Jerusalem school of thought is leading, but only because its agents have successfully infiltrated to the core, the elite leadership and governments of the Western world.

 

Simultaneously, Athens is presently having its victories too, as evidenced by the growing popularity of Atzmon’s elegant Athenian book – a rare publishing phenomenon in itself indeed, indicating a growing market hungry for Athenian thought.  Moreover, this current Athenian awakening can also be measured by recent polls, and by the palpable bulging of an eclectic population on Social Media, unified in expressing its disgust, distrust and utter rejection of Jerusalemite rule.  You could say that the various chattering masses are currently seeking the humanism and order that Athens promises because they are so very dissatisfied and disillusioned by what Jerusalem has delivered them: division, intolerance, senseless wars and hopeless human misery with no end.

One observes that since the controversial establishment of the State of Israel, the Jerusalem school has had an accelerated progress.  Inside of 70 years, Jerusalemites, with feverish dedication have successfully installed their peculiar brand of anarchy through the aggressive spread of divisive Identitarian Politics, tyrannical Political Correctness, ruinous Predatory Economics, vampirical Controlled Opposition, as well as a most lethal form of warmongering Jewish Power – all simultaneously and insidiously injected into Western societies.  Jerusalem has evidently delivered us nothing but endless warfare overseas and palpable instability and dystopia in our Western societies.  It has brought us a non-humanistic world.  It has given us a lowering of citizen morale and an increase in barbaric immorality where might over right is normalized.  Jerusalem has steeped us in an absurd environment where decadent perversions are permitted, but freedom of speech is curtailed.  A world where freedom of thought is punished instead of promoted.

In the philosophical arena, Athens represents Truth and Jerusalem: the Dream.  Both appeal to the human condition but clearly, one is more grounded in reality than the other.  Today we witness how Jerusalem’s promised Dream (of the messiah) has delivered us a convoluted and godless nightmare.  It is the very sinews of this nightmare that Being In Time so meticulously and courageously explores, illuminating and dissecting the elite powers that be and the diabolical machinations behind our current socio-political catastrophe.

Atzmon’s book takes us on a most unique philosophical journey, deconstructing this ongoing nightmare with fascinating insight and intellectual rectitude and rigor.  His gripping chapters are impressively substantive: dissecting each of Jerusalem’s current Jew-centric poison tentacles with astounding clarity and moral cognizance.  Making sense of the maddening world we live in is what Atzmon’s book so assuredly delivers.  His thoughtful deliberations on Identity Politics and other Jerusalemite maladies are stunningly profound in their clarity and logic: simple, indisputable logic.  No other contemporary philosopher or political writer has ever so successfully exposed the most vital of Jerusalem’s grotesque operators: their uniquely deceptive Controlled Opposition agents.  For this alone, Atzmon’s book must be read.  All efforts at liberation from Jerusalem are lost without knowledge and understanding of the duplicitous nature and aims of Jerusalem’s Controlled Opposition.  Without the skulduggery of the Controlled Opposition, Jerusalem cannot advance from within; cannot lasso the support of the blindsided masses.  Controlled Opposition IS the enemy within, the most dangerous of all enemies.  Atzmon exposes the very character and workings of these Controlled Opposition agents: using insider knowledge, facts, and a sprinkle of his own brand of wry wit.

Truly, there are too many important chapters in Atzmon’s book to break down here one by one, but I sincerely urge people seeking a humanistic and truth-based world to read this incredible book: an important document on the contemporary moralities of our current political zeitgeist; a book written by a devout Athenian philosopher glued to the mathematics of reality and to the stellar principles of humanism.

And with such rich knowledge in hand, can change be that far behind?

 Gilad’s Being in Time can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com  and on Gilad’s site  here.

Who is afraid of Gilad Atzmon?

June 12, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Adam Garrie is one of the most sophisticated scholarly minds around. We discussed censorship, identity politics, social cohesion, Left tyranny,  the crisis of the post-modern west. We tried to figure out what being in time  is all about. If you want to see me challenged, here is your opportunity…

https://youtu.be/mmL-f020mlY

Karl Sabbagh & Gilad Atzmon discuss Being in Time

June 07, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

In this short exchange Gilad Atzmon elaborates on Being in Time, the meaning of Athens vs. Jerusalem, Tyranny of Correctness, ID politics, the New Left, Corbyn, Trump and Sanders, Utopia being Nostalgia, Jewish Elite, Jewish survival tactics, White Identity and more…(London book launch, Maramia Cafe, 5/6/2017)

https://youtu.be/PU4XmgJNifw

Being and Politics – a Left oriented critical review by Kim Petersen

June 07, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction by GA: The following is a Left oriented critical review of Being in Time by Kim Petersen (Dissident Voice). I would like to thank Kim for his eloquent approach. However, in Being in Time I obviously refrain from following the orthodox definitions of Left and Right. I actually insist that Left and Right are not what they seem to appear or represent but instead are a mirroring of the human condition: a dialectical interplay between the dream and the real (or shall we say being and becoming).  Petersen writes in the end of his review, “it would be fruitful if the book erected a promising structure, rather than simply tear down structures with little left standing.” This point must be addressed. While activists tend to know who is right and what is wrong, I see myself as a philosopher. My task is to refine questions rather than produce answers.  I leave the domain of  ‘promising structures’ of the Jerusalemites.  I am, by far more excited by the Athenian approach, namely thinking things through. For me to teach, is to teach other to think for themselves. 

The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com  and on Gilad's site  here. 

The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com and on Gilad’s site here.

Being and Politics by Kim Petersen

http://dissidentvoice.org/

Gilad Atzmon has a new book just out titled Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto. The title probably is influenced from a book, Being and Time, written by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Atzmon has put forward his manifesto that attempts to synthesize various political, cultural, psychological, linguistic strands to explain why the western world finds itself in its current state of unfettered capitalism, crushed communism, the continuing Jewish occupation of and oppression in Palestine, supremacism, the West fighting Israel’s wars, and the discourse being manipulated (even within purportedly independent media).

In Being in Time, Atzmon pulls on many threads, including sexuality, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt school, cultural Marxism, cognitive partitioning, political correctness, language, identity politics, leftism, rightism, and more.

Identity Politics

I continue to dissent from how Atzmon characterizes the Left, which he divides into the Old and New Left. Fine, there are divisions in the Left. There are certain core principles that leftists adhere to: pro-human rights for all humans, accepting of diversity, anti-war, pro-worker, anti-exploitation, etc. But what must also be realized is that many persons may pose as Left but are not leftist in orientation. People who do not embrace core leftist principles are not leftist, they are faux-leftists. To criticize the entirety of the Left because a fifth column has undermined a segment of the Left speaks to the level of infiltration, the gullibility of certain leftists, or the fragility of social conviction among some leftists.

The Left is not a monolith, and neither is the Right a monolith. Hence any criticism leveled at the entirety of a political orientation is only valid when the entirety of a political orientation espouses an identical platform.

Atzmon considers that identity politics characterizes liberalism and progressivism. (p 8) He names, for example, LGBTQ, feminists, Latinos, Blacks, and Jews as forming exclusive political alliances. However, a major plank of the Left is solidarity as it is widely understood that to bring about some greater form of socialism the masses must unite. Ergo, strict allegiance to identity politics is contrary to leftist principles. Atzmon further notes that patriotism is secondary among leftists. Jingoistic nationalism is an enemy of the working class, and it is certainly anathema to anarchists. Therefore, insofar as patriotic sentiment prejudices one’s attachment with wider humanity, it serves to divide rather than unite peoples.

Yet rightists also engage in identity politics as Whites, militarists, religious sects, and anti-abortionists attest. In the case of the US politics, Amanda Marcotte of Salon writes, “Democrats are always accused of playing ‘identity politics.’ The reality is that Republicans do it far more.”

Left-Right

I wonder what exactly Atzmon means by post-politics. I assume this refers to the “fatigue” he points to in the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump, as well as the discarding of Left and Right politics.

He sees Left and Right as “now indistinguishable and irrelevant.” (p 9)

According to Atzmon, the Left is focused on “what could be” and the Right on “what is.” (p 13) Atzmon argues, “The Right does not aim to change human social reality but rather to celebrate, and even to maximize it.” (p 13)

But the Right has engineered this “social reality” through neoliberalism, imperialism, and militaristic violence, and the only ones really benefiting from this so-called maximization are the capitalist class. That the Democratic Party in the US, the Labour Party in the UK, the Liberal Party in Canada are in step with this engineering of “social reality” adduces that they are rightist parties.

“The Left,” continues Atzmon, “yearns for equality, but for the Right, the human condition is diverse and multi-layered, with equality not just tolerated but accepted as part of the human condition, a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world.” (p 13)

The imprecision of what constitutes a chunk of Atzmon’s manifesto is annoying. The Left “yearns”? This might be written in a less biased manner as a “desire.” But it is not simply a desire for an undefined “equality.” The Left calls for an equality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources. Why not? Should an inequality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources be accepted? Should one class of people be accorded privileges over the rest of humanity? Is this not supremacism – which Atzmon deplores? And for most of the Left – most (and for anarchists, likeliest all), respect for diversity is a valued principle. Diversity is recognized by the Right, specifically, pecuniary diversity. But American society historically has been considered a melting pot rather than a celebration of diversity.

Atzmon sets up the parameters for discussion,such that the “post-political” author can diss both Left and Right. He does not discuss in the Left-Right context as to what constitutes “the human condition” and whether the rightist perspective is indeed “a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world.” I find such a statement ahistorical. The economist Karl Polanyi presented a compelling historical perspective in his book The Great Transformation that elucidates how communitarian human society was changed.

Atzmon writes, “For the Right ideologue, it is the ‘will to survive’ and even to attain power that makes social interactions exciting.” (p 13) The sentence strikes this reader as platitudinal. There is no example or substantiation provided. Which ideologue from whatever corner of the political continuum does not have a will to survive or seek exciting interactions?

Atzmon sums up the Left-Right schism as “the tension between equality and reality.” (p 13) If one cannot accept the definitions, and if the premises are faulty, then the logical structure collapses.

One flips the page and the Left is described as dreamy, illusory, unreal, phantasmal, utopian; thus, it did not appeal to the working class. Atzmon asserts, “Social justice, equality and even revolution may really be nothing but the addictive rush of effecting change and this is perhaps why hard-core Leftist agitators often find it difficult to wake from their social fantasy. They simply refuse to admit that reality has slipped from their grasp, preferring to remain in their phantasmal universe, shielded by ghetto walls built of archaic terminology and political correctness.” (p 14-15)

Atzmon is also abusive of the Right, seeing the Right ideologue as mired in biological determinism. (p 17)

Atzmon says he wants to push past political ideology. I am unaware of his professing any political leaning, so I guess he is, in a sense, already post-political. This strikes me as illusory since in western “democracies” the corporations still pull the strings of their politicians.

Atzmon applies the noun democracy recklessly. Without defining what is a democracy, through using the word (as so many people do), he inadvertently reifies something that does not exist in any meaningful sense.

Atzmon writes darkly, “Symptomatic of the liberal democratic era was the belief that people could alter their circumstances.” (p 19) Yet contemporary politicians still play on that sentiment, witness Barack Obama in the US and Justin Trudeau in Canada whose political campaigns appealed to such a belief. Does Atzmon think people cannot alter their circumstances?

Atzmon points to how the Labour Party under Blair became a neoliberal, warmongering party. He concludes, “The difference between Left and Right had become meaningless?” (p 24) I would describe this as the Left (to the extent the Labour Party was genuinely Left) being co-opted and disappeared by the Right — a political coup.

Atzmon says the political -isms and free markets are empty. He does not specifically target anarch-ism, however. Besides mentioning anarchist professor Noam Chomsky, one supposes anarchism is too fringe for Atzmon, but also it is beyond much of the criticism he levels at the Left. And as for the notion of a “free market,” there never has been one. Polanyi wrote in The Great Transformation: “The road to the free market was opened and kept open by an enormous increase in continuous, centrally organized and controlled interventionism.” (p 146)

Why has the genuine Left never attained power and brought its vision to fruition? Rampant capitalism has allowed 1% to profit grotesquely relative to the 99%. The 1%-ers have the money and the power that money buys: media, corporations, resources, and government. With the government controlled by the 1%-ers that puts the state security apparatus also under their control – and paid for the 99%-ers (because the rich all too often escape paying tax) to keep them in place. The police and military is, in essence, socialism exploited to protect capitalism. The few countries that have brought about Communism (Cuba, China, USSR, Viet Nam, etc) have found themselves under incessant militaristic and economic threat from capitalists who fear the example of successful socialism. This is missing from Atzmon’s analysis.

Atzmon even proposes that socialism can also be considered greedy because “… it promises that neither you nor anyone else will possess more than I.” (p 25) Really? Where is this stated and by who? Anarchist economics does not propose such a premise.1

Political correctness

Political correctness (PC). What is it? Atzmon calls it “a tyrannical project. The attempted elimination of essentialism, categorization and generalization… in opposition to human nature.” (p 38) Basically, it is the avoidance of language that stigmatizes other groups. Who wants to be stigmatized? Nobody. I can agree that PC has been pushed to extremes. PC also does not distinguish between intention and denotation. Should it? I confess when younger that I, close friends, and colleagues would call each other “gay.” It was actually a term of affection we used for each other. No negative sentiments were felt toward any sexual orientations; in fact, many of us were frequently in the company of LGBTQ. But we were not PC.

Atzmon finds that self-censorship is an outcome of PC: “Initially we don’t say what we think; eventually we learn to say what we don’t think.” (p 39) Perhaps. But sometimes it is better to bite one’s tongue and say nothing. I prefer to think of PC having encouraged a more respectful discourse, but PC should be criticized when it becomes excessive. There are plenty of non-PC examples among those who affiliate with the PC crowd, such as denigrating people who demonstrate for Palestinian human rights as “anti-Semites” – probably the most abused anti-PC term. PC becomes a tool of indoctrination when not practiced with equanimity and sincerity.

Is PC a freedom of speech issue? In some cases, yes. For instance, why is it okay to label someone a “holocaust denier” when questioning the veracity of certain aspects of WWII history? No serious person denies that Jews were among those targeted by Nazis; and no serious person denies that Jews were among those people transported to and having died in concentration camps.

An inordinate focus on PC can be vexing; there are much bigger issues in the world than a focus on whether to call a female “girl” or “woman.” It seems simple enough to raise awareness of inappropriate use of language. Most people will come around to a polite request to avoid words that may offend.

Miscellania

Being in Time finally begins to hit its stride when focusing on manipulations to grab and maintain power. The author is unafraid to point a finger and criticize identitarian groupings that create and exploit divisions.2 The stride is bumpy though, as Atzmon discusses sexuality, LGBTQ, feminism, Left abandonment of the working class, psychoanalysis and the scientific method, Athens and Jerusalem, severe criticism of Marxism, etc. The depth and breadth of the manifesto is beyond a book review.

The scope of Being in Time even looks at a 1970’s sitcom, All in the Family, which Atzmon sees as having “succeeded in pushing the liberal agenda into every American living room.” (p 109) Atzmon calls it a “sophisticated” “cultural manipulation.” (p 110)

Atzmon sees Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as an institutional failure “embedded in progressive and liberal thought.” (p 120) Describing the ardent neoliberal Clinton or her supporters as liberal or progressive is classic mislabeling.

Atzmon is razor sharp when discussing aspects of Jewishness and what the different aspects mean for being a Jew. However, when discussing the political spectrum, political ideology, and society, his definitions too often seem contrived to support his thesis.

In the final pages of Being in Time, Atzmon speaks from deep familiarity with the subject matter: capitalism, Mammonism, and tribalism. With a closing flourish, Atzmon poignantly dares to ask, “And isn’t it correctness, pure and simple, that stops us from mentioning that the protagonist [in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brotherhood leader Emmanuel] Goldstein is, himself, Jewish?” (p 208)

Final Comments

In the typical human perspective, Being proceeds in a linear fashion. But from a cultural, historical, linguistic, ethical, scientific perspective Being is clearly multi-faceted and not confined to linearity. Atzmon is fully aware of this, nonetheless his Being in Time tackles myriad issues in a rather binary fashion.

There are arguments presented in the book that I diverge from, but Being in Time presents points of view that deserve contemplation and a threshing out. Over all, it is a manifesto that I find unrefined; in dire need of definitions that are substantiated, not merely asserted; and (although I believe Atzmon would state this was beyond his remit) it would be fruitful if the book erected a promising structure, rather than simply tear down structures with little left standing. Being in Time comes across as an interesting foray to understanding and twining politics, power, and ontology that deserves deeper development. A dialectical approach might be most illuminating.

Alas, politics is not yet dead.

The Dream of a better world is not yet dead either. But one day the Dream must end because the Dream must be made a Reality. That is my simplistic two-sentence manifesto.

%d bloggers like this: