Jeff Sparrow

A protest to demand climate action, Sydney, January 10.

The far right traditionally grows in the context of political despair when fear is channelled into scapegoating.

“Koran discovered with coffee cup stain on the front cover, US marines deployed to all Starbucks franchises.” The quip, retweeted by celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins, exemplifies the belligerent incomprehension with which so many, including self-proclaimed liberals, have responded to protests against the film The Innocence of Muslims. Rioting over a YouTube clip that offends the Muslim sky fairy? How tremendously foolish! How childish; how superstitious; how very, very silly!
This article is republished from Overland magazine. * * * Anzac Day celebrates forgetting. Its revival, the transformation of a ceremony nearly extinct in the 1980s into today’s turbocharged festival, coincides with the excision from national consciousness of the most important aspects of the Great War.
These days when an online conversation turns to international affairs, even here in Australia, it’s not long before the Ron Paul supporters arrive. Not since the height of Obamania have so many Australians been so enthusiastic about a  US politician. But what makes the passion about Paul even more remarkable is that he’s a Republican — and many of his local fans identify as progressives.
When, after destroying Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Party took a surprise turn and embraced Tony Abbott as leader, there were those on the left who greeted the news with combined incredulity and glee.
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