Mainstream and alternative media unite to shut the truth up
By Julian Samboma
I never thought that getting my new book reviewed would prove as hard as it has turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong; I was not expecting the ranks of the corporate media to descend en masse chez moi, begging for review copies and interviews with yours truly.
Certainly not! My book – The Dialectic & the Detective: The Arab Spring and Regime Change in Libya – is not only anti-establishment and anti-imperialist; it is also a scathing indictment of bourgeois media in their role as outriders for naked imperialist aggression.
The bolt from the red was the response of many left-wing writers, journalists and alternative media. I had thought that once the book was published these presumed fellow travellers would need little prompting to write and run critiques of the work.
If for nothing else, I reasoned, they would find its main thesis an interesting one, namely that the Arab Spring was a US-orchestrated plot to provide cover for the murder of Colonel Gaddafi and regime change in Libya.
If the mainstream media accomplices in the Libya intervention were going to deny publicity to the book, surely their ideological opposite numbers would jump at the opportunity to at least examine the merits or otherwise of a book which substantiates what they had been saying since the 2011 NATO war against Libya – that it was a Western conspiracy to get rid of Muammar Gaddafi.
That the establishment media ignored it is but a moot point. They would not have liked Chapter Eight in particular, where I lay into their disgusting, pusillanimous role in the whole Libya episode; the cringeworthy antics of establishment doyens, such as former Guardian editor Pete Preston and Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow, are also highlighted there.
The eye-opener came from those fellow travellers whom common sense alleged would not only welcome the book’s publication, but would do so with the enthusiasm of activists, writers and scholars whose positions on the Libya intervention were now vindicated by well-researched and dialectically-logical arguments.
Believe it or not, they behaved in the same manner as their right-wing counterparts! I am not going to do a full roll call here, but will say that I sent copies to, among many others, the Marxist website and group Counterfire, the online magazine Pan-African Newswire, Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report (BAR), the Pan-Africanist Horace Campbell of Black Commentator, the Guardian columnist Gary Younge, and Eric Draitser, a journalist and RT contributor.
Of these, Professor Campbell and columnist Younge are the only ones to whom I do not have even a tenuous connection. In a younger incarnation, I used to be a member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), as were many people in Counterfire. The PanAfrican Newswire I read and like, and am Facebook friendly with its editor, Abayomi Azikiwe; the BAR’s Glenn Ford has published my work before and, as far as I know, we are still "friendly comrades"; and I am on Draitser’s list of Facebook friends.
My messages to all but one of these six went unacknowledged; only Counterfire acknowledged receipt and bothered to reply to my request for a book review. Comrade John Rees wrote back to say, “Dear Julian, Thanks for contacting us but this isn't for us. Best wishes”.
“Dear John”, I wrote back. “Thanks for getting back. I would have thought a refusal or rebuttal on theoretical grounds would have been in order. Best…”
You see, dear reader, that was the crux. If the theses in my book are wrong, misguided, ideologically unsound, or theoretically suspect, then why won’t my “peers” come out and say so? Dismantle my arguments, peer review the work, as demanded by the scientific method. If am wrong, I’ll gladly go back to the drawing board. Don’t reject it because you don’t like the message, or the messenger.
Refute my contentions if you can. Otherwise, declare them valid and true. That is the scientific method! It’s as if my peers are afraid to review my work, for then they will be forced to publicly acknowledge its merits. And that, it is increasingly becoming clear, they will do only under pain of death.
I have tried to figure out why Marxists and others on the left would, like their right-wing counterparts, want to stay well clear of my book. The only reason which seems to make any sense is that they may have gone along with the bourgeois, imperialist narrative that the Arab Spring revolts were “popular grassroots revolutions against autocracy”. But we all did, at one time or another. Or, perhaps it is the fact that it took “a nobody from nowhere” to discover truths which had remained hidden to them for the last seven years. Your guess is as good as mine.
I have heard mention of a so-called left-wing, even a “Marxist”, establishment. It would appear that I, or rather the truths contained in my book, had come up against them. The Guardians of Absolute Truth had decreed my work heresy and ordered that the masses be protected from its hedonistic allure. “Just who does he think he is, telling us the earth is round, as if we didn’t know it already!” But, guys, you didn’t. Otherwise, you would have written my book, not me!
Their imprimatur was withheld and my book duly sentenced to be digitally pulped. It’s as if I have single-handedly been able to unite the Left and the Right in a veritable conspiracy to have my book buried under a Chernobyl-like containment shield. To paraphrase dear old Karl, if this is Marxism, then I am sure as hell not a Marxist.
The genie is out of the bottle now – and it’s definitely not going back in it!