Overland 200

Overland magazine is one of Australia’s finest independent journals. I contributed the lead essay in 2008 about the resource wars.

The publication is progressive and proud.

It has just released its 200th edition and a number of leading leftists were asked to briefly define the “Left” in 2010 and what it means to them.

Here’s my response:

In the 21st century, I comfortably find myself on the Left and not having to belong to a political party or advocacy group. To define the “brand” seems almost futile. A great opportunity was missed after the calamitous global financial crisis, when the failure of uncontrolled capitalism was clear for all to see. Very few prominent leftists, however, appeared to articulate an alternative economic model. That was our moment and we blew it. The GFC will happen again and the same journalists and finance gurus will be shaking their heads wondering why.

One issue that the Left is increasingly embracing is the Israel/Palestine conflict. Whereas in decades past the Left may have embraced “plucky” Israel, these days Israeli apartheid is endangering the world and the Jewish state is justifiably isolated. Its legitimacy is rightly challenged. I’ve discovered that many Jews who call themselves leftists still retain an emotional bond to Israel, a moral blind-spot that can somehow defend the Israeli occupation or Israel’s right to discriminate against Arabs. The true litmus test is therefore this: do you believe in the same equal rights for all, Jew, Arab, Christian, Muslim, Bedouin or atheist? Sadly, too many Jews are still unable to positively answer this question.