07 December 2013

This reminds of the sanctimonious BDS mob

We've just come back from the AGM of The Tate Members. The Tate is a 4 centre art gallery, for those for whom the name is unknown: two art galleries/museums in London (T. Britain & Modern), one in Liverpool and the fourth in St Ives, which is in the far South West of England. Members are this organisation's equivalent of Friends elsewhere: for a fee, you get to go as many times as you want in a year to as many otherwise pay-on-the-door exhibitions, many of them grand (one about to open is Matisse's cut-outs, sold as a once in lifetime chance to view work from Matisse's last two decades).

We missed last year's AGM, so were surprised when certain activists opened up about B(ritish) P(etroleum)'s sponsorship of The Tate, apparently a follow-on from a row last year. What struck me was the essential naivety of these young people: there they were, going on (and on and on...) about the iniquities of BP, their role in global warming, their devil worship (I made that last bit up), and so-on.

Now, we regard ourselves as Democratic Socialists in good standing. Among other things, this means that we don't assume that there are any large commercial organisations, large enough to make significant donations to cultural organisations that are without blame. The protestors clearly do. And without such donations, cultural organisations like The Tate could not keep their doors open and/or make much of their acquired material available for free to anyone who comes in: and, believe me, much of their archive is fantastic, as is that of The British Museum, which has a similar policy.

These people reminded me of the so-called "vulgar Marxists" of my early days in education: read "The Communist Manifesto" and regarded themselves as experts on Karl Marx. I was able to say as much after the AGM to the Director of The Tate. Further, as it occurred to me after leaving the building, at least some of these people reminded me of the BDS mob: banging on about boycotting the evil Zionazis, yet refusing to give up their mobile (cell) phones, or their desk top computers, or medicines developed in Israel. I bet lots of them drive cars and even (horror of horrors) have been known to buy fuel at a BP petrol station.

Hypocrite, thy name is sanctimonious (rancid - thank you Noga!) leftist.

By Brian Goldfarb.