Those zany Marxist libertarians

Lejla Kurić did a public Facebook post on Saturday linking to a catalogue of the murdered men and boys of Srebrenica. You scroll down it and it goes on and on and on.

The third comment was from a denier.

Stephen Browne There was no genocide in Srebrenica. Noam Chomsky can prove that.

The hell he can.

Via this route, I found an article by Ed Vulliamy the day after ITN won its libel suit against Living Marxism, March 15 2000. I’m permanently fascinated by Living Marxism, because they haven’t gone away, they’ve only mutated into their own opposite (or met themselves traveling in the other direction), and they’re still covering the landscape with bullshit.

[H]istory – the history of genocide in particular – is thankfully built not upon public relations or melodrama but upon truth; if necessary, truth established by law. And history will record this: that ITN reported the truth when, in August 1992, it revealed the gulag of horrific concentration camps run by the Serbs for their Muslim and Croatian quarry in Bosnia.

The law now records that Penny Marshall and Ian Williams (and myself, for that matter) did not lie but told the truth when they exposed this crime to the world, and that the lie was that of Living Marxism and its dilettante supporters who sought, in the time-honoured traditions of revisionism, to deny those camps existed.

Of course Living Marxism was unable to offer a single witness who had been at Trnopolje, the camp they claimed to be a fake, on that putrid afternoon of August 5, 1992. Indeed, they were unable to produce any witnesses at all. Unlike any member of Living Marxism or their sympathisers, I was there with ITN’s cameras that day. We went to two camps: Omarska and Trnopolje.

Why did Living Marxism get into this fight? Was it sheer exhibitionism?

What does it take to convince people? The war ground on, the British foreign office and Living Marxism in perfect synergy over their appeasement of the Serbs while other, worse camps were revealed. The bench in The Hague issued its judgment on Trnopolje in 1997: a verdict that described the camp as infinitely worse than anything we reported – an infernal place of rape, murder and torture. Witness after witness confirmed this. The Financial Times enthusiastically re-iterated Living Marxism’s claims of a fabrication, but published a hasty and grovelling retraction when it looked at LM’s non-evidence.

And others who should have known better cheered Living Marxism on.

Hungry for controversy, a sizeable portion of London’s intelligentsia lined up to support Living Marxism. They rallied round those who had named me and others as liars in the name of free speech – so why not name them too, the great, the good and the up-and-coming? Fay Weldon, Doris Lessing, Harold Evans, Toby Young, and even a handful of contributors to this newspaper. A diverse coterie, eager to sip Living Marxism’s apparently excellent claret at the ICA, to eat their canapés and run alongside the rotten bandwagon of revisionism. But how, and why?

And why are the Living Marxism people still around and still treated as valued talking heads?


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Chomsky on Srebenica denialism:

    The reporter … simply invented the denial, repeatedly, along with others. … with five minutes research on the internet, any journalist could find many places where I described the massacre as a massacre…

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Just for the record: Chomsky’s occasional collaborator Edward S. Herman does take a contrarian view on Srebenica: not denying that a massacre took place there, but claiming it happened in retribution for previous massacres, and that (at least some) victims of “the” Srebenica massacre had perpetrated some of the previous killings.

    Herman doesn’t offer sources or (enough) context in the linked interview for me to form an opinion, but has written a book (The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context and Politics) where perhaps he builds a stronger case.

    Everything in the Balkans has a confusing and sordid back story.

  3. Tom Davies says

    I suspect that Stephen Browne is someone who dislikes Chomsky rather than someone who doesn’t believe there was genocide.

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