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British Anti-Americanism

Page 14 of 14

Christopher Hitchens, the Anglo-American commentator, has argued that anti-Americanism still has a powerful right-wing component. ‘The Cold War succeeded in fixing the idea of anti-Americanism as a syndrome of the left. Forgotten was the long hatred of the old right for the American idea. But now we can see its resurgence in the applause from all of the old and new fascist parties for the attacks of September 11.’37 Notwithstanding this, the ideological rejection of what the United States is comes overwhelmingly from the left in Britain today. It is this ideological rejection that is the major motivator for British political anti-Americanism in both its foreign policy and explicitly ideological forms. Much contemporary anti-Americanism is motivated by an opposition to what those objecting to the United States believes it stands for – namely individualism and laissez-faire capitalism. The United States is the embodiment of what those objecting to it perceive as what is wrong with Britain. In a world where the alternatives have seen to fail, raging at the United States has become a safe way of raging at capitalism without having to provide one’s own answers. This raises the question, why has the rejection of capitalism such an enduring appeal, why is it so incorrigible?

Michael Mosbacher is the Director of the Social Affairs Unit, an independent social policy think tank based in London. He is the author of Marketing The Revolution: The New Anti-Capitalism and the Attack upon Corporate Brands. (London, 2002).



1 M. White, ‘Blair battles on after record rebellion’, The Guardian, 19th March 2003.

2 S. Hattenstone, ‘I’m no operator – interview with Oona King’, The Guardian, 12th May 2003.

3 T. Baldwin, ‘World’s big problem is the US, says Meacher’, The Times, 20th June 2003.

4 M. Meacher, ‘This war on terrorism is bogus’, The Guadian, 6th September 2003.

5 J. Vidal, ‘They stood up to be counted – and found nobody could agree on totals’, The Guardian, 17th February 2003.

6 J. Lloyd, ‘Between Iraq and a hard place – interview with Michael Ignatieff’, Financial Times Magazine, 30th August 2003.

7 Quoted in S. M. Lipset, American Exceptionalism: A Double Edged Sword, New York, 1997, p.18.

8 Pew Global Attitudes Project, Views Of A Changing World – June 2003, Washington D.C, 2003.

9 R. Paulson, Hogarth’s Graphic Works, London, 1989.

10 K. Amis, The Amis Anthology – A Personal Choice of English Verse, London, 1989, p164.

11 R. Taylor, ‘ “Immature, immoral, vulgar, materialistic” – Views of America from the MassObservation’, New Statesman, 3rd March 2003.

12 J. O’Farrell, ‘The Tyranny of George II’, The Guardian, 4th July 2003.

13 J. Freedland, ‘Patten lays into Bush’s America’, The Guardian, 9th February 2002.

14 P. Stephens, ‘High table talk – interview with Chris Patten, Financial Times Magazine 9th August 2003.

15 H. Pinter, War, London, 2003.

16 N. Chomsky, 9-11, New York, 2001.

17 Pinter, op.cit.

18 S. Milne, ‘They can’t see why they are hated – Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad’, The Guardian, 13th September 2001.

19 A. Chrisafis & I. Tilden, ‘Pinter blasts ‘Nazi America’ and ‘deluded idiot’ Blair’, The Guardian, 11th June 2003.

20 E. Hobsbawm, ‘American’s imperial delusion’, The Guardian, 14th June 2003.

21 M. Ignatieff, Empire Lite: Nation-Building in Bosnia, Kosovo and Aghanistan, London, 2003.

22 J. Ashley, ‘How a Labour rebel became friends with US hawks’, The Guardian, 23rd June 2003.

23 J. Hari, ‘The land where people want America to invade’, The Independent, 2nd July 2003.

24 G. Monbiot, The Age of Consent, London, 2003.

25 M. White, ‘Dalyell steps up attack on Levy’, The Guardian, 6th May 2003.

26 Ibid.

27 J. Sacks, ‘A New Antisemitism?’, in P. Iganski & B. Kosmin, A New Antisemitism: Debating Judeophobia in 21st Century Britain, London, 2003.

28 B. Wilson, ‘Revolution revisited’, The Guardian, 28th August 2003.

29 Ibid.

30 S. Milne, ‘Why the US fears Cuba’, The Guardian, 31st July 2003.

31 S. Hattenstone, ‘Saddam and me – interview with George Galloway’, The Guardian, 16th September 2002.

32 M. Mosbacher, The British Communist Movement and Moscow: How the Demise of the Soviet Union affected the Communist Party and its Successor Organisations, London, 1996.

33 A. Murray, ‘Eyes Left’, Morning Star 17th December 1999.

34 S.M. Lipset, op cit., p19.

35 J. Freedland, Bring Home The Revolution: The Case for a British Republic, London, 1998.

36 K. Sinclair, A History of New Zealand, London, 1988, p59.

37 C. Hitchens, Regime Change, London, 2003.


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