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Supporting Imperialism -- Is It Ever "Justified"? March 7, 2004 by RedStar2000


This is an unusually lengthy collection of posts concerning the American-British occupation of Iraq and the position that communists should have about that.

If you think the answer is "obvious", prepare to be surprised. There are people who consider themselves "leftists" and even "communists" who sincerely believe that imperialist occupation can be "temporarily progressive".

I did my best to disabuse of them of such folly...but, to be honest, without much success.

It's such an easy trap to fall into.


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quote:

Our stance should not be for the imperialist forces to pull out, but for the Iraqi people to organise as a mass and kick them out.


Yes, that would be nice.

As it happens, the Islamic fundamentalists appear to be leading the resistance to the occupation forces...so whether the imperialists withdraw or are kicked out or some combination of the two, a fundamentalist victory seems certain in the not-too-distant future.

As I noted, the arrival of the imperialists in Iraq has made things worse...and the longer they stay, the worse things will get.

I do not see how you could possibly object to this conclusion.

quote:

To pull out now without a clearly organised mass would be disastrous, and would lead to another Iran.


So now you are in favor of continuing imperialist occupation of Iraq? "At least for a while"?

Do you recall what Lenin had to say about supporting "your own" imperialist ruling class?

There's more than one way to do that, you know.

(And by the way, "another Iran" looks inevitable for Iraq at this point.)

quote:

What is needed is for a clear marxist [sic] LEADERSHIP to take hold, and organise the masses, this is the only way.


In the case of Iraq, you may as well call for "a clear Martian LEADERSHIP" -- there's as much chance of one as there is of the other.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 29, 2004
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quote:

This could turn into a full blown civil war and in the middle of it are poor British troops getting knocked off one by one.


Yes, the death of even one "poor" mercenary (professional killer for British imperialism) is a tragedy of epic proportions.

No doubt we should shut down the board for a "day of international mourning".
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 29, 2004
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quote:

I was against the War from the outset, and I remain opposed to the occupation... Unfortunately it must continue, at least for a while.


Another defender of imperialism speaks.

Back in the 1960s, American bourgeois liberals had the same line: "the war in Vietnam is cruel and wrong, but we can't just withdraw because it will lead to anarchy and even a bloodbath."

The longer America stayed, of course, the greater the bloodbath...ending with two or three million Vietnamese deaths.

Even today, there are kids still suffering from the genetic effects of "Agent Orange" -- the toxic chemical that America dropped on rural civilians in Vietnam.

No matter what happens, things will be better when the occupation forces leave or are compelled to withdraw. That has always been the case!

Realistically, of course, the United States and the United Kingdom have no intention of withdrawing...ever! The occupation is intended to be permanent.

The fake "sovereignty" they intend to put into place in Iraq will be about as "sovereign" as Slovakia or Croatia under the Nazis.

Or, for that matter, the "Government of the Republic of South Vietnam"...remember them?
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 29, 2004
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Well, perhaps this will be an interesting thread after all -- how often does one get to see a Trotskyist-Christian Coalition in Defense of British Imperialism?

quote:

...of course the longer they [the imperialists] stay the worse it's gonna be, thats why it's even more important to get a marxist leadership capable of leading Iraq to SMASH imperialism.


However, until then...?

And remember, when he says "marxist leadership", he doesn't mean just any old Trotskyist sect...he means a sect that agrees with his sect about everything!

I put the chances of that happening in Iraq about equal to the chances of George W. Bush converting to Islam. Or me!

Thus his verbal "opposition" in "principle" turns into a de facto endorsement of indefinite British occupation of Iraq...and that means American occupation as well, of course, since the British imperialists have neither the wealth nor the troops to occupy Iraq by themselves.

quote:

No, as I've stated I'm for the removal of the imperialist occupation by force, not some shitty hope that they would magically disappear.


Such "force" to be wielded by some magically appearing Trotskyist sect that will lead Iraq to liberation.

Until then...it's "God Save the Queen!"

quote:

Do you even know the traditions of the Iraqi communist parties, and what bases they have in Iraq? No, so shut the fuck up.


Traditions? Bases? Why didn't you elaborate on this point? Why didn't you tell us of your great "marxist" hope in Iraq...one that has successfully eluded all public attention up to this point!

Because, as always, you were blowing smoke out of your ass.

There is no significant "marxist" presence in Iraq at this time and there's not likely to be any for a decade or more! Probably more.

When one does emerge, it will most likely be Maoist, not Trotskyist...so you'll have still another "excuse" to continue your support of "your own" ruling class.

quote:

Good to see Redstar laughing at the expense of working class soldiers getting killed in Iraq.


Good to see you mourning the fate of scabs instead of the Iraqi civilians they cheerfully murder.

Is this the first known case of "Colonel Blimp Trotskyism"? Or is it an epidemic?

quote:

I just wish he would shut the fuck up when he doesn't know jack shit.


If wishes were knowledge, then intellectual beggars would have something to say besides "shut the fuck up".

And now for his "godly" partner in crime...

quote:

Firstly though, I am shocked that a man with your "intelligence" could possibly manage to compare Iraq with Vietnam - just the differences in the scale of the conflict are quite blatant.


Yes they are...now.

America's involvement in Vietnam began in 1947 with the dispatch of 400 U.S. mercenaries...it took a long time before it became a "major conflict".

Perhaps you think the Iraqis will just learn to accept their new masters.

quote:

Now I am no "defender of imperialism" as you claim, but please at least consider British and French colonialism in Africa, and the consequences Imperialism had there...


Yes, you are a defender of imperialism. The consequences of British and French (and other European) colonialism were uniformly catastrophic.

There is simply no way to tell how long it will take Africa to recover from your "civilizing" and "Christianizing" mission...one can only hope another century will be sufficient. But who knows?

To be fair, the Muslims always practiced slavery on a small scale...as did African tribes themselves. But it took the French and especially the British to show the world how to do it on a truly "magnificent" scale.

Because British slave traders (with financing from the leading British financial institutions) made slavery enormously profitable to African slave traders, you set in motion the tribal conflicts that continue to tear Africa apart today!

quote:

BUT, when "we" were [there], some semblance of law and order was maintained, there was an infrastructure, of sorts, and peace reigned.


Not to mention lots of churches and lots of missionaries.

Missing the "white man's burden", are you?

Think Iraq will give you "another chance"?

I'm not sure there are words in the English language strong enough to characterize your imperial arrogance...but give me a chance and I'll try to think of some.

quote:

I don't think so. I don't think they are quite this bad - no need to maintain a physical occupation when you effectively run the country anyway through ECONOMIC force.


There are already permanent U.S. military bases in "Saudi" Arabia and also in one of the Gulf emirates, and mention has already been made of a permanent U.S. military base in Iraq. Not to mention that a major U.S. fleet is permanently stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Yes, they are "that bad" and worse...not that I expect you will grasp that.

In fact, you won't see it as "bad" at all...just "maintaining law and order", blah, blah, blah.

Trotskyism and Christianity, marching shoulder to shoulder in defense of your own imperialist ruling class.

Does that surprise anyone?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 1, 2004
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quote:

No. They were there already. This is a popular misconception in the West - the idea that Africa was all peaceful and lovely before the white destroyers came. It was not! Of course this doesn't give us the right to invade, far from it - but it does mean that Britain cannot be held entirely responsible for the modern conflicts in the region.


No, the French, the Germans, the Belgians and even the Americans (in Liberia) can also claim a share of the "credit". But the "British lion" gets the "lion's share".

It is quite true that Africa was not the "garden of Eden" prior to western imperialism. Tribes fought with each other. They took slaves for their own use or to sell to Muslim slave traders (something that is still going on by the way).

But it was, for the most part, small stuff. It took the British to make slavery a global "industry"...that is the real heritage of your "glorious empire".

You turned Africa into a reasonable approximation of "HELL"...with your "Jesus" blessing the entire enterprise, of course.

And since much mention has been made of Iraq, let us not overlook the British responsibility for that toilet bowl.

"Iraq" was created by and operated by the British Empire from 1920 to 1958! Just like any other "business".

And you get the "credit" for Israel as well...every murdered Palestinian of today owes her/his death ultimately to your "Balfour Declaration"...remember that one?

"His Majesty's Government looks with favor upon the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine". The fact that a bunch of other people already lived there was "irrelevant".

If anyone wonders at the scope and magnitude of American imperial barbarism, remember: Americans were taught by the world-class experts!

quote:

There are American Air bases in the UK - therefore we are a colony under Imperialist repression/occupation?


No, you are not repressed at all...you are willing and eager "junior partners" of U.S. imperialism. You get to "strut" on the world stage again.

Your "prime minister" has his head buried in George W. Bush's lap. The military bases are just to make sure it stays there.

quote:

If I was to say: "Hitler solved the employment problem, amongst others, in Germany", would you construe this as support for Nazism? No doubt you would...


I certainly would, as would any rational person, if you used that as an excuse for supporting Hitler's remaining in power.

Because that's what both you and the Trotskyist have done here. He says the British "can't withdraw" until there's a "real marxist opposition" to throw them out -- that should be good for three to five decades of continued British occupation. You say that the British must remain to "preserve order", avoid "anarchy" and a "bloodbath", etc. That too should serve as a "good excuse" for many decades...if not forever.

Both of you claim to "oppose" imperialism "in principle"...and both of you support it in practice.

The Trotskyist, of course, adds insult to injury...lamenting the fate of British mercenaries (war criminals) in the occupation. As for the dead (non-Trotskyist) "wogs"...fuck 'em.

The real heart of this thread is this: one doesn't think the Iraqis will be "fit" to run their own affairs until they convert to Trotskyism. And the other doesn't think the Iraqis will be "fit" to run their own affairs until they convert to Christianity!

Both of you are totally disgusting...and belong in Opposing Ideologies.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 1, 2004
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quote:

I simply stated that the occupying force should remain for the time being. To withdraw now would indeed lead to chaos - which no-one can suggest is in the best interests of the Iraqi people! The army is providing Iraq with a temporary police force and helping to train new (Iraqi) recruits.


Aaawwww...that's really swell!

Did you say something about someone making a fool of himself, fool?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 1, 2004
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quote:

...somewhere I have a text file I saved of a conversation where I believe it was redstar hoped I joined the army and got shot.


Then why don't you post it?

As it happens, I do recall urging you to implement your support of U.S. and British imperialism in Iraq by "joining up".

You got such a huge thrill out of the "victorious" war that I thought it appropriate that you should personally take part.

I still think that would be a good idea, Colonel Blimp. Go show the "wogs" how "tough" a real Englishman is!

Lackey!

quote:

One of the conditions of America helping the Brits in WWII was that Britain should surrender her claim to the Empire.


Ha Ha Ha! What is this from, the Imaginary "History" Channel? I know, you've been studying with Colonel Blimp...who has many similarly strange versions of "history" -- like his contention that the British Empire was "nasty but necessary".

You two should get along great; he says he's an atheist but don't let that put you off...his atheism is as fake as his leftism, like yours.

quote:

Someone please explain to me the positive outcome of imperialist forces coming out of Iraq bearing in mind it will create a power vacuum, and at this moment in time it is the Islamic nutcases who would assume power.


Immediate withdrawal of the imperialist forces from Iraq would be correctly perceived around the world as a serious defeat for U.S. imperialism and its lackeys.

It would encourage stronger resistance everywhere...and could even conceivably create a domestic crisis in U.S. politics.

The "new left" in the U.S. (in the 1960s) began as a liberal civil rights movement...what radicalized it was the resistance of the Vietnamese.

If the Iraqi resistance -- no matter who is running it -- really succeeds in making the occupation untenable, the fallout in the U.S. (and the U.K.) will be enormously beneficial for us. (Even you Trotskyist sectarians will gain some new members...poor sods.)

You know what your problem is? You are "imagining" yourself & your pathetic sect "in power" in the U.K....and "how" you would "deal" with the problem of Islamic fundamentalism in a country that "you" were "occupying".

Guess what? The Iraqis are quite capable of dealing with Islamic fundamentalism in their own time and by their own methods.

They don't need you and your sect to tell them how to run their country! Nor do they need Blair's mercenaries to "protect" them from "disorder" and "anarchy".

As was clearly demonstrated in Iran by the American-imposed and maintained monarchy, the longer the imperialists run a place, the more they fuck things up! The worse things are after they finally leave or are forced out.

If the imperialists leave or are forced out, the most likely outcome inside Iraq is that the Islamic fundamentalists will fall to fighting among themselves...an excellent way of alienating most Iraqis from Islamic fundamentalism altogether!

But as long as the imperialists remain, all the strains of Islamic fundamentalism will be strengthened and gain the support of more Iraqis.

quote:

In fact, I challenge to state where you got he "doesn't think the Iraqis will be "fit" to run their own affairs until they convert to Trotskyism" from, and if you cannot do so, you'll take that statement back and state you were wrong and apologise.


That view is obviously inherent in the logic of your first post to this thread. If you think that the imperialists "can't withdraw" because it will lead to a "fundamentalist-run" Iraq -- something you clearly don't approve of -- than that's the same thing as saying that the Iraqis are "unfit" to run their own country because they'd make a choice you don't like!

And your statement about "marxist leadership" -- code for "Trotskyist" party -- being required to drive out the imperialists is the same thing as saying that only when Iraqis become Trotskyist will they at last "earn the right" to run their own country.

So you get no "apology" from me...not now and not ever. In practice, you have sided with "your own" ruling class against its victims.

(Just as it logically follows, by the way, that for the "Christian-Leninist" -- who believes Christianity is the "true faith" -- the "wogs" can never really be trusted to run things on their own until they "see the light" and substitute "Jesus" for the "false prophet Muhammad". He can't say that in plain and honest words because he's well aware that would earn him an express ticket to Opposing Ideologies...but it's implicit in his whole line of argument. He thinks it's a "good thing" that the British are training new Iraqi cops, for example. No doubt they use the instruction manuals from Northern Ireland!)

quote:

RedStar, your argument has no logic. You support a capitalist state banning headscarves, yet you support a situation which would lead to a Islamic capitalist state banning not wearing headscarves? This is what happens when you have no principles and are jumping around everywhere and don't have a solid argument to stand on.


Not exactly. It's "what happens" whenever I enter into controversy with people who are unable to either read with comprehension or follow a logical argument (even their own!).

I support the French National Assembly ban on religious displays in French public schools because I think it is a small step in the right direction -- removing religion from public life.

I support the expulsion/withdrawal of U.S. and British mercenaries from Iraq because it will give any proto-secular forces there room to stand on! As things are now, they are hopelessly squeezed between the imperialists and the fundamentalists...there are no other alternatives there now!

Only after the imperialists are gone will the small secular groups begin to find some room to stand and fight...without being tarred with the brush of collaboration with imperialism.

This has been actually taking place in Iran in recent years. The Iranian fundamentalists are still trying to play the "American lackey" card against the secularists...but with diminishing effect.

It is almost certainly what will happen in Iraq...but not until the imperialists are gone.

quote:

Just trying to show that this guy is an idiot. I wouldn't usually bother, but he posts too often for me to ignore, and if people see he is full of shit, they will read his posts but not take it for granted. That is what is to gain.


Yes, I gathered as much.

But all you've really demonstrated is how to support your own ruling class with a few scraps and tatters of Trotskyist rhetoric.

Frankly, I think even Trotsky would be embarrassed by your ineptitude.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 2, 2004
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My impression is that what passes for "marxist" in Iraq is actually very mildly social-democratic...though it's always possible that there are real Marxists there and we just don't know about them. The collaboration of the Iraqi "Communist Party" with the occupation forces is a death sentence of course...once you've been publicly identified as a quisling, the stink takes decades to wear off...if ever.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 2, 2004
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I would like to make a point here...because I think this is an argument about the wrong issue.

The reason that I think he should be exiled to OI is because he is supporting his own ruling class in the occupation of Iraq...I think that that's an anti-leftist position.

I think "even Lenin" would agree with me. I'm sure that Che would.

Granted that we cannot and should not start an orgy of banning people or restricting people simply because they disagree on one or another question, I think we should draw a line at supporting imperialism.

There's just no excuse for that!

I'm not talking about some kid who came to this board to "find out" about this Che-guy and this lefty stuff...I'm talking about people who know what they are saying, what it really means, and who are just fine with that!

He says that the British must remain in Iraq. The Christian-Leninist says that the British must remain. And Colonel Blimp has said that it was "right" for the British to invade. (He's been discreetly silent on the matter of withdrawal, as far as I know.)

I think this is all way too much to be tolerated. I don't care that much one way or the other about personal insults; I'm perfectly capable of responding in kind when I think the situation warrants it.

But I care a lot about opposing imperialism...especially U.S. imperialism and its lackeys like Blair's U.K.

To continually witness people who are not only unrestricted but even in the Commie Club defend imperialism is, when you stop and think about it, outrageous!

It ought to stop, dammit!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 2, 2004
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quote:

A true sign of independence is the ability to handle a situation in a civilized way.


Yes...sort of like the way George & Tony have "handled" the Iraqis from the beginning.

With such "civilized ways", who needs barbarism?

quote:

This was the main topic of discussion when Churchill and Roosevelt met aboard a ship in the Atlantic prior to American "involvement" in the War.


No it wasn't. The "main topic of discussion" was a deal whereby America traded some obsolete battleships to England in exchange for some obsolete naval bases.

Historians mostly agree, I think, that Roosevelt wanted to be "in the war" fairly early on...but faced stiff domestic opposition.

Even after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. did not declare war on Germany until after Germany declared war on the U.S.

As for "giving up the empire", Churchill himself declared towards the end of World War II that he had "not become prime minister in order to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire".

It is true that Roosevelt privately expressed reservations (shortly before his death) about helping the French re-take their "possessions" in IndoChina.

Truman and Eisenhower had no problem with that at all.

quote:

Do you think they are training the next 'Gestapo' or something?


What the bloody hell else would an imperialist country do?

Oh, I know...train them to be just like the famous English bobbies in 1930s English murder mysteries.

"Ere now, wots all this..."

quote:

Naturally, I want the US/UK out eventually - as soon as possible, in fact. It isn't possible yet, though. There are far too many factions wanting to get at each other's throats and nothing in place to stop this.


Yes, these people must be "civilized" first...taught the English version of "tolerance" as set forth in Northern Ireland.

quote:

Firstly India, Gandhi used peaceful protest to basically kick the British imperialists out.


I'll say one thing for that old faker, er, fakir, he sure had one hell of a public relations manager.

The fact of the matter is that both the Labor Government of that time and the British public in general were sick of war...and were no more inclined to support any further military adventures in India than they were in Greece, Palestine, or (I believe) Burma -- all places from which British forces were withdrawn in 1947-48.

Gandhi didn't "win" India's independence from England...the British were simply exhausted and could no longer spare the resources to hold onto it. What good was Gandhi's non-violence in the 1930s while England was still a "world power"?

Try zero.

quote:

Secondly, in Vietnam the media coverage and peaceful protest against the war is often credited by many historians as being the most important in the withdrawal of US troops, higher even than military failure.


Yeah, I've read the "historians" you're referring to...the ones that whine "we never lost a battle -- the liberal media stabbed us in the back".

The anti-war movement in the 1960s (in which I was a participant, by the way) played an important role...there's no doubt about that. But it was the stubborn resistance of the Vietnamese that defeated U.S. imperialism. Indeed, America's own conscript army was so demoralized that it began to refuse to engage the enemy and actually approached mutiny.

The American ruling class "cut its losses" and withdrew...something that may happen again in Iraq.

In seven to ten years!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 3, 2004
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quote:

As for his "unleftist views", unlike supporting the actual war, it's not as clear-cut as you think. It's entirely subjective whether or not his position is compatible with leftism.


Subjective? Supporting imperialist occupation of Iraq is "compatible" with leftism?

Supporting your own capitalist ruling class in imperialist war and conquest hasn't been "compatible" with leftism since 1914!

The only partial exception to that was in the period 1939-1945...when many leftists were willing to unite with their own ruling classes to stave off the Nazi threat. And you could make an argument that some leftists went "too far" on even that occasion.

Otherwise? Show me one single decent lefty who sided with his own ruling class against its victims!

Your assertion is absurd!

quote:

Besides, you have some positions yourself that some don't find compatible with leftism, redstar.


Yes, I certainly have my share of critics...it comes with the territory. But setting aside the Leninist whining, the people who usually say that my views are "incompatible" with leftism are the ones who think that a leftist is "anyone who calls themselves that" -- regardless of their views.

They don't like me because I am "intolerant"...I won't just sit back and say "Oh, in leftist circles you can say or do anything you like and I won't mind...'live and let live', blah, blah, blah."

"Wanna be a cop? Hey, that's ok. Wanna be a preacher? No problem! Wanna be an imperialist mercenary? Hoohah, comrade!"

Yes, I am intolerant! If I see this shit on the board, I will jump all over it!

It's what communists are supposed to do!

quote:

Actually I have on many occasions stated that now that the task of removing Saddam Hussein is complete, the US and British forces should be withdrawn from the occupation, and that their remaining is counter productive.


Well, better late than never! I look forward to seeing your post on this subject in the Politics thread...I am especially curious about the reasons you will use when you criticize the pro-imperialist views of the Trotskyist and the Christian.

You will have to walk a very fine line to criticize them and avoid indicting your own support of the war.

But we'll see.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 3, 2004
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quote:

It's pitiful to watch these endless, bitter feuds unfurl all around the forum...


I guess, like many things, this must be explained over and over again.

This is not a feud, not a grudge, etc.

He supported U.S. and British imperialist aggression against Iraq.

He supported his own imperialist ruling class against its victims.

That fact will not go away! It cannot be covered up. There's no "decent" rationale for it from any kind of left perspective!

It is true that he now says the U.S. and the British should withdraw -- though his post on the subject in the Politics thread was so typically incoherent that I still don't know why he's done so.

But, fair enough, he's done so...thereby climbing above the truly appalling level of the Trotskyist and the Christian -- who support the on-going occupation and the horrors thereof.

What do I want from him? I want a flat and unambiguous admission from him that he was wrong to do what he did!

When that happens, I'll be perfectly delighted to withdraw all of my so-called "personal attacks" on him.

Taking a brief seat on Mount Olympus, I suppose you could say that it's kind of a shame that a kid with basically decent instincts succumbed to the ideology of an English boarding school, decided to aspire to the professorial "middle class", adopted most of its "values", etc. It's probably a fairly common occurrence. It's not really "his fault", in the grand sweep of human history.

As well, it must be remembered that this is an internet message board -- not the London Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies. Everything that is written here will utterly disappear within a few years or so, probably without even a ripple. (I'd like to be wrong about that, but candor compels the admission.)

But at this time and among us, the political questions of our own time are important.

If a revolutionary movement is to ever emerge to challenge capitalism, then the kind of stance that he took in support of imperialism must be repudiated in the strongest possible way.

We simply can't afford delusions of "justified" imperialism or flabby "tolerance" of it!

It would make this entire project a really sick joke.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 3, 2004
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quote:

The United States created a more dangerous area. They destabilized Iraq and now must pay the price in lives and money to keep the situation from degrading to an all out civil war that will eventually lead to one autocratic fundamentalist theocracy or another.

Naturally I would like to see US and UK troops leave Iraq and peacekeeping UN forces go in. I would like to see more humanitarian aid. Yet the UN only goes in when a situation is fairly stable, Iraq isn't.


What are you trying to say here???

Where is it written that the U.S. "must pay" the "price" in "lives and money" to "keep the situation from degrading", blah, blah, blah?

First of all, the price is being paid by Iraqis now!

Secondly, no doubt an Iraqi civil war would make things a bit "troublesome" for Halliburton, et.al.

Thirdly, whatever the character of the winning faction, it would be unlikely to be as pliable as the American quislings presently in place...thus still no American & British "ownership" of the oil.

Would that be a "bad thing"?

And what the hell is this "United Nations" crap? UN "peace-keepers" are nothing but imperialist mercenaries in pretty, powder-blue helmets.

American ruling class politicians think that it's better that some dumb Pole or Ukrainian gets blown up than "one of ***OUR BRAVE BOYS***"...for obvious reasons.

I don't understand what you are trying to say or imply.

If you think "someone" should be running Iraq besides Iraqis, who? And why?

When the U.S. was fighting its own civil war, should England, Prussia, Austro-Hungary, etc. have "stepped in" and "restored order"?

Do you imagine that the "order" that will be imposed on Haiti by U.S. and French imperialists will be anything other than more shit?

And, I don't think we should use the word "humanitarian" in connection with the imperialists at all. They do not now nor have they ever acted from "humane" motives...they always have an angle.

If it's not an obvious one, then look deeper.

It's there.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 3, 2004
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quote:

However, what is lacking in Iraq is a clear voice for the workers and poor. Only through a workers' voice can a solution be found, and that being a socialist solution.


Ok, but until then???

What happens between now and this "socialist solution" somewhere in the future?

quote:

What you stand for RedStar is the Stalinist "2 stage theory" that somehow we will bring in a nationalist bourgeoisie, and then we will fight for workers.


We? I am more than 6,000 miles from Iraq and I am not "bringing in" anything there.

You aren't either!

If Marx was right, then yes, a nationalist bourgeoisie will undoubtedly re-emerge in Iraq as the "next stage" of development for that country...after the power of the mullahs is broken, of course. That is what is happening in Iran right now.

What else would you expect?

quote:

What is needed is a workers' state in Iraq to fight capitalist interests, be it in the form of American or Islamic. Kick out the Imperialist forces and fight for a workers Iraq! Power should go ONLY to the workers, not the mullahs in robes!


But until it is realistically possible to create your "workers' state", what is the "correct position"?

Should we demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of imperialist troops from Iraq?

Or "should" we support the continued occupation for any reasons? If so, what are they?

And if you do support continuing the occupation, why is that not siding with your own ruling class against its victims?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 4, 2004
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quote:

He didn't support the war; he's opposing the idea that even if the Americans fuck a country up, they get to leave without repairing the damage of a decade of sanctions and two wars.

The ruling class shouldn't be allowed to take the easy way out is what he's saying.


"We demand that U.S. and British imperialism repair the damages that they've inflicted on Iraq!"

Good grief!

The only "damage repair" that the imperialists will perform in Iraq is that required to extract the oil with minimum fuss. Anything else they do will be at the (heavily padded) expense of ordinary Iraqis.

That's your idea of a position compatible with "leftism"???
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 4, 2004
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quote:

Well, maybe we should be going over there to put our ideas across, setting up base within the masses, or if there is such an embryo, to support it financially.


Obviously, I'm "too old" to undertake such an strenuous expedition.

But consider...

1. Will young radical westerners be "listened to" by Iraqi workers? Why?

2. Do any young radical westerners speak Arabic fluently?

3. How would they survive financially in that country?

4. The mullahs would certainly label them "agents of the occupation"...how would they overcome that?

5. Why wouldn't the existing resistance groups (especially the Muslim fundamentalists) simply kill them on sight? In their eyes, any dead westerner is just one step closer to driving out the imperialists.

6. How would the young westerners avoid immediate arrest and internment by the occupation authorities? They would sort of "stand out", you know. And the occupation authorities have already re-filled Hussein's prisons with tens of thousands of Iraqis being "detained" on "suspicion of resistance".

Even "just" sending financial assistance would involve serious problems.

1. Who do you want to give money to? What do you know about them? How can you trust them?

2. How will you get the money to them? You can't send it electronically. If you enter Iraq with a suitcase full of currency...you will be in some pretty serious trouble if you're caught. I'm sure there's someone you can bribe who will "smooth the way"...do you know who that is? Or how to find out who that is?

Considering all the above points, it seems to me that your perspective -- from a practical standpoint -- is a Trotskyist fantasy.

Your proposal to "fight for a workers' state" in Iraq simply means that you will issue propaganda in the U.K. and other western nations that express that point of view.

There's no practical dimension to your perspective.

It's idealist.

What I think it is realistic for western leftists to do is to raise the demand IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL OF ALL IMPERIALIST FORCES FROM IRAQ.

1. We live in the west and speak western languages fluently.

2. This demand is clearly in the class interests of the working class in the west...so it will at least sound plausible.

3. As the human and financial costs of the occupation climb, it will sound more plausible.

4. This demand "fits neatly" with the principle demand of the Iraqi resistance itself; it avoids the problem of "conflicting agendas".

5. It can be used to attack the inherent nature of imperialism itself...and can lead directly to a coherent attack on capitalism as a system.

6. In addition, it can also be used as an attack on the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of bourgeois democracy.

7. It can be used to embarrass bourgeois liberals -- who will be claiming that "we" "can't just withdraw" for all sorts of bullshit "reasons" ("there will be anarchy", there will be "a blood bath", the "fundamentalists will win", there will be "a humanitarian crisis", blah, blah, blah).

The lesson of the Vietnam war is clearly applicable in this situation.

Fierce resistance by the victims of imperialism plus radical opposition to imperialism on "the home front" equals defeat for imperialism.

The way forward is obvious.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 4, 2004
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quote:

The nationalists already came to power in the '58 revolution. Baathist rule came out of it.


Well, let's get the "anticipated" chronology straight.

1. Imperialists install a quasi-fundamentalist quisling regime and keep their troops there.

2. Resistance (led primarily by "real" fundamentalists) force the imperialists to withdraw and the quisling regime collapses.

3. The new fundamentalist regime comes under more or less immediate attack by a bourgeois "reincarnation" of secular oppositionists. They may or may not be Baathist but they will be "like" the Baathists in many important respects. Some of them might even be Maoists.

4. The overthrow of the fundamentalists will be followed by a bourgeois nationalist regime...perhaps something resembling Turkey under Atatürk.

5. And in perhaps 50 or 100 years, Iraq will develop a modern working class capable of proletarian revolution and establishing communism.

Of course, the grubby paws of chance can contaminate this "clean" projection in many possible ways...but if things proceed in a straight-forward fashion, that's what looks most probable to me.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 4, 2004
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quote:

Rosa Luxembourg supported Imperialism. Engels supported the US in the Mexican-American war. Karl Marx supported British Colonialism in India. Lots of leftists supported Soviet imperialism. I guess none of these were real leftists.


First, let's go back to what I actually wrote...

quote:

Supporting your own capitalist ruling class in imperialist war and conquest hasn't been "compatible" with leftism since 1914!


That gets Marx and Engels "off the hook".

The "leftists" who "supported Soviet imperialism" are also "off the hook" unless they were Soviet nationals...who few would now argue were "real leftists".

That leaves Rosa Luxemburg...who I believe was imprisoned at the outbreak of World War I. I'm not aware that she ever made any statements in support of German imperialism prior to or during that period. Can you document otherwise?

There was a strain of opinion among Marxists as late as 1960 or so that considered imperialism "abstractly progressive"...it entered into pre-capitalist societies and broke down pre-capitalist economic formations and cultural obstacles to development. That was not construed to mean that you supported "your own" ruling class...just simply that you recognized the impact of imperialism on a historical scale.

However, I think now it is "common knowledge" that imperialism actually retards the "normal progress" of the nations it exploits.

Imperialism shows a marked tendency to ally itself with the most reactionary elements of the exploited nation that it can bend to its purposes. Indeed, much of the success of the Maoist paradigm probably stems from the fact that people who would "normally" have been bourgeois nationalists feel they must adopt a "revolutionary" strategy to make any real progress at all.

Imperialism creates "islands of development" while leaving pre-capitalist reactionary social formations mostly untouched in the bulk of the exploited nations. This makes the "normal" evolution of these countries into capitalist societies fraught with complications and difficulties.

Some countries manage to do it (South Korea, Taiwan) but most have real problems.

I think anyone today who argued that imperialism was "progressive" would not and should not be regarded as a real leftist.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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quote:

...they will only pull out if they have put in place other methods of control and the emerging society is completely subservient.


Nonsense! What were the "methods of control" that the U.S. imperialists "put in place" when they fled Vietnam? How was post-war Vietnam "completely subservient" to the U.S.?

quote:

...if they pull out and this control is not in place, we will see a bloody civil war which would likely end with a theocracy.


Yes, that is possible and even probable, but so what?

On what "authority" does he or anyone assert that the U.S.-U.K. imperialists have either the "right" or the "moral obligation" to "prevent civil war" in other countries?

Oh, I've hurt your leg; here, let me cut it off for you!

If this view, an utterly transparent excuse for supporting the continuing imperialist occupation of Iraq, does "not" strike you as fundamentally "anti-leftist", what would?

The flabby "tolerance" goes on.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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Dear me, this thread is veering off into "wonderland".

The idea of sending western Trotskyists to Iraq to organize a "socialist resistance" and "establish a workers' state" is so patently absurd that arguing the "details" is boring.

quote:

Why would they [the westerners] be young?


Because it is an extraordinarily strenuous thing you're asking them to "accomplish". They can't stay in the big western-style hotels and retain any credibility...they will have to live as Iraqi workers do--very badly. Generally speaking, only the young (under 25s) in the west are "fit" enough to do this.

Also, only an idealistic young Trotskyist would even begin to believe that this whole proposition is at all practical...older lefties would reject the idea out-of-hand.

quote:

Surely the concept of class consciousness which is raised with the advent of US imperialism will allow workers to listen to other people.


Not from the nation that has (temporarily) conquered them. If England were conquered and occupied by the U.S., would you be terribly interested in what American lefties had to say? Would the average English worker be?

In Baghdad, I'm told that Iraqis risk their lives every time they leave their homes...American and British mercenaries "shoot first" and ask questions afterwards, if at all.

So some young British Trotskyists show up and start "talking" about "socialist resistance"...would you believe a word they said?

quote:

Completely irrelevant. If you have a base in the working class, you can have all works you support and all articles you have translated. This is a very poor argument.


You want to send kids to Iraq that don't speak Arabic???

You want them to stand on a street-corner in Baghdad and sell newspapers or hand out leaflets in a language they don't understand???

Do you have any idea of how helpless you feel (and are!) in a country where you don't speak the language?

quote:

Hence the importance of organisation. Internationals easily pay/subsidize work in another country.


A militarily occupied country? A country on the edge of civil war? How will you even get the money to them? Are you sending an armored car on the Amman-Baghdad freeway?

quote:

Through theory. If you can convince the worker of marxism, he/she will dismiss the mullah fuck...


No doubt...which is why the "mullah fuck" will have a knife in your ribs within 24 hours of your arrival. The worker will never hear a word you say (and wouldn't understand it if he did...see above).

quote:

In the same way British Trade unions are targeted by fascists.


No, it's not "the same way" or anything even close to that. British fascists are right bastards, to be sure, but compared to the mullahs and their followers, the BNP is "a tea party".

You write about this stuff as if Baghdad was "a rough neighborhood" in Liverpool or something like that.

It's not. It's completely different. Any young British Trotskyists who go to Baghdad to "organize the workers" will be eaten alive! Probably the luckiest thing that could happen to them is that they'd be arrested at the airport by the occupation authorities and immediately deported.

If they actually made it into Baghdad, I wouldn't bet a dime on their lives...especially if they can't even speak the language there.

quote:

This demand "fits neatly" with the principle demand of the Iraqi resistance itself; it avoids the problem of "conflicting agendas"."
-Explain.


It's the heart of the thread, after all.

You don't support immediate withdrawal because that contradicts your wish for a "socialist solution".

You have to end up in a position of de facto support for the occupation until a "socialist solution" actually happens (or is about to happen).

Thus, your agenda directly contradicts the agenda of the entire Iraqi resistance (or nearly so)...which is immediate and unconditional withdrawal.

My perspective -- "Iraq for the Iraqis" -- avoids this problem; it's exactly what all of the currents in the Iraqi resistance agree on.

quote:

Well, if fundamentalists are currently in most power today, surely they would win...and you support this.


Better a temporary Islamic state in Iraq along with a major defeat for U.S. and British imperialism, than a practical victory for imperialism along with a Trotskyist fantasy of a "socialist solution".

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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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This desperate scrambling for an "argument", any argument, to refute my position is becoming unseemly.

Now, what have you come up with?

quote:

He says however that whatever "pull out" is declared, unless it is forced by a victory of the resistance, will not be a real pullout.


There won't be a real withdrawal unless a combination of Iraqi resistance and domestic opposition forces that to happen.

What does he (or you!) think we're discussing here...some kind of "ritual withdrawal"?

Does he (or you!) think some kind of quisling regime could remain in power for six months without the ongoing presence of imperialist troops?

quote:

If they pulled out and their plan for domination fails afterwards, which is likely, an Iran style theocracy will take over, with bloodier consequences and a Lebanese style civil war.


Yeah, I already said that was possible and even probable.

I also said "So what?"

I'm still saying it!

quote:

All he's saying is he wants to see the US kicked out by the resistance, because it's naive to think it would be a good situation if the US would pull out of its own accord.


No, that is not "all" that he's saying.

The only "acceptable" resistance to him is one that's led by a Trotskyist party which will set up a "workers' state" when the imperialists are "kicked out".

Until "then", "the occupation should continue".

Is that ok with you as well?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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quote:

Are you quite sure of that Redstar? I actually can't believe that the same Redstar who quite voraciously attacks religion, and other holistic belief systems (with the obvious exception of communism of course!) is actually saying that an Islamic state would be better than political victory for the imperialists.


Believe it! But remember I said temporary...because it would be.

If the imperialists are driven out by a combination of fundamentalist resistance in Iraq and strong domestic opposition within the imperialist countries, then the new "Islamic state" would come under immediate pressure from the secular forces there...and eventually, the secular forces would win.

Material conditions permit no other outcome.

quote:

And then myself, the Islamic sympathiser saying that NO, if the "imperialists" were to withdraw immediately the Islamic state that would develop would be far more brutal then an Imperialist puppet state.


Perhaps, perhaps not. In any event, that is for the Iraqis to decide...not me and not you.

And certainly not U.S. and British imperialism.

(And by the way, your use of "quote" marks around the word imperialist is inappropriate. They really are imperialists, period.)

quote:

...the ideal solution would be for the Imperialists to allow completely free unbiased elections, decisions etc. for the Iraqi people....very fanciful I know, but we can only hope.


Try buying a lottery ticket...that's a much greater possibility than your "ideal solution".

quote:

Let me tell you that if the "imperialists" were to withdraw immediately that al-Fedayinh would almost certainly gain power in Iraq. And if you thought Hitler was a crazed fanatic, imagine how it would have been had the SS gained control of Germany. Same situation more or less in Iraq.


I don't know how often this has to be repeated but Saddam Hussein was not "Hitler" and Germany is not Iraq.

My contention is that however "deep in the shit" the Iraqis find themselves, it will be worse the longer the imperialists remain.

Just ask the imperialists to stay around for 25 or 50 years...see what Iraq looks like then?!

Can you say Ecuador?

quote:

Akhmed Chalabi is a convicted criminal in Syria, on charges of embezzlement of funds from his international bank, as well as defrauding the government and the people's regional project.


Sounds like the perfect choice for the Bush regime. If he gets overthrown, there'll be a job waiting for him on Wall Street or a Texas energy corporation.

Redstar2000's hypothesis: all the world's white collar crooks eventually come to America.

It's "the land of the fee" and "the home of the knave".
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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