Interventions- Grenada and Yugoslavia

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Mon Jul 31 03:01:58 MDT 1995


I read Chris B.'s post, as always, with great interest.  I can sense
strongly his feeling of moral outrage and *desperation*.  Chris sees the
tremendous and horrific suffering of those in Bosnia and cries out that
*we* must *do something*!

This feeling is one that we, as Marxists, should be all too familiar
with.  We see the continuation of suffering, persecution and death and
feel the *need* for action.  Yet, we are essentially *powerless* (at
present) to meaningfully effect the outcomes.  Chris is the psychologist,
so he should know that this is a recipe for depression.  The combination
of knowledge and the inability to alter events gives rise to great
personal suffering for those of us who are smart enough to see what is
happening and human enough to care about that suffering.

In addition to suffering myself from this agony of relative powerlessness
as it  relates to most world events, it pains *me* to see this anguish
from my comrade and friend.

So, what can we do?  Educate, agitate, organize!  We may not have the
ability to effect the outcome of events in Bosnia, but we have a social
responsibility to at least *say* something about those events.  For the
moment, we are caught in a classical dilemma of Marxists -- an
understanding but the inability to bring about immediate change under the
conditions of bourgeois society.  Perhaps we need in times of crisis to
draw strength from *each other* and to know that there are others out
there who experience and understand reality in similar ways.

On a recent trip to my small home town, I had occasion to read the local
paper there.  Last week, the local newspaper had a bloody picture of a
Bosnian child plastered in color on the front page.  In the next two
days, 6 "Letters to the Editor" were written complaining about that
"overly graphic" picture and how it "needlessly upset" their children.
Sad to say, but many American workers don't want to *see or hear*
anything about Bosnia.  They find the whole issue morally disturbing but
would rather avoid confronting that reality.  Although an atheist, I come
from a Jewish family. I could not help but thinking that the same people
who object to graphic photos on Bosnia would have also objected to
seeing graphic pictures from the concentration camps in Germany.  There
is a strong racial and national chauvinist component to US policy.  The
mass media and the public view the O.J. and Susan Smith trials as the
main events and the suffering in Bosnia as a side story worthy of little
action.  So much more work -- educating, agitating, organizing -- needs
to be done before this will change.  The larger issue isn't changing US
or British policy, but changing and furthering *proletarian class
consciousness*.  Here again, we are frustrated since we have a limited
ability at present to change class consciousness given the state of the
Left internationally.

Jerry


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