upheavals in England, 1640 - 1848

Rahul Mahajan rahul at peaches.ph.utexas.edu
Wed Jun 19 06:12:07 MDT 1996


Adam, I'm not denying the existence of anti-imperialists in Britain, nor am
I saying that they have anything to apologise for, insofar as they acted on
their beliefs. I am saying that it's damn hard for them to feel the same
depth of victimization by British imperialism as the Indians and the Irish,
even expatriates like me and Gary, feel. Personally, I'm not just angry at
the people who controlled things, who ordered the brutality, I'm also angry
at all the people who stood by and let it happen. The only ones I'm not
angry with are the ones who fought against it.

>And what does this mean : "There are certain traits fairly widespread in these
>nations that contributed to their bloody rule" ? What, national character
>traits ?

Not precisely. Certainly, there's nothing racial involved. Still, it
doesn't take much perspicacity to discern that certain attitudes are
prevalent in some societies, rare in others. Obviously, it's an
environmentally determined effect, not a genetically determined one. An
American is much more likely, in my experience, to try to justify an act of
butchery committed abroad by his government than a citizen of almost any
other country. I state a fact. One can speculate about the reasons for that
fact, the most obvious of which is government propaganda, but any
explanation which invokes only the coercion of the elite and not the
compliance of the masses, is only a half-truth.

>The criminals committed their crimes against British workers, as well as
>people's
>across the world. The arch Imperialist Winston Churchill made his name
>politically
>by SHOOTING Welsh miners.

Of course. My quarrel is not with you, so why take up the cudgels when I
insult your enemies?


>I think you subscribe to something like Lenin's theory of the Labour
>aristocracy,
>or something similar. Am I wrong ?

Wow. You must be clairvoyant, since I've hardly spoken a word which could
lead you to such a belief. I certainly don't subscribe to Lenin's theory. I
do think that the cozy "everyone's a proletarian" line that the communists
in the western democracies espouse is too simple, too easy. It has a
certain virtue of inclusiveness, of avoiding demonization of the wrong
people (something communists have traditionally loved doing), but it
suggests that there will have to be no sacrifices for socialism. If the
whole world utilized resources at the level of the average American working
class member, we'd be in serious trouble -- in fact, it's not even remotely
possible. Therefore, true socialism is going to mean a curb on the
"standard of living" of the average citizen of the First World, though
presumably there will be other benefits that will more than make up for
that. On the other hand, if you're talking about some idea that the "labor
aristocracy" of the First World is inherently reactionary, or some such
thing, that's complete nonsense. It may well be that the working class in
the First World is our only hope. It certainly seems that socialism, though
extremely unlikely, is at least as likely in the developed nations as
elsewhere.

Rahul




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