Extraterritoriality

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at SPAMstudent.canterbury.ac.nz
Sun Dec 19 14:21:48 MST 1999



Nestor in reply to David B wrote:

>I do not see the modification 'backfiring' on the British or
>Spanish bourgeoisies, since it is my own view that, save for some
>dynosaurs like Meg Thatcher (ok, ok, Mr. and Ms. T-rex, I did not
>want to offend you!), these classes as such, as full subjects of
>their own history, WANT Pinocho to be tried. The head of the
>British bourgeoisie is not M.T., the head is Tony Blair.
>Churchill would have agreed with this trial, for example.


Nestor, I agreed with all of your post, which I thought was magnificent.

I just wanted to reiterate this last bit, which is something a lot of
lefties forget.

The debate over questions like Timor and Pinochet has revealed that a lot
of left-wing people think Reagan and Thatcher are still in power and that
imperialist ideology today is unchanged from their time.  But it is
critical to recognise, as people like Nestor and Joao do, that imperialism
can be 'politically correct' and 'humanitarian' in form as well as coming
in the form it did in the Reagan/Thatcher years.

Indeed the imperialism of Tony Blair is more dangerous than that of
Thatcher at her height.  Even when Thatcher attacked Argentina, and
generally had a lot of British public support - and 'Marxist' groups like
Militant Tendency basically went along with the war - there were
nevertheless demonstrations of thousands of people in London against the
war and a lot of left-liberals opposed it.  When 'Bomber' Blair and co
attacked Serbia, the 'humanitarian' ideology they used helped ensure that
most left-liberals actually supported the attack, and sections of'
Marxists' were neutral.  Indeed sections of the left, with their illusions
in *some* imperialist agencies, actually provided the 'humanitarian'
ideology which Blair and Clinton used.

In other words, 'human rights' discourse is highly problematic.  It is as
likely - indeed, at present *more likely* - to furnish arguments *for*
imperialist intervention than it is to work against imperialism.

Lastly, the fact that some on the British left want to get Pinochet partly
because Thatcher supports him, is a revelation of the political and
organisational weakness of the British left.  The British left can't get
Thatcher themselves, so they hope the new political elite - "New Labour',
which as Dave himself notes, is in many ways even more reactionary socially
than Thatcher! - will do the job for them.

This is not class politics, since class politics is *independent* politics.
It means the left doing the job itself.

Philip Ferguson














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