Imperialist intervention, the UN and socialists

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Nov 23 07:06:18 MST 1999

Norm Dixon:
>A very similar situation to that of East Timor took place in
>Namibia a decade ago. Weakened by the successes of the
>anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the decisive defeat
>of the South African army's invasion of neighbouring Angola by
>the combined forces of Cuban internationalist volunteers, the
>Angolan army and the guerillas of the South West African Peoples
>Organisation (SWAPO), the US-imperialist backed apartheid regime
>in South Africa was forced to agree to allow Namibia's
>independence. In the US and Europe, a mass anti-apartheid
>movement was at its peak.

This is a very poor analogy. The proper analogy would be with Haiti, when
US troops "rescued" the Haitiian people from pro-Duvalier gangsters. This
move was applauded by Black Congressional Democrats, but opposed vehemantly
by the Haitian Marxist left. In retrospect, the Haitian left was correct
since US military and police presence in Haiti has only served to shore up
the economic underpinnings of Duvalierism, while giving it a democratic

In Africa there were a series of military victories that had changed the
relationship of forces on the ground, especially the victory over Afrikaner
and UNITA combined forces by Cubans and the Angolan army. This convinced
imperialism and its allies that a different tack was necessary.
Accomodation to political change became the rule, while new efforts were
instituted to preserve the economic status quo. What the DSP analysis, of
course, leaves out is the question of whether Namibia was truly liberated.
As Lenin made clear, the only way forward for oppressed nationalities is
socialist revolution. Much of the DSP's writings on Kosovo, East Timor and
now Chechnya seem little concerned with how championing all these causes
advances the project of socialist revolution. For that a class struggle
anti-imperialist perspective is needed.

Louis Proyect

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