On defeatism, patriotic war, humanitarian butchers, etc

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Thu Sep 16 06:12:40 MDT 1999

>Here's an interesting question.  Are the Indoensian discarded pawns of
>imperialism so very different from the Kuomintang at the time when the
>Chinese reds launched their "patriotic war" line?  Just a thought for

The Indonesian government and army lacks even the slightest shred of
anti-imperialist credibility. The Kuomintang was the organizational spawn
of Sun Yat-Sen's ideology. The gang running Indonesia today overthrew their
Sun Yat-Sen long ago, namely Sukarno.

Although it is important to identify imperialism's material interests in
the region (that's why I posted Thomas Friedman's articles), we should not
fall into the trap of economic determinism. Not everything that imperialism
does has an immediate economic motive. For example, a large part of the
explanation for US troops in Haiti and Somalia has to do with establish
"humanitarian" credentials so as to enable them to be deployed in areas
that more directly affect capitalism in the future, such as Iraq and

I suspect that's what's going on in East Timor. It is an opportunity to
demonstrate to the world that imperialism is a consistent defender of human
rights, as much of a lie that that is. The other thing to keep in mind is
that Indonesia may not have a united ruling class right now. Economic and
political crisis tends to create centripedal forces. When French colonists
in Algeria resisted independence, they were ready to make war on the French
themselves. They were all part of the French ruling class, but had
different class interests.

Louis Proyect

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