Small countries and imperialism

Philip Ferguson plf13 at SPAMstudent.canterbury.ac.nz
Sat Aug 5 22:32:00 MDT 2000


I might add to what Lou Paulsen said in Digest 2468 (and which I largely
agree with), that the same problem faced the Bolsheviks.  Russia in 1917
was the major capitlaist country in which you would *least* want to have a
revolution.  The Bolshies were faced with the prospect of carrying one out
and seeing how far they could take things in pretty unfavourable
circumstances, or saying, 'no, we'll wait for the Germans or the British'.

The failure of revolution elsewhere in Europe was decisive in the
degenration of the Russian Revolution.  But while the Mensheviks and some
others took satisfaction from this, most Marxists would say that the
Bolsheviks did the right thing - the only thing for revolutionaries - and
'had a go'.

As for Brian Cahill's comment:

>"The people" did no such thing. A tiny self-selecting military elite fought
>the British for 30 years, and then surrendered. Your Provisional Republican
>phraseology is deeply misleading. Calling the Loyalist sectarian butchers
>"death squads" covers over their autonomy from the British. As for "the
>full panopoly of Imerialistic oppression", if such had really been "let
>loose" "the People" (by which I take it you mean "the Catholics") would no
>longer be in Northern Ireland at all.

The "tiny self-selecting military elite" was no such thing.  Working class
youth in the nationalist ghettoes flocked into the IRA in the early 1970s.
It was a mass force.  It was the nationalist working class in arms.

Unfortunately, the politics weren't there to be able to carry the thing
further.

However, the Republican Movement was still more impressive than the various
revolutionary-talking left sects which, confronted with thousands of
British troops and a militarised police force, were never up to throwing so
much as a rock against the imperialists.

The Trot and Stalinist left, however, imagined that you could build a
revolutionary socialist movement in Ireland without confronting the fact
that part of the country was under imperialist military occupation.
Although I totally disagree with the current course of the Provo
leadership, and have attacked it in a number of places, I still have more
respect for the record of Adams, McGuinnes and co. than for the
economistic, non-revolutionary 'left'critics, who spent years wagging
fingers at republicans instead of confronting imperialism.

Philip Ferguson












More information about the Marxism mailing list