(fwd from Michael de Socio) Re: Oil shortages; neo-Mahdism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 3 10:05:03 MST 2001

Michael de Socio:
>I haven't read it yet, but isn't Niall Ferguson the one who was calling for
>the U.S. to begin an overt imperialist program to "impose peace" in the
>Muslim world by colonizing it, using as its model Britain at its colonial

Of course. The importance of Ferguson is not as a friend of the radical
movement, but as somebody who openly acknowledges what is going on as
opposed to the obfuscations of the liberal and social democratic press. As
such, he plays the same role as Cecil Rhodes who was quoted by Lenin in

>>And Cecil Rhodes, we are informed by his intimate friend, the journalist
Stead, expressed his imperialist views to him in 1895 in the following
terms: "I was in the East End of London (a working-class quarter) yesterday
and attended a meeting of the unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches,
which were just a cry for 'bread! bread!' and on my way home I pondered
over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of
imperialism.... My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem,
i.e., in order to save the 40,000,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom
from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to
settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods
produced in the factories and mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is
a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must
become imperialists.<<

Compare that to Ferguson's musings in the NY Times:

>>Since the United States and Britain went to war against Afghanistan --
with the avowed intention of replacing the Taliban regime -- I have found
myself quoting Rudyard Kipling on ''the White Man's Burden,'' particularly
those lines (written just over a century ago) that enjoined Americans to
fight what he called ''the savage wars of peace'' while at the same time
filling ''full the mouth of Famine.'' (Kipling would certainly have grasped
the rationale of simultaneously dropping cluster bombs and food parcels.)
Of course, no one today would be so politically incorrect as to call
governing Afghanistan ''the White Man's Burden.'' Even in his messianic
speech at the Labor Party conference in October, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair talked innocuously about ''partnership,'' ''the politics of
globalization'' and ''reordering this world.'' Yet the underlying message
of that speech was pure Kipling.<<

In order for us to make progress as a revolutionary movement, we have to
have a sharpening of the class lines. Ferguson's article moves us in that
direction. He, of course, is on the other side of the barricades.

Louis Proyect
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