On Making "Geo-Strategic" Mean "Peripheral" and on the "Conspiracy Exemption"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 13 08:33:34 MST 2001


>I can't understand why you guys don't apply the same to Russia.
>
>Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky

It depends on what you mean by "the same". I never had any disagreements
with Jared, Chussodovsky et al when it came to Yugoslavia. But I'll be
damned if I'll back what Russia is doing in Chechnya. Yeltsin and Putin are
nothing but goons. To back the "national unity" of Russia over the dead
bodies of the Chechens is to cross class lines, as far as I'm concerned.
The minute Jared switched his loyalties from Milosevic's government to the
Kremlin, that is when I said forgetaboutit. My interest in defending
Yugoslavia was based on class criteria. Although Milosevic was no
revolutionary and was virtually forced to take a stand against the IMF and
NATO against his own reformist appetites, it seemed to me that the left had
an obligation to defend his government. That was my beef with Solidarity,
the Fourth International, etc. that failed to see the importance of
defending state-owned property.

But to transfer that analysis to Russia is perverse unless you address
class/economic questions. Yeltsin and Putin are the end result of a
counter-revolutionary process that destroyed the Milosevic of the Soviet
Union, Gorbachev. The left had an interest in defending Gorbachev, as
woeful as he was, against the rightwing. Once the counter-revolution was
consummated, that was that. Oddly enough, or maybe not so oddly, Jared and
his co-thinkers never seemed to recognize the qualitative change that took
place in Yugoslavia. They rally around Macedonia and the neoliberal Serb
Republic the way that the left rallied around Sandinista Nicaragua. It is
mind-boggling.

Jared's website is a rats nest of retrograde Slavophiles. If you do a
search on "Chechen", you'll discover articles by the wretched George
Szamuely of NY Press, a libertarian throwaway in New York City. Szamuely
simply believes that people should rally around Russia because the USA has
become the world's biggest bully. (The Observer, April 8, 2001). This is
not a class-based politics. It is rooting for an underdog, like in
baseball. You'll also find articles by Yevgeni Kryshkin, a commentator for
the Voice of Russia. Comrades can check them out for yourselves at:
www.vor.ru. It has nothing to do with transforming society, to put it
charitably.

Unless we emphasize class, we are going to get lost in the woods. This is
something that is virtually absent from the deliberations of Jared,
Chussodovsky and like-minded thinkers. It is really a form of left-populism
overlaid with Slav nationalism. Most peculiar, bordering on the toxic if
you ask me.



Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org


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