Fwd (GLW): Did the East Timor intervention kill off `Vietnam syndrome'?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Tue Jan 30 08:37:07 MST 2001


Nestor:
>It depends on what is exactly meant by "maintaining support for the East
>Timorese struggle while opposing the use of imperialist troops".  Nobody
needs
>to be a genius to realize that an _independent_ East Timor (such as some
of the
>leaders in the movement were looking for) was an impossibility unless
under the
>guarantee of both a sepoy regime in Djakarta and an imperialist presence to
>which this sepoy regime would have caved in. Thus, support for the East
Timores
>struggle may -from the very onset- conceal support for the creation of an
>imperialist enclave against Indonesia, _independently from th epolitical
>character of the government in Djakarta_.

Actually, this was not always the case. If the Soviet Union had not
collapsed, an independent East Timor might have been a possibility. One of
the things that irks me most about the Stalinophobia of the ATC variety is
its failure to see the importance of a workers state to weak, peripheral
societies trying to develop independently--whether or not they are workers
states themselves.

The only other problem I see with Nestor's analysis is that it would ill
befit us as Marxists to make practicality a litmus test for revolutions for
in a very real sense all proletarian revolutions of the 20th century were
impractical. See Lenin's final musings on the subject in "Better Fewer, But
Better":

"In substance, the matter is as follows: Either we prove now that we have
really learned something about state organisation (we ought to have learned
something  in five years), or we prove that we are not sufficiently mature
for it. If the latter is the case, we had better not tackle the task."

This kind of either/or calculation seems antithetical to Nestor's hopes for
success guaranteed in advance.

Louis Proyect
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