Hitchens and the Left

Austin, Andrew austina at uwgb.edu
Sat Sep 29 14:31:44 MDT 2001

Marxism list,

Whatever else Hitchens may be or think, he has a point about some on the
left. Much of what I'm seeing pass on these listservs is knee-jerk. Not only
does the discussion end with a "critique" of U.S. foreign policy
(accompanied by a lot of irrelevant history), but it makes the leap from
inadequate and one-sided explanation to an at least implicit justification
for the attack on the WTC. The history of U.S. imperialism is a woefully
insufficient theory for the events on September 11, 2001. And it is
certainly no justification for mass murder. Whatever the U.S. has done and
continues to do in the world, those people killed in the WTC did not have it
coming to them.

The Nazis had grievances, too, and these were in part rooted in real
policies imposed on the Germans by other states in the aftermath of WWI. But
those policies, even coupled with the world economic situation in the
1920s-30s, are insufficient to explain the rise of Nazism in Europe.   What
needs to be explored is the TOTAL character of the ideology underpinning the
actions of terrorists and extremists. Where is any of this considered in
what is being passed off as objective analyses on these lists?

There must be no sympathy for the fate of clerical fascism (call it what you
will, the analogy works). Our sympathies must be for those who are oppressed
by atavistic, religiously fundamentalist, and brutally patriarchal regimes.
The stealth heroicizing of terrorists by many on the current left is
reminiscent of the heroicizing of the street criminal by the New Left in the
early 1970s. It was inexcusable then, and it is inexcusable today.

To be sure, the right is stupid (though malevolent) for translating any
explanation of terrorism as justification for terrorism. But is even more
stupid for leftists to effectively justify terrorism with half-assed theory.
It is amazing and frightening that much of the left "critique" parallels
that of the North American white supremacy cells (go check out their web

We don't have much, comrades. Is the plan now to destroy our credibility?

Andrew Austin
Green Bay, WI
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