Criticizing Ba'ath

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at
Fri Apr 11 10:48:02 MDT 2003

Lou Proyect:

"I don't see why we should spare the Ba'athist system from
unrelenting criticism."

Neither do I. Ba'ath, against Henry Liu's best judgement, was not
"socialist" because it spoke of socialism. Neither was Nasser's
"socialism", nor Nehru's. These were (are) national-democratic
attempts of a strong bourgeois, petty-bourgeois or peasant outlook.
They are not socialist Third World movements. [Peronism, with all its
ideological shortcomings, at least never presented itself as
socialist, even though during the 70s there were many "Marxists" who
wanted to see it that way.]

The problem, however, lies in _where do we criticize Ba'athism (and
its likes) from_. I have yet to answer Lüko Willms's interesting and
reasoned posting, but part of what follows may serve this purpose.

In the Third World, the main contradiction is the contradiction is
the national contradiction between the whole set of oppressed classes
and social groups and foreign imperialism.  Marxist revolutionaries
have every right (nay, every duty) to criticize non-Marxist movements
when they put this revolution in danger because of their shortcomings
(many times, these shortcomings appear as authoritarian, Strong-Man,
regimes). But while one cannot substitute one's own movement for that
which for the time being represents the best that has been achieved
in the history of national liberation, one should limit criticisms at
least when under direct imperialist attack.

Saddam, the Ba'ath Party, and Iraq have been under one or other form
of attack, almost uniterruptedly, since 1971. It is the task of
Marxists to help generating a Marxist alternative to Ba'athist
conduction of the movement. But it is not quite advisable to start
the criticisms with the "democracy" issue precisely when this
conduction is suffering widespread demonization from the Great

And this is particularly applicable to those cdes. who are citizens
of those powers. With such a conduct, they only give arguments to
anti-Marxist members of the (in this case) Iraqi national movement:
"See, see, Marxists are against us!"

Shooting one's own foot, of sorts. Of sorts??????????

If we criticize

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at

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"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de
Buenos Aires, 1822
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