Reply to Ted Glick

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Aug 31 15:48:09 MDT 2003


Dear Ted,

I just found out about your support of the UN helping out the natives in
Iraq: (http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=4108)

It was referred to on Doug Henwood's email list, where Doug has been
speaking up for taking up the White Man's Burden as well. So does Christian
Parenti apparently, a recent guest on his show who confided that an Iraqi
told him that he would be happy if the USA took his oil in exchange for
electricity and water. For what it's worth, I believe that privatizing the
oil and selling it to the highest bidder goes hand in hand with making
electricity and water scarce. That's what happened in Argentina, Bolivia
and South Africa. Right?

You say that Iraq's problem is the lack of "civil society", which you blame
on a 3 decade long dictatorship. I am glad that you put civil society in
scare quotes, because that is a pretty scary thing in this day and age.
Ever read James Petras's article on NGO's in the Monthly Review? It is a
pip. He says about their involvement with creating "civil society":

 >>On the surface the NGOs criticized the state from a "left" perspective
defending civil society, while the right did so in the name of the market.
In reality, however, the World Bank, the neoliberal regimes, and western
foundations co-opted and encouraged the NGOs to undermine the national
welfare state by providing social services to compensate the victims of the
multinational corporations (MNCs). In other words, as the neoliberal
regimes at the top devastated communities by inundating the country with
cheap imports, extracting external debt payment, abolishing labor
legislation, and creating a growing mass of low-paid and unemployed
workers, the NGOs were funded to provide "self-help" projects, "popular
education," and job training, to temporarily absorb small groups of poor,
to co-opt local leaders, and to undermine anti-system struggles.<<

full: http://www.monthlyreview.org/1297petr.htm

If you don't think that the UN was up to the same crap in Iraq as described
in the above paragraph, then you must be talking about some other outfit.
Here's some more on that from an article posted on Marxmail and other
leftwing lists by Yoshie Furuhashi, a member of Solidarity at Ohio State:

U.N., IMF, World Bank to discuss Iraqi needs
Reuters, 08.22.03, 4:42 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N., World Bank and IMF officials will meet in
Belgium early next month to lay the groundwork for a conference in Spain on
raising money to help rebuild Iraq, a U.N. official said Friday. Delegates
from more than 50 countries are expected to attend the later Oct. 23-24
gathering in Madrid of world governments interested in contributing to the
cost of Iraqi reconstruction. A preparatory conference for the Madrid
meeting will take place Sept. 3 in Brussels, U.N. chief spokesman Fred
Eckhard said. . . . Eckhard said work "has almost been completed" on the
needs assessment, which is being prepared by the World Bank, the United
Nations and the International Monetary Fund with help from other agencies
and the European Union.

<http://www.forbes.com/iraq/newswire/2003/08/22/rtr1064870.html>

The idea that the UN, World Bank and IMF are interested in "rebuilding"
Iraq is rather comical, if you ask me. Rather dark comedy, but comedy
nonetheless.

You do qualify your support for UN meddling, by saying that if it does
anything it should be limited to looking after the management of Iraq's oil
profits. Since Dennis Kucinich supports this, it makes it kosher in your
eyes. I guess this goes hand-in-hand with your advice to the Greens not to
run in any states where the race between Bush and a Democrat would be a
toss-up. Don't get me wrong, but if Eugene V. Debs heard this kind of
blather, he'd be spinning in his grave.

You also advise that Arab troops keep the peace in Iraq, which is the same
thing I heard from John Kerry on television this morning. I guess that
keeping the natives to look after other natives might work in certain
circumstances. The sepoys were quite reliable in India, as I understand it.

If this is the sort of thinking going on behind the scenes at your end of
the peace movement, all I can recommend is a bottle of Geritol and watching
"Battle of Algiers" on video because you sound rather burned out to me and
in need of a radical kick in the ass.



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




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