Paul Foot

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Feb 12 13:52:04 MST 2003


I found Foot's article appalling.

I wouldn't have minded so much is he was an ordinary liberal.  It would
have been the sort of thing you'd expect from a liberal looking
desperately for some way of halting the United States.

The problem I have with it is that Foot is supposed to be a Marxist.

The job of Marxists is not to back one set of imperialists as against
another, especially when both are equally rapacious and both plans
totally violate the national sovereignty of Iraq.

The Franco-German plan is to disarm Iraq.  The US plan is to disarm
Iraq.  The Franco-German ruling classes want economic power in the
MidEast.  The US ruling class wants economic power in the MidEast.

What is involved here is a case of inter-imperialist rivalry, which is
now starting to come to the fore because the Cold War is over.  For
decades, inter-imperialist rivalry was largely suspended due to the
existence of the Soviet bloc, China etc and also the total dominance in
the capitalist world of the US economy.

The end of the Cold War and the *relative* decline of US economic power
means that the other imperialists are less and less likely to fall in
behind Washington.

For communists and, indeed, any serious radical, in Europe, the main
enemy is at home.  This is a fundamental Marxist position.

I certainly find it amusing how, now that old-style Stalinism is dead, a
whole bunch of Trotskyists - especially the current headed by Foot's
group - are taking up the classic old Stalinist position of favouring
one set of imperialists against another and promoting
popular-frontism/class collaboration.  We saw it in the second round of
the French presidential election with a lot of the far left in Europe,
especially the Fourth International/USec and the IST, backing Chirac.
And now we see the same thing in relation to the falling out of
imperialist thieves over how best to destroy Iraq and who will get to
control the process.

I still recall Foot - ironically in a book that was part of an series
called 'Arguments for Socialism' - advising the British ruling class how
the best way to defeat the IRA was to take the British troops out of
Ireland, ie not arguing an anti-imperialist position *against* the
British ruling class but acting as an adviser to them on how withdrawal
was in their interests and would kill off the IRA.  So I'm not surprised
this left-liberal jackass is now embarrassed to be British because the
British government is too toady to the US and not forthright like the
Germans and French.

No hint of a Marxist explanation of inter-imperialist rivalry and that
the reason Blair is lined up with the US is because the Anglo-American
alliance is crucial to keeping Britain at the top table of imperialists
and artificially inflating their power, whereas in Europe the real state
of Britain can't be inflated, and Britain would have to play a poor
second fiddle to the real powers on the continent - France and Germany.

Personally, I will go on preferring John Pilger to Foot.  A sound,
genuine and principled left-liberal like Pilger is always preferable to
a left-liberal pretending to be some kind of Marxist.

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