Hooray for Paul Foot!

Michael Keaney michael.keaney at mbs.fi
Thu Feb 13 08:51:13 MST 2003


Thanks for your restraint. Some clarifications before I disappear:

1. I don't believe for a second that Paul Foot is trying to reconcile the
needs of a particular imperialism with the overwhelming resistance of the
domestic and international
populations. And I am certainly not doing that. It's about coalition
building under specific circumstances, pure and simple. Given all the
attention devoted on this list to those at the Nation magazine and elsewhere
policing the left, this pernickety pedantry aimed at Foot is simply an
ultra-left analogue of the sort of high-minded posturing regularly on
display in the Nation. I reiterate: his message was for everyone reading his
article to get out on Saturday. It's that simple.

2.  Indefinitely delaying war sure beats immediate war. Undermining the case
for war sure beats uncritical, or even critical acceptance of the case for
war. Under the conditions of actually existing capitalism here and now, a
fractured chain of imperialism sure beats a united one marching in
accordance to the diktats of Washington DC.

3. Please do not caricature (again) my position as somehow advocating the
benignity of Deutsche Bank and Daimler Benz. In fact your perfectly correct
assertion that the process of outgrowing the domestic confines of the German
economy has been ongoing for some time merely underlines what I am trying to
highlight as an increasingly important process that is more and more
determining the shape of the German political economy and its state
apparatus.  The fact that both these organisations have such a chequered
past indicates the institutionalised ruthlessness which they would exercise
as part of any campaign to dismantle those elements of German capitalism
obstructing their further expansion. Since that includes much of the welfare
state apparatus as Germans know it, it is very important that Schröder does
not buckle under pressure. I have no illusions about his strength or
orientation -- the point is that the left should provide him with the
necessary backbone, not by supporting *him* (although there may be
circumstances where that is actually necessary, e.g. if the tanks roll in
Berlin), but by doing the same as with the anti-war campaign: standing firm
against neoliberalism.

I have not endorsed the Franco-German plan. I endorse the position outlined
by others here: no war, no occupation, simple. It is precisely because a
growing number of people worldwide are saying this that various bourgeois
opportunists are taking advantage and standing up to US militarism. It is
clearly better that the Franco-German plan be implemented than the
US-British plan. This is not to endorse the Franco-German plan. This is to
recognise that, for the Iraqis themselves, more stringent weapons
inspections are rather less harmful than incoming weapons fired by bellicose
imperialists. But it is no reason to cease campaigning against war, against
occupation, pure and simple.

4. Giving world-historic importance to child porn blackmail: another
caricature of sorts. It is, actually, a matter of national importance to
Britain and Europe, since, if true, it spells the end of Blair and throws
into complete uncertaintly the direction of British state policy, thereby
strengthening further the hand of US imperialism that wishes to subjugate it
further. And since the Bush administration is looking for satellites,
sepoys, and satraps, any lessening of institutional resistance to its
diktats by states like that of Britain does have a certain global importance
in the scheme of things. I wonder if you realise just how uncertain and
precarious politics have become in other countries subject to unprecedented
US pressure. All sorts of doors are opening up to nasty rightwing types,
racists, fascists and the like who will happily accept the US imprimatur in
order to then proceed "cleansing" their own countries of whatever they
dislike. That sort of process was indeed the norm for countries like
Argentina, Chile and Iraq. If Schröder and others capitulate it is precisely
the sort of future we in Europe can look forward to. In other words,
semi-colonial status.

5. I certainly don't endorse the sort of smugness you correctly decry. But
perhaps you should be more careful not to over-generalise when getting riled
at certain exponents of such smugness. After all, others who have taken
exception to your swashbuckling style might have attributed it to a typical
New York loudmouth in-your-face know-it-all smart-ass narcissism which would
serve only to rile New Yorkers of all stripes and thereby distract from the
real meat of the discussion.

6.  Good luck on Saturday. I'll be with you and millions of others in body
and spirit.

Michael Keaney

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