East Timor, Luxembourg and Lenin

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Mon Mar 3 09:05:46 MST 2003


In response to your abstract formulation below, I would remind you
that the people of East Timor have a long history of struggle for
independence, first against the Portuguese and then, following
post-colonization, against the Indonesians. So, are we to believe
that an independence struggle against European colonizers is
revolutionary, but when the struggle continues against their
surrogates, it is reactionary? And "splitting" Indonesia? As I
understand it, East Timor is distinct cultural and geographical
entity. It was turned over to Indonesia when the Portuguese pulled
out. What happens when colonial powers arbitrarily draw borders in
contradiction to existing, historical, cultural and national
identities, as often happened? Is it "splitting" for the victims of
these maneuvers to struggle for independence? The parallel, here, is
NOT with the Malvinas. It is with the Kurds, perhaps.

At 8:30 AM -0500 3/3/03, marxism-digest wrote:
>away from your place and on a basically theoretical point) was that
>_any support to a movement which, no matter how revolutionary it
>might sound or believe to be, aims at splitting a Third World
>country, no matter how reactionary and pro-imperialist its regime
>might be_ is bound to end up in giving life to a pro-imperialist

And Bob,

You are basically preaching to the converted if you are addressing
the phrases below ("Should Marxists... participation in the struggle
for national independence") to Nestor, as he will undoubtedly tell
you. His perspective is precisely that of revolutionary nationalism.
I think that he is kind of dogmatically translating a valid
perspective on certain imperialist maneuvers in Latin America
(Argentina/Malvinas, Colombia/Panama) to a situation to which that
analysis does not pertain.

>mystification. Nestor Gorojovsky spells out his view even more brutally. For
>him, the removal from Indonesian control is clearly a victory for
>imperialism. In reality, all three commentators have the view that the
>status quo of Indonesian occupation was preferable to a transition to
>"neo-colonial" independence.
>The implications of this view are staggering. Most of the struggles for
>national independence over the past 50 years have produced independent
>states with neo-colonial aspects. Should Marxists therefore not have
>supported the various movements for national independence? That is a view
>held by some hardened Marxist sectarians, but it's an anti-Marxist view that
>cuts across any road to the masses in any country in that situation.
>The road to the independence of the working class in colonial countries
>inevitably must lie through participation in the struggle for national
>independence. The obvious inadequacies of the national bourgeoisies, which
>often dominated the leadership of those struggles, is not a sound reason for
>opposing the struggle for national independence.


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