Forwarded from Anthony Brain

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Mar 8 17:20:31 MST 2003

The debate that has broken out in Marxmail this month on the attitude to
national struggles in Semi-Colonies and what I would still call Degenerated
Workers' States (Bosnia) which have not yet made the transition to
Capitalism is an overdue one. This debate has broken out due to the
impending Imperialist War against Iraq. American Imperilaism feels
confident to go to War against Iraq due to its sucessess in 1995 against
the Bosnian Serb Stalinists; its ability to bomb the FRY without any major
reaction; and strengthen its hand in East Timor through the UN Force.
Howard's doctrime of prememptive strikes in the last few months flows from
the expansionism of Australian Imperialism which their intervention in East
Timor boosted.

I agree with those who have argued that the support of Semi-Colonies
fighting against Imperialism is unconditional, and who opposed UN
intervention in East Timor due to its Imperialist character. Imperialism
was weakened in 1975 with the East Timor struggle for independence, and
conived with the Indonesian Bourgeoisie to salvage Imperialist interests by
the Indonesian Bourgeois army invading.

Marxism asserts that every concrete situation has to be analysed in terms
of what role it plays in the Class Struggle. I have been a Trotskyist in
Britain for many years in Britain and seen that most of the Far Left groups
have an economistic attitude to oppressed groups. The other extreme to this
is to support a nationality even when it strengthens Imperialism. The
strength of Trotskyism is that it has a balance in its positions.

Australian Imperilaism wanted to get hold of the massive Oil and Gas
resources East Timor had. In the fall of 2000 I read from Bourgeois news
sources that Austrialan Gas companies were making plans to drill so many
billion cubic feet of gas in East Timor.

It was correct to critically support FRELINTIL against the Indonesian
Bourgeoisie until 1998 but when Imperialism intervened in that year it
became a qualitatively different situation. Marxism is based upon the
method of Dialectical Materialism. This asserts that qualitative changes
occur. A Trotskyist group would have intervened in East Timor in 1999 by
saying that they support Independence but are opposed to a UN protectorate.
As Lenin said Revolutionaries patiently explain their position to the
Masses. By taking a principled position against the UN protectorate the
Trotskyist group would be a in good position to intervene when the
upheavals by the East Timor masses against Imperialism came.

Imperialism has a history of Protectorates. The British Empire used them;
the League of Nations; and the UN. Revolutionary Marxists have always
opposed them.

In the Degenerated Workers' States the Trotskyist attitude to the struggle
of opprseed nationalies against the oppressing Bureaucratic Caste is
determined on an analysis on whether it is helping bring about Political
Revolution, or helping the attempted social Counter-Revolution which aims
at restoring Capitalism, which would make them dominated by Imperialism.

In the break-up of the FRY it was correct to support Croatia against Serbia
in the 1991-92 War because the Serbian Bureaucracy were trying to keep its
oppressive dominance over the Croatian Masses. Bosnia was a multi-ethnic
society before the Serbian Bureaucracy started on its reactionary war of
ethnic cleansing in 1992. It was correct to defend multi-ethnic Bosnia
against the Serbian and Croatian's Bureaucracy's reactionary ethnic cleansing.

During the Kosovan War of 1998-99 there were forces on the Left who
supported the KLA against the Serbian Bureaucracy. They even supported them
when NATO started bombing the FRY. The KLA incoporated forces who ranged
from Workers'; Bureaucrats who had lost their privliges; Petty-Bourgeoisie;
and Capitalist elements. Trotskyists could not support Capitalist elements
and petty-Bourgeois forces who were working with Imperialism to overthrow
the FRY Workers' State. This is why Trotskyists could not support the KLA
as a whole in 1998 but only sections around the Miners. In August 1998 the
Miners part of the KLA launched a miltiary offensive to drive the Serbian
Bureaucracy out of Kosova. This could be supported but Trotskyists would
have argued for them break from the KLA and set up their own independent

When NATO started intervening in a serious way against the FRY in September
1998 the main emphasis had to be defence of that Workers' State against the
impending Imperialist War. Sections of the KLA leadership from then on
worked with NATO to create the pretext for NATO to intervene miltiary. From
March 1999 Trotskyists would have supported the FRY Army fighting the KLA
on the Kosova border with Albania, because the KLA then were a fifth column
for NATO. The KLA's being victorious on the Albanian border would have
meant NATO being able to invade the FRY more easily.

The Serbian Bureaucracy was completely reactionary in how it treated the
Kosavan Albanians. This opened the door for Imperialism to demagogically
oppose their oppression, building a massive base for an attack on the FRY;
which if successful would destory the Workers' State at least in Kosova.
Trotskyists who defended the FRY Workers State in its war with NATO opposed
the oppression of other nationalities due to it being anti-Working Class
and played into Imperialism's hands. As Trotsky said we defend what's
progressive and in the Workers' interests within the Degenerated Workers'
State, which is that the Capitalists are prevented from running the whole
FRY economy. Trotsky also said that the struggle of oppressed nationalies
against the Bureaucracy is subordinate to defence of a Workers' State when
miltiary attacked by Imperialism. It is because if the Workers' State is
overthrown the Workers' conditions are made worse through mass starvation;
mass unemployment; the productive forces being set back; and the
destruction of social provision.

 From March 1999 Trotskyists would have supported the FRY army against the
KLA on the Albanian border. They would also called for the FRY to stop its
national cleansing of Kosovan Albanians and called on the Workers' in the
KLA to break from it and set up their own miltias to defend the Kosovan
Albanians from national cleansing. If those Kosovan Albanian Workers' had
set up independent miltias Trotskyists would have called on them to fight
the counter-revolutionary KLA and offered a united front the FRY Army
against NATO.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

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