Hartwig on Daly [?] on Petras on Anderson

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Thu Mar 20 10:49:53 MST 2003


Dear Mervyn

I am truly flattered: all I did was to forward without any comment
Petras's review of Perry Anderson which I received from Brendan
Holland. As it happens I had some time ago mentally disagreed with a
Spectrezine article attributing the statement in a New Left Review
article of categorical positions to Anderson, and had recognized that
that article was only a kind of immanent critique of the mainstream
position, showing its link with Bush's. But that is elementary 101
stuff and makes you wonder why he spends time on it. Meanwhile Bush's
rhetoric is presented as if it were argument, with a soft focus and
gauze over the lens. Why hold back from commitment to independently
advancing devastating critique and categorical recommendation?

Anderson's record on Ireland for 30 years was abstentionist; as
somebody put it to me [as an excuse] recently, Anderson "played with"
Tom Nairn's two nations theory which advocated a national right to the
six counties on the part of Irish Protestants. Is he doing the same
kind of thing again?

Mervyn, I'm really sorry I don't have time at the moment to go in
detail into Petras's arguments and your replies.

Comradely

James

Original Message -----

Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 10:56:35 +0000
From: Mervyn Hartwig <mh at jaspere.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Petras, Proyect, on Perry Anderson on antiwar movement

Hey guys, why get stuck into Perry Anderson? He's on your side! Both
Lou
and James overlook that his comments were about *mainstream*
opposition
to the war and designed for a mainstream-ish media outlet (the London
Review of Books).

His argument seems incontrovertible: mainstream opposition shares the
premises of Bush and Blair and cluster-bomb liberals, and so is not
genuinely opposed to, but is dialectically complicit with, them ('the
two sides share a common set of assumptions'). The whole point of
Perry's article is that effective opposition needs different
premises -
and precisely the one's of the Left that both James and Lou invoke!

James accuses Anderson of recommending that the Left break with the
liberal mainstream opposition to the war. What he overlooks is that
the
mainstream has long since broken with the Left (heard anything good
about socialism from them recently?)! As a consequence, in Britain
right
now, the mood of the mainstream opposition is that, now that
Parliament
has committed to the war, we should 'get behind our boys' and press on
to victory, the speedier the better. Who's breaking with who? See
Clare
Short's betrayal.

Mervyn Hartwig






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