Tariq Ali: What Is to Be Done?

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat May 31 16:13:13 MDT 2003


*****   Tariq Ali, "Re-Colonizing Iraq," _New Left Review_ 21, May-June 2003

...What is to be done?

If it is futile to look to the United Nations or Euroland, let alone 
Russia or China, for any serious obstacle to American designs in the 
Middle East, where should resistance start? First of all, naturally, 
in the region itself. There, it is to be hoped that the invaders of 
Iraq will eventually be harried out of the country by a growing 
national reaction to the occupation regime they install, and that 
their collaborators may meet the fate of Nuri Said before them. 
Sooner or later, the ring of corrupt and brutal tyrannies around Iraq 
will be broken. If there is one area where the cliché that classical 
revolutions are a thing of the past is likely to be proved wrong, it 
is the Arab world. The day the Mubarak, Hashemite, Assad, Saudi and 
other dynasties are swept away by popular wrath, American-and 
Israeli-arrogance in the region will be over.

In the imperial homeland itself, meanwhile, opposition to the ruling 
system should take heart from the example of America's own past. In 
the closing years of the 19th century, Mark Twain, shocked by 
chauvinist reactions to the Boxer Rebellion in China and the US 
seizure of the Philippines, sounded the alarm. Imperialism, he 
declared, had to be opposed. In 1899 a mammoth assembly in Chicago 
established the American Anti-Imperialist League. Within two years 
its membership had grown to over half a million and included William 
James, W. E. B. DuBois, William Dean Howells and John Dewey. Today, 
when the United States is the only imperial power, the need is for a 
global Anti-Imperialist League. But it is the US component of such a 
front that would be crucial. The most effective resistance of all 
starts at home. The history of the rise and fall of Empires teaches 
us that it is when their own citizens finally lose faith in the 
virtue of infinite war and permanent occupations that the system 
enters into retreat.

The World Social Forum has, till now, concentrated on the power of 
multinational corporations and neoliberal institutions. But these 
have always rested on foundations of imperial force. Quite 
consistently, Friedrich von Hayek, the inspirer of the 'Washington 
Consensus', was a firm believer in wars to buttress the new system, 
advocating the bombing of Iran in 1979 and of Argentina in 1982. The 
World Social Forum should take up that challenge. Why should it not 
campaign for the shutting down of all American military bases and 
facilities abroad -- that is, in the hundred plus countries where the 
US now stations troops, aircraft or supplies? What possible 
justification does this vast octopoid expanse have, other than the 
exercise of American power? The economic concerns of the Forum are in 
no contradiction with such an extension of its agenda. Economics, 
after all, is only a concentrated form of politics, and war a 
continuation of both by other means....

The immediate tasks that face an anti-imperialist movement are 
support for Iraqi resistance to the Anglo-American occupation, and 
opposition to any and every scheme to get the UN into Iraq as 
retrospective cover for the invasion and after-sales service for 
Washington and London. Let the aggressors pay the costs of their own 
imperial ambitions. All attempts to dress up the re-colonization of 
Iraq as a new League of Nations Mandate, in the style of the 1920s, 
should be stripped away. Blair will be the leading mover in these, 
but he will have no shortage of European extras behind him. 
Underlying this obscene campaign, the beginnings of which are already 
visible on Murdoch's TV channels, the BBC and CNN, is the urgent 
desire to reunite the West. The vast bulk of official opinion in 
Europe, and a substantial chunk in the US, is desperate to begin the 
post-war 'healing process'. The only possible reply to what lies 
ahead is the motto heard in the streets of San Francisco this spring: 
'Neither their war nor their peace'.

8 April 2003

<http://www.newleftreview.net/NLR25501.shtml>   *****

We've already lost the battle that Tariq Ali exhorted us to fight in 
the last paragraph of the above essay (Tariq Ali, "Business as Usual: 
The UN Has Capitulated. Now Let the North's Plunder of the South 
Begin Again," May 24, 2003, 
<http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0524-07.htm>), but what of the 
rest of his "What Is to Be Done"?  Any comment?

-- 
Yoshie

* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.osu.edu/students/sif/calendar.html>, 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://www.osu.edu/students/sif/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
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