Iraq Resistance

Daniel Peyser dan at
Wed Nov 12 08:50:10 MST 2003

> Frequently true, but the question then is why. The most obvious answer
> is
> that as long as Iraq (say) is occupied by America, the workers will
> focus
> on getting them out. If Marxists and trade unionists join the struggle
> to
> kick out the Americans, then we are more likely to interest the
> fighters in
> class struggle *as well* than if we stand aside.

> No it can't. The Vietnamese have discovered they're still trapped
> within
> the matrix of imperialism. But once again, how do we convince Iraqis of
> that if we abstain from their immediate struggle - and therfore lack
> credibility in their eyes.

One of my friends is working on a piece about the NPA in the
Philippines, who she has spent quite a bit of time with over the past
couple of years. I am now reminded that we were discussing these very
same points, and I thought it might be useful to excerpt a portion of
her work here, considering if and how it might apply to the situation
in Iraq. Obviously the resistance in the Philippines is much more
defined, and is defined as communist, but it gets to some of these same
issues regarding national liberation:

I would first like to begin with the subject of nationalism since as
you can see from the NDF analytical framework is centered upon the
Philippines as a isolated entity in the form of a nation state and its
relations to powerful nation states as imperialists. This nationalist
analysis is useful in organizing for national sovereignty and aligning
the middle forces with the peasants and workers against foreign
exploitation and dictatorial politics, such as in the case of the
resistance to Marcos. When you begin by asking what is the situation of
the Philippines, you draw on the nationalism of Filipinos and have the
possibility of attracting a wider audience to your message.
	However, when you focus on the economy of the Philippines and describe
it as a unified whole in relation with other cohesive units, the
analysis can become skewed particularly in a world where nation states
are no longer completely unified political, economic and cultural
entities and relate to each other in arenas that can be either sub- or
supra-national. For example, to grossly simplify Marx, nation states
move through the stages of feudalism to capitalism and then ideally to
socialism and these modes of production determine the political and
cultural situation of the nation; this is the basis of much of the
analysis of the Philippines situation. The Philippines is described as
being at a sort of half step between feudalism and capitalism and needs
to remove the influence of foreign powers to continue through the
stages of capitalism to socialism. What this fails to acknowledge is
that the Philippines' economy is operating within a larger capitalist
world economy and its position within that capitalist economy
determines the domestic one. That is, the feudalist nature of the
Philippines is built into the structure of the world capitalist system
and operates under those parameters; it defines what is grown, how it
is grown and what the price of the crops will be. Thus, the definition
of the Philippines as semi-colonial and semi-feudal is based upon a
description of the Philippines as outside of the larger system of
global capital and the precariousness of such is signified in the
"semi-"'s, for the Philippines is in reality neither but retaining the
national-based theories of Lenin and Mao requires a retention of the
terms. Hence, we have two very awkward terms to describe a domestic
economy outside of the larger context; or to use the terms of world
systems theorists, it is as if we are attempting to describe the
periphery without its relations to the center. Furthermore, we are
trying to do this by using the tools and analysis that refer to
economies as a whole, in a very simplified manner, and applying them to
what is in reality a portion of a whole.

She goes on at length after this about the same point, but I didn't
want to overburden the list with too long a post.

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