Failing to "stay the course": the US Socialist Workers Party bends to imperialism on Iraq
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Nov 12 12:39:09 MST 2003
This is a heavily edited version of the article I sent to the list
under the title of "After the American Century, Us: the new world
perspective of the SWP." It is substantially enough changed to
justify providing the list with it again, since I am also sending it
I retain the format of a response to Jose even though we have no
differences at all now (the letter was written when this was not
clear, and it retains that implication) on the source of the
adaptation to imperialism. We agree that the source was the
right-wing ideologues, and that the mechanism was NOT the industrial
working class (nor did it come from the ranks of the party who work
among and as industrial workers, whether or not they agree with
National Secretary -- or CEO, as I have re-dubbed him -- Barnes'
The comments that Jose made about the collapse or disintegration of
the workers states in the Soviet bloc recalls to mind the comments
made, I believe, by both Engel's and Lenin about the state machine
after the overthrow of capitalism remaining, in large part, a
"bourgeois state without the bourgeoisie." This idea seems very
relevant to the points Jose makes about how the workers' states were
lost to the working class -- a sixty-year process in the case of the
Soviet Union--and the centrality of the workers' consciousness of a
stake in this state (and really also the necessity of a worker-farmer
alliance around this).
I hope Jose is pursuing this question, as well as the more immediate
political ones in this discussion.
Yes, indeed, the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern
Europe are still workers' states in the Militant, if nowhere else.
Workers states which were strengthened if anything by the events of
As you may know, my own view today is that the workers states as an
expression of a social relation of workers dominance economically,
ceased to exist during the later Brazened years, when the society
seems at a certain point to have gone into free fall.
The overturns of 1989-1991 both had the effect of registering the
changed situation, conquering some political space for ALL classes in
the new situation, and breaking the Stalinist formations and the
The social catastrophe that began to take shape in the later Brazened
years accelerated. The totality of the situation represented an
overall gain for imperialism, but not a CONQUEST by imperialism.
I have a much more mixed view of the current balance of forces than
either the SWP or many others who think that 1989-91 put US
imperialism in full command of the situation.
I think the description of Iraq as a Vietnam is very premature, and
the argument of the Militant is accurate as far as it goes on this.
However, the weight they give to this question is very exaggerated.
It is completely obvious that the forces fighting in Iraq today do not
constitute a national-revolutionary mass movement with more than 20
years of mass revolutionary struggle under their belts, as the
Vietnamese liberation fighters were when the imperialists moved
massively against them in 1965.
Since then did that become the minimum qualification to earn the
defense and solidarity of against imperialism of revolutionaries
around the world? The argument is shallow, a cover story, not a
reason, for the position being adopted.
In Iraq, people are beginning to fight to reconquer the degree of
sovereignty and independence THEY HAD WON IN THE PAST. That struggle
must inevitably pose the question of extending that very limited
independence of imperialism. But the battle, as it is today --
different from Vietnam, or from Bolivia and Venezuela today where
broader and deeper challenges to imperialist domination are being
posed -- is nonetheless a very important battle for the working people
of the world today, win, lose or draw.
Can imperialism reverse some of the fundamental gains of the colonial
revolution today? That is being fought against by the fighters for
Iraqi sovereignty, Baathist or not. And unlike the Militant, I don't
think the outcome of this battle for basic justice and human rights is
foreordained to be defeat for the Iraqi people.
How does the fact that Iraq is not a "Vietnam" invalidate support to
manifestations of popular resistance? How does that prove that the
resistance is merely "remnants" of the Saddam Hussein regime? And why
should we be indifferent to the outcome of a conflict between supposed
"remnants" of Saddam's regime and US imperialism?
Indeed, why does the Militant insist specifically on blocking the
return of Saddam's regime? As far as I know the programmatic position
of the SWP would oppose the restoration of any bourgeois regime in
Iraq in the wake of a US retreat, an agreement, or whatever. Why
single out Saddam's regime, which was reactionary and repressive, as
a special target of irreconcilable opposition? Isn't this an echo of
the imperialists' choice of Saddam's regime as their demon of
convenience? And what if the relationship of political forces in Iraq
turns out in such a way (I don't expect this but I can't rule it out)
that a restored Baathist regime is the most likely immediate result of
US withdrawal? Where will the SWP stand on in that case on the
occupation and the war?
An anti-occupation struggle against imperialism does not have to be
"another Vietnam" to justify vanguard fighters taking the stand of
unconditional opposition to the imperialist warmakers and
unconditional solidarity with the oppressed nation. Nor does a war
have to be "another Vietnam" for the imperialists to be forced to
withdraw and allow real sovereignty to be restored (the basic issue in
the conflict today, whatever broader issues may come to the fore as
and if the struggle deepens and broadens). In any case, the basic
position of vanguard fighters is not governed by estimates about the
likely outcome but is a matter of basic class-against-class and
oppressed-versus-oppressor solidarity, win or lose.
Reading the Militant's thrilling and inspired coverage, you would
think that promises to "stay the course" are an unprecedented
development in the modern history of imperialist wars -- at last,
they are boldly drawing a line in the sand! is the awed tone of the
news article/ But such promises of imperialist steadfastness --
sometimes kept, sometimes not, and sometimes overwhelmed by
events --are part of the package of any serious colonial war in
The news article bubbles about October as the U.S.'s "best month" yet
in the war. The Militant has not acknowledged any bad months for the
The leftist general points made by the SWP about Vietnam and the
Baathists are not the real politics of the article and editorial, but
the cover for the politics of mimicry, adaptation to, and sometimes
almost downright adoption of the lingo and propaganda of Bush,
Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. That is the meaning of the proud headlines
about "staying the course," the dismissal of opposition to the
occupation as "Baathist remnants," the portrayal of the occupation as
"soft" and so on.
The article and editorial are probably a direct transcription, with a
little literary editing, of the words of Jack Barnes, the chief
executive officer of both the party and its corporate structure. And
they represent the most extreme expression so far of the rightward
evolution of this one-time revolutionist's views over many years.
Barnes often accuses those who are involved in actions opposing the
war of bending to imperialism because they use the words "our troops"
in expressing their calls for immediate withdrawal, and because some
emphasize U.S. casualties or direct special appeals on these issues to
the troops and their families.
But the current editorial and article show that, contrary to Barnes'
assumptions, avoidance of the mantric formulation "our troops" or
indifference to the casualties among US troops (for which imperialism
is ultimately responsible) is no guarantee of a revolutionary
defeatist or proletarian internationalist position on the war.
After all, Rumsfeld is clearly even more indifferent than Barnes to US
casualties, but that doesn't make him more proletarian
internationalist than Barnes.
Notice how Barnes uses the exaggeration of the current strength of the
resistance to justify his own even wilder exaggeration of the
invincible power of imperialism unless confronted by "revolutionary"
This is the two-positions theory that Barnes has always used as part
of intellectually bullying the ranks into accepting "political
homogeneity" with his views. You either hold that Iraq is now another
Vietnam (the "petty-bourgeois" position) -- or you accept the
Barnes-Rumsfeld view that the resistance is mere Saddamist remnants
and therefore deserving of no solidarity from fighters in the United
States (the "proletarian" position -- I kid you not!). You either
agree with Barnes and earn the designation worker-Bolshevik, or you
don't agree and "bend to imperialist pressure" on your way to the
ruling class camp.
A different recent example: You reject voting against the
anti-affirmative action Proposition 54 in the California recall (the
"proletarian," that is, Barnes position) -- or you agree that all the
gains of the civil rights struggle will be reversed by its passage
(the "petty-bourgeois" position). And so it goes.
I think. as the Militant editorial states and virtually celebrates,
that the war party is still on the rise in the United States. It
seems clear to me that the bourgeois official opinion is
overwhelmingly convinced that US imperialism cannot afford to retreat
from the war, or to halt the drive to strengthen US political,
military and economic domination in the Middle East, with oil as ONE
of the central concerns driving the process. From this standpoint, it
is probable at this point that the dominant sections of the rulers
will back Bush in the next election.
I had picked up indications of a certain "American-triumphalist" tone
in the Militant's coverage in previous issues. What shocked me most in
the Militant's coverage this week was the description of the
straight-up occupation of Iraq as merely a "soft" protectorate. This
is a bizarre description of a situation where the government is
directly appointed by Washington and formally subject to the
occupation authorities, where US corporations and directly roaming and
plundering the country with contracts given by US authorities, and
where US forces roam the country, killing at will and being killed in
What makes the SWP-Barnes position harder to understand is the world
framework he uses in endorsing, and not entirely without verve and
enthusiasm, the Bush-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz version of how the occupation
of Iraq is going for imperialism.
The SWP position is that the crisis in the workers states of the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe has resulted only in the fall of the
Stalinist regimes and the breakup of the bureaucratic machines, a
positive development. The workers states in this region, they argue,
still exist in these countries even, in some cases, under US and other
imperialist occupation and UN administration. The workers states, with
the bureaucratic stranglehold greatly weakened, have emerged somewhat
stronger as a consequence. (Of course a group of workers states does
still exist, and quite an important one, encompassing China,
Vietnam-Laos, N. Korea, and, above all Cuba.)
The US lost the cold war, the SWP explains. In the same period the US
working class fought its way to and maintained its place at center
stage in US politics for the past 25 years
(nobly refusing, I might add, to take any unfair advantage of this
position to advance their own material interests).
This is quite an inspiring package of victories for our side. The end
result of all this victory, according to the Militant, is not the
further advances that ordinary minds might expect but:
An apparently irresistible drive toward unchallenged world domination
This can only be combated with any possibility of success by
"revolutionary organizations", i.e.,"communist" leagues, i.e.,
SWP-type organizations. But where do such organizations stand today?
At rock bottom, Barnes admits.
A few months ago, in an encyclical to the assembled party milieu in
Oberlin, Ohio, Barnes declared that Marxist culture on a world scale
had collapsed to such an extent that it was now represented only by
the SWP and its associated "communist leagues" -- a statement that
consciously wrote off the Cuban Communist Party as a Marxist
leadership. The only Marxists in the world today are those who derive
their current wisdom and direction from the speeches of SWP CEO Jack
Barnes. That amounts to a few hundred people in the world -- maybe
less than 500 and for sure under 1,000.
Thus it seems that s real, legitimate fight against the US occupation
of Iraq, with any possibility of success, can only begin when at
least hundreds if not thousands of vanguard Iraqi workers and farmers
begin reading the English-language Militant cover to cover every
And until such revolutionary organizations exist, it is unnecessary --
really a waste of time, since nothing can come of it since the US
supremacy under any other circumstances is the verdict of history --
for the SWP to stand with the oppressed against the oppressors.
Also note that while US workers have successfully fought to remain at
center stage, Iraqi workers are credited with no such mighty
achievements, despite the growth of workers struggles against the
occupiers' exploitation and plunder.
This is a truly bizarre assessment of the world, exaggerating vastly
both our victories in the past and our apparently RESULTING
helplessness in the present.
I disagree with the assessment that the politics of the SWP reflects
and comes from the politics of the US working class. The US working
class has enough problems without being held responsible for the
politics of Jack Barnes.
How different is his case, at bottom, from those of other
intellectuals, under the impact of the capitalist offensive at home
and the imperialist offensive abroad, have been attracted to one
degree or another by the arguments of the right?
Barnes' political evolution can be traced back to the early 1980s when
Barnes led a factional drive that eliminated all challenges in the
leadership and effectively abolished the right of organized
opposition in the ranks, establishing a bureaucratized leadership
structure basically submissive to his will and increasingly over time
to his whims.
In my opinion Jack Barnes carried out this destructive coup for
basically political-ideological l reasons He was convinced that this
was the nature of a real revolutionary organization, and that anything
else, including the SWP as it had existed since 1938, was centrist or
even reformist by comparison. (I don't know whether he held this view
also of the Bolsheviks who never. in Lenin's lifetime, adopted
anything like this mode of organization.) He insisted, consistently
and I believe sincerely, that the organization question was always the
central question facing the party.
The coup smashed and ended discussions which were then taking place of
the tactics and strategy of the turn toward the industrial workers and
the unions which had been accepted by almost everybody; our stance
toward the Cuban revolution, Nicaragua, and Grenada; the organization
question; and the Trotskyist theory of permanent revolution as opposed
to Lenin's political orientation and methodology in the Russian
The factional coup had the effect of driving out almost everyone who
had expressed differences on any of these questions and, from the
beginning and more and more as time went on, silencing the party
members -- the supporters of the majority faction -- who remained.
Branches and fractions of party members in industrial unions came to
be entirely directed from above and ceased to have a political life
or serious decision-making character (though they were nonetheless
subjected to sharp criticism for anything that went wrong and
routinely charged with adapting to this or that "alien class
As often happens in small organizations, a material basis has grown
up over time around this bureaucratically-structured leadership.
Since last year's sale of the Pathfinder building in New York City,
this basis has grown to as much as $15-$20 million. Today, the SWP CEO
not only manages the political activities of a small and declining
group of worker members, but a much larger block of labor-absorbing
capital. I guess it is an irony of history of sorts that the exchange
value of the party's property soared as the use value of the party
In US society today, after 25 years of the "turn," the SWP counts for
more as capital than as labor. It is vastly more successful as a
business than as a workers party -- a fact that a very intelligent
fellow like Barnes probably can't help thinking about when he weighs
the competing prospects of capitalism and revolutionary socialism in
I want to stress that the political impact of being legal and
practical owners of a significant block of capital does not depend on
individual corruption, or vast expenses on personal needs. Like, the
man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors, such a block of capital
demands care and feeding, either grows or falls, and its collapse can
be enormously costly. These are among the ways that social being
really does ultimately determine consciousness.
I find the rumors about Barnes' opera tickets and occasional dinners
at posh restaurants very unimpressive (especially compared to the
tales of luxury and debauchery that circulated about the late Gerry
Healy in Britain or James Robertson of the Spartacist League in the
United States). I spend as much or more on similar pleasures from time
to time (although I prefer jazz to opera), and I generally have less
money than party subsistence used to be. My impression is that the
party leadership has modest personal needs and standards -- that was
always true in the past and no one has ever proved different. I don't
think they have ever been in it for the money, and I don't think they
But a miser who owns a significant block of capital is still a
capitalist even if they never spend a penny on their personal needs.
The social relation is not a product of personal consumption but of
ownership of capital.
While I believe that Barnes' shift to the right on Iraq has other
roots, it may not be entirely accidental that the news article mimics
very accurately some of the views and even the language and tone of
capitalist journals that recognize the necessity of the basic Bush
course from the standpoint of their economic interests.
The other material source of Barnes' rightward shift and his ability
to impose this so far on the remaining cadre of the party is the
relative passivity of the working class. The class presents no active
and organized massive source of resistance to the pressures that
seem to me to be shaping his evolution, and the evolution of those
who are convinced by him. This evolution, it seems to me, is clearly
beginning to trace a trajectory which points to the right of any
section of the class that I have ever had direct contact with.
I think the new position on Iraq is a good time to review five
occasions in recent years when the SWP has adopted positions that
substantially mimicked the right while using leftist argumentation
(though the leftist argumentation is much thinner this time around, it
seems to me)..
(1)The SWP's denounced the forcible removal of Elian Gonzalez by the
INS from the home of his captors (to whom the INS had delivered him in
the first place) as a savage attack on and big blow to the democratic
rights of the working class; .
(2) After the November 2000 voting, the SWP charged that Gore was
trying to steal the election from Bush, a pro-Bush stand in the
(3) the SWP called on workers to not oppose the anti-affirmative
action Proposition 54 in the California recall election;
(4) the SWP opposed, until the very end, the prewar protests against
the invasion of Iraq, charging protesters in other countries with
being "anti-American" and criticizing protesters in this country for
their allegedly pro-French positions;
and (5) and finally the latest turn toward the Bush-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz
line on Iraq and opposition to the resistance there.
Of these only the anti-affirmative action position had any strong base
in the working class that I know of (and this requires its
presentation as an "antiracist" color-blind proposal). I am just about
dead certain from long experience in both industry and the SWP
industrial fractions that none of these positions by the SWP
originated in adaptation by members of industrial fractions to their
rightist coworkers on the job. From the same experience, I believe
that all of these positions were adopted to turn around the
supposedly "adaptationist" responses of SWP members on the job. They
come from the top down, not from below.
Jack Barnes has never worked in industry, or even participated in a
plant gate sale as far as I know. He has never been "in" the turn. He
administers and controls it from the outside. He sits in his office or
at his desk at home and reads and thinks and meets and talks and
issues instructions gives speeches that are edited by others into
books and weighs and ponders and corrects the real and supposed errors
of others and rewards and punishes.
The result was a tragicomic parody of the relations between workers
and intellectuals, often attributed to Lenin (and decisively
repudiated by him) as a consequence of misunderstood or
open-to-misinterpretation passages from Lenin's wonderful "What Is To
Be Done?." Barnes relentlessly combats, from outside all of the
party's daily work and activity, the spontaneous tendency of the ranks
to respond positively -- "adapt" -- to events like antiwar protests,
the Mumia case, the fight for Elian, etc.
Remember that the Cubans were genuinely inspired -- and to some extent
pleasantly surprised --by the response of the US masses around Elian.
The rightist opposition to returning Elian was not strongly based in
the industrial working class, as the talk about a "Buchananite wing"
of the working class suggested.
I know for sure that the spontaneous predominant response of all
layers of the class that I worked with was:
(1) Elian should go home to his real family (this view was held by
some anti-Castro Cubans, aside from the far-rightists);
(2)Bush was stealing the election (there were also people, myself
included, who didn't really care that much -- rightly or wrongly is
beside the point here -- about who was stealing the rotten,
undemocratic election from whom, but there was no one who argued that
Gore was trying to steal it from Bush. This was exclusively the line
of the hard-right intelligentsia and foot soldiers); and
(4-5) growing worry about the prospect of invading Iraq and about the
prospect and reality of war and US and Iraqi casualties, and growing
doubts that the war was ever justified. Remember the very sizable
working class participation in the February 15 protests.
Working so far from the scene, I had no real discussions with
coworkers about (3) Proposition 54.
In the working class, the so-called Vietnam syndrome still exists and
may even be growing stronger, but Barnes declares that the rulers have
won the battle against it.
The workers in uniform who have gone to war tend to be bitter,
unhappy, and filled with personal, moral and political doubts, but
Barnes declares the new army to be united, highly motivated, and
essentially invincible (except by the aforesaid "revolutionary
organizations"). The Militant has even favorably compared the
supposedly new Rumsfeldized US military, from the standpoint of combat
capacity and motivation, to the revolutionary Cuban military.
I would summarize the new Barnes line on all these questions as
basically: AFTER the American century, US!
Barnes' views on these questions come not from the pressure of
conservatized workers but directly from right-wing forces who have
had a degree of influence on his thinking for years -- Commentary
magazine, Buchanan, Wolfowitz, National Review and the like are
respected political authorities in his eyes. I have been worried about
this trend for a long time, although I freely admit I never expected
the tendency -- which started relatively small -- to go anything like
as far as it already has.
Back in 1994, the leadership -- clearly reflecting the silent
Barnes -- attempted to rally the party to the idea that gays were
being rightly banned from the US military, from the standpoint of
basic military concepts, and that a proletarian army would have to
follow this example. (This effort failed due to resistance from below,
including from the party's industrial workers.) As a consequence, I
actually subscribed to National Review for a year in order to keep
tabs on what Jack was thinking. It actually helped, too, but I had to
drop it for financial reasons.
In 1996 I gave a talk to a district meeting in New York. The meeting
was organized by the Political Committee in order to crush
"adaptation" on Mumia -- a number of branches were guilty of joining
coalitions and so forth. A repeated argument was the presentation of
Mumia's case as a favorite of the liberals -- the Hollywood left and
all that-- as well as sectarian Black nationalist and left groups.
Among other things I made these points in response -- I remember this
literally: "Antiliberalism is not the same thing as anticapitalism,
although anti-capitalists are opposed to liberalism. Independence from
the liberals is not the same thing as class independence. An
antiliberal axis is not the same thing as a proletarian revolutionary
Don't these errors permeate the position being taken on Iraq today,
and the other four positions I cited above? I certainly think so.
This talk was as close as I ever came to presenting a clear general
counterpolitical line to Barnes'. Even back then, that was the axis
of my argument. What I would cautiously call to myself Barnes'
"right-wing twitches" were always very troubling to me from the time
he began his retreat on the national and colonial question.
This began openly in 1985 with an initial period adaptation to
Farrakhan's anti-Semitic speeches and the proclamation that "Blacks
and Jews have no common interests" because of the vast difference in
their class compositions. This position was later dropped, when the
anti-Semitic character of Farrakhan's position on Jews at that time
became generally recognized -- although it revived again briefly
around the 1991 police attack on Crown Heights in Brooklyn after which
it disappeared entirely.
The attack on petty-bourgeois Black nationalism completely pushed
aside the earlier fervent denunciations of middle-class Jews. A
trace of what developed can be found in the 1985 resolution in New
International 4, pages 60-61, which was adopted when Farrakhan's
stance was being defended.
Basically, the error was a workerist one although potentially much
more rightist than that with its suggestion of a possible specific
class struggle by the working class Blacks against the middle-class
Jews. (The workerist error on the Jews was actually similar to the
approach which effectively replaced the party's former approach to the
Black PEOPLE as a nationality or nation with one treating Blacks as
simply a sector of the working class facing some specific systemic
Frankly, I found the working class -- I was always in the poorer
sectors but I am referring to all sectors, warts and all, in my
experience -- a real refuge and a source of encouragement and
confidence about the future in the face of the growing
reactionary-sectarian atmosphere in the party. I found them vastly
less politically prejudiced, more open minded, solidaristic in their
human instinct, and all-around behavior than the negatively changing
I have found not only racial divisions at a lower (but very far from
nonexistent) level than in the past, but in the last few years I began
to see acceptance of openly gay workers as a part of the workforce --
not without a touch or irony, but without anything resembling the
persecution or terror that I remember a few comrades understandably
fearing when they confronted the prospect of joining the turn.
All I can say is that I have worked in industry for about 14 years. I
have come under pressure to adopt liberal, moderate or pacifist, views
or to conservative views, often based in religious arguments, around
issues like abortion. But I never felt ANY pressure to adapt to the
kind of rightist views that the SWP is now adapting to on the Iraq
war. I found strong patriotic feelings among coworkers in the first
Iraq war, for example, but I was nonetheless able to sell socialist
antiwar literature, refuse to give blood or wear flag buttons and the
like, and to have civil discussions with coworkers. My experience
was more sporadic and limited this time but my impression was the same
I never found the factory floor to be a revolutionary environment
(although I remain convinced it will become one) and, unlike some who
entered the turn, I really did not expect to find that when the turn
opened. So I was not as disappointed as some were who went in
expecting to see the workers literally acting at the center stage of
US politics. I was among those who inserted more realistic
interpretations on the (I now recognize) extreme phrases.
But I have never found it to be a reactionary environment overall or
even close to that. And I think the tendency of the workforce has
been in a more progressive rather than more reactionary direction. The
changing composition of the workforce has been the biggest source of
this -- but all sectors, including the white workers and the
aristocracy, show the effects in my experience.
The hard truth is that, even though there are struggles today that
show signs of what will take place in the future, we will not really
understand the workiing class that is taking shape in the United
States -- the real divisions in it and the real attitudes that have
developed and so forth -- until it is united and divided in mass
economic and political struggle again. This is being prepared today,
including by those swimming or crawling across the Rio Grande basin.
In conclusion, keep in mind Barnes' warning, by way of the editorial
writer, that everybody must now "internalize" his line on Iraq in
order to remain on a revolutionary course.
This means that "political homogeneity" -- agreement with Barnes -- is
likely to be extorted from the ranks by the usual pressure-threats-and
political dependency techniques. They stand a good chance to be
harried about bending to the petty bourgeoisie, the pacifists, the
Stalinists, the US imperialists, the French imperialists, or the labor
aristocracy. Jack's supposed indispensability as party leader-- he is
the only indispensable party member, of course -- will be cited again
and again. His working class family background may be brought forward
as needed in contrast to those who cannot claim one. If everything
runs true to form, every kind of possible adaptation will be charged
against dissenters in the ranks in order to justify the real
adaptation being carried out here and now by the CEO-for-life.
The fact that, as Jose's letter notes in passing, the Militant
currently seems to have a different line and approach when it writes
about Venezuela, for example, and Iraq (both sectarian to varying
degrees, but the stance on Venezuela is DEFINITELY the lesser evil)
may not be an accident or simply a problem of editorial
I have to admit I very much hope there is real resistance to this,
and I will be saddened if there isn't. Not because the fate of the
SWP is a big political question today -- the days when that could be
credibly asserted are long gone -- but for the sake of the many
outstanding fighters and human beings I left behind when I was
blessedly expelled in 1999, and the revolutionary-minded individuals
who have been recruited since.
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