Iraq resistance

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Wed Nov 12 19:40:45 MST 2003


I’m glad Jose responded to this, because his approach is shared by many on
the list; Dan can now engage him if he wishes. For me, just the following
comments:

>>In the modern world, I think in general terms we can speak of two kinds
of nationalism, the nationalism of the oppressed and the nationalism of the
oppressor.<<

Yes of course; if my previous posts didn’t make it clear that I support
national movements of the oppressed, I don’t know what more I could add.
But in my book, this is a distinction between the capitalist outlook of the
oppressed and the capitalist outlook of the oppressor. A movement will not
succeed in transcending capitalism without moving beyond this framework. 

>>the questions that must be asked and investigated are,
what class interests does the national movement represent?<<

Well if it’s nationalism, then it will represent the “nation”, which
includes the bourgeoisie. If the movement doesn’t go further, eventually
the bourgeoisie will end up back on top. That’s why we’re socialists. Or as
you put it, quoting Sandino: "Only the workers and peasants will go all the
way."

>>Now, you may say, see, this *proves* that "nationalist ideology" –a
"national interest" above and beyond classes-- is essentially false and
bourgeois. But that is not the way the issue presents itself to the toilers
in a semi-colonial country in the midst of a revolutionary process. What
THEY see isn't that the idea of national solidarity is a bad idea, but
rather, that certain classes are "vendepatria,"<<

This seems like a circular argument to me. The question is whether they see
correctly. But anyway, in the case of Iraq, it’s reasonably clear that the
Saddam forces are not at this stage “vendepatria”. Trouble is, they are
bourgeois.

>>Once it reaches a certain stage of development, there is a struggle
between the component classes for the "ownership" of the national movement,
to give it a more defined class content.<<

Very true, and if there are socialist forces not locked into nationalist
ideology we might even win that struggle. In which case a "more defined
class content" might even mean working class socialism. Which for me, at
least, is the ultimate goal.


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