[Marxism] Re: US SWP participation in UK anti-war protests

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Mon Nov 24 22:44:43 MST 2003

Pete Evans writes:

>>Proyect says I don't understand how the mass movement operates. Well
my experience from the anti-Vietnam war movement onwards  has taught me
that there are no independent laws of motion of what he calls
'proletarian methods of struggle' outside of the social forces involved
in and leading these struggles. And when there is a sizeable
pro-imperialist current attempting to use the anti-war movement for its
own ends then this has to be faced up to and not ignored.<<

If I were Pete Evans, I wouldn't try to go back to the anti-Vietnam war
movement to try to prettify the SWP's scandalous, abstentionist,
non-struggle approach to the antiwar movement. 

Unlike Walter, I don't assume the SWP spent all this money just to go
there to run down people they don't like in the British antiwar

I believe they were there to do a Cominternist intervention into the
British Communist League. No, I have no inside information, it is pure
speculation on my party. Call it a hunch.

Pete's statement about how "there are no independent laws of motion of
what he [Louis] calls 'proletarian methods of struggle' outside of the
social forces involved in and leading these struggles" sounds very
profound, until you think about it. Well, of course not. If there are so
social forces, there couldn't very well be a social struggle, now could
there, nor could the struggle that doesn't exist have any laws of motion
--independent or not-- since a non-existent struggle obviously would
have no motion. So much for the class struggle on Altair 6.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Pete's lumping together "the social
forces involved" with those "leading these struggles" is a dead giveaway
that we're about to encounter some hoary sectarian pretext for
non-struggle abstentionism, all in the name of combating a bad

While our super-anti-their-own-imperialism British branch of the
American SWP may not believe it, ascribing an independent importance to
"their own" imperialism it does not have, it is a plain fact that the
invasion of Iraq is not a joint U.S.-British enterprise but an
overwhelmingly U.S. affair in which Blair & Co. have played precisely
the role of Bush's poodle (down to such fine details as making a mess on
the carpet by publishing plagiarized stale college student reports and
trying to pass them off as the latest secret intelligence). 

That people, including in Britain, would express their repudiation of
the imperialist war and Blair in an "anti Bush" or "anti U.S." so-called
"framework" is thus entirely understandable. It corresponds to reality. 

That there are some people in British ruling class circles, and tons of
people among the pro-capitalist petty-bourgeois scribblers and other
intelligentsia in Britain, that tries to manipulate this to promote what
they view as Britain's own (bourgeois) interests is also obvious. As it
is quite obvious that the overwhelming majority of the British ruling
class has its own very clear idea of where its interests lie and isn't
buying it. Which is not to say that they won't dump Bush at some point
as the political cost of staying with him in Iraq becomes higher.

But the question that must be asked is, "so what"? The movement against
the war is, by its very nature, objectively anti-imperialist. And it is
precisely through participating in such movements and generalizing from
their concrete experience that people become consciously
anti-imperialist and anticapitalist. The movement helps the Iraqi
resistance and hurts the imperialist war effort.

The SWP doesn't see it that way because they aren't particularly
interested in aiding the Iraqi resistance. Don't take my word for it,
read what they wrote in that editorial a couple of weeks ago saying the
resistance was just Baathist remnants: "Revolutionists in Iraq today
would fight for Iraqi sovereignty, which the U.S. armed forces prevent.
At the same time, they would be opposed to the return of the Baathist

I leave aside the arrogance involved in self-styled socialists from the
imperialist power that is invading their country presuming to speak for
what Iraqi revolutionaries "would" do. This is not about someone's  line
within Iraq, the Militant has zero readers there and even less
influence. This is a shame-faced way of saying they're neutral in the
fight between the Iraqi resistance and "their own" imperialism:  

"The U.S. troops occupying Iraq are fighting the remnants of this
Baathist regime, not a popular guerrilla force."

That's a crock of pro-imperialist horseshit, and everyone on this list
knows it, even if some won't admit it. The U.S. troops occupying Iraq
are fighting the Iraqi people, the Iraqi nation, that's their real

Pete says, the British followers of the U.S. SWP proved their communist
mettle "by raising such slogans as demanding the withdrawal of Britain
from Ireland, that to be successful the anti-Bushism of the
demonstrators has to be converted into opposition to British

Well, if it is good enough for Ireland, what about the SWP current
demanding the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all imperialist
troops from *Iraq,* and most especially U.S. imperialist troops? 

The SWP isn't about making sure the British comrades don't let British
imperialism off the hook; it is about letting American imperialism off
the hook. That's the meaning of calling for "the anti-Bushism of the
demonstrators" being converted to "opposition to British imperialism,"
for example in ... Ireland. Take the heat off the American imperialists
occupying Iraq.

All this stuff about stressing the conflict between Europe and the
U.S.A. and inter-imperialist rivalries and trade frictions, etc., is
about *diverting attention away* from the conflict between the
imperialist camp, headed by the United States, and the peoples of the
third world in general, and the Anglo-American occupation against Iraq
in particular.


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