Paulsen gets in his two cents on another Gould response part1

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at
Mon Sep 1 22:09:39 MDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gould's Book Arcade" <ggouldsb at>
To: "marx mail" <marxism at>

It's possible that this post is just an expression of envy, because José is
getting all the credit in the subject lines :-)  Doubtless José would
respond with Trotsky's remark: "These gentlemen like to give revolution a
name.." ;-)  [Now Bob is going to complain that I am calling him a gentleman
:-(   ]

I don't actually write this in a spirit of "let's all pile on Bob", but it
is very worrisome to see him writing the things he is writing.  From time to
time, people do go over to the other side.  Particularly in wartime.  Not
because they consciously decide that the bourgeoisie is the side to be on,
but because it seems impossible, or horrible, or uncivilized, or just plain
evil, to go ahead with a consistent opposition to their own bourgeoisies;
they decide that there is something else out there that is REALLY even worse
than their own bourgeoisie, and they can't understand how the ultraleftists
are so blind as to miss this obvious fact.  Today it is commonplace to talk
about the betrayal of the leaders of the Second International, but in 1914
it was a shocking thing to charge, as Lenin did, that they were traitors,
and they themselves felt shocked and affronted that their reasonable,
creative, and civilized application of Social-Democratic principles to the
period they were in was slandered and defamed as treason.  I have no doubt
that Kautsky was as offended being called a traitor by Lenin as Gould is to
have the Harlan County song sung at him by José:

> I deeply and viscerally object to being labelled a scab because of a
> difference of opinion with the excited Jose Perez. I object even more to
> Gary McLennan labelling me a scab, by mealy mouthed inference, when he
> refers, in a fulsome way, to what a wonderful post Perez's was.

Unfortunately, Bob, this is not a minor difference of opinion.  This is a
life-and-death difference of opinion, where people are getting shot and
blown up and it DOES make a good deal of difference what side you are on.
We are not all in your block, or we might be gathering together to bust into
your house and have an 'intervention' where we try to convince you that you
'have a problem'.  As it is, we are trying to get you to turn the hell
around and consider the possiblity that you are way off course before you
end up several years down the road where Hitchens is now.

I will cut directly to what I think the point is, and I think it's here:

> I go further than Williams, however, and assert that the nature of these
> actions suggests they may well be the actions of counter revolutionary
> forces like the remnants of Baathist intelligence or Islamic
> terrorist groups.

I think this is really at the heart of the matter.  The point that you are
making to us, Bob, is that the bombings might be the work of
"counter-revolutionary ... Baathists ... or Islamic fundamentalist terrorist
groups."  My point to you, Bob, is that "counter-revolutionary" is a
dialectical term, or OUGHT to be, and you have to ask yourself, "even
assuming that the bombings WERE the work of Baathists or Islamicists, how
can you call those forces 'counter-revolutionary' COMPARED WITH the United
States occupation??"

What are the implications of saying this?  IF these forces are
"counter-revolutionary" WITH RESPECT to the United Nations or the occupation
forces, THEN does it not follow that the United Nations personnel in Iraq,
and maybe the civilian workers in service of the occupation, and the Iraqi
puppet government, have the right to use military force, and to ask for
outside military support, such as from the US Marines, to protect themselves
from Baathists and Islamicists?   Lest anyone think this is a complete straw
man argument, we have ALREADY had a debate on a social-democratic list here
in Chicago where someone complained about the "Bring the Troops Home Now"
slogan, on the ground that it would be WRONG to bring the troops home now
because it would be a disservice to the Iraqis because it would leave them
at the mercy of Baathists and Islamicists, or at least spark a civil war,
and therefore we have a moral duty to leave imperialist troops in Iraq to
save the Iraqis from themselves.   Again, the guy writing this was an
experienced movement person, possibly with credentials as good as your own!
Would you agree that THAT is a social-imperialist position?  If it is NOT
your position, Bob, wouldn't it be a good idea to distinguish your position
from it, rather than to quote long sections of "their morals and ours",
which, by the way, some of us have read and approve of but are applying
differently from the way you apparently are.

Lou Paulsen

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