[Marxism] Re: Spain, "The Militant" and "anti-American demagogy"

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Sun Apr 4 07:11:30 MDT 2004

Agreed, it appears farcical to seize upon standing up or sitting down when
the American flag passes as an example of "anti-American demagoguery."

Let's put it a different way. All the flags of the world pass: the liberal
of "socialist" head of a state (let's say Spain) remains standing for all of
them, but he sits down when the U.S. flag passes. Questioned, he or she
replies, it's not my flag.

A right-wing pundit in the U.S. would, of course, be up in arms. Horowitz,
Buchanan, O'Reilly and others would seize upon this to condemn liberalism,
socialism, old Europe, whatever.

But what about the revolutionists in Spain? They do not want to get trapped
into tail-ending patriotic demagoguery. They recognize this cynical maneuver
for what it is, a calculated attempt to win the Spanish masses behind a
"left" strategy in the defense and extension of Spanish imperialism.

As small as their group may be, they have to find a way to oppose both U.S.
and Spanish imperialism. Does he/she applaud it or perhaps ignore it (as I
think some critics of The Militant line would imply)? Or do revolutionists
craft ways, through propaganda and agitation, to expose the demagoguery, to
point out that by this action the head of state is wrapping himself in his
own flag, and to persuade the workers of Spain to see through this cynical

Likewise, in the British November 2003 protests against Bush, wouldn't it
have been best if British revolutionists had pressed to use the action
equally against Blair, as co-leader of the war on Iraq?

If their group was large enough and had they raised the issue in a timely
manner, they might have affected the course of the action. Or, perhaps
almost as important, they might have laid the groundwork for post-action
reflection by the most conscious elements of the antiwar coalition that
perhaps these revolutionists were correct, after all.

Or, even if they failed to raise the issue at the time, isn't it important
that in post-action analysis and self-criticism (not always a bad idea) for
revolutionists to assimilate a deeper understanding of revolutionary
methods--of how to craft a fight against your own imperialism.

I trust that the argument above will be discussed on its merits, without
resort to another reminder of the abstentionist course of the U.S. SWP.
Ideas should be judged on their own merits. In fact, if The Militant line is
correct, its abstention is doubly damning.

from Brian Shannon

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