[Marxism] Re: The Militant's editorial on Iraq

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Apr 17 07:48:31 MDT 2004

I agree with Alam and Heeren that we have quite completely exhausted the
subject of the SWP on the list, unless there is some kind of decisive
reversal of its position.  To put it very mildly indeed, this is

We, and I in particular, have dissected this position quite thoroughly,
we have debated it, and we have even achieved a degree of "political
homogeneity" about it.  The dynamics are pretty clear at this point, and
they are not going to change.  The only value of debating this group's
views (aside from the settling of various people's personal accounts
which is an unavoidable element) is what can be learned from it about
the world.  And I think we have worked through that.

 I continue to see a stronger right-wing bent in the Militant today,
arising partly out of a desire to "bend the stick" in taking positions
against liberals and left opponents, but becoming an independent force
to a degree. I think Militant coverage has a structural tendency to
present Bush, Aznar, Blair, et al, as slightly "lesser evils" not only
relative to their bourgeois opponents, but to the antiwar movements in
the various countries. 

That is the meaning of portraying the antiwar movements in Britain and
Spain as expressions of chauvinist "anti-Americanism."  I think their
related pattern of outrage whenever Bush is criticized or denounced is
part of this.  Another aspect is the pattern of confidence in the
statements of prowar government officials (such as the assertion that
the statements of various governments about the kidnappings prove that
their prowar determination has been strengthened by the events).

"Bourgeois nationalist" is the Militant's term for the leaderships of
the various resistance forces in Iraq.  The label justifies the
Militant's refusal to give any support to the people of the oppressed
nation in their battles with the imperialist forces, while covering its
left flank with the position of withdrawal now.  As far as I can see,
the characterization of the various leaderships (Sistani, Al-Sadr, Sunni
clerics, Baathist former officers and so on) as bourgeois nationalist
seems accurate as far as it goes.  

As an excuse for refusing to support the struggle of a people to end the
occupation, it would be criminal if the SWP mattered very much.  As it
is, it is criminal in spirit.

The central leadership of the SWP fear the upswings of the struggle of
the Iraqi people -- it could shake up their "homogeneity" and
"discipline."  They sigh with relief and satisfaction when the downturns
set in as has apparently happened with this historic and positive wave
of conflict. That is the real meaning of the current editorial.

I would say it is time to start learning more directly from the people
of Iraq -- who have demonstrated and advanced their real nationhood and
the fundamental indestructibility of their REAL independence and
sovereignty in this wave of conflict.  There is clearly now a national
liberation movement in Iraq, regardless of the divisions within it and
the characteristics of the various leaderships.

Continuing to discuss Iraq through the medium of criticizing the
positions of a reactionary sect can lead, if carried past a certain
point,  create distortions in our own view of the world.

I think we have definitely arrived at that point, and maybe passed it by
a bit..
Fred Feldman

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