[Marxism] Re: With the people of Iraq -- win, lose, or draw!

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Apr 29 23:22:03 MDT 2004


Fred,

This is an excellent contribution. I just want to add a comment about the
methodology of calling Iraq "another Vietnam".

I'm cautious about it too (though the group I belong to is less so.) There
are situations where I think it does have some value, for example I don't
mind saying "this could be Bush's Vietnam", if this is understood to mean
it could be another major imperialist defeat at the hands of a national
liberation struggle. To say that is to appeal to great traditions which can
be good. The danger, however, is that people think this means we are going
to somehow repeat history, and that it becomes an exercise in wishful
thinking.

I came up against this after Suharto fell in Indonesia. Certain comrades,
whom I won't name specifically since it's a widespread habit on the left
generally, promptly informed me that it was a "revolution". I didn't see it
that way, but what worried me more was when they went on to inform me that
"Indonesia has had its February Revolution". By implication, October must
be next.

A bit like you do in your post, I went over a few obvious points: but where
are the workers' councils? where is the mass revolutionary party? where is
the looming split in the military? did February involve race riots? wasn't
February started by women on International Women's Day, whereas the May
1968 riots involved widespread rapes of Chinese women? You get my drift...

The main problem was wish-fulfillment, but access to misleading historical
templates didn't help.

Tom




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