[Marxism] To Tariq Ali

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 12 14:18:03 MDT 2004

Dear Tariq,

Once again I am a loss to figure out your reasons for not explicitly 
urging the radical movement in the USA to throw its heft behind the 
Kerry campaign. If the stakes are so high for the suffering masses of 
the 3rd world, don't you have an obligation to call things by their 
rightful name and get us to volunteer for John F. Kerry? I am quite sure 
that Leon Trotsky and Ernest Mandel, whom you satirized so effectively 
in "Redemption", would have had no problems putting things clearly. I am 
afraid that all this business about how it would be preferable to remove 
Bush, etc. without actually calling for a Kerry vote strikes me as 
Browderesque obfuscation mixed together with Hegelianian detachment. Not 
a very good combination for an erstwhile street-fighting man like yourself.

Robin Blackburn, your old comrade from Mandelista days, has a somewhat 
different take on things. In the latest print version of Counterpunch, 
he advises:

"We should all have US citizenship, like subjects of the Roman empire 
after Caracalla. If the rest of the world had a vote Bush would be 
doomed and Ralph Nader might be the favourite. As it is, we are stuck 
with contenders who both promise a prolongation of the imperial mission 
and the war in Iraq."

In any case, I feel compelled to inform you that two highly distasteful 
individuals from the liberal neck of the woods have used your interview 
with Henwood as an imprimatur for voting for Kerry. I speak here of 
Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen, formerly of FAIR, who now seem poised to 
get jobs in the press office of a Kerry administration. On the Common 
Dreams website, an outfit flush with foundation money and where your 
latest item on Iraq appears, Solomon and Cohen attempted to beat the 
hard anti-Kerry left into submission with quotes lifted wholesale from 
your Henwood interview.

Like Robin Blackburn, they believe that "the effects of U.S. government 
policies are so enormous across the planet that some people have 
suggested -- with more than a little justification -- that every person 
on Earth should get to vote in U.S. presidential elections." Unlike 
Blackburn, they feel a vote for Kerry is the logical choice for 
long-suffering denizens of the South. Not to be a sectarian or 
something, but I do wonder if the people of Iraq would vote this way, 
considering the Democrat's pledge to stay the course as well as all the 
damage that Clinton's sanctions did.

In any case, even though I think you are full of beans on this 
"defeating Bush" stuff, keep up the good work on other fronts. Nobody's 


Louis Proyect


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