[Marxism] The Left's Rotten Rallying Cry of Retreat: Cowardice is Not a Strategy

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam at msalam.net
Mon Aug 16 19:08:16 MDT 2004

Shameless self-promotion as usual, but what the hey:

The Left's Rotten Rallying Cry of Retreat: Cowardice is Not a Strategy

*- by M. Junaid Alam*

Bracing against a German assault that swiftly and brutally tore through 
western Russia in the summer of 1941, Josef Stalin remarked, "In the 
Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance." Today many 
radicals have joined the liberals and chattering classes in imagining 
themselves as partaking in an equally epic struggle with similar 
tactics; the Bush regime is Hitlerism reborn, an evil menace that can 
only be swept away by first retreating from many of the values and 
causes which they once rallied around in defense of the oppressed and 

But whereas the Red Army only ceded ground to reorganize and make a 
stronger stand around defensible positions, the battle cry of 'Anybody 
But Bush' sends its adherents scurrying towards a candidate and party 
which have - in no uncertain terms - fully endorsed and vowed to 
continue perpetrating the two most morally indefensible and politically 
disastrous tragedies of our time: the occupation of Iraq and Palestine. 
This hardly concerns our ABB intelligentsia: so entranced by their 
fanatical fear, zealous hatred, and personal demonization of George 
Bush, they have decided that removing him from power justifies 
abandoning any actual political position.

What these champions of capitulation fail to understand, however, is 
that the Bush program - epitomized by implementation of neoconservative 
American-Israeli fantasies made realizable by September 11th - is 
already being resisted by the defiance and courage of those marked as 
its first targets - the Iraqis and Palestinians. The brazen, arrogant 
program of quickly conquering Iraq and forcing the Palestinians to 
submit to a false peace, which was to be the pincer movement in crushing 
and demoralizing the Arabs, is being challenged and disrupted by the 
realities of mass resistance on the ground. Against this backdrop of 
active struggle, the ABB directive to vote pro-war and pro-occupation, 
far from being any kind of principled or "pragmatic" retreat justifiable 
in a situation like the summer of 1941, is more akin to engaging in mass 
desertion during the fall of 1942 - when the crucial defense of 
Stalingrad was mounted to finally halt the Nazi advance.

The ABB message is perfectly clear: in today's internationalized 
Stalingrad that is the 'war on terror', Palestinians can continue 
getting mowed down protesting the walls that imprison them, Iraqis can 
continue getting slaughtered in their own cemeteries fighting a foreign 
invasion, but we - ensconced in our placid, secure, luxurious lives - 
simply have "no option" but to vote for war and occupation conducted by 
Kerry as opposed to war and occupation conducted by Bush, because our 
problem is far more urgent than colonialism: Bush's "uncouthness" and 
inability to properly pronounce "adjectival clauses." That victims of 
American-made bullets and bombs will be able to appreciate these most 
noteworthy differences is doubtful.


More information about the Marxism mailing list