[Marxism] Re: Support Anti-Colonialists Everywhere?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Feb 16 12:01:41 MST 2004

(I received this offlist. I thought that it raised some important 
questions, so I will answer it publicly while leaving the correspondent 

> Marxists support anti-colonial resistance *no matter the character of 
> the leadership*.
> I don't know if that's necessarily true. I would think Marxists would 
> support the anti-colonial cause everywhere but there are some characters 
> and outfits (and forms of resistance) who I wouldn't be supporting. E.g. 
> does that mean marxists overseas should support dissident Republicans 
> even if they are being effectively run by British military intelligence 
> to do more damage to the Republican cause than they're worth. It's 
> resistence but not as we know it...

This sounds like a reference to internal Irish politics rather than 
anything having to do with Iraq. My guess is that no faction of the 
Irish nationalist movement was ever being "effectively run by British 
military intelligence." More to the point, perhaps, sometimes an 
anti-colonial group will try to exploit inter-imperialist rivalries and 
use funding and intelligence from an imperialist power as did the 
Eritreans and the Kurds. Leaving aside the question of the wisdom of 
such collaboration, their struggle has to be judged on its merits and 
not who they get support from.

> I've read a lot of marxists who weren't too scared of voicing opposition 
> to the PLO or ANC's strategies. Weren't/Aren't these groups 
> anti-imperialist/anti-colonialist? I think that the SWP put out a 
> pamphlet on the 'Shining Path' - what did that say but condemn an 
> anti-colonialist movement? That must have been written along time ago.

This is not a matter of "voicing opposition". It is a question of 
deciding whether the armed struggle against US occupation has any 
progressive aspects. The Militant does not write articles advising 
against the use of suicide bombs. It is opposed to the armed struggle 
entirely. They even lump shooting down helicopters with blowing up 
mosques. All of these activities must be denounced. It is only the 
"civil opposition" led by proletarians who presumably read the 
unreadable speeches of Jack Barnes who can be supported. With respect to 
the "Shining Path", the Militant did describe it as "reactionary". 
Although this group had many faults, it was fighting a capitalist 
dictatorship. Even David Scott Palmer, one of the most outspoken 
"Senderologists" is forced to admit that "The insurgency has rarely 
engaged in indiscriminate violence and should not be compared with Pol 
Pot and the Khmer Rouge in this regard."

> Also I think that there has to be a certain self-reflection on the means 
> used to fight against imperialism - is it justifiable. And that's coming 
> from someone who would have to acknowledge the need for suicide bombing 
> in Palestine today. I'm the last one who might be expected to come out 
> with some crap to 'lick up' to the imperialist scum but not every group 
> under the sun is worth supporting. And I am not necessarily saying that 
> I don't support any particular resistance group in Iraq. I usually cheer 
> when I hear another US/UK war criminal has been removed one way or the 
> other. Killing 53 Iraqis signing up for the army/47 for the paramilitary 
> police is fine by me - targeting civilians would not be.


> Finally, I think the crucial issue is the relationship between the armed 
> group and its support base. Whether its means/ideology are empowering 
> and building towards a revolution.

I honestly don't have any idea what the program of the resistance is. It 
is only 8 months, however, since it appeared. I would urge a little 
patience. But if it calls for nothing more than the ouster of the USA, I 
would be *for it*. Such an outcome would have a profound effect on the 
worldwide struggle against imperialism. If you can't figure this out, 
you have no business in Marxist politics.

> PS. I can't help thinking that this question for Trotskyists has 
> something to do with the Permanent Revolution theory which ties 
> socialism with anti-imperialism. Not sure just which way it goes - might 
> explain the difference here though. Gotta go.

Not sure what this means, so I won't comment on it.


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