[Marxism] Supporting all anti-imperialists?

DoC donaloc at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 17 09:31:52 MST 2004

I am following this with interest. Louis stated:

"Marxists support anti-colonial resistance *no matter the character of the leadership".

Later he writes: "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."

This latter statement (which in my interpretation is fine) is in contradiction to the first. I think. And, for me, it gets to the heart of the issue here - does the strategic approach of an anti-imperialist group impact on *its* validity (not - let me make clear -  the *validity* of its *cause*). 

When assessing whether to support action by an anti-imperialist group - surely we must assess both their objective circumstance and their strategy for struggle. If they have a poor strategy but a worthy cause we might choose not to support them and instead support another anti-imperialist group with a better strategy. 

> 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. 

No. I believe we all agree that (objectively) struggle against US occupation/imperialism is worthy. The issue is whether we can afford a 'carte blanche' to any and every form of anti-occupation resistance. Which is what you stated (at top above).

As is illustrated by the example of the 'Shining Path' book by the Militant, people can make criticisms of strategy from afar (and usually do). Those criticisms may be valid (unusually - it seems to me - because they are usually disconnected from the depth of objective realities involved) but they have a long history in the Trotskyist movement (which has always reserved for itself the right to judge the validity of others' struggles or strategies) - just remember the kind words of the man himself for our failed 1916 revolution. I wouldn't derive much 'support' from his criticism. I don't see the difference between someone saying to me - we support Irish unity but you're a bunch of fascists/sell-outs/idiots and somebody saying to me - we don't support Irish unity. For what its worth, the validity of our anti-imperialist struggle is based in the fact that we do not merely seek to 'raise the green flag' rather as Connolly said, we are struggling to create a government representative of the working class and farmers. If it was simply a question of getting rid of the Brits for purely nationalist reasons, I wouldn't be involved. Neither would Connolly as he said in that quote.

> 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.

The US getting its arse kicked out of Iraq would obviously be good around the world. Who wouldn't celebrate. The question is whether this is going to happen. 

More importantly and really to the point, you say that even if the resistance is calling 'for nothing more than the ouster of the USA' you'd be for it. Yet, that's precisely the issue. Is the strategy, is the relationship between base and movement going to be enough to allow for that outcome? A purely military strategy is insufficient. Using your same logic a marxist might find himself or herself supporting any group of anti-imperialists who 'call for' an anti-imperialist outcome. If you were living in a colonial country you would see the madness of that. Aside from backing no-hopers, how many times have we seen anti-imperialists fall far short of what we had wished for? How many bloodbaths of true revolutionaries have we seen around the world. 

Whilst blowing up US troops might be entirely to one's aesthetical tastes, it might not be appropriate or the most effective strategy for getting them out. I feel that the strategy of a group and its political orientation, relationship to the base are key factors in determining whether to 'support' a group.

At the end of the day, perhaps this is a side-argument. What's at issue here for those living in the imperial centres is how can you be most effective in hastening the decline of your own imperialism/advanced capitalism. This is a difficult question and its now over to you guys. In comradeship, you guys in the "belly of the beast".

Is mise le meas,

> 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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