[Marxism] what is Antiwar.com?

Steve Gabosch bebop101 at comcast.net
Fri Jun 11 03:51:57 MDT 2004


The Militant article at http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6824/682451.html 
that prompted this thread, in my opinion, raises ideas that deserve serious 
consideration.

The second half of this Militant article discusses some false claims that 
there is a conspiracy of neo-conservatives in Washington D.C. with a 
Trotskyist background.  As Louis pointed out, some of these false claims 
have been previously discussed on Marxmail.  I would like to leave this 
part of the article aside for the moment.

I am interested in focusing on the ideas in the first half of this Militant 
article.  In particular, I am interested in what statements marxmailers 
think are true, and which are not.

The first half of the article criticizes conspiracy theories that claim a 
small group of "neoconservatives" are orchestrating US foreign and military 
policy.  It offers the opinion that these theories are false and divert 
attention from the capitalist ruling class.

Sentences 15, 16 and 17 below are especially interesting because the 
Militant is detailing forces on both the left as well as the right, and 
both inside the working class as well as within the middle class, that may 
be attracted to these reactionary conspiracy theories.

The first half of the Militant article consists of 19 sentences, which I 
have numbered and copied below.  I am interested in any comments and 
opinions that marxmailers have about the truth or untruth of these 
sentences.  I am also interested in which sentences Louis or anyone else 
finds "silly."

  - Thanks, Steve


The Militant Vol. 68/No. 24           June 28, 2004

*****Jew-hatred, red-baiting: heart of claims of ‘neocon’ conspiracy

BY SAM MANUEL

1.  WASHINGTON, D.C.­Over the past year there has been a spate of articles 
by liberal and middle-class radical commentators, as well as by rightists, 
that attack the Bush administration by claiming that today U.S. foreign and 
military policy is being orchestrated by a small group of 
“neoconservatives” in the Defense Department.

2.  They often point to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, 
Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, former Pentagon advisor Richard 
Perle, and other high-ranking officials.

3.  Some of these commentators go further, pointing to officials with 
Jewish names and implying or saying that a Jewish “neocon cabal” is involved.

4.  All variations of these conspiracy theories are false and reactionary.

5.  They divert attention from the fact that the problem facing workers and 
farmers is capitalism, and that state power is in the hands of a class of 
billionaire families that exploits the labor power of working people.

6.  U.S. government officials ­ Democrats and Republicans alike ­ are 
simply servants of this ruling class and carry out policies in their 
interests.

7.  For example the May 12 issue of New Yorker magazine ran an article by 
liberal journalist Seymour Hersh about the supposed “neocon takeover of the 
Pentagon,” which he blames for manipulating evidence “regarding Iraq’s 
possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al 
Qaeda” as a justification for invading Iraq.

8.  “They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal ­ a small cluster of 
policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special 
Plans,” Hersh wrote.

9.  He claims that in the past year “their operation, which was conceived 
by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a 
crucial change in direction in the American intelligence community” and 
that they “have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward 
Iraq.”

10.  Hersh’s “exposé” relied in part on information from a retired Air 
Force intelligence officer.

11.  The same officer was cited as a source by Democratic senator Edward 
Kennedy in a March 5 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

12.  Based on information from this “intelligence source” Kennedy charged, 
“What happened was not merely a failure of intelligence but the result of 
manipulation and distortions of the intelligence and selective use of 
unreliable intelligence to justify a decision to go to war.”

*****Reactionary conspiracy theories

13.  Hersh and Kennedy’s source is Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski.

14.  After her retirement from a Pentagon intelligence job, she gave an 
interview to Executive Intelligence Review a publication of the fascist 
outfit headed by Lyndon LaRouche and authored several internet articles in 
which she alleges a “neocon” conspiracy in the Bush administration seeking 
to “leverage the full might of the United States to build a greater Zion.”

15.  Related conspiracy themes are being promoted both on the ultraright 
and among layers of left-liberals, Stalinists, and other middle-class 
radicals ­ from Patrick Buchanan and his magazine, The American 
Conservative, and the Buchananite web site antiwar.com, on the right, to 
the liberal magazine The Nation in the United States and the daily Guardian 
and weekly New Statesman in the United Kingdom, on the left.

16.  This campaign finds a resonance among Jew haters and sectors of the 
wealthy ruling classes in the United States and Europe and of their officer 
corps whose positions and chances for advancement are threatened by the 
policies being led by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to transform the 
U.S. armed forces into a lighter, more mobile force to wage Washington’s 
wars around the world.

17.  It also finds an echo among remnants of the Stalinist bureaucracy 
still interlacing the officer corps and “intelligence” agencies across 
Eastern Europe; insecure layers of the middle classes and better-off 
workers squeezed by the capitalist crisis; and Stalinist-influenced 
liberals and petty-bourgeois radicals worldwide.

18.  The claim by Kwiatkowski, the fascist LaRouchite outfit, and others 
that U.S. officials who are Jewish are involved in a conspiracy on behalf 
of Israel is a classic anti-Semitic smear.

19.  It is related to claims of a “cabal” promoted by Anglo-American 
capital­often involving the British crown and, since the October 1917 
Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks.



[Below is the remainder of the Militant article, concerning the links 
between "neocons" and Trotskyism.]
***********
One variant of the conspiracy articles that have appeared over the last 
year seeks to link a “Jewish neocon cabal,” at least in its historical 
origins, to Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky and those who trace their 
political continuity to the communist movement he fought to build. U.S. 
liberal writer Michael Lind, for example, in an article in the New 
Statesman in April 2003, asserts that U.S. foreign policy is dominated 
today by a layer of “neoconservatives” who are “products of the largely 
Jewish-American Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s which morphed 
into an anti-communist liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally 
into a kind of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in 
American culture or political history.”

Lind claims this alleged group is part of an “Israel lobby” in the U.S. 
government whose ideology is “Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution 
mingled with the far-right Likud strain of Zionism,” referring to the 
Israeli Likud party. His liberal diatribe was picked up in the pro-Buchanan 
web site antiwar.com.

Buchanan, in a March 24, 2003, article in The American Conservative, 
describes what he calls the first generation of “neocons” as “ex-liberals, 
socialists, and Trotskyites
who rafted over to the GOP at the end of 
conservatism’s long march to power with Ronald Reagan in 1980.”

Versions of this intermixed poison of Jew-hatred and Trotsky-baiting have 
appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and numerous other 
publications and internet sites. They feature headlines such as: 
“Trotskycons?” “Bush-Trotsky Links: Let’s Count the Ways,” “Now It’s 
Trotsky’s Fault?” “Trotskyism to Anachronism: the Neoconservative 
Revolution,” and “Trotsky’s Ghost Wandering the White House.”

This kind of smear against Trotsky and the communist movement, including 
the Socialist Workers Party in the United States, is not new­from the 
opening days of the Bolshevik Revolution it has been used against 
communists by imperialist reaction, Social Democrats, and later the 
Stalinists. Such slanders and reactionary arguments will become more 
frequent as the capitalist crisis and conflicts between imperialist powers 
sharpen, heightening class tensions, political polarization, the politics 
of resentment, restrictions on rights, and the coarsening of bourgeois 
political discourse.

Smears about “Trotskycons” to the contrary, the fact is that no prominent 
figure among the so-called neoconservatives has ever been a member of the 
Socialist Workers Party. A few from the oldest generation­none of whom ever 
held government posts­were around the youth group of an organization led by 
Max Shachtman in the 1930s and 1940s. Shachtman and his supporters split 
from the Socialist Workers Party in 1940, breaking with Marxism. As they 
evolved, they dissolved their group into the Socialist Party in 1958, and 
accelerated their course by backing the Henry “Scoop” Jackson wing of the 
Democratic Party and filling the staffs of AFL-CIO unions.

It is also worth noting that in the current administration, the central 
architects of U.S. military policy, from the imperialist wars in Iraq and 
Afghanistan to Washington’s policies toward Israel, are above all Donald 
Rumsfeld and George Bush. They are not Jewish, and are as conventional in 
their records as capitalist politicians as anyone could be.

<end>



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