[Marxism] The pom-pom treatment

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 10 07:00:09 MDT 2005

Walter wrote: These fail to substantiate the allegation that Adams or the 
IRA have come to swallow the Thatcherite line that: "there is no 
alternative to capitalism."

To start with, Walter, we are talking about Sinn Fein--a political party. 
The IRA was the armed detachment of this party that Sinn Fein is disbanding.

But the real question is how to assess figures such as Gerry Adams, Lula, 
Thabo Mbeki, etc. We can't make a judgement based on whether they look 
favorably on the Cuban revolution since there are many liberals who do so 
as well. Even James Wolfensohn, the former president of the World Bank, 
wrote very positively about Cuba.

To begin with, there is a ton of evidence that Adams has remolded himself 
into a conventional liberal politician, no matter what he says about Cuba 
or Venezuela. This, after all, is Ireland--not Alabama. Saying nice things 
about Cuba might actually win you votes in a country that has powerful 
revolutionary traditions.

I crossposted a critique of Adams by Bobby Sands's sister that made the 
case that Adams had abandoned the nationalist struggle. Let me repost a 
brief snippet of it to remind you of what she said:

 >>''They negotiated with the unionists about making peace with them when 
in actual fact they should have been negotiating with the British for a 
withdrawal,'' she said.

''The settlement is all 'perhaps' and 'maybe' but nothing definite. You 
can't leave anything up to the British. Anything as important as this has 
to be in black and white, for all the world to see. There is nothing in the 
transitional arrangements that allow for sovereignty to be restored to this 
country. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness can wrap themselves in a green 
flag and sing 'A Nation Once Again,' but it's still a partitionist 

She says she is taking a stand for her two daughters, 8 and 5, and a 
6-year-old son named Michael Robert.

''I am very much motivated that as a mother I don't want this handed on to 
my children or my children's children. I've heard it so much lately, 'Leave 
it for another generation.' I just don't think that's right.

''This line is pushed along that I'm not for peace. I resent that. I am for 
peace, and I feel it's long past the time for peace in our country. I'm 
saying what is contained in that settlement is not something that will 
produce a lasting peace. Anything that has a hint of British rule in 
Ireland will always be resisted. It might not be me. But it's going to be 
someone. It's a terrible thing, but it's a fact.''<<

So basically all we are left with is an invitation to make Cuba into a 
litmus test for various governments and politicians around the world. If 
Lula refuses to take a hard line against Cuba, we are for Lula--even though 
the corrupt and anti-working class PRI governments in Mexico had basically 
the same kind of position. If China trades with Cuba, then that government 
gets the Walter Lippmann pom-pom treatment. When we mention to Walter that 
the Chinese government is attacking the "iron bowl" that distinguished it 
from capitalist nations in Asia, he pontificates that Victorian England was 
a very nasty place as well. What do we expect? Socialism or something?

The truly sad thing about Walter's special pleading is that it operates on 
the same basis as the CP when Stalin was around. The diplomatic needs of 
the USSR came first. You would make arguments like "The Russians know best. 
They are building socialism after all." This is not Marxism, of course. It 
is apologetics.

But even sadder is Walter's unbridled enthusiasm for governments that 
nobody on the left, except maybe for the Manichean-minded WWP, has any use 
for. The spin doctoring for China is an embarrassment to Marxism and the 
left, especially.

"Another coal mine disaster in the mainland's most accident-prone industry 
has apparently claimed more than 100 lives in Guangdong, despite repeated 
pledges by Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior officials to improve safety 
standards. That more than 2,800 coal miners have now died this year, a 
figure only slightly better than for the same period in 2004, reveals that 
measures put in place are having little effect." (South China Morning Post, 
August 9, 2005)

But it doesn't matter if these miners die as long as China provides 
military training to Cuba and buys their sugar.



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