[Marxism] The immigration thread

Barney Katz taxi4marx at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 6 20:23:33 MDT 2005

--- Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> I wouldn't call it a crime exactly, but your use of
> the term "fascism" to 
> describe people like Muqtada al-Sadr presumably is
> certainly an offense 
> against Marxist thought.

Firstly, it wasn't the Shi'ites I had in mind but the
Sunni-connected insurgents - they're the ones causing
so much of the grief for workers and Iraqi civilians
in general. The Shi'ites have an interesting
Mosque-based 'self-management' approach in relation to
the distribution of social goods which I quite admire.
And, of course, there were the marvellous but brief
instances of workers' control in Iran after the Shah
was turfed out (and before the mullahs took over). 

Secondly, I don't believe it's "an offense against
Marxist thought" to describe the Sunni bombers, their
backers, and what they stand for as 'fascist'. I
believe it's an outcome of Marxist analysis of the
context that produced it all.

>Fascism is an
> ultra-reactionary movement supported 
> by the big bourgeoisie against the threat of
> proletarian revolution. 
> Classic cases involve Nazi Germany and Franco's
> Spain. What this has to do 
> with guerrilla fighters in Iraq is beyond me.

The Sunni insurgents in Iraq are a whole lot more than
just "guerilla fighters". They're financed by business
elements within the region that think they'd be doing
a whole lot better allied with theocratic militants
than with western imperialism. The fascist phenomenon
I speak of is a fusion of anti-west capitalists in the
region with Islamic fundamentalists seeking to rid the
region of  infidels and restore a strong, revived
Islamic empire, and to expand it. Shades of Hitlerism,
fascism? I think so. 

The situation has been made possible by the failure of
the various forms of state capitalism/state socialism
in the Middle East and Africa that held so much
promise for many in the 1950s, '60s and 70s. And make
no mistake, the fascists are attempting to obliterate
socialist ideas - and socialists. The Taliban
obliterated everything and everyone connected with
socialism in Afghanistan after seizing power. 

I think there are far more similarities with
'classical' fascism than differences, except perhaps
that it's all taking place in an economically
underdeveloped region. But then, Spain was no economic
powerhouse in 1936, nor Portugal in 1928 (or whenever
it was). An important part of fascist ideology is the
desire to revive past national and/or cultural
glories, or, to create them where they don't exist but
should, in the mind of the fascist. 

> Furthermore, 
> anti-imperialists and revolutionaries in countries
> like your own Australia, 
> the USA and Great Britain should not be in the
> business of evaluating and 
> choosing sides in Iraq. Our focus should be simply
> on organizing mass 
> actions to force the imperialists out so that the
> Iraqis can determine 
> their own destiny. 

This kind of abstentionism is unacceptable to me. The
outcome of the Iraq crisis depends on moral and
material support for working people and their
organisations. It is a matter of giving practical
solidarity for democratic outcomes that favour the
Iraqi people, to the extent that that's possible from
where we are. 

It's not the case that socialist revolution is
imminent. It's a matter of achieving a compromise with
all parties so that some degree of civil normality can
be re-established and socialists, unionists and others
can go about their business, and so that he killing
can stop. This will probably require compromise with
those elements I've referred to as fascist also. Of
course, an end to foreign occupation is a
pre-requisite to all of this. 


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