[Marxism] Re: Nasrallah interview (or,

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Thu Aug 17 18:01:22 MDT 2006

On 8/17/06, Jean-Christophe Helary <fusion at mx6.tiki.ne.jp> wrote:

> But his formulation appeals to his supporters who are struggling
> right now. And as far as the alliance is concerned, it is _our_ duty
> to understand the needs/conditions of the people who struggle and who
> give their blood (and I am not being romantic here) _not_ the other
> way round. Imperialism is not a one sided phenomenon and there are
> various ways to understand it and fight it, none being more valid
> than the other.
> You know, I am writing all that as a foreigner living in country-side
> Japan and besides for a few activities with local "left" politicians
> I have not participated to much organizational work here, but there
> are things that I can do now, thanks to Hezbollah's victories (that
> give them a little more credibility today than 5 weeks ago) that I
> could not do before.

The problem is that you're thinking too much in terms of the dichotomy
"we" (western marxists/leftists) and "they" (the Hezbollah).

But try to hink of it from the possible vantage point of an Indian marxist.

When "they" say (as they did) "This war will end with the victory of
the oppressed of the world and of the Muslims", it can become very
problematic for the Indian marxist to interpret this to, say, the
masses (s)he is trying to organize and mass movements he is trying to
build in India, the constituents of which are, often,  primarily
Hindu, even though the marxist himself or herself may be
secular/atheist. The iconography of a war of religion which is encoded
in that sentence, with the suggestion of the war ending with a victory
not only of the oppressed but "of Muslims", will be alienating for the
Hindu masses. Thus, this is one example of how the energizing
(energizing to all oppressed) quality of the defeat suffered by
imperialism ends up being needlessly undermined by the rhetorical
choices employed by the victor. This is why it  matters. (It may not
matter to the "western leftist/marxist",  of whom the  constituency he
is trying to organize/mobilize may not care about the religious trope
and may filter it out; but it can matter, and matter a great deal, in
other parts of the world, including being even a potential
deal-breaker in terms of solidarity, alliances, etc.)

When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, there were rallies of thousands
of people held in Calcutta against the invasion. But if the resisters
are calling for "the victory of the oppressed of the world and of the
Muslims", will Calcuttans rally with similar enthusiasm and in similar
numbers? Now you can say that that support is irrelevant anyway. But
for any worldwide solidarity and worldwide resistance to imperialism
to be possible, moving beyond what Yoshie calls "resolutionary
socialism"  (or are we so resigned to ineffectiveness that we cannot
even bring ourself to imagine that eventual possibility?) these could
become major stumbling blocks.

Junaid is also wrong in reading this as "criticism". It is not. It is
"being aware" of potential pitfalls and traps.

More information about the Marxism mailing list