[Marxism] Internationalism, the main enemy, and what to do next

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sat Jan 7 21:34:47 MST 2006

One of the recurring themes from those that Robert Montgomery has  
labeled "the nationalist bloc" is that "the traditionalist bloc"  
forgets that all questions are international questions and that the  
main enemy is U.S. imperialism and that what the Traditionalists see  
as a blind huzzahing of revolutionary (progressive?) nationalist  
figures is sound political recognition that everyone needs to unite  
behind Chavez, Lula (then, but apparently not now; he is not "turning  
out" so well) and Morales. The ruling class layers within these  
countries are seldom, if ever, mentioned.

They argue that we must always start with the international fact that  
U.S. imperialism is the main—actually the sole—enemy of the  
underdeveloped world. Therefore, the entire fight is against U.S.  
imperialism. So far as other issues are involved, the emphasis is on  
projects, on alliances, on use of resources for progress, etc. There  
is never a discussion of what classes are involved in the struggle to  
replace neo-colonialism with a workers state. That's for the future– 
another stage. That would be forgivable if these former very active  
party builders would say something about how socialists in general  
should prepare for that next stage. But they don't.

Their reference to the international power of the United States is  
used as a solvent to dissolve any questions of class forces within  
each nation.

This is not a new theme on Marxmail. And it is not isolated to  
underdeveloped countries. The “nationalist bloc” argued the same way  
regarding individual European countries, including Great Britain and  

There was a giant demonstration in London against the Iraq war when  
President Bush visited Blair in Great Britain in March of 2004. It  
was a wonderful opportunity for the British antiwar movement to focus  
their fire against Blair's co-responsibility for the Iraq war. I was  
criticized for writing the following.

March 31, 2004
There was a similar problem regarding Bush's visit to Britain. Blair  
is the
key ally in the invasion of Iraq. It was a great opportunity for the  
anti-Iraq war movement to indict Blair. By placing the focus on Bush,  
took Blair off the hook and weakened the long-range struggle against  

Compare this to the U.S. anti-Vietnam war movement. It initially  
started out
against LBJ and the Democratic Party. As the opposition to the  
Vietnam war
deepened, the "part of the way with LBJ" crowd of 1964 had to fight  
the liberal face of imperialism. Much of the radicalization of the  
1960s and
early 1970s rested on the fact that the struggle was not just against  
Republican party, but against the so-called "lesser evil."

The British antiwar movement of course hates Blair; nonetheless, in its
failure to put the greatest focus on the imperialism of "its own  
it failed to deepen its struggle. Blair is the leader of the greatest
imperialist power before the domination of the United States and  
remains the
United State's lesser, but absolutely necessary ally--not a puppy,  
just a
smaller wolf. At the end of the day, the masses demonstrating against  
could go home satisfied that they had opposed the wolf across the  
Go Home." Their understanding and resolve would have increased had  
they put
their focus on the lesser wolf.

The same thing happened when I pointed out that Zapatero's victory,  
which I agreed socialists should have worked for, now opened up an  
opportunity for socialists to develop a strategy that would tarnish  
the gold coin that he earning by withdrawing troops from Iraq. Even  
as this withdrawal was being trumpeted, Zapatero was promising  
additional troops to Afghanistan. Today his Spanish right-wing  
opponent attacks Zapatero not for sending even more troops (over  
1,000 and allegedly going to 2,500), but for refusing to acknowledge  
it. In other words, he is attacking Zapatero for Z's success in  
conning the Spanish public for his opposition to U.S. imperialism,  
while in fact doing exactly what his right-wing opponent wants to do  
openly. http://www.spainherald.com/1543.html

Based on what we learned in recent months about the "torture  
rendition" of secretly-held prisoners throughout the airports of  
Europe and what Charlie Clarke of the ISRP has written about the  
virtual abdication to Bush's needs in ferrying troops through Shannon  
airport, there are similar rallying points within each of these  

But the "nationalist bloc" accepts the red or deep pink verbiage of  
the elected rulers of capitalist states.

The international framework of a very short and simplistic "correct  
political program" that recognizes the dominant position of U.s.  
imperialism is not an excuse for erasing the class struggle within  
both imperialist and underdeveloped states.

According to this notion, it would not have been a significant gain  
if British revolutionists had fought for and won over the antiwar  
movement to a focus on Blair, the elected leader of British  
imperialism, and necessary co-leader of "Bush's War."

The "nationalist bloc" started out quarrelling with North American  
revolutionists who were saddled with "white skin." They are now  
marginalizing and denigrating native Latin Americans who are  
expressing deeply felt revolutionary impulses. Some of these  
potential revolutionists may be guilty of ultraleft strategy and  
tactics—like Castro and his fellow students at Moncada. But it is out  
of this human material that revolutionary parties will be built.

Brian Shannon


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