[Marxism] Friends and Enemies (was How to answer these questions?)

kersplebedeb info at kersplebedeb.com
Mon Jul 31 19:30:07 MDT 2006

Well, Yoshie, we agree on some, we disagree on some, but it is always
nice to have the exchange.

Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:

> I'd venture that Hizbullah,
> Hamas, the Iranian government, and the type of Muslims who belong to
> roughly those currents of Islam are our friends, or, more precisely,
> our protectors.  

Protection? Only in that same unsatisfying "realpolitik" way that has
imperialism posing as the "protector" of women and queers in the Muslim

> Why?  Because we are in the midst of a three-front
> war against:
> * the Tel Aviv-Washington axis
> * the Arab power elites allied with the Tel Aviv-Washington Axis
> (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt -- in that order)
> and
> * the type of international jihadists who behead people like Daniel
> Pearl and slit the throats of people like Tom Fox (a Christian
> peacemaker), take schoolchildren hostage and kill them at Beslan, bomb
> a Shia mosque in Samarra (one of the turning points in the dramatic
> increase in sectarian murders in Iraq), and so on.

i do recognize the irrelevance of us in the metropolitan left, though i
maintain hope (and even faith?) in the creativity and potential of the
oppressed - including most especially those whose oppression is as Carol
put it "complex", i.e. women and queers in the periphery.

I am less enthusiastic about Hizbullah and Hamas being able to "include
women among their ranks" - i mean Pinochet did an excellent job of that,
as does the Christian Right - than i am in groups where women and queers
are setting the agenda. Few and far between, and yes this may mean that
we are in big trouble, but does pretending otherwise really help us any?
(or do anything to help women and queers in the misnamed periphery?)

In any fight with more than two sides, one of your opponents may always
seem to be "helping" you by taking on the other one. This is not a good
basis for any principled alliance when their goals and their practice
remains incompatible with ours.

And yet... we're irrelevant, so one might ask why i think it matters?

To pre-empt one potential misunderstanding: I don't see the question 
being one of the western left providing any real aid to the Islamic right.

Rather, what i do see as a medium to long-term
threat is repeated claims that the Islamic Right (by which i
include folks like Hezbollah who consider sodomy a capital offense) are
"really our friends", and this may lead sections of the metropolitan
left to consider other, closer-to-home rightists or populists as "our
friends" too. I.e. if you're willing to consider Hezbollah or Hamas your
friend because they are in the crosshairs or blood-drenched imperialism,
why not a Pat Buchanan or a David Orchard (or a David Icke?!?) if they 
are willing to take a stand against imperial adventures in the Arab 
world too?

I don't think anyone on the list is advocating such a position at this
point. I do know of leftists who have done so, and i think this is a
trend which - in fits and starts - is growing here in the metropoles. It
is for this reason that i find - even in the midst of this carnage, when
the resistance to Israel strikes me at a very basic level as the most
humane and moral combattant in this struggle - that it is important to
reiterate... "My friends? Afraid not..."

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