[Marxism] Trotsky mentioned in SFC opinion column

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 10 16:12:21 MST 2006


>Woke up this mornin' to an opinion article in the SF Chronicle entitled 
>"Will the real conservatives please stand up?" by Bay Area Journalist Ira 
>Eisenberg.  He distinguishes the politics of Goldwater and the 
>neocons.  Then he says,
>
>"The founding philosophers of neoconservatism -- Norman Podhoretz and 
>Irving Kristol -- drew their youthful political inspiration from Leon 
>Trotsky, a radical communist whose doctrine of perpetual revolution was 
>too extreme even for the Soviet Union'g ruling Stalinists, who exiled and 
>eventually assassinated him."
>
>Does anyone on this list:
>     Ever heard of Ira Eisenberg and know who pays him?
>     Know the political history of Podhoretz and Kristol and what that all 
> means?
>
>I'm in the middle of a union strike, merger, and organizing drive.  Alas, 
>no time to google up all my questions.
>
>Thanks!
>
>unmaid in CA


Is there a connection between Leon Trotsky and Paul Wolfowitz?

posted to www.marxmail.org on June 10, 2003

(Jeet Heer is a Canadian journalist, who compared Trotsky to Paul Wolfowitz 
in a National Post article recently. These are comments on selected 
paragraphs from his piece that can be read in its entirety at: 
http://www.nationalpost.com/search/site/story.asp?id=EC4AD553-8A1D-4324-8D37-A99B2DFF9F85) 
[This link probably doesn't work any more.]

JEET HEER: As evidence of the continuing intellectual influence of Trotsky, 
consider the curious fact that some of the books about the Middle East 
crisis that are causing the greatest stir were written by thinkers deeply 
shaped by the tradition of the Fourth International.

In seeking advice about Iraqi society, members of the Bush administration 
(notably Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defence, and Dick 
Cheney, the Vice-President) frequently consulted Kanan Makiya, an 
Iraqi-American intellectual whose book The Republic of Fear is considered 
to be the definitive analysis of Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule.

As the journalist Christopher Hitchens notes, Makiya is "known to veterans 
of the Trotskyist movement as a one-time leading Arab member of the Fourth 
International." When speaking about Trotskyism, Hitchens has a voice of 
authority. Like Makiya, Hitchens is a former Trotskyist who is influential 
in Washington circles as an advocate for a militantly interventionist 
policy in the Middle East. Despite his leftism, Hitchens has been invited 
into the White House as an ad hoc consultant.

COMMENT: If Makiya's "Republic of Fear" has anything to do with Trotskyism, 
except the fact that the author spent some time in the movement as a youth, 
then one presumes that Saul Bellow's racist screed "Mr. Sammler's Planet" 
must also be linked with Leon Trotsky as well, since Bellow also spent a 
brief time in the Trotskyist movement. For that matter, one might link 
orthodox Judaism with Trotskyism since Isaac Deutscher and I were both bar 
mitzvahed and ate kosher through adolescence.

Other than the fact that Kanan Makiya spent five minutes or so in the 
Fourth International, there is absolutely nothing to link him to the 
intellectual and political traditions represented by Leon Trotsky. Consider 
the interview he gave to an Argentine journalist on September 23, 1938 in 
which he defended a "fascist" Brazil against a "democratic" Great Britain?

 >>In order to understand correctly the nature of the coming events we must 
first of all reject ... the false ... theory that the coming war will be a 
war between fascism and "democracy." ... I will take the most simple and 
obvious example. In Brazil there now reigns a semifascist regime that every 
revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on 
the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you 
on whose side of that conflict will the working class be? I will answer for 
myself personally -- in this case I will be on the side of "fascist" Brazil 
against "democratic" Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between 
them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should 
be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will 
place double chains in Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be 
victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to national and democratic 
consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas 
dictatorship.

Or the letter wrote to an English comrade on April 22, 1936 which not only 
defended feudal Ethiopia against capitalist Italy, but was full of praise 
for the Negus, ie. Haile Selassie, who made Saddam Hussein look like Martin 
Luther King Jr. by comparison, and contained the remarkable formulation 
that "A dictator can also play a very progressive role in history".<<

full: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/american_left/JeetHeer.htm





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