[Marxism] Trotsky mentioned in SFC opinion column
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
>I'm in the middle of a union strike, merger, and organizing drive. Alas,
>no time to google up all my questions.
>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:
[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
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".<<
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