[Marxism] Peter Tatchell: Is he "pro-war"?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 24 09:34:15 MST 2006

Peter Tatchell's polemical style isn't one I'd select OR recommend 
for emulation. Of course, he didn't ask my opinion before speaking 
at Saturday's anti-war march in the United Kingdom

Appealing to "the international community" is politically unwise. 
It is rather foolish, I think. Nevertheless, citing the Soviet and
Chinese aid to Vietnam as his example which he advocates following
today, does that REALLY qualify as PRO-WAR thinking???????????

"However, given Saddam's ruthless repression, it is unlikely that
civilian resistance alone would be sufficient to overthrow him. Armed
struggle is now, regrettably, the only certain way to get rid of

"The international community should train and arm the Iraqi opposition
forces, especially the Kurds and Shias who already have viable
armies. This military assistance could be along the lines of the
support we gave the Free French forces and the French resistance from
1940-45 - only more substantial."

"An even better model of successful military aid is the assistance
given by the Russians and Chinese to the Vietnamese people, which
enabled them to defeat the technologically superior US forces. If
Vietnam can defeat the mightiest military power in history, then
surely, with a little help, the Iraqi people can get rid of Saddam?"

Looking at the first citation from Peter Tatchell find:
When the Spanish Republican Government was under attack by 
Franco's forces in the 1930s, the Left didn't demand "Stop the War".

It urged "Defend the Republic. Guns for Spain".

The demand made in the Thirties that Washington and its allies
end their embargo on arms sales to the Republic, since Hitler and
Mussolini were arming Franco, is that so bad a precedent to cite?

And in response to Johannes: There was no gay liberation movement
in 1936, and Tatchell's political orientation flows from focusing
on gay liberation as the center of his political approach. Leon
Trotsky, often appealed to here for authority, while no admirer
of Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie, understood that defense of
Ethiopia against imperialist attack was the first priority then.

The kind of perfectionistic argumentation we see being advanced in 
this discussion is on the same level as militants from the United 
States of America travelling to the United Kingdom to denounce the 
anti-war movement there, and there denounce figures like George 
Galloway and Ken Livingston. It reflects a lamentable kind of 
disorientation. It reeks of the "United Front from Below." It
sounds rather different from the stated goals of Marxmail list:

"The Marxism list is a worldwide moderated forum for activists 
and scholars in the Marxist tradition who favor a non-sectarian 
and non-dogmatic approach. It puts a premium on independent 
thought and rigorous but civil debate."


Walter Lippmann

A better anylogy to the attack on Iraq would be Mussolini's attack on
Ethiopia. Did any leftist call for regime change by the Ethiopians
themselves at that time?
LOUIS PROYECT's anti-war means test:
"It depends on what you mean by "pro-war". If that exclusively means
support for the war that Bush launched, then Tatchell is antiwar. If
that means opposition to US and British military intervention through
proxies, then he is pro-war. Ronald Reagan made war on Nicaragua and
El Salvador and except for trainers and mercenaries like Hasuenfus,
there was never an invasion. But anybody who supported those policies
could hardly be described as antiwar. Tatchell is a highly dubious
character, combining gay activism with pro-imperialist propaganda.

As far as his call to arming the Shia and Kurds being sardonic, here's a
2003 piece he wrote in the Guardian which seems pretty straightforward to


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