[Marxism] Surprise! Obama and McCain in full agreement on Iraq

Ruthless Critic of All that Exists ok.president+marxml at gmail.com
Sun Jul 27 10:54:10 MDT 2008

On Sun, Jul 27, 2008 at 12:27 PM, S. Artesian <sartesian at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Whether it makes any difference to you Less or to any wing of the
> bourgeoisie, does not matter.  The difference that counts is the one that it
> makes to the Iraqis, and in that difference that counts, there is no
> difference between McCain and Obama.

You seem to say that any difference made to Iraqis, or Afghans, etc.
should be paramount.

But consider JScotlive's position, in which he argues that *even if*
the US builds schools, hospitals etc. in Afghanistan for its own
cynical reasons, Marxists should *still* oppose those activities,
because (he seems to imply) what counts is not how many Afghan lives
may end up getting saved in a hospital built by the Americans (built
for cynical reasons, agreed); what really counts (he implies) to is to
see the US defeated.

So, in this reasoning, the "difference that counts" is NOT the
positive difference that even cynically built hospitals could have
made to Afghans. In other words, in this reasoning, for Marxists the
lives of individual Afghans should not matter very much, and the
bigger geopolitical picture should matter much more. The "difference
that counts", then, is NOT the one that is made to the Afghans (in
this reasoning).

But now you say that "the difference that counts" IS the one that it
makes to the Iraqis.

I guess my point is that, since proletarian revolution in the USA is
not around the corner, if the US can be got to build a few hospitals
for its own cynical reasons, and if that ends up saving a few Afghan
lives, in the meantime, isn't that beneficial? At least, that would be
beneficial to the Afghan lives saved.

When people in the third world see Marxists in the west (who
themselves  have no problem with access to good hospitals, etc)
advocating against any hospitals etc the US could have (admittedly,
cynically) built, what opinion do you think they would form of Western

A similar debate is taking place in India right now. The left parties
in India have just withdrawn support from the centrist ruling Congress
party (on account of opposing US imperialism, as the Congress Party
has been signing a nuclear deal with the US) -- with the result that
the next elections would likely be won by the right-wing BJP, causing
the poor to suffer *more* than they are doing now. It is important to
at least consider the ethics of to what extent an abstract ideal
(fighting imperialism) should predominate over particular, concrete
realities (a few more lives saved in the here and now).

If proletarian revolution were on the agenda in the West in the
immediate future, all this would have been moot, and the two aims
would have been absolutely convergent.  But since it is not, the
ethical quandary (from the point of view of proletarian ethics -- I'm
not talking about bourgeois ethics at all here) certainly needs to be
at least examined by Marxists in situations like this.

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