[Marxism] Gilbert Achcar interview

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Sun Aug 28 05:54:48 MDT 2011

So I am called before the inquisition......

At 14:20 27/08/11 -0400, Andrew Pollack wrote:
>Jeff, do you or do you not support imperialist bombing?

Well let's see..... in fact I have not been on record as "supporting imperialist bombing" in Libya. And believe it or not, no imperialists even asked for my permission before they began bombing. And even if I had been the leader of a party 1000 times as large as Andy's, I doubt they would have paid any attention to my position, let alone asked for my prior support.....

But alright, what Andy is really asking is whether I OPPOSED imperialist bombing in the "pure" "consistent" "uncompromising" manner that some groups pride themselves on (even going back to WW I to prove the "consistency" of their position, citing an historical example which is just so similar to the Libyan revolution of 2011!). And they will be pleased to hear me "confess" that the answer is NO, I did not take that position automatically in the specific context of the Libyan revolution, and I did not attend the local demonstration against the intervention (where I understand many attended who had been at a demo SUPPORTING the Libyan uprising just a few weeks earlier, but forgot about all of that when something "important" overshadowed it). Is that the precious answer you were looking for? Does that now prove me to be an "imperialist stooge" (as you called Achcar, whose positions I agree with)?

I'd urge people to consider Achcar's latest piece (already posted on this list or through the link below) in which he discusses the current/coming issues in Libya and also explains his refusal to take any position either "for" or "against" the initial NATO intervention, but rather emphasized the RIGHT of the Libyan revolution to seek aid and protection from forces which are correctly described as "counter-revolutionary" in the abstract. His detailed consideration of the issues (rather than a blanket referral to "principles" or the Bolshevik position in WW I) deserves a good read. (But I would agree that no one need bother reading the writings of any "imperialist stooge," which in this case might reveal that he is nothing of the sort).

The crux of the matter, as I see it, is that in the case of Libya, the PRINCIPLE of opposing imperialist intervention conflicts with the PRINCIPLE of supporting the right of a people to conduct a revolution using the resources and allies they can muster. Which proves that both of these CANNOT be absolute principles. Of course an easy way around that is to deny that the Libyans are engaged in a revolution ("it's all a front for NATO") and then, voila, you have absolute consistency in your anti-imperialist principles! And "consistency" makes people feel nice and comfortable, everything fits together, no further thinking required. Except that it might not correspond to reality. And it just happens to place you on the wrong side of the Libyan revolution! But you can safely ignore that little problem once you have "determined" that there IS NO revolution in Libya. Yes, the nice thing about circular reasoning is that it is always so VERY consistent.......

- Jeff


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