[Marxism] A nightmare on the brains of the living
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 31 13:10:40 MDT 2011
Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they
please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but
under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from
the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a
nightmare on the brains of the living.
–Karl Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire”
By now it has become clear that there are four different
perspectives on the left about Libya:
1. Qaddafi as heroic anti-imperialist: Found at Counterpunch,
MRZine, and Global Research, this perspective relies heavily on
falsification such as the claim that NATO invaded because Qaddafi
opposed AFRICOM. My emphasis has been to debunk these claims even
though they led to me being accused of supporting NATO. One
supposes the only way to avoid such false accusations is to follow
the bullshit party line of the brain-dead “anti-imperialist” left.
2. The rebels were good guys until NATO got involved: This is the
analysis put forward by the ISO in the USA and the SWP in Britain.
I was sympathetic to this analysis but came to reject it during
the Berber offensive in Western Libya. As someone who despises the
oppression of national minorities, I began to realize that there
was more to the revolt than puppets whose strings were being
pulled by NATO.
3. My own analysis—this should be obvious from the comment above.
4. Gilbert Achcar: Achcar defended NATO’s no-fly zone. As a
long-time opponent of imperialist interventions, I could not abide
by this although I found much of Achcar’s analysis on the money.
Despite his being vilified by members of the Counterpunch
tendency, I don’t regard him in the same light as the Paul Bermans
and Kenan Makiyas of the world. I would tend to regard his
position as falling into the category of a legitimate mistake made
by revolutionary in much the same way I regarded some comrades’
support for the KLA.
The question of rebel racism tends to reveal how the different
perspectives line up against each other. For Counterpunch’s sorry
gaggle of Qaddafi apologists, racism only became a problem in
February 2011. When Qaddafi’s troops lost control in Benghazi,
there was an outbreak of racist pogroms—an unheard of phenomenon
in enlightened Libya. For them, it was like Union troops being
withdrawn from Dixie at the end of Reconstruction.
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