Quebec National Question

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Flint
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Jan 10 2006 01:27

STI,

I sent your response to Wayne's article to him.

He's got a brief response for you:

Quote:
Ok, now I read his lengthy response to my lengthy essay. Since I cannot respond on that list I will make two comments to you. (Odd though that he does not see that I am FOR national liberation, along with women's liberation, gay liberation, ecological balance, and working class liberation.)

(1) The less important issue is his misreading of the U.S. public. Clearly, as a practical matter, it is MUCH easier to build a movement calling to Bring the Troops Home Now than for Victory to the Resistance. In practical effects, these are the same thing, since a victory for the resistance would result in bringing the troops home and bringing the troops home would provice a victory for the resistance. What is his beef? From the experience of the Vietnam war it was much easier to win over US troops when they felt that the opposition was sympathetic to their plight. STI seems really to be swimming in moralism here, he wants to say how much he hates the US aggression so he hates the troops. I have to admit, that while I am for the military struggle of the resistance (as my article says) I am sympathetic to the rank and file soldiers.

(2)

Quote:
Oh, come on now. Sure, the resistance isn't proletarian. Of course it isn't. Iraq is... oh my god... fundamentally different in its class makeup than the advanced capitalist world. Proletarian revolution in Iraq is simply not possible. The material conditions necessary for proletarian revolution are simply not present, like it or not. One of the things that are required for proletarian revolution is the absence of a foreign dominator and a vigourous local bourgeoisie. That can't exist under US occupation. That, coupled with effect that Iraqi victory would have on the situation over here, is why I support the resistance.

This is the key issue between us, not the issue of the soldiers. I DO NOT think that national independence with a new capitalist ruling class can lead to independence from imperialism or to becoming indusstrialized up to the level of the imperialist countries, as STI naively claims. Cuba, which he cites, won some benefits, but remains unindustrialized and dominated by the world market (which is dominated by the U.S. imperialists). I DO think that proletarian revolution is possible in Iraq and most regions of the so-called Third World--by which I mean a revolution led by the working class (a minority) and linked to the other oppressed people, particular peasants and which seeks to spread its revolution intenationally. That is why I am for national liberation but reject the program of nationalism. It would take too long to argue this here, I am afraid. It would require an analysis of what imperialism really is, using the theoretical tools of Marxism as well as anarchism.

Wayne Price

STI
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Jan 10 2006 19:04
Quote:
(Odd though that he does not see that I am FOR national liberation, along with women's liberation, gay liberation, ecological balance, and working class liberation.)

So you are for national liberation? Sweet.

I couldn't figure a clear answer from the essay, but now that I know, rock on.

Quote:
The less important issue is his misreading of the U.S. public. Clearly, as a practical matter, it is MUCH easier to build a movement calling to Bring the Troops Home Now than for Victory to the Resistance.

Just like I'm sure it would be easier to build a movement calling for a 2% tax increase to the highest income bracket than it would be to build a movment for the overthrow of capitalism.

But we aren't about what's easy.

Quote:
In practical effects, these are the same thing, since a victory for the resistance would result in bringing the troops home and bringing the troops home would provice a victory for the resistance.

Except that you've ignored the main reason why I support a slogan of "Victory for the Resistance" - the demoralization of the troops.

Also, such a slogan leaves no question in anybody's mind as to what we really think of the soldiers and where their loyalties lie. If we go around being soft on the troops, we run the risk of falling into the trap of "supporting the troops", or at least giving implicit support to such a notion.

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rom the experience of the Vietnam war it was much easier to win over US troops when they felt that the opposition was sympathetic to their plight.

A little elabouration on this point might help.

Quote:
STI seems really to be swimming in moralism here, he wants to say how much he hates the US aggression so he hates the troops

It's not a matter of moralism, it's a matter of demoralization.

Quote:
I have to admit, that while I am for the military struggle of the resistance (as my article says) I am sympathetic to the rank and file soldiers.

Why? They're the ones actually doing the war.

Quote:
I DO NOT think that national independence with a new capitalist ruling class can lead to independence from imperialism or to becoming indusstrialized up to the level of the imperialist countries, as STI naively claims.

You're treating the issue as though it's a matter of ideal absolutes. Yes, there'll still be some foreign exploitation. Yes, the economy will still be less developed than the first world (of course it will, we've had a massive head-start on the Third World). Those aren't the issues, though. It's a matter of comparison. Compared to occupation, there'll be less foreign exploitation in an independant Iraq. Compared to occupation, an independant Iraq will have a more well-developed economy.

To say that it would be absolutely free from imperialism or that its economy would be absolutely developed would, as you pointed out, be naive. But that isn't my position.

Quote:
Cuba, which he cites, won some benefits, but remains unindustrialized and dominated by the world market (which is dominated by the U.S. imperialists).

Compare the current state of Cuba to how it would be, had Batista's regime remained in power since 1959. Which one do you think would have more industrialization? Which one would be more at the whims of the world market? Which one would be closer to proletarian revolution?

Quote:
I DO think that proletarian revolution is possible in Iraq and most regions of the so-called Third World--by which I mean a revolution led by the working class (a minority) and linked to the other oppressed people, particular peasants and which seeks to spread its revolution intenationally

Peasants are, for the most part, too downright backward to make communist revolution - that's why Leninists have had most of their success with that class.

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That is why I am for national liberation but reject the program of nationalism.

So, then, if the two necessarily go hand-in-hand (as is usually the case), do you still support that national liberation?

Quote:
It would take too long to argue this here

No kidding! tongue

STI
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Jan 10 2006 23:13
Quote:
i can report the montrealers were quite content with their condition, realizing the benefits of large federal transfers of capital between quebec and other provinces as need arises (that's the theory anyway), while having bashed their way to a degree of cultural autonomy (as they define culture)

I've done some field research of my own.

It appears as though the majority of the working class is currently content with capitalism.

What's your point?

Quote:
the bloc has never, so far as i know, received more than 49% on their separatist referenda

Well bully-bully for the PQ (the Bloc has nothing to do with referenda).

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OliverTwister
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Jan 11 2006 01:43
STI wrote:

Compare the current state of Cuba to how it would be, had Batista's regime remained in power since 1959. Which one do you think would have more industrialization? Which one would be more at the whims of the world market? Which one would be closer to proletarian revolution?

I don't know - why don't you ask all the proletarian revolutionaries in Cuba?

Oh wait... Castro had them all killed.

And anyways any ideology that requires the bourgeoisie to act (rather than to merely exist) in order to make proletarian revolution is a bankrupt ideology. The proletariat, and the bourgeoisie, exist worldwide - no new nations need to exist in order to make proletarian revolution possible.

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OliverTwister
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Jan 11 2006 01:43
STI wrote:
Quote:
Do you really think that all seperatism is progressive, regardless of the context?

Yes, I just don't think all kinds of separatism are possible, so they really aren't worth much of your time.

Quote:

By your logic we'd just spend all our time fighting seperatist battles and ending up with smaller and smaller countries, which seems pretty stupid and pointless to me.

Not all kinds of separatism will happen, because there's no cause for them (such as national liberation), so we wouldn't end up with smaller and smaller countries, because people wouldn't want to.

How about Southern U.S. independence?

Flint
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Jan 11 2006 02:53

How many statelets do we need to break Afghanistan into?

STI
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Jan 11 2006 03:38

Havn't managed to come up with a reply to my response to your post yet, Oliver? Well, it's nice to know that you've at least found enough time to throw together a few content-free posts with which to waste the server's memory. So much for "comradely criticism", I guess.

OliverTwister wrote:

How about Southern U.S. independence?

I assume you're talking about the Civil War?

That was a bourgeois revolution within the American nation. The North, which was more industrialized and urbanized than the south, had a powerful bourgeoisie who no longer wanted the slave system of the Southern aristocracy to hinder their efforts to gain economic supremacy. They tried to reform their way out of it, but it just ended up that the class whose system was being reformed away didn't like it much. That they were concentrated in the South was a result of ecological factors, not national.

And besides, the south isn't a "nation".

OliverTwister wrote:
I don't know - why don't you ask all the proletarian revolutionaries in Cuba?

Oh wait... Castro had them all killed.

And Batista showed up at their meetings with hugs and candy, I'm sure.

Duh, you missed the point.

Quote:
And anyways any ideology that requires the bourgeoisie to act (rather than to merely exist) in order to make proletarian revolution is a bankrupt ideology.

I came up with two really good responses to that, and I can't decide which one is better, so I'm posting both.

1)

... Seriously?

You do know that there was a system before capitalism, and that the bourgeoisie overthrew that system (or rather, led the overthrow of that system), allowing them to industrialize (you know, uh, creating a proletariat), which makes proletarian revolution possible, right?

"Rah! If it's not an anarchist revolution right this minute, I'm going to have a tantrum!"

2)

Wow! Yet another wild claim without a single shred of support!

Not much for productive debate, but it sure looks like fun. I think I'll try it.

Any ideology put forward by OliverTwister is a bankrupt ideology.

Wow, it was a kick, now that I've done it myself.

Now, on to something worth replying to...

Flint wrote:
How many statelets do we need to break Afghanistan into?

"We" don't need to do anything - it'll be the people of those nations who break Afghanistan up into statelets - if at all. What we should do is support those who are fighting for independence and carry out our own work here in the First World.

Anti-imperialism and national liberation are the be-alls and end-alls of my outlook, remember.

petey
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Jan 12 2006 00:51
STI wrote:
And besides, the south isn't a "nation".

the problem being that many people there think they are a nation, and apart from wilfull self-identification, what is needed?

(source: the gf and her extremely extended family are from north carolina)

STI
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Jan 12 2006 01:38
Quote:
the problem being that many people there think they are a nation, and apart from wilfull self-identification, what is needed?

(source: the gf and her extremely extended family are from north carolina)

If there was a serious significant movement for the South to succeed in modern times that was an actual fight for national independence rather than just a reactionary counter-revolution, then ya, I'd probably support it.

petey
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Jan 12 2006 18:38
STI wrote:
If there was a serious significant movement for the South to succeed in modern times that was an actual fight for national independence rather than just a reactionary counter-revolution, then ya, I'd probably support it.

1: there is nothing significant, though there are those who REALLY believe in secession. they're sorta pathetic.

2: what are the criteria distinguishing a 'fight for national independence' from 'reactionary counter-revolution'?

STI
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Jan 12 2006 19:43
Quote:

2: what are the criteria distinguishing a 'fight for national independence' from 'reactionary counter-revolution'?

A counter-revolution is a reaction (spearheaded by the old ruling class) to an attempt by a rising class to usurp control over society. A fight for national independence is the struggle of a group of people (ie: a nation) to win self-determination through the defeat of foreign imperialist occupyers.

The only way the Civil War could be equated to the Iraqi Resistance would be if Bush's imperialism were a progressive revolution.

petey
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Jan 12 2006 20:11

(sorry! nothing here!)

petey
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Jan 12 2006 20:12
STI wrote:
Quote:
i can report the montrealers were quite content with their condition, realizing the benefits of large federal transfers of capital between quebec and other provinces as need arises (that's the theory anyway), while having bashed their way to a degree of cultural autonomy (as they define culture)

I've done some field research of my own.

It appears as though the majority of the working class is currently content with capitalism.

What's your point?

oh, pretty much what you just said

STI wrote:
Quote:
the bloc has never, so far as i know, received more than 49% on their separatist referenda

Well bully-bully for the PQ (the Bloc has nothing to do with referenda).

ah. well then.

petey
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Jan 12 2006 20:14
STI wrote:
Quote:

2: what are the criteria distinguishing a 'fight for national independence' from 'reactionary counter-revolution'?

A counter-revolution is a reaction (spearheaded by the old ruling class) to an attempt by a rising class to usurp control over society. A fight for national independence is the struggle of a group of people (ie: a nation) to win self-determination through the defeat of foreign imperialist occupyers.

OK!

Flint
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Jan 12 2006 20:20
STI wrote:
Quote:

2: what are the criteria distinguishing a 'fight for national independence' from 'reactionary counter-revolution'?

A counter-revolution is a reaction (spearheaded by the old ruling class) to an attempt by a rising class to usurp control over society. A fight for national independence is the struggle of a group of people (ie: a nation) to win self-determination through the defeat of foreign imperialist occupyers.

The only way the Civil War could be equated to the Iraqi Resistance would be if Bush's imperialism were a progressive revolution.

That depends on your perspective. So, the 2nd round of elections are done. Positions are jockeying... but it looks like the Kurdish nationalist bourgios parties of the PUK and KDP have decided to put forth PUK leader Talibani for the Iraq Presidency (he would serve a 2nd term). For the Prime Minister position... both the Dawa party and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq are putting up people. From the perspective of a Kurdish nationalist or Shi'ite party member... they are gaining progress in now they have the executive positions in the Iraqi government--something that had been denied to them under the Ba'athist one-party state. Many Kurds and many Arab Shi'ites certainly feel the Sunnis were a ruling class imposed upon them by outsiders. After all, the British did put a Sunni monarch on the throne after they took over from the Turkish imperialists. While SCIRI might have support of the foreign imperialists of Iraq... they might argue that the Ba'ath remenants are being supported by the foreign imperialists of Syria. Certainly, Zarqawi is foreign to Iraq and is fighting for a very reactionary ideal.

Things just seem a lot more complicated than the rather stagist historical materialism anti-imperialist line you keep bringing up. Personally, I think that entire approach is wrong.

I'll argue with you more later, but I need to finish my review of A People's History Of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers' Movements, And The Left 1924-2004 by Ilario Salluci; or the Northeastern Anarchist editorial brigade will have me shot.

Still, read the above book. It's good, despite it's shortcomings (for example... based on how little the book mentions them, you could be led to believe that women do not exist in Iraq).

STI
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Jan 12 2006 22:02
newyawka wrote:

oh, pretty much what you just said

Then the fact that a majority of Quebecers don't support separation (a slight majority, in this case) is irrelivant with regards to whether or not we should support it.

Flint wrote:
I'll argue with you more later, but I need to finish my review of A People's History Of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers' Movements, And The Left 1924-2004 by Ilario Salluci; or the Northeastern Anarchist editorial brigade will have me shot.

Sweet. When is the next issue due to come out?

Quote:
Positions are jockeying... but it looks like the Kurdish nationalist bourgios parties of the PUK and KDP have decided to put forth PUK leader Talibani for the Iraq Presidency (he would serve a 2nd term). For the Prime Minister position... both the Dawa party and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq are putting up people. From the perspective of a Kurdish nationalist or Shi'ite party member... they are gaining progress in now they have the executive positions in the Iraqi government--something that had been denied to them under the Ba'athist one-party state.

...And I'm sure that they'll eventually both see and realize that participation in the US occupational governmnet isn't, in the long term, in their interests. Really, is the fact that people from a previously-unrepresented nation participate in any kind of government, especially one put up by the world's largest imperialist power, that great an argument for... I'm not even sure what you're arguing.

Quote:
they might argue that the Ba'ath remenants are being supported by the foreign imperialists of Syria

Syrian support for the resistance may or may not have imperialist motivations. Certainly, Syria would be more free to act as it chooses should American imperialists be unable to keep control over neighbouring states - they'd be less likely to be attacked, for one, and more able to resist effectively in the event of aggression against themselves. So it's not definately true that Syrian support for the resistance, especially in the case of ordinary Syrians who go over to Iraq to fight against occupational forces (however common or uncommon that is, I have no idea).

Quote:
Certainly, Zarqawi is foreign to Iraq and is fighting for a very reactionary ideal.

Well, yes and no. Part of what he's fighting for - an end to the presence of imperialist forces (including Israel) in the Middle East - is progressive. Another part of what he's fighting for - "all-out war" on Shia Muslims in Iraq - is reactionary.

It's still my position that we should encourage the progressive things people like Zarqawi do, and criticize the reactionary ones.

Quote:
Still, read the above book. It's good, despite it's shortcomings (for example... based on how little the book mentions them, you could be led to believe that women do not exist in Iraq).

Unfortunately, it isn't at the public library nor either of the university libraries in town, so I'll have to either go an buy it (to be honest, that's a bit unlikely, since there are so many books I *could* buy but so few that I can afford to that very few of the books that I should buy end up getting bought) or wait until one of the libraries gets it. Either way, it'll be on my list of things to read eventually.

Flint
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Jan 13 2006 01:01
STI wrote:
Flint wrote:
I'll argue with you more later, but I need to finish my review of A People's History Of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers' Movements, And The Left 1924-2004 by Ilario Salluci; or the Northeastern Anarchist editorial brigade will have me shot.

Sweet. When is the next issue due to come out?

When I finish this review. smile So I'm going to resist the urge to reply to your other points right now.

petey
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Jan 13 2006 13:44
STI wrote:
Then the fact that a majority of Quebecers don't support separation (a slight majority, in this case) is irrelivant with regards to whether or not we should support it.

but nobody said otherwise.

STI
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Jan 14 2006 16:11
newyawka wrote:
but nobody said otherwise.

Then why did you bother to bring up the fact that most Montrealers you met weren't supportive of separation?

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Steven.
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Jan 14 2006 17:04
STI wrote:
newyawka wrote:
but nobody said otherwise.

Then why did you bother to bring up the fact that most Montrealers you met weren't supportive of separation?

Maybe cos some anarchists broadly support some nationalisms for opportunistic reasons - and that in this case even that would be pointless, perhaps?

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OliverTwister
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Jan 16 2006 15:24
OliverTwister wrote:
face it - you have a reactionary position that leads to class collaboration.
STI wrote:
When the peasants and artisans fought with the merchants against the nobility, you would have called that "class collaboration" too. It was still historically progressive, though.

What makes class collaboration in an imperialist society different from that in a conquerred nation is that there are only two classes in the former, but three - the working class, the local bourgeoisie, and the imperial rulers - in the latter.

the working class and the bourgeoisie are both global classes.

And as a point of history, the peasants and artisans overwhelmingly did not fight with the merchants, but in many cases there were attempted peasant revolutions which were recuperated by the merchants (much easier depending on how much class collaboration had occured), while at the same time the merchants simply became more and more wealthy until the gentry could not compete for power.

Quote:
You've openly said that you think the Taliban driving out the U.S. would be historically progressive.
STI wrote:
Compared to imperialist occupation, yes.

And I explained why, at that. I have yet to see that explaination attacked, much less effectively.

I'd be happy to discuss those reasons, should anybody criticise them.

Imperialism is the current mode of global capitalism and has been for the last century or so. Any forces which attempt to create a new state, or take over an existing one, are by their nature capitalist and part of imperialism. Every state is an imperialist occupier.

Quote:

The ICC is a least right about one thing: anti-imperialism is a dead-end ideolgy for the proletariat.

STI wrote:
As an end to itself, I agree. Anti-imperialism must be a (though certainly not the only) means to the end of proletarian revolution.

Anti-imperialism is the name given to a group of bourgoiesie with certain common interests (often a geographc bloc) attempting to increase their stature within their global class.

Quote:
you're saying that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan can't make social revolution
STI wrote:
That's indeed what I'm saying. Would you care to argue against it?

Don't think there's much to argue here. This is the paradigmatic difference between someone who believes that the working-class (and I use the term in the broad sense of "order-takers") always has the ability to make revolution and who recognizes the now-global nature of that class, and someone for whom "the workers" are merely two words out of many used to elaborate their fetish of perverted marxist historiography.

Quote:
should accept the Taliban and Ba'ath as their overlords.
STI wrote:
Straw man.

I said that we should fight against reactionary currents within national liberation movements before and after independence is won.

But if the Taliban or the Ba'athists are the only ones practically capable of taking power from the occupatying forces, better them than nobody.

Would the Ba'ath be better post-occupation than pre-occupation for the class? Or does what you're saying basically equate with the leninists such as the Sparts who attacked anyone who would not chant "victory to Iraq" during the war?

Quote:
n addition, the idea that urban, industrial proletariat are the only ones capable of making social revolution is clearly ridiculous - explain the revolutions in Russia and the Ukraine, Spain, Korea, Mexico, and the rest.
STI wrote:
"Social revolution" is one hella-ambiguous term. If it can be used to describe Russia, Mexico, and Spain all at the same time, it doesn't have much definate (ie: usefull) meaning.

Would you mind clarifying exactly what you mean?

Yes an accelerated period in history in which the workers expropriate, through force, the property of the ruling class and create a libertarian socialist society (sometimes known as dictatorship of the proletariat).

Quote:
Your politics are as "lib-left" as those of the workers' world party, who supported martial law in poland and the tiananmen square massacre because they thought that the Chinese and Russian sections of the bourgeoisie (though they may not have been willing to own up to the fact that that's what they were) needed to become powerful enough to rival the western section of the bourgeoisie.
STI wrote:
Well, since I would have supported Polish resistance to Russian occupation and would have sided with the protesters in Tienamen Square, I don't know how I could be identified with such a group.

Do you support the kurdish seperatists who are allied with the U.S. occupiers?

Quote:
To paraphrase what you've said, you advocate supporting the resistance group which has the highest capability to take power, even if "critically", rather than an actual revolutionary organization which is weaker.
STI wrote:
Try again.

I support national liberation, and I would "hope" and even "advocate" that the best group possible would take power, but since "the best group" won't be taking power in Iraq or Afghanistan, there remains a question:

Do I support the occupation or the less "savoury" groups?

I support the defeat of imperialist occupation, even if it means the best groups, who wouldn't be in control either way, aren't the winners.

At what point would you have switched your support from the CNT in Spain to the USSR-quislings?

Quote:
You've even said that the Taliban should retake Afghanistan
STI wrote:
In the absence of any better group capable of defeating the occupation, yes.

But we already know that I've said that. Do you care to argue against the reasons that I've given for that position?

Because, up until now, there hasn't been much discussion.

Interesting how the people of Afghanistan need Saudis and Pakistanis to save them from imperialism.

Quote:
the fact is, the leadership of the taliban, along with las FARC in colombia, the Ba'ath party in Iraq, Fatah and Hamas and any of their equivalents should be shot as the capitalists that they are, by the working class in those countries (and especially women workers in the case of the taliban and Hamas).
STI wrote:
No shit!

But that isn't the issue.

The issue isn't "are the FARC and Hamas nice guys?".

The issue is "Who will you support, the occupation or the not-nice guys?".

You may not like either option, but in the absence of a victory for left-wing revolutionaries, which side are you on?

Say what you will about my position, but at least I have a clear answer to that question, unlike nearly everybody else who's participated in this thread.

My position is clear. I support the workers. In the absence of a worker revolution, which overlords rule a certain area can be pretty fucking moot.

Note that I don't think strike action is the only one available to workers (since in many of the places where the capitalists are strongest there is no employment at all) and I agree with Mao when he said "people rebel first, and seek ideology second." Quite a few rebellious workers are going to hook up with reactionary forces which offer the ability to fight the capitalists - that doesn't change the reactionary nature of those forces.

On principle I support actions like the roasting of the four mercenaries because there were definite class reasons for it - but to side with the ba'ath or islamists because they can take power and keep the windfalls from their exploitation of the Iraqi people more "local" (which isn't exactly guaranteed or even necessarily likely) is to sell the Iraqi people down the river and tell them "too bad you're to stupid to actually take power yourselves."

Quote:
As for your comment about only leninism being able to overthrow neo-colonialism, who do you think agreed to it in the first place?
STI wrote:
I didn't say they're the only ones who could do it (I know you're trying to be comradely, and so am I, but it's really difficult when my actual views are misrepresented mroe often than not).

I said that, of all the forces which fight (and can win) against imperial domination in the Thrid World, Leninists (especially Maoists) will do the best job of kicking out foreign exploiters, will develop the economy the fastest, and will make the best lot for women, homosexuals, etc.

Short of worker's revolution, I'm in general agreement with that statement.

Quote:
The history of Africa and Asia are most illuminating on this point.
STI wrote:
You'll have to be a bit less vague if you want to have a discussion.

The histories of Africa and Asia could fill several bookshelves.

What about which parts of the histories of those places proves whatever point you're trying to make.

Specifically I was referring to the many revolutions led by leninist (and often Maoist) forces which suffered from the ruling party deciding that the WTO was offering a good deal for the country. All of the most developed countries in Africa; SA, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Algeria were captured by "socialists" with the end of white rule - and within a matter of years those "socialists" had recuped every gain that the workers had made in the space created by intra-bourgeois conflicts and had put the country right where it was before in relation to other imperialists.

Quote:
Regardless, to me the concept of an anti-imperialist state is as ridiculous as the concept of an anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-fascist, or anti-capitalist one, but you seem to think that these entities can exist; please explain.
STI wrote:
No I don't. You've yet again butchered my position.
OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
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Jan 16 2006 15:40
STI wrote:
Havn't managed to come up with a reply to my response to your post yet, Oliver? Well, it's nice to know that you've at least found enough time to throw together a few content-free posts with which to waste the server's memory. So much for "comradely criticism", I guess.
OliverTwister wrote:

How about Southern U.S. independence?

I assume you're talking about the Civil War?

That was a bourgeois revolution within the American nation. The North, which was more industrialized and urbanized than the south, had a powerful bourgeoisie who no longer wanted the slave system of the Southern aristocracy to hinder their efforts to gain economic supremacy. They tried to reform their way out of it, but it just ended up that the class whose system was being reformed away didn't like it much. That they were concentrated in the South was a result of ecological factors, not national.

And besides, the south isn't a "nation".

Other than black, Chicano, or native seperatism, there is far more support for southern independence than any other seperatist movement north of the Rio Grande - certainly more than there is for Quebec or Vermont.

In fact a very good argument could be made that northen victory has stalled any industrialization that the southern gentry might have allowed (or else that the northern sell-out of the southern working class in 1877 which gave the southern gentry their power back is what did it). Either way, you ever been to Birmingham? I know there's a fairly large rust-belt up north which has been more-or-less deindustrializing since the 70's and i understand Baltimore to be part of it - but the south has been undergoing the same process since the 1930's, at least.

And yet, I think nearly all of us recognize that any modern forces advocating southern independence (and especialy any hypothetical force which could bring it about) is not a step forward.

STI wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
I don't know - why don't you ask all the proletarian revolutionaries in Cuba?

Oh wait... Castro had them all killed.

And Batista showed up at their meetings with hugs and candy, I'm sure.

Duh, you missed the point.

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And anyways any ideology that requires the bourgeoisie to act (rather than to merely exist) in order to make proletarian revolution is a bankrupt ideology.

I came up with two really good responses to that, and I can't decide which one is better, so I'm posting both.

1)

... Seriously?

You do know that there was a system before capitalism, and that the bourgeoisie overthrew that system (or rather, led the overthrow of that system), allowing them to industrialize (you know, uh, creating a proletariat), which makes proletarian revolution possible, right?

"Rah! If it's not an anarchist revolution right this minute, I'm going to have a tantrum!"

2)

Wow! Yet another wild claim without a single shred of support!

Not much for productive debate, but it sure looks like fun. I think I'll try it.

Any ideology put forward by OliverTwister is a bankrupt ideology.

Wow, it was a kick, now that I've done it myself.

Now, on to something worth replying to...

As I said, I recognize that the bourgeoisie have to exist in order to create the proletariat. But they've existed, they've created the proletariat, and now history is waiting for us to force them into the past.

Are you actually claiming that there's a "nation" which does not already have bourgeoisie and proletariat?

I'll grant that there were - but that has not been the case for over a century now.

STI wrote:
Flint wrote:
How many statelets do we need to break Afghanistan into?

"We" don't need to do anything - it'll be the people of those nations who break Afghanistan up into statelets - if at all. What we should do is support those who are fighting for independence and carry out our own work here in the First World.

Anti-imperialism and national liberation are the be-alls and end-alls of my outlook, remember.

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
Offline
Joined: 10-10-05
Jan 16 2006 15:50
STI wrote:
Quote:
the problem being that many people there think they are a nation, and apart from wilfull self-identification, what is needed?

(source: the gf and her extremely extended family are from north carolina)

If there was a serious significant movement for the South to succeed in modern times that was an actual fight for national independence rather than just a reactionary counter-revolution, then ya, I'd probably support it.

You've said that you support every movement for seperation.

Anyways this is a great example of what they call "meddling" - I.E. people like me would be up against the wall if there was a "southern revolution", while you would give "critical support" to those forces, regretting that they unfortunately shot every organized proletarian militant but celebrating their victory over imperialism. Or is that not what you're doing with Afghanistan and Iraq?

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Jan 16 2006 21:31
OliverTwister wrote:

the working class and the bourgeoisie are both global classes.

Obviously not entirely.

The bourgeoisie from one area will often be in competition with another bourgeoisie (that's what a war is) because they have competing interests at those times.

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And as a point of history, the peasants and artisans overwhelmingly did not fight with the merchants, but in many cases there were attempted peasant revolutions which were recuperated by the merchants (much easier depending on how much class collaboration had occured),

Why did those rebellions end up being "recuperated" by the bourgeoisie? Could it have been that they were, aside from the nobility, the only class which was fit to rule? Were bourgeois revolutions therefore not progressive?

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while at the same time the merchants simply became more and more wealthy until the gentry could not compete for power.

They did more than simply fail to "compete for power", they were overthrown.

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Imperialism is the current mode of global capitalism and has been for the last century or so. Any forces which attempt to create a new state, or take over an existing one, are by their nature capitalist and part of imperialism. Every state is an imperialist occupier.

That's just silly. Unless a country is investing surplus capital elsewhere and/or involving itself in the military occupation (either attempted or actual) of another place, it isn't engaging in imperialism. You can't just use "imperialist" as a catch-all for governments you don't like. It leads to bad thinking and bad acting.

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Anti-imperialism is the name given to a group of bourgoiesie with certain common interests (often a geographc bloc) attempting to increase their stature within their global class.

Really? It's called anti-imperialism when Canada occupies Haiti or when the "coalition of the willing" invade Iraq? That's called anti-imperialism?

Strange. I thought it was called imperialism.

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Don't think there's much to argue here. This is the paradigmatic difference between someone who believes that the working-class (and I use the term in the broad sense of "order-takers") always has the ability to make revolution and who recognizes the now-global nature of that class, and someone for whom "the workers" are merely two words out of many used to elaborate their fetish of perverted marxist historiography.

Its the fact that you see the working class as simply "those who take orders" that would lead you to some of the lousy conclusions you've made. The condition of life as a peasant is vastly different than that of a proletarian, which creates a much different consciousness. Peasants are, compared to proletarians, more religious, less educated, more sexist, more homophobic, and therefore incapbable of creating communist revolution. It's not that peasants can't create any revolution, it just won't be communist.

And now on to the proletarians of the Third World. While they're much better than peasants, it would be foolish to have any illusions about what they're like, for the most part. They are, compared to the first-world proletariat, smaller as a portion of the total population, less educated, more religious, more sexist, more homophobic, and therefore less capable (if at all) of creating proletarian revolution.

Keep in mind that this will change... eventually. History isn't always as fast as we'd like it to be. It's taken us First-world workers close to 200 years to make proletarian revolution, and we still havn't done it. We've had some "good runs", just like workers in the Third World could (and probably will), but, for whatever reason, we have yet to "get it right".

How we could expect other workers who are, all things considered, more backward than we are to do what we havn't yet been able to do is beyond me. All this said, the sole reason for this backwardness is a lack of progression and development, not "because they're not European" or any such foolishness. It has entirely to do with environment, and will change... eventually. In order for that change to be faster, economic development must happen more quickly and more sensibly, and both of which would be the case if the local bourgeoisie were to have control instead of imperialist occupiers and their toadies.

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Would the Ba'ath be better post-occupation than pre-occupation for the class?

Neither of us could know that for sure. That isn't the issue, though. The issue is one of whether or not the post-occupation Ba'athists would be better than the occupation. It seems sensible to me that they would be.

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Or does what you're saying basically equate with the leninists such as the Sparts who attacked anyone who would not chant "victory to Iraq" during the war?

Depends on what you mean by "attacked". I would disagree with them, as I've already done in this thread and elsewhere.

The fact that Leninists do it is irrelivant, though. Leninists "do" a lot of things, some of which we agree with and some of which we don't. Whether or not "Leninists do X" should have absolutely no bearing on whether or not we do it, we should do or not do whatever we deem to be the best option by virtue of the fact that we deem it to be the best option.

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n addition, the idea that urban, industrial proletariat are the only ones capable of making social revolution is clearly ridiculous - explain the revolutions in Russia and the Ukraine, Spain, Korea, Mexico, and the rest.

STI wrote:

"Social revolution" is one hella-ambiguous term. If it can be used to describe Russia, Mexico, and Spain all at the same time, it doesn't have much definate (ie: usefull) meaning.

Would you mind clarifying exactly what you mean?

Yes an accelerated period in history in which the workers expropriate, through force, the property of the ruling class and create a libertarian socialist society (sometimes known as dictatorship of the proletariat).

Then Russia, Mexico, the Ukraine, and I'd bet Korea (though I'm not at all familiar with the example you're bringing up) were not "social revolutions".

Look at the outcomes of all those revolutions. All of those outcomes came about for a reason. If the Russian revolution is "a social revolution", then I don't want it.

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Do you support the kurdish seperatists who are allied with the U.S. occupiers?

Like all fighters for national liberation, somewhat.

I do support Kurdish independence. I don't support the alliance with US imperialists. In fact, I don't think their strategy will lead to any kind of satisfying national liberation at all - just domination by US imperialists instead of Iraqi.

Another possible outcome of that whole thing might be the creation of a "Kurdistan" (or whatever it ends up being called) with a situation similar to Israel (though much less economic development). At the end of the day, I don't doubt the US imperialists would be happy to have another client-state in the middle east. Whether or not it's powerful enough to fulfill that role is another factor to consider - the imperialists might just say "fuck it" and treat it like any other imperial possession.

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At what point would you have switched your support from the CNT in Spain to the USSR-quislings?

That's a very different situation from Iraq or Afghanistan. For one, the CNT was a significant force at one time, the same can't be said for any lib-left group in Iraq. Also, there would have been different things to consider in Spain than Iraq. Spain's economy was more highly-developed in 1936 than in today's Iraq. The proletariat was more advanced. There was no foreign occupier in the same sense as there is in Iraq today.

But, had I been there, I would have advocated and fought for victory for the CNT (if I had to bet, I probably would have focused on the FoD) until the very end - the same way I advocate victory for the best groups in Iraq, and will continue to. But, again, that's not what the issue at hand is. The issue at hand is: the asshole resistors, or the occupiers ("the socialists or Franco"?). I side with the former in both cases.

Quote:
STI wrote:

In the absence of any better group capable of defeating the occupation, yes.

But we already know that I've said that. Do you care to argue against the reasons that I've given for that position?

Because, up until now, there hasn't been much discussion.

Interesting how the people of Afghanistan need Saudis and Pakistanis to save them from imperialism.

What does that have to do with what it was in response to? What are you even talking about?

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My position is clear. I support the workers. In the absence of a worker revolution, which overlords rule a certain area can be pretty fucking moot.

Well, I've explained how it isn't "fucking moot", so whatever. Refusal to address those points doesn't change the fact that they're there.

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Quite a few rebellious workers are going to hook up with reactionary forces which offer the ability to fight the capitalists - that doesn't change the reactionary nature of those forces.

So the question (still) is: do you support victory for those forces (who do, in the end, have some pretty reactionary ideologies) over occupation?

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but to side with the ba'ath or islamists because they can take power and keep the windfalls from their exploitation of the Iraqi people more "local" (which isn't exactly guaranteed or even necessarily likely)

It's not the fact that it's "kept local" that I find particularily appealing, it's the effect of that fact: faster, more thorough and well-rounded development of the economy - a necessary precursor to proletarian revolution.

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is to sell the Iraqi people down the river and tell them "too bad you're to stupid to actually take power yourselves."

It's not "selling them down the river", it's an objective analysis of the reality of the situation. I'm on the side which I think is in the best interests, in the long run, of proletarian revolution in both Iraq and America.

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Short of worker's revolution, I'm in general agreement with that statement.

Short of the fact that I don't think workers' revolution is possible in those societies, I'm in general agreement with that statement.

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Specifically I was referring to the many revolutions led by leninist (and often Maoist) forces which suffered from the ruling party deciding that the WTO was offering a good deal for the country.

That's simply the nature of Leninism - an eventual return to capitalism (though better off than before). This is why I don't think Leninism is capable of creating a classless society.

But remember: compared to the alternative? Had the US not been opposed in Vietnam, would Vietnam be better off than it is now (not that they were left with much to work with after the war).

Quote:
All of the most developed countries in Africa; SA, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Algeria were captured by "socialists" with the end of white rule - and within a matter of years those "socialists" had recuped every gain that the workers had made in the space created by intra-bourgeois conflicts and had put the country right where it was before in relation to other imperialists.

Could you link to or post some more info on these examples? I really want to know more about them before "weighing in".

Quote:

Other than black, Chicano, or native seperatism, there is far more support for southern independence than any other seperatist movement north of the Rio Grande - certainly more than there is for Quebec or Vermont.

Really? There's more than 50% support for separatism in the South? That's roughly what the separatists got in Quebec in the last referendum. It's lower now, but come on. Is there really that much support for separatism in the South?

Quote:
And yet, I think nearly all of us recognize that any modern forces advocating southern independence (and especialy any hypothetical force which could bring it about) is not a step forward.

And what kind of forces are those?

Really, this whole "Southern separatist" thing is right out of the blue for me. I'd never heard of such a thing until you mentioned it. Is it real on any large scale, or is it just a hypothetical?

Quote:

Are you actually claiming that there's a "nation" which does not already have bourgeoisie and proletariat?

No, and I don't think I ever have. What I've claimed is that industrial production isn't proliferated enough in much of the world, and all the effects that such a condition has are present. For one, the proletariat isn't much of a numerical force compared to the First World. For another, they're more "backward" than the First World proletariat - time and technological/economic advancement are needed to change that condition. Who will do this? Imperialist occupiers won't, not to the degree or with the speed necessary at least. Peasants won't. The proletariat can't. Only the local bourgeoisie (whether they're the wealthy in a market-capitalist society or the ruling party of a state-socialst one) can and will do it.

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Quote:

Anyways this is a great example of what they call "meddling" - I.E. people like me would be up against the wall if there was a "southern revolution", while you would give "critical support" to those forces, regretting that they unfortunately shot every organized proletarian militant but celebrating their victory over imperialism.

If the south were, for some reason, to all of a sudden have a majority support for separation, there'd have to be a reason for it. Fundies wouldn't want it - they're happy throwing weight around the whole of the US, no reason to paint themselves into one corner. Who else? And why? Why would they have you against the wall? Did you actively oppose separatist forces? Well then what did you expect would happen?

Your "hypothetical example" is useless, since it wouldn't happen. The conditions of your example create (you claim, at least) some outrageous results, but that simply stems from the fact that it is an outrageous situation. It wouldn't happen in reality.

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Or is that not what you're doing with Afghanistan and Iraq?

The majority of proletarian militants, I'd bet, are fighting for an end to the occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq (for as large as those proletariats are), so no, it's not.

You keep making the same mistake over and over. I'm not out there cheering for the resistance becase I find them to be "spotless" or any such thing. Everything in this issue is a matter of comparison. Yes, the resistance forces will do some shitty things, but compared to the occupation?.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Joined: 15-07-06
Jan 17 2006 15:07
STI wrote:

Like that old song goes, "Which side are you on?"

That's the litmus test, as far as I'm concerned.

The issue over the Iraqi war is not which side we are on. This is a false question. Two reactionary currents are opposed to each other, and then the working class is asked which one of them it supports. If the working class is to become ‘a class for itself’, it must start to answer these questions by affirming its own interests as a ‘a class for itself’. The answer to this question is that the working class is against all imperialists wars.

The root of this question though do not lie in the discussion of the Iraq war. They lie in a different conceptions of history.

STI wrote:

Progression is about comparison. Compared to feudalism, capitalism is progressive. Compared to US occupation, victory for the fundamentalists is progressive.

The question is whether capitalism is progressive or not today, and whether the working class should support more ‘progressive’ capitalist factions. This is the real issue here.

The Communist left take two different positions on this The Theory of Decadence (The ICC’s position), and the ‘Theory of Invariance’ (The GCI’s position). The theory of decadence states basically that since the outbreak of The First World War, Capitalism has been in a period of decadence whereas the theory of decadence state that Communist revolution has always been hypothetically possible. The differences between these two positions is not the discussion now, but both of them say that all factions of capitalism are equally reactionary today, and that their can be no support for imperialist war.

One of the problems of anarchism is that it is basically ahistorical. Because it fails to take up a theoretical stance on history, it ends up repeating the same arguments again, and again-just over different issues.

Is victory for the fundamentalist progressive? If so, in what way? If one believes that

STI wrote:

Proletarian revolution in Iraq is simply not possible. The material conditions necessary for proletarian revolution are simply not present, like it or not. One of the things that are required for proletarian revolution is the absence of a foreign dominator and a vigorous local bourgeoisie. That can't exist under US occupation.

Supporting the resistance would be progressive. I don’t believe this.

Capital is a global system. Whilst in the Middle East there may be remnants of feudalism, the basis of the economy is completely capitalist. It is no longer necessary to develop capitalism in order to create the conditions for the formation of the working class. The working class already exists. It is true that working class revolution is not on the immediate agenda in Iraq, but nor is it in America. Do revolutionaries in the States then stop supporting the working class, and support ‘historically progressive’ factions of the bourgeoisie there too. This argument is coming dangerously close to the argument of the Cliffities (the faction around the English SWP), ‘Vote Labour, but build a fighting socialist alternative’. This position is not incorrect because it is the argument of the Trotskyites. It is incorrect because it seeks to ally the working class with a ‘progressive’ faction of the bourgeoisie, and therefore is actively against any independent working class initiatives.

The position of revolutionaries during an imperialist war is against their own bourgeoisie, but that , however, does not mean allying oneself with the opposing bourgeoisie. I agree with STI that the slogan ‘Bring the troops home’ is liberalism, and does smack of supporting ‘our boys’. However, ‘Victory to the insurgency’ is an equally bad slogan. It doesn’t line the working class up alongside their fellow worker, but alongside reactionary gangs, which is what the resistance basically is.

The task in America is to fight against the imperialist war, but not by supporting the other side. The propagation of an independent class position is essential, a plague on both their houses. Yes a defeat for the ‘allied’ forces would probably be good for the prospects of working class struggle in America, and while the working class should fight against ‘their own’ ruling class that does not mean supporting the opposing ruling class.

STI wrote:

I'd support a Kurdish movement for national independence…

Why? Because it is ‘progressive’? In what why are the feudal clan parties of the KDP, and the PUK more progressive than the centralized Iraqi state was? If you support a Kurdish state, would you also support a Shiite state, Turcoman state, a Yezidi state, and an Assyrian state? Is it revolutionary to turn the entire Middle East into another Lebanon? How many rival ethnic groups would you like to divide the proletariat into?

Against imperialist war revolutionaries oppose internationalism.

The working class has no country.

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
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Joined: 10-10-05
Jan 17 2006 18:48
STI wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:

the working class and the bourgeoisie are both global classes.

Obviously not entirely.

The bourgeoisie from one area will often be in competition with another bourgeoisie (that's what a war is) because they have competing interests at those times.

The working class are also in competition with each other oftentimes. That doesn't change the fact that the bourgeoisie, for as long as they rule, will unite in solidarity against the proletariat when they are threatened (because when they stop, the proletariat will win).

You mention war, and a great example is World War 2, specifically the strikes in Turin and Milan which were massively bombed by the Allies after defeating all remnants of the italian army in the area and before the Nazi's invaded. The pamphlet "Italian Workers Against Fascism" (available from AK press) is an amazing explanation piecing together all of the statements from the politicians on both sides exposing their crimes and motivations - the closest i could find online was this, from a trot perspective: http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/goldman/1943/12/italy.htm

STI wrote:
Quote:
And as a point of history, the peasants and artisans overwhelmingly did not fight with the merchants, but in many cases there were attempted peasant revolutions which were recuperated by the merchants (much easier depending on how much class collaboration had occured),

Why did those rebellions end up being "recuperated" by the bourgeoisie? Could it have been that they were, aside from the nobility, the only class which was fit to rule? Were bourgeois revolutions therefore not progressive?

Bourgeois revolutions were "progressive", though I do not believe they were the only historically possible outcome. However now the bourgeoisie has succeeded in making itself the new global ruling class and bourgeois revolutions are no longer progressive.

STI wrote:
Quote:
while at the same time the merchants simply became more and more wealthy until the gentry could not compete for power.

They did more than simply fail to "compete for power", they were overthrown.

They still exist. They are no longer the ruling class but they are in the bourgeois camp. In many places, they were overthrown (or conquered) but in many places they were simply surpassed.

STI wrote:
Quote:
Imperialism is the current mode of global capitalism and has been for the last century or so. Any forces which attempt to create a new state, or take over an existing one, are by their nature capitalist and part of imperialism. Every state is an imperialist occupier.

That's just silly. Unless a country is investing surplus capital elsewhere and/or involving itself in the military occupation (either attempted or actual) of another place, it isn't engaging in imperialism. You can't just use "imperialist" as a catch-all for governments you don't like. It leads to bad thinking and bad acting.

That's true. When I find a country that isn't doing either of those, I'll apply for a study visa.

STI wrote:
Quote:

Anti-imperialism is the name given to a group of bourgoiesie with certain common interests (often a geographc bloc) attempting to increase their stature within their global class.

Really? It's called anti-imperialism when Canada occupies Haiti or when the "coalition of the willing" invade Iraq? That's called anti-imperialism?

Strange. I thought it was called imperialism.

No, but it's called anti-imperialism when Venezuela offers to occupy Haiti before the US can or supplies/supports las FARC or when "old europe" opposes the war in Iraq or aggression against Iran. Later on you seem to think it's anti-imperialism when soviet apologists attempt to create a client state on the back of the workers.

STI wrote:
Quote:
Don't think there's much to argue here. This is the paradigmatic difference between someone who believes that the working-class (and I use the term in the broad sense of "order-takers") always has the ability to make revolution and who recognizes the now-global nature of that class, and someone for whom "the workers" are merely two words out of many used to elaborate their fetish of perverted marxist historiography.

Its the fact that you see the working class as simply "those who take orders" that would lead you to some of the lousy conclusions you've made. The condition of life as a peasant is vastly different than that of a proletarian, which creates a much different consciousness. Peasants are, compared to proletarians, more religious, less educated, more sexist, more homophobic, and therefore incapbable of creating communist revolution. It's not that peasants can't create any revolution, it just won't be communist.

And now on to the proletarians of the Third World. While they're much better than peasants, it would be foolish to have any illusions about what they're like, for the most part. They are, compared to the first-world proletariat, smaller as a portion of the total population, less educated, more religious, more sexist, more homophobic, and therefore less capable (if at all) of creating proletarian revolution.

Keep in mind that this will change... eventually. History isn't always as fast as we'd like it to be. It's taken us First-world workers close to 200 years to make proletarian revolution, and we still havn't done it. We've had some "good runs", just like workers in the Third World could (and probably will), but, for whatever reason, we have yet to "get it right".

How we could expect other workers who are, all things considered, more backward than we are to do what we havn't yet been able to do is beyond me. All this said, the sole reason for this backwardness is a lack of progression and development, not "because they're not European" or any such foolishness. It has entirely to do with environment, and will change... eventually. In order for that change to be faster, economic development must happen more quickly and more sensibly, and both of which would be the case if the local bourgeoisie were to have control instead of imperialist occupiers and their toadies.

Except for May '68 all of the close shots at proletarian revolution which have occured in the "first-world" happened at stages comparable to emerging "third-world" countries today.

Who is more essential to proletarian revolution in the U.S. today - whites, whose communities are just now beginning to be de-industrialised, or blacks, chicanos, and indians, who have had unemployment rates as high as 90% ever since this (historically progressive) country was forced upon them?

If your narrow definitions mean that only waged factory workers are capable of making proletarian revolution, then the conclusions speak for themselves.

As a side note, the most developed "third-world" countries are those to which the bourgeoisie have payed the most attention (Brazil, SA, Algeria, Egypt, India, China, etc.)

STI wrote:
Quote:

Would the Ba'ath be better post-occupation than pre-occupation for the class?

Neither of us could know that for sure. That isn't the issue, though. The issue is one of whether or not the post-occupation Ba'athists would be better than the occupation. It seems sensible to me that they would be.

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Or does what you're saying basically equate with the leninists such as the Sparts who attacked anyone who would not chant "victory to Iraq" during the war?

Depends on what you mean by "attacked". I would disagree with them, as I've already done in this thread and elsewhere.

The fact that Leninists do it is irrelivant, though. Leninists "do" a lot of things, some of which we agree with and some of which we don't. Whether or not "Leninists do X" should have absolutely no bearing on whether or not we do it, we should do or not do whatever we deem to be the best option by virtue of the fact that we deem it to be the best option.

Obviously we can't not do something because leninists are perceived as doing it, and I wasn't trying to imply that. However you've missed my point: is there a difference between supporting ba'athist resistance forces and supporting the Ba'athist government in the lead-up to the war?

STI wrote:
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n addition, the idea that urban, industrial proletariat are the only ones capable of making social revolution is clearly ridiculous - explain the revolutions in Russia and the Ukraine, Spain, Korea, Mexico, and the rest.

STI wrote:

"Social revolution" is one hella-ambiguous term. If it can be used to describe Russia, Mexico, and Spain all at the same time, it doesn't have much definate (ie: usefull) meaning.

Would you mind clarifying exactly what you mean?

Yes an accelerated period in history in which the workers expropriate, through force, the property of the ruling class and create a libertarian socialist society (sometimes known as dictatorship of the proletariat).

Then Russia, Mexico, the Ukraine, and I'd bet Korea (though I'm not at all familiar with the example you're bringing up) were not "social revolutions".

Look at the outcomes of all those revolutions. All of those outcomes came about for a reason. If the Russian revolution is "a social revolution", then I don't want it.

The outcomed of all those revolutions were that they were defeated by the counter-revolution (in Russia and Ukraine by the Bolsheviki, in Mexico by the Federales, and in Korea first by the Soviets and Japanese (the anarchist-inspired '30 revolution) and then by the Soviets and Americans, with Americans using Japanese Gendarmes (the proliferation of worker's and peasant's councils in the aftermath of japanese defeat in WW2).

Here's an article from "Workers Solidarity" dealing with the first korean revolution (as well as providing an interestng insight into anarchist organization in Asia): http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/worldwidemovements/koreahis.html

STI wrote:
Quote:
Do you support the kurdish seperatists who are allied with the U.S. occupiers?

Like all fighters for national liberation, somewhat.

I do support Kurdish independence. I don't support the alliance with US imperialists. In fact, I don't think their strategy will lead to any kind of satisfying national liberation at all - just domination by US imperialists instead of Iraqi.

Another possible outcome of that whole thing might be the creation of a "Kurdistan" (or whatever it ends up being called) with a situation similar to Israel (though much less economic development). At the end of the day, I don't doubt the US imperialists would be happy to have another client-state in the middle east. Whether or not it's powerful enough to fulfill that role is another factor to consider - the imperialists might just say "fuck it" and treat it like any other imperial possession.

OK... It seems like you are switching to conditional support for seperatists. The situation is not that different from, say, Yugoslavia. Do you support the seperatists (whether in the original round, where they were supported by the EU, or the second round, in which Kosovo was supported by the US), or the "resistance" to imperialist intervention in the form of the Yugo/Serbian army?

Keep in mind that the destruction of Yugoslavia was one of the then-forming EUs greatest victories, allowing France and unified Germany to claim top-spot in the "new europe", and in fact former Yugolavia is much less industrialized than it was in the 80's (that's also true of the USSR).

In my mind, the proletarian/internationalist position would be to support working-class revolution against all the capitalists.

STI wrote:
Quote:
At what point would you have switched your support from the CNT in Spain to the USSR-quislings?

That's a very different situation from Iraq or Afghanistan. For one, the CNT was a significant force at one time, the same can't be said for any lib-left group in Iraq. Also, there would have been different things to consider in Spain than Iraq. Spain's economy was more highly-developed in 1936 than in today's Iraq. The proletariat was more advanced. There was no foreign occupier in the same sense as there is in Iraq today.

You can't just give comparisons of national economies with no data. It seems as though what you're interested in is the proportion of factory workers (its not clear whether you consider other rural or urban wage-workers proletarian). So if you could find those statistics for Spain 1936, Iraq 2003, and Iraq 1979 (which i would bet money on having a more developed economy, except possibly in the oil sector, than Iraq today), than we can talk.

And while it's true there was no formal occupier, Italian, German, and Russian troops acted with impunity in their respective sectors and a strong case could be made that Spain was being invaded by fascists (and indeed many forces, from liberals leftwards, did make that case).

STI wrote:
But, had I been there, I would have advocated and fought for victory for the CNT (if I had to bet, I probably would have focused on the FoD) until the very end - the same way I advocate victory for the best groups in Iraq, and will continue to. But, again, that's not what the issue at hand is. The issue at hand is: the asshole resistors, or the occupiers ("the socialists or Franco"?). I side with the former in both cases.

The question is, when the socialists are the only side capable of beating franco but that victory is based on them defeating the proletariat, do you support them? Because that's exactly what the issue was

STI wrote:
Quote:
STI wrote:

In the absence of any better group capable of defeating the occupation, yes.

But we already know that I've said that. Do you care to argue against the reasons that I've given for that position?

Because, up until now, there hasn't been much discussion.

Interesting how the people of Afghanistan need Saudis and Pakistanis to save them from imperialism.

What does that have to do with what it was in response to? What are you even talking about?

I'm just pointing out the irony that only a force composed of foreigners can defeat the occupation.

STI wrote:
Quote:
My position is clear. I support the workers. In the absence of a worker revolution, which overlords rule a certain area can be pretty fucking moot.

Well, I've explained how it isn't "fucking moot", so whatever. Refusal to address those points doesn't change the fact that they're there.

Woah, I was just clarifying since you felt no one had made their positions clear.

STI wrote:
Quote:
Quite a few rebellious workers are going to hook up with reactionary forces which offer the ability to fight the capitalists - that doesn't change the reactionary nature of those forces.

So the question (still) is: do you support victory for those forces (who do, in the end, have some pretty reactionary ideologies) over occupation?

If the question is which section of the bourgeoisie one supports, then the answer will always be wrong.

STI wrote:
Quote:
but to side with the ba'ath or islamists because they can take power and keep the windfalls from their exploitation of the Iraqi people more "local" (which isn't exactly guaranteed or even necessarily likely)

It's not the fact that it's "kept local" that I find particularily appealing, it's the effect of that fact: faster, more thorough and well-rounded development of the economy - a necessary precursor to proletarian revolution.

Has there been a single national bourgeoisie who, upon achieving "national liberation", actually applied "faster, more thorough and well-rounded development of the economy"?

Anyways there seems to be an impasse in that the above is what you consider necessary for proletarian revolution, while to me the existence of the proletariat is sufficient. Wherever there is bourgeoisie, there is proletariat. In the modern day, this is everywhere.

STI wrote:
Quote:
is to sell the Iraqi people down the river and tell them "too bad you're to stupid to actually take power yourselves."

It's not "selling them down the river", it's an objective analysis of the reality of the situation. I'm on the side which I think is in the best interests, in the long run, of proletarian revolution in both Iraq and America.

The only way to describe this is stagism - revolution is not possible now, we must accomplish these bourgeois agendas first.

STI wrote:
Quote:

Short of worker's revolution, I'm in general agreement with that statement.

Short of the fact that I don't think workers' revolution is possible in those societies, I'm in general agreement with that statement.

Quote:

Specifically I was referring to the many revolutions led by leninist (and often Maoist) forces which suffered from the ruling party deciding that the WTO was offering a good deal for the country.

That's simply the nature of Leninism - an eventual return to capitalism (though better off than before). This is why I don't think Leninism is capable of creating a classless society.

If it is a "return" to capitalism, what mode of production were they in the interim? "Better off than before" is subjective and will sometimes be true, sometimes not but can never be reduced solely to the ideology of the capitalists in charge.

STI wrote:
But remember: compared to the alternative? Had the US not been opposed in Vietnam, would Vietnam be better off than it is now (not that they were left with much to work with after the war).

Hard to say - would Korea have? Would Cambodia have?

Givern the fact that Vietnam's "communist" government will kill people for organizing a strike against Nike, the real question is: would it have been functionally different at all?

I know one thing - if the working-classes in those countries had fought for themselves rather than russian/chinese imperialism, and/or had seen the writing on the wall of what not being prepared for fighting russian/chinese imperialism would mean (in the cases where they did fight for the working class itself), then the world would be better off than it is now.

STI wrote:
Quote:
All of the most developed countries in Africa; SA, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Algeria were captured by "socialists" with the end of white rule - and within a matter of years those "socialists" had recuped every gain that the workers had made in the space created by intra-bourgeois conflicts and had put the country right where it was before in relation to other imperialists.

Could you link to or post some more info on these examples? I really want to know more about them before "weighing in".

SA: Take your pick from http://zabalaza.net/articles.htm (they might also have some about other African situations). In summation the ANC was broadly social-democratic, allied with the CP, and had a strong Maoist influence - within a few years of signing a constitution guaranteeing food, water, and housing for all they nullify it on command of the WTO, invade Lesotho to restore a dictatorial monarchy which had been ousted in a popular coup, and proceed to begin massive shut-offs of privatised water.

Algeria:http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/algeria.html very good article by the situationists.

STI wrote:
Quote:

Other than black, Chicano, or native seperatism, there is far more support for southern independence than any other seperatist movement north of the Rio Grande - certainly more than there is for Quebec or Vermont.

Really? There's more than 50% support for separatism in the South? That's roughly what the separatists got in Quebec in the last referendum. It's lower now, but come on. Is there really that much support for separatism in the South?

Quote:
And yet, I think nearly all of us recognize that any modern forces advocating southern independence (and especialy any hypothetical force which could bring it about) is not a step forward.

And what kind of forces are those?

Really, this whole "Southern separatist" thing is right out of the blue for me. I'd never heard of such a thing until you mentioned it. Is it real on any large scale, or is it just a hypothetical?

It's far less than 50%, even among just whites - but it's among a much larger sample than Quebec.

And don't tell me you haven't heard of the flag controversies, in which SC and GA (among others) still fly the confederate flag as their state flag! In fact, the current governor of GA was elected with a campaign of returning the confederate flag after it had been removed.

For evidence of actual movements, i refer you to http://www.southernind [link broken] ependenceparty.com/. Not for the faint of heart.

STI wrote:
Quote:

Are you actually claiming that there's a "nation" which does not already have bourgeoisie and proletariat?

No, and I don't think I ever have. What I've claimed is that industrial production isn't proliferated enough in much of the world, and all the effects that such a condition has are present. For one, the proletariat isn't much of a numerical force compared to the First World. For another, they're more "backward" than the First World proletariat - time and technological/economic advancement are needed to change that condition. Who will do this? Imperialist occupiers won't, not to the degree or with the speed necessary at least. Peasants won't. The proletariat can't. Only the local bourgeoisie (whether they're the wealthy in a market-capitalist society or the ruling party of a state-socialst one) can and will do it.

Anything productive the bourgeoisie have done or will do, the proletariat can do better.

STI wrote:
Quote:
Quote:

Anyways this is a great example of what they call "meddling" - I.E. people like me would be up against the wall if there was a "southern revolution", while you would give "critical support" to those forces, regretting that they unfortunately shot every organized proletarian militant but celebrating their victory over imperialism.

If the south were, for some reason, to all of a sudden have a majority support for separation, there'd have to be a reason for it. Fundies wouldn't want it - they're happy throwing weight around the whole of the US, no reason to paint themselves into one corner. Who else? And why? Why would they have you against the wall? Did you actively oppose separatist forces? Well then what did you expect would happen?

I would know that either they would win or the proletariat would, and whichever did would attempt to crush the other.

STI wrote:
Your "hypothetical example" is useless, since it wouldn't happen. The conditions of your example create (you claim, at least) some outrageous results, but that simply stems from the fact that it is an outrageous situation. It wouldn't happen in reality.

But you would support it if it did.

STI wrote:
Quote:
Or is that not what you're doing with Afghanistan and Iraq?

The majority of proletarian militants, I'd bet, are fighting for an end to the occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq (for as large as those proletariats are), so no, it's not.

But it's not the proletarian elements or forms of resistance you want us to support, its the bourgeois ones.

STI wrote:
You keep making the same mistake over and over. I'm not out there cheering for the resistance becase I find them to be "spotless" or any such thing. Everything in this issue is a matter of comparison. Yes, the resistance forces will do some shitty things, but compared to the occupation?.

If you were in China during the Cultural Revolution, would you have supported the bourgeoisie who supported allying with Russia or those who supported allying with the US? Everything is a matter of comparison when proletarian revolution is taken off the table.

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
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Joined: 10-10-05
Jan 17 2006 19:06
Devrim wrote:
STI wrote:

Like that old song goes, "Which side are you on?"

That's the litmus test, as far as I'm concerned.

The issue over the Iraqi war is not which side we are on. This is a false question. Two reactionary currents are opposed to each other, and then the working class is asked which one of them it supports. If the working class is to become ‘a class for itself’, it must start to answer these questions by affirming its own interests as a ‘a class for itself’. The answer to this question is that the working class is against all imperialists wars.

The root of this question though do not lie in the discussion of the Iraq war. They lie in a different conceptions of history.

STI wrote:

Progression is about comparison. Compared to feudalism, capitalism is progressive. Compared to US occupation, victory for the fundamentalists is progressive.

The question is whether capitalism is progressive or not today, and whether the working class should support more ‘progressive’ capitalist factions. This is the real issue here.

The Communist left take two different positions on this The Theory of Decadence (The ICC’s position), and the ‘Theory of Invariance’ (The GCI’s position). The theory of decadence states basically that since the outbreak of The First World War, Capitalism has been in a period of decadence whereas the theory of decadence state that Communist revolution has always been hypothetically possible. The differences between these two positions is not the discussion now, but both of them say that all factions of capitalism are equally reactionary today, and that their can be no support for imperialist war.

One of the problems of anarchism is that it is basically ahistorical. Because it fails to take up a theoretical stance on history, it ends up repeating the same arguments again, and again-just over different issues.

I wonder if you are familiar with the trend known as "anarchist-communism", "(neo-)platformism", or "especifismo" alternately. In the ICC's summation of internationalist anarchism they state that anarchism has never produced a "left" current as communism did, (in which the proletarian militants involved with the movement stay true to their roots and to internationalism, which is the ideology of the proletariat, which is to my understanding a summation of the "left" current of communism), but this is not true. What could be called the "left" trend of anarchism was given a very concrete theoretical foundation in 1926 with the publication of the "Platform of the Libertarian Communists".

Some excellent theory can be found at http://www.fdca.it/fdcaen/index.htm, it is the section titled "why anarchist-communist: what divides us from anarchists" of the publication titled "anarchist-communists: a question of class", part of the base theory of the FdCA (Federation of Communist-anarchists) in Italy.

Devrim wrote:
Is victory for the fundamentalist progressive? If so, in what way? If one believes that
STI wrote:

Proletarian revolution in Iraq is simply not possible. The material conditions necessary for proletarian revolution are simply not present, like it or not. One of the things that are required for proletarian revolution is the absence of a foreign dominator and a vigorous local bourgeoisie. That can't exist under US occupation.

Supporting the resistance would be progressive. I don’t believe this.

Capital is a global system. Whilst in the Middle East there may be remnants of feudalism, the basis of the economy is completely capitalist. It is no longer necessary to develop capitalism in order to create the conditions for the formation of the working class. The working class already exists. It is true that working class revolution is not on the immediate agenda in Iraq, but nor is it in America. Do revolutionaries in the States then stop supporting the working class, and support ‘historically progressive’ factions of the bourgeoisie there too. This argument is coming dangerously close to the argument of the Cliffities (the faction around the English SWP), ‘Vote Labour, but build a fighting socialist alternative’. This position is not incorrect because it is the argument of the Trotskyites. It is incorrect because it seeks to ally the working class with a ‘progressive’ faction of the bourgeoisie, and therefore is actively against any independent working class initiatives.

The position of revolutionaries during an imperialist war is against their own bourgeoisie, but that , however, does not mean allying oneself with the opposing bourgeoisie. I agree with STI that the slogan ‘Bring the troops home’ is liberalism, and does smack of supporting ‘our boys’. However, ‘Victory to the insurgency’ is an equally bad slogan. It doesn’t line the working class up alongside their fellow worker, but alongside reactionary gangs, which is what the resistance basically is.

A good slogan will always be: "Neither Bush nor Saddam; no war but the class war!"

Devrim wrote:
The task in America is to fight against the imperialist war, but not by supporting the other side. The propagation of an independent class position is essential, a plague on both their houses. Yes a defeat for the ‘allied’ forces would probably be good for the prospects of working class struggle in America, and while the working class should fight against ‘their own’ ruling class that does not mean supporting the opposing ruling class.
STI wrote:

I'd support a Kurdish movement for national independence…

Why? Because it is ‘progressive’? In what why are the feudal clan parties of the KDP, and the PUK more progressive than the centralized Iraqi state was? If you support a Kurdish state, would you also support a Shiite state, Turcoman state, a Yezidi state, and an Assyrian state? Is it revolutionary to turn the entire Middle East into another Lebanon? How many rival ethnic groups would you like to divide the proletariat into?

Against imperialist war revolutionaries oppose internationalism.

The working class has no country.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Joined: 15-07-06
Jan 17 2006 22:33

To Oliver Twister,

Either you are as inept with the quote function as I am, or I screwed it from the start. I am not sure. I am sorry to be so stupid, but could somebody please explain it again. Yes, I have read the platform, and I think it was a document produced by revolutionaries. I am not sure about the term ‘especifismo’, but then I don’t know any romance languages. Is it something about being specific? I tried to check the website that you quoted, but I there was no link there.

I don’t think that anarchism has never produced internationalist currents. Of course it has. What I would call the ‘left’ currents of anarchism, and the ‘left’ currents of communism are both revolutionary tendencies. I am too old to argue about semantics. However, there are important questions which have to be asked. And possibly the most important of these is what is your position on imperialist wars. If you justify supporting one faction against another, you put yourself in opposition to the working class. If you take a class position, as you do, you side with the working class. I don’t care if you use the word ‘Anarchist’, and I use the word ‘Communist’. The word that we use depends upon our personal past experience, and upon the connotations of that word within our culture. We are both on the same side. I don’t think that the same thing can be said about those who encourage workers to fight for their state or their ethnic group.

As for your slogan "Neither Bush nor Saddam; no war but the class war!" I think it is a good one. I like the slogan ‘Bir başka savaş var’ (There is another war), but maybe it is too ambiguous.

In solidarity,

Devrim

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Jan 18 2006 01:53
Quote:
Two reactionary currents are opposed to each other

That's too black-and-white for reality. It ignores the effects of victory for one side or the other.

Should the occupational forces win, Iraq will be ruled by reactionary Islamic fundamentalists who will offer up whatever the imperialists want.

Should the resistance win, Iraq will be ruled by reactionary Islamic fundamentalists who will modernize the Iraqi economy (bringing it closer to proletarian revolutin) more quickly than anybody could ever hope to have happen under occupation. Also, this modernization will likely happen under much better conditions for the workers, by comparison to life under occupation.

Tell me, which of the two is more progressive (ie: which of the two brings Iraq closer to proletarian revolution)?

All this is without considering the effect of an Iraqi victory over the aggressors. Troops will be demoralized, our ruling classes will be less able to carry out wars elsewhere, and the public in general will be less in a position of identification with their own nation (and therefore more willing to listen to alternatives).

We also can't forget that victory for the resistance would serve as a model and an inspiration for other would-be insurgents worldwide.

So, in response to your statement, it's not as cut-and-dry as "two reactionary forces".

Quote:
If the working class is to become ‘a class for itself’, it must start to answer these questions by affirming its own interests as a ‘a class for itself’.

But what are the material conditions necessary for that to happen? How do those conditions come about?

My positions on those questions are clear.

Quote:
The answer to this question is that the working class is against all imperialists wars.

That it is, but it's been my contention this whole time that the defeat of imperialist aggressors is an integral part of the defeat of imperialism.

Quote:
The root of this question though do not lie in the discussion of the Iraq war. They lie in a different conceptions of history.

That they do.

Quote:
The question is whether capitalism is progressive or not today, and whether the working class should support more ‘progressive’ capitalist factions. This is the real issue here.

In the First world, capitalism's historically-progressive condition is either coming to a close or is already over. In a place like Iraq, it would be progressive for the local bourgeoisie to have power instead of imperialist occupiers.

Quote:
The differences between these two positions is not the discussion now, but both of them say that all factions of capitalism are equally reactionary today, and that their can be no support for imperialist war.

Well, if either of those were correct, they'd be wrong in their universality. The First World is radically different from the Third World in several important ways.

But you said they were both against imperialist war. So am I. What's your point?

Quote:

Is victory for the fundamentalist progressive? If so, in what way? If one believes that

I've already explained that in this post and several times throughout the thread.

Quote:
It is no longer necessary to develop capitalism in order to create the conditions for the formation of the working class. The working class already exists

A working class exists in Iraq, but how large is it compared to the entire population? Is the working class of Iraq intensely backward? How can this be changed?

Not as large as in the First World, yes, and through economic development.

Quote:
It is true that working class revolution is not on the immediate agenda in Iraq, but nor is it in America.

I'm quite sure that it is much closer in America than in Iraq, and that is because capitalism is older and more fully-developed in America than in Iraq.

Quote:
Do revolutionaries in the States then stop supporting the working class, and support ‘historically progressive’ factions of the bourgeoisie there too.

*Sigh*. That has nothing to do with a place wherein there is an underdeveloped economy and an imperialist occupational government.

Quote:
It is incorrect because it seeks to ally the working class with a ‘progressive’ faction of the bourgeoisie, and therefore is actively against any independent working class initiatives.

Fucking hell. I've tried to be patient, but this is just getting ridiculous.

If you'd spent enough time reading the entire thread, you'd know that I support independent working class activity and that I see the situations of the First World as radically different than in the developing world.

If workers in Iraq want to fight for themselves, GOOD!

But that's not what the fucking issue is.

Quote:
The position of revolutionaries during an imperialist war is against their own bourgeoisie, but that , however, does not mean allying oneself with the opposing bourgeoisie.

What's all this "allying" crap? I recognize the progressive historical role of the local bourgeoisie of an occupied nation in that it will develop the economy and make more rapid the breakup of First World imperialism.

It's called "empirical observation", and it isn't the same as "allying myself with the bourgeoisie".

Quote:
However, ‘Victory to the insurgency’ is an equally bad slogan. It doesn’t line the working class up alongside their fellow worker, but alongside reactionary gangs, which is what the resistance basically is.

No it doesn't. It simply recognizes the historically progressive results of an insurgent victory and makes clear a support for such an outcome.

Quote:
The task in America is to fight against the imperialist war, but not by supporting the other side.

I've already explained in this post and this thread why we should support victory for "the other side".

Quote:
The propagation of an independent class position is essential, a plague on both their houses

So, then, what? Criticism of the reactionary parts of the insurgency and an advocation of more militant, secular working class activity.

Like I've been espousing throughout the entire thread.

Quote:
Yes a defeat for the ‘allied’ forces would probably be good for the prospects of working class struggle in America, and while the working class should fight against ‘their own’ ruling class that does not mean supporting the opposing ruling class.

There's a difference between "supporting the opposing ruling class" in the abstract and what I'm suggesting. Workers in Iraq and leftists here should encourage working class activity over there to push the insurgency in as radical a direction as possible, but in the likely event that it doesn't "measure up" to what we want, who do we want to see win?

The insurgency.

Quote:
In what why are the feudal clan parties of the KDP, and the PUK more progressive than the centralized Iraqi state was?

In the long run, yes. Kurdistan would reach a high level of economic and technological development more quickly if it were independent than if it were occupied by the Iraqi state, for the Iraqi ruling class.

Quote:
If you support a Kurdish state, would you also support a Shiite state, Turcoman state, a Yezidi state, and an Assyrian state? Is it revolutionary to turn the entire Middle East into another Lebanon? How many rival ethnic groups would you like to divide the proletariat into?

This point was brought up earlier by Flint in relation to Afghanistan's ethnic/national makeup, and was addressed by me. Feel free to read that response and apply it to your question.

Quote:

Against imperialist war revolutionaries oppose internationalism.

What?

Quote:
The working class has no country.

Not all popular leftist catch-phrases have any practical validity or usefulness.

I am exploited by the Canadian bourgeoisie and I am not exploited by the Brazilian bourgeoisie. The two groups are made up of different individuals who will at times work in concert and at others come to conflict. I do live in specific historical and geographical conditions which has a specific set of opportunities and impossibilities which are different from those of different conditions found elsewhere.

Does that make international solidarity impossible or undesirable? Hell no. But that has no bearing on our discussion.

I've never really understood what's fully meant by "The working class has no country" anyway. I may not "have" (possess?) Canada nor identify with it, but I work, sleep, eat, shop, have sex, and do absolutely everything else in my life within Canada, so what happens "to Canada" will have an impact on what happens in my life, as a worker.

petey
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Jan 18 2006 15:26

"Your search - paris hilton on a bucking bronco - did not match any documents."