Quebec National Question

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STI
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Jan 24 2006 15:55

I had a decent response to revol's post (and a bunch of other stuff) all written out, but I accidentally closed the window when I was done a link-hopping session on Wikipedia, and I don't much feel like responding to that garb again.

Can it just be agreed that the entire post lacked any real substance and was just a verbal attack and maybe a bit of a re-hashing of some old points? Not that I wouldn't just *love* to have another go at revol, but I really would rather spend my time on some of the more serious discussion in this thread (and there's enough good, useful, productive discussion going on).

OliverTwister wrote:
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).

But, in the case of Iraq (and of all national liberation struggles), the bourgeoisie is not a homogeneous group with universal common interests. It is in the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie to have control over the less-developed nation so that it can develop select sectors of the economy (ie: resource extraction, clothing manufacture) and leave the rest undeveloped, since they don't want to have to compete with anybody else in those sectors. Of course, these sectors are usually low-skill and require little education or initiative, and so the means of developing these qualities (ie: education), which are necessary for the advancement of the working class, are not developed. This delays the prospects for proletarian revolution.

Now, consider the alternative. The bourgeoisie of Iraq, acting in its own interests (which are contrary to the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie in this case), would develop the economy (which would lead to societal development) across the board, both affording Iraqi workers access to the benefits of an advanced capitalist economy (which, we should be honest with ourselves, is a lot more enjoyable than capitalism in the 19th or early 20th centuries) and making proletarian revolution more likely.

And on the topic of working class militancy in Iraq, since it's sure to come up (or rather, probably already has), I expect that, especially in the long run, there will be more potential for working class self-activity in an independent Iraq than in an occupied Iraq. Will the local bourgeoisie be nice about it? Not a chance. Will they be "nice guys" about it? Of course not, it isn't called "class war" for no reason Mr. T

That aside, militant working class self-activity, perhaps a necessity if the w/c is to develop the class consciousness necessary for effective proletarian revolution, would be more possible under the rulership of the local bourgeoisie.

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Bourgeois revolutions were "progressive", though I do not believe they were the only historically possible outcome.

What else could have been an outcome of the conditions of that time? Could peasants have really run a complex society on their own? Would they have had the resources or the know-how to develop the industrial means of production?

Townspeople may have had the ability to, but in most cases lacked the wealth to do so. Only the bourgeoisie had the material means, the will, and the class consciousness necessary to fully overthrow fuedalism for good.

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However now the bourgeoisie has succeeded in making itself the new global ruling class and bourgeois revolutions are no longer progressive.

The bourgeoisie isn't a homogeneus class across the globe. At times, they have competing interests that they're willing to go to war over, and in some cases the proletariat has a common interest with some parts of the bourgeoisie (though not for common reasons). During this time, of course, there are still interests of the proletariat which are diametrically opposed to the interests of either bourgeoisie, and should be pursued regardless of this one-time commonality.

Bourgeois revolutions in occupied/dominated places are progressive because they bring both the imperialist nation and the dominated nation closer to proletarian revolution.

Unless I'm right out to lunch right now, the above statement is what this whole thread can be boiled down to. Nobody in this thread would be against something that is progressive (ie: brings everybody closer to proletarian revolution). The issue, then, is one of whether or not national liberation will do that.

Am I wrong in that conclusion?

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

Don't bother - they aren't very nice places to live. The guys not engaging in imperialism are the ones being engaged. There might be one or two that havn't "gotten around to it yet", but that'll change.

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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.

It's not the state that's anti-imperialist. What's anti-imperialist is the defeat and kicking-out of imperialist forces. What's progressive is the fast development of the economy.

That's where it ends, but it's better than occupation or even independent market capitalism (while it's developing, at least).

Yeah, they develop the economy (and the state) on the backs of the workers, but that's how industrialization happens. I'd be thrilled if there were a worker-friendly way to do it, but so far Leninism looks like as close as it's gonna get.

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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.

And what was the fate of all those attempts? Why did things "go wrong" the way they did? I think it was because the working class was not advanced enough at the time. It sucks, and I wish they'd succeeded, but they didn't for a reason.

This is not to say that we should not encourage and support that kind of working class militancy in the third-through-fifth worlds, but we should not expect a classless society to result or act as though we do.

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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?

1)"Forcing a nation" upon another nation isn't historically-progressive, it's called "imperialism".

2)The US is an economically-advanced nation, not a "historically progressive" one (people can't be "historically-progressive", events are).

3)I seriously doubt that blacks, chicanos, and "indians" have a 90% unemployment rate - capital couldn't afford to have that many people not contributing to production.

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

What's all this "only factory workers" crap?

And where'd you get the idea that I think only factory workers can make revolution? That's a pure fabrication.

Only waged workers, yeah. It doesn't much matter what industry they're in, but yes, only waged workers (ie: "proletarians") can make "proletarian revolution".

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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.)

Ah, you mean "where capitalism has been around the longest". Fancy that.

Of course they are!

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is there a difference between supporting ba'athist resistance forces and supporting the Ba'athist government in the lead-up to the war?

Depends on what you mean by "supporting the Ba'athist government". I'd support their victory over the Coalition Forces (ie: recognize that it is historically-progressive). Other than that, no. If the resistance is victorious and sets up a new government, I won't support that governmnet - I'll support opposition to it by progressive forces, the same way I would support opposition to the old Ba'athist regime by progressive forces.

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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).

I think it was more than a matter of simple military defeat. Take the Spanish revolution as an example. They didn't try to take full political control of society - the workers weren't or at least thought they weren't "fit to rule". If the Spanish workers weren't, how can Ukrainian peasants 20 years earlier be expected to be. Did the peasants in the Ukraine take political control and establish a "dictatorship of the peasantry" ("Dictatorship" as "monopoly on power" rather than a dictatorial state)? Nah. Why didn't they? Were they able to? Did they know whether or not they were able to? What ideas were "holding them back"? How widespread were sexism, racism, and religion among the Ukrainian, Mexican, or Korean peasants?

It's no mystery why the "Kulaks" were so opposed to collectivization in Russia (ie: the most important part of a revolution) - the life of a peasant breeds that kind of reactionary consciousness. The uneducated muck of peasant life does no serious damage to sexism or xenophobia (is it any surprise that people in cities, especially bigger cities, are generally more progressive than rural people?).

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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?

Shit. This is a complicated case and I'm really not familiar enough with it to make any decent comment.

I'll look up an article on it and put in my two cents later.

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former Yugolavia is much less industrialized than it was in the 80's (that's also true of the USSR).

Do you mean to say that there are less urban wage-earners as a portion of the population now than in the 80s, or that the tertiary/service sector of the economy has a more dominant role than in the past.

The answer is pretty important.

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

Of course, but when that option isn't "on the table" because of material conditions (as is the case in Iraq), we should support, critically, while still encouraging militant working class self-activity, the most progressive option. Running around saying "proletarian revolution" won't do a whole lot when it's not a possibility.

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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)

I certainly do! What is a proletarian if not "a member of that group of people who, owning no means of production, must sell their labour-power in exchange for a wage with which they exist"? I don't know where you got the idea that I only think factory-workers are proletarians, but it certainly wasn't from anything I've written or said anywhere.

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So if you could find those statistics for Spain 1936, Iraq 2003, and Iraq 1979

I'm not currently connected to the internet, and I'm in class, so I'll have to wait for a bit until I can post the stats I was looking at yesterday. The most recent date I could get data on Iraq for was 1995, when I found a low level of literacy, a low participation of women in the workforce, and a low level of education. I'd expect to see a much higher concentration of religion, sexism, and racism among Iraqi workers today than among Spanish workers in 1936 (are clergymen being killed by militant workers in Iraq today?).

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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).

And if it came down to a choice between the Fascists and the Stalinists, then I'd choose the Stalinists (at least they ended up being in opposition to the most reactionary force of the era).

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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

If an identical situation were to arise today, I'd support the socialists. The workers are going to be defeated either way! I would encourage and work for working class militancy, but, in this situation where I "know" that they can't win, I'd support victory for the socialists over the fascists any day.

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

Well, then, I guess the Mac-Pap and Lincoln brigades shouldn't have gone to Spain roll eyes

Yeah, there are foreigners in the resistence. Who gives a shit? If you can go to Iraq and get together enough resources and people to make as big a resistence force as exists now, I'll appreciate the irony of your comment.

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

Woah, your position is still ambiguous. "I support the workers" isn't adequate in this situation.

What do you mean by that? What does that practially mean?

And, most importantly to this thread, do you support victory for the resistance?

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

That statement is meaningless when any attempt is made to apply it practically.

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

India.

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while to me the existence of the proletariat is sufficient.

So then do you really think that a proletariat in which sexism, racism, illiteracy, and religion are saturated are capable of effectively producing revolution? Or are there more criteria necessary?

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In the modern day, this is everywhere.

So then we have different theories. Yes, the proletariat exists pretty much everywhere in one form or another. But are they all capable of making revolution?

We disagree on this. We must now look to empirical evidence to determine which theory is correct.

Well, the historical examples of proletarian revolution have happened in the most advanced places in the world where pre-capitalist irrationalities had a comparitively weak hold. This is not the case in much of the world. How does your theory explain that?

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

Well, is it factually-correct? I think it is.

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If it is a "return" to capitalism, what mode of production were they in the interim?

Sorry, I could have been more clear (and effective) in my statement. "The establishment of market capitalism" works better.

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"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.

I'm not talking about the ideology of the rulers, I think that post-USSR Russia is closer to revolution than it would be had the Tsarists not been overthrown and the economy not been modernized.

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

Cambodia is an example of what happens when you let peasants have their "social revolution" and it isn't put-down or hijacked right away.

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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?

This signifies the turning of the Vietnamese state into a new bourgeoisie. That happens with Leninism and it sucks, but I think it would happen anyway and would be much worse (and would last much longer) in a fully market-capitalist soceity or, even worse yet, under occupation.

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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.

Yeah, and that's why I support working class self-activity.

But that's not an issue of contention in this thread.

I don't think that "if the workers just support the bourgeoisie/Leninists, it'll all eventually be ok", they have to fight either way for every gain they want - it's still a class war out there, after all.

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

The total population doesn't matter, it's the level of support.

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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.

I've sure heard of them - a conflict between capitalist reality and pre-capitalist ideology. Of course, capitalist reality is winning out in the long run, and I doubt anything short of Christian Fascism will stem that tide.

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

Probably, but will they put themselves in a position where that is possible? What are the barriers to that and how will they be destroyed?

I think that in the case of a good lot of those barriers, capitalism itself plays a big role in getting rid of them. It should be no surprise that racism, sexism, homophobia, religion, illiteracy, and uneducation started to decrease within capitalism.

This is because capitalism, in the end, either doesn't care or can't afford those things. If I'm an owner who can make money by hiring a black person, why wouldn't I? The most important thing in capitalism is gaining profit, not hating people who are different than you. Now, of course, a lot of the time people identify with those pre-capitalist ideologies and have to be confronted, sometimes militantly, by members of those oppressed groups fighting for their own self-interest. But the material conditions which are conducive to the elimination of those ideologies exist within capitalism and not before.

As for illiteracy and such, capitalism requires, as it advances, a more-educated workforce. Along with education comes confidence in one's "fitness to rule", as well as a number of demographic changes (ie: having less children, living alone more often, etc), which are conducive to the development of a revolutionary outlook.

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

If Southern Separatism were popular enough to happen, a large portion of the proletariat would have to be supportive of it.

Why?

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But you would support it if it did.

If there were a progressive movement for separatism in the South, yes. My feeling, though, is that it would be an attempt to establish Christian Fascism or the "good old days" of pre-capitalism. In that case, it would not be progressive and wouldn't be worth supporting.

That's different from what's going on in Iraq, though.

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

Fucking Hell!

Really, man. Don't fucking wonder or "woah" when I get pissed off once in a while. I have said multiple fucking times in this thread alone that I am supportive of working class activity in those nations. I simply recognize that the defeat of occupational forces by bourgeois resistance-fighters as progressive.

Is that such a hard position to understand? I don't even care you agree with it, but do you understand what my position is? Statements like the above really make me doubt that you do.

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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.

Well, I would have fought to build working class self-confidence and militancy, but on the issue of alignment with the US vs. alignment with the USSR, it's no contest. USSR easily. The US was (and, even moreso now, is) the most reactionary imperialist force in the world, so in this hypothetical situation wherein I have to give my support to one side or the other, it'd be the socialist bloc.

Devrim wrote:
As for your slogan "Neither Bush nor Saddam; no war but the class war!" I think it is a good one.

I disagree, because it seems to imply that people in Iraq "shouldn't" fight against US imperialism. If they're not fighting, the imperialists win.

Reaction.

Well, I've probably missed somebody else's post, and if I have, could that person please point it out to me so I can respond? Thank you.

Alf's picture
Alf
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Jan 24 2006 20:01

This thread has been difficult to follow, largely because of STI's enormously long replies. So this will be very short I wanted to support those - such as I'd rather be drinking, Oliver Twister, Devrim (whose posts seemed especially clear) and Revol68 - who have stood up for internationalism against STI's classic Trotskyist apologetics. There is one merit in his posts that he openly puts forward the slogan of 'Victory to the Iraqi resistance', which unambiguously puts him in one imperialist camp against another.

powertotheimagi...
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Jan 24 2006 20:56

Just abit of topic, but why would anyone want to support the banner 'victory to the resistance'? I supported it for a while, but then I started realising not only are alot of them fighting for an Islamic state, maybe even harsher on ordinary civilians than Saddam and the occupation is, and also the fact alot of them are linked/ funded by Saudi Islamists. I can't see how anyone who calls themselves radical (non-religious) politically can support such groups, especially in an uncritical way that those in the British Communist Party did in the 1920s/30s to Stalin's Russia.

STI
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Jan 24 2006 21:48
Alf wrote:
This thread has been difficult to follow, largely because of STI's enormously long replies.

Try writing them! black bloc

I suppose I have some share in the blame for that, but come on, what else is possible when you have as many as 7 people responding solely to the things you said?

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who have stood up for internationalism against STI's classic Trotskyist apologetics

I was waiting for somebody to finally come out and accuse me of being a Leninist of some sort or another.

Sorry, 't'ain't true.

And calling me a Trot, of all things, is especially ridiculous. Would a "classic Trot apologist" say that Maoist revolution in the third world is a good thing? Of course not.

You're just flinging insults, not really adding much to the thread.

And, for the record, I think that I'm "standing up for internationalism" - I just happen to think that support for liberation from imperialism (OMG!!!!) is part of internationalism.

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There is one merit in his posts: that he openly puts forward the slogan of 'Victory to the Iraqi resistance', which unambiguously puts him in one imperialist camp against another.

Except that, in terms of their objective impact on reality, the Iraqi resistance are probably the most anti-imperialist people in the world.

Really, who else is violently fighting against the most reactionary imperialist force in the world with as much intensity and frequency as they are?

All that said, if I were to judge you based solely on the content of that post, I'd conclude that you're full of shit.

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I supported it for a while, but then I started realising not only are alot of them fighting for an Islamic state, maybe even harsher on ordinary civilians than Saddam and the occupation is, and also the fact alot of them are linked/ funded by Saudi Islamists.

And the occupation is a secular paradise where workers are allowed to occupy factories and are given treats by the state and its US backers roll eyes

Really. Why do I have to keep responding to the same old arguments again and again and again?

powertotheimagination wrote:
I can't see how anyone who calls themselves radical (non-religious) politically can support such groups, especially in an uncritical way that those in the British Communist Party did in the 1920s/30s to Stalin's Russia.

Depends on what you mean by "support". If by "support" you mean "recognize the progressive effects that will come about from their victory", then you need look no further than this thread (ie: my posts. Here's a hint: read them thoroughly, something which all-too-many participants in this thread have refused to do).

And what's all this "uncritical" stuff? Aside from "historically progressive", I think "critical support" is the term I've used most in this thread.

STI wrote:
I'm not currently connected to the internet, and I'm in class, so I'll have to wait for a bit until I can post the stats I was looking at yesterday. The most recent date I could get data on Iraq for was 1995, when I found a low level of literacy, a low participation of women in the workforce, and a low level of education. I'd expect to see a much higher concentration of religion, sexism, and racism among Iraqi workers today than among Spanish workers in 1936 (are clergymen being killed by militant workers in Iraq today?).

Ok, here's what I found for Iraq (I've included only those statistics which I deem to be relevant to the discussion).

Average Household Size (2005): 7.52 (declining)

This number is on the decline, suggesting that Iraq is just beginning to enter the third phase of the demographic transition model - wherein, after the declining death rates and the stable (high) birth rates of the second stage cause large-scale population growth, the birth rate begins to decrease. Eventually, Iraq, like all societies, will have a low birth rate and a low death rate (fourth stage) - a stable, "mature" demography (France, for example, is in the fourth stage). What comes next has yet to be seen.

Total Population Growth Rate (2005): 2.86% (declining).

This is significant of the above phenomena, though since it is the "total" Growth Rate and not the Natural Increase Rate, it may be murkied by net migration one way or the other. In any case, these two pieces of data allow us to conclude that Iraq is currently in the third phase of demographic transition. The high (though decreasing) birth rate is a result of "old values" leftover from the days when both birth rate and death rate were high - making it reproductively necessary to have many, many children.

Also, demographic trends around the world and throughout history suggest that, where women are more educated, they have less children, and where women are more empowered, they have less children. This is the case in, from what I've seen, the entirety of the First World. Such is not the case, though, in Iraq, where patriarchal values still carry significance.

Illiteracy Rate (Male, 1995): 29.3%

This number is up threefold from its 1985 level. It may be significant of the effects of the economic sanctions against Iraq.

Literacy Rate (Female, 1995): 55.0%

This is up from the 1985 level of 12.5%. The rate at which females increased in illiteracy compared to that of men may be significant of widespread sexism in Iraq (though, to be fair, pre-war Iraq was probably the best place in the entire Muslim world for women to live).

Between 1990 and 1995, the percentage of the Iraqi population with access to safe drinking water and sanitation went from 78% to 44% and from 72% to 35%, respectively.

This demonstrates an underdeveloped infrastructure - something which successful bourgeois and leninist revolutionaries work to remedy and also something which imperialist occupiers don't really bother over.

It appears from this and the numbers on illiteracy that the economic sanctions imposed by the US did a good lot to put Iraq "back in the shit" (I suppose that's what it was intended to do).

The percent of "female economically active population" (whether that means "The percent of females who are economically-active" or "the percent of the economically-active population who are females", I can't determine) was 19.7% in 1995, though this number is up from the 1990 level of 16.3%. This, if I had to speculate, is indicative of the fact that women are still not considered "on the same level" as men - a characteristic not present in Spain in '36 - though that attitude may be changing (or it may not, the 1985 number was 17.3%, so the '90-'95 increase may just be part of an ebb-and-flow routine. I really can't comment either way, since data on this past 1995 are not available).

So, it's pretty clear that Iraq isn't all-too-advanced just yet. They've still got a good long way to go.

All data on Iraq taken from http://www.unhabitat.org/habrdd/conditions/westasia/iraq.htm

Any hard data on Spain in '36 have proven a bit harder to come across. This could be because the UN, which does a lot to collect data on various regions of the world, was not around back then. All we have to go on, then, are accounts from the time.

So, then, you must ask yourself: who is more backward: the average Iraqi today, or the average Spanish (or is it "Spaniard"? I've never known which was correct) in 1934 or 1935?

The answer seems clear to me.

powertotheimagi...
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Jan 24 2006 22:06

The occupation is wrong, yes, it is bringing great distress etc etc to Iraq, but why give support to any Islamic fighters? I don't mean people who are Islamic, I mean people who are fighting for a Islamic state. How in any way shape or form could this be better for the mass of people in Iraq? If they have any anti-imperialist views its not to expand to a wider anti-capitalist struggle or a wider anti-imperialist struggle, they will make links with other radical Islamic groups who are against...well everyone who don't fit into their own specific form of Islam... gays, liberals, socialists, anarchists, women, writers, Jews, athiests, Christians. Why lend support to people like that? I see a fine line of difference between the bulk of them and the neo-Cons in America.

And what about the fact a fair few fighters in Iraq have Saudi Arabian backing? That isn't good. One of the most repressive regimes in the World is backing people you support? Isn't it abit like backing the US over their 'anti-drugs' operations in Colombia in the 1980s, or the CIA backed coup in Chile in 1973? Saudi Arabia is a country based on a sheer fundamentalist religious state.

No amount of discussion over how bad the occupation is can smooth over the fact that the resistance has little to offer in opposistion.

STI
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Jan 24 2006 22:23

Wow - fast response. Sweet.

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The occupation is wrong, yes, it is bringing great distress etc etc to Iraq, but why give support to any Islamic fighters?

I don't object to the occupation on the grounds that it's "wrong" in any moral sense of the word. I'm opposed to the occupation because it is reactionary, that is, it will keep Iraq and Coalition countries away from proletarian revolution longer.

The "Islamic fighters" (which certainly don't make up the entirety of the resistance) will put an end to that occupation, rebuild/further develop Iraq (faster than occupational forces), and will dishearten imperialist forces. That's why I want them to win.

Are they "saints"? Hell no. Are they beyond (harsh) criticism? Hell no. Are they going to be nice? Not bloody likely.

But it'll be better than the occupation, if our goal is proletarian revolution.

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How in any way shape or form could this be better for the mass of people in Iraq?

If you're seriously asking that question, you have a very naive conception of the nature of imperialist occupation.

Do you imagine that the occupational government will be "less religious"? "Less mean to workers"? "Nicer to women"?

Nuh-uh.

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If they have any anti-imperialist views its not to expand to a wider anti-capitalist struggle or a wider anti-imperialist struggle,

Most of them probably don't, nor do I expect them to.

But that's not why I want them to win.

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they will make links with other radical Islamic groups who are against...well everyone who don't fit into their own specific form of Islam...

Unlike US-backed quisling states, like Saddamm was at one time, who never fought any other Muslims ever roll eyes

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gays, liberals, socialists, anarchists, women, writers, Jews, athiests, Christians.

Do you think life is any better for those people under occupation?

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Why lend support to people like that?

Again, what do you mean by "support"?

Be critical of their reactionary aspects! Warn people that this won't be "the end of their woes"!

But, for the love of god, recognize that their victory will be progressive and support that victory.

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I see a fine line of difference between the bulk of them and the neo-Cons in America.

Then you need to get a new pair of glasses.

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And what about the fact a fair few fighters in Iraq have Saudi Arabian backing?

What about that fact? Are they somehow "less anti-imperialist" for being of a different nationality.

So much for me being the one "against internationalism"

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One of the most repressive regimes in the World is backing people you support?

Yeah? Your point being?

How does that change the progressive nature of a victory for the resistance? It's a matter of objectivity.

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Isn't it abit like backing the US over their 'anti-drugs' operations in Colombia in the 1980s, or the CIA backed coup in Chile in 1973?

No, not at all, because those actions were all imperialist in nature and intent.

The Iraqi resistence, on the other hand, is anti-imperialist in nature, regardless of which "mean guys" happen to support it.

Quote:
No amount of discussion over how bad the occupation is can smooth over the fact that the resistance has little to offer in opposistion.

You're right, you have to look at what victorious resistance forces would do differently - a topic I've discussed at some length throughout this thread (in probably every excuse).

STI
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Jan 24 2006 23:22
Quote:
STI you are one fo the most dogmatic blinkered and downright thick cunts i have ever fucking encountered.

Seriously, what does this shit really accomplish? Not to say that I think you should be reprimanded, but I know of few boards where that sort of stuff would even be tolerated.

Really. Really. Cool it.

Quote:
a) there is no homogenous fucking resistance,

Wow. An actual point. Great.

Yeah, the resistance isn't one big group. That's true. That's a problem for it (in terms of taking and holding power after the defeat of the occupation, if nothing else). That's one way in which the resistance isn't perfect. Does that make the occupation better?

Nah.

Quote:
b) many of the groups involved in the "resistance" will quite happily drop the fight as soon as they can be guarnateed their own sectarian interests eg ever wonder why Al Sadr isn't causing the yanks much grief these days.

That's quite the leap! One group "isn't causing the yanks much grief" (for whatever reason - neither you nor I could really know for sure), so therefore all groups will just stop fighting once they get a concession or two.

Lousy induction at its best.

Quote:
c) the "resistance" as you label it will never fucking win, it has no fucking programme, contains elements who are actively slaughtering each other, other elements in the pay of Saudi Jihadi's, others linked to the iranian secret services and smattering of old die hard Ba'thists.

They seem to be, for the most part, attacking Coalition forces and occupational government strong-arms (ie: the new Iraqi police forces) more than each other.

All your other "damning accusations" don't really amount to much.

Quote:
The vast majority of Iraqi people are opposed to the occupation but it doesn't mean they have support for the kind of scu who leave car bombs in markets, throw acid at women and have imposed their own goons in their "territories".

Nobody "has to" support anybody.

But, for the I-don't-know-how-manynth-time, it's not a matter of "support", it's a matter of recognizing the historically-progressive effects of the resistance defeating the occupation.

But I don't expect you to grasp that at this point. You're too much of a "dogmatic blinkered and downright thick cunt".

Really, if you can't even insult somebody without resorting to using sexist terms, you aren't anywhere near creative enough.

Quote:
The resistance has supposrt only in so much as it sticks to attacking coalition targets, but even in that sense it is a very passive support, most Iraqi people are jaded after nearly two decades of brutality, and war.

Well, it's not like I'm out cheering on the collateral damage of the last car bomb, so that's a non-issue.

And yeah, Iraqis are probably downright sick and fucking tired of brutality and war.

But how would occupation be any better?

Quote:
The only thing that has any chance of capturing the imagination of the Iraqi working class is a broad based working class struggle, anything less and we will see iraq in a permanent state of crisis, a crisis that only entrenchs the occupation and the reactionary islamists at the huge expense of the iraqi proletariat.

That's idealist nonsense. It totally ignores the realities of proletarian revolution and the situation in Iraq.

Quote:
trust me on this, Northern Ireland might not be comparable to Iraq but the same forces seem to be at play there, in that the vast majority of people are being squeezed out of public life by all sides.

Yeah, it's called "class society".

STI
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Jan 25 2006 00:50
Quote:
just out of interest whats your take on northern ireland?

I don't have enough specific knowledge to comment in any depth on it, but my first reaction is to say that I support independance for NI.

Quote:
the rest of your stuff is pure dogma with absolutely no basis in reality.

Except for all those funny numbers in my earlier post.

What are those called?

Data?

Quote:
we are told that anti imperialism is progressive and the proof of it is that anti imperialism is progressive, nice ciruclar reasoning.

That's not what makes anti-imperialism progressive, dolt.

If you'd actually cared to read so many as two or three of my posts, you'd know that I support anti-imperialism because it causes people in the imperialist country(ies) to have less of an identification with "their nation", which makes them less likely to want to listen to "their leaders", which makes proletarian revolution seem like a much better/viable idea. I also support it because, upon kicking out the imperialists, the local bourgeoisie will modernize the economy and, over time, the local capitalism will wear away at all the old pre-capitalist ideologies (ie: sexism, religion) faster than an occupational government would, which makes proletarian revolution a little closer to the horizon.

That is why I support anti-imperialism.

Like I said, you'd know that if you read anything I actually wrote, instead of just flinging insults.

Quote:
have you actually any experiance of anti imperialist struggle and it's realities? Don't you see that every car bomb sent into a market, every suicide bomber that blows himself up in a shi'te shrine is perpeuating the "crisis" that feeds the occupation?

"Feeds" it how? It would be there whether the car bombs were or not, only it'd be even stronger then.

Pfft.

Quote:
i suggest you start asking the organised working class of Iraq about the progressive role the "resistance" might play, instead of cutting and pasting "Imperialism for dummies" onto the Iraqi geopolitical terrain.

Dear reader: when revol says "cutting-and-pasting", what is meant is "analysis of history and its application to today's world".

Quote:

P.S. don't give me your north american PC cultural imperialist shit about the use of the word Cunt.

I will if I want, thank you very much.

And, of course, it's not just North Americans who have a problem with "cunt", you're just so blinded by your own rage that you can't put together a coherent argument for anything, much less an issue in which you are clearly in the wrong.

Quote:
It's especially rich consider you think a bunch of islamist scum who have beaten women off the street, thrown acid in their face and forced them out of the workforce can play any progressive role in proletarian liberation.

Compared to the pricks in the occupational government, they can... in the long run.

History is a brutal, bloody thing. It isn't pretty, nor nice, nor peaceful. This is especially true of backward societies trying to rid themselves of the yoke of imperialism. Things get nasty sometimes. Do we have to like it? No. Do we have to support the tactics with which we disagree? No. Should we still recognize the historically-progressive effects of victory for the resistence (now you have absolutely no excuse for not knowing why I think this is the case), despite the things we disagree with? Hell yes!

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Alf
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Jan 25 2006 00:50

STI asked whether a Trot would "support classic Maoist revolution as a good thing"?

Indeed yes. The Trotskyists supported Mao's take over in China as not only anti-imperialist, but even as establishing a 'deformed workers state'.

They backed Chinese and Russian imperialism in the Korean war and told us that a defeat for the US would be a blow against imperialism.

They raised the slogan 'victory to the NLF' in the Vietnam war and tried to tell us that a victory for North Vietnam - and thus for the Russian imperialist bloc - would be another blow against imperialism.

They supported Mugabe in Zimbabwe for striking a blow against imperialism, and still do.

In short, for decades the Trotskyists have been telling us that internationalism means supporting 'the other side' in an inter-imperialist war. In what way is STI's position any different from this?

And by the way, I'm not accusing you of being a Leninist. The one thing you are totally unable to understand is Lenin's position on the war of 1914-18 no support for either camp, class struggle against the ruling class in all countries, turn the imperialist war into a civil war.

It's true that Lenin (in contrast to Luxemburg and others) was still not clear about national liberation struggles and thought they retained a progressive content even when the whole capitalist system had entered into its epoch of imperialist decline. But that was then; 80 or 90 years of experiencing what 'national liberation' really means in this epoch has settled the issue beyond a shadow of a doubt.

So I'm not accusing you of being a Leninist, because the term lacks any meaning. You certainly don't defend what was best in Lenin, and even what was worst in Lenin was an understandable error at the time, which is not the case with your arguments. When I accuse you of Trotskyism I am saying that your positions are leftist - i.e. part of the left wing of capitalism.

STI
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Jan 25 2006 01:02
Quote:
Indeed yes. The Trotskyists supported Mao's take over in China as not only anti-imperialist, but even as establishing a 'deformed workers state'.

Based on pretty much everything I've heard on the issue from Trots nowadays, they aren't all-too-supportive of third-world Maoist revolutions.

Quote:
They raised the slogan 'victory to the NLF' in the Vietnam war and tried to tell us that a victory for North Vietnam - and thus for the Russian imperialist bloc - would be another blow against imperialism.

Wow, they actually got something right!

Quote:

They supported Mugabe in Zimbabwe for striking a blow against imperialism, and still do.

I can't think why.

Quote:
In short, for decades the Trotskyists have been telling us that internationalism means supporting 'the other side' in an inter-imperialist war. In what way is STI's position any different from this?

Pretty simple: I don't support national liberation as a means of strengthening "the other empire" (whichever one you're talking about?), I support it for reasons which have very clearly been explained literally more than a dozen times in this thread, easily. Care to actually address that position, rather than simply slinging ad hominems at the straw man you've constructed?

I sure hope so, but if not, it won't be much of a change of pace.

Quote:
And by the way, I'm not accusing you of being a Leninist. The one thing you are totally unable to understand is Lenin's position on the war of 1914-18: no support for either camp, class struggle against the ruling class in all countries, turn the imperialist war into a civil war.

I fully "understand" his position.

And, in the case of WWI, I probably would have said the same thing (only, unlike him, I would have concentrated my efforts in the most advanced parts of the world rather than Russia).

Inter-imperialist wars like WWI was a radically different situation from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nepal, the Philipenes, or any other national liberation struggle.

Quote:
It's true that Lenin (in contrast to Luxemburg and others) was still not clear about national liberation struggles and thought they retained a progressive content even when the whole capitalist system had entered into its epoch of imperialist decline.

We know now that, even in 1922, capitalism was far from "decline". It still had a shitload of expanding to do, and, in the undeveloped world, still does.

Quote:
When I accuse you of Trotskyism I am saying that your positions are leftist - i.e. part of the left wing of capitalism.

Well, that is simply not the case. I hold my positions with explicitly anti-capitalist ends in mind - I think that victory for national liberation struggles will further the cause of proletarian revolution at home and abroad.

If you can't figure out why by now, too bad. I'm pretty much done typing it out again and again.

petey
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Jan 25 2006 13:22
Alf wrote:
They raised the slogan 'victory to the NLF' in the Vietnam war and tried to tell us that a victory for North Vietnam - and thus for the Russian imperialist bloc - would be another blow against imperialism.

spot-on. one of the infuriating things about the 60s anti-war marchers (not just trots but most of them) here was their reflexive support for the equally imperialist and brutalizing NLF. another was that they were oily boozhwahs. a third is that they were jane fonda.

STI
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Jan 25 2006 15:17
Newyawka wrote:
a third is that they were jane fonda.

Hey! She was great in "Monster-in-Law"! angry

revol68 wrote:
do you actually engage in the fucking real world you euro centric cunt!

I really hope that people reading this thread are taking note of the kinds of "arguments" revol is resorting to, and draw the appropriate conclusions.

There's nothing "Eurocentric" about anything I've said. In fact, I've explicitly stated that the backwardness of the people of Iraq has absolutely everything to do with environment and that things will eventually change.

But I wouldn't expect you to know that, what with not having read 80% of my posts thusfar.

Quote:
you talk about iraq like it's fucking Tibet in the 18th century

No I don't, I talk about it like it is: a backward place with some capitalist development and an obliterated infrastructure.

Quote:
incase you didn't fucking notice Iraq was probably the most industrialised country in the middle east bar Israel in the 70's and 80's.

"In case you didn't fucking notice", that isn't saying much.

And what about now?

Quote:
You act as if the iraqi working class can't see through nationalism until it's been shown as a farce,

No I don't, and I challenge you to find so much as one statement by myself which supports such a conclusion.

You [should] know exactly why I support national liberation, and statements like the above are pure fabrications - likely out of a lack of any real argument against my position.

Quote:
They have enjoyed the fruits of a national ruling class for many years, it's purges, genocides and suicidal expansionism.

Welcome to the jungle of class society. It's a long, shitty road out, but unless you want to stick around and get mauled by a tiger, it that road has to be taken.

Quote:
You talk about them like they are niave children who must be left to learn from their mistakes, even if those mistakes lead not so much to a few scrapes and tears but to bloodletting.

No I don't. I talk about them like they are. That is, people with very strong notions of sexism, racism, and religion. They do have to "learn better", and we should do what we can to speed that process up - but opposing their liberation from imperialist occupation is not the way to do that.

Quote:
Perhaps you have missed the militancy and political maturity of the oil proletariat in iraq in the 60's. Perhaps you failed to notice that Saddams first job was to wipe out the organised working class?

And the occupational government will give them candy and hugs.

Come on. I spoke to this point in my last post. I'm getting to the point where I'm not going to bother even responding to you if you're not going to contribute.

Quote:
Do you think these lessons have been lost on the iraqi people? Do you think they are so stupid that they willl follow any pile of pish as long as it is Iraqi and somehow free of Imperialist influence

No, I don't think "they're stupid enough to follow any pile of pish", but they clearly are supportive, to a large degree at least, of the current resistence movement.

"So there!"

Quote:
of course how thats possible in such a globalised market is beyond me!

Being absolutely free from imperialist "influence" (whatever that means) may be a bit difficult, of course.

But really, compared to life under occupation, how much "influence" do you think imperialist powers will have over a liberated Iraq?

Quote:
Do you think the proletariat of Iran has made real progress under their theocracy?

*Sigh*.

Looks like I'll be eating red herring for supper again tonight.

Quote:
Is suppouse the Bomb is the next step that all "nations" must go through before they are ripe for proletarian revolution?

Go fuck yourself.

Quote:
And as for your daft idea that the US would favour a more reactionary form of government than the Islamists, well thats pure fucking nonsense. At present the US is being forced to curtsy to the Islamists as they and their thugs have swamped into the power vacum, the US doesn't want to see women forced out of the workforce, a ban on alcohol or a return to feudal social relations, it wants Iraq open to markets, and it's oil on the market.

Yeah, "open" for imperialist exploitation.

Unless you're going to speak to what I've pointed out as objective ways in which a liberated Iraq would be more progressive (ie: will make proletarian revolution happen earlier) than occupation, I won't bother with crap like that.

Quote:
From your mechanical whiggish historiography it wuld make more sense to support the occupation, against those reactionaries that would reduce Iraq to feudalism.

Sorry, that's just not possible. The bourgeoisie of Iraq would never allow that - they wouldn't be in power anymore!

That, and Iraq is far too developed for fuedalism to be restored.

Quote:
Of course anyone with half a brain recognises that the occupation strengthens the hands of the Islamists and therefore opposes both reactionary camps

Both camps are not wholly reactionary.

That's really the issue right now.

And issue you have yet to effectively speak to.

Quote:
The Iraq labour movement seems to take such a position and has been quietly defending itself from attack from both the Islamists and the coalition.

Good for them!

The American labour movement seems to take a position of "voting Democrat" and using the union bureaucracy to mediate problems with the owners. Does that make it a good idea?

Quote:

Now seriously fuck off!

Now seriously respond to my actual points!

That aside, it's good to see such a deep, thoughtful individual speaking on behalf of the entire board roll eyes

STI
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Jan 25 2006 16:38

Just in case anybody was wondering whether or not the Ba'athist regime was better for the poor than the occupational government:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/01/23/MNGBNGRIF81.DTL

I hope this will convince folks that imperialism really is more reactionary than independence

petey
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Jan 25 2006 17:13
STI wrote:
Newyawka wrote:
a third is that they were jane fonda.

Hey! She was great in "Monster-in-Law"! angry

true enough.

but she's still a feggin oily liberal boozhwah.

STI
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Jan 25 2006 19:25

Yeah. And she's basically sold-out already anyway. I think in her recent book she "took back" all the "mean" things she said when she was younger.

powertotheimagi...
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Jan 25 2006 19:27

What makes the resistance any more likely to stabalise the country then the occupying force has done? The resistance is split into a handful of large religious based groups- each fighting for control of Iraq under theocratic rule, I do not see them as looking to 'liberate' the working people of Iraq, only from the occupation, but why get rid of the US/UK type of imperialism to replace it with something that I assume would not be that much better. There is a chance of civil war in Iraq, affecting the occupying forces but more so the civilians of Iraq. One of the main reasons I left supporting the resistance was the near-daily attacks on civilians, (nevermind the attacks on occupying forces), attacks that are secretarian religious in nature, not based on any class basis, its attacks on people of a different Islamic belief. I do not know alot on each resistance group, so I do not know in great detail their political ideas, but as I previously mentioned I severly doubt most, if any, of the resistance groups would somehow 'liberate' minority groups, be it on political basis, sexual basis, gender basis etc etc.

STI
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Jan 25 2006 20:11
powertotheimagination wrote:
What makes the resistance any more likely to stabalise the country then the occupying force has done?

Nothing. But that's not why I support it.

Quote:
The resistance is split into a handful of large religious based groups- each fighting for control of Iraq under theocratic rule

That's simply false.

Quote:
why get rid of the US/UK type of imperialism to replace it with something that I assume would not be that much better.
Quote:

Here's why:

STI for the millionth time wrote:
upon kicking out the imperialists, the local bourgeoisie will modernize the economy and, over time, the local capitalism will wear away at all the old pre-capitalist ideologies (ie: sexism, religion) faster than an occupational government would, which makes proletarian revolution a little closer to the horizon.
powertotheimagination wrote:
There is a chance of civil war in Iraq, affecting the occupying forces but more so the civilians of Iraq.

The same argument could be made against proletarian revolution here in the first world.

Quote:
ne of the main reasons I left supporting the resistance was the near-daily attacks on civilians

I'm not sure how many of the "attacks against civilians" you're talking about are really against civilians, or if civilian deaths are just unfortunate side-effects of attacks against the Iraqi occupational government or coalition forces.

In either case, this outlook completely ignores the way the alternative side acts (ie: worse).

Quote:
attacks that are secretarian religious in nature

That makes a pretty big characature of the nature of the resistance. They're not all Sunni fundies who attack Shiites or Shiite fundies who attack Sunnis. Hell, the two were working together for a while.

Quote:
its attacks on people of a different Islamic belief.

Is there some other "Iraqi Resistance" that I don't know about?

Quote:
I severly doubt most, if any, of the resistance groups would somehow 'liberate' minority groups, be it on political basis, sexual basis, gender basis etc etc.

It won't be "Group Y" who takes power and declares that "all humans are equal". It will be "Group Y" who takes power, and, after a decades-long process of modernization, ideas like sexism, homophobia, racism, and religion will slowly but surely "go away", because, within the context of capitalism and its real goal, the accumulation of profit, those things make less and less sense to people all the time.

powertotheimagi...
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Jan 25 2006 20:54

When I say the resistance will not bring stability to the country if/when it wins, I do not just mean there will be problems afterwards, this would happen in any mass social change, I mean they will not have a stability for the mass of the citizens, there may be a stability for some, but I doubt for the mass. Note: Saddam gave stability (?) to Iraq, but at what price? STI i'm sure you have enough knowledge to work that question out.

Why is the fact the resisitance is broken into different religious groups false? Show me otherwise. Granted no all resisitance is religious, it can take many forms, but the bulk is religious based. Prove it to me otherwise.

There is a chance of Civil War in any revoluationary situation, yes I know, but while the resistance in Iraq I do not see as revolutionary, what sort of war will arise out of Iraq?

Alot of the attacks are directly AGAINST civilians, not just occupying forces- have a look in the news. Some people have died as a result of attacks on occupying forces most notebly the deaths of those children when they were getting sweets of American (I think) troops. But the bulk of the attacks are against civilians regardless of military targets, have a look at the http://www.iraqbodycount.org/#position (both resistance based deaths and occupation caused deaths). I can show you links to news stories if you want as well.

Why would there be a process of moderinisation occuring? Has it in the fundamentalist Islamic states of Iran and Saudi Arabia? What makes Iraq any different? Why would these people be against any sort of capitalism, I cannot remember the author but there was a publication recently about how groups like Al Qaeda are the pinacle of religious capitalism. Why would the 'new rulers' of Iraq be against capitalism?

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Lazy Riser
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Jan 25 2006 20:58

Hi

STI, let me just get this clear. Which elements of the armed struggle against the puppet government in Iraq do you support? What organisations, platforms and behaviour are you advocating?

Love

LR

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OliverTwister
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Jan 25 2006 21:07

I've already gone through your ideas, point by point, and didn't receive much in the way of a response. So i'll just be quicker this time and point out that what you call your "main point" - that national liberation (or 'seperatism') is historically progressive because the bourgeoisie will develop the economy, creating a more proletarian workforce, is something that you've basically posted no evidence for, and have shrinked from evidence against it - such as the Southern USA.

(By the way, i'd like to critique myself for my earlier liberal definition of proletariat, which i will blame on the sleep that anarchist-communist ideas are just now waking up from and the fact that particularly us english-speaking ACs have had to be somewhat eclectic with out politics. I much prefer the definition "Those who own nothing but their ability to work." I think this is a much more scientific definition than "waged workers". Its similar to the inability many people had to recognize the USSR was capitalist because they had no stock exchange, we need to deal with the essence and not the form of things).

Now how about a different question: In World War 2, one could make a general statement that a large section of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie hoped the Nazis would win (and had some popular support for this, framing it in what amounts to National Liberation) while a large section of the Polish bourgeoisie hoped that the Soviets would win (and also had some popular support, putting it in the framework of national liberation). Which of these groups (and outcomes) would have been more "historically progressive" for the working-class? Were both, or either, of them anti-imperialist?

Has the israeli occupation of palestine been historically progressive? How about the afrikaaners in South Africa? Both have increased the level of industrialization and the number of wage workers far more than a palestinian or zulu state is likely to have.

By the way, re: unemployment in ghettoes and reservations; the following took me about 5 minutes to find

wikipedia wrote:
Unemployment runs very high on the reservation. In 2001, the BIA reported 70% unemployment among registered members of the tribe.[1]

(source: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackfeet_Indian_Reservation#Economy) That means that out of every 7 people who desire paid labour in the reservation, 7 could not get it. That sucks, i guess they can't make proletarian revolution.

And when you're accusing us of misrepresenting you, it doesn't look well to claim that everyone who has not agreed with you is "supporting the imperialist occupation".

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Devrim
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Jan 25 2006 21:49

I have got a bit behind on this argument because I managed to pick up a bit of extra work in the last few days. However, at the moment I have a snow day( no work-unfortunately no money either), so I am trying to catch up. If I have missed out on something important I would like to apologize. Please point it out to me.

Also I would like to add there is really no point in swearing at people and calling them ‘cunts’. I personally don’t have a problem with this word, and I use it in English, but I was embarrassed to have to translate it to a friend of mine who has been following this argument (It is really obscene in Turkish, and I would never use it). That sort of language would upset my Mum. I think it turns people off. I disagree with STI deeply, but I don’t see any need to respond like that. When we are arguing a point we always meet people we disagree with. I don’t see any need to come down to that sort of abuse. It is not how you win people to your argument.

O.K. I wrote some of this yesterday, and I am continuing tonight. Sorry if it is somewhat disjointed. Back to the thread:

STI writes;

Nobody in this thread would be against something that is progressive (ie: brings everybody closer to proletarian revolution). The issue, then, is one of whether or not national liberation will do that.

And continues;

Really, man. Don't fucking wonder or "woah" when I get pissed off once in a while. I have said multiple fucking times in this thread alone that I am supportive of working class activity in those nations. I simply recognize that the defeat of occupational forces by bourgeois resistance-fighters as progressive.

Is that such a hard position to understand? I don't even care you agree with it, but do you understand what my position is? Statements like the above really make me doubt that you do.

He is absolutely right. This is the issue, and I am quite sure that I understand his point. However, I don’t agree with it.

Now, there are two ways that we can argue this. Either we argue the point about Iraq, and the Middle East. (I am sorry, but I don’t feel that I know enough about Quebec to add anything to that discussion, but the same points apply), or we argue it theoretically.

Let’s start with the Middle East. In reply to the question “How many statelets do we need to break Afghanistan into?” STI wrote “"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.” I asked a similar question myself about Iraq.

Now although this is an English based website neither myself or STI live in England. He is in Canada, obviously part of the first world. I am in Turkey. We can argue for hours about whether it is in the first, second, third or whatever world. It is not really important. I do know that I live in a country where about 20 million of a population of 75 million live in the three biggest cities. If there were to be a revolution here, do you think it would be led by the working class or the peasantry? Do the working class in Turkey need to be further proletarianised? Does capital need to be further developed? Is it too backward a country to make a revolution? In my opinion it isn’t, but then I also believe that capitalism is a global system.

The working class is an international class. Revolutionaries do not have a different line to peddle depending upon whether they live in the ‘first’ or the ‘third’ world. Maybe there will be a difference in stress, but the basic line is the same. So in Turkey is STI suggesting that I support Turkish nationalism, or Kurdish nationalism, or maybe I could pick Armenian nationalism or even back the group that were calling for a ‘Socialist Republic of Alevistan’? They are all arguing over the same bit of land. Or as I live in Ankara (the first world?), should I just support all of them while carrying on my own work?

I am not throwing insults here. I may be a bit sarcastic, but they are real questions.

I know working class families that have lost relatives fighting on both sides of the Kurdish war. How am I supposed to argue that this is in anyway progressive? To me it seems logical to argue that it is an imperialist war, that wars where workers are being killed on both sides for the interests of other classes are anti-working class.

The war in Iraq is not a war between America and the ‘Iraqi’ people. It is a squalid little bourgeois faction fight, where America, and all of the smaller local imperialisms are competing for power, and the working class is being massacred. The Shia are supported by Iran. The Sunni are supported by the Saudis. The Kurds are supported by the Americans. The Turcoman are supported by Turkey… What may look from North America like an anti-imperialist struggle is actually a multi-faceted ethno-religious imperialist war. I wouldn’t support it if it were a ’true’ national liberation struggle anyway , but it isn’t.

STI writes;

I support anti-imperialism because it causes people in the imperialist country(ies) to have less of an identification with "their nation", which makes them less likely to want to listen to "their leaders"…

Why? I consider my approach to be anti-imperialist. I argue for working class unity, and class opposition to imperialist wars. I argue that the working class must defend its own interests against its ‘own state’ wherever it may be. You are arguing that the workers must actively take a side on the side of another imperialist faction. While I may like to see the underdog win in a football match, it is not a position I incorporate into my political analysis.

What does your position actually mean in real terms? When you say that you support the resistance, it is really nothing more than empty verbal posturing. You are not doing anything to actually support them. You said that you would offer assistance to somebody who wanted to go there, and fight for them. I would tell that person not to be an idiot. You propaganda is aimed solely at the Canadian working class. What is the difference in terms of supporting the war if you argue against the American ruling class, or for the Iraqi resistance? I feel there is none. They are both anti-occupation positions. I feel the difference is in the positions you are arguing to workers in ‘your own’ country. I think the position that we take should be based upon internationalism. To me that means that we argue for independent working class activity with the workers in ‘our own countries’. The most effective action against the war is working class struggle. By that I do not mean some impossible idea of a general strike against the war. I mean that every action of the working class in favour of its own demands directly threatens the idea of national unity against the so-called enemy. I am not saying that we shouldn’t go on anti-war demonstrations, but I am saying that this is not what should dominate our activity. Maybe a slogan like ‘Fight for your class, not their profits’ would be good (ok, I know that it isn’t a good slogan, but I am talking about the ideas behind it).

When there is actually working class action against the war, we of course support it. I haven’t heard of any in North America, but maybe I am uniformed. I do remember a strike by support staff at the U.S. airbase near Batman (really, not a joke name) against the first American invasion of Iraq. This is in the backward ‘third world’ remember, not in the more advanced capitalist countries. Of course the striking workers were not all communist revolutionaries. They had different reasons for striking ranging from ‘supporting their Muslim brothers in Iraq’ to a complex argument about overtime rates. The point is that this is struggle on a working class terrain, fighting for class interests against the bourgeoisie, but however confused it was it is class struggle, not part of an inter-imperialist war.

I feel that I have gone on for long enough, and I hope that there are some things for you to think about. As for all of the stats that you quoted about Iraq, I don’t really see what the point is. We had a long discussion about this in the pub last night about literacy rates amongst other things, and found that the majority of people’s mothers could not read. However, all of the people I was sitting with could read. Are they not working class because their families came from villages (they were all public sector workers, teachers, nurses, and a bus driver). I feel that I am o.k., as both of my parents could read, and only one of my grandmothers couldn’t. Maybe I should stop associating with such petty-bourgeois elements. There is a working class in Iraq, and it is capable of fighting for its own interests.

To be internationalists we must support these people. Even if all we can offer is ideological support at least it is better than lining up alongside their enemies.

[Editted to add bold, italics, and to correct a grammar mistake]

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Devrim
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Jan 25 2006 22:11

Sorry to go on, but ı have one more point to make. A lot of people have criticized the resistance for being sexist and homophobic. It is true, but I feel it is not really the point. Any genuine working class movement in the Middle East would also be sexist (probably not as misogynist, but still sexist), and homophobic. The point is that it would have the ability to change through struggle, which the Islamicists don’t.

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Jan 26 2006 14:15

Excellent post by Devrim. I agree on the use of abusive language. Revol68's posts on this thread have made their points against STI perfectly well - the cuss words don't add anything and tend to distract attention away from the main points. Devrim is also very clear in showing that the Iraqi Resistance too has its own imperialist backers, each trying to get a slice of Iraqi pie Iran, Saudi, Turkey etc. And the main rivals of the USA - France, Germany, Russia, etc - are either waiting in the wings waiting to take advantage of the USA's difficulties, or actively contributing to them. This could hardly be otherwise when the invasion of Iraq - like all the US military adventures of the last 15 years or so - was largely motivated by the necessity for US imperialism to assert its global dominance against the increasing tendency of the other powers to challenge it. The world imperialist line up has changed since 1989 and the collapse of the Russian empire, but this has not altered the imperialist nature of all the local military conflicts which have ravaged the world since then. And this in essence is why there is no possibility of ‘national liberation’ today. All nationalist struggles offer today is a choice between imperialist masters – and the promise of ferocious exploitation of the proletariat.

Flint
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Jan 26 2006 18:18

Could a moderator think of grabbing the releveant threads here and moving them to a topic on "Support the Iraqi Resistance?"

STI wrote:
I'm not currently connected to the internet, and I'm in class, so I'll have to wait for a bit until I can post the stats I was looking at yesterday. The most recent date I could get data on Iraq for was 1995, when I found a low level of literacy, a low participation of women in the workforce, and a low level of education. I'd expect to see a much higher concentration of religion, sexism, and racism among Iraqi workers today than among Spanish workers in 1936 (are clergymen being killed by militant workers in Iraq today?).

Ok, here's what I found for Iraq (I've included only those statistics which I deem to be relevant to the discussion)...

I was really trying hard not to participate in this discussion, but we started trotting out statistics as a comparison to the situation of the proletariat and women in particular.

I would argue that the Iraqi proletariat (including women) has been under ruthless attack by both the U.S. (starting wth the Gulf War), and by Saddam Hussein's regime. The natonalist regime of the Ba'ath became very complicit in crushing the proletariat during the shora uprising in the north, and generally did what ever it took to maintain power WHILE suffering under U.S. imposed economic sanctions. While infrastructure destruction by the U.S. was a very large material factor in the plight of the proletariat in Iraq, Saddam deliberately chose to increase islamic power at the expense of women at the same time as ruthlessly crushing proletarian resistance. Arguably, it's elements of that regime that SITU is supporting when he "supports the Iraqi resistance", or even worse... sunni whabist fundamentalists.

The problem I have with SITU's thinking is that basically anytime the international capitalist class wants to derail a proletarin revolution, all they have to do is bomb and occupy country, and then "the left" has to fall in step behind whatever reactionary though nationalist elements come out against the occupation--even if just before attack of the foreign power, they revolutionaries that actually desired communism and a secular society were bitter bloody opponents of those reactionary nationalist elements.

It's like that if in 1939, the U.S. bombed and invaded Spain and SITU was arguing that anarchists and communists should support Franco.

Women's organizations in Iraq are at least as old as the Iraqi Communist Party: in 1924 the Women's Empowerment Society (Jameat al-Nahda al-Nisaeya) was formed, followed by the Kurdish Women's Foundation in 1928. The ICP supported League for the Defense of Women's Rights in the early 1950s. The League reached a membership of 40,000 members and between 1958-1963, and it published a weekly periodical titled "14 July".

In 1968, Ba'ath party banned other political parties and independent civil society organizations including women's groups. Certain rights were codified by the government, including divorce and child custody. Still, the state decreed that except where spelled out by state law, the the sharia would still be followed. The Ba'ath formed the General Federation of Iraqi Women in 1969. The GFIW, through it's control of 250 rural and urban community, offered job-training, educational, and other social programs to women. The GFIW was also the only legal way in which legal reforms in regards to women's status under the law and personal status code could be lobbied. By 1997, 47% of all Iraqi women were members of the GFIW. Many women still criticized the GFIW as propaganda arm of the state. Advances in women's rights continued under the Ba'ath regime into the 1980s with women gaining the right to stand for election in parliament and local government. Education became mandatory for girls, literacy programs became available for adults—by 1987, 75% of Iraqi women were literate. Women could join the large civil service workforce where there where laws were established for equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits and freedom from harassment.

During the Iraq-Iran war, the participation of women in civil service workforce soared to 70%. Yet, the government also banned contraception. With the end of the Iraq-Iran war and the failure to hold Kuwait with the Gulf War, women were displaced from employment by demobilization of male Iraqi soldiers. Saddam Hussein's adoption of Islamization further eroded gains made by women. In 1990, men were exempted from prosecution for "honor killings". Hussein's "Campaign for Faithfulness", supposedly against prostitution, was used behead political opponents and doctors. By 1998, all women working as secretaries for government agencies were dismissed; by 2000 restrictions were placed on women working outside the home; travel abroad by women became restricted, co-ed education eliminated, and female literacy dropped to 25%. In the nominally independent Kurdish area to the north where the ICP and WCPI could operate openly, there was still the deterioration of women's rights there with increasing honor killings and women being driven out of workplaces and universities.

Women also suffered greatly from increasing mortality and malnutrition under the difficulties resulting from the U.S. supported economic sanctions against Iraq. The U.S. Occupation policy of de-Ba'athification abolished the GFIW. Iraq under U.S. occupation does not appear sympathetic to feminism, as CPA and the new government seem quite willing to continue the oppression of women to gain support from islamist political parties. With the end of the GFIW, however, civil society has begun to regenerate—an attempt by the government to introduce the sharia was met by demonstrations called by 25 women's organizations.

The U.S. military is responsible for much of the damage to Iraq's infrastructure during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The intentional bombing of civilian life and facilities systematically destroyed Iraq's infrastructure leaving it in a de-industrialized condition.

The economic sanctions against Iraq after the Gulf War exacerbated the problems of destroyed infrastructure. The combination of infrastructure destruction and sanctions was quite deliberate. Col. John Warden III, deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq's electrical grid was that "you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime. Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity," he said. "He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, 'Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.' It gives us long-term leverage."

The Iraqi government and the U.S. military have financed reconstruction of nearly 40 hospitals. Iraq's Health Ministry's budget for next year is nearly $1 billion with an additional $793 million from the U.S. as well as donations from other countries. Iraq's hospitals were once the envy of the Middle East. The rich used to fly their relatives in for everything from heart transplants to plastic surgery, and Iraqi specialists traveled the world lecturing about their research. Targeting the electrical grid and water-treatment facilities in Iraq in 1991 resulted in epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid, leading to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant mortality rate. Medical care continued deteriorate under the economic sanctions imposed after 1991, and Hussein banned the importation of medications produced by U.S. companies and their affiliates, even though those were often the best available. Iraq has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world -- one that climbed from 40 out of 1,000 live births in 1989 to 108 per 1,000 live births today. Former US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, was asked if the death of a half of a million Iraqi children from sanctions was worth the price, Albright replied: "This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it."

The education system in Iraq was once one of the best in the Middle East in the 1980s, but investment declined from $620 per year per student in 1988/89 to $47 in the late 1990s. Sanctions hit the economy and schools were left short of basic supplies such as chalk and blackboards, and poverty forced many children out of education. Until last year, very little money had been put into construction or repair work since the 1991 Gulf War, resulting in a shortage of buildings. During and after the latest war, more than 3,000 schools were looted, destroyed or burned in southern and central Iraq - and 60 in Baghdad suffered bomb damage.

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Jan 26 2006 19:40

Hi

Quote:
Sanctions hit the economy

Excellent post. I've always wondered how sanctions hit economies, how does that work? This is relevant to the Quebec National Question and the nationalist question in general.

Love

LR

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Jan 26 2006 19:55

I don’t really understand Flint’s point. There are lots of statistics. What do they mean. Yes, what is happening in Iraq is wrong. I cry for the people of Iraq. I have two friends there at the moment. One is a truck driver, just doing his job. The other is a nurse engaged in humanitarian work (which I think is admirable). I also know a few Iraqi people, and I worry about all of them daily.

This, however, has no relationship to our analysis of the situation. Either you take an internationalist position, or you don’t.

Flint
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Jan 26 2006 20:10
Devrim wrote:
I don’t really understand Flint’s point. There are lots of statistics. What do they mean. Yes, what is happening in Iraq is wrong. I cry for the people of Iraq. I have two friends there at the moment. One is a truck driver, just doing his job. The other is a nurse engaged in humanitarian work (which I think is admirable). I also know a few Iraqi people, and I worry about all of them daily.

This, however, has no relationship to our analysis of the situation. Either you take an internationalist position, or you don’t.

My point is, that things are a lot more complex than the historical materialist and knee-jerk anti-imperialist pro-nationalist positino STIU is making.

The U.S. occupation of Iraq is wrong. That doesn't make certain elements of the resistance to that occupation right.

There are alot of Iraqis who could be truck drivers and nurses. Unemployment in Iraq is still very high. If your friends aren't Iraqi, they might want to get out of there. I wouldn't be suprised that even if most Iraqis like their humanitarian efforts, that having europeans (particular from the U.S. and U.K.) are going to be seen as occupiers as long as the U.S. and U.K. military is occupying.

My sister did a tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. army. She was a medic. Humanitarian function of that role aside, she was actively assisting in the occupation.

The best thing we can do, is get the U.S. and U.K. militaries out of Iraq. While they are there, the violent resistance to their presence will continue. In the context of a continual guerilla warfare against an occupier, it makes it very difficult to create a civil society... one in which there are labor unions, etc... instead, the ability to wield violence becomes more important. This will only aid the most reactionary elements in recruitment and popular support.

There very well maybe a civil war when the U.S. pulls out. That is likely to happen whenver the U.S. does, if it's going to happen at all.

Didn't Hamas just win an election in Palestine? I think that is more a symbol of the weakness of the proletariat there, rather than the strength of national liberation.

Flint
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Jan 26 2006 20:15

Just noticed you were from Turkey, Devrim? Are your friends employed in Iraq, Turkish also?

That's different than some yankee being there. But I'm not going to try and untangle the relationship that Iraqis might have to workers from what used to be the center of the Ottoman empire. I'd imagine that Turks doing humanitarian aid might not be regarded with such hostility as someone from the U.S., and that Turkish truck drivers travel between Iraq and Turkey quite a bit when the border is actually open.

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Jan 26 2006 20:19

Hi Flint

Don't be distracted by Internationalist jibes, I would appreciate your insight into my question...

Quote:
I've always wondered how sanctions hit economies, how does that work?

I’m sure you’ll agree the answer to this question has important ramifications for the viability of nationalist programmes.

Love

LR

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Jan 26 2006 20:31

To Flint,

Yes, they are both Turkish nationals, and both Zaza speakers, but the point I was trying to make is that our personal feelings, or connections to the situation should not effect our political analysis.