The Falklands

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Mystic
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May 22 2004 14:37
The Falklands

I've done some research on the Falklands War, and I still can't figure out why socialists (and therefore anarchists?) are supposed to oppose the conflict. Surely it was self-defence? I mean, it would have been right for the Argies to attack if the islands had been taken over and were being ruled by us, but the fact was the only people living there were British. They were invaded and taken over by a dictatorship. If we hadn't gone and saved them, wouldn't they have been ethnically cleansed or still be oppressed to this day? I'm sure there are good @ reasons to oppose it (apart from the obvious war is bad, this would never have happened except for imperialism, etc etc), I just can't think of them confused.

Lemming
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May 22 2004 16:12

I'm not familiar with these people you call "the Argies". Rephrase your question and I might respond to it.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 22 2004 17:17

The Argies were the ones fighting the Brits, don't you remember?

Lemming
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May 22 2004 19:53

Quite. I suspect most on the left remember neither Argies nor Brits, only racist mania and nationalist bloodshed.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 23 2004 11:19

I think the main reason people opposed the Falklands war is that it was seen as a conflict largley cooked up by Thatcher and the Brit ruling elites in order to provide a bit of a boost for nationalism and therefore the conservatives. The Labour party supported the war too, of course.

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Spartacus
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May 23 2004 11:51

on the plus side though, i think it was one of the main reasons the dictatorship fell not too long after... i think that it just shows the illogic of leftist anti-imperialist rhetoric, but i expect anarchists opposed it for the perfectly good reason that it was yet another example of ruling classes using ordinary people to play their little power games, as i'm sure the argentinian dictatorship invaded for its on political aims, and the only real reason thatcher made an effort to defend that piece of barren land with more sheep than people (other than rumours that there was oil nearby) was because it looked like she was going to lose the next election, and she hadn't even destroyed the miners yet.

Anonymous
May 23 2004 12:10

because thousands of people were killed over a piece of rock in a propaganda war between the english and argentinian bourgeoisie

i don't see how there should be any doubts in people minds as to whether the left should be against such a war, i mean the left should pretty much be against all military intervention by the state, simply because it is the state and it will always serve the interests of the ruling class.

john

LJOS
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May 24 2004 14:30
Quote:
Surely it was self-defence?

It could be seen that way... if you believe in putting the interests of the nation before everything else. No war but class war, remember? Though, more pragmatically, you have to decide whether Britain or Argentina was oppressing the population more, I suppose. IIRC, it wasn't a particularly violent occupation by the Argentinians. Not when compared to current events.

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Pilchardman
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May 24 2004 22:50
Mystic wrote:
the fact was the only people living there were British.

Why, then, had they been having citizenship problems up to the point that Thatcher decided she needed to "back" them?

If you're going to get all "national territory" on this one, look at a map: Malvinos Argentinos.

Those of us who are old enough to remember the affair will know exactly why it needed to be opposed. But for those of you who weren't here's Tam Dalyell (aristo Labour backbench big mouth) from his book Misrule.

"[Thatcher] is guilty of gross deception. I say she is guilty of lying to the House of Commons - sustained, calculating lying, as became clear during the eleven days of Clive Ponting's trial at the Old Bailey. And [...] she is guilty of calculated murder, not for the national interests of our country, not for the protection of our servicemen, but for her own political ends". (Dalyell, T. 1987, Misrule. Sevenoaks, Kent: Hodder and Stoughton).

I don't share (m)any of Tam's assumptions, but he published that book during Thatcher's reign, and no writs were issued. That's because he was known to be utterly tenacious and thorough. If he said something, he could back it up.

There was also the small issue of geological surveys of the south atlantic suggesting oil reserves...

Mystic
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May 26 2004 17:27

Well, firstly, I'm not old enough to remember the war. And I hardly think it's any more racist to call the Argentinians Argies than talk about Brits, Yanks, Aussies and so on.

I'm not saying I support it, just that I wasn't sure what the reasons were for opposition, but I'd oppose it if I could. I was just discussing this with a few friends and it came up as a sticking point that they used to attack lefties (sorry, leftwingers). Sheesh, don't be so quick to jump down my throat, people, that's why I put this in Beginners grin.

I accept that it's a war between the ruling classes over money for themselves, but the islanders would have either been occupied or ethnically cleansed. I mean, sure it wasn't a brutal occupation, but it was still occupation. What if, instead of the Thatcherite nationalist war it was (used to re-elect her, I think), it had been a UN intervention instead to protect the islanders? Would that have been better? 'Cos that would take away the extreme right Thatcherite agenda that was behind the war, oil reserves, the sinking of the Belgrano and all that ...

Lemming
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May 26 2004 18:00

... I hardly think it's any more racist to call the Argentinians Argies than talk about Brits, Yanks, Aussies and so on.

All are racist terms. Given the context, though, I think "Argies" has more alarming connotations. Think of tabloid headlines.

Sheesh, don't be so quick to jump down my throat, people, that's why I put this in Beginners ..."

No one is "jumping down your throat". If you are referring to my response, I maintain my position that preliminary to any discussion of this topic should be the challenging of racist assumptions. Beginners' theory indeed.

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Pilchardman
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May 26 2004 21:14
Mystic wrote:
What if, instead of the Thatcherite nationalist war it was (used to re-elect her, I think), it had been a UN intervention instead to protect the islanders? .

The UN believed they were near to reaching a negotiated settlement. Which is why Thatcher needed to spark the war off quickly by sinking the Belgrano before her excuse for using force was removed.

It was a pretty bad excuse, mind you. But that shows how badly needed it was.

Mystic
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Jun 3 2004 20:49

All right, it's just the kneejerk reaction of the left idea I was worried about, because historical anti-imperialist decolonisation arguments which don't apply to the Falklands like they do to, say, Algeria.

So a good argument might be something like this:

The Falklands War was a conflict between the elites of two nations, which (as usual) led to huge amounts of suffering for the working class. The Argentine (ok tongue) government invasion was used largely as a platform for Thatcher to stir up nationalism for her re-election, which really wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the war. An obvious solution, because of the nonviolent nature of the occupation, would have been to pressurise Argentina into withdrawing and use every possible means to avoid war, whereas instead Thatcher sent the army in and led to thousands of working class people dying in an unnecessary conflict. The mistake is to see it as "self-defence" in some way, when in fact it's just the upper classes using us as pawns.

ANTINES
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Apr 15 2005 09:07

The UN ? Thats a collection of states acting in the interests of the most powerful states. Now an Internation Brigade that would be different

ffaker
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Apr 15 2005 10:49
Mystic wrote:
I hardly think it's any more racist to call the Argentinians Argies than talk about Brits, Yanks, Aussies and so on.

That does not follow at all. Is "Pakis" a friendly term? Or "Chinkies"? I think not. And "yanks" or "yankies" IS offensive and is intended that way (esp. in latin America) because of the shit their armies put people through.

I have to say that, not knowing too much about the war and being too young to remember it, I had recently started thinking along the same lines as you. Could not see much of a reason for opposing it. This changes all that though:

Pilchardman wrote:
The UN believed they were near to reaching a negotiated settlement. Which is why Thatcher needed to spark the war off quickly by sinking the Belgrano before her excuse for using force was removed.

Which sounds a lot like the first Gulf war, in how the US fabricated satilite pictures of an Iraqi troop build-up on the Saudi border and used that to escalate their military build in the in the area. And how they actively sabotaged any negotiated settlement.

Your new formulation sounds good apart from the word "non-violent". No military occupation is non-violent by definition. "Less violent" maybe.

Hey! A thread on enrager that did not descend into sectarian name calling and mutual recrimination! We all learned something new and advanced our analysis. Yay. Lets all hold hands and have a massive hippy group hug.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Apr 15 2005 12:35

Interesting thread, especially the bit about the UN negotiations for a settlement, while its clear that the UN represents the interests of nations and not their subjects and in this respect any policy can not be taken as constructive, their opposition to certain wars can provide useful details and info regarding the specific reasons for war.

I dont think the terms argies and brits are intended to be racist and for the large part arent used in a racist manner (apart from the usual suspects), its probably just semantics but to say that the war was between argies and brits is to suppose it was a war conducted and planned by the people of nations and not the heads of those nations, glad to see we cleared that one up anyhow.

Nick Durie
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Apr 20 2005 01:43

OK but it's a bit odd to think of 'Brits' outside of meaning 'the British ruling class'. For example when someone says 'the Brits are coming to fuck us over' the last thing that's on my mind is some kind of mob of tourists coming to lay their beach-towels, I think of the state, British capital, and the British ruling class more generally.

Garner
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Apr 20 2005 11:01

That really depends where you live though, doesn't it. I'm sure in a lot of countries the first image to spring to mind would be of a mob of tourists. Or football hooligans...

It all depends on the context.