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Re: bob gould on iraq

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  • lyttonwelsh
    Mars passes earth at its closest point on the 29th August for the first time in 60,000 years. LW and Bob Gould agree for the first time in a long time on 1
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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      Mars passes earth at its closest point on the 29th August for the
      first time in 60,000 years. LW and Bob Gould agree for the first time
      in a long time on 1 September, freaky.
      >
      >
      > I think one of the things so disturbing about Bob Gould's comments
      on
      > Iraq is the liberal morality that runs through them. 'Civilised'
      > Marxists rejecting 'barbarian' methods that lead to civilian
      deaths,
      > not
      > the sort of thing that happens in a 'genuine' peoples war, it seems.

      >
      > Trotsky, who Gould tried rather unsuccesfully to draw on to back up
      his
      > argument, dealt devastating blows to such an approach. He insisted
      in
      > 'Their Morals and Ours' that the key question is not the means in
      and
      > of
      > themselves, but what end they serve. Any act that is a step towards
      > liberation is moral from a revolutionary point of view, any act that
      > holds it back is immoral.

      >
      > Gould condemns the bombing of the UN building from the point of view
      > that it has killed a couple of dozen people working for the UN,
      simply
      > because it has killed those people. He does argue it was tacticly
      bad
      > but he clearly believes blowing away civilians like that should be
      > condemned for its own sake.

      YEP and quite right too. They are NOT military targets. UN Troops
      maybe, but not UN Bureaucrats.

      >
      > If you accept that the Iraqi resistance is legitimate, which it is
      > unclear Gould does as he tries to draw an analogy between the
      > resistance
      > and the pro-Nazi forces in occupied Germany, then the key question
      is
      > does the bombing of the UN headquarters further or hinder the cause
      of
      > liberating the Iraqi people from their occuppiers.

      Are you blind, it has already hindered any resistance to occupation.
      It has made whole communities ask for more help from the US.

      >
      > I am not sure it is possible to say one way or another for sure from
      > such a distance. I am not sure why Gould is so sure that such an
      act,
      > directed against an institution that enforced sanctions responsible
      for
      > the deaths of around 1.5 million people over 12 years, will isolate
      the
      > perpertrators from the Iraqi masses. I'd want evidence of the
      attitude
      > of the Iraqi people before drawing a conclusion one way or another.
      >
      > The aim of the bombing seems to be to force the occuppiers onto the
      > back
      > foot, and to deal a blow to the US's attempts to get UN or more
      > 'multinational' cover for their occupation. The later has been one
      > result.
      >
      > In 'Their Morals and Ours' , Trotsky makes the point that an act
      that
      > at
      > one point may be considered a 'terrorist' act that Marxists would
      > oppose, at another point, like during a civil war, may be both a
      > legitimate and useful tactic. He uses the hypothetical example of a
      > bomb
      > that kills General Franco and his staff, which would be a useful
      tactic
      > if it could have been carried out during the Spanish Civil War.

      "Genuine internationalism does not consist of repeating stereotyped
      phrases on every occasion but thinking over the specific conditions
      and problems" Trotsky 1938.

      UN staff are not the equivalent of Franco or Hitler. Neither are the
      shiite muslims who were slaughtered. Nor for that matter the
      protestant civilians in N.Ireland or Israeli civilians in
      Israel/Palestine.

      >
      > So it is quite clear that Trotsky himself did not subscribe to
      Gould's
      > belief that when a few civilians get killed it makes the
      revolutionary
      > approach to morality 'inappropriate'. Of course, the execution of
      > hostages in both the Paris Commune and revolutionary Russia occured
      in
      > a
      > specific context - one of trading the lifes of the hostages for the
      > lives of revolutionaries captured, but the point should be clear
      that
      > each example must be looked at in its specific context rather than
      > condemned on the grounds that civilians have been killed.

      This is not simmilar at all. This was by Revolutionary Paris and
      France under different circumstances to the Baathist remnants in Iraq
      today.

      >
      > Gould says that the failure of the DSP to condemn the bombing
      allowed
      > the right wing of the anti-war movement the space to attack the
      > DSP. Well, the approach of the conservative forces in the movement
      is
      > their own perogative. For the DSP to condemn the bombing simply to
      > avoid
      > the wrath of the right-wingers would be an act of political
      > opportunism.

      Nope comdemnation of the bombing is the avoidance of theoretical
      idiocy. Their position in the movement is fairly minor compared to
      this question.


      >
      > The DSP shoudn't condemn the bombing for the same reason Marxists
      > should
      > not make a point of condemning Palestinian suicide bombings, or for
      > that
      > matter, IRA bombings. We may not agree with the tactic, and
      consider it
      > immoral from a *revolutionary* point of view as opposed to liberal
      > morality point of view - ie: immoral from the point of view that it
      > holds back the struggle for liberation rather than the fact that it
      > simply kills civilians, but we should put the blame for the civilian
      > deaths were it rightly belongs.
      >
      > Of course the death of civilians is not a good thing, but the blame
      > must
      > be put where it belongs, with the oppressors who have created the
      > conflict and the conditions where by the oppressed resort to
      violence
      > to
      > defend their interests. This is so obvious that many left-liberals
      > understand it and rightly blame Israel for the consequences of the
      > suicide bombings etc. - not supporting the acts but not condemning
      the
      > Palestinians either.

      HMMM Turning a blind eye, and whispering about it in private.

      >
      > A lot is unclear about the UN bombing, such who perpertrated it and
      > why,
      > and what its real impact is going to be in the struggle to liberate
      > Iraq
      > from the occuppiers. But the framework in which we judge the act
      should
      > be a Marxist one.
      >
      > Stuart Munckton
      >
      Stuart, it seems that you are keen to read Trotsky, well at least one
      thing, Their Morals and Ours. I think you should heed this quite
      though "terrorism is reformism with guns".
      These groups will join an american administration if they could. We
      have seen in the last few years with the IRA, that they have proven
      Trotsky right. Not only were Sinn Fein/IRA reformist in the past,
      they are now being part of Blair's neo-conservative government in
      Belfast. Terrorism is neo-liberalism with guns.

      LW
    • Pip, Peter & Zoe
      ... Are you sure? Then we might be even more certain that the Najaf bombing has driven even more people to support the US. But perhaps, it hasn t. It is
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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        lyttonwelsh wrote:

        Are you blind, it [the un bombing] has already hindered any resistance to occupation.
        It has made whole communities ask for more help from the US.
         
        Are you sure? Then we might be even more certain that the Najaf bombing has driven even more people to support the US. But perhaps, it hasn't. It is bloody, innocent people are killed inthese bombings (but we all agree the imperialists are hypocritical in their moral outrage), it is terrorism but I'd suggest we need more facts to conclude that these terrorist bombings has "hindered any resistance to occupation". We have to be careful about sliding from the classic Marxist criticism of individual terrorism to the ruling class's totally hypocritical moral outrage at all terrorism. Terror, as Trotsky and other Bolsheviks always conceded bluntly is part of any war. That, of course, does not make all acts of terror justifiable in all justifiable wars.

        Peter Boyle

        * * *
         
         

        'Down with America' chants crowd as Shia Muslims mourn dead
        By Damien McElroy in Najaf
        (Filed: 31/08/2003)

        Packed into buses, pick-up trucks, taxis and cars, an estimated 500,000 mourners descended on
        the holy city of Najaf yesterday for the burial of Iraq's leading Shia cleric who was among at least 80
        people killed by a car bomb on Friday.

        From dawn, a ceaseless stream of traffic clogged the roads around the sprawling cemetery of mud
        brick tombs. Devastated followers of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim walked the final mile to
        the sacred shrine of Imam Ali where the huge blast claimed the life of the key American ally.

        The crowds beat their chests in sorrow and denounced the American-led occupation of Iraq. Chants
        of "down with America" filled the air as two white lorries carried away the charred remains of the cars
        used in the attack. Some carried coffins wrapped in black shrouds bearing verses from the Koran.

        In turn abject and ecstatic, mourners demanded that Iraqi Shi'ites seize control of the country. "We
        cannot remain silent any more," said Hassan Abu Ali. "We must do something I will not allow our
        enemies to sleep peacefully any more."

        The bombed shrine contains the tomb of Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of Prophet Mohammed, the
        founder of Islam. Fragments of metal and glass embedded in the mosque's intricate mosaics bore
        witness to the ferocious blast; thousands of shoes lay outside the mosque, left behind by
        worshippers at Friday prayers and scattered in all directions by the bomb.

        At the city mortuary, one man came to identify his brother from body parts recovered from the rubble.
        "Why him and why now?" asked the man, who gave his name only as Haidar. "We survived 30 years
        of Saddam to be murdered like this?" In the wake of the murderous bomb attacks on the the
        Jordanian embassy and the United Nations offices in Baghdad, the latest atrocity has dealt a further
        devastating blow to efforts by the American-led coalition authority to impose order on the country. It
        has also torn apart the majority Shia population.

        The ayatollah's grieving followers first directed their anger at Saddam Hussein, believing that his
        loyalists had murdered an old foe who returned from exile in Iran only after the dictator's overthrow.

        Then yesterday Iraqi police blamed the attack on two pro-Saddam fighters and two foreign Arabs with
        links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terror network that promotes the alternative strand of Sunni
        Islam. Many suspect the ayatollah's Shia rivals.

        Whoever planted the bomb, however, his followers quickly apportioned overall blame to the American
        occupiers who they held to be responsible for failing to provide security.

        "Saddam, Wahabi [strict Sunni Islam], America and Israel: all of them are responsible for this terrible
        attack on an amazing scholar and leader," said Ghazi Wahan as he made his way to the shrine after
        a four-hour overnight journey from Basra to Najaf. "No to America. No to Saddam. Revenge for
        Islam."

        Yet only a short distance from the thronged city centre, traffic was light on the road into Najaf from
        Baghdad and Kerbala, Iraq's second holiest city. The Shia populations there are loyal to Muqtader
        al-Sadr, a young rabble-rouser who has rejected the United States occupation and spurned all
        attempts to involve him in the political process.

        Ayatollah al-Hakim had close links to Iran and its conservative supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, but
        nevertheless had become a cornerstone of coalition plans to implant democracy in Iraq. The
        involvement of his movement, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), in the new
        interim government gave much-needed credibility to the troubled political process.

        He had imposed a restraining hand on his followers, urging them to tolerate the American occupation
        in return for a quick transfer of power. But he is now gone and they are openly angry at the presence
        of US and British troops.

        More worrying than this for the White House, Downing Street and the coalition leaders in Baghdad's
        Republican Palace, his mantle as Iraq's leading Shia holy man has now passed to the 23-year-old
        al-Sadr.

        Despite his youth and lack of religious standing, al-Sadr has gained enormous popularity since the
        fall of Saddam with his fierce anti-US rhetoric.

        Yesterday he urged his supporters to stay at home in protest at coalition rule. "I call on the people to
        strike from work for three days in a peaceful way," he said. "Say nothing and do nothing without
        consulting Islamic scholars."

        He has formally condemned the attack on al-Hakim: "Curse by God those who hate Shia and Islam.
        The Ba'athists are the only people who seek benefit from this terrible act."

        The message also contained a stinging rebuke of the occupation authorities. "Be it known that
        America will not provide security for Iraq and will not let us do it," the statement went on. "It's the
        enemy of us, of you and of all believers."

        Al-Sadr owes his authority to his blood-stained lineage. Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr,
        his father, is known as the Friday Martyr, since he was gunned down by Saddam's agents in 1999
        after he defied the dictator by giving sermons following weekly prayers in Najaf. Photographs of the
        Grand Ayatollah and his uncle, who was also killed by Saddam, are the most common images on
        Iraqi streets.

        Meanwhile, seven American soldiers were wounded early yesterday when their vehicles hit a mine
        near the Syrian border. A day earlier, a US soldier died in an attack near Baghdad, the 65th killed in
        action since May 1.
         

      • Pip, Peter & Zoe
        Bob Gould wrote: This week s Green Left Weekly has a thoughtful and intelligent article by Doug Lorimer in which he quite properly points to the way the UN
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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          Bob Gould wrote:

          "This week's "Green Left Weekly" has a thoughtful and intelligent
          article by Doug Lorimer in which he quite properly points to the way
          the UN has been used by American imperialism over the ten years of
          the blockade against Iraq, to explain the possible context of the
          bombing of the UN compound. Mistakenly, in my view, however, Lorimer
          fails to expressly condemn the bombing and implies, in a similar way
          to Perez, that it was the work of what Lorimer inaccurately, in this
          context, dubs the "Iraqi resistance".

          "Within about 24 hours, some of the more conservative figures in the
          Melbourne anti war movement seized on Lorimer's article to launch a
          general diatribe against the DSP, on the Melbourne Indi Media List
          and on the Broad Left List, obviously to strengthen the climate in
          the anti war movement for a shift to the right."

          My comment:

          Bob shouldn't excuse the same conservatives he was howling at as
          "Stalinists" as they split the Walk Against War Coalition in Sydney just
          over a week ago. Those conservatives in the peace movement are not
          spliting it because the DSP doesn't share their hypocritical,
          "respectable" moral outlook (I posted the piece from Paul Norton on the
          "broad left" list tpo give readers a taste of that "respectable"
          outlook) nor is it because we use the term "Iraqi resistance" (what else
          is it, anyway?).

          The conservatives (old lefts, ALP hacks mainly) split the WAWC because
          they feared -- with reason - they they were going to be outvoted when
          the more radical wing moved to restart the mobilisations around clear
          anti-occupation demands. The problem wasn't that the radicals were going
          to alienate more liberal activists but the factthat we were going to win
          over some of those liberal activists to the correct movement
          perspective, as we had done before on a numberof occasions. Even the
          conservatives institutional stack of the WAWC failed them and some
          speakers they wanted to exclude (like the Greens and Muslim community
          speakers) got up. They couldn't hack losing the vote so tey went for the
          split.

          Similarly, it is morally outrageous (in our moral terms) for them to
          pretend that the police violence and police provoked violence at some
          great high school student demonstrations against the war was the fault
          of the student Books Not Bombs campaign. Crap and double crap. The
          conservatives joined in with the racist, pro-war Labor Carr government
          and the racist, pro-war capitalist media in a campaign against the
          students. All the so-called leftists who gave the slightest credence to
          the conservatives attack on BNB shoud hang their heads in shame. They
          babbled and muttered about DSP-Resistance ultraleftism, they whined
          about "poor marshalling". They moaned about violent Arab youths
          manipulated by Resistance. It was sickening.

          I have seen white student hacks do little ultraleft stunts and then
          latter graduate into the ranks of cynical labour bureaucrats who then
          become the little sniggering handraisers for the conservatives when they
          do their jobs on this or that movement. One of these little junior Labor
          hacks even tried to blame the weakness of the student movement (that
          Labor students run by and large) on the Books Not Bombs demos! These
          people not an ounce of integrity.

          [This is complimentary an opening for a lecture about the importance of
          sleazing-up-to-slimy-ALP-hacks tactics from a certain quarter...]

          But our outrage is justifiable. I disagree this argument about violence
          inthe ongoing war in Iraq is NOT about morality and just about tactics.
          It IS about morality, the difference between their morality and ours.

          Peter Boyle


          P.S. Below, another article that should make those knee-jerk
          "anti-terrorist" leftists ask themselves if they are making a serious
          political assessment or if they are just being swept along the
          hypocritical anti-terrorist moralising of the ruling class.

          Peter Boyle

          Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2003
          Iraqis' Rage at Boiling Point
          A day after the third major bombing in a month left 100 dead, citizens'
          frustration with the U.S.-led occupation turns to anger
          by Carol J. Williams

          BAGHDAD — More at ease with the gentle voice she uses to teach
          elementary school students, Khawla Ahmed struggled Saturday to find
          diplomatic language to express her outrage at what life has become in
          Iraq.

          But as she rattled off the mounting horrors of thieves prowling in
          daylight, sabotage knocking out lights in schools and water in the
          kitchen, and now terrorist strikes killing scores of Iraqis, her anger
          escalated into a venomous tirade at the country's U.S.-led
          administration.

          "America considers itself the superpower of the world, but here it is
          powerless to keep any semblance of order," she said. "The Americans
          fired our police and our army. Now there is no security and foreign
          terrorists are coming across our borders."

          Foreign infiltrators have been blamed for Friday's attack in the central
          Iraqi city of Najaf, where a prominent cleric and about 100 other people
          died when a car bomb detonated amid a crowd after prayers. Iraqi police
          arrested several suspects in the bombing who occupation authorities
          allege have ties to the Al Qaeda network.

          Recoiling from shock after shock in recent months, Iraqis place much of
          the blame for the chaos on the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in
          April and also helped scuttle the economy and their confidence about the
          future. Looting ravaged industrial sites, leaving most Iraqis still idle
          four months after the end of major combat. Hussein loyalists and others,
          including prisoners freed by the old regime on the eve of the invasion,
          have attacked oil pipelines, the electricity grid and water supply to
          sow insecurity and resentment of the occupying forces.

          After the killing Friday of Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr Hakim outside a
          Najaf mosque, simmering frustration with the U.S. overseers boiled over
          into anger.

          "Iraqis were forced to disarm while the dangerous remnants of the
          previous regime were left free to do evil," said Adel Abdul Mehdi, an
          advisor to the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. "They are able to
          sow destruction in the country and were able to kill Hakim due to this
          security loophole."

          One member of the council, Shiite cleric Seyyid Mohammed Bahr Uloom, was
          reported to have suspended his participation in the transitional body
          until the administration agrees to hand over to Iraqis responsibility
          for their own protection.

          More than 3,000 Shiites gathered at the gates of the coalition
          headquarters in Baghdad on Saturday to protest the persistent
          indignities they say they suffer and to mourn the loss of Hakim and the
          other victims.

          At a news conference, members of the Governing Council joined ordinary
          Iraqis in contending that the Najaf bombing wouldn't have happened if
          occupying forces hadn't made a shambles of their country by first
          invading and then dismantling the Iraqi military and law enforcement.
          The coalition is now training a new Iraqi police force.

          "We believe the question of security should be handled totally by
          Iraqis," said Ibrahim Jafari, president of the council, which is
          struggling to name a provisional Cabinet that eventually could take over
          day-to-day governing from the Coalition Provisional Authority.

          Younadam Kanna, the 25-member council's only Christian, joined other
          politicians in blaming "remnants of the previous regime" for trying to
          thwart the peaceful hand-over of power. In the wake of three massive
          bombings this month that have claimed about 140 lives, the coalition
          appears eager to get an Iraqi leadership up and running so it can
          declare its work done here.

          In both Sunni and Shiite Muslim neighborhoods of Baghdad, Iraqis
          insisted Saturday that foreigners had staged the Najaf bombing. In the
          Adhamiya area, Sunnis accused "Zionists" of trying to instigate violence
          among Muslims and blamed the United States for plunging the country into
          a security vacuum.

          "In Iraq now, yesterday was always better than today, and tomorrow it
          will be even worse," said Rose Ghazi Umran, a member of the national
          volleyball team. "For athletes, it's important to look to the future,
          but we see there only a worse situation than today."

          As living conditions have been slow to improve due in part to persistent
          sabotage, Iraqis increasingly have begun to suspect that the U.S.-led
          invasion was aimed at stealing their natural wealth, not liberating them
          from oppression.

          "We can't walk our streets even in daylight. I had to come here with my
          daughter so she could apply for a job. This never happened under the
          previous regime," said Khalida Hadi, her anger growing. "Nothing works.
          No electricity. No water. Our food ration is nothing. We want our share
          of the oil money!"

          Throughout Adhamiya, pro-Hussein sentiment abounds. "We don't want
          lights or water, just Saddam Hussein," reads one slogan spray-painted on
          a low wall. "Long live the father of all martyrs," proclaims a banner.

          In the Shiite neighborhood of Grayat, outrage at the Najaf blast was
          directed toward Hussein and foreign terrorists, as well as at U.S.
          forces for creating the conditions that allowed the terrorists'
          infiltration.

          "As long as he is alive we will suffer attacks like this," predicted
          Hajiya Tadhi Saaud, expressing confusion about why heavily armed U.S.
          soldiers who, at least in Baghdad, seem to be everywhere cannot find the
          deposed dictator and bring him to justice.

          "We are peace-loving people and don't want to be pushed to war against
          anybody," said Murtada Hussein, who owns an electronics shop in Grayat.
          "But we expect to be protected."
        • ozleft
          This comment by Louis Proyect on Marxmail is worth considering before people get too carried away with jumping up and down on Paul Norton and the rest of the
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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            This comment by Louis Proyect on Marxmail is worth considering before
            people get too carried away with jumping up and down on Paul Norton
            and "the rest of the reformist and centrist left" (are they really
            all the same?)

            >>To me the big issue with these car-bombings is not morality but
            politics. It is interesting that whoever carried them out (the same
            is true for 9/11 as well) made no attempt to identify or explain
            themselves. This is not just terrorism, it is contempt for the
            masses. At least Hamas takes credit for its attacks on civilians and
            provides an explanation.

            >>Also, keep in mind that these terror bombings might be the work of
            provocateurs. Although I don't believe that the 9/11 attacks were the
            result of a CIA conspiracy, it is not beyond them to blow up innocent
            Arabs in pursuit of their geopolitical goals.>>

            This is an extract, the full post is at
            http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/msg35966.html
            I don't think I've pulled this out of context, but people can judge
            for themselves.
          • Peter Boyle
            ... Well, let s keep the focus on the issue: what stance should the anti-war movement in imperialist countries, like Australia, take on Iraq. It should stay
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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              ozleft wrote:

               This comment by Louis Proyect on Marxmail is worth considering before
              people get too carried away with jumping up and down on Paul Norton
              and "the rest of the reformist and centrist left" (are they really
              all the same?)
               
              Well, let's keep the focus on the issue: what stance should the anti-war movement in imperialist countries, like Australia, take on Iraq.

              It should stay focussed on End the occupation/Troops out and it should not go for the seemingly more "respectable" call for greater UN involvement, especially in the context of a desperate search by the military occupiers of Iraq to find a UN figleaf for their occupation and plunder of Iraq.

              The conservative wing of the anti-war movement (and yes, of course they are not on "borg" but encompass a range of political positions from fence-sitting-anarchists-exposing-their-liberalism to outright apologists for right-wing Labor) now finds itself shoutuing the same slogan as Alexander Downer!

              Peter Boyle

              Downer wants resolution on bigger UN Iraq role
              By Tom Allard
              Sydney Morning Herald, September 2, 2003

              The transfer of the civil administration of Iraq to the United Nations could be part of a new UN resolution paving the way for other nations to commit troops to the country, an Australian Government official said yesterday.

              Australia wants the UN to play a bigger role in the governance of postwar Iraq and lay down a timeline for self-government.

              But, it does not want to send more military personnel.

              The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, told ABC Radio that such a resolution "would give the UN more of a role in Iraq than is currently the case. Though, what that greater role would be is still . . . a matter for debate in New York".

              A spokesman for Mr Downer said debate would consider the transfer of the civil authority to the UN from the control of the US administrator, Paul Bremmer.

              "We would look at any serious proposal that takes things in the right direction," he said.

              However, the US would maintain control over the military operation in Iraq, a position Mr Downer supported.

              India, France and Russia have indicated they will commit forces to Iraq but want a greater UN presence in Iraq.

              "I don't think anybody is proposing a UN peacekeeping force," Mr Downer said.

              This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/01/1062403457879.html
               
               

            • Stuart Munckton
              Lyttonwelsh has missed the point of my posts I think. The point of my posts was NOT necessarily to defend the bombing of the UN and certainly not to throw out
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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                Lyttonwelsh has missed the point of my posts I think.

                The point of my posts was NOT necessarily to defend the bombing of the UN
                and certainly not to throw out the traditional Marxist critique of individual
                terrorism as practised by the IRA or Hamas.

                It was to argue that for a framework in which to view the bombing, and against
                moralism or a knee-jerk condemnation of it without looking a the actual
                circumstances. I actually said very clear, in both posts, that I didn't think I had
                come across enough evidence to say whether or not it could be considered
                either a step forward or a step backwards for the liberation struggle - which is
                the framework it needs to be viewed in, not some moralising position on
                whether or not it is 'civilised' in a struggle for national liberation to engage in
                acts the kill civilians.

                You say 'Are you blind, it has already hindered any resistance to occupation.
                > It has made whole communities ask for more help from the US.' Okay fine,
                show me the proof of that. I haven't seen anything that suggests that about
                the UN bombing. The bombing of the cleric and dozens of others has
                definately had that effect. I don't think there can be the slightest doubt on the
                nature of that atrocitiy and I don't know anyone who has suggested there is.

                I did notice that after the UN bombing there was a lot of talk about how more
                countries would be wary of joining the US in iraq, which I though wouldf be a
                good thing for the Iraqi masses.

                You point out to me that killing the general staff of Franco is not the same
                thing as killing the poeple in the UN building. That is obvious, I never
                suggested it was the same. I brought up Trotsky's example to draw out the
                point that what in one case would be an act of individual terrorism, in another
                case, such as war, may be perfectly legitimate. So, the bombing of the UN
                building should not necessariy, as a knee jerk reaction, be treated as
                'terrorism' in the traditional sense. It should be looked into a bit more, what
                was the aim of it, what was its outcome etc.

                What if you had the chance during the Spanish Civil War to blow up a building
                that General Franco and his general staff were holed up in, but there was
                also civilians working in it. You are not able to get the civilians out before you
                would have a chance to blow it up. Should it still be done?

                If it was assesed that it would be an important blow to the Fascists and take
                the struggle to defeat them concretely forward, then yes it should be done. If
                the Fascists win, as they did, they will kill a lot more people than those in that
                building, as they did. To not do it in order to save the lives of civilians at that
                time, may very well cause more people to be killed later when Franco comes
                into power. The first and foremost task when fighting war, even a peoples war,
                is to win. If you lose a peoples war, you, and the masses more broadly, are
                fucked.

                LW wrote 'UN Troops maybe, but not UN Bureaucrats.' Why not? If you could
                kill top ranking US bureacrats, such as Paul Bremmer, in Iraq, is that also out
                of bounds? The UN were there are part of a colonising force. That should
                never be forgotten. The UN was in the wrong. In the wrong place and doing
                the wrong thing. The question is whether the act of bombing the UN
                headquarters was productive to the struggle or not.

                Lyttonwelsh also repeats the US claim that the resistance consists of
                'Baathists remanents', but without providing evidence. It may have been
                'baathists remanents' who carried out the UN bombing, it may have even
                been Al Queda elements. Their aims in doing it may have nothing in common
                with those struggling to truly liberate Iraq from imperialism. But we don't know.
                If you want to say that it was Baathists please provide some evidence. There
                has been PLENTY of evidence, even in the mainstream media, that ther
                resistance is wide-spread and NOT limited to Baathists or forgeign Al Quadia
                networks or what ever else the US claim. although those elements might well
                be part of it.

                Lyttonwelsh informs me that 'terrorism is armed reformism' and uses the
                example of the IRA/Sinn Fein. I couldn't agree more. Sinn Feins opportunism
                is the flip side of the IRA's ultramilitarism. And suicide bombings on civilian
                targets in Israel are acts of desperation, not a useful political strategy.

                And marxists should say this, not 'turn a blind eye and whisper about it in
                private'. But not supporting an act is very different from condemning it. I don't
                wish to engage in condemning a young Palestinian who has been driven to
                such desperation that he feels the only way he can hit back at his oppressor is
                to strap explosives on himself and blow himself up in a cafe. I condemn the
                Israeli government for creating those conditions. I condemn Israel as the main
                agressor, the party responsible for the violence.

                The strategy of the Provisional IRA was not the best one to liberate the six
                counties. But they didn't start the war, Britain did. There would be no
                bombings if Britain was not occupying part of a foreign country. I don't agree
                with the terrorist acts of the IRA, but I condemn Great Britain for the
                bloodshed.

                As for the bombing of the UN, well whether or not this action is terrorism in
                the rtaditional sense is open. An act that at one time would be the sort of
                ''individual terrorism' Marxists oppose, can at others be a useful tactic. This
                goes for all tactics. Occupying a public building at the end of a demonstration
                at one time may be an act of u ltra-left lunacy - if, say the riot cops with pepper
                spray out numnber the protesters - at another time it could be the right thing to
                help inspire those there and those not there - to help build the mass struggle
                for liberation.

                Armed struggle at one point may by ultra-left adventurism, at another point,
                the right tactic to take the mass struggle for liberation forward. The judge of
                the UN bombing will be the impact it has on the masses - whether it helps
                create the space for them to participate in the resistance and inspire them to
                do so, or whether it doesn't.

                Stuart
              • Stuart Munckton
                Lyttonwelsh has missed the point of my posts I think. The point of my posts was NOT necessarily to defend the bombing of the UN and certainly not to throw out
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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                  Lyttonwelsh has missed the point of my posts I think.

                  The point of my posts was NOT necessarily to defend the bombing of the UN
                  and certainly not to throw out the traditional Marxist critique of individual
                  terrorism as practised by the IRA or Hamas.

                  It was to argue that for a framework in which to view the bombing, and against
                  moralism or a knee-jerk condemnation of it without looking a the actual
                  circumstances. I actually said very clear, in both posts, that I didn't think I had
                  come across enough evidence to say whether or not it could be considered
                  either a step forward or a step backwards for the liberation struggle - which is
                  the framework it needs to be viewed in, not some moralising position on
                  whether or not it is 'civilised' in a struggle for national liberation to engage in
                  acts the kill civilians.

                  You say 'Are you blind, it has already hindered any resistance to occupation.
                  > It has made whole communities ask for more help from the US.' Okay fine,
                  show me the proof of that. I haven't seen anything that suggests that about
                  the UN bombing. The bombing of the cleric and dozens of others has
                  definately had that effect. I don't think there can be the slightest doubt on the
                  nature of that atrocitiy and I don't know anyone who has suggested there is.

                  I did notice that after the UN bombing there was a lot of talk about how more
                  countries would be wary of joining the US in iraq, which I though wouldf be a
                  good thing for the Iraqi masses.

                  You point out to me that killing the general staff of Franco is not the same
                  thing as killing the poeple in the UN building. That is obvious, I never
                  suggested it was the same. I brought up Trotsky's example to draw out the
                  point that what in one case would be an act of individual terrorism, in another
                  case, such as war, may be perfectly legitimate. So, the bombing of the UN
                  building should not necessariy, as a knee jerk reaction, be treated as
                  'terrorism' in the traditional sense. It should be looked into a bit more, what
                  was the aim of it, what was its outcome etc.

                  What if you had the chance during the Spanish Civil War to blow up a building
                  that General Franco and his general staff were holed up in, but there was
                  also civilians working in it. You are not able to get the civilians out before you
                  would have a chance to blow it up. Should it still be done?

                  If it was assesed that it would be an important blow to the Fascists and take
                  the struggle to defeat them concretely forward, then yes it should be done. If
                  the Fascists win, as they did, they will kill a lot more people than those in that
                  building, as they did. To not do it in order to save the lives of civilians at that
                  time, may very well cause more people to be killed later when Franco comes
                  into power. The first and foremost task when fighting war, even a peoples war,
                  is to win. If you lose a peoples war, you, and the masses more broadly, are
                  fucked.

                  LW wrote 'UN Troops maybe, but not UN Bureaucrats.' Why not? If you could
                  kill top ranking US bureacrats, such as Paul Bremmer, in Iraq, is that also out
                  of bounds? The UN were there are part of a colonising force. That should
                  never be forgotten. The UN was in the wrong. In the wrong place and doing
                  the wrong thing. The question is whether the act of bombing the UN
                  headquarters was productive to the struggle or not.

                  Lyttonwelsh also repeats the US claim that the resistance consists of
                  'Baathists remanents', but without providing evidence. It may have been
                  'baathists remanents' who carried out the UN bombing, it may have even
                  been Al Queda elements. Their aims in doing it may have nothing in common
                  with those struggling to truly liberate Iraq from imperialism. But we don't know.
                  If you want to say that it was Baathists please provide some evidence. There
                  has been PLENTY of evidence, even in the mainstream media, that ther
                  resistance is wide-spread and NOT limited to Baathists or forgeign Al Quadia
                  networks or what ever else the US claim. although those elements might well
                  be part of it.

                  Lyttonwelsh informs me that 'terrorism is armed reformism' and uses the
                  example of the IRA/Sinn Fein. I couldn't agree more. Sinn Feins opportunism
                  is the flip side of the IRA's ultramilitarism. And suicide bombings on civilian
                  targets in Israel are acts of desperation, not a useful political strategy.

                  And marxists should say this, not 'turn a blind eye and whisper about it in
                  private'. But not supporting an act is very different from condemning it. I don't
                  wish to engage in condemning a young Palestinian who has been driven to
                  such desperation that he feels the only way he can hit back at his oppressor is
                  to strap explosives on himself and blow himself up in a cafe. I condemn the
                  Israeli government for creating those conditions. I condemn Israel as the main
                  agressor, the party responsible for the violence.

                  The strategy of the Provisional IRA was not the best one to liberate the six
                  counties. But they didn't start the war, Britain did. There would be no
                  bombings if Britain was not occupying part of a foreign country. I don't agree
                  with the terrorist acts of the IRA, but I condemn Great Britain for the
                  bloodshed.

                  As for the bombing of the UN, well whether or not this action is terrorism in
                  the rtaditional sense is open. An act that at one time would be the sort of
                  ''individual terrorism' Marxists oppose, can at others be a useful tactic. This
                  goes for all tactics. Occupying a public building at the end of a demonstration
                  at one time may be an act of u ltra-left lunacy - if, say the riot cops with pepper
                  spray out numnber the protesters - at another time it could be the right thing to
                  help inspire those there and those not there - to help build the mass struggle
                  for liberation.

                  Armed struggle at one point may by ultra-left adventurism, at another point,
                  the right tactic to take the mass struggle for liberation forward. The judge of
                  the UN bombing will be the impact it has on the masses - whether it helps
                  create the space for them to participate in the resistance and inspire them to
                  do so, or whether it doesn't.

                  Stuart
                • ozleft
                  Dear Stuart, A word of friendly advice, nothing to do with our (as yet not fully clarified) differences of opinion on Iraq. The web is a very public forum, and
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 1, 2003
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                    Dear Stuart,

                    A word of friendly advice, nothing to do with our (as yet not fully
                    clarified) differences of opinion on Iraq.

                    The web is a very public forum, and discussion of killing specific
                    individuals could very easily be misinterpreted by people who would
                    be very happy to lock up some left-wingers for a long time, or seized
                    on by sensationalist sections of the media.

                    A little caution may be in order.

                    Ed Lewis
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