Responses to Fred F. article on Iraq debate from Lou Paulsen and Nestor Gorojovsky
- Reply from Lou Paulsen
Fred Feldman wrote,
> In the discussion of Iraq, there has been quite a lot ofdeclarations
> of unconditional support for "the" resistance, no matter what "it"so
> "Americans," "whites," leftists from the imperialist countries, and
> on come under steady fire as "social imperialists" if they taketheir
> distance from any action of the resistance.take
> But in fact, the critics of the dissenting "social imperialists"
> a very firm stand on what "the resistance" in Iraq should do. Theyi.e.,
> propose a political line for "the resistance," one which I disagree
> with in some important respects. [and then he includes Paulsen,
myself, in his list of critics] ...
> When Jose Perez said that the United Nations was a "legitimate
> in Iraq, he came down hard on a disputed question in "the"resistance.
> I unconditionally defend the Iraqi resistance to US occupation,movement,
> period. But I would like not only to defend this variegated
> but to see the goal of an independent, sovereign Iraq reconquered --even
> if possible on a higher level that that represented by Saddam's
> regime. If I have opinions on these matters, I will express them
> from afar.I think that Fred is slightly confused here. This is not a new
is as old as the concept of the right of self-determination itself.
a big difference between saying that the UN is a 'legitimate target' -
put it more correctly IMHO in terms of activity and avoiding
labeling, saying that we will not issue statements condemning the
the UN operation in Baghdad - and saying that this is the right way
Iraqi struggle to proceed. Just as there is a difference between
an oppressed nation has the right to secede from an oppressor nation
defending secessionists from persecution by the oppressor nation's
saying that it SHOULD secede. And, for that matter, just as there is
difference between refusing to join in ritual moral condemnations of
group, on the one hand, and saying that they SHOULD have flown planes
WTC, on the other hand. See the discussion on this list in 2001.
Personally I take exception to the -accusation- (as I consider it)
that I take
a "very firm line on what the Iraqi resistance should do." I wouldn't
formulate it like that. The Iraqi resistance is composed of many very
types. What sense would it make for me, a Marxist, to take a very
on what bourgeois nationalists, Islamicists, etc., should do? If I
tempted to take firm lines at all, it would be on what
should do in advancing the Iraqi resistance. But I find even
this "temptation" easy to reject.
Now, let's say that there are forces in the Iraqi resistance that say
UN office should not have been blown up. Some of them might make
that I, as a Marxist, will not be impressed by, e.g., "The UN is the
the world", "This damages our ability to reach out to the peace-loving
government of France", "It is always wrong to use violence", etc.
might make more practical arguments, like, for example, "This will
liberals in the U.S. and make some of them think that troops should
Iraq." Someone else might then make arguments on the other side, for
that it is useful to chase the UN out, or that it will inspire Iraqis
they think of the UN as the authors of the sanctions and the forcible
disarmament of Iraq. However, it is not my role to pitch into this
among Iraqis or to "take a firm line" on whether this was a good or
However, I DO "take a firm line" about what socialists in the
countries should do. This is that we should defend the -right- of the
resistance, which is to say of the various organizations, groups,
etc., which oppose the US occupation, to use the tactics and
their choice.* Defend against whom? Against the imperialists and
servants among the media and intellectuals, and against attacks which
from the false point of view of imperialist "morality" and the
the oppressed. In engaging in this defense, it is necessary to
Iraqis might consider the UN an enemy institution, and to dispel some
mythology about it.
In a discussion -among Marxists-, I have the obligation to argue in
the above strategy, and to convince, if possible, other Marxists who
already convinced of it that they also ought to defend all the various
elements of the Iraqi resistance against US imperialism and its
and ought to approach the situation dialectically in terms of the
that is going on now, and not exclusively in terms of the CIA coup in
the supposed 'counter-revolutionary' nature of Baathists and
certainly not by labeling them as 'medieval' and 'uncivilized', there
not an ounce of Marxism in such an approach. Other Marxists have a
disagree. But it is not my fault that disagreements about such
questions in a
time of war are substantively important, or that the intensity of the
discussion reflects this importance.
Now, suppose some other Iraqi resistance entity comes along and says,
that it was wrong to attack the U.N. and was not legitimate in any
the bombing should be condemned by everybody. Now you come along and
you won't condemn it, so you are taking a firm line on a dispute
resistance!" So far as I know, nobody HAS come along to say this to
Frankly I think the Iraqi resistance forces have better things to do
start arguments with forces that are involved in BTTHN activity in the
about exactly what statements they are making and so on. But in the
hypothetical case that this were to happen, my response would be, "I
taking a line on whether this attack was correct or not. But we are
defend the people who did it -against the US imperialists-, just as we
you or any and all other elements in the resistance -against the US
imperialists-. This has always been our understanding of our duties
national liberation struggles, including those within the borders of
I hope this clears the air a bit,
2. Reply from Nestor Gorojovsky
El Miércoles 3 de Septiembre de 2003 a las 10:25,
Fred Feldman dijo sobre How to misuse unconditional support of "the"
> When Nestor Gorojovsky is insistent on the alleged parallels betweendown like
> Peron and Saddam (I really don't think there are any), he comes
> a ton of bricks on a question that is also hotly debated in thenational
> movement against the occupation. As someone who has learned a greatdeal
> from Nestor about the concreteness of the Argentine situation, Ihave been
> shocked by the stereotyped approach he has taken to Iraq. In myopinion,
> he has attacked the question with an Argentine cookie-cutter.I guess Fred is sanctifying Perón as much as older Leftists have
Satanized him. The points of contact between Perón and Saddam are as
many as the objective situations allow. To be sure, most Peronists
today side with Saddam and remember Perón's "tapes from Madrid"
during exile every time they learn of Saddam's "tapes from
clandestinity"! You may like national-bourgeois leaderships in the
Third World or not, but you have to take them as a whole, not in
If I wanted to, I could draft as serious an anti-Peronist diatribe as
many have drafted anti-Saddam diatribes. I repeat: I am NOT saying
that Saddam and Perón are the same thing.
But they share something, something they share with Chávez and even
Fidel: they were the privileged targets of imperialist intervention.
And this, which tells a lot to masses of people the Third World over,
should not be overlooked.
BTW: Chávez had all to gain and nothing to lose with Saddam remaining
in Iraq, since his oil policies search to set Venezuela free from the
dollar. Saddam was advancing on the same line.
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky