In a message dated 4/6/2003 1:14:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time, xxxx@xxxxxx writes:
I was listening to the RadioNation special debate on the war, and Christopher Hitchens makes a pretty strong case for getting rid of the homocidal maniac Hussein, and freeing the 25 million Iraqi people. So I searched for more from him, and here's an article he wrote. (He used to write for The Nation, but got fed up with them and quit).
Sunday August 25, 2002
You surprise me, I thought you were a complete die-hard anti-war man. I have consistently supported the anti-war movement also, but with a somewhat cautious 'look in the eye'. So your sentiments all of a sudden are honest. But I might resurrect a 'damning post' seeming to support the war from last summer, at:
This is a link to an email exchange I had at Science For the People, where I was challenged on various points after being somewhat critical of the left on that list, even going so far as to summon up the (quite inadequate) old book by Tucker, Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx, just to be annoying in a useful way. And also The Black Book of Communism. That was the point where I realized that 'bad Marxist theory' is a very bad habit indeed and is so immortal noone can do an upgrade and so muddled that the left can't get organized. Behind that are the old style Marxists who really mean to never apologize for Stalin, and in general take all idealistic leftism as a front for their endeavours, making all discussion hopeless. I had to realize that I was never a part of any known left and was wandering in my own left, and would be murdered, week one, in any serious revolution.
My point is merely that Christopher Hitchens is going through somesuch disillusion phase as above in some such version known to himself, a la his resigning from The Nation.
I am different in that I was disillusioned in the seventies and yet have always tried to keep an eye on leftist troubles, and hence can't be disillusioned.But I will dismantle Marxist theory on sight if it comes with the usual layer of crude. In the meantime this current politics is prime stuff of the generation of young Marx. Nothing new at all. Like the birth of the British Empire all over again.
In my book, I threaten to 'rewrite Marx' from his critics, which turns out to be easier than you think, and you can read my Amazon reviews of ten Marx debunkers, all of whom I survived. I only say that because much of the anti-war rhetoric is filled with a lot of inaccurate thinking and suddenly, as here, you realize it doesn't add up.
Anyway, the email ends with a seeming defense of the War in Iraq. You should know that I actually 'do dialectic' and became an anti-war supporter the day after I wrote the piece. And yet I was perhaps right the first time. Note that was written on a Marxist or radical list, and was intended as a reminder, not a position. A reminder that Marxists wish to invade countries with revoutions, in the name of freedom. So Mr. Bush is invading someone else's country with a 'regime change' in the name of freedom. What's the difference? And who will do it right?
I am not a stand up comedian, and I confess that this thinking was an attempt to be annoying. So...; Don't misinterpret that remark, which was both serious and intended to annoy Marxists in a bad mood.
Still to answer your question, the neoliberal regime now in power Texas style is classic neoliberal gunboat imperialism in action, a real specimen for any leftist lepidopterist of such regimes, and takes us back to the first paragraphs of the Communist Manifesto where Marx and Engels note the revolutionary character of the triumphant bourgeoisie. The point is that they have a theory of freedom too. The ghost of Hegelian geist before Marx spoke his mind. etc....
We spend so much time villainizing the status quo that we forget that the left bungled the job and now the neoliberal logic is doing its thing as it has done for two centuries.
So my point is merely to welcome you to my dialectical club where you don't have to feel embarrassed for suddenly seeing the logic in this war, a la Hitchens. Be wary. You will tend to slid into terminal Fukuyama-ization.
I think that we have yet to see the catch here in Bush's game but all in all this marketization of the planet was bound to collide with the Archaic World of Islam to put it out of its miseray and meanwhile I click on Chomsky's site at least once a day.
But your feeling is fine by me. I say all this because I feel sorry for these anti-war protestors, a sense of being in tears, behind being enraged.
Perhaps that was the point of my demurral last summer (which assumed that the UN would be doing the job, by the way). I suspected that Bush would get his way and didn't want to wish another failure on the left.
But in fact the vibrancy of this protest movement has been such as to render that feeling superfluous. Where now then?
A true left requires going back over the history and the history of theory, and freeing oneself from propaganda. Theory as propaganda is useless, and I note Chomsky's success is in part due to that feeling of dismissing theory. I don't think we can, but his approach is refreshing.
We can at least observe, if we are powerless, that's the minimum, and we can change through observation. We can observe this attempt to create 'democracy' and see if it works.
In any case, Hitchens isn't liked by the old guard to say the least, but some of his observations are very much to the point.
My support of this war was not really that, then. One unwitting value of the anti-war movement is to keep a generation uncorrupted by imperial arrogance. You have never lived with the 'tough old brits in their colonies'. I have met them, and fear for the next generation. Invent a sane left quick. It is like terminal cancer. Avoid! There is no faster way to foment cultural plague on a bright generation that mucking about with empire. So if it does nothing else this anti-war movement will help to keep a 'remnant' out of mischief.
Enough for the moment.
Link and selection__________________________
All I have to offer here is a cogent time-and-motion study that can free
people from Marxist obsessions to see the Marx of the 1840's thinking on his
feet, and not subject to the reifications that have no swept the field. That
model of history is, if anything, too leftist, and deserves a spot on the
Yankee Doodle circuit, but I have left it openended to make sure people on
the left get a piece of it, if they find it useful.
One thing my historical analysis shows clearly is something the composers of
Empire have rediscovered, which is that a better future would be nice, but in
the end historical directionality defaults to the best-behaved bully around,
in ancient times the Romans, in modern times that seems to be the American.
Out of a choice of bullies, if the far left is a fuckup, the system defaults
to the domination of the best behaved bully. The Bolshivik bully was far
worse. And that's that, for the moment.
So at worst we end up where Marx was in 1848, dealing with class struggle,
using intelligent coordinated action to relieve the immense 'doesn't have to
be that way' interior potential of a sluggish capitalist monster. Whatever
else the future holds. But if the left had a second chance today, would the
same screwup take place?
We could soon find out, and the regurgitations of the Second Internationale
won't help here.
I am not a very practical activist here, I know. But that wasn't really my
purpose. Signing up for the Internet was my first contact with a left, and
now that I have enemies all over the world, I think I will stick to theory.
What to do about Saddam Hussein? I was reading an article two days ago about
how his secret police tortured a small child by crippling its foot, to find
her father, some man with a wanted poster. I think my well-behaved bully
principle is about to take effect here. So I don't know. Maybe send in the
marines so we can go back to complaining about imperialism.
So I think a broader view of theory, and a renewed perception of current
realities beyond the stale analysis now current will be necessary. More could
If you care to do the work, the eonic model will perform the bad wisdom tooth
extraction needed. Without the work, it will remain incomprehensible
gibberish, and my protection against a universal history being turned into
another form of murder.
World History and the Eonic Effect