Sunday, October 01, 2006




In the normal course of events these days the tasks of working class socialists, particularly during the electoral cycle, are to create and distribute propaganda in favor of socialist solutions to the crisis of humankind and to organize around a socialist program. Since we are not in an immediate struggle for political power that is more than enough work. Thus, usually the goings-on among capitalist propagandists and ideologues have no direct relation to working on those tasks. However every once in a while, as now during a electoral cycle, it is interesting to take note of what is going on in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Why? Make no mistake, while the relation of forces today is totally on their side, in the final analysis we will have to directly fight the liberal wing of that party for the political allegiance of the better elements of that party. Does any militant leftist believe that today in 2006 that our recruiting grounds are located anywhere in the vicinity of the Republican Party?

With that thought in mind Mr. Beinart’s book, the Good Fight, is an outline of a plan to undercut the so-called liberal-pacifist wing of the Democratic Party in order to draw back the allegiance of what at one time were the elements that made the Democratic Party a governing party during much of the 20th century. In short, Mr. Beinart is fighting for what appears to him to be the ‘soul’ of the Democratic Party. Mr. Beinart’s central argument is that while he and other liberal hawks were wrong, dead wrong, on support to the Bush Administrations war in Iraq those who did at least get that question right are nevertheless wrong on a strategy to either defeat or contain Islamic terrorism. Of course, in the process Mr. Beinart thus retroactively absolves himself of his ‘little error’ on Iraq in the interests of the greater war on terrorism. Nobody ever said democratic ideologues were incapable of the occasional sleight-of-hand.

The predicate for this thesis is that there is vast ‘conspiracy’ underfoot by those, apparently led by the filmmaker Michael Moore and kindred spirits, who want to take over the Democratic Party and emulate Neville Chamberlain's capitualtion to Hitler at Munich as a reaction to the current "war on terror". The result, according to Mr. Beinart, is that the centrist/ Lieberman wing will have no home and the Democratic Party will not rule again like in the good old days of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. In answer, this writer makes this observation-what planet does Mr. Beinart live on? If memory serves Mr. Moore supported one General Wesley Clark, the mad commander of NATO forces in Serbia who attempted to bomb that country back to Stone Age conditions, in the presidential primaries of 2004. Moreover, do any rational liberal politicians or activists take political counsel from Mr. Moore? Certainly he is a political gadfly and provocative filmmaker but, please, go after the big game. And spend less time on the Internet.

Moreover, and I do not need to rely on memory for this one, who in the Democratic Party opposed the now crumbling war in Afghanistan? There were very few of us in those days, even those who were allegedly opposed to all wars on pacifist grounds, out on the streets protesting that invasion in the aftermath of the hysteria over 9/11. I saw no Democratic Party opposition, hawk or dove, to that little adventure. No, overall, as we are painfully aware every day, the Democratic Party is nothing more than a somewhat loyal parliamentary opposition. They take no more risks than the Republicans. The real problem is that on foreign policy, either in its containment or confrontational stages, the Democratic Party is Republican-lite. That in a nutshell is their political malaise-the Republicans do better at and are perceived to be better at protecting the long term interests of the ruling classes-end of story.

Mr. Beinart’s book does bring up a serious political question about how to fight the war on terror for those who favor a workers government and we duck the issue at our peril. Be forewarned, Islamic fundamentalism is a present threat to not only democratic forms of government but ultimately also to socialist forms as well. Thus, without being forced to outline an abstract blueprint to a theoretical question- How would a workers government in power respond to the actions of the Islamic terrorists? Fair enough.

The obvious first answer is that a workers government would try to break the stranglehold of Islamic fundamentalism at the base by, yes, throwing lots of money and organizers at the problems which keep the Islamic masses in poverty. Beyond that the breaking up of the Islamic terrorist organizations appears to be much more of police problem than a military one. A workers government, like any responsible government, would mercilessly track down every one of these cells in the appropriate manner. Finally, a workers government under foreseeable conditions would not be a pacifist government, even though its long-term aim is a peaceful world. There is a long way to go before humankind gets to that stage.

Let me suggest the following as one possible scenario that a future workers government might follow. The Soviet Union’s intervention into Afghanistan in 1979 drove the West, including the American Democratic Party headed by one President Jimmy Carter, to support the Islamic fundamentalists of that time as a proxy against the Soviets. The Soviet Union, even if eventually only half-heartedly committed to the intervention, in retrospect, was then the vanguard of the fight against Islamic fundamentalism. Does anyone today want to rethink that Western opposition to Soviet intervention into Afghanistan? One should. A workers government today would follow the Soviet lead demonstrated in Afghanistan and in earlier fights in the 1920’s against counterrevolutionary Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia as it attempted to consolidate the Soviet state. That is a sketch of some aspects of a workers government policy to think about. As these thoughts suggest in the fight against Islamic fundamentalism the real options are fairly narrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment