June 30, 2004 | Unknown

Replying to Graham on Iraq – long

You say “However I will not from behind my lap top lecture those who seek to resist violence with violence,” but that is in fact what you are doing. The US, British and Australians resist violence with violence and you condemn them, even though this is done more closely in accordance with the laws than any previous conflict I can think of.
Graham Please give us a break here! Who invaded whom? Nobody now blames Iraq for 9/11. No one now believes that Iraq had was poised to destroy Britain in 45 minutes. The Coalition of the Willing attacked Iraq. The Iraqis have resisted. I will not lecture them on how they should conduct that resistance. But I favour non-violence and will never advocate violence.
Yet you accept as legitimate the actions of people who deliberately target civilians with violence in cowardly violation of any laws I am aware of or ethics and morality I would accept as legitimitate.
Repeat. I advocate non-violence. But as for cowardly I think you should address that charge to your commander in chief and the secretary for war. Both Bush and Rumsfeld had their chances to fight for their country but have preferred to send others to their death.
BTW check out the statistics for deaths among the resistance, and then ask yourself how could these people be described as cowardly. The al-Mahdi army lost about 1500 men, yet they still came on to take on the tanks, the helicopters, the planes etc etc. I would steer away from the cowardly argument if I were you.
Graham says: In this debate you are the conservative with quaint old-fashioned ideas. You are using tools of political analysis developed by Marxists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They weren’t particularly good tools for the most part then, and they work even less well now that the world has moved on.
Gary sighs: Please Graham you can do better than this. BTW what in the name of god’s mother is new about liberalism? Marxism originated in the 19th century but then so did liberalism! Read these brilliant passages from the Manifesto. Never have the inner dynamics of capitalism been so accurately or stylishly described.
The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former exoduses of nations and crusades.
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind.
The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.
The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.
The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.
As for old fashioned ideas, my current theoretical interests include the work of Duns Scotus! I hate it, Graham, when someone pours excrement on a thinker because he is not contemporary. I try to teach my students to read everything and to look for ideas everywhere.
Graham says:
The most dangerous threat to the world isn’t so-called American Imperialism (which empire exactly do they run, they’re really just a big head office town?) but the readiness of human beings to enslave themselves to utopian ideas which run counter to human liberty, of which I’ll instance fundamentalist Islam as one, and communitarianism as another.
Gary sighs even sorer!
Graham, Graham and you think I am in a time warp! Zbigniew Brezinski recently poured scorn on the dangers of Fundamentalist Islam scare and rightly so. There is no such dangerous monolith with access to weapons of mass destruction and with the biggest and best equipped army in the whole world.
As for which Empire do they run? Well Graham they have troops in over 140 countries for a start. Recently in Washington there were seminars on the task of running the Empire.
Graham you really have to start reading more intelligent right wingers.

Posted by Unknown at 5:33 pm | Comments (3) |


  1. Gary,
    You’ve quoted Marx in his very best incarnation – as an incredibly perceptive analyst of the condition of society. I think what Graham was attacking was not so much this but Marx’s predictions/prescriptions as to what would/should happen as an outcome of this state of society. I suspect Graham might well agree with the bit of Marx you quoted, but would say that Marx is describing a good outcome rather than the seed bed for revolution!
    Alex McConnell

    Comment by Alex McConnell — June 30, 2004 @ 7:11 pm

  2. Actually Alex IMHO one of Marx’s great weakness was his absolute refusal to write prescriptions or what he called “recipes for the kitchens of the future.” (Capital, vol 1, p. 17.)
    As for predictions, no one now argues that the test of a Social Science is its predictive rather than descriptive value. Human systems are open so prediction is ruled out from the start as a crucial test.
    So the hoary old nonsense about Marx not predicting the revolution would break out in Russia is meaningless in terms of determining the value of the Marxist research program. It is also worth pointing out though that in terms of historical fact Marx did think the revolution would break out in Russia.
    I included the Marx piece in response to Graham’s provocation about old fasioned ideas.
    But really what is at issue between Graham and myself is not the value or otherwise of Marxism. What is at the heart of my disagreement with him is that I feel that he is a classic case of an Australian intellectual who will not dare to break with the dominant pardigm, espressed so wonderfully all those years ago by the Great Liberal Harold Holt – All the Way with the USA.
    Graham squirms on this one, because he is a decent man, and the truth, absolute and total, is that one cannot go even part of the way with the George Bush & co without abandoning one’s sense of morality or as my old teachers would have put it, putting one’s mortal soul in danger.
    In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I please, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic. (Marx, German Ideology, p. 22.)

    Comment by Gary MacLennan — June 30, 2004 @ 8:40 pm

  3. Did seen paper says and debt consolidation, food look along did.

    Comment by Roman — September 9, 2004 @ 2:10 am

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