'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, July 27, 2007

Support the Iraqi Resistance? (lenin Referees Pollitt versus Cockburn) 

Recently, Alexander Cockburn and Katha Pollitt, both columnists with The Nation magazine, engaged in a published dispute about the extent, if at all, the antiwar movement should support the Iraqi resistance. Cockburn initiated the debate, with a piece entitled Support Their Troops?, in which he advocated a clear recognition of the right of Iraqis to violently resist the occupation, while Pollitt subsequently responded in a column entitled, 2, 4, 6, 8, This Beheading is Really Great!

Leave it to lenin over at Lenin's Tomb to award Cockburn the clear victory, and quite rightly so:

. . . . A little humility would compel [Pollitt] to recognise that the Iraqi resistance is doing far more to frustrate American imperialism than then American left is. The resistance is supporting us. It is their courageous insistence on combatting an enemy with immense death-dealing power, confronting them in the streets despite years of savage murder, despite the prospect of incineration and shredding, that is causing Bush's unpopularity. This is what caused the House to pass a bill opposing permanent bases in Iraq. It is this which is causing the Pentagon to draw up contingency plans for withdrawal. It wouldn't matter what position American liberals took if the resistance could do it alone, but the antiwar movement is - no matter what the President says - the decider. The articulate antiwar liberals in the media have a unique responsibility to combat racist myths and Pentagon propaganda, not collude in it. Instead of energetically accomodating itself to the beheaders, kidnappers, torturers and murderers in the Democratic Party, the antiwar movement must maintain its political independence. It should stolidly insist that the resistance is largely a necessary response to occupation and not some inexplicable excrescence. Then it will not be caught in the trap of calling for an unprincipled withdrawal which will empower people whom they concede are nothing else but psychopaths, tyrants, theocrats and beheaders. It isn't even necessary for the Nation liberals to ra-ra the resistance: they simply have to stop colluding in lies, recognising old-fashioned colonial mystique for what it is, and let people draw their own conclusions.

I have my own thoughts about this, and if I get some time, I might post about it next week, if not, lenin will have to speak for me.

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