In message <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, Chris
Burford <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes

> What Jim is 
>opposing is any discrimination between the different actions of imperialist 
>powers as to which are progressive and which are not. This is childish 
>leftism, ridiculed by Lenin.

Progressive imperialism? I have often been criticised for insisting on
the persistence of progressive trends within capitalism, such as the
(intermittent) development of productivity, but it would not have
occurred to me to insist on the progressive aspect of imperialism.

As I read it Lenin's characterisation of imperialism was not simply a
euphemism for military intervention, but precisely the predomination of
capitalism's reactionary side over its progressive. Lenin proposes as an
example of the progressive side, the application of science to
production, with large monopolies. But the struggle for the division and
re-division of the world by the decadent nations, he counts as
reactionary, and I tend to agree with him.

>Cannot he see for example a progressive side to the pressure the west 
>brought on Croatia, to remove the repressive and racist features of 
>Tudjman's regime and accept bourgeois democratic norms?

I think this is a bit far-fetched, really. The entire statelet is
founded on a racist reaction against Serbs and muslims - at the behest
of its great power sponsors. Any cosmetic measures to disguise that
character are only designed to save Germany's blushes, and do not
reflect an organic movement against racism in that country. Seeing this
new 'state' jump through hoops to entertain its West European masters is
not an example of democracy, but of its subordination.

>This refusal to discriminate between positive and negative policies of 
>imperialism is consistent with the Trotskyist view that opposed 
>participation in the Second World War, 

Well, I'm all for nylon, passenger flights, nuclear power, computers,
radar and all the other progressive spin-offs of the Second World War. I
find less to celebrate in Churchill's instruction to General Scobie to
occupy Athens as if it were a conquered power, disarm the partisans and
hand the country over to the fascist generals who ruled it until the
1970s. It seems to me that the active participants in the Second World
War, the partisan movements of Europe were cynically abandoned by the
allies, who hung back while Hitler finished them off. Only when the
Yugoslav and Russian forces threatened to defeat Germany on their own
did Churchill and Roosevelt open up a Western Front, out of sheer panic.

I'm interested to know whose side should we be on between, say, Subbhas
Chandra Bose's Indian National Army and the British Empire? Was the
defeat of the British in Singapore by the Japanese a blow against
democracy, or did it rather dislodge British imperialism from East Asia?
Were Stafford Cripps and Rajani Palme Dutt right to tour India in 1941
pleading with Congress supporters not to strike against the British

And what about the engineering apprentices and Bevin boys who went on
strike in Britain during the war. Was the Communist Party right to
denounce them as fascist agents, and supply their leaders' names for
employers blacklists? 
Jim heartfield

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