G'day Jim,

Sez you:

>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.

Not sure we can make so clear a distinction between the two, comrade.  Large
monoplies need a certain amout of ever-growing sway for their
ever-more-efficiently produced goodies.  The rules of 'resource dependence'
in general, and IP regimes/English language/low transaction costs in
currently important particular, kinda point to imperialism as a technology
of, and fundamental to, large-scale monopoly capitalism, no?

>>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, 

As one who (impotently) opposed the NATO business from the off, but
(irrelevantly) eventually came to support intervention in East Timor (albeit
still long before anyone actually got there), I reckon the question is
usually one (given the general nonviability of the territories involved) of,
well, which option delivers the least cadavers, rape victims and brutalised
kids in the foreseeable future?  It's a hard one (history kinda going on and
on as it does - eventually making fools of us all), but ya gotta act in the
moment, eh?  Anyway, my thinking was as simple as that.  I still reckon I
scored 2/2. so I guess I'm still that simple.

On Sierra Leone, well, the Brits are fighting on behalf of one side already,
aren't they.  Let's hope they picked the winners.  Because there ain't no
peacekeeping option in this one any more.

>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.

Russia did a fair bit of their own hanging back.  Wottabout Warsaw?

>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

I take an unorthodox view on this.  As at 1941, Britain was a less awful
imperial master than Japan, for mine.  And I don't see, given how
third-world nationalism was excited and how it took its course, that
something very like the proliferation of independence that followed the war,
would not have followed one in which the allies had prevailed at Singapore. 
You'd have to take the counterfactuals an awful long way to get from that to
a significant change in the events that brought Mao to power in China,
f'rinstance.  And that was the biggest item on the Asian menu, as it turned
out, no?

>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? 

A hard one, and mebbe I'm too much the George Orwell about this, but give me
Westminster and Bond St over the Reichstag and the SS any day.  Again, you'd
have to get very counterfactual indeed to get to a Russian takeover of
Britain - a thought that had entered Orwell's mind, so it might have entered
those of the Bevins, but I reckon British involvement had a fair bit to do
with Russia's victory, meself.  I know Chas wouldn't agree, but
Britain-as-landing-strip, Britain as staging-point-for-war-supplies, and
Britain as constant threat, all had a lot to do with Russia having the
chance to restructure behind the Urals in 1942 and come a hunting in 1943, I

Idle speculation all, but that's what you seemed to be asking for, no?


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