Nice post Jim. But you should have said that Chris Buford's position is basically the 
mirrored reflection of George's in a sense. Whereas George sees Capitalism/imperialism 
in the negative, Chris always relies on its positive aspects which usually are hardly 
positive at all. Both I claim will draw the wrong programatic and tactical conclusions.

I note that this kind of debate comes up always around a military intervention, in 
this case Sierra Leone. So in this case communists should call for all NATO troops 
out. There is nothing positive about a NATO intervention in Sierra Leone. And here I 
disagree with George´s over simplified view of the situation. In fact what is 
happening in Africa is directly connected to the destruction of the former Soviet 
Union and this is historical dialectical materialism. And in fact I think that the 
other side of the coin is hardly that U.S. imperialism is one of the actors on the 
arena but a number of imperialist countries are actors.

What is different this time around is that it is not only the strategic oil states, 
but the entire continent, which is up for grabs..

However, thinking about your ending to George where you give proof of your position by 

>One such, for example, is the
> numerical growth of the working class. Let George say that is
> reactionary.

What´s your take on events in Zimbabwe?

And another question to all...Is are we dealing with imperialism here or colonialism?
Interestingly enough is there are "trotskyists" claiming that we are seeing a period 
of bourgeois revolutions taking place in Africa! Quite remarkable in itself..

Anyhow what is going on in Africa certainly reflects in a sense that inter imperialist 
rivalry is increasing on some very interesting levels. One being the former SU and its 
own wannabe intentions which with its nuclear arsenal is closed for any serious 
outside intervention outside of a new world war. China opening up creates the same 
scenario. So that leaves Africa open for a free for all by all.

Interestingly enough Africa because of its colonization history causes more problems 
for core imperialist countries then let's say the wannabe Russia who needs to 
consolidate its own position. 

Bob Malecki

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jim heartfield <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2000 8:10 PM
Subject: Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

> I'm grateful for George Pennefather's warm regards, as the rest of his
> post is decidedly chilly, but comradely criticism is always welcome.
> George chides me for my undialectical approach in insisting that there
> are positive developments within capitalism, though the negative
> predominate.
> Of course, I should have expected that insisting on a balanced, which is
> to say dialectical, analysis would find me attacked on both sides: Chris
> Burford says that I am un-Marxist because I fail to find the positive
> elements in the military intervention in Sierra Leone; George says I am
> undialectical because I insist that - even though they are outweighed by
> the destructive features, there are positive features in capitalism.
> But it is George that is undialectical. He says that advances in
> technology might appear to be good, but are in there essence conditions
> of the perpetuation of imperialism.
> Here George is abusing the appearance-essence category by making it into
> a dogmatic insistence on the correctness of his analysis even where it
> is contradicted by appearance. No matter what the evidence is, he is
> saying, the essence is reactionary, so you do not have to pay attention
> to any facts that might contradict that essence.
> But appearance and essence are never wholly contradictory, form is the
> form of its content, not of another content. It *appears* that there has
> been technological progress because there *has been* technological
> progress, and no dialectical juggling will wish that away.
> Undialectically, George puts the contradiction *between* appearance and
> essence ('it looks one way, but it's really another'). This is
> ultimately apologetic, because it suggests a uniform essence without
> contradictions.
> The dialectical approach would posit the contradiction *within* the
> essence itself. In other words, capitalism combines destructive and
> creative elements. It develops the forces of production, but on a narrow
> and exploitative basis.
> The definition of imperialism is not one in which no progress is
> possible, as Lenin makes abundantly clear, but rather one in which the
> destructive features predominate over the progressive, making
> imperialism as a totality negative, but not denying that there can be
> progressive developments within it. One such, for example, is the
> numerical growth of the working class. Let George say that is
> reactionary.
> In message <005301bfbda0$5895e9e0$baff869f@oemcomputer>, George
> Pennefather <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes
> > It is not, as Jim suggests, a quantitative 
> >    undialectical matter of "the predomination of capitalism's 
> >    reactionary side over its progressive". Capitalism today is 
> >    essentially reactionary in character. Any features which Jim may 
> >    describe as progressive have in fact a reactionary essence whose 
> >    source is located in the dialectical. What Jim describes as the 
> >    progressive features of capitalism today are merely devices to 
> >    perpetuate capitalism as a reactionary system and are thereby 
> >    correspondingly reactionary. Capitalism today is a reactionary 
> >    system which means that the bits that Jim labels as progressive 
> >    constitute component parts of the overall system which means that 
> >    their essence is determined by their existence as constituents in 
> >    the overall system. Since the system, as a whole, is reactionary so 
> >    to are its parts. Capitalism must be conceived systemically. Jim 
> >    pedestrianally mistakes appearance for essence. Capitalism must be 
> >    conceived and analysed as a dialectical unity whereby the essence 
> >    of the parts are determined by the essence of the whole --internal 
> >    relations as opposed to external relations.
> >    
> >    
> >    Warm regards
> >    George Pennefather
> -- 
> Jim heartfield
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