In message <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, Louis
Proyect <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes
> What we differ on is the substantial question of social
>justice. You side with the land thieves, I side with the victims.

You confuse questions of history with questions of policy. I'm not
taking sides with anyone in history because it has already happened and
cannot be reversed. History for me is first a question of the truth, not
of striking moral poses. I want to understand how things change, you
want to kid yourself that nothing ever changes.

>(quoting Marx)
>>How, then, to heal the anti-capitalist cancer of the colonies? ... Let
>>the Government put upon virgin soil an artificial price, independent of
>>the law of supply and demand, a price tht compels the immigrant to work
>>for a long time for wages before he can earn enough to buy land and turn
>>himself into an independent peasant.' p721-2. L&W ed.
>Virgin soil? Yes, I've heard this before. What was Zionism after all:

Hmmm. So now Marx is a Zionist. I've heard that one before. 

> A
>people without land looking for a land without people. It doesn't matter if
>Marx used the term "virgin soil." This does not make it right, for god's

Right does not come into it. It happened. It cannot be undone. Unless of
course your appeal to God almighty is less rhetorical than I think.

>It was a barbaric misrepresentation of American civilization. The
>Native Americans were living here minding their own business and colonial
>settlers stole their land. 

Like Ricardo who thought that the cavemen consulted the stock exchange
before exchanging fish and furs, you have native Americans doing
business and owning land - but you cannot steal what was never owned.
Strip away the property fetish if you want to understand what happened.
The Native Americans were slaughtered, not robbed. Property rights are
alien to native American culture.

>And you apologize for this by quoting the more
>unfortunate aspects of Marx and Engels. 

I'm not apologising for anything. Nor were Marx and Engels, who you
finally appreciate shared none of your moralistic fervour, but preferred
a scientific understanding of history, without the hystrionics.

>The most blood-stained settler state in the world is the
>USA and the Seminoles et al, and African-Americans deserve restitution. It
>is really not an issue that can solved in the state of Florida by itself.
>It has to be settled on a national and global level. 

> No Seminole has asked for the state of Florida to
>be returned, by the way. 

Then it was a bit premature of you to offer it to them.

>These questions are popping up everywhere in the world today. The NY Times
>reported that Mugabe is threatening to finally expropriate the rich white
>settlers and give the land to the land-based Zimbabweans. The whites
>complain about the injustice that is about to be done to them. Poor dears,
>where will they go.  Israelis have from the day of the birth of their
>nation constructed a wagon-circling ideology directed at the Palestinians
>who want to "drive them into the sea." Settler states have accounts to pay
>and that's that. 

Quite different questions altogether. In Zimbabwe land-ownership and the
displacement of blacks is a social condition of their exploitation at
the hands of white farmers today. There property in land is the
instrument of exploiting black labour in the here and now, not an
historical question. 

In Israel, the principle motor of the Zionist occupation is political:
the subordination of the Arab people as a whole. Opposition to Israel is
a question of the self determination of the Palestinian people. Within
Palestine the land question is more traditional in the sense that Israel
has become dependent on Palestinian workers - but even there the
principle motives for settlement are political control, rather than
economic exploitation.

Needless to say, the United States in no sense resembles a settler state
like Zimbabwe or Israel, since native Americans do not constitute the
exploited class in the US. No matter to Louis, for whom understanding
the specificity of distinctive historical periods is just a distraction
from the true lesson of history: nothing ever changes. 
James Heartfield

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