Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-17 Thread George Pennefather



Jim: You cannot be serious. You are 
really saying that the American working class is *essentially* pro-imperialist! 
Talk about being ensnared in surface appearances. You seem indifferent to the 
spectacular assault on the living standards of the working class in the 
nineties. Presumably these greedy yanks have got it coming.

George: The working class under imperialist 
capitalism is essentially reactionary. It is its very existence as a reactionary 
social form and the specific form of that reactionary character that makes it 
possible for it to choose communist revolution--its very antithesis as a working 
class. 

Warm regardsGeorge Pennefather

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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-15 Thread Jim heartfield

In message 000201bfbe3d$65ad4540$95fe869f@oemcomputer, George
Pennefather [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes
 
George Pennefather: Facts always merits attention. However they 
must be analysed in the context of the establishment of the 
specific way in which they constitute a manifestation of the 
essence of imperialism.

Give it up George, you've been rumbled. You were trotting out a vulgar
conception of dialectics to shore up your own dogmatism.


Witness this monstrosity:

 
The numerical growth of the working class is not necessarily 
progressive. The American working class is among the biggest in the 
world and yet it is quite reactionary in political character 
--essentially it supports American imperialism.

You cannot be serious. You are really saying that the American working
class is *essentially* pro-imperialist! Talk about being ensnared in
surface appearances. You seem indifferent to the spectacular assault on
the living standards of the working class in the nineties. Presumably
these greedy yanks have got it coming.

 
The issue is not so much a matter as to whether the size of the 
working class is growing or not --Jim seems to have a penchant 
these days for mathematical relations. 

More juggling to avoid the issue. Marx makes the simple point that
capitalism creates its own grave-diggers. The growth of the working
class internationally is of course a very positive feature, for all
humanity.


Today it is the political 
character of the working class that is significant and not  as some 
neo-Pythagoreans may think the size of the working class. 


As if these two were mutually exclusive factors! Sheer sophistry.

The 
objective conditions for communist revolution have been present for 
some time now --whether the working class is growing in size, then, 
cannot be significant. 

No, of course not, nothing new is remotely significant to the dogmatist.
All the appropriate material conditions insists George were in place
since 1848. No need then to take an interest in what is new. No insight
into the international significance of the creation of an industrial
working class in East Asia. None of that is of any interest to the Euro-
centric socialist.

Perhaps Jim's view is that  the bigger the 
working class grows the better the politics.

This entirely a leap of your own.

 
Anyway even Jim's abstract claim that the working class is growing 
is rather questionable --again the absence of dialectics.

I had to laugh when I read this. Of course I referred to the commonly
know fact that the industrial working class has grown in size, but
George the dogmatist imagines that this is a question that can be
meditated upon philosophically.

If he really want to 'question' he might have looked at the facts before
'dialectically' divining the answer out of his own dogmatic beliefs.


 In much 
of Africa it is questionable as to whether the working class is 
growing. Some would say it has been shrinking. 

Who? Who would say it has been shrinking? Only someone who did not know,
and was happy to substitute prejudice for fact. In the developing
countries the numerical growth of the industrial working class was
greater than in any other part of the world in the thirty years from
1960 to 1990. It grew from 88 million to 192 million.

In the Newly Industrialising Countries (the so-called Tiger economies of
SE Asia and some of Latin America) the industrial working class
increased from 12 million to 33 million. In the advanced capitalist
countries the industrial working class grew from 159 million to 189
million.


The making of 
abstract statements such as Jim's do not amount to a contribution 
to the debate.

George, the only thing that was abstract about my comment was the
assumption on my part that, as someone who purports to an interest in
these matters, you might have shown some passing familiarity with the
facts. But I guess you must be taught your ABC about the empirical
conditions as you must about dialectics.

By all means reply when you have an informed contribution to make.
-- 
Jim heartfield


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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-15 Thread Charles Brown



 Jim heartfield [EMAIL PROTECTED] 05/13/00 02:26AM 
In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Chris
Burford [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes

"Imperialism is as much our 'mortal' enemy as is capitalism. That is so. No 
Marxist will forget, however, that capitalism is progressive compared with 
feudalism and that imperialism is progressive compared with pre-monopoly 
capitalism."

And by the same token presumably, fascism is progressive compared with
democracy?!

If progression were merely the passage of time then everything that came
later would be superior to what went before. But Lenin's whole point is
that imperialism is a reactionary phase in which the advances of the
previous period are put into reverse. He calls it the era of 'stagnation
and decay', and while he allows that there will be some advances in
technology, he maintains that on balance it will be an epoch marked by
the reversal of democratic gains, principally consequent on the
subordination of small nations to the mature powers - like Sierra Leone.

__


CBrown: In the world situation in the period of 1916 and following, imperialism had 
reactionary and liberal sectors. Fascism was , generally, the dominant influence of 
the reactionary sectors of imperialism.

We do have to update the analysis from 1916 based on many historical developments. But 
it may still be valid to consider that imperialism has different wings and sectors. 
Now there are special splits between more-national and more-transnational bourgeoisie.


Charles Brown



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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-15 Thread George Pennefather



Jim Heartfield: 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.

George Pennefather: Facts always 
merits attention. However they must be analysed in the context of the 
establishment of the specific way in which they constitute a manifestation of 
the essence of imperialism.Jim: 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.

George: Under imperialism form 
contradicts content. The forms of production, capitalist social relations of 
production, retard the development of the forces of production which is why 
capitalist forms lead to the development of technology in the form of nuclear 
weapons etc. --a technology that is not "progressive".Jim: 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.

George: I never denied that the 
essence of contemporary capitalism is not contradictory. Of course it is which 
is why there necessarily obtains a contradictory relationship between essence 
and appearance under imperialist capitalism.Jim: 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 
isreactionary.
George: Jim's artificial 
construction of a false dichotomy between the alleged positive and negative 
features of imperialism constitutes an ideological illusion which opens a window 
for the entry of reformist politics. It creates ideological justification for 
promoting putativegood side of capitalism as opposed to the putative side. 
If capitalism has a progressive character and even essence thenthere is no 
necessary reason why the quantitative or mathematical relation between the good 
and bad sides of imperialism cannot be reconfigured --a reformist 
notion.

The numerical growth of the working 
class is not necessarily progressive. The American working class is among the 
biggest in the world and yet it is quite reactionary in political character 
--essentially it supports American imperialism.

The issue is not so much a matter 
as to whether the size of the working class is growing or not --Jim seems to 
have a penchant these days for mathematical relations. Today it is the 
political character of the working class that is significant and not as 
some neo-Pythagoreans may think the size of the working class. The objective 
conditions forcommunist revolution have been present for some time now 
--whether the working class is growing in size, then, cannot be significant. 
Perhaps Jim's view is that the bigger the working class grows the better 
the politics.

Anyway even Jim's abstract claim 
that the working class is growing is rather questionable --again the absence of 
dialectics. In much of Africa it is questionable as to whether the working class 
is growing. Some would say it has been shrinking. The making of abstract 
statements such as Jim's do not amount to a contribution to the 
debate.

Warm regardsGeorge 
Pennefather

Be free to check out our Communist 
Think-Tank web site athttp://homepage.eircom.net/~beprepared/

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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-14 Thread Jim heartfield


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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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-14 Thread George Pennefather




Jim Heartfield: 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 anexample 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.

George Pennefather :It is 
not, as Jim suggests, aquantitative 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 Jimdescribes 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 regardsGeorge 
Pennefather

Be free to check out our Communist 
Think-Tank web site athttp://homepage.eircom.net/~beprepared/

Be free to subscribe to our 
Communist Think-Tank mailing community bysimply placing subscribe in the 
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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-14 Thread Jim heartfield

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

"Imperialism is as much our 'mortal' enemy as is capitalism. That is so. No 
Marxist will forget, however, that capitalism is progressive compared with 
feudalism and that imperialism is progressive compared with pre-monopoly 
capitalism."

And by the same token presumably, fascism is progressive compared with
democracy?!

If progression were merely the passage of time then everything that came
later would be superior to what went before. But Lenin's whole point is
that imperialism is a reactionary phase in which the advances of the
previous period are put into reverse. He calls it the era of 'stagnation
and decay', and while he allows that there will be some advances in
technology, he maintains that on balance it will be an epoch marked by
the reversal of democratic gains, principally consequent on the
subordination of small nations to the mature powers - like Sierra Leone.

-- 
Jim heartfield


 --- from list [EMAIL PROTECTED] ---



Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-12 Thread Jim heartfield

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
Crown?

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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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-11 Thread Chris Burford

At 08:34 10/05/00 +0100, Jim heartfield wrote:

In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Chris
Burford [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes
 IMO this particular British involvement is progressive and is part of the
 developing process of world governance, so long as it assists the UN and
 the West African peace keeping force to re-organise. I say that, conscious
 at this moment, that the British government deserves strong criticism for
 its interference in the developing land redistribution in Zimbabwe.

Well, its hardly surprising. Chris has lined up behind ever imperialist
venture in the post-cold war world by my recollection.

Cheap shots are part of the internet, but you only have to look at the last 
passage that Jim quoted, to see that this is a cheap shot. 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.

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?

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, something steadfastly propagated by 
the owner of "the" Marxism list.


It is not the subjective intentions of the imperialists that makes
imperialism

Of course. That is why even when we see a positive feature in their 
policies, we do not "line up" behind them.

Chris Burford

London



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Re: M-TH: British intervention in Sierra Leone

2000-05-10 Thread Jim heartfield

In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Chris
Burford [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes
IMO this particular British involvement is progressive and is part of the 
developing process of world governance, so long as it assists the UN and 
the West African peace keeping force to re-organise. I say that, conscious 
at this moment, that the British government deserves strong criticism for 
its interference in the developing land redistribution in Zimbabwe.

Well, its hardly surprising. Chris has lined up behind ever imperialist
venture in the post-cold war world by my recollection.

It is naive in the extreme to think that there has to be a bag of gold
being robbed at that moment to imagine that the impulse is simply
benign. Egypt and the Sudan were occupied and subordinated to British
rule by people who genuinely believed that they were fighting slavery.

It is not the subjective intentions of the imperialists that makes
imperialism, it is the objective condition of the subordination of small
states to 'mature economies'.
-- 
Jim heartfield


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