Re: [sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-digest V1 #739

From: Ron Jacobs (
Date: Wed Dec 12 2001 - 08:32:59 EST

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    Hi John,
    Although you may have done a Lexis-Nexis search that revealed over 1000
    hits for Afghanistan and refugees, my work as an antiwar organizer has
    revealed that, sure enough, most folks in the street do not know about the
    plight of the refugees, nor that the US bombing has exacerbated what was
    already a terrible situation. As for my comparison of M-L and Islamic
    fundamentalism--it is my belief that the US authoritarian state is
    repeating its campaign against communism with terrorism being the target
    this time around. Additionally, a study of the phenomenon of modern
    Islamist revolution will find that the conditions which created this
    popular movement are very similar to those which created the national
    liberation movements of the 20th century--poverty, repression, a desire for
    justice, and anger (to name a few obvious reasons). If one thinks
    seriously (instead of merely attempting to trivialize) the campaign in the
    streets, union halls, European legislatures, and in governments and popular
    movements of the developing world against global capitalism (esp. since
    Seattle 1999), I think a very good case can be made for the statement that
    "the US corporate plan for economic hegemony was under attack." As for the
    US "authoritarians" using the opportunity to seize control--what do you
    think happened? Do you believe that the theft of the election by Bush and
    company was a mere happenstance? I don't--I think it was an intentional
    coup by very powerful people who hate any semblance of effective dissent
    against the plans of the corporate globalists. I wish that the phrases
    you call "tiresome cliches" were not relevant--but they are. I suggest
    that your apparent refusal to see these comparisons to our 20th century
    history is similar to the view of many folks--left, right or whatever--who
    think that 911 somehow was the beginning of a new history---it wasn't. It
    was the clear and tragic result of our history as an empire-an empire that
    must be dismantled before it is destroyed. If the latter occurs, it could
    spell the end of everything.
    At 07:35 PM 12/11/01 -0500, you wrote:
    >Dear Ron,
    >I've just finished reading your essay "Terrorism of War." You begin by
    >claiming that although we've heard plenty about the war against terrorism in
    >recent months, "What the media doesn't tell us ... are the stories of the
    >thousands of civillians rendered homeless at the onset of the Afghani winter
    >... and the near certain starvation thousands of Afghanis face."
    >This puzzled me a little bit, since there was a story in today's New York
    >Times about the plight of Afghan refugees. So just for fun, I did a
    >Lexis-Nexus search for all the articles in major newspapers since September
    >11th that contain the words "Afghanistan and refugees" in either the headline
    >or the lead paragraph. The result? A window appeared that read "This search
    >has been interrupted because it will return more than 1000 documents."
    >Another search, using the keywords "Afghanistan and winter" brought over 200
    >articles. "Afghanistan and starvation" called up 194.
    >I bring this up because I found the rest of your article so exasperating.
    >If your lead paragraph can't withstand even the barest amount of critical
    >scrutiny, how can you expect us to take your piece seriously?
    >There's plenty of evidence to go around for U.S. militarism and imperialism,
    >but are you sure you want to defend the claim that "This war has very little
    >to do with defeating terrorism and much to do with attempting to establish
    >permanent U.S. domination of the world and its resources?" Do you really
    >think that your facile comparison between Marxism and Islamic
    >fundamentalism offers any useful insight? Can anyone take seriously
    >your claim that "Before the occurences [nice euphamism] of September 11, 2001
    > ... the US corporate plan for economic hegemony was under attack," and
    >that this led US "authoritarians" to seize on the 9/11 attacks as an
    excuse to
    >combat "a threat to the rule of the capitalist world"?
    >These are difficult times, and - as your essay suggests - there don't seem
    >to be any easy answers. But it seems to me that the least we can do is
    >hold ourselves to the same analytically rigorous standards that we demand
    >from the Right. To simply impose an automatic leftwing template onto all
    >of the world's problems, and to indulge in tiresome cliches about the US war
    >machine, Vietnam, COINTELPRO, McCarthyism, HUAC, George Orwell and
    >"The US empire's need to dominate the world" isn't useful to anyone.
    >John McMillian

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