The failure of the Islamic Revolution

The nature of the present crisis in Iran

Chris Cutrone

THE ELECTION CRISIS THAT UNFOLDED after June 12 has exposed the vulnerability of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), a vulnerability that has been driving its ongoing confrontation with the U.S. and Europe, for instance on the question of acquiring nuclear technology and its weapons applications.

While the prior U.S. administration under Bush had called for “regime change” in Iran, President Obama has been more conciliatory, offering direct negotiations with Tehran. This opening met with ambivalence from the Islamic Republic establishment; some favored while others opposed accepting this olive branch offered by the newly elected American president. Like the recent coup in Honduras, the dispute in Iran has been conditioned, on both sides, by the “regime change” that has taken place in the United States. A certain testing of possibilities in the post-Bush II world order is being mounted by allies and opponents alike. One dangerous aspect of the mounting crisis in Iran has been the uncertainty over how the Obama administration might address it.

The U.S. Republican Party and neoconservatives, now in the opposition, and recently elected Israeli right-wing politicians have demanded that the U.S. keep up the pressure on the IRI and have expressed skepticism regarding Iranian “reform” candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. European statesmen on both Right and Left have, for their part, made strident appeals for “democracy” in Iran. But Obama has tried to avoid the pitfalls of either exacerbating the confrontation with the IRI or undermining whatever hopes might be found with the Iranian dissidents, whether of the dominant institutions of the Islamic Republic such as Mousavi or of the more politically indeterminate mass protests Download the New Year greeting video. Obama is seeking to keep his options open, however events end up resolving in Iran. While to some this appears as an equivocation or even a betrayal of Iranian democratic aspirations, it is simply typical Obama realpolitik. A curious result of the Obama administration’s relatively taciturn response has been the IRI’s reciprocal reticence about any U.S. role in the present crisis, preferring instead, bizarrely, to demonize the British as somehow instigating the massive street protests.

The good faith or wisdom of the new realpolitik is not to be doubted, however, especially given that Obama wants neither retrenchment nor the unraveling of the Islamic Republic in Iran. As chief executive of what Marx called the “central committee” of the American and indeed global ruling class, Obama might not have much reasonable choice for alternative action. The truth is that the U.S. and European states can deal quite well with the IRI so long as it does not engage in particularly undesirable behaviors. Their problem is not with the IRI as such — but the Left’s ought to be.

The reigning confusion around the crisis in Iran has been expressed, on the one hand, in statements defending Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim to electoral victory by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and by individual writers in the supposedly leftist Monthly Review and its MRZine web publication (which also has republished without comment official Iranian statements on the crisis), and on the other hand by supporters of Iranian dissidents and election protesters such as Danny Postel, Fred Halliday, and the various Marxist-Humanist publications in the U.S.[1]

Slavoj Žižek has weighed in on the question with an interesting and sophisticated take of his own, questioning prevailing understandings of the nature of the Iranian regime and its Islamist character.[2] Meanwhile, the indefatigable Christopher Hitchens has pursued his idiosyncratic brand of a quasi-neoconservative “anti-fascist” denunciation of the Islamic Republic, pointing out how the Islamic Republic itself is predicated on Khomeini’s “theological” finding of Velayat-e Faqui, that the entire Iranian population, as victims of Western “cultural imperialism,” needed to be treated as minority wards of the mullahs.[3]

Halliday addresses the current protests as if they are the result of a “return of the repressed” of the supposedly more revolutionary aspirations of the 1978–79 toppling of the Shah, characterizing the Islamic Republic as the result of a “counter-revolution.” In a recent interview published in the Platypus Review #14 (August 2009), historian of the Iranian Left Ervand Abrahamian characterizes the present crisis in terms of demands for greater freedoms that necessarily supersede the accomplished tasks of the 1979 revolution, which, according to Abrahamian, overthrew the tyranny of the Pahlavi ancien régime and established Iranian “independence” (from the U.S. and U.K.).

All told, this constellation of responses to the crisis has recapitulated problems on the Left in understanding the Islamic Revolution that took place in Iran from 1978–83, and the character and trajectory of the Islamic Republic of Iran since then. All share in the fallacy of attributing to Iran an autonomous historical rhythm or logic of its own. Iran is treated more or less as an entity, rather than as it might be, as a symptomatic effect of a greater history.[4] Of all, Žižek has come closest to addressing this issue of greater context, but even he has failed to address the history of the Left 꽃밭의 플로레 다운로드.

Two issues bedevil the Left’s approach to the Islamic Republic and the present crisis in Iran: the general character of the recent historical phenomenon of Islamist politics, and the larger question of “revolution.” Among the responses to the present crisis one finds longstanding analytic and conceptual problems that are condensed in ways useful for critical consideration. It is precisely in its lack of potential emancipatory or even beneficial outcome that the present electoral crisis in Iran proves most instructive. So, what are the actual possibilities for the current crisis in Iran?

Perhaps perversely, it is helpful to begin with the well-reported statements of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, who warned of the danger of a “velvet revolution” akin to those that toppled the Communist Party-dominated Democratic Republics of Eastern Europe in 1989. The Communist Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev sought to reform but only ended up undoing the Soviet Union. So it is not merely a matter of the intentions of the street protesters or establishment institutional dissidents such as Mousavi that will determine outcomes — as the Right, from Obama to the grim beards of the Revolutionary Guards and Basiji, do not hesitate to point out. By comparison with such eminently realistic practical perspectives of the powers-that-be, the Left reveals itself to be comprised of daydreams and wishful thinking. The Revolutionary Guards might be correct that the present crisis of protests against the election results can only end badly.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad and those behind him, along with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, will prevail, and the protests against the election outcome will dissipate and those involved be punished, repressed, or eliminated. Or, perhaps, the protests will escalate, precipitating the demise of the Islamic Republic. But, were that to happen, maybe all that will be destroyed is the “republic” and not its Islamist politics, resulting in a rule of the mullahs without the accoutrements of “democracy.” Perhaps the protests will provoke a dictatorship by the Revolutionary Guards and Basiji militias. Or perhaps even these forces will weaken and dissolve under the pressure of the protesters. Perhaps a civil war will issue from the deepened splitting of the extant forces in Iran Download the php image file. In that case, it is difficult to imagine that the present backers of the protests among the Islamic Republic establishment would press to undermine the state or precipitate a civil war or a coup (one way or the other). Perhaps the present crisis will pressure a reconsolidated regime under Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to continue the confrontation with the U.S. and Europe, only more hysterically, in order to try to bolster their support in Iran. If so, this could easily result in military conflict. These are the potential practical stakes of the present crisis.

Žižek has balanced the merits of the protests against the drive to neo-liberalize Iran, in which not only American neoconservatives but also Ahmadinejad himself as well as the “reformers” such as Mousavi and his patron, the “pistachio king” and former president of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, have all taken part. In so doing, however, Žižek rehearses illusions on the Left respecting the 1979 Islamic Revolution, as, for instance, when he points to the traditional Shia slogans of the protesters, “Death to the tyrant!” and “God is great!,” as evidence of the “emancipatory potential” of “good Islam,” as an alternative to the apparent inevitability of neoliberalism. But this concession to Islamist politics is gratuitous to the extent that it does not recognize the ideological limitations and practical constraints of the protest movement and its potential trajectory, especially in global context. The protests are treated as nothing more than an “event.”

But if the protests were to succeed, what would this mean? It could mean calling a new election in which Mousavi would win and begin reforming the IRI, curtailing the power of the Revolutionary Guards and Basiji, and perhaps even that of the clerical establishment. Or, if a more radical transformation were possible, perhaps a revolution would take place in which the IRI would be overthrown in favor of a newly constituted Iranian state. The most likely political outcome of such a scenario can be seen in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq, a “soft” Islamist state more “open” to the rest of the world, i.e., more directly in-sync with the neoliberal norms prevailing in global capital, without the Revolutionary Guards, Inc., taking its cut (like the military in neighboring Pakistan, through its extensive holdings, the Revolutionary Guards comprise perhaps the largest capitalist entity in Iran) Download Windows 10 Network Drive. But how much better would such an outcome really be, from the perspective of the Left — for instance, in terms of individual and collective freedoms, such as women’s and sexual liberties, labor union organizing, etc.? Not much, if at all. Hence, even a less virulent or differently directed political Islamism needs to be seen as a core part of the problem confronted by people in Iran, rather than as an aspect of any potential solution.

Žižek has at least recognized that Islamism is not incompatible with, but rather shares in the essential historical moment of neoliberal capital. More than simply being two sides of the same coin, as Afghanistan and Iraq show, there is no discontinuity between neoliberalism and Islamism, despite what apologists for either may think.

Beyond Žižek, others on the Left have sought to capture for the election protests the historical mantle of the 1979 Revolution, as well as the precedents of the 1906 Constitutional Revolution and the “Left”-nationalist politics of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq, overthrown in a U.S.- and British-supported coup in 1953. For instance, the Tudeh (“Masses”) Party (Iranian Communist Party), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK, “People’s Mujahedin of Iran”) and its associated National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCORI), and the Worker-Communist Party of Iran (WPI, sister organization of the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq, the organizers of the largest labor union federation in post-U.S. invasion and occupation Iraq) have all issued statements claiming and thus simplifying, in national-celebratory terms, this complex and paradoxical historical legacy for the current protests. But some true democratic character of Iranian tradition should not be so demagogically posed.

The MEK, who were the greatest organizational participants on the Left in the Islamic Revolution of 1978–79 (helping to organize the massive street protests that brought down the Shah, and participating in the U.S 다크 에코. embassy takeover), were originally inspired by New Left Islamist Ali Shariati and developed a particular Islamo-Marxist approach that became more avowedly and self-consciously “Marxist” as they slipped into opposition with the rise to supremacy of Khomeini.[5] Shariati considered himself a follower of Frantz Fanon; Jean-Paul Sartre once said, famously, “I have no religion, but if I were to choose one, it would be that of Shariati.” The 44-year-old Shariati died under mysterious circumstances in 1977 while in exile in London, perhaps murdered by Khomeini’s agents. Opposition presidential candidate Mousavi, and especially his wife Zahra Rahnavard, despite eventually having joined the Khomeini faction by 1979, were students of Shariati who worked closely with him politically in the 1960s–70s.

A Mujahidin-i-khalq demonstration in Tehran during the Revolution. To the left, the figure of Dr. Ali Shariati; to the right, Khomeini.

A Mujahidin-i-khalq demonstration in Tehran during the Revolution. To the left, the figure of Dr. Ali Shariati; to the right, Khomeini.

However disoriented and hence limited the MEK’s inspiration, Shariati’s critique of modern capitalism, from the supposed perspective of Islam, was, it had the virtue of questioning capitalist modernity’s fundamental assumptions more deeply than is typically attempted today, for instance by Žižek, whose take on the “emancipatory potential” of “good Islam” is limited to the rather narrow question of “democracy.” So the question of how adequate let alone well-advised the “democratic” demands such as those of the present Iranian election protesters cannot even be posed, let alone properly addressed. 2009 is not a reprise of 1979, having much less radical potential, and this is both for good and ill.

On the Left, the MEK has been among the more noisy opposition groups against the Islamic Republic, for instance using its deep-cover operatives within Iran to expose the regime’s nuclear weapons program. Most on the Left have shunned the MEK, however. For instance, Postel calls it a “Stalinist death cult.” But the MEK’s New Left Third Worldist and cultural-nationalist (Islamist) perspective, however colored by Marxism, and no matter how subsequently modified, remains incoherent, as does the ostensibly more orthodox Marxism of the Tudeh and WCPI, for instance in their politics of “anti-imperialism,” and thus also remains blind to how their political outlook, from the 1970s to today, is bound to (and hence responsible for) the regressive dynamic of the “revolution” — really, just the collapse of the Shah’s regime — that resulted in the present theocracy. All these groups on the Iranian Left are but faint shadows of their former selves.

Despite their otherwise vociferous opposition to the present Islamist regime, the position of the Left in the present crisis, for instance hanging on every utterance by this or that “progressive” mullah in Iran, reminds one of the unbecoming position of Maoists throughout the world enthralled by the purge of the Gang of Four after Mao’s death in the late 1970s Encode. Except, of course, for those who seek to legitimize Ahmadinejad, everyone is eager if not desperate to find in the present crisis an “opening” to a potential “progressive” outcome. The present search for an “emancipatory” Islamist politics is a sad repetition of the Left’s take on the 1979 Revolution. This position of contemplative spectatorship avoids the tasks of what any purported Left can, should, and indeed must do. From opportunist wishful thinking and tailing after forces it accepts ahead of time as beyond its control, the so-called Left resembles the Monday quarterbacking that rationalizes a course of events for which it abdicates any true responsibility. The Left thus participates in and contributes to affirming the confused muddle from which phenomena such as the Iranian election protests suffer — and hence inevitably becomes part of the Right.

This is the irony. Since those such as Žižek, Halliday, Postel, the Marxist-Humanists, liberals, and others on the Left seem anxious to prove that the U.S. neoconservatives and others are wrong in their hawkish attitude towards the Islamic Republic, to prove that any U.S. intervention will only backfire and prevent the possibility of a progressive outcome, especially to the present crisis, they tacitly support the Obama approach, no matter how supposedly differently and less cynically motivated theirs is compared to official U.S. policy.

Like the Obama administration, the Left seems more afraid to queer the play of the election protesters than it is eager to weigh in against the Islamic Republic. This craven anxiety at all-too-evident powerlessness over events considers itself to be balancing the need to oppose the greater power and danger, “U.S gp pro ex 4.0. imperialism,” producing a strange emphasis in all this discourse. Only Hitchens, in the mania of his “anti-fascism,” has freed himself from this obsequious attitude of those on the Left that sounds so awkward in the context of the present unraveling of what former U.S. National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once, rightly, called a “loathsome regime” — a sentiment about the Islamic Republic that any purported Left should share, and more loudly and proudly than any U.S. official could.

Indeed, the supporters of the election protesters have trumpeted the rejection of any and all help that might be impugned as showing the nefarious hand of the U.S. government and its agencies.[6] Instead, they focus on a supposed endemic dynamic for progressive-emancipatory change in Iranian history, eschewing how the present crisis of the Islamic Republic is related to greater global historical dynamics in which Iran is no less caught up than any other place. They thus repeat the mistake familiar from the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the reactionary dynamics of which were obscured behind supposed “anti-imperialism.” The problems facing the Left in Iran are the very same ones faced anywhere else. “Their” problems are precisely ours.

With the present crisis in Iran and its grim outlook we pay the price for the historical failures — really, the crimes — of the Left, going back at least to the period of the 1960s–70s New Left of which the Islamic Revolution was a product. The prospects for any positive, let alone progressive, outcome to the present crisis are quite dim. This is why it should be shocking that the Left so unthinkingly repeats today, if in a much attenuated form, precisely those mistakes that brought us to this point. The inescapable lesson of several generations of history is that only an entirely theoretically reformulated and practically reconstituted Left in places such as the U.S 네이버 미디어플레이어 다운로드. and Europe would have any hope of giving even remotely adequate, let alone effective, form to the discontents that erupt from time to time anywhere in the world. Far from being able to take encouragement from phenomena such as the present election crisis and protests in Iran, the disturbing realization needs to be had, and at the deepest levels of conscious reflection, about just how much “they” need us.

A reformulated Left for the present and future must do better than the Left has done up to now in addressing — and opposing — problems such as political Islamism. The present manifest failure and unraveling of the Islamic Revolution in Iran is a good occasion for thinking through what it might mean to settle this more than thirty year old score of the betrayed and betraying Left. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #14 (August 2009). A slightly revised version was published in The International Journal of Žižek Studies 3.4 (2009).


1. In particular, see Danny Postel’s Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism, 2006; Fred Halliday’s “Iran’s Tide of History: Counterrevolution and After,” OpenDemocracy.net, July 17; and the Marxist-Humanist periodical News & Letters, as well as the web sites of the U.S. Marxist-Humanists and the Marxist-Humanist Initiative.

2. See Žižek’s “Will the Cat above the Precipice Fall Down?,” June 24 (available at http://supportiran.blogspot.com), based on a June 18 lecture at Birkbeck College, London, on “Populism and Democracy,” and followed by the more extended treatment in “Berlusconi in Tehran,” London Review of Books, July 23.

3. See Hitchens, “Don’t Call What Happened in Iran Last Week an Election,” Slate, June 14 Download moviemaker codecs.

4. For excellent historical treatments of the Islamic Revolution and its local and global context, please see: Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions (1982) and The Iranian Mojahedin (1992); Maziar Behrooz, Rebels with a Cause: The Failure of the Left in Iran (2000); Fred Halliday, “The Iranian Revolution: Uneven Development and Religious Populism” (Journal of International Affairs 36.2 Fall/Winter 1982/83); and David Greason, “Embracing Death: The Western Left and the Iranian Revolution, 1979–83” (Economy and Society 34.1, February 2005). The critically important insights of these works have been largely neglected, including subsequently by their own authors.

5. The MEK have been widely described as “cult-like,” but perhaps this is because, as former participants in the Islamic Revolution, in their state of betrayal they focus so much animus on the cult-like character of the Islamic Republic itself; the official term used by the Khomeiniite state for the MEK is “Hypocrites” (Monafeqin), expressing their shared Islamist roots in the 1979 Revolution. But the success of the MEK over Khomeini would have hardly been better, and might have indeed been much worse. Khomeini’s opportunism and practical cynicism in consolidating the Islamic Revolution might have not only produced but also prevented abominable excesses of “revolutionary” Islamism.

Of all the organized tendencies in the Iranian Revolution, the MEK perhaps most instantiated Michel Foucault’s vision of its more radical “non-Western” character (see Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson, Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism, 2005). But just as Foucault’s enthusiasm for the Islamic Revolution in Iran ought to be a disturbing reminder of the inherent limitations and right-wing character of the Foucauldian critique of modernity, so should the MEK’s historical Shariati-inspired Islamism stand as a warning against all similar post-New Left valorizations of “culture.”

More recently, the MEK has found advocates among the far-Right politicians of the U.S. government such as Representative Tom Tancredo, Senators Sam Brownback and Kit Bond and former Senator and Attorney General John Ashcroft — precisely those who are most enchanted by the ideological cult of “America.” The MEK’s former patron, the Baathist Saddam Hussein, had unleashed the MEK on Iran in a final battle at the close of the Iran-Iraq war 1980–88, after which Khomeini ordered the slaughter of all remaining leftist political prisoners in Iran, as many as 30,000, mostly affiliated with the MEK and Tudeh, in what Abrahamian called “an act of violence unprecedented in Iranian history — unprecedented in form, content, and intensity” (Tortured Confessions, 1999, 210). After the 2003 invasion and occupation, the U.S. disarmed but protected the MEK in Iraq. However, since the U.S. military’s recent redeployment in the “status of forces” agreement with the al-Maliki government signed by Bush but implemented by Obama, the MEK has been subjected to brutal, murderous repression, as its refugee camp was raided by Iraqi forces on July 28–29, seemingly at the behest of the Iranian government, of which the dominant, ruling Shia constituency parties in Iraq have been longstanding beneficiaries Download the Dubai Metro Route too.

The grotesque and ongoing tragedy of the MEK forms a shadow history of the Islamic Revolution and its aftermath, eclipsed by the Khomeiniite Islamic Republic, but is essential for grasping its dynamics and trajectory.

6. See, for instance, Sean Penn, Ross Mirkarimi and Reese Erlich, “Support Iranians, not U.S. Intervention,” CommonDreams.org, July 21.

Chris Cutrone

Chris Cutrone is a college educator, writer, and media artist, committed to critical thinking and artistic practice and the politics of social emancipation. ( . . . )

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The Platypus Synthesis: History, theory

The Platypus Synthesis: History, theory, and practice

Presented at the Platypus Affiliated Society 1st annual international convention, Chicago, June 14, 2009. (Audio recording.)

History, theory

Chris Cutrone

I WANT TO BEGIN, straightaway, with something Richard raised, on which I would like to try to elaborate, by way of properly motivating the more “positive” aspect of Platypus’s theory. Not how we are misrecognized, as either neoconservatives, crypto-Spartacists or academic Left-liberals, and what this says “negatively” about our project, as if in a photonegative, as Richard has discussed, but rather how we positively think about the intellectual content of our project.

Let me begin with a thought experiment: What if the Spartacist critique of the 1960s New Left and Moishe Postone’s critique of the New Left, as disparate and antithetical as they might appear, were both correct? In other words, what if, paradoxically, the problem of the 1960s New Left was that it was simultaneously “too traditional” and “not traditional enough” in its Marxism?

What if the Spartacists were right that Stalinism and Trotskyism (and Bolshevism more generally) were not to be conflated, as they were in both Stalinophilic New Leftism, of Maoism and Che Guevarism, etc., and Stalinophobic neo-anarchism, Situationism, etc.? And what if Postone was correct, that Trotskyism, as part of “traditional Marxism,” was unable to deal with the problem of mid-20th century capitalism’s differences from earlier forms, and not able to address why revolutionary proletarian class consciousness, as it had previously manifested, did not continue, but seemed to become either irrelevant or, worse, affirmative of the status quo of the “administered society” of “organized” capitalism in the mid-20th century Download kakaotalk emoji images?

What both the Spartacists and Postone are unable to address, however, is why neither of their perspectives, which purported to grasp the problem of capital more deeply and in broader historical context than others in the post-1960s New Left, found virtually no adherents. If we in Platypus say that both the Spartacists and Postone are correct, but both fail to adequately account for their own forms of consciousness, this raises an interesting paradox that points back to issues of historical interpretation for the Spartacists and Postone’s points of departure, namely, Bolshevism as revolutionary Marxism, and Marx’s own Marxism.

We could say that the problem of the Spartacists and Postone point to two different aspects of temporality in the history of the Left, that the Spartacists act as if no historical time intervenes between themselves and 1917, and Postone acts as if the progression of historical transformation leaves the Marxist tradition permanently superseded.

Both the Spartacists and Postone acknowledge, in however a limited fashion, the problem of regression; in the case of the Spartacists, the regression is post-1917, and for Postone it is post-1968, but both consider regression in only a linear and static manner, as if the emancipatory moments of 1917 and 1968 wait to be resumed at some time in a future that never comes. — And, behind both of these, lies 1848, which also continues to haunt our world, as taken up by the Situationists, “Left-” and “council” or “libertarian” communists and “anarchists.” What if all three are correct, that we are indeed haunted by 1848, 1917 and 1968, that these moments actually circumscribe present possibilities? Then the question would be: How so?

The point would be, contra both the Spartacists and Postone, to grasp how and why the pertinence of history changes and fluctuates, over time, and as a function of the present. The point would be to be able to grasp a non-linear conception of historical progression — and regression. If, according to the Spartacists, the moment of the Bolshevik Revolution remains permanently relevant, and, for Postone, Marx remains permanently relevant, this side of overcoming capital, then we ought to be able to explain how this is so, and in ways the Spartacists and Postone themselves have been unable to do Windows 7 basic font. This is precisely what Platypus sets out to do.

Please let me begin again, with 4 quotations, to be considered in constellation. The first is from Walter Benjamin’s 1940 “Theses on the Philosophy of History:”

Karl Kraus said that “Origin is the goal.” History is the subject of a structure whose site is not homogenous, empty time, but time filled by the presence of the now. Thus, to Robespierre ancient Rome was a past charged with the time of the now which he blasted out of the continuum of history. The French Revolution viewed itself as Rome incarnate. It evoked ancient Rome the way fashion evokes costumes of the past. Fashion has a flair for the topical, no matter where it stirs in the thickets of long ago; it is a tiger’s leap into the past. This jump, however, takes place in an arena where the ruling class gives the commands. The same leap in the open air of history is the dialectical one, which is how Marx understood the revolution.

In attempting to read the history of the accelerated demise and self-liquidation of the Left after the 1960s, reading it, as Benjamin put it, “against the grain,” we in Platypus face a problem discussed by Nietzsche in his 1873 essay “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life:”

A person must have the power and from time to time use it to break a past and to dissolve it, in order to be able to live. . . . People or ages serving life in this way, by judging and destroying a past, are always dangerous and in danger. . . . It is an attempt to give oneself, as it were, a past after the fact, out of which we may be descended in opposition to the one from which we are descended. [Nietzsche translation by Ian Johnston at: http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/history.htm]

However, as Karl Korsch wrote, in his 1923 essay on “Marxism and Philosophy:”

[Marx wrote (in his 1859 Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy) that] “[Humanity] always sets itself only such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely it will always be found that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or are at least understood to be in the process of emergence.” [But] this dictum is not affected by the fact that a problem which supersedes present relations may have been formulated in an anterior epoch 스위시 맥스 4. [Karl Korsch, “Marxism and Philosophy,” Marxism and Philosophy (NLB: New York and London, 1970), 58]

As Adorno wrote, in his 1966 book Negative Dialectics:

The liquidation of theory by dogmatization and thought taboos contributed to the bad practice. . . . The interrelation of both moments [of theory and practice] is not settled once and for all but fluctuates historically. . . . Those who chide theory [for being] anachronistic obey the topos of dismissing, as obsolete, what remains painful [because it was] thwarted. . . . The fact that history has rolled over certain positions will be respected as a verdict on their truth content only by those who agree with Schiller that ‘world history is the world tribunal’. What has been cast aside but not absorbed theoretically will often yield its truth content only later. It festers as a sore on the prevailing health; this will lead back to it in changed situations. [T. W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics (Continuum: New York, 1983), 143–144]

We in Platypus consider ourselves, quite self-consciously, to be a function of such a return, under changed circumstances, to what was “cast aside but not absorbed theoretically.” We think that such an approach as ours is only possible by virtue of the ways history, in failing to be transcended, continues to “fester,” “yielding its truth content,” but “only later.” Our approach is informed by prior models for such an endeavor, namely, Trotsky and Adorno, and those who succeeded them, namely, the Spartacists and Moishe Postone.

We think that figures of historical thought and action such as Marx, Lenin and Luxemburg, Trotsky, Lukács, Korsch, Benjamin and Adorno have an apparently fluctuating pertinence, but we consider them to remain in constellation with the present, however distantly, precisely because these historical figures “remain painful [because they were] thwarted,” and because “history rolled over [their] positions” without their having been actually transcended and superseded, but only mistakenly “dismissed as obsolete.” As Adorno put it, in one of his last essays, “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?,” or “Is Marx Obsolete?,” if Marx has become obsolete, this obsolescence will only be capable of being overcome on the basis of Marx’s own thought and model of historical action. We in Platypus think the same goes for Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, and Adorno himself.

If these historical figures are obsolete but still remain capable of holding our attention and imagination, then we are tasked with explaining any continued pertinence they have by reference to their own models of historical thought and action, and thus, in a sense, “transcending” them, but only through “remembering” them, and on the basis that they themselves provide for our understanding them 한글 기본 글꼴. We want to transform the ways these figures haunt us in the present into a matter of actual gratitude as opposed to guilt (as Horkheimer and Adorno put it, in The Dialectic of Enlightenment, following Freudian psychoanalysis, about “The Theory of Ghosts”).

We recognize that Marx and the best Marxists, such as Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, will be transcended only by being fulfilled. We want to actually make them obsolete, whereas we find their (pseudo-)“obsolescence” declared by the “Left” today to be a function of trying to repress or ward them off instead. We begin with the discomfort of their memory, as an important symptom of history in the present.

But this involves a rather complicated historical approach, one that goes on in Platypus under the rubrics of “regression” and “critical” history, or history “against the grain” of events, which I would like to explicate now.

Nietzsche described what he called “critical history,” or an approach to history that is critical of that history from the standpoint of the needs of the present. Let me cite further from the passage of Nietzsche’s “Use and Abuse of History for Life” I’ve already quoted to illustrate this point.

Nietzsche said that,

Here it is not righteousness which sits in the judgment seat or, even less, mercy which announces judgment, but life alone, that dark, driving, insatiable self-desiring force.

So the question becomes, how, if at all, does memory of historical Marxism serve the needs of the present? We in Platypus recognize both the obscurity of the heritage of revolutionary Marxism and the ways the alternative, non-revolutionary lineage of the “Left” in its decline has been naturalized and so is no longer recognized as such. Our point of departure is the hypothesis that the history of the Left, however obscure, is the actual history of the present, or, more accurately, in Hegelian terms, how the history of the Left is the history of the present in its “actuality,” in its potential for change and transformation, and in its constraint of such potential 고전게임 nox 다운로드. We are bound by the history of the Left, whether we recognize this or not.

For example, we follow Trotsky’s caveat about the danger of being Stalinist in “method” if not in avowed “politics,” and judge the “Left” today to be beholden to Stalinism in importantly unacknowledged ways. Ian wrote an article in the May issue of The Platypus Review (#12), on “Resurrecting the ’30s,” in which he cited C. Wright Mills on how the “nationalization” of the Left in the 1930s–40s was “catastrophic.” We recognize this “nationalization,” the narrowing of horizons for Leftist politics that has been taken for granted by the Left, especially after WWII, to be the very essence of Stalinism and its historical legacy in the present. More importantly, we recognize that such “nationalization” of Left politics was utterly foreign to the perspectives of Marx and the 2nd International radical Marxists, Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky. Hence, we find in their example a potential critical vantage-point regarding the subsequent historical trajectory of the Left.

Furthermore, Nietzsche described the danger of

[the] attempt to give oneself, as it were, a past after the fact, out of which we may be descended in opposition to the one from which we are descended. It is always a dangerous attempt, because it is so difficult to find a borderline to the denial of the past and because the second nature usually is weaker than the first.

Richard, in his comments at our panel on “The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century” Friday night, spoke of how Trotsky and Benjamin provide the “hidden” or esoteric history of the 20th century, by contrast with its “real” history, exemplified by FDR and Hitler 어쌔신크리드 오디세이. Our present world is more obviously descended from the history of Hitler and FDR, who in this sense made the world what it is today, as the effect of their actions. But how might we (come to) be descended also from Benjamin and Trotsky? Can we claim their history as ours, or are we condemned to being only the products of the history of Hitler, FDR and Stalin (and those who followed them)?

Does the historical possibility represented by Trotsky and Benjamin have any meaning to us today? Clearly their historical legacy of opposition is weaker than the other, dominant and victorious one. But was Trotsky and Benjamin’s opposition to Stalin, FDR and Hitler so fruitless that we cannot make use of them in fighting against the continued effects of, and perhaps one day overcoming entirely, the legacy of the latter? It is in this sense that we can discuss the critique of the present available in history.

Benjamin contrasted such “critical history,” of the “vanquished,” which is related to but the converse of Nietzsche’s, a critique of the present from the standpoint of history, as opposed to Nietzsche’s critique of history from the standpoint of the present, to the affirmative history of the “victors,” the affirmation of history as it happened. — But, first, we need to be very clear about what Benjamin meant by the “vanquished,” who were not merely history’s victims, but the defeated, those who actually struggled and lost: Benjamin’s example was Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacus League in the German Revolution and Civil War of 1918–19. It was on behalf of such historically “vanquished” that Benjamin wrote that history needed to be read “against the grain” of the victories of the status quo that comprise the present 메이저 1기 다운로드. It is in memory of their sacrifices, the “anger and hatred” that emanates from the image of “enslaved ancestors,” that Benjamin thought the struggle for emancipation in the present could be motivated by history, that history could serve the present, contrary to the way it otherwise oppresses it, in its affirmation of the status quo.

It is in this sense that we in Platypus do not claim so much that Marx, Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, et al. were right, but rather we seek to make them right, retroactively. We do not claim their relevance, but seek to make them relevant. For they did not seek merely to find the crisis of capital, but to bring it about. Our critique of the present, initially, is what is available historically: how the present can be critiqued from the vantage-point of history.

The founder of the Spartacist League, James Robertson, once put it very well, in 1973 — in the aftermath of the ’60s — that,

The truth is historically conditioned; that is, the outlook of the Communist movement of the first four congresses of the Communist International rested upon a historic and successful upheaval of the revolutionary proletariat [in 1917]. A comparable theoretical breakthrough and generalization accompanied this massive revolutionary achievement. . . . It is as though the theoretical outlook of the proletarian vanguard in the period 1919–23 in the International stood atop a mountain. But since that time, from the period of the Trotskyist Left Opposition until his death and afterward, the proletariat has mainly witnessed defeats and the revolutionary vanguard has either been shrunken or its continuity in many countries broken. One cannot separate the ability to know the world from the ability to change it, and our capacity to change the world is on a very small scale compared to the heroic days of the Communist International easyview.

Robertson pointed out how deeply mistaken, and indeed “arrogant,” it was for us to assume that we know better than revolutionaries historically did. Our point is not to idolize the past but rather to instill an appropriate sense of humility towards it. Furthermore, the point is to be able to think in light of the past, how the past might help us think in the present. For, not only might we not know their past moments better than they did, but we might not know our present moment better than they might be able to prompt us to think about it. As Adorno wrote, in 1963,

The theorist who intervenes in practical controversies nowadays discovers on a regular basis and to his shame that whatever ideas he might contribute were expressed long ago — and usually better the first time around.

But repetition is regression. The second time around may not be better, but it might yet be productive in certain ways.

For it is not a matter of how these historical thinkers and actors we find important can be emulated in the present, practically, so much as it is a question of how far their perspective might see into the present. Not what would they do in the present, but what might they say to our present and its historical trajectory? So, initially, it is a matter of theory more than practice. Engaging the historical thought and action of our revolutionary Marxist forebears is not a matter of applying a ready-made theory, but rather tasks our own interpretative abilities ffmpeg exedownload. It demands that we think — not a simple matter. As Trotsky wrote to his followers in the 1930s, we must “learn to think,” again. This is what distinguishes us from other supposedly “Marxist” organizations. And this is what informs our practice, what we actually make happen in the world, as Ian will discuss.

Approaching history this way allows us to pose certain questions. It does not provide answers. The positive content of historical ideas is in their ambiguity: this is what makes them live for us today, by contrast with the dead positivity of the pseudo-ideas — really, the suppression of thinking — that we find on the fake “Left” today. For there is not merely the question of what we think about the past; but, also, and, perhaps most importantly, in our regressive moment today, the reciprocal one: what the past might think of us.

As Benjamin put it, history needs to be approached from the standpoint of its potential redemption. We think that the historical thought and action of Marxism demands to be redeemed, and that our world, dominated by capital, will continue to suffer so long as this task remains undone. We think that the constitutive horizon of our world was already charted, however preliminarily, by the revolutionary politics of historical Marxism, but that this horizon has become only blurred and forgotten since then. We in Platypus set ourselves the task of initiating thought about this problem, from deep within the fog of our present. We look back and see the revolutionary Marxists looking towards us from that faraway mountaintop asura games. In their fleeting gaze we find an unfulfilled hope — and a haunting accusation. | §

Symptomology

Historical transformations in social-political context

Chris Cutrone

Marx ridiculed the idea of having to “prove” the labor theory of value. If Marxian theory proved to be the means whereby the real relations of bourgeois society could be demonstrated in their movement, where they came from, what they were, and where they were going, that was the proof of the theory. Neither Hegel nor Marx understood any other “scientific” proof.

The more concrete the negation of the need, the more abstract, empty and flamboyant becomes the subjective mediation.

— C. L. R. James, “Dialectical Materialism and the Fate of Humanity” (1947)

THE PRESENT CRISIS has prompted numerous calls for a reconsideration of “socialism” and even for a return to Marx.[1] It seems to augur fundamental changes, changes met with no less fear than desire.

We in Platypus have anticipated, since our inception in 2006, the possibility of a “return to Marx,” and have sought to inform the terms in which this might take place Download The Little Spirit of the East. We have sought the re-opening of historical issues on the Left with the intention of their fundamental recon­sideration, taking nothing for granted, so that we could definitively close the books on stale “debates” in which the “Left” has remained stuck for more than a genera­tion, since at least the 1960s. Given the confusion reign­ing on the “Left” today, the urgency for this is evident.

The difficulty in addressing the present crisis of capi­talism is that almost all commentaries on it, not least those emerging from the Left, begin with a fundamen­tal misrecognition. We are not so much living through the crisis of capitalism as capitalism itself is the crisis. Capitalism is the — permanent — crisis of modern society. Only conjuncturally does capitalism become appreciably worse. But the history of capitalism is, whether in a fine-grained or a broad-gauged way, the history of going from one crisis to the next. It is in this sense that present circumstances and future prospects for capitalism must be addressed.

The election of President Obama is being regarded as an ambivalent phenomenon in this respect: On the one hand, Obama is saddled with responsibility of resolv­ing the crisis merely in order to restore some status quo ante, whether this is conceived as the 1990s heyday of Clintonism, before George W 윈도우 10 익스플로러 11. Bush messed things up, or the post-WWII welfare state of the Roosevelt to Nixon years. On the other hand, Obama’s election is taken to express or indicate the possibility for more radical change, towards which his administration might be pushed. But perhaps neither response to Obama is appropriate. Such prognostication ignores the history of transformations in capitalism, of which the present crisis might be only the latest occasion.

Whatever changes may or may not be brought about by Obama (or despite him) in response to the present crisis, his administration cannot solve the problems of capitalism but only transform them. The changes that take place will matter to the extent that they lay the groundwork for the next period of history under capital, structuring the conditions under which any future struggle against capitalism must take place — just as contemporary social forms are the accumulated effects of prior attempts to master the dynamic of capital in modern history.

To grasp the stakes of the present, we need to antici­pate potential changes, rather than simply getting swept up in them. We need, paradoxically, to try to remain “ahead of the curve,” precisely because, like everyone else, we are conditioned by and subject to forces beyond our control.[2] For what is missing is any agency adequate to intervening against capital (or, more accurately, to intervening from within its unfolding process) with more democratic results 로블록스 핵 다운로드.

The historical forces currently at work are beyond anyone’s, including Obama’s, control. However, the danger that the crisis presents is worse than this, which is, after all, the persistent characteristic of capital. The danger lies rather in the illusion that because of the economic crisis the workings of capital, which before had remained hidden, have now somehow revealed themselves to plain view. To grasp such workings requires more than experience. It requires us to attend to the vicissitudes in the history of theory, to distinguish affirmations and apologetics from critical recognitions.

The fate of Michel Foucault’s critique of modern soci­ety in the mid-20th century, during its last third and the first decade of the 21st century, can tell us a great deal about both the historical changes since the 1960s–70s “New Left” and the high 20th century social-political forms against which Foucault’s critique was directed.

Foucault’s work of the 1960s–70s retains great cur­rency in our time because it expresses discontent in a form that can find affirmation in the transformed society that came after its initial formulation and publication.[3] Foucault’s work was susceptible to being transformed from critique into affirmation and even common sense Download iPhone messages. This fact alone tells us a great deal about the historical changes with which Foucault’s work is bound up.

If Foucault’s work was expressive of forms of discon­tent that helped give rise to post-Fordist, neo-liberal capitalism since the 1970s, if the re-found “anarchism” with which his work has such great affinity has become the predominant form of radical social-political discon­tent on the supposed “Left,” this is because Foucault’s critique inadequately grasped its object, the Fordist capitalism of the mid-20th century. Consequently, when we read Foucault now, his work tells us — and affirms us in — what we already know. Only rarely, and, so to speak, despite itself, does it task us in the present. Only rarely does it help us to separate the critical from the affirma­tive, so that the one is not smuggled in under cover of the other. Hence, the question necessarily arises: Does Foucault’s work actually challenge us? Or does it merely entertain?

Film still, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Film still, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

The “New Left” in the 1960s–70s thought it was rebel­ling against capitalism, and thought it was doing so more profoundly than the preceding “Old” Left was able to do. But now it is difficult to deny that it was responding to one particular form of capitalism, one already in the pro­cess of dissolution. The New Left did not reach deeply enough to affect much of the subsequent transforma­tion of capitalism in the 1980s–90s, but it did serve to legitimize the replacement of what had grown obsolete Baby Boss. We read and accept, e.g., Foucault’s work, though we no longer have Fordist capitalism to critique. What we have instead is post-Fordism, of which Foucault’s work and other New Left thinking has become apologetic. If we find affirmation in Foucault, it is because we have long since flown the cuckoo’s nest of Fordist capital and are no longer in the care of Nurse Ratched.

By contrast with theories such as Foucault’s, Marx’s critical theory of capital has come up for repeated reconsideration since its origins in the mid-19th century, and will continue to do so, so long as capitalism as Marx understood it continues to exist. The other social thinkers whose work remain subject to such reconsid­eration — whose thought continues to haunt us in the present — are those bound up in the historical trajectory from which Marx’s thought emerged, those that predate, are roughly contemporaneous with, or are immediately successive to Marx, such as Rousseau, Adam Smith, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Freud. Beyond these, the thinkers after Marx who primarily claim our interest are those who most rigorously pursue the Marxian prob­lematic, such as Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Lukács, Benjamin and Adorno Download youtube music video. This is because, like Marx, the best 20th century Marxists were able to perceive and grasp both the most fundamental, perennial historical problems of life in capital as well as the problems of the struggle to overcome them. The recurrent “return to Marx” is thus a feature of our objective social life and will remain so. There is a reason why Marx does not fade as other thinkers do.

In his important 1989 work The Condition of Post­modernity, David Harvey provided an excellent account of how transformations of capitalism do not leave old forms entirely behind, but rather reconstitute them. For instance, Harvey argues convincingly that the form of capitalism that emerges after 1973 ought to be under­stood as post-Fordist, as the transformation of Fordism rather than its overcoming, just as 20th century Fordism was a transformation of the preceding, 19th century “liberal” form of capital.[4]

So the present crisis of post-Fordist/”neo-liberal” capitalism points not to the end of neo-liberalism, but rather to its transformed continuation. We will be mov­ing into a period in which are accumulated and recon­figured the historical legacies of all previous periods of capitalism: the liberal one of the mid- to late 19th century; the era of monopoly capitalism and imperial­ism of the late 19th to the early 20th century; the Fordist era of the high/middle 20th century; and the neo-liberal era of the late 20th century Download Isaac Rivers Fresh Mode. The question is whether this compounding of the problems of capitalism since Marx’s time makes it more politically and theoretically intractable.

Preceding forms of discontent with capitalism histori­cally found their expression (however uncertainly) on the Left, and these were transformed along with capitalism itself. The history of the Left is thus closely bound up with changes in the problem it has sought to overcome since the mid-19th century. The exhaustion and underly­ing despair of the “Left” today can be traced to its be­coming lost in a tangle of seemingly insoluble problems that have accumulated since Marx’s time. None of the problems raised in the history of preceding generations of the Left have been successfully worked through. All continue to haunt us.

What makes the present transformation of capital­ism very different from preceding ones, however, is the absence of a Left, an absence that points to a problem of consciousness android webview. If we are haunted by the past, this is largely in a repressed way. By treating the past as “an­cient history” we proclaim it to be no longer relevant. For this very reason, it is unclear whether and to what extent the problems of contemporary capitalism have been brought to conscious recognition.

While every historical crisis in capitalism has been met with (premature) announcements of its demise (whether welcomed or regretted), a history of the Left’s conception of capitalism can help us understand the changes that capitalism has undergone. Specifically, such a history would tell us how acutely (or not) the problem of capitalism and its potential overcoming have been grasped on the Left historically, and this, in turn, would help to reveal lingering theoretical problems. By helping us to better grasp the problem of capitalism, we could better understand how it has survived up to now.

The disadvantage with which we approach the present crisis is conditioned by the absence of a Left that could be meaningfully critiqued and practically challenged, as Marx and the best Marxists did in prior periods 아프리카tv 방송. There is no Left to push forward. This severely constricts our ability to actually get a handle on the present.

Whereas prior periods provided the Left with a rich symptomology that could be critically interrogated and thereby advanced, the pathologies we must work through today threaten to be entirely phantasmal. We might be left in coming years wondering why anyone ever made such a great fuss about “credit default swaps” and the like. The sufferings of the present might strike future considerations of them as having been quaint.

To better understand the world we need to try to change it. But the paralyzed consciousness on the “Left” prevents any attempt from whose failure we might learn. Still, a critical encounter with the enigmas of past attempts to change the world might help motivate our thinking and action in the present. The restive dead will continue to haunt us, though they might be made to speak. They are the only meaningfully acute symptoms available in the present. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #12 (May 2009) 웹 페이지 일괄.


1. For instance, see: Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas, “We Are All Socialists Now” in Newsweek February 16, 2009; and the on-going forum on “Reimagining socialism” in The Nation, with contributions by Michael Albert, Tariq Ali, Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher, Jr., Doug Henwood, Christian Parenti, Robert Pollin, Rebecca Solnit, Immanuel Wallerstein, et al., beginning in the March 23, 2009 edition with Ehrenreich and Fletcher’s article “Rising to the Occasion.” See also my letter in response, published in the April 20, 2009 edition, on the relation of Marx­ism to reality, utopia and the necessity for revolution.

2. See, for instance, recent Nobel Laureate in economics Paul Krugman’s “loyal opposition” — supposedly from the “Left” — to the Obama administration’s policies, signaled by a New York Times op-ed column on how the policies were slipping “Behind the Curve” (March 8, 2009), followed by another column, “Conscience of a Liberal” (March 21, 2009) and the Newsweek cover story on Krugman by Evan Thomas, “Obama’s Nobel Headache” (March 28, 2009).

3. See, for instance, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (1961), The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception (1963), The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (1966), The Archaeology of Knowledge (1971) and Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975).

4. Harvey’s more recent work, beginning at least with The New Imperialism (2003), up to and including his recent essay published in the Platypus Review 11 (March 2009), “Why the U.S. Stimulus Package is Bound to Fail,” has become more ambigu­ous if not incoherent, politically. He has therefore fallen below the threshold of the insight of his earlier work, which recognized the pitfalls of the nostalgia for Fordist capitalism that his more recent work evinces. This nostalgia is apparent in Harvey’s call, like others on the “Left” in the grip of the memory of the 1930s–40s, for a “new New Deal.” On the other hand, Harvey repeats standard post-1960s warnings about supposed imperial “decline” that have proven unwarranted through the several cri­ses the U.S. has weathered successfully since the Vietnam War debacle and the collapse of the post-World War II Bretton Woods system under Nixon.

Obama and the “Left”

Progress or regress?

Considering the future of Leftist politics under Obama

Chris Cutrone

Presented at the Platypus Affiliated Society public forum on “Progress or regress? Considering the future of Leftist politics under Obama,” with panelists Stephen Duncombe (New York University), Pat Korte (new Students for a Democratic Society), Charles Post (Solidarity), and Paul Street, New York University, December 6, 2008. An edited transcript of the forum was published in The Platypus Review #12 (May 2009) Download streaming Android videos.

I am Chris Cutrone, and I am speaking for Platypus, which organized this forum.

First, I would like to clarify: I don’t think that the topic should be what the Left can or should do under an Obama administration. Rather, we need to admit that there is no Left today. And we need to consider and explore the conditions of possibility for a Left coming into existence some time in the foreseeable future, perhaps under Obama.

Obama’s election is a good occasion for the clarification of several issues that block the reconstitution of a Left adequate to the present and future 쿠벨의 수가병.

For it is Platypus’s contention that “the Left is dead!” We say this so that one day there might be a living Left, a force in the world for social emancipation that is lacking today. We regard the present absence of a Left to be a matter of consciousness, a lack of recognition of the actual progressive-emancipatory possibilities in the world as presently constituted. We consider the “Left” today to be a mere relic of past forms of consciousness that are either no longer adequate to the present or were inadequate even in their original historical moments Download The Herstory.

So we in Platypus consider the “Left” as it exists today to be actually a pseudo-“Left,” an agglomeration of perspectives and notions — a set of more or less coherent but mostly incoherent ideologies — but not an authentic, coherent and powerful consciousness or set of recognitions and ideas, and certainly not a social force.

The confusion with which today’s pseudo-“Left” is faced around Obama has multiple registers, and several layers of historical roots, some of which I wish to lay out and discuss, now in my opening remarks, as well as later in the Q&A.

Before that, however, I wish to use myself as an example. From the moment Obama announced his candidacy, I felt strongly he would be the next President 파이어 폭스 jw player. This is because I — unlike those on the “Left” — recognized that a historical shift — a generational passing — had taken place, which had made most of the reasons one might suppose Obama to fail superceded and obsolete. — Obama, by contrast, was a shrewd enough politician to recognize in himself an instrument adequate to the historical moment, one that he has played to great effect.

Generationally, Obama is free in certain key respects from the symbolism of the 1960s that has subsumed politics for more than 40 years. In the process of the election, and as a result of the financial crisis, the hitherto predominant symbolism, for instance, Iraq for Vietnam, has passed in favor of the 1930s Great Depression and FDR swift 다운로드. But already earlier in the campaign, Obama had represented an unwinding of the 1960s era and a return to the imagery of either Martin Luther King, Jr., or the Kennedys. History had already begun to unwind from 1968 to the 1963 March on Washington or more precisely to 1960 and JFK’s election. We have evidently gotten beyond the endless repetition of 1972 and Nixon vs. McGovern only to arrive back at Camelot! The 1960s New Left and its aftermath have become historically bracketed, and after 40 years, this was none too soon by Version of Windows 7!

Such regression, the degree to which it has freed the social imagination from the trap of the late ’60s, has been, if not “progressive,” then at least salutary.

For instance, on the issue of “race” in America, Obama has been neither a traditional “black” politician nor has his victory been “post-racial.” Rather, Obama has expressed a transformation in the way “race” and racism function, a definite end to the period of post-Jim Crow, post-Civil Rights and post-Black Power forms of social consciousness and politics.

The “Left” has responded to this shift Obama has represented with as much fear as desire. There has been a great deal of anxiety generated about the nature and character of this change Download the form file. For the most part, there has been anxiety and regret on the “Left” about the end of “black politics” as it has functioned since the 1960s.

Worse still, virtually everyone on the “Left” seemed to harbor either an explicit or secret skepticism or disbelief at Obama’s chances. This incredulity was rooted in the “Left’s” mistaken understanding and imagination of the ways anti-black racism actually function in America today, and how they have functioned historically leading to the present.

The U.S. is no longer racist in the ways it has been, either in the Jim Crow era nor in the ’60s period or its aftermath. Unfortunately, this does not mean a change beneficial for the majority of black people, but it does mean the need for a new social imagination and politics winxp. Obama’s election didn’t change anything, nor will it, but it did reveal a change that had been long underway. As Bayard Rustin pointed out in the 1960s, black people don’t suffer from bad attitudes but from bad social conditions. Attitudes may have changed but social conditions have not improved — in fact, in many respects they have worsened, and the ways social conditions work against black people for instance have changed: poverty and other forms of disempowerment of the working class function differently today than in the 1950s–60s Civil Rights era, and to the detriment of politics.

But the “Left’s” incredulity about this change means only one thing: that the “Left” is more racist than the general population — without this meaning that the greater populace is more “progressive.” This is because the “Left” is more ideological and more conservative-reactionary in its outlook, trapped in a set of historical blinders that the greater society has long since overcome Download Stuart Little 2.

The fact that such changes have not been unambiguously — or indeed at all — “progressive,” in the sense of social emancipation and empowerment, does not mean that the changes have not taken place or that a Left perspective could afford to ignore them.

The fear with which this significance of Obama’s victory has been met by the “Left” is rooted in an attempt to avoid or ward off recognition of the obvious: that an earlier form of politics, specifically “black politics,” of the post-Civil Rights and post-Black Power period, from the 1970s through the 1980s and ’90s, was defunct — if indeed it had ever had any viability at all.

The question is how to respond to the evident depoliticization that Obama represents. — For Obama in no way stood at the head of a “movement” but only of an effective electoral strategy 물품매매계약서 무료. Obama’s electoral organization cannot be put to other ends, or transformed into a social movement. It cannot be force for change, let alone transformation.

If this inherently conservative character of Obama’s victory is faced, what will it mean for conceiving a “Leftist” politics that can and must reckon with the changed conditions of social politics Obama’s success has revealed?

This is the question that the “Left” tries to avoid.

Instead, the Left has become enthralled by the court politics of Obama’s Cabinet appointments and other such clues into which they can try to read his intentions.

Obama himself has acknowledged how he functions as a “projection screen” for others’ desires and hopes (and also perhaps their anxieties and fears). Obama’s soft authoritarianism is significant, for it reveals that the “Left” is hardly free of this inherently conservative and depoliticizing aspect of American “politics.”

For it is Platypus’s contention that we not only live today in the absence of a “Left,” but also in the absence of effective politics. Obama is, no less than Bush and Clinton were, the effect of politics in the absence of politics.

Changing this will be a very difficult and manifold task, involving the reinvigoration of organized labor as well as the deep interrogation and transformation of consciousness of present social realities on the “Left.” It will require a radical rebirth of the Left.

But Obama’s victory might at least help sweep away some of the obstacles in social consciousness and imagination that have held back the “Left” for more than a generation. But only if we recognize the opportunity of the present moment for what it is, without either positive or negative illusions. | §


Iraq and the election

The fog of “anti-war” politics

Chris Cutrone

BARACK OBAMA HAD, until recently, made his campaign for President of the United States a referendum on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In the Democratic Party primaries, Obama attacked Hillary Clinton for her vote in favor of the invasion. Among Republican contenders, John McCain went out of his way to appear as the candidate most supportive of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. Looking towards the general election, it is over Iraq that the candidates have been most clearly opposed: Obama has sought to distinguish himself most sharply from McCain on Iraq, emphasizing their differences in judgment. Prior to the recent financial melt-down on Wall Street, there was a consistency of emphasis on Iraq as a signal issue of the campaign. But with Iraq dramatically pacified in recent months, its political importance has diminished. Obama’s position on Iraq has, if anything, lost him traction as the McCain-supported Bush policy has succeeded.

Now might be a good time to step back and look at assumptions regarding the politics of the war, and assess their true nature and character, what they have meant for the mainstream as well as for the ostensible “Left.”

One major assumption that has persisted from the beginning of the anti-war movement and over the course of the two presidential terms of the Bush administration has been that the Iraq war was the result of a maverick policy, in which “neoconservative” ideologues hijacked the U.S. government in order to implement an extreme agenda. Recently, more astute observers of American politics such as Adolph Reed (in “Where Obamaism seems to be going,” Black Agenda Report, July 16, 2008, on-line at blackagendareport.com) have conceded the point that a war in Iraq could easily have been embraced even by a Democratic adminstration. Reed writes:

Lesser evilists assert as indisputable fact that Gore, or even Kerry, wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. Perhaps Gore wouldn’t have, but I can’t say that’s a sure thing. (And who was his running mate, by the way? [Joe Lieberman, who recently spoke in support of McCain at the Republican National Convention—CC]) Moreover, we don’t know what other military adventurism that he — like Clinton — would have undertaken. . . . No, I’m not at all convinced that the Right wouldn’t have been able to hound either Gore into invading Iraq or Kerry into continuing the war indefinitely.

This raises the issue of what “opposition” to the Iraq war policy of the Bush administration really amounts to. The Democrats’ jockeying for position is an excellent frame through which to examine the politics of the war photoshop import.ai 다운로드. For the Democrats’ criticism of the Bush policy has been transparently opportunist, to seize upon the problems of the war for political gain against the Republicans. Opposition has come only to the extent that the war seemed to be a failed policy, something of which Obama has taken advantage because he was not in the U.S. Senate when the war authorization was voted, and so he has been able to escape culpability for this decision his fellow Democrats made when it was less opportune to oppose the war. (Recall that this fact was the occasion for Bill Clinton’s infamous remark that Obama’s supposed record of uncompromised opposition to the war was a “fairy tale,” for Clinton pointed out that Obama had admitted that he didn’t know how he would have voted had he been in the Senate at the time.) Furthermore, opposition to the war on the supposed “Left” has similarly focused on the Bush administration (for example in the very name of the anti-war coalition World Can’t Wait, i.e., until the next election, and their call to “Exorcise the Bush Regime”), thus playing directly into the politics of the Democratic Party, resulting now in either passive or active support of the Obama candidacy.

On Obama’s candidacy, Reed went on to say that,

Obama is on record as being prepared to expand the war [“on terror”] into Pakistan and maybe Iran. . . .  He’s also made pretty clear that AIPAC [American-Israel Public Affairs Committee] has his ear, which does it for the Middle East, and I wouldn’t be shocked if his administration were to continue, or even step up, underwriting covert operations against Venezuela, Cuba (he’s already several times linked each of those two governments with North Korea and Iran) and maybe Ecuador or Bolivia. . . . This is where I don’t give two shits for the liberals’ criticism of Bush’s foreign policy: they don’t mind imperialism; they just want a more efficiently and rationally managed one. As Paul Street argues in Black Agenda Report, as well as in his forthcoming book Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics, an Obama presidency would further legitimize the imperialist orientation of US foreign policy by inscribing it as liberalism or the “new kind” of progressivism. . . . [T]he bipartisan “support the troops” rhetoric that has become a scaffold for discussing the war is a ruse for not addressing its foundation in a bellicose, imperialist foreign policy that makes the United States a scourge on the Earth. Obama, like other Dems, doesn’t want such a discussion any more than the Republicans do because they’re all committed to maintaining that foundation bonjour 다운로드.

In recognizing that the “liberals’ criticism of Bush’s foreign policy [doesn’t] mind imperialism; they just want a more efficiently and rationally managed one,” Reed and others’ arguments on the “Left” beg the question of U.S. “imperialism” and its place in the world. This is an unexamined inheritance from the Vietnam anti-war movement of the 1960s-70s that has become doxa on the “Left.” Put another way, it has been long since anyone questioned the meaning of “anti-imperialism” — asked, “as opposed to what?”

If, as Reed put it about Gore, Kerry, et al., that the “Right would have been able to hound” them into Iraq or other wars, this begs the question of why those on the “Left” would not regard Obama, Kerry, Gore, or (either) Clinton, not as beholden to the Right, but rather being themselves part of the Right, not “capitulating to” U.S. imperialism but part of its actual political foundation. There is an evident wish to avoid raising the question and problem of what is the actual nature and character of “U.S. imperialism” and its policies, what actually makes the U.S., as Reed put it, “a scourge on the Earth,” and what it means to oppose this from the “Left.” For it might indeed be the case that not only the Democrats don’t want such a discussion of the “foundation” of “U.S. imperialism” (“any more than the Republicans do”), but neither do those on the “Left.”

For Adolph Reed, as for any ostensible “Left,” the difficulty lies in the potential stakes of problematizing the role of U.S. power in the world. If the U.S. has proven to be, as Reed put it, a “scourge on the Earth,” the “Left” has consistently shied away from thinking about, or remained deeply confused and self-contradictory over the reasons for this — and what can and should be done about it.

Reed placed this problem in historical context by pointing out that,

[E]very major party presidential candidate between 1956 and 1972 — except one, Barry Goldwater, who ran partly on his willingness to blow up the world and was trounced for it — ran on a pledge to end the Vietnam War. Every one of them lied, except maybe Nixon the third time he made the pledge, but that time he had a lot of help from the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.

— But Nixon et al. would have gotten a lot more “help” living up to their pledges to end the U.S. war in Vietnam if the Communists had just laid down and died.

Was this the politics of the “big lie,” as Reed insists, echoing the criticisms of the Bush administration’s war policy, supposedly based on deceit, or is there a more simple and obvious explanation: that indeed, all American politicians were and remain committed to ending war, but only on their own, “U.S 이클립스 포톤. imperial” terms? And why would anyone expect otherwise?

If this is the case, then, the difference between the Obama and McCain campaigns regarding U.S. “imperialism” would amount to no difference at all. Obama has pledged to remove U.S. troops from Iraq as quickly as possible, but only if the “security situation” allows this. McCain has pledged to remain in Iraq as long as it takes to “get the job done.” What’s the difference? Especially given that the Bush administration itself has begun troop reductions and has agreed in its negotiations with the government of Iraq to a “definite timetable” for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops, as the Sunni insurgency has been quelled or co-opted into the political process and Shia militias like Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Brigade have not only laid down their arms but are presently disbanding entirely. No less than Bush and McCain, Obama, too, is getting what he wants in Iraq. Everyone can declare “victory.” And they are doing so. (Obama can claim vindication the degree to which the pacification of Iraq seems more due to the political process there — such as the “Anbar awakening” movement, etc. — than to U.S. military intervention.)

All the doomsday scenarios are blowing away like so many mirages in the sand, revealing that the only differences that ever existed among Republicans and Democrats amounted to posturing over matters of detail in policy implementation and not over fundamental “principles.” This despite the Obama campaign’s sophistic qualifiers on the evident victory of U.S. policy in Iraq being merely a “tactical success within a strategic blunder,” and their pointing out that the greater goals of effective “political reconciliation” among Iraqi factions remain yet to be achieved. What was once regarded in the cynically hyperbolic “anti-war” rhetoric of the Democrats as an unmitigated “disaster” in Iraq is turning out to be something that merely could have been done better. The “Left” has echoed the hollowness of such rhetoric. At base, this has been the result of a severely mistaken if not entirely delusional imagination of the war and its causes.

At base, the U.S. did not invade and occupy Iraq to steal its oil, or for any other venal or nefarious reason, but rather because the U.N.’s 12-year-old sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government, which meant the compromise and undermining of effective Iraqi sovereignty (for instance in the carving of an autonomous Kurdish zone under U.N 호텔 견적서 양식. and NATO military protection) was unraveling in the oil-for-food scandal etc., and Saddam, after the first grave mistake of invading Kuwait, made the further fateful errors of spiting the U.N. arms inspectors and counting on being able to balance the interests of the European and other powers in the U.N. against the U.S. threat of invasion and occupation. The errors of judgment and bad-faith opportunism of Saddam, the Europeans, and others were as much the cause for the war as any policy ambitions of the neocons in the Bush administration. Iraq was becoming a “failed state,” and not least because of the actions of its indisputably horrifically oppressive rulers. If Saddam could not help but to choose among such bad alternatives for Iraq, this stands as indictment of the Baathist regime, its unviable character in a changing world. The niche carved out by the combination of Cold War geopolitics and the international exploitation of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s for the Baathist shop of horrors was finally, mercifully, closing.

The unraveling of the U.N. sanctions regime prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation, enforced not only by the U.S. and Britain but by neighboring states and others, cannot be separated from the history of the disintegration of the Iraqi state. The armchair quarterbacking of “anti-war” politics was from the outset (and remains to this day) tacitly, shame-facedly, in favor of the status quo (and worse, today, must retrospectively try to distort and apologize for the history of Baathism). In comparison with such evasion of responsibility, the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was an eminently responsible act. They were willing to stake themselves in a way the Democrats and the Europeans and others were not — and the “Left” could not. The “success” of the Bush policy amounts to its ability to cast all alternatives into more or less impotent posturing. Attributing motives for the war to American profiteering is to mistake effect for cause. Complaining about the fact that American companies have profited from the war is to impotently protest against the world as it is, for someone was going to profit from it — would it be better if French, Japanese or Saudi firms did so 인텔 widi?

That the U.S. government under Bush broke decorum and made the gesture of invading Iraq “unilaterally” without U.N. Security Council approval says nothing to the fact that Iraq was likely to be invaded and occupied (by “armed inspection teams” supported by tens of thousands of “international” troops, etc.) in any case. Did it really matter whether the U.S. had the U.N. fig leaf covering the ugliness of its military instrument? It was only a matter of when and how it was going to be put to use, in managing the international problem the Iraqi state had become. No one among the international powers-that-be, including the most “rogue” elements of the global order (Russia, China, Iran, et al.) had any firm interest in restoring to Saddam’s Baathists the status quo from before 1990 and, needless to say, not only the U.S. and Britain, but also Saudi Arabia and Iran, and most especially the Iraqi Kurds and Shia, were not about to let that happen. Saddam was on the way out. It was only a matter of how.

All the rhetoric about the “overreach” and “hubris” of U.S. policy in Iraq says nothing to the fact that a crossroads there was being reached — this was already true under Clinton. All the bombast about the “illegal” — or even “criminal” — character of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq neglects the simple fact that the U.S. occupation was authorized by the U.N. When Democrats impugn the “crusading” motives of the Bush administration with sophistry about the supposed folly of trying to spread “democracy” in Iraq and the greater Middle East, is this a “progressive” argument, or a conservative one?

Not only the Democrats’ but the “Left’s” opposition to the Iraq war has in fact been from the Right. This is revealed most perversely by the history of the Iraq policy recommendations of Joe Biden, who has been touted by the Obama campaign as bringing “foreign policy credentials” to their ticket as candidate for Vice President. Biden once advocated a break-up of Iraq into separate Shia, Sunni and Kurdish states, during the height of the Sunni insurgency, which would have punished the Sunni by leaving them without access to Iraq’s oil wealth (which is concentrated in the Kurdish and Shiite areas of Kirkuk and Basra). Would pursuit of such an ethno-sectarian division of Iraq have been a “progressive” outcome for furthering the “democratic self-determination” of the peoples of Iraq msvcp100.dll 무료 다운로드? — In comparison with the 20% troop “surge” that has in fact, as even Obama has put it, “succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.” Or might we see in such apparently “extreme” policy alternatives as Biden’s a deeper underlying fact, that from the standpoint of not only U.S. “imperial” interests but those of the global order, it doesn’t make much difference if Iraq remains a single or is broken up into multiple states, whether it is ruled by secular or theocratic regimes, or whether its government is “democratic” or dictatorial, whether its civil society is “liberal” or not. But, presumably, this matters a great deal to the Iraqis!

None of the posed alternatives regarding Iraq — not before, during or since the invasion and occupation — can be ascribed to being inherently in service of or opposed to the on-going realities of U.S. power (“imperialism”), or the interests of global capitalism, because all of them are compatible with these. Rather, the policy alternatives are all matters of opportunistic orientation to an underlying reality that is not being substantially challenged or even recognized politically by any of the actors involved, great or small, on the “Right” or “Left,” from al-Qaeda to the neoconservatives, or “libertarians” like Ron Paul, from Bush to the President of the Iranian Islamic Republic Ahmadinejad, and Republicans and Democrats from McCain to Obama, or “independents” and the Green Party’s candidates Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, to the far-“Left” of “anarchists” and other antinomians like writers for Counterpunch and the Chomskyans, et al. at Z magazine, or the “anti-war” protest coalitions led by “Marxist” groups such as the International Socialist Organization (United for Peace and Justice coalition, Campus Anti-war Network), Workers World Party (ANSWER coalition), or the Revolutionary Communist Party (World Can’t Wait coalition).

All of the supposed “anti-imperialists” — from Iraq policy dissident Republicans like Senator Chuck Hagel, to the most intransigent “Marxists” like the Spartacist League — have failed to be truly anti-“imperialist” in their approach to Iraq, nor could they be, for none could have possibly challenged the fundamental conditions of U.S. power in global capital. There is no politics of anti-imperialism, for no one asks politically whether and what it means to say that the U.S. could be more or less “imperialist,” whether the world order can do without the U.S. acting as global cop — asking, who, for instance, would play this nevertheless necessary role in the absence of the U.S.? For there is no one. And no purported “Left” should want “openings” for their own sake in the global order — as if any “cracks” in the “system” won’t be the holes into which the world’s most abject will be immediately swallowed, without in any way sparing the next batch of victims in the train-wreck of history.

The fundamental inability of anyone on the “Left” to take a meaningfully alternative position on Iraq, beyond hoping (vainly) for the “defeat” of or “resistance” to U.S shake that brass 다운로드. policy, and thus immediately joining the opportunism of the politics of the Democrats, dissident Republicans, and European and other statesmen, should serve as a warning about the dire political state of the world and its possibilities today. Accusations might fly about who may more or less tacitly “support” “U.S. imperialism,” but there is such a thing as protesting too much, especially when it must be admitted that nothing can be done right now to alter the given global political and social realities in a progressive-emancipatory manner. If, as Adolph Reed put it, the U.S. remains a “scourge on the Earth,” is the alternative only to impotently denounce this and not try to properly understand it — and understand what it would mean to prepare to begin to meaningfully challenge and overcome this?

As appalling as it might be to recognize, McCain in his Republican National Convention speech was actually more truthful and straightforward than Obama when he pointed out that he has stood consistently behind what has proved to be a successful policy in Iraq. Obama now must dissemble on the issue.

On the other hand, the essence of Obama’s candidacy can be seen in the figure of Samantha Power, who was sacked from his primary campaign after saying, correctly, that Hillary Clinton was a “monster” who would “say anything” to get elected. Power is a liberal promoter of “human rights” military interventionism, and began working as a senior advisor for Obama immediately after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Power is a representative of Obama’s version of the historical precedent of JFK’s team of “the best and the brightest” such as Robert McNamara. In fact, Obama’s candidacy has been in its origins much more about “foreign” than “domestic” policy, and more than will be apparent now that Iraq has been neutralized as the main issue in the election. Obama, no less than McCain, is campaigning for the office not only of the “top cop” of the U.S., but of the world. Obama’s campaign is over effective policy for this role, not the role itself.

The “Left” is now up in arms in the face of Obama’s candidacy because his campaign explicitly aims to refurbish the U.S. government’s capacity to play this role, and perhaps even in expanded ways, as U.S 케이크 사진. power would be equipped to advance the liberal cause of “human rights” internationally more idealistically and less cynically than under Bush or Clinton.

But this raises the issue of how to understand the U.S.’s role in the world. Only at its peril does the Left treat the explicit Wilsonian doctrine that has essentially underwritten U.S. policy and power after the First World War as hypocritical or cynical, for the project of the U.S. as the central, without-peer hegemonic power of global capital is one in which all states internationally participate (through the U.N., the international treaty organization of U.S. power), only to a greater or lesser extent. Maintaining the “peaceful” conditions of capital has and will continue to prove a bloody business at global scale. As much as one might wish otherwise or simply regret the onus of U.S. power, reality must be faced.

The hyperbole around Iraq in mainstream politics is best illustrated by that favored word, “quagmire.” But behind this has been hysteria, not reason. Feeling in one’s step the pull of some gum on the pavement is not the threat of sinking into quicksand! The Iraqi “insurgents” knew better than their apologists and cynical anti-Bush well-wishers among the Democrats and European and other powers — and their open cheerleaders on the “Left” — that they were not so intransigent, not so willing to die to a last man in their “opposition” to the U.S. and its policies, but only wished to drive a harder bargain at the negotiating table with the U.S. and its allies in Iraq — and now they are themselves becoming allies of the Iraqi government and the U.S.

Currently, it might still remain unclear whether the combined actions and apparent attenuation of the Iraqi insurgents/militias and the struggle among the ruling and oppositional parties of the Iraqi government and, behind them, their foreign backers in Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the apparent disarray of the regime of the Iranian Islamic Republic in its nuclear standoff with the U.S. and European powers, amount to a temporary situation borne of a shared wish to ride the Obama train (or merely the potential for change inherent in the election cycle) into a better bargaining position regarding U.S. policy and so not to spoil the U.S. election and bring the supposedly more bellicose John McCain to power through the fear of the American public, or whether they’ve given up the bloody game of jockeying for influence in Iraq because they’ve already spent what chips they had in the last 5 years cpu z.

In any case, as far as the election is concerned, Obama has played a strategy in his campaign from which any purported “Left” must learn politically: that it is not a good idea to bank ahead of time on the defeat of one’s opponents. Obama’s campaign is in more trouble than it might have been because it has lost its signal issue with which to prosecute the Republicans with the Bush administration, a “losing” war in Iraq. Obama can be elected despite this, and fudge the issue of the war and “opposition” to it as policy.

But the “Left” remains in a similar but in fact much worse predicament. The “Left” never asked the burning question: What if the Bush policy “succeeds?” Then what will be the basis for opposition to U.S. “imperialism?”

Iraq is nothing like Vietnam, despite the wishes of the “Left” to have history repeat itself. If Iraq does not , as it appears it will not, fall apart or drag on in endless slaughter, but continues to stabilize, and does not give up sovereignty over its oil resources, etc., but simply allows the U.S. some minimal military presence through its embassy there, and continues to work with the U.S. against groups like al-Qaeda, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah, the Kurdish PKK guerillas in Turkey, and willingly sides with the U.S., as it will inevitably, in any potential future wars against Iran or Syria, etc., will this mean that the U.S. invasion and occupation diminished Iraqi “sovereignty” and so was a phenomenon of U.S. “imperialism?” What will be the account of Iraqi motives in the arrangement achieved by U.S. intervention, as mere stooges for the U.S.?

And won’t this mean taking a much coarser and narrower- minded view of the actual concrete politics of Iraq and the Middle East than those evinced by Obama, McCain and (even) Bush, so effectively disqualifying the “Left” as being in any way competent to comment, let alone critique or offer political alternatives?

What will remain the basis for the “Left’s” opposition to U.S. policy in a world McCain or Obama would make after Bush — after Blackwater, et al. quit the Iraqi scene, as they already are doing, and not through defeat but success, and not without some selective high-profile (if become less interesting) investigations and prosecutions of “war crimes” by Americans, now that the U.S Love and bless me for. can afford them?

How will U.S. power in the world be understood, and what critique and vision of the future will be posed in the face of its undiminished capacities? | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #7 (October 2008).

“Imperialism:” What is it — Why should we be against it?

Kevin Anderson, Chris Cutrone, Nick Kreitman, Danny Postel, and Adam Turl

On January 30th, 2007, Platypus hosted its first public forum, “Imperialism: What is it—Why should we be Against it?” The panel consisted of Adam Turl of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), Kevin Anderson of the Marxist-Humanist group News and Letters, Nick Kreitman of the new Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Danny Postel of Open Democracy, and Chris Cutrone of Platypus. What follows is an edited transcript of this event; the full video can be found online at <platypus1917.org/2007/01/20/imperialism/>.

The question of imperialism remains obscure on the Left. In light of the continued failure of the anti-war movement to end the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the decline of anti-war protest in the wake of Barack Obama’s election, it seems that the critique of imperialism has not been clarified, but only become more impotent in its opacity. Consequently, The Platypus Review believes that this panel retains its salience.

However difficult the task of grasping and confronting global capital might be, it is crucially important that a global internationalism be recovered and reformulated. . . .
The Left should be very careful about constituting a form of politics that, from the standpoint of human emancipation, would be questionable, at the very best, however many people it may rouse.
— Moishe Postone, “History and Helplessness” (2006)

Opening remarks

Adam Turl: To Marxists, imperialism designates the circumstance whereby economic competition among major capitalist countries, driven by finance capital, large banks, and big corporations, leads to political and military competition. This takes the form of an indirect competition for colonies, zones of influence, and trade networks. Take the U.S. invasion of Iraq—it was not just about seizing oil, but controlling the access to oil of potential competitors to America, such as China. So “imperialism” is not just about bad foreign policy, but the necessity for a ruling class driven by competition to pursue such policies. But what force in society can oppose imperialism? My position is that working class people in the United States, whether they work at an auto plant or in an office, have the power and the interest to oppose imperialism.

Unfortunately, most of the 1960s New Left argued that large segments of the American working class benefit materially from imperialism. I do not believe this argument was ever correct, and it has only grown more implausible with age. The costs of imperialism are borne not only by those that the U.S. oppresses abroad, but also by working class people here at home. The benefits of imperialism are almost entirely accrued by the very wealthy here and by tiny groups of collaborators abroad 엠씨스퀘어 mp3.

Protesters at an anti-war demonstration.

Working class people identify with imperialist ideology only to their own detriment. It has been a great weakness of the U.S. labor movement that much of its leadership since World War II has identified with the economic interests of major U.S. corporations, ultimately leading to a massive decline of labor rights in America. Although corporations have reaped huge dividends, workers have benefited from neither the theft of Iraqi oil, nor the exploitation of workers around the globe—quite the opposite, in fact. More than 60 percent of the U.S. population has demonstrated repeatedly in polls that they oppose the occupation of Iraq. Imperialism breeds anti-imperialism: The crisis in Iraq, along with the economic crisis facing millions of workers here at home, has bred opposition to the war.

We face this common situation of having to build an anti-imperialist Left. As American workers begin to question the war, is there a Left to offer a position on the war and imperialism that makes sense? Without this, people will believe the commonsense answers pushed by Democrats, who say the war in Iraq is a policy misstep, rather than part of an imperial project in the Middle East connected, among other things, to America’s support of the occupation of Palestine. The Left needs to be rebuilt, and this means creating as large an anti-war movement as possible. With the debacle in Iraq our rulers are facing something of a crisis; now is the time to seize this moment to organize against the war.

Kevin Anderson: Imperialism is a system by which powerful, competing nations are driven to dominate and exploit weaker ones. It is not simply a conspiracy, but a social and economic process rooted in the very structure of capitalism. Modern imperialism seeks to dominate the globe in order to secure markets, cheap labor, and raw materials, a process analyzed by Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg.

Imperialism also has a concrete political and military aspect, but military control is necessary only to secure the access needed for economic imperialism to operate. Imperialism seeks to open up other societies to the penetration of capital, making direct occupation unnecessary and thus uncommon today, which is partly why even some pro-imperialists consider the war in Iraq reckless.

Finally there is cultural imperialism, which has dominated academic discussions of imperialism. Everything from Indiana Jones to the way colonized peoples are typically portrayed legitimates economic and political imperialism. Even elite cultural institutions, such as art museums, in the way they organize artwork—e.g., Egyptian artifacts in the basement and French paintings on the top floor—can reflect a fundamentally racist ideology assuring people of their cultural superiority and right to dominate.

Imperialism strengthens capitalism, but it always engenders resistance. Working people have to fight imperialist wars and thus pay its costs, so they resist; naturally, those directly subject to imperialism also resist qr코드 어플 다운로드. Forms of resistance vary, however, from progressive and emancipatory to reactionary: Take Pat Buchanan, who opposes the Iraq war strictly on isolationist grounds, so as to avoid involvement with “inferior races.” Imperialism is sometimes opposed by reactionary interests abroad, too, from Al-Qaeda to Serbian nationalists. Of course, generally, imperialism is opposed by progressive movements. It is important for anti-imperialists here, and those in countries directly oppressed by imperialism, to be willing to work together. Today, various U.S. organizations support Chiapas and Bolivia. Such progressive anti-imperialists must continue to oppose imperialism, but must also avoid supporting reactionary forms of anti-imperialism. It is not enough to say simply that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Nick Kreitman: Most anti-imperialists today have no program. At the anti-war marches they organize, groups like United for Peace and Justice advance no concrete alternatives. They simply hand you a sticker reading “Troops Out Now.” They do not elaborate on what they want after troop withdrawal, and therefore do not connect this struggle with the question of realizing a more just society. Of course, sovereignty should rest solely with the Iraqis. Yet, even as the war continues, the number of people turning out for protests dwindles because, at least in part, they can see no solution.

The Left needs to resume the responsibility of political leadership, which includes identifying and presenting alternatives to U.S. foreign policy. Only then can we overcome apathy. Unfortunately, the Left has failed to elaborate on what could be done, on what a new Iraq might look like, just as, in the 1990s, we failed to articulate a position on how the U.S. should engage Serbia, which misled people to believe we supported Miloševic.

We need people to articulate alternatives in the long term and to form concrete plans in the short term to end the occupation. Some are interested in this work, but they have not been trying hard enough to lead the movement, to provide solutions that will help us connect with people.

Danny Postel: The Balkan Wars of the 1990s proved confusing for those who, like myself, came of age politically during the Central America solidarity movements of the 1980s, and who were thus anti-imperialist as a matter of course. As Yugoslavia became engulfed in violence, the paradigm inherited from the anti-Vietnam War movement proved insufficient to understand what was happening. Kevin Anderson and I argued that anti-imperialism was obscuring what was critical at that moment. Unfortunately, support for Miloševic on the Left was all too real, drawing in leftists as prominent as Michael Parenti—who helped organize the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Miloševic—as well as Diana Johnstone, Michel Chossudovsky, and Jared Israel.

Many on the Left in the 1990s were led down a dark alley, a situation analyzed thoughtfully in “Against the Double Blackmail,” an essay by Slavoj Žižek written around this time 윈도우 nc. There, Žižek argued that leftists needed to oppose both Western imperialism and its false antithesis, ethno-fascist gangster capitalism, which does not represent a form of resistance to but, rather, the mirror image of global capital and Western empire.

Since September 11, one can witness in dismay the return of this tunnel-visioned anti-imperialism that had deeply confused the Left about the Balkans. A critical stance toward myopic anti-imperialism has lost ground given the brazenness of the new era of global imperialism represented by the Bush administration. Despite this resurgence of U.S. imperialism, the example of Iran clearly shows the limitations of adopting imperialism as the sole organizing principal of leftist thought. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often employs the language of anti-imperialism, to the confusion of people on the Left. Some even admire him for it, especially when someone like Hugo Chavez embraces Ahmadinejad, the front man of Iran’s far right, as a “revolutionary brother.”

This is further confused by the fact that the emancipatory demands of Iranian dissidents tend not to be expressed in the idiom of anti-imperialism, but in terms of human rights and secularism, which are undeservedly dismissed as “mere bourgeois rights” by too many Marxists. The Iranian struggle is indeed anti-imperialist, but not to the exclusion of other issues. Student radicals publicly denounced Ahmadinejad for embracing David Duke at a global Holocaust conference at Tehran University [in December 2006]. Those students are saying their struggle is two-fold: It opposes imperialism and internal authoritarianism. Similarly, our struggle should be two-fold. We should struggle against imperialism, to stop the U.S. from attacking Iran, but we should also struggle in solidarity with emancipatory forces in Iran. Anti-imperialism is only half of our equation. It signals what we are against—but what are we for?

Chris Cutrone: Platypus takes its name from the animal because of its incomprehensibility, its resistance to classification. Like our namesake we feel that an authentic Left today would go almost unrecognized by the existing Left or, if recognized, seen only as a living fossil. We focus on the history and thought of the Marxist tradition, but in a critical and non-dogmatic manner, taking nothing for granted. We do this because we recognize our present, the politics of today, as the consequence of the Left’s self-liquidation over the course of at least a generation. It is our contention and provocation that the Left, understood in its best historical traditions, is dead. It needs to be entirely reformulated, both theoretically and practically, at the most fundamental levels.

The issue of imperialism provides a good frame for investigating the present international crisis of the Left. Though problematic for the Left for some time, the issue of imperialism has taken on particularly grotesque forms more recently, losing whatever coherence it had in the past. Today, it betrays symptomatically the Left’s dearth of emancipatory imagination. The present anti-war movement continues to struggle against the latest war by misapplying the template of the Vietnam War and the counterinsurgencies waged by the U.S 마이크로소프트 액티브싱크 다운로드. in Latin America. There, the U.S. fought against progressive agents for social change. The same cannot be said today. In addition to confusing the past with the present, the Left now tails after the crassest opportunism of the Democratic Party, for whom the more dead in Iraq, the more they can marginalize the Bush administration.

The Left has abdicated responsibility for a self-aware politics of progressive social transformation and emancipation. Instead, U.S. policy and the realities it grapples with are opportunistically vilified. Thus the Left shirks serious reflection on its own inconvenient history, its own role in how we got here. The worst expressions of this can be found in the intemperate hatred of Bush and in the idea, unfortunately prevalent in some leftist circles, that the U.S. government orchestrated the September 11 attacks.

We in Platypus recognize that leftist politics today is characterized by its despair over the constrained possibilities of social change. Whatever vision for such change exists in the present derives from a wounded narcissism animated by the kind of loathing Susan Sontag expressed in the 1960s when she said, “the white race is the cancer of human history.”[1] The desire for change has become reactionary. The Left has devolved into apologetics for the world as it is, for existing social and political movements having nothing to do with emancipation. Thus the Left threatens to become the new right. Many who consider themselves leftist dress up Islamist insurgents as champions of national self-determination. One recalls Ward Churchill calling the office workers killed on September 11 “little Eichmanns of U.S. imperialism,” or Lynne Stewart, the civil rights attorney, saying that Sheik Abdul Rahman, who orchestrated the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, might be a legitimate freedom fighter.

The Left has lost its basic orientation towards freedom, a problem going back at least as far as the 1930s. The perspective the Left once had on the question and problem of freedom has become occluded in the present. Consequently, the Left has largely decomposed into competing rationalizations for a bad reality that the Left, in its long degeneration, has not only failed to prevent, but actually helped bring about. The sooner we stem the rot on the Left the better, but first of all we must recognize the depth of the problem. This is why we in Platypus are dedicated to investigating the history of the Left’s demise, so that an imagination for social emancipation can be regained anew. The Left can only survive by overcoming itself. Seriously interrogating the received political categories on the Left, not least of all imperialism, is essential to establishing a coherent politics with any hope of changing the world in an emancipatory direction. The enemies of social progress have their visions and are pursuing them. Some are more reactionary than others. The only question for us now: What are we going to do on the Left?

Panelists’ responses

Kreitman: At times, the Left can degenerate into supporting ethnic fascism Download the highest quality on YouTube. We should not idealize Muqtada al-Sadr or the Iraqi Islamic Party. We need to figure out how we are going to help a democratic, socialist Iraq emerge out of the current mess. If this just means leaving, that is what we should do. But is pulling out going to solve any of Iraq’s problems? Or will it just give the next president a pretext to return in five years? We need to identify who our allies are and how we can affect U.S. policy to provide the best of all possible outcomes in Iraq.

Turl: With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformations in China, anti-imperialism certainly became more complicated. Nonetheless, opposing the imperialism of one’s own country still overlaps naturally with political support of organizations and countries resisting imperialism. There are two mistakes made by the Left. One is to associate any and all opposition to U.S. imperialism with progressive politics. The other is what Noam Chomsky writes about in Military Humanism, his study of Bill Clinton’s interventions in Bosnia and Serbia, which actually found support from so-called leftists. The 1990s broke the post-Vietnam reluctance of the U.S. to invade.

I disagree with Chris: I think the Left has more to do than examine our mistakes and despair. The Left is about a process taking place in society, about people radicalizing and struggling against injustice. We need to be engaged with those struggles around the world. There are debates going on in Venezuela today about what the future of that movement should look like. The Left should engage in these debates although, in the U.S., our most important obligation is to stand against our government telling anyone what to do in Venezuela.

Anderson: My interest has always been problematizing what the Left is doing. What alternative to capitalism we offer is connected with the critique of the Left, by the Left. Most would take issue with Ahmadinejad’s comments denying the Holocaust, yet many leftists think talking about such things will distract from organizing the next protest. However, every time we do not explore these critical questions, we lose a chance to clarify what our alternative to capitalism actually is. We imply that our political vision may resemble the world desired by any of the forces opposing imperialism, regardless of those forces’ politics. We have to explore the difficult questions of the Left even as we oppose the occupation of Iraq and affirm our solidarity with progressive movements.

Postel: To clarify, when I said we should be in solidarity with Iranian protesters, I do not just mean, “we Americans.” I mean, we on the internationalist Left: activists, people of conscience, progressives. Particularly in America, some leftists think that people outside Iran have no role to play in the Iranian struggles, because they come from an imperialist country. We do have a role to play: to ask people who are struggling, “What can we do for you?” and “How can we help your struggle?” In general, Iranian progressives do not want financial support from the Pentagon or think tanks 귀담백경 다운로드. What they do want is the support of global civil society, from intellectuals, activists, leftists—that is, from people like us.

Cutrone: The Left is in a bad way when looking at the possibilities for developing a Left in Iraq. Regardless of intention, the U.S. forces in Iraq and the political process that they have protected—the emergence of an Iraqi state through elections—now stand between whatever possibility there is for an Iraqi Left, in the long term, and the immediate reactionary opposition from former Baathists, Islamists, and Shi’a paramilitaries. What does it mean to call U.S. policy “imperialist” when, on the ground, that policy is opposed primarily from the right? The Iraqi Communist Party put out a statement saying that, while they were opposed the invasion of Iraq, they now also oppose the reactionary military opposition to the U.S. occupation and the Iraqi government. In other words, they were opposed to the U.S. occupation, but it matters to them how the occupation comes to an end. For, under the current conditions, the U.S. being forced out of Iraq by right-wing sectarians would be a disaster.

The critique of the Left internationally is a form of participation and solidarity on the Left. The Left exhibits some of its worst features on the issue of anti-imperialism. It is constantly trying to figure out where the Left is, what existing group one can point to and say, “This is the Left.” Too often this involves dressing up as “leftist” more or less reactionary opposition forces. In so doing, the Left expresses a conciliatory attitude towards the status quo. Against this, I say the most salient form of support is critique, and this applies to the preceding historical period, as well: The role of the American Left during the Vietnam War should have been to critique the National Liberation Front (NLF) in South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese regime.

Q & A

Q1: First, the real job of the anti-war movement in the 1960s was not to criticize the North Vietnamese regime, but to stop the genocidal war in Vietnam, and the movement succeeded. These wars are not just about abstract issues debated in graduate papers. Imperialism takes real lives. The ISO, which I am a member of, never had any problems supporting the Sandinistas against the U.S. and Solidarity against the USSR, because we took for granted that nations have the right to self-determination. This means, first, that activists in the advanced world have to be anti-imperialist as a principle, for it is not just about stopping oppression: We should support struggles against the U.S. because, if the forces of imperialism are defeated and weakened abroad, we can better fight for socialism here. Let’s be clear: the “dark alley” mentioned earlier—it was Stalinism. It was the identification, for 60 years, of socialism with totalitarianism and Soviet imperialism. Our task is to redevelop the socialist tradition by unearthing that crap, to make socialism relevant to the millions in this country who want fundamental change.

Cutrone: About Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive the NLF and the North Vietnamese communist regime expended literally thousands of cadres attempting to get the U.S. back to the negotiating table. Is that a form of fighting for social emancipation we can endorse? More broadly, I’m not sure the anti-Vietnam War movement succeeded Download galaxy s3 genuine firmware. To the extent the U.S. was “defeated,” this was surely a Pyrrhic victory for Vietnam in light of the lasting devastation it suffered. Moreover, whether America lost or won militarily, the anti-war movement definitely did not win, as Vietnam presents no repeatable model of social emancipation.

The Left “here” and the Left “there” should be seen more in terms of an integral connection and less as a distant solidarity, which is a bad habit we inherit from the 1960s anti-war movement, expressed today in the idea that somehow the U.S. being defeated in Iraq automatically translates into an objective victory for the Left. This simply is not true, unless you think more Democrats in office is a triumph for the Left.

Anderson: The anti-war movement of the 1960s, which I participated in, had collapsed by the time the U.S. pulled out. Soon after, we had Reagan as president. The greater transformations we hoped to make out of the anti-war radicalism just did not happen. This failure was not simply a matter of America being a big, bad, reactionary country. It was because of all kinds of mistakes on the Left, not the least of which being the near idolatry of Mao and the Cultural Revolution.

Turl: You are not going to get a defense of Maoism from me. But still, the anti-war movement of the 1960s forced America out of Vietnam, allowing the Vietnamese people to win. Regardless of the politics of the government in Vietnam that resulted, the U.S. had to remain on the sidelines until September 11. That is a successful movement. Did the movement create socialism? If that is our standard, it will deter our participation in struggles for justice that do not measure up, forcing us into a passive stance.

Kreitman: We on the Left should be wary of trumpeting self-determination as one of our values. In the wake of the 1960s radicalism, defending “national self-determination” sometimes meant that the Left simply threw support to the best armed groups in a particular country, rather than take their politics into account.

Q2: The major problem in the 1990s was not that people were cloaking anti-imperialist groups in undeserved left-wing colors, but that the vast majority of leftists were apologizing for U.S. imperialism by supporting U.S.-led “humanitarian intervention.” We cannot, as leftists, afford to cease our support of national self-determination.

Postel: Few leftists believed humanitarianism motivated these U.S. interventions, though some liberal centrists may have fallen for that line. Most of us had a complex position on Western intervention in the Balkans. We who supported the Kosovo intervention, myself included, took that position out of a conviction that the consequences, not the motives, would benefit the Kosovar Albanians, as the Kosovar Albanians themselves argued.

Turl: One must differentiate between the politics of the people ruling the countries bombed by the U.S., and the right of the U.S ms office 2016 무료 다운로드. to bomb people. We make this distinction all the time in the Socialist Worker. We don’t gloss over the politics of the resistance in Iraq, but we also steadfastly defend the right of Iraqis to resist a foreign occupation and its troops. If there were an occupation of Chicago, I would defend the right of hardcore Republicans to resist that occupation. I wouldn’t care that they were right wing.

This relates to the stance of the Iraqi Communist Party, mentioned earlier. If the U.S. troops stand between the Iraqi Communist Party and obliteration, that is only because the Iraqi Communist Party decided to collaborate with the U.S. occupation and, thus, with the biggest imperial power on the planet. It is untrue that the U.S. stands between reaction and the Iraqi people, or that the U.S. troops are defending a nascent democracy, or whatever the propaganda on the evening news says. Most sectarian violence is created or stoked by America. The U.S. deliberately established an Islamic government in Iraq; next, the U.S. consciously decided to stir sectarian violence after it became clear their proxies, like Ahmed Chalabi, did not have a base in Iraq. After that, the U.S. began siding with different sectarian groups, and it is only then sectarian violence escalates. The longer the U.S. military stays, the more sectarian violence there is going to be and the more reactionary Iraqi politics will become. The only solution is to pull out immediately so that the Iraqis can sort everything out themselves.

Closing remarks

Anderson: Imperialism with a capital “I” lasted from about 1880 until around the 1950s–60s. However, rather than simply ending, colonialism has been replaced by neo-imperialism. So economic and cultural domination persist after political independence, which is why one cannot understand imperialism without talking about capitalism. But, when Lenin wrote his classic work on imperialism ninety years ago, there were five or six competing powers. Since then, capitalism has become simultaneously far more globalized and centralized. The nature of imperialism and capitalism has changed as a result of the emergence of state capitalism, exemplified by the total centralization of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Today, there’s one hyper-power: the United States. In many ways, what exactly these changes mean for anti-imperialism remains unclear.

Turl: Marx argued it is not consciousness that determines being, but being that determines consciousness. Our ideas are informed by the reality of our lives. This is true, yet this relation is also falsified in America: Propaganda is relentlessly pumped into this society to ensure the prevalence of ruling class ideology Andante. Of course, such lies contradict people’s everyday experience. Some people start to see the growing contradiction between what they are told and what they experience. Going through a struggle, a strike or an anti-war movement, catalyzes this change in people’s ideas. A significant example of this process at work now can be seen in Venezuela.

In the 1990s we began to see a resurgence of the Left. Here in the U.S., we had the Ralph Nader campaign and the anti-globalization protests in Seattle. Towards the end of the decade labor activity increased, with the UPS strike marking the first clear labor victory for some time. But this leftward momentum was interrupted by the political fallout of September 11, which was not only a tragedy in itself, but a disaster for the Left. It gave Bush and the rest of the U.S. ruling class the opportunity to wage war. But this is all beginning to change. Millions of people are demanding their rights. As long as people are oppressed, they will fight back and challenge the system. The question now is how to organize that fight. In order to rebuild a Left, we need to oppose our government, the dominant imperial power on the planet, every time it invades, occupies, and murders.

Kreitman: The Left has been in decline for at least a generation, primarily because it has not offered compelling alternatives. In the 1980s, as factories in America closed, there was no Left articulating a new model of how to do things. Workers today are complicit in imperialism, even if it is not in their interest as workers, primarily because the Left really has not provided a compelling alternative politics.

Take the crisis in Darfur. There is mounting political pressure for the U.S. government to send in troops to prevent further genocide. That would be imperialist, in a sense, but the Left has not said what to do instead. So people begin to think it is a matter either of stopping genocide through U.S. military intervention or not stopping genocide, rather than seeing it as a question of how to stop genocide. We need a framework that remains critical of imperialism while also addressing the political issues of the day.

Cutrone: It is all well and good to invoke the slogan, “the main enemy is at home.” But what position should the Left take regarding reactionary forces outside the U.S.? There are falsifications in much of the talk about the violence in Iraq. No matter whose body count one uses, most of the death and destruction in Iraq has been wreaked by the (so-called) “resistance,” not the United States. Starting in early 2005, the majority of deaths in Iraq have been due to either Al-Qaeda in Iraq blowing up Shi’a mosques, marketplaces, or (government) recruiting centers, or Shi’a militias carrying out “ethnic cleansing” against the Sunni. You will hear the statistic that 90 percent of the attacks in Iraq are on U.S. or coalition forces, but the phrase “coalition forces” includes the current Iraqi government, and sectarian violence represents the vast majority of the attacks against it download jquery validate js. The Iraqi resistance has nothing to do with national self-determination, much less democracy. One has to be realistic about the goals and responsibilities of the United States. It is fair to hold the U.S. responsible for the security situation in Iraq, but it is certainly not the case that the U.S. is setting off bombs in crowded markets and mosques. Reactionary sectarian groups in Iraq are the ones doing that.

If we actually care about the democratic self-determination of people around the world, we cannot ignore the fact that in a place like Iraq the Left has no hope if the insurgency forces perpetrating most of the violence succeed in their aims. It is simply false to say that the U.S. has instigated or perpetuated most of the inter-ethnic violence. The U.S. has tacked back and forth between the Shi’a and the Sunni precisely in order to prevent one side from getting the upper hand and delivering greater violence upon the other. The Left must recognize reality if it wants to be able to change it. This is not to offer apologetics for the U.S. military, but to assert that we must oppose what the U.S. is actually doing, and cease deluding ourselves. To pretend America invaded Iraq just to kill Iraqis only serves to evade the greater political questions of our time. I do not support the United States; however, I strive to be as clear as possible about what I am opposing, and that I oppose it from the Left. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #25 (July 2010). Transcribed by Brian C. Worley.


1. Susan Sontag, “What’s Happening in America?” in Styles of Radical Will (New York: Picador, 2002), 203. Originally published 1966.

“Imperialism” and the “Left”

“Imperialism” — What is it? Why should we be against it?

Chris Cutrone

Presented at the first public forum of the Platypus Affiliated Society, “‘Imperialism’ — What is it? Why should we be against it?,” with panelists Kevin Anderson (News & Letters/Marxist-Humanists), Nick Kreitman (new Students for a Democratic Society), Danny Postel (OpenDemocracy.net), and Adam Turl (International Socialist Organization), School of the Art Institute of Chicago, January 30, 2007. (Video recording.)

However difficult the task of grasping and confronting global capital might be, it is crucially important that a global internationalism be recovered and reformulated Download Sinobi 2. . . . The Left should be very careful about constituting a form of politics that, from the standpoint of human emancipation, would be questionable, at the very best, however many people it may rouse.
— Moishe Postone, “History and Helplessness: Mass Mobilization and Contemporary Forms of Anticapitalism” (Public Culture 18.1: 2006)

My name is Chris Cutrone, and I am representing the new group Platypus at this first public forum we have organized. Here at the School of the Art Institute, I teach Marxist critical social and cultural theory, especially through the works of Adorno and Benjamin. A theme that constantly recurs in my teaching is the purchase of critical theory for society and politics today Download the Pokémon Emerald Hangul edition.

Platypus, which takes its namesake from the unrecognizability and resistance to classification of the animal, began as a project for a new journal, a publishing vehicle dedicated to investigating problems and tasks inherited from the Old/1930s and New/1960s Left, and the post-political Left of the 1980s and 90s. As with our namesake, we feel that an authentic Left for today would almost go unrecognized according to the received categories of the Left, or, if recognized, only as a living fossil.

Towards the ends of reconstituting an authentic Left, beginning here in Chicago but now with groups spawning elsewhere in places like New York, since last year we have organized reading groups, and, now, public fora in order to discuss the potential for reformulating the Left towards social-emancipatory politics today Download Samsung Wallpaper.

Starting from these activities we will pursue research and journalism dedicated to the reconstitution of the Left. Platypus has a distinctly Marxian background, and we focus on the history and thought in the Marxist tradition, but in a critical and non-dogmatic manner, taking nothing for granted, departing from received wisdom of all kinds, and treating the history of the Left as a subject for our reappropriation freely in the present.

We recognize our present as what has come to be after the Left was destroyed and liquidated itself.

It is our contention — our signal point of departure — that the Left, as it has been historically understood in its best traditions, is dead, and needs to be reformulated, both theoretically and practically, at the most fundamental levels.

We in Platypus decided to organize this forum on the issue of imperialism and the Left, because we find that, given current events, it provides a good frame for investigating and interrogating the present crisis on the Left, both here and internationally chrome attachments.

World GDP

Comparative GDPs of the states of the world (colors indicate relative per capita GDP, with yellow being the highest). The United States, Europe and Japan account for 90% of the global economy; the U.S., less than 5% of the world's population, accounts for nearly a third of the world's economic activity. At a per-capita rate, an average American worker's activity is more than 10 times more consequential than the average Chinese worker. The U.K., which has less than 10% the population of China, receives more than 5 times more foreign investment than China.

The politics of anti-imperialism has been problematic for the Left for quite some time, but has taken on particularly grotesque forms in more recent history and especially in the present Exo Singpoyu. The politics of anti-imperialism has lost whatever coherence it may have had for the Left in the past, and today betrays the Left’s severe dearth of emancipatory social imagination.

For example, the present anti-war movement on the Left has been stuck, on the one hand, between the problems of fighting the last war, meaning applying inappropriately the template of the Vietnam War and the counterinsurgencies waged by the U.S. in Latin America, where the U.S. fought against movements for progressive social change, and, on the other hand, tailing after the crassest opportunism of the Democratic Party and the present defeatist moods about Iraq among the ruling elites, for whom the more Iraqi and American dead the better for pressuring and marginalizing the Bush administration — however little the Democratic Party policy might or could be any different gta apk 다운로드.

In this way, the Left has abdicated the possibility for a responsible politics for progressive social transformation and emancipation. Instead, a contrarian mood prevails in which U.S. policy and its relationship to the social and political realities with which it grapples, are opportunistically vilified.

It seems enough to the say that the U.S. is an imperialist power, and to derive politics from this hypostatized characterization. In doing so, the Left seeks to avoid its own inconvenient history children's act subtitles.

The most crass expression of this is the paranoiac hatred of Bush and the neocons, including entertaining the idea that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government!

We in Platypus recognize that Leftist politics today is characterized by such deep despair. No one on the Left seems to actually believe in the possibility for a transformed and emancipated world. — Whatever vision does exist is of a nature much too derived from wounded narcissism, and animated by the kind of loathing expressed by Susan Sontag in 1967 to the effect that the white race is the cancer of human history diskgenius Hangul. As such the desire for change has become utterly reactionary. In its reactionary character, the Left has devolved into apologetics for the world as it is — for existing social and political movements that have nothing in common with social emancipation; the Left has largely already become a new Right.

For example, an assumption about the Iraq invasion and occupation more or less explicitly articulated is that democracy cannot be imposed on Iraq — that Iraq is clearly not ready for democracy. When this is not the explanation offered, then the Islamist insurgency is dressed up as expressing the self-determination of the peoples of Iraq. From Ward Churchill calling the office workers in the World Trade Center little Eichmanns of U.S 슈가프리. imperialism, to the civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart saying that Sheikh Abdel Rahman might be a legitimate freedom fighter, the Left seems to have become completely unmoored in its most basic orientation towards greater social freedom.

This disorientation evinced on the Left in recent years has long historical roots, going as far back as the 1930s, if not earlier, which I might get into later, but suffice it to say for now that the historical insights and examples from the Left have become an occulted legacy for the present, and the Left today has decomposed largely into competing apologias and rationalizations for a wretched social and political reality.

This reality is one that the Left has, in its long degeneration over the course of the last 30 or 40 years, not only failed to prevent, but has actually helped to bring about Download movie Taxi3. The sooner this decomposition can be begun to be turned around, the better. We contend that the very future of humanity depends on this.

But such a turnaround requires, first of all, recognition of the problem, and recognition of its depth. That is what we in Platypus are dedicated to investigating, the history of the demise of the Left, so that a social emancipatory vision for the world can be regained, anew. As we say, the Left can only survive by overcoming itself.

Seriously interrogating the received categories of social politics such as imperialism is essential to reestablishing a coherent politics that has any hope of being able to change the world in emancipatory ways. The enemies of social progress have their visions and are pursuing them. Some are more reactionary than others. The only question is: what are we going to do, on the Left? | §

Introducing Platypus

The problem of theory and practice in political solidarity and critical consciousness on the Left today

Chris Cutrone

The producers are more than ever thrown back on theory . . . by virtue of insistent self-criticism. . . . Following the schematic division of physical and mental labour, they split themselves up into workers and intellectuals. This division cripples the practice which is called for. . . . The growing opacity of capitalist mass society makes an association between intellectuals who still are such, with workers who still know themselves to be such, more timely. .  . . [In the past] such unity was compromised by free-wheeling bourgeois of the liberal professions, who were shut out by industry and tried to gain influence by left-wing bustlings. . . . Today, when the concept of the proletariat, unshaken in its economic essence, is so occluded that in the greatest industrial country there can be no question of proletarian class-consciousness, the role of intellectuals would no longer be to alert the torpid to their most obvious interests, but to strip the veil from the eyes of the wise-guys, the illusion that capitalism, which makes them its temporary beneficiaries, is based on anything other than their exploitation and oppression. The deluded workers are directly dependent on those who can still just see and tell of their delusion. Their hatred of intellectuals has changed accordingly Download the yogi. . . . The masses no longer mistrust intellectuals because they betray the revolution, but because they might want it, and thereby reveal how great is their own need of intellectuals. Only if the extremes come together will humanity survive.”
— Theodor W. Adorno (1903–69), “Messages in a Bottle,” orphaned from Minima Moralia (1944–47)

PLATYPUS IS AN IDEA for a journal project on the Marxian Left several of us have had for a number of years, starting with two of us with a long political background on the Trotskyist Left, going back to our undergraduate years (1989–92) at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The journal idea has been grounded in our shared commitments to challenging post-New Left politics. In recent years, the initial two of us were joined by a few University of Chicago students of the critical social theorist and Marx scholar Moishe Postone. We have been motivated by questioning what a Leftist politics today might be — we are struck by the decline if not total demise of the Left, and by the certain absence of Leftist politics informing the world. So our project involves radically interrogating the self-declared “Left,” taking nothing for granted in our sense of the necessity for reformulating a Leftist politics and re-appropriating the history of the Left towards the present.

The idea for taking our namesake from the platypus comes from the history of the creature’s discovery and difficulties being categorized and recognized for what it is, which we take to be emblematic for the state of any possible Left — of any social-emancipatory politics — today Aqua Data Studio. Just as the platypus symbolizes the challenge to traditional understandings of the order of the natural world, our intent is to challenge the received understanding of the Left, both “Old” (of the 1920s–30s–40s, i.e., post-1917) and “New” (1960s–70s) — as well as “post-” (1980s–present). We find present and historical self-understandings on the Left to manifest great confusions that remain confounding and defeating for emancipatory politics today. Because our focus is on ideological problems of the Left, we consider ourselves to be revolutionary intellectuals and identify as such.

Our approach to the history of the Left is characterized by going “against the grain” of historical events, exemplified by Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history. For us, past moments in the history of the Left are charged with emancipatory potential that went unrealized but nonetheless continues to task us in the present. It is in this sense that we understand Benjamin’s injunction that “even the dead are not safe.” Past struggles that failed or were betrayed can be failed and betrayed again, and needless suffering in the present and future that could have been averted will not be. For us, any possible future emancipation is tied to honoring — learning from — past efforts and sacrifices. Our first meetings of the Platypus Marxist reading group in Chicago grew out of the course I teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on Theodor W Download mobile app games. Adorno and addressed Adorno’s 1969 correspondence with Herbert Marcuse concerning the New Left: we recognized the history for problems of our present in Adorno’s critical prognosis on the 1960s.

The principal influences for Platypus are the Marxist political tradition exemplified by Marx, Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky, and the critical theoretical tradition of the Frankfurt School, exemplified first and foremost by the works of Adorno, but also by important works by Lukács, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Marcuse, et al. However, we are also concerned with the complex legacy of 20th Century thought and politics that has developed in response to — and reaction against — Marxism, both politically and intellectually: existentialism, post-structuralism, and other tendencies leading to “post”-modernism — as well as neo-conservatism — which we regard as products of the regression and disintegration of the Left to the present.

These first years of my teaching at SAIC and the University of Chicago have been characterized politically by the conditions of the post-9/11/01 world: the various policies of the George W. Bush administration, and the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions and occupations. So my teaching Marxist critical theory in this context has always involved certain caveats about the (in)adequacy of the present “Left” response, and how the historical critical-theoretical tradition (of Adorno, Benjamin, et al.) might speak to the state of the Left today.

The actual determining impetus to form the Platypus reading group was provided by a few of my graduate students from SAIC classes last year (2005–06), who raised the issue of an extra-curricular forum that could address the purchase of historical critical theory for the tasks and problems of the Left today 한셀 뷰어. Thus the reading group was formed in Spring 2006, at first including the core Platypus group of long-term participants, and expanding to include my fellow teacher colleagues and graduate students from University of Chicago and my graduate students from SAIC (about a dozen people altogether), and growing by June to include a group of undergraduate students from SAIC and University of Chicago, with whom we doubled our numbers.

At the meeting that saw the undergraduate students join the group in numbers, I presented the short editorial/mission statement, “What is a platypus? On surviving the extinction of the Left,” which I had drafted at the request of my long-term colleagues on the Platypus project for a planned intervention at the Marxism 2006 “Festival of Resistance” Conference of the British Socialist Workers Party (affiliated with the International Socialist Organization in the U.S.). I proposed a “syllabus” of readings for the group to discuss for Summer and Fall 2006, centered around readings from The New Left Reader anthology (1969) edited by former Students for a Democratic Society President (1965–66) Carl Oglesby. The core members of the prospective editorial collective regard the reading group as a place for expanding the editorial collective and cultivating writing contributors for the journal, which we intend to launch in 2007. The Platypus editorial statement and supplemental short history of the Left can be found at:http://platypus1917.home.comcast.net/~platypus1917/platypus_statement.html

The Platypus Marxist reading group in Chicago presently consists of about two dozen regularly attending participants, of which approximately three-fourths come to any particular meeting 캐논픽쳐스타일. We have held bi-weekly meetings since April, with some discussions spawning extra meetings and many continuing onto our e-mail discussion list.

Events that groups of several of us have attended that have informed our progress in the reading group and the Platypus journal project, allowing for our growing familiarity and critical awareness of the present state of the “Left,” have been the following: Talks given in Chicago by David Harvey on cosmopolitanism and the “new” imperialism, Brian Holmes on emergent “continental” identities and geopolitics, the Retort Collective on their book Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War, Fredric Jameson on dialectic and historical meaning, and Richard Wolin on his book The Frankfurt School Revisited; the Chicago Social Forum this past May; and the re-founded Students for a Democratic Society First National Conference in August. In September, most of us attended the Chicago screenings of Patricio Guzmán’s film Salvador Allende (2004), which provided a good frame for our discussion of classic historical issues on the Marxist Left concerning the state, political parties and social revolution. — These events have informed our sense of possibilities for a re-founded Left mostly in a negative sense, allowing us to grasp what any future Left will have to combat and overcome (and illustrating for us the manifold legacy of the preceding Left of the 1960s that has been our critical focus thus far). Positively, the massive immigrants’ rights protests in the first half of 2006, which happened to coincide with the emergence of our group efforts, have remained signal events for our thinking about emerging possibilities for the Left in North America.

Up to this point, our discussions in the Platypus reading group in Chicago have been concerned primarily with issues of theory and practice, specifically in considering the history of the 1960s “New” Left in terms of its multiple origins and concerns, such as the Civil Rights movement, the student Free Speech movement, solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, protest against the Vietnam War and imperialism, and women’s liberation, and how these had challenged the Left.

One important discussion, which was carried over the course of several weeks, concerned the historical struggle against racism and for social equality; the roles played by the Civil Rights movement, organized labor and the Marxist Left; the emergence of Black Nationalism (Malcolm X) and the Black Power turn of the late 1960s; the relation of these developments to the self-understanding of the Left; and its legacy for ostensibly Leftist politics today Download Drift Girls. We consider the Black Power turn to have been highly destructive of the Left, for it was predicated on the idea of such a thing as a “white” Left, where political solidarity — and consciousness — should not be so racialized. Our sense of the present dearth of blacks on the Left indicates this to us, for we do not regard victims of oppression as thereby having inherently more emancipatory politics, and we regard “identity” politics as symptomatic of the decline of the Left. An important point in our discussion of the late-1960s Black Power turn was to question whether Malcolm X and the Black Panthers really had been to the “Left” of — had more social-emancipatory politics than — Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, et al.

On the issue of identity politics, we also addressed the issue of women’s liberation from gender and sexual oppression versus feminism, primarily through our reading of a seminal essay by the psychoanalytically informed socialist-feminist theorist Juliet Mitchell, “Women: the Longest Revolution” (1966: a work first published in The New Left Review but inexplicably omitted from Oglesby’s New Left Reader), her subsequent debate with Marxist scholar Quintin Hoare, and a constellation of related texts, including Marcuse’s essay “Marxism and Feminism,” which contains theses that Mitchell explicitly critiqued. As in the case of the Black Power turn, we discussed the emergence of so-called “second-wave” feminism (of the 1960s–80s) and its explicit anti-Marxism as having been disastrous for clarity about social-emancipatory politics on the Left to the present. Like other substantial essays from the 1960s we have considered, we took Mitchell’s work as indicative of a path not taken that we must necessarily revisit, rather than accepting its subsequent historical eclipse Download Tinkerard.

In neither case of the historical struggles for social equality, against racism or for women’s and sexual liberation, do we accept that the 1960s “New” Left “knew better” than previous Marxist politics had done. Rather, our point is to recover the actual social-emancipatory content of the history of the Left and recognize that perhaps the perceived failures of the “Old” Left had come to seem so only because of subsequent historical defeats and disintegration that set the stage for the 1960s, and not due to inherent deficiencies or blindness in the Marxist revolutionary socialist tradition. Perhaps the fault was in the (1960s) present and not a past too hastily liquidated. The questions that remain to be answered include: How does a working class-struggle perspective point beyond itself? What, for Marxists, is the social-emancipatory content of the struggle of “labor against capital,” beyond the empirical struggles of workers under capitalism?

The Leftist tendencies that have been important as influences for our past and present activities towards Platypus include various currents in the (post-)Trotskyist Left, including such groups as the Spartacist League and News and Letters (Marxist-Humanists). Beyond these, we have had contact with several other groups in Chicago. A few participants in the reading group during Summer 2006 came to us from the 49th St edonkey 다운로드. Underground, an extremely broad-based and all-inclusive Chicago group whose lead organizers are also University of Chicago graduate students.

In mid-summer (July), the reading group came to touch upon the issue of the significance of the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent international Communism, in the context of discussing the troubled legacy of “Leninism” for the New Left, after 1956 (the crises of the Khrushchev “revelations” of Stalin’s crimes, the split between the Soviet Union and Mao’s China, and the Soviet invasion of Hungary) and after 1968 (when the New Left became predominantly “Marxist-Leninist,” i.e., Maoist). Our discussion of Communism began with reading French Communist Party theorist Louis Althusser’s essay on “Contradiction and Overdetermination” (1962), addressing the issue of problems in Marxism regarding the Hegelian dialectical “logic” of history and the role of critical consciousness and agency in revolutionary possibilities. This was followed by our reading of contemporary (circa 1960) Trotskyist writings on the problem of Marxism and revolutionary “leadership” (including the issue of the 1959 Cuban Revolution).

However, this discussion of historic Bolshevism and international Communism in the 20th Century was the occasion of a precipitous and unfortunate development for Platypus. Rather than trying to think through and reconsider the meaning of the importance of the Russian Revolution for 20th Century Marxism, two reading group participants from the University of Chicago balked and left the group, bringing about the first major controversy that Platypus has experienced. (This was a “shake-out” that only involved those leaving who had not been full participants in the group but had maintained an ambivalent distance for political reasons.)

The frame through which the dissenters chose to attack Bolshevism was the issue of the Bolshevik suppression of the Kronstadt garrison mutiny in 1921 (which the Bolsheviks themselves had not glorified but had regarded as a “tragic necessity,” and on which the principal historian of the event, Paul Avrich — an anarchist — had concluded [in his 1970 book], despite his stated sympathies for the mutineers, that the Bolsheviks had been “justified”) Download Rajbian os. We maintained that the suppression of the Kronstadt mutiny was a greatly misleading frame for evaluating the merits of historical Bolshevism, and is not good for explaining the subsequent problems of the Left in the 20th Century; rather, Kronstadt as an issue is a well-worn hobby-horse for a very specific politics: post-1917 anarchism. In the e-mail debates on Kronstadt that ensued, the dissenters refused to engage the very difficult but important issue of the meaning of the Russian Revolution for 20th Century Marxism: What, precisely, was the nature and character of the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that at once had seemed to confirm and challenge Marxism (Gramsci had called it the “Revolution Against [Marx’s] Capital“)? For our consideration of the 1960s “New” Left, this difficulty took the form of the 1960s failures to avoid the twin, complementary pitfalls of Stalinophobia and Stalinophilia in regarding both the Soviet Union and international Communism: What would it mean to adopt a critical attitude towards the Russian Revolution and the history of the Soviet Union and international Communism without abandoning everything we might learn and re-appropriate from it (and treating 20th Century Communism merely, as the title of the recent book by apostate Communist and In These Times editor James Weinstein [1926–2005] called it, The Long Detour [2003])?

If, as was asserted by the dissenters, Lenin and the Bolsheviks (including Trotsky) and the influence of the Russian Revolution and subsequent Soviet realities had “destroyed” Marxism for the Left, then what are we to make of the fact that all the problems of Stalinism raised by the dissenters seemed to confirm 19th and 20th Century anarchist critiques of Marx (e.g., by Bakunin, et al.), which forecast that Marxism could only lead to a totalitarian state? What remains of Marxism if the history of Bolshevism is denied root and branch? If, according to the dissenters, the anarchist critiques of Marx are not good, but only Rosa Luxemburg’s critiques of Lenin, then what are we to make of Luxemburg’s and her Polish and German organizations’ long history of political collaboration with Lenin and the Bolsheviks, her solidarity with the Bolshevik Revolution and identification of her own politics with “Bolshevism,” and her membership in the Bolshevik-led Third (Communist) International after the Russian Revolution up to her murder by German counterrevolutionaries in 1919? — These are the kinds of issues to which we are committed to (re)thinking through, and for which we do not accept prima facie received “wisdom” of any kind jsp blob 파일 다운로드.

Towards the end of Fall 2006, we look forward to addressing the aftermath of the 1960s New Left and the crisis of progressive politics in the 1970s–80s through a few meetings on the case study of Michel Foucault and his response to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, through the recent book Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (including Foucault’s writings on Iran) written by Chicago-based authors Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson. Starting in Winter 2007 and extending through the Spring, we project embarking on a series of lectures and discussions on the history of the Left, pre-1789 to post-2001.

We anticipate that Platypus could be part of a potentially much broader renaissance on the Left in coming years, one which might occasion yet another “return to Marx” (as had occurred in the 1920s30s and 1960s70s) for grappling with capitalism as the fundamental context for social politics. Our goal is to develop a cohort of like-minded thinkers around a publishing vehicle to help inform to best effect such a reconsideration of the critical-theoretical tradition in light of the history of the Left, and thus help open possibilities for actual — eminently realizable — emancipation from an oppressive and highly destructive present and future that need not have been and need not yet be.

As C. Wright Mills put it at the dawn of the last, “New” Left (1960), we must “try to be realistic in our utopianism.” | §

Originally published in AREA Chicago #3 (Summer/Fall 2006).