lbo-talk-digest V1 #243

jeffrey sommers jsommers at
Wed Jul 22 23:03:40 PDT 1998

I hope Brad isn't censored from the list. The left is so marginal that it could use a window onto the larger world. Additionally, his questions are good ones and they demand answers if the left is ever to be taken seriously. I also think he misses the point if he believes the CIA helped annihilate the left in Indonesia out of any concern for a kill calculus favoring Suharto over Sukarno. The US sabotages movements which threaten the "free" movement of capital, period. All other concerns are useful window dressing produced by academics in the employ of capital and its state--in a loose Gramscian sense.

To return to Brad's point, perhaps it would have been better if the capitalist global order was decapitated, since it had the greatest power to shape the rules of the game in which Stalinists and Maoists acted and more importantly REACTED.

Brad is a smart guy, I'm not sure what motivates him to reduce the percentages of people killed to the complete agency of a particular government. For example. China lost something like %4 of its population every generation before the revolution. One could simply argue that the late 1950s Chinese famine was the last of Chinese famines after capitalism and that in aggregate, massive numbers of lives were saved, especially if you compare its life expectancies in the post WW II period to say India's. But while important, that would also be too simple, yet it is the kind of argument (and it is argument rather than understanding) we are reduced to through the way Brad presents his numbers. Additionally, the same goes for Cambodia, does anyone believe a back to the past nationalist movement (does that sound communist?) would have arisen had it not been bombed into oblivion by US B-52s in the Vietnam war? I'll stop there.


Jeff Sommers currently in Riga

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list