Opening Borders

Jim heartfield jim at
Wed Apr 7 17:16:14 PDT 1999

In message <370dbce1.107663231 at>, Margaret <mairead at> writes
> It's
>not at all clear to me that DIY despotism is to be
>valued over, e.g., a genuinely democratic government
>installed by the SAS at Whitehall's behest.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I thought that democratic governments wee installed by electorates, not foreign powers or armies.

> The idea
>that it always and necessarily is, it seems to me, is a
>species of racism.

Quickest way to short-circuit an argument... Maybe self-determination does seem like racism to you, but then that's you, what can I do about it?

>If we are in solidarity with other working folk around
>the world, why wouldn't we want the best for them, no
>matter where it comes from?

Because you cannot force people to be free. I want the best for the people of the Balkans, but trust that they have a better idea of it than I do.

> Why wouldn't they want
>the best for themselves, no matter where it comes from?

Yes, the people of Yugoslavia do not want to be bombed. They do not want Nato troops in their country. And they are right.

>if the choice
>were home-grown Fascism or foreign-grown Socialism,
>guess which i'd choose, every time? Wouldn't you?

Interesting idea, foreign-grown socialism. (I must admit I hadn't realised that Nato was attempting to install a socialist republic, assuming that it was in the business of dismantling a 'Socialist Republic') I would like to suggest that it is a contradiction in terms, like a chocolate tea-pot, or rocking horse shit.

At the end of the War the peoples of Eastern Europe had 'foreign-grown socialism' imposed upon them, and struggled against it, preferring home- grown reaction. Were they wrong? Socialism is not welfare (after all fascists gave the people welfare). Socialism is self-government. To put it strongly, 'foreign-grown socialism' is fascism, i.e. socialism without democracy.

>Again, i can only apologise for not being more clear.
>My original point was that a single world power might
>be a good thing from the standpoint of ordinary people.
>*IF* that single world power were to serve as a
>dispassionate and impartial enforcer of freedom for
>all, without regard to its own narrow national
>interests. That's not what's happening today, but it
>is not an impossible goal. Such an outcome would be
>preferable to what we have now with small-scale

If these were the choices before us, I might follow your speculation. But so far we only have smaller warlords and the warlord of warlords. I prefer the smaller ones, on the grounds that they are less deadly, and more easily challenged. But I guess we will have to try the big warlord, given the extent of his crimes against humanity.

>I believe you overstate the case somewhat. And in any
>case, the past doesn't fully determine the future.
>The horse might talk.

Yes, and pigs might fly. But I'm not holding my breath. Right now Nato is bombing Belgrade, bombing bridges, hospitals, homes. Some of those planes are being flown by the Royal Air Force. I think it is my duty to oppose the actions of the British government, because it is acting in my name.

> My
>point is that you paint with a brush too broad for your
>canvas. 'The West is not the solution, it is the
>problem' is a catchphrase, not a reasoned summation.

On the contrary, it is a reasoned summation. Ten years of Western interference in the Balkans have only succeeded in aggravating ethnic tensions, leading to a decade of violence and repression. -- Jim heartfield

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