The enemy is at home

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Fri Apr 16 07:37:06 PDT 1999

> Max, please answer one question.

I'd be delighted.

> Why all these years have you been completely silent on the
slaughter of various groups around the world, and now suddenly are so hugely concerned with the mistreatment of one particular group?>

Out of curiousity, what could you possibly know what I've said or done, "all these years," about the slaughter of various groups or anything else?

I haven't published on foreign policy because I'm not an expert, though given the apparent capacities of the Secy of State, Defense, and National Security Advisor, I feel abundantly qualified.

At the start of this I was exercised by the specter of another Holocaust, not least because this involved Muslims, who have suffered plenty already. As many have said, this is overreaching given what we know now, but the reality is bad enough.

Secondly, the tenor of the comments from the other side have been profoundly offensive to me because of the implicit, incredible callousness towards victims of Milo, so I've been more jacked up than usual about an issue. I do not mean the comments have reflected animus towards Muslims, for the most part, but the refusal to acknowledge this more than has been the case just puts me on the ceiling. I noted in another post that the statement for the NYC demo was much more the sort of rhetoric and posture that I could be comfortable with, if not agree with entirely.

It would be fair to say, if you knew much about me, that my position on this is at odds with my more long-standing view of nationalism. I'm in the midst of a rethink on this issue. My provisional position right now is that in cases of relatively well-defined ethnic enclaves which are most seriously put-upon by governments to which they are subject, nationalism is a legitimate response. Class issues are properly put aside when entire peoples are subject to mass violence. A basic factor is what the victims actually want themselves. So the plight of the Kurds, Palestinians, and Timorese, to name a few, are all proper objects of attention and their national aspirations worthy of support. This is not simply an intellectual stance for me, but one I intend to pursue in my political activity, such as it is.

Analogizing the situations of these last to the current ones of Native Americans, African-Americans, the Basque, for example, trivialize the import of the worst cases of national oppression and are a general disservice to discussion. Not because things are peachy for the latter groups, but because there are proper, basic distinctions in what's going on in the assorted cases. Different remedies too. For instance, as bad as racism in the U.S. is, there is no serious interest in a separate nation for African-Americans.

> And let's be clear: as far as death and maiming go, the
suffering of the Kosovars at the hands of the Serbs are *much* less, quantitatively, relatively, absolutely, and qualitatively, than the suffering of the civilian population of South Vietnam at the hands of the Americans.>

Even if this was true, so what? Why do other situations weigh against the national rights of Kosovars? Yesterday the police in my town shot a man for no apparent reason. Should I discount this because it was only two bullets, instead of 41?


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