Chechnya - a far off country

Russell Grinker grinker at
Mon Nov 8 04:39:23 PST 1999

>Why do you oppose them?

Supporting sanctions campaigns does not make sense. How can imperialist states be expected to play an anti-imperialist role?

>And why do you say they never liberated anyone?

I don't know of any successes.

>While the struggle of a people internally is probably the most decisive
>factor, apartheid would have gone on for another 10 years but for the
>international sanctions, especially those of the US banks.

In the end sanctions were part of a process which allowed for the cutting of a highly unsatisfactory deal in South Africa. The masses who carried forward the struggle were specifically marginalised by a strategy which placed the initiative in the hands of elites and Western governments.
>And we just have the example of East Timor, from which the Indonesian army
>has been compelled to withdraw as a result of IMF sanctions. Why should the
>same not happen for Chechnya?

It depends what you expect for Chechnya. If you want some sort of slightly modified form of oppressive regime and extended Western influence in the region then UN/IMF/Nato intervention are probably just the ticket. I don't believe that will offer any long term respite from the kind of barbarism going on there.
>>So please tell me how, once you've hitched yourself to the big power
>>bandwagon, you get them to follow your line?
>I find this style of argument inaccurate and unproductive. I have already
>made clear that neither I nor anyone I know is wanting to give carte
>blanche to the west. So why use a phrase about hitching yourself to the big
>power bandwagon?

You cannot influence these people. All you can possibly do is offer them some unsolicited critical support when they interfere in someone else's country. They may make use of this if it suits them. At best they'll ignore you. At worst you will just be used.
>I assume we are participating in a global civil society.

What on earth is this global civil society? We don't share this asumption.

>There is a large boureoisified working class which merges through the
>educated working class with the intelligentsia, and comprises 90% of the
>population. It has quite strong democratic prejudices. Like people should
>not be driven from their homes because they are muslims.

I think your prejudices are showing. And please, don't mistake the ex-student milieu around Tony Blair for the working class. They may have put on fake working class accents in their days in various CLPs but they were never proletarians.

>When did you stop beating your wife? A temporary alliance implies
>subordination only to those who are not confident of their political

The only recent temporary alliance I can think of was between the ex-left and the big powers, involving the bombing of Kosovo. No doubt these born again supporters of humanitarian intervention are confident of their political position. For me they're a lot lower than wife-beaters.

On Trotsky and sanctions:

Trotsky was opposed to calls for other imperialist countries to impose sanctions on Italy. The point is not to encourage reliance on forces which merely have an interest in making the world sufficiently stable to allow for the resumption of exploitation.

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