dsanet to and fros on Serbia, Lou adds his two cents

Michael Pugliese debsian at pacbell.net
Thu Aug 31 11:00:16 PDT 2000

Received: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 10:44:47 -0700 From: debsian at pacbell.net To: dsanet at quantum.sdsu.edu CC: marxist at egroups.com, debsian at pacbell.net Subject: dsanet: dsanet to and fros on Serbia MIME Ver:

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The author of this message is debsian at pacbell.net

Lou has double carrots >>. My original words are single > My subsequent comments have neither. Michael Pugliese

>--- Original Message ---
>From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
>To: jhurd_newparty at indiana.edu
>Date: 8/31/00 12:31:10 PM

>Dave commented on this, I want to make some additional points.
>> Those, who retrospectively point out the exaggerated, propagandistic
>> high numbers, are in the main, except for principled pacifists
>> like Dave McReynolds, loath to ever approve of Western military
>> intervention, suspicious that under cover of humanitarianism,
>> economic and political hegemonistic motives are in play. Mixed
>> motives should not surprise realists. Think back to the debates
>> that confronted the left re: WWII.
>Elements of WWII were progressive. When the Soviet people made
Stalingrad a
>graveyard for the Germany army, they were acting on behalf of
all humanity.

I think all of us must be extremely grateful for the sacrifices of the Soviet people during WWII. I haven't read any of the newer - "The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin's War with Germany, Vol. 1, " by John Erickson or Anthony Beevor, "Stalingrad, The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943. Which Lou has. And my understanding is that the very high numbers of Soviet casualties was caused by the human wave tactics of the Red Army. And, esp. in the early stages, after the German invasion (and has Lou read the work by Nekrich published in '67 or so in the fSU entitled, I think, June 22,1941?) with the Red Army officer corps decimated by the purges, and leading Generals in the camps, Stalin amazed that Hitler doublecrossed him, the numbers of deaths were bound to be atrocious. That said surely, w/o the other armies Nazism would not have defeated.

>Whatever in the world does this have to do with an imperialist
adventure in
>the Balkans?

Moral and stragegic choices are never w/o complications. To oppose the greater evil, one often aligns in coalition with forces with self-interested sets of motivations. Abstention is a form of siding with the momentarily stronger forces on the ground. The analogy, I made in very abbreviated shorthand, is that opposing slaughter, in order to be effective, requires assent to the only means likely to be effective against aggressors. If Lou thinks I forget the 2.8 million dead Vietnamese from US aggression, the 500,000 in Indonesia in '65, or any of the others familiar to all of us, he is mistaken. However crimes by our ruling classes, cannot excuse inaction against opposing political forces. Who in most cases, under anti-imperialist garb accepted too uncritically by some, tend towards thievery and thuggery.

>> Thinking of the main actors
>> on the left that never have and never will approve of intervention,
>> whether military or more benign like the National Endowment
>> Democracy or the Soros Open Society Institute NGO's, I think
>> any honest examination of the types of regimes they approve
>> (specifically Workers World Party, for the worst example)
>> North Korea, Iraq,
>> Serbia, should give ostensibly democratic leftists pause.
>George Soros interventions more benign? Like in a benign brain

Yup, even convenient whipping boy, Soros. Lou, by his admission, hates "civil society" and NGO's as outposts of imperialist intrigue. He will rely on sources like Chossudovsky and Jared Isreal. Maybe, both of us could read, William I. Robinson (who wrote a book for Monthly Review Press in the 80's, "David and Goliath, " and reported for In These Times from Managua), "Promoting Polyarchy, " as a marxist work on "democracy promotion" ? A brief summary was published by Race & Class, after it was published by Cambridge Univ. Press.


>> As one in my late thirties, so probably inbetween the various
>> generations in DSA, I was too young to directly experience
>> passions of the Vietnam War (though as a child I did go to
>> marches at the US Capitol, still have some photos of hippies
>> waving the flag of the NLF from the Capitol steps).
>Yeah, that' s what it was all about. Hippies waving NLF flags.
You sound
>like you got your information about the 60s from a TV movie
starring Lisa
>Kudrow as Jane Fonda.

Cheap shot, typical of Lou. Who is Lisa Kudrow, btw? Anecdote is not argument anyway. More cites of books I've read, The War Within by Tom Wells from U.C. Press, SDS by Kirkpatrick Sale, Todd Gitlin's, The Sixties (Lou groans! Have to say feminists were right the book is weak the women's movement, I should read Rith Rosen's new one to balance it), the newish book on SDS and YAF from Rebeca KLatch, skimming Arthur Marwick, "The Sixties." "The Rise and Decline of the New Left, " by Young. Maurice Izsserman's If I Had A Hammer. That enough?
>> However,
>> the Salvadorean and Nicaraguan
>> solidarity movements of the 80's made their mark on my and
>> consciousness. Even at the time, automatic, unreflective uncritical
>> support for the FMLN (all it's factions, including the ones
>> engaged in vicious internal purges sometimes with deadly consequences,
>> remember the case of Roque Dalton, for example)and FSLN
>> was one major point of demarcation between DSA and other sectors
>> that made it more attractive to people like me unable to unconditionally
>> support anything out of blind faith.
>What utter garbage. The FMLN came into existence only after
a hard fought
>battle to rid the movement of the kind of dead-end factionalism
>resulted in the death of Roque Dalton. Obviously Pugliese knows
about as
>much about Central America as he does about the Vietnam antiwar

And obviously the factionalism had not disappeared by the time of the killing of Commandante Ana Martinez(?) and suicide of Marcial of the PCS, much later in the war. On the Dalton episode, a still useful piece by a Mexican journalist whose name escapes me rigt now was published by Dissent in 1980 or 1981. Published originally in the journal that Octavio Paz edited. Who more than paid his dues, btw, going back to the thirties. More cites I've read. NACLA of course. (Lou hates them now too). Fire from the Mountain by Omar Cabezas. William LeoGrande, "Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977-1992." Book of essays by a Verso author, The Pacification of Central America: Political Change in the Isthmus, 1987-1993 by James Dunkerley. Stephen Kinzer, "Blood Brothers." (Lou groans again, hey I avoided Shirley Christian , at least ;-) Did read the Radosh review in TNR though!) Cynthia Arneson from the Institute for Poicy Studies, book on Congress and Contra Aid published by Pantheon."Skimmed alot of Walter LaFeber. "Banana Republic" (referring to the Reagan administration, btw, not the more common usage) by Roy Gutman of Newsday. You doubtless don't like him either, because of his reportage on the Serb concentration camps, or David Rohde of the Times. For Rohde vs. Jared see this radio debate from Aussie public radio. Jared screams, "Fascist Islamist Terrorist " a zillion times as well as "You Lie, " at least a dozen times in succession. Hmm, looks like Jared took the URL for the ram file off the website. Anyone interested, I'll e-mail Owen Jones or David Wells at Sonoma State Univ. for the URL. It is truly overheated. David has done alot of work around the dubious sourcing of some of the Project Censored highlighted work of late.

>> Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. Some sources and
>> I've found helpful are Tim Judah, "Kosovo:Warand Revenge,
" Yale
>> Univ. Press about 15 bucks in paper. Robert Thomas, "The Politics
>> of Serbia in the 90's, " Columbia Univ. Press about 20 bucks.
>In an Irish Times review of Tariq Ali's Verso collection of
articles on
>Kosovo, Tim Judah wrote, "For example, the book is full of complex
>conspiracy theories about geopolitics and the capitalist elites
>'Nato-land'. Serbian massacres are 'massacres', and Western
>reported lies." Meanwhile Tariq Ali shared speaking duties with
>Denitch at the last Socialist Scholars Conference. So charmed
with Ali's
>middle-of-the-road outlook that Bogdan remarked what a pleasure
it was to
>finally 'debate' an honest leftist rather than the 'bad guys'
out there,
>referring to WWP and the like. That's the spectrum Judah lies
in--like a

Just like what you said to Owen Jones. Do it Lou, pick up the tongs, and do what he did and read The Serbs (a 2nd edition is forthcoming) and the recent book on Kosovo by Judah. Lexis-Nexis ain't the end all and be all. You (used to?) read the NYRB, Judah reported from the area for them, so I think you might have had a chance or two. Judah's biblios shows alot of digging in primary resources. As for Tariq Ali (and overall on NLR), Lou thinks the "new" orientation is a sell out. Me, I've always seen NLR as not having a "party line" Remember the polemics between Thompson, and Williams and Anderson and Nairn for example? The book on Exterminism and the Cold War? Pieces by such as Christopher Lasch(horrors) and Alan Wolfe? Granted they never have and never will have published pieces like LM did by Deichman or "Wise Use" anti-environmentalist nut, Ron Arnold but, methinks Lou much prefers the left press to be congruent with the promulgation of a "party line" Was the Bolshevik word, "partinost" ?

>> As for opposing sources, I check out the daily offerings
>> at www.antiwar.com -those paleo-cons are worth watching,(also
>> see Chronicles magazine at http://www.rockfordinstitute.org/
>> ) esp. Justin Raimondo in his Beyond the Headlines polemics.

Jared Israel, gets in antiwar.com all the time (as well as that dreadful www.truthinmedia.org website, now that guy, Bob Djurdjevic, is truly a snake! Supports Buchanan, full of racist invective against Mexicans.)
>> If Bush gets elected, I think the criticism from the Right
>> be just as hard as from our precincts.
>> Michael Pugliese
>What precincts are those? The Gore campaign?

(Ah at least like Herman deTolenaere, he didn't have me climbing in the cockpit with John McCain to bomb Vietnamese peasants!)

You don't sub to dsanet so you missed my posts supporting Nader and reprinting stuff on Gore and Occidental Petroleum. The U'wa and Gore (as well as his family investments in Hooker Chemical of Love Canal infamy really stick in my craw.) As is the way, in DSA, there is a spectrum from those still upholding the Schactmanite realignment view, to Nader and McReynold's supporters. Me, I did vote for Clinton once in '92. Nader in '96 and I will again in '00. Though I think it unlikely he will in the end get more than a smidgen above 5%. It's sadly amusing to read those that think he can win if he gets in the debates. I'm a lurker on the Pat Buchanan Brigade list. Those nuts think the same of Pat. Michael Pugliese
>Louis Proyect
>The Marxism mailing-list: http://www.marxmail.org

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