Slobbo, Rwanda and the Surreal

LeoCasey at LeoCasey at
Mon Oct 9 04:50:28 PDT 2000

Yoshie writes: << Sadly, what you write here displays your inability to put two and two together and arrive at four. >>

The metaphor is unintentionally revealing. Here we are, in an incredibly over-determined and complex political situation, with a bevy of distinguishable interests and constantly shifting political alliances and falling outs, and it all can be analyzed through simple arithmetic calculations. An invariable rule, always oppose those who the US may support, is simply applied, even when it is applied to an area of the world without any recognizable geo-political (ie, military or economic) strategic significance for the US, such as Rwanda.

I started out thinking that the problem was just that the facts were all too few and all too wrong-headed, contorted every which way to fit some pre-conception, and that you and Heartfield were attempting to create an American puppet from the thinnest and most unconvincing of evidence. Now I see that it is the rule, not the lack of evidence, which drives the position: there must be a puppet of American imperialism for the rule to work. Don't confuse me with complicating factors: it is all as simple as 2 + 2 = 4. 2 (American intervention must always be opposed.) + 2 (The Rwandan government is my candidate for American puppet) = 4 (The Rwandans must be opposed.) So all that any political figure or movement must do to win your support is to make some sort of case that the US government supports their opponents. And then we go about showing how creative we can be by making a case that Rwanda or Kosova is central to US imperial ambitions.

All of this would just be an example of blindly dogmatic analysis, where it not for the continual need you have to come down on the side of those complicit in the worst ethnic cleansing and genocide at the century's end -- let us call them what they are: fascists. We have been dealing with Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, but I can't help sit here and wonder what else is a "creation" of the Western mass media in your eyes -- Slavery in the Sudan? Slavery in Mauritania? Extermination of indigenous peoples in the South American rain forest? Indonesian thuggery in East Timor? Russia's scorched earth in Chechyna? Iraq's and Turkey's continuing wars against the Kurds? And why? To demonstrate that you follow what you call "historical materialism," not some "ethical" theory? That you read Satre's pitiful defense of Stalinism with his apologia for "dirty hands?" What an impoverished, bowderlized conception of "historical materialism," much less of any philosophical guide to political action. You need to reread your Machiavelli: even he, the supposed amoral theoretician of politics, had an ethical standard in the form of support for republican government.

Leo Casey United Federation of Teachers 260 Park Avenue South New York, New York 10010-7272 (212-598-6869)

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. -- Frederick Douglass --

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