Slobbo, Rwanda and the Surreal

LeoCasey at LeoCasey at
Sun Oct 8 05:28:56 PDT 2000

The Heartfield-Yoshie tag team strikes again.

Heartfield: << (Reading between the lines, I guess Leo is a graduate of the Stalinist school of falsification.) >>


<< Depressing to think that Leo is a teacher. Don't parents know who they are entrusting their children's education to?>>


<< You really live in the most reductionist of the anticommunist worldviews, don't you? I rather prefer more sophisticated anticommunists to your kind.

I can't say that I am entirely surprised that Heartfield's and Yoshie's arguments are now reduced to political name-calling, but again guys, let's get the line straight. How can I be a Stalinist and an anti-Communist [unsophisticated to boot] at the same time? Especially when you want the great masses of parents in New York City to rise up against my presence as a teacher because... I think that the US and other world powers had a responsibility, which they evaded, to bring the 1994 genocide in Rwanda to a halt, and because I think that ethnic cleansers and war criminals should be opposed, not supported, and that the end of their rule is a step forward, something to be applauded. Ah, the righteous anger of the masses at such depravity on my part looms: I can see the mass mobilization for "Casey Out" before my eyes right now.

Too bad for Heartfield that my political lineage is straight out of the New Left, out of those sectors which always insisted that a socialism worthy of the name had to be democratic, and neither Stalinist nor Trotskyist. Indeed, I have always been of the view that classical Stalinism and classical Trotskyism were pretty much "two sides of the same coin," if I may borrow that metaphor, and I am not all that surprised to see various Trotskyist sects rush to the defense of Stalinism -- in the personage of Slobbos and Li Pengs -- as it surrenders all pretense to any egalitarian social and economic agenda during its slow exit from the world historical stage. Or should I say, as it "enters the dustbin of history?" Wasn't it Trotsky, after all, who smashed the independent trade unions, put down the revolt of the sailors at Kronstadt and laid out the plan for the elimination of the Kulaks that Stalin adopted, once he had consolidated power? Bukarhin, by contrast, was a different, more complex and much more interesting case. But I digress, and should return to my unsophisticated anti-Communism-Stalinism.

On an aside: Justin is on the mark in his dissent form the notion that Solidarity can be called Trotskyist. I accepted too readily, I fear, Yoshie's description of it as such. It is, at best, post-Trotskyist, descending from what was at its start a rather heterodox schism off Trotskyism. Shachtmanism managed to combine, after all, the likes of the Hal Drapers, where Solidarity founds its origin, of the Michael Harringtons, the tradition where I found a political home for a time [if I was labelled a perfidious social democrat, at least Heartfield and Yoshie would have hit the outer margins of the political target], and of the SDUSA types such as Tom Kahn who occupied the higher regions of the AFL-CIO under Meaney and Kirkland.

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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