[lbo-talk] discipline

Wojtek Sokolowski swsokolowski at yahoo.com
Thu May 3 20:51:39 PDT 2007

--- Yoshie Furuhashi <critical.montages at gmail.com> wrote:

> That said, if people do not succeed in collective
> self defense, they
> go the way of the Paris Commune, the Second Spanish
> Republic, the
> Mossadegh government, the Arbenz government, the
> Allende government,
> and so on. Sometimes, conditions for successful
> self defense do not
> exist, as was the case with the Paris Commune. But
> sometimes they do.
> Then what? Even the most elementary self defense
> sometimes cannot be
> accomplished without initiating and deepening social
> revolution.
> Those who respect property too much, liberal
> democrats (including
> those who call themselves socialists and communists
> but think and act
> like liberal democrats), therefore do not fare well
> in the South when
> push comes to shove.

[WS:] That seems to be the central premise of your argument in defence of Islamism - national self-defence trupms all other considerations. My problem with this argument is that it abandons socialist universalism and democractic rule in favor of nationalist authoritarianism. The latter often depends on popular mobilization, but fundamentally sacrifices all democratic principles as well as internationalism on the alter of national self defence in the name of which everything goes. That is to say, national sovereignty becomes more important than rights and interests of citizens.

That argument is fine if the overarching goal is the continuation of the rule of the current ruling party or resiting another country's nationalism dubbed "imperialism" to distinguish it from "our" nationalism. But I find that goal rather unappealing.

I see no reason to sympathize with any nationalism, so if the push comes to shove and I have to make a choice, I would rather pick a more democractic nationalism over a less democratic one. That means US or European nationalism over the nationalisms of autocratic Third World nations. Th ereason is rather simple, progressive reforms have a better chance of success under democracy than under authoritarianism, including populism.


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