[lbo-talk] Platypus: what we are, what we do, and why

Christopher Cutrone ccutrone at speedsite.com
Thu Apr 8 16:15:58 PDT 2010

I don't separate the "Left" between countries, nor do I think anyone should. For the absence of a Left in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and, yes, Iran, today, is inextricably bound up with its absence in the U.S., Europe, etc. (On Iran, clearly a U.S. or Israeli strike would strengthen the Right there, which is why they are trying to provoke this, which might lead Iran into the abyss, as happened with Saddam's and the Taliban's brinksmanship! But that doesn't mean that the protest movement in Iran is reliably "progressive," especially given its Khomeiniite Islamist default leadership of Mousavi, Khatami, Rafsmanjani, et al.)

Historically, the death of the Left is an international phenomenon, and several-generations' long story. The particular stories of this death in various countries mutually condition each other. On the other hand, a reinvigorated Left in the U.S. would have a great positive impact in other parts of the world. But that won't happen -- the Left won't be reinvigorated anywhere -- if a global perspective is failed to be taken.

-- I'm somewhat taken aback, if not exactly surprised, at the nationalist assumptions in the discussion on this list -- all the way up to the absurd idea that world history would have taken a turn for the better if the Confederacy had prevailed in the American Civil War! -- Talk about inverted nationalism masquerading as internationalism!

"The Left is dead! -- Long live the Left!"

-- Chris

Chris Maisano cgmaisano at yahoo.com Thu Apr 8 15:47:53 PDT 2010

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I think when Cutrone says "there is no real potential progressive 'anti-imperialist' politics that provides an actual emancipatory alternative to U.S. policy," he's probably thinking of the fact that there is really no progressive, democratic left to speak of in the places currently dealing with US aggression - Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. The alternative to the US presence in these places is probably the installation of regimes that most of us on the western left probably would not consider to be progressive, and could potentially be quite nasty. If the US left Afghanistan next month, for example, we probably would not see a progressive regime take root there. We'd likely see a reversion to decentralized, clan-based rule and warlordism. I don't think that he's commenting on the political potential of the US left here, though of course I am not a mind reader and could be wrong. The potential exception here is Iran, which could possibly see the

flowering of a mass-based, democratic and progressive political force. The protests that exploded there last year seemed to indicate that this could be a possibility, and the country does have a functioning (though comparatively small) labor movement and progressive intelligentsia.

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