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

Joanne Landy joanne.landy at igc.org
Thu Apr 8 19:03:28 PDT 2010

At 04:15 PM 4/8/2010 -0700, CHRISTOPHER CUTRONE WROTE:
>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.)

MY COMMENT: So what is your point? In the absence of a "reliable" Iranian protest movement, do we abstain from support for the struggle for democracy in Iran? I don't think so, any more than the weakness and sometimes disorientation of the left and anti-war movements in the U.S. mean that we in the United States should abstain from actively opposing our country's imperial wars.

In Iran, the U.S., and the rest of the world, it's not just a question of having a "position." It's a question of activity. Not mindless activity, but activity in the spirit of internationalism, which is the only way we will build our intellectual critique and forge international alliances. My sense of Platypus is that it rejects such activity, particularly activity against U.S. imperialism. I would be delighted to find out that I'm under a misimpression.

>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.

True enough, but we will never reinvigorate the Left in this country if we fail to actively oppose our government's wars at the same time as we extend our solidarity to the struggle for democracy and social justice in Iran, and TO the very embryonic struggle for these goals in Afghanistan. There is a terrible symbiosis between bloody U.S. interventions and reactionary fundamentalism -- and we need to work to break the connection at every point.

You (Chris C.) wrote in an earlier message (3:14pm today in my inbox): "This means taking a certain critical distance from what's going on in Afghanistan today. It's a human tragedy, for sure, with a great deal of horror. It's a humanitarian issue, but it's not a particularly political issue for the Left."

I can't disagree more with this disengaged stance. --Joanne Landy

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