Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Discussion In Platypus Review About Afghanistan, Internationalism and The Left

I am not prepared to simply “jettison” the instructive example of the Canadian volunteers in the Spanish War. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say it holds the “key” to a revived internationalism, but it certainly does set a standard, and a similar popular-front strategy is not doomed to failure at all. In the 1930s, Western armies were not arrayed against Franco, Hitler and Mussolini. Today, the US, NATO and ISAF is in the fight in Afghanistan, and with the exception of the Americans’ disgraceful appeasements of the Pakistan military and intelligence complex, the armies of the West are, in fact, on the right side. I really think it’s important to acknowledge that, to get over it. The Taliban are not the Vietcong. The Sixties are over. It actually is possible for the American military to be on the right side of a struggle, and as some wag said, “It would be lovely if the Nelson Mandela Appreciation Society had the means to take on the job, but until that happens, I’m afraid we’re going to have to settle for the 101st Airborne Division.”

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. It's from my conversation with Andony Melathopoulos in the latest Platypus Review.

Interesting bunch, the Platypus 1917 crowd. Centered at the University of Chicago, Platypus contends that the contemporary "Marxist" left is a shambles and a ruin. While its downfall was largely self-inflicted, "the improbable — but not impossible — reconstitution of an emancipatory Left is an urgent task; we believe that the future of humanity depends on it. . . To abdicate this or to obscure the gravity of past defeats and failures by looking to 'resistance' from 'outside' the dynamics of modern society is to affirm its present and guarantee its future destructive reality."

I'm not sure I agree with the content of this, but I do occasionally share the sentiment: "The Left is dead—and whatever undead elements of it continue to stagger among us deserve to be put down before they demoralize and stupefy a new generation. . . To not be willing to recognize that the Left is dead is to have died with it."


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