Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Break On Through To The Other Side

Where the hell did the time go? I can't believe I haven't posted since last Wednesday. I don't really have an excuse, either. (The dog ate all the postings I wrote -- but I don't have a dog.) Some odd things have been going on in my life, and I may write about some of them in due time; but I think something in my mind simply said "Enough!" at the end of March.

So, I'm going to take the easy way out and point you once more to Lenin's Tomb. His latest post, "Springtime for NATO in Libya", is very good. For example:
This is one reason, incidentally, why it never even occurred to them to wonder how it is that - unlike in Iraq, which war they castigate as irresponsible - there was never even the pretence of diplomacy. I am no pacifist, but I don't like to be told that there are no alternatives to air-borne death when the alternatives haven't even been tried.
I don't think you have to be a not-pacifist to agree with that.
If the issue was the minimisation of bloodshed, then a logical solution would have been to allow Turkey and others to facilitate negotiations. Yes, I know. A negotiated settlement would be a step back from outright victory for the rebels. But that is an increasingly improbable outcome anyway, and I thought we were trying to save lives here? And as it happens, a diplomatic solution seems to be exactly what is on the cards now. The transitional council leadership in Benghazi has acknowledged as much. Qadhafi is sending ambassadors to talk to interested parties about a ceasefire settlement. If this is how the situation is going to be resolved, then it would have been better that it had been resolved this way several weeks ago. If the aerial bombardment was supposed to stop massacres, it doesn't seem to have done so. From 'Save Sarajevo' to 'Save Benghazi', however, the liberal imperialists are in their glory when on the warpath, and as facile with rationalisations and false consolations as they are contemptuous of the same when deployed by the right.
After all, we've got to do something, right? And "something" always seems to involve the creation of corpses. (Richard Seymour, the proprietor of Lenin's Tomb, is also the author of The Liberal Defence of Murder [Verso, 2008], which is relevant to this case.)
Worse still are the wised up comments to the effect that "the world is a murky place, blah blah, which should not be seen in black and white terms, yawn yawn, and we can't force people to die for the sake of some purist anti-imperialism, etc etc". No, indeed, but it's hardly better to expect people to die for the sake of a woolly platitude.
[P.S. Compare RWA1's "world is a murky place" remarks that I quoted here.]

It's occurred to me quite a number (though not all) of the writers on politics whom I like are Marxists, and I wonder why that is, since I'm not a Marxist myself. I'm not all that sure what a Marxist is. (Reading Chris Harman's Zombie Capitalism last summer made me less sure, not more.) From what I can tell, few on the Right know what a Marxist is either: they only know that Marxism is doubleplusungood, and what more do you need to know? Aside from stray bits of terminology like "anti-imperialist," I can't see anything in Seymour's post that seems specifically Marxist. Just as you don't have to be a pacifist to object to the NATO war on Libya, I don't think you have to be a Marxist to object to imperialism. But it sure seems to help.

(Image via The Sideshow)