Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Left and Iraq

I found this very sensible analysis of the sitation in Iraq vis-a-vis the left on, of all places, democraticunderground.com, where it was linked from a Marxist web site in Britain. Of course, the author is a Marxist.
Yes, of course, many Iraqis, both during the war and since it ended, have visibly expressed at best wariness and at worst outright hostility towards the coalition forces: who but a western “leftist”, vocally antiracist but unconsciously deeply in thrall to racist stereotypes, would expect a uniform response, favourable or not, from so many human beings with so many different interests, backgrounds, hopes and fears? Nevertheless, it is equally plain that many Iraqis have expressed joy and gratitude for their liberation, although the western “left” has been quick to deny their existence even so, partly because so many “leftists” belong to that tribe of self-satisfied bourgeois pseudointellectuals who regard it as beneath their dignity to watch television at all, and so missed what everyone else saw. We do not know which response represents the feelings of the majority in Iraq and, unlike those commentators who deliriously predicted the course of the next few years within a week of the war ending, we do not claim to be able to know. Suffice it to say the following. First, whatever they are feeling now, the majority of Iraqis would certainly not want to see the Ba'ath regime restored, and it was the coalition forces that removed it. Second, we shall all know what they are feeling when the first democratic elections in the lifetimes of most Iraqis are held in their country – yet if the western “left” had had their way those elections would never be held at all.

It sticks in the throat to have to admit that for once the western powers have done more to promote justice than the western “left” has. It is nauseating to find “Marxists” trying to ensure that any human beings should go on living under a dictatorship. Such are the contradictions of advanced capitalism.

...Just as Stalin's “Communist” dictatorship destroyed the lives and hopes of so many socialists of an earlier generation, the complicity of the “left” in the growth of Ba'athism, “Pan-Arabism”, Islamic fundamentalism, “Third Worldism” and the other anti-democratic ideologies that have brought us to this point has helped to destroy all prospects of any advance beyond liberalism for another generation at least. We cannot forgive these charlatans and renegades their betrayal of the very tradition they pretend to uphold, and we are confident that the working class will go on seeing them for what they really are. Then again, given their remoteness from any contact with working-class people, their embedding in academia, journalism and other marginal outposts of the capitalist system, and their total incapacity to realise that they have made stupendous errors, let alone learn from them, it is already abundantly clear that the western “left” no longer has anything in common with the working class – and that, somewhere behind their smug masks, they know it.