Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 27, 2009

Michael Berube’s war on the left

Filed under: antiwar,cruise missile left — louisproyect @ 6:28 pm

Michael Berube

Skimming through Michael Berube’s newly published Eustonesque manifesto “The Left at War“, I stumbled across a reference to yours truly in chapter one. The good professor grouped me with 9/11 truthers and Bob Avakian, as people not worth his while to attack. The book, you see, was going after bigger game, like Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman and other enemies of humane, liberal values. It appears that I didn’t rate, because I was just an Internet phenomenon:

Likewise, if I wanted to engage with the divagations [a fancy word for ramblings] of the radical left online, I would include figures like Louis Proyect, a Columbia University computer programmer whose name is well known to far-left listservs and blogs, and who is capable of writing things like, “To the credit of the late Slobodan Milosevic and to Saddam Hussein, who now is on trial for his life in another kangaroo court, they never bowed down. In life and in death, these imperfect men will always remind us of the need to resist the injustice perpetrated by states acting out of perfect evil. “

The words were my conclusion to an article in Swans titled The Demonization And Death Of Slobodan Milosevic that I certainly stand by.  In keeping with this put-down and subsequent railings against Chomsky, Edward Herman and Diana Johnstone, you will not find any substance to Berube’s complaint, which usually takes the form of a sputtering “how dare they!” Since so much of the book is a diatribe against positions the left took on Yugoslavia, one would hope that the good professor might have taken the trouble to explain how critics of NATO’s war were wrong either on the facts or logic. But such matters do not interest him. He is much more at home in the ethereal realm of morality and global governance pirouetting with the angels.

I once posed the question to Berube on his blog as to what scholarly literature he had read on Yugoslavia. It drew a blank. His main interest is not in history, economics, or anything remotely related to a class analysis. He is a cultural studies professor by trade and heavily invested in theory, not the mundane world of facts and data. So much so that the book is largely devoted to praising Stuart Hall as the answer to all the wicked leftists who disagree with him on Yugoslavia. Yes, I know the connection is tenuous at best but I will do my best to explain how the good professor thinks, an onerous task I must admit.

I am not sure when I first stumbled across Berube’s writings, but my first response to him was in an article titled “Noam Chomsky and his Critics“, written on August 15, 2002. It was at a time when Chomsky was a lightning rod for the Eric Altermans and Christopher Hitchens of the world. They were outraged that he was not ready to jump on George W. Bush’s bandwagon, having the temerity to characterize American foreign policy as criminally brutal. In those days, people like Todd Gitlin were writing articles about the need to fly the American flag so you can imagine how angry he made the cruise missile left.

This is how I summed up Berube in that article:

For some on the postmodernist left, Chomsky has also become objectionable. Michael Berube, a commentator on the arts and society, feels that “the Chomskian left has consigned itself to the dustbin of history.” In accounting for the split between the “Chomskian left” and “the Hitchens left,” Berube surmises that “the simple fact that bombs were dropping” might have something to do with it. He writes:

For U.S. leftists schooled in the lessons of Cambodia, Libya, and the School of the Americas, all U.S. bombing actions are suspect: they are announced by cadaverous white guys with bad hair, they are covered by seven cable channels competing with one another for the catchiest “New War” slogan and Emmy awards for creative flag display, and they invariably kill civilians, the poor, the wretched, the disabled. Surely, there is much to hate about any bombing campaign.

Dispensing with the relativism and playful irony that characterizes the postmodernist left, Berube reminds his readers that war is a serious business:

Yet who would deny that a nation, once attacked, has the right to respond with military force, and who seriously believes that anyone could undertake any “nation-building” enterprise in Afghanistan without driving the Taliban from power first?

While most of Berube’s book is a sustained if rather flaccid attack on what he calls the “Manichean left”, he does try to distinguish himself from Hitchens, George Packer, Kenan Makiya, Paul Berman and other supporters of the war in Iraq. Berube is aggravated that they couldn’t figure out the difference between Serbia and Afghanistan on one hand and Iraq on the other. It was okay, if not essential, to bomb the former countries into submission while only using economic sanctions and flyovers against the latter.

You can read chapter 3 of Berube’s book, titled “Iraq: the Hard Road to Debacle”, in its entirety on Scribd.com.  It is replete with Berube’s trademark casuistry. He supported the war in Afghanistan but only if it was restricted to an assault on the al-Qaeda’s base in Tora Bora but not if would become what it actually became, an 8-year humanitarian disaster for the Afghan people. By analogy, he describes WWII as a good war, even if it involved bad decisions such as the bombing of Dresden. He wants to distinguish himself from the Pentagon generals even if they are the only conceivable agency to rid the world of evils such as al-Qaeda and Slobodan Milosevic. Perhaps the world would be better off if the military was run by cultural studies professors like Berube, but then again his role is not to actually kill people but to dream up sophisticated rationales for such acts.

In the section of chapter 3 titled “The Balkanized Left”, Berube cites Ian Williams in favor of NATO intervention without showing the slightest evidence that he has considered arguments and facts to the contrary. For example, Williams asserts that the U.S. was “dragged unwillingly” into the war by Europeans.

David Gibbs, the author of “First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia” sees things differently:

Deliberate Force was technically a multinational NATO campaign, but it was conceived and conducted largely by the United States.  Shortly before the strikes were launched, US officials met with their European counterparts and, in essence, demanded their support.  According to Chollet, who interviewed many key figures: “The Americans would go to explain what they were doing, not ask for permission.  The message would be ‘part invitation, part ultimatum.'”  Though European leaders resented this US diktat, they reluctantly went along with the plan.  After the Srebrenica massacre, the Europeans were under pressure to take action, and they did not wish to appear obstructionist.  NATO member states thus supported Operation Deliberate Force.

Now this is the only way to develop an analysis of Yugoslavia, namely through a painstaking examination of scholarly material. Gibbs, a political science professor at the U. of Arizona, has a bibliography that includes hundreds of articles and dozens of books. This is how serious policy analysts do their work. Berube, a flyweight when it comes to Balkans scholarship, is content to cite Williams, a journalist whose last book was on rum.

After favoring his reader with heavy doses of Ian Williams, Berube follows up with additional swatches lifted from a hostile review of Chomsky’s “The New Military Humanism” by Adrian Hastings, a Catholic theologian and long-time advocate of war on the dastardly Serbs.

One imagines that if Berube was charged with the assignment to write his own critique of Chomsky, Herman or Diana Johnstone without relying on such massive quote-mongering, his poor head might explode.

After he has exhausted all the quotes on Yugoslavia he can muster, Berube turns his attention to Iraq, a war that he opposed but with far less fervor than his opposition to the movement that emerged against it. He spends 12 pages in chapter 3 fulminating against the Workers World Party and the ANSWER coalition in a section titled “Dirty Fucking Hippies”. His prose takes on an almost hallucinatory quality as he pulls out all the stops: “ultraleftist thugs”, “neo-Stalinist sectarian group”, “support of Kim Jong-Il” and all the rest of the epithets that you might have read in the Washington Post or other newspapers catering to the anti-Communist prejudices of its inside-the-beltway readers.

Berube is spitting mad that the ANSWER coalition made so much headway, at least in the early days, when everybody knows that his own ideas and that of other liberal professors like Michael Walzer and Todd Gitlin are just so much smarter. You’ll never find someone like Michael Berube finding a kind word to say about North Korea, to be sure.

But you will never find someone like Michael Berube actually doing the dirty work that is required to get tens or hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrate in Washington. In a way, he reminds me of a virgin writing a sex advice column. He has all sorts of ideas what a good position might be, but has never gotten around to actually trying it out.

He would not have time in his busy schedule to roll up his sleeves and organize like-minded people to build a coalition conforming to his own ideals. If you read his blog, you will learn that when he is not writing articles on cultural theory or redbaiting the left, he is playing hockey or the drums. In other words, he is not actually sufficiently motivated to put his crappy politics into action, the way that a serious political person might. Fundamentally, we are dealing with a dilettante who enjoys shitting on people whose views he disagrees with. Like Walter Mitty, he must have fantasies about leading people into a more just world but like most liberal intellectuals he does not bother since the Democratic Party does all the work that is necessary to rout the Taliban and al-Qaeda. After all, the Obama administration that Berube genuflects to has all the guns and money it needs to kill Afghans. Why would they require any kind of volunteer activism from a college professor who has better things to do with his spare time?


  1. This Berube guy seems to be to Chomsky what Service is to Trotsky.

    Comment by SGuy — November 27, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  2. Thanks, Louis.

    The contrast between Berube and Jonah Raskin (whom you recently wrote about) is particularly striking. Berube is first, last, and always, a professional–and by that, I mean “a careerist hack.”

    Richly compensated to serve as part of a team evaluating my department (English, SUNY Buffalo), he proceeded to recommend the destruction of a forty-year-old tradition of (limited) workplace democracy, whereby graduate students were empowered to participate in department governance. You don’t keep getting lucrative gigs like this if you don’t give administrations what they want. Feh!

    Comment by Jim Holstun — November 27, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  3. “corporate liberals” is the epithet we used in the 1960s. does he fit the bill?

    Comment by uh...clem — November 28, 2009 @ 1:21 am

  4. Hey Lou,

    You’re a part of the “Manichean Left”….

    So be it. Count me in, even if I have no idea what Berube’s definition of left is, or for that matter Manichean left!

    The funny thing about Berube is that he ratiocinates at length but never defines anything.

    Still, I acknowledge his humanness when related to his child who has a dire disability.

    Everything else is of no interest. I tried once to address him in person. I only met a casuist.

    Enough said.


    Comment by Gilles d'Aymery — November 28, 2009 @ 2:08 am

  5. It should be stressed that Berube only achieves some kind of humanity when he is writing about his son. Everything else is second-rate Christopher Hitchens.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 28, 2009 @ 2:16 am

  6. Congratulations on making the big time, Lou.

    Comment by John B. — November 28, 2009 @ 3:19 am

  7. Sometimes it all comes together. I first encountered Berube at the Universityyof Illinois when he defended philosopher Nancy Fraser’s support for bombing Serbia–must have been Spring of 1999. A few years later I lived across the street from Cary Nelson, cultural studies maven thanked by Berube in the intro to the book. Just last week Nelson was performing some sort of lame discussant role in response to a repulsive Zionist Israeli writer. No genuine political passion/critique, no conscience. Just rationalize everything in terms of academic freedom, blah blah. These people are bankrupt.

    Comment by David Green — November 28, 2009 @ 4:04 am

  8. The “get Chomsky” approach helps some of these “Eustonite” authors move on from one war to the next while maintaining a cast of domestic enemies to accompany the international ones. The idea of the “Manichean Left” bunches such opponents together, while avoiding thinking about any actual positions held (to the point where any initial insights into are buried under the invective). The same mindset even leaves someone like Oliver Kamm threatening to expose Chomsky’s shortcomings as a linguist, as part of some (unnamed) broader project. Responding to US foreign policy and its critics like this is more faith-based than reasoned.

    Comment by Graham — November 28, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  9. From Bérubé’s into.: “The crimes of the Bush-Cheney regime beggar description.”

    He lost me right there.

    Comment by George — November 28, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  10. Well all that said the Workers World Party and its ilk ARE neo-Stalinist sectarians.

    Comment by ish — November 28, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

  11. Berube does not have it in just for the WWP. He badmouths Women in Pink, Naomi Klein, Rahul Mahajan and countless other individuals and groups that never said a kind word about Kim Jong-Il. He is an asshole liberal and that’s that.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 28, 2009 @ 11:40 pm

  12. Richly compensated to serve as part of a team evaluating my department (English, SUNY Buffalo), he proceeded to recommend the destruction of a forty-year-old tradition of (limited) workplace democracy, whereby graduate students were empowered to participate in department governance.

    This comment is so full of fail. I was not richly compensated, thank you. I took time away from my family in order to try to help a department I like, and the token $ involved did not make up for the time and effort. As for your bizarre invocation of workplace democracy: all I did (with Cary Nelson and William Chace) was to suggest that Buffalo’s governance document allowed every single graduate student at any point in the program to vote on hiring and admissions decisions. Really. If you want to defend the principle that students who have just unpacked the U-Haul and started taking classes have the right to veto job candidates and program applicants, go right ahead. But that’s the worst form of “workplace democracy” I’ve ever seen. (And we argued that advanced graduate students should participate in department governance — and that they should serve on hiring committees.)

    Talk about doing a thankless job.

    David Green, great to see you again. I remember that encounter well: you were the person who told me to consult the work of Diana Johnstone on the Balkans. I dutifully followed your advice, and decided that Johnstone was a very good example of what’s wrong with the Manichean Left. My only suggestion in return is that you and Lou form some new Johnstonian party devoted to deriding the “Srebrenica mourning cult.” Just don’t claim that you’re “on the left,” please, because the left really should have no business apologizing for ethnic cleansing, genocide, and fascism. Kthxbye.

    He badmouths Women in Pink, Naomi Klein, Rahul Mahajan

    I take issue with Mahajan’s defense of “Iraqi sovereignty,” yes. I do not criticize Naomi Klein or Women in Pink Code Pink. Not sure what LP is referring to here, but I’m glad to see that he’s standing by his eloquent defense of Milosevic and Saddam. As Dennis Green once said in another context, you are what I thought you were.

    Comment by Michael Bérubé — November 29, 2009 @ 6:00 am

  13. It is heartening to see that Bérubé has put his Jesuitical training from Regis High School to good use in terms of the 1600 year war against the heresy of the Manicheans. Saint Ephraem wrote a good tract against this tendency (Manichean Tendency of the Gnostic Faction of the One Holy Apostolic Church Party) in the Fourth Century, Anno Domini. I myself was involved in a gambling ring run out of Bukidnon, Mindanao by Father Stephen Duffy which spent half its time running liberation theology study groups to get peasants primed for the New People’s Army, and half the time fighting against these Gnostic deviations which kept cropping up.

    As far as Proyect’s comments, his end ones are the most spot on. When I read Lenin, Molotov, or any of those Manichean leftists that are probably read by those dirty Manichean neostalinist sectarian WWP thugs, those old Bolsheviks have a phrase for dilettantes like Bérubé – “tea drinkers”. The question the Bérubé’s of the world ask – why was the WWP initially leading the US anti-war movement – is not one that someone actually on the ground organizing even has to ask. The WWP lead the anti-war protests because they are a national group which is well-organized, and instead of dithering, did all of the hard work and effort that went into organizing those events. The cruise missile “left” was probably busy organizing anti-Nader groups or something.

    I see (when giving the book a cursory lookthrough at Barnes and Noble) that Bérubé thanked Leo Casey in the book’s opening. That set the tone of the book for me right there, I can’t think of anyone more repellent of that stripe, except perhaps Michael Pugliese. Actually, if anything would make me think of 9/11 as some positive anti-imperialist action, it would be the picture of Leo Casey’s car buried under the dust and debris of the World Trade Center, like a rain falling on the just and unjust alike ( http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/2001/2001-September/017462.html )

    Comment by Manichean Leftist — November 29, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  14. “So full of fail”? Huh? Despite your outraged sputtering (a favorite mode), you confirm what I said about your ill-informed “evaluation.” And if this is what you do to departments you like, God help those you hate.

    As to “Manichean.” It really is a favorite of pomo liberals who might have read BLACK SKIN, WHITE MASKS. But for Fanon, what’s “Manichean” is people who assert absolute differences between African and European people. For pomo liberals like Berube, it’s any leftist who asserts a distinction of any kind–say, between surplus producers and surplus appropriators, the bombers and the bombed, etc. It’s a fun term to use, since it allows you to cultivate your neoliberal garden while sounding metaphysically savvy, with just a little spritz of FLN aftershave.

    Comment by Jim Holstun — November 29, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

  15. berube can’t really avoid attaching the label “Manichean” to himself because manichean usually refers to a kind of dualism which radically separates the good from the evil. since he himself makes such a distinction, between himself (good left) and us (evil left), then, he must be manichean for the very making of the distinction. “That’s all” (sorry — i’ve just reading about humpty-dumpty in Alice Through the Looking Glass)

    Comment by uh...clem — November 29, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

  16. How can anyone who acts as a de facto cheerleader for violence perpetrated by ruling classes for economic/political/strategic reasons be called a Leftist (of any description)? Unless they actually believe the PR bullshit about human rights, freedom, democracy etc. In which case they’re actually stupid, however intelligent they consider themselves.

    Comment by Doug — November 30, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  17. I think Chomsky nailed the intellectual/academic milieu perfectly especially the cruise missile left:

    “…the more significant function of the intelligentsia is ideological control. They are, in Gramsci’s phrase, “experts in legitimation.” They must ensure that beliefs are properly inculcated, beliefs that serve the interests of those with objective power, based ultimately on control of capital”

    Comment by belgish — November 30, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

  18. Berube’s book is just an attempt to lash out against those who made him look like the fool he is. Why include someone like Louis Proyect or Rahul Mahajan? After all, they aren’t big lefty names. The answer is that they, like Herman, et. al, critized Berube. And being the baby that he is, he just had to lash out at them in the guise of a concerned liberal.

    Does he mention in the book that these are people who criticized him? Or does he just pretend that they, of all people, just happened to exemplify certain points he wanted to make?

    Comment by Don L. — December 3, 2009 @ 4:37 am

  19. This is a little late and more tossed in the mix just for, well, for the heck of it, but my one exchange with Michael Bérubé came in comments on this post which referred to him in two paragraphs of a 6,000 word piece. Those paragraphs addressed his criticism of those who opposed the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq as having “lost their moral compass.”

    Comment by LarryE — December 7, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  20. I just wanted to weigh in with some snark. I read “The Left at War” and the only noteworthy conclusion I could draw from it (and that it merited) was “Boy, that guy sure hates James Petras!” Wait, that’s unfair. He also seemed to enjoy quoting his ideological adversaries (who consist of everyone in the universe with a surname unequal to “Gitlin”) in order to poke fun at them, regardless of context, much in the same manner that a hack movie reviewer would incorporate the title of a film in his flaying. Keeping in this spirit, I close with a quote from Berube from this comments section, “kthxbye”.

    Comment by DougCD — December 7, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  21. Never heard of Berube before this thread but definitely don’t appreciate his pathetic criticisms of groups that actually had the temerity and wherewithall to organized mass demonstrations against such criminal wars nor do I appreciate his lame apologies for imperialist turpitude, but I will say that after reading those couple of paragraphs of his, he reminds me of (and even looks a bit like) that smug asshole professor Gerald Lambeau (played by actor Stellan Skarsgård) in the movie “Good Will Hunting” — the difference of course being that professor Lambeau actually contributed to mathematics insofaras he won a Fields Medal whereas Berube’s only won the scorn of his peers in general and his students in particular.

    As a poster called the “Advocate of Berube’s Students” pointed out on another thread, here’s what some students at RateMyProfessors.com said about professor Beruba.

    “What an arrogant jerk. Every class with him was painful as he tried to be funny/show off his knowledge. No doubt he’s smart, but the kind of smart where he enjoys lording it over everyone else. His lectures ramble.This class alone made me rethink my english ambitions, because I couldn’t stand the idea of a career around people like Berube.”

    “Never has such arrogance mixed with such ignorance. He thinks he is intelligent, and few human beings I have ever met are less capable of thinking logically and rationally.”

    “As long as you think he’s as cool as he thinks he is, you’ll be in good shape.”

    “full of himself in the worst way…talks too much. kind of pointless class”

    “The best class we had all semester was when he was out of town and his wife subbed for him…He, however, rambles on with no clear point.”

    “a bit on the full-of-himself side. His lectures are rambling, and full of showoffmanship”

    Comment by iskraagent — December 9, 2009 @ 12:26 am

  22. It’s the wee hours of the morning and I’m in the midst of studying for a final, but I am compelled to post here only by the sheer absurdity of comment 21 (by “iskraagent”). I followed a link to this blog while taking a break to read Bérubé’s, and as I am currently enrolled in his Senior Seminar English class at PSU, I feel a certain duty to defend his classroom demeanor.

    For the record: Bérubé doesn’t know I read his blog, I don’t read it that often, and I am certainly anything but a gullible sycophant of the man or his work. (I’m not even using my real name on here in case he reads this!) However, I’m entertained by his articulate accounts of mundanity and particularly pleased that I have yet to find typographical or grammatical mistakes in his posts (a pet peeve), so I’ve checked it out a few times.

    Now that I’ve (hopefully) legitimized my ethos, ah-he-hem:

    Bérubé is the antithesis of a “smug asshole professor”, and has won not “scorn” but the admiration and respect of his students.

    Throughout the duration of the semester Bérubé has sparked lively discussions and offered his commentary/opinions with unassuming ease. Though he occasionally referenced his blog, articles or books, it was certainly offered humbly and always apropos to the text at hand. Furthermore, the man himself comes off as pretty pertinent, as his lectures and blog posts eschew antiquity. When he writes things like “kthnxbye” or “so full of fail” he’s not trying to be “cool”, he’s being skillful; using/referencing up-to-the-minute idioms allows him to remain culturally relevant.

    It is baffling to read the negative reviews above, and I take specific issue with the judgment that he is “an arrogant jerk”. Bérubé is one of the most pleasant and accessible teachers I’ve ever had (and even bordered on self-deprecation at times). What’s more, he was witty without nearing pretension, and his genuine concern and respect for his students was consistently obvious.

    I am not without criticism of the man: he could have been more demanding; the reading schedule, more rigorous. I could go on but that’s not my point and this isn’t the right place to do so anyway. Nevertheless, I gained a lot from his course overall and highly enjoyed his teaching style.

    So I’ll reiterate that I am perplexed by the denunciation. Perhaps he reads RateMyProfessors.com, took those comments into account, and altered his teaching style. Or maybe those were written by kids who aren’t paying their way through college (like me) and don’t respect themselves, let alone their professors.

    It would be easy for someone to charge that I am not capable of expressing the views of an entire class, and I would normally agree. However, we just completed Penn State’s SRTEs (Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness) and as I peered at his high ratings, verbalized my satisfaction with the man and his course, and watched every head nod or chime in with agreement, I can earnestly attest to the consensus.

    Comment by Leah Earnest — December 10, 2009 @ 9:58 am

  23. (FYI, EST here when I posted was just before 5am. So I don’t know why it says 9:58. I tend to start my mornings on the late side, yeah, but that’s definitely not what I call the “wee hours”)

    Comment by Leah Earnest — December 10, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  24. [Bérubé is the antithesis of a “smug asshole professor”, and has won not “scorn” but the admiration and respect of his students.]

    Apparently not all of them…

    Comment by iskraagent — December 10, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

  25. What flumoxes me is that Berube, as with many other western writers on the”left” classes the left as those outside the communist and workers parties in the west and then proceeds to defend only those “leftists” who support imperialism. The left includes not only anyone with social democrat leanings but marxists and leninist of various stripes not the least of which include the still alive and kicking communist parties both in the US and in all the other western “democracies”. (I am a member of the party in Canada.) That parties of the left always defended President Milosevic and condemned the Nato attack on Yugoslavia for exactly what it was, the open aggression against the last socialist country in Europe by the right-wing. The communist parties of Russia, Greece, China, italy, Canada, Mexico, and Germany, Britain all supported Milosevic and Yugoslavia in the face of Nato aggression. They all consistently have opposed the US-UK and allies aggressions in the middle and near east and asia. The left is more than the disparate individuals who feel some sympathy for socialism or even liberalism. But it seems anathema for the “left” in the US to talk of the communist and workers parties and their progressive and principled position regarding these issues. Too many “leftists” took the trotskyist position of always labelling any socialist the imperialists condemned as “fascists” and so took part in cutting their own throats. But the real left (defined in this response as the communist movement around the world) did not make this mistake. They fake left adopted this pose for the crystal clear reason that they are active agents against socialism masquerading as the left.

    Christopher Black
    International Criminal Lawyer,
    Chair, Legal Committee, International Committee For the Defense of Slobodan Miosevic,
    Lead Counsel, Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal,
    Communist Party of Canada,
    Toronto, Canada

    Comment by Christopher Black — February 1, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  26. Too many “leftists” took the trotskyist position of always labelling any socialist the imperialists condemned as “fascists” and so took part in cutting their own throats.


    Such pretzel logic should not shock anyone in light of the author’s affiliations.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 1, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

  27. Exactly the response I expected. Dismissing an argument because of “my affiliations” leftist of course, but not the “right” leftist. You just made my point in spades. Keep supporting the imperialists. Black

    Comment by Christopher Black — February 1, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

  28. What a fucking pinhead Christopher Black is. This article was prompted by Michael Berube’s attack on me for being a Milosevic supporter. And as far as his affiliations are concerned, I should add that the CP of Canada is not in the habit, as far as I know, as picking fights with people like me or any other “Trotskyist”. What goes on in Black’s belfry is beyond me. I probably should have made it clearer that his ravings are his own, and not typical CP stuff.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 1, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  29. Black says [Too many “leftists” took the trotskyist position of always labelling any socialist the imperialists condemned as “fascists” and so took part in cutting their own throats.]

    Trotsky was the #2 man of influence in the Bolshevik Revolution and lead the Red Army victory in the Russian Civil War, a war that arguably would have been lost without Trotsky’s decisive leadership.

    Neither Trotsky nor his supporters adopted the absurd “position of always labelling any socialist the imperialists condemned as ‘fascists'”.

    That paragraph of yours doesn’t even make sense?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — February 2, 2010 @ 12:30 am

  30. > the trotskyist position of always labelling any socialist the imperialists condemned as “fascists”

    You probably meant Max Shachtman, not Leon Trotsky.

    Comment by PatrickSMcNally — May 30, 2010 @ 12:11 am

  31. […] Michael Berube’s war on the left « Louis Proyect: The Unrepenta.. […]

    Pingback by Stuart Hall and Cultural Studies | The Glaring Facts — November 2, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

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