Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 18, 2010

December 16th antiwar protest

Filed under: antiwar — louisproyect @ 5:56 pm


  1. Nice video. Great speech. Lousy weather. Still wish I could have been there. Hard to imagine how far is the rightward drift of people like Tom Hayden & company to not endorse such an event. Like Mario Savio famously said: “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, you can’t take part. And you’ve got to put your body upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 18, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  2. The “left establishment” keeps harping about how the open letter recently sent to them was deceptive and dishonest. Talk about missing the forest for the trees.

    Comment by michael yates — December 18, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

  3. Not to mention the irony of implying “deception and dishonesty” in the context of Obama who cannot speak unscripted without a big pause and an “ugh” after every sentance while he gropes for how to best articulate more bullshit.

    2.9 billion a week flushed down the Pentagon’s far away rat holes while austerity plans are being dreamed up at home while millionaires and billionaires escape taxation while workers get whacked 30% out of every check while those who don’t have to work because they’ve inherited fortunes pay nothing.

    WTF? It’s as upside down a world as depicted in “Catch 22.”

    Yossarian: Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. In order to be grounded, I’ve got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I’m not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying.

    Dr. ‘Doc’ Daneeka: You got it, that’s Catch-22.

    Yossarian: Whoo… That’s some catch, that Catch-22.

    Dr. ‘Doc’ Daneeka: It’s the best there is.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 19, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  4. John Pilger’s latest, The War You Don’t See, can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/17886210

    Comment by Brian Gallagher — December 19, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  5. The speaker here was Chris Hedges who just gave a brilliant interview today on “Democracy Now!” No wonder Carl Davidson didn’t want to attend this 12/16 demo as few people rake Obama over the coals with the articulation of Hedges:


    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 21, 2010 @ 1:11 am

  6. Is opposition to the war truly on the Left? Don’t all people deserve to achieve their full potential, not the least the women of Afghanistan who the Taliban will imprison? I would have thought brutally murdering fundamentalists would be an appealing thought to those who lay claim to the space of the Jacobins on the Assembly floor.

    Comment by Watson Ladd — December 26, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

  7. Watson, you are a Platypus, aren’t you? And, yes, opposition to the war is truly on the left. This is an acid test for the left that you Chicago boys have failed miserably.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 27, 2010 @ 12:08 am

  8. I am definitely involved and influenced by Platypus. But I don’t speak for Platypus. But how do we define Left and why is the war an acid test? I will admit that if supporting the taliban is the acid test, or if not supporting the taliban is the left, then we have failed because the essence of critique is not accepting the political questions that are posed. I just haven’t seen an argument that makes the case that the war must be opposed by the Left from the grounds that it somehow is not emancipatory. My preferred slogan would be “No negotiations for basic rights! International Brigade for victory over the Islamists!”. Its nonsensical character should be taken as a sign of how degraded our politics has become, that this interventionism is not possible. As for “acid tests” I would say that consciousness is the acid test of being on the left, or if I wanted to be more inclusive, a belief in universal cosmopolitan thought.

    Comment by Watson Ladd — December 27, 2010 @ 4:27 am

  9. The people of Afghanistan must determine their own destiny, not have imperialism decide it for them. Your slogan for “International Brigades” is pure intellectual masturbation, just the sort of thing I would expect from a freshman at a rich kid’s school. People in touch with reality understand that the slogan is “Immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops”.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 27, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  10. The War is the acid test because it is imperialist and therefore predatory. War is not in the interest of working people, the democratic majority of the planet, because they get ruined by war whilst a parasitic minority reaps windfall profits. War is like a narcotic to the economy. At first it stimulates it. Then it puts it to sleep, permanently.

    War oppresses people abroad and that foreign policy is but an extension of domestic policy. As Wikileaks has shown, the war is a mountain of lies and slaughter that has a distinctly racist character. Spending 3 billion a week to oppress people abroad not only diminishes the value of life & liberty at home but makes the notion of “universal cosmopolitan values” an excersize in putrid pedantry, primarily because there can be no such thing as “universal values” in a society torn asunder by classes.

    To truly understand why War is the acid test and why “universal cosmopolitan values” is a liberal fantasy you’ll need to read “Their Moral and Ours: Marxist versus Liberal Views on Morality”


    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 27, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  11. Of course “international brigades” is masturbatory fantasy! All slogans of the left are. To have a world without oppression requires killing some oppressors, and no matter how base the motives of those doing the killing we should welcome it. Do not the women of Afghanistan deserve the right to make their lives free of Pashtun oppression? Or is it only the nation that has a right to be free, a right to oppress those within it?

    The crux of the matter for the left should be as follows: Here is a nation with a domestic enemy, a people besieged by an implacable enemy of freedom. And we say they should free themselves, that it is not our place to lend our assistance. We might have said the same to Lincoln or Napoleon.

    As for the Trotsky piece it does address morality, but does not take care to explain how Marx is not a rejection of traditional morality but rather its critique. “Learn to Think” is a much clearer statement of the true principle, that the vagrancies of history may very well force us to choose not the lesser of two evils, but a good coming from evil. The real racism is not the war: it is deeming the Afghani’s unworthy of freedom.

    Comment by Watson Ladd — December 27, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

  12. Of course “international brigades” is masturbatory fantasy! All slogans of the left are.

    God, what a fucking windbag. Watson, you are banned here. Do not post again. Stick to your studies at the U. of Chicago. I am sure that in 8 years you will be making a ton of money somewhere. I ran into idiots like you in 1969. Amazing that you haven’t learned from history, even though you people pour over the 60s as if you were studying the entrails of some beast for a ritual incantation against Evil.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 28, 2010 @ 2:15 am

  13. Apparently the modern Eugenics movement is alive & well at the University of Chicago (where ironically the old Eugenics movement was born.) Only somebody with a liftime subscription to Time magazine imagines that the suspenders of Habeas Corpus and the maintainers of Gitmo, Abu Ghirab and Extraordinary Rendition consider for a moment the liberation of Afghani woman. Insofaras there’s no apartment complexes in the Pashtun outback like there were in Baghdad we may need to change the category “Cruise Missile Left” to the “Unmanned Drone Left.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 28, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

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