Irrelevant laughingstock of the Western Left?

65 posts / 0 new
Last post
iyraste1313
Irrelevant laughingstock of the Western Left?

from Andre Viltchek, Global Research

...again must I bring up the subject? The greatest threat to develop real social/political alternatives will come from the people pretending to be progressive, but taking in the lies and confidence in the system,hook line and sinker?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

One point that Vltchek notes, that I really appreciate him making, is that those people and countries that are facing the monstrous attacks of Western, mostly Yanqui, imperialism and their proxies, really deserve united support from the left. They deserve our support and not the smug, self-congratulatory, faux left, "shopping" approach to politics so typical today. And there is a long list of such countries: Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, and so on.

Some people just don't get it.

http://andrevltchek.weebly.com/

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
again must I bring up the subject?

Since you asked, no you didn't really have to.

Your personal opinion -- which is all you've posted -- isn't actually international news.

Quote:
They deserve our support and not the smug, self-congratulatory, faux left, "shopping" approach to politics so typical today.

*shrug*

If being labelled "faux" is the price I have to pay for using my own brain, rather than being shamed into standing beside anyone who says they're fighting Uncle Sam, I'll pay it.  What you call "shopping", the rest of us call "thinking".

6079_Smith_W

And weren't you the one asking if we were getting tired of going from thread to thread trying to keep up  with you?

If you are going to whine about how much work it is, no you don't have to keep doing this.

 

 

lagatta

I still remember Vltchek's insensitive and hateful comments about Parisians in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

This stuff is called "Campism".

I support peoples, their struggles, their right to live and thrive, not "countries" as used for a synonym for States or governments. How can one support "Syria", when there is a civil war with various belligerents all backed by outside forces, and a host of ordinary people threatened by all of these, their lives ruined, their ancient cities rubble? Even in the case of Cuba, with most anti-imperialists agreeing to defend the country against US threats and embargos, many Cuban people who feel the same also think that things have to change on their island.

Ken Burch

What lagatta said.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
If you are going to whine about how much work it is, no you don't have to keep doing this.

It's extra work, but not without a payoff.

1.  You get to be the problem when you don't agree with him the first time.

2.  You get to be the problem again when he's forced to have to tell you a second time.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Failures of the Western Left

Vltchek is absolutely right.

Quote:
... do most of the Western leftists really support revolutions and anti-colonialist struggles of the oppressed world?

I believe they don’t. And this is clearly visible from reading most of the so-called alternative media in both North America and Europe.

And, while rabble.ca is a mixed bag, and still worth supporting, the majority view here clearly substantiates his claim. It's patently obvious. And noisy, vituperative, ad hominem attacks on the messenger just prove the point.

swallow swallow's picture

Quote:
... do most of the Western leftists really support revolutions and anti-colonialist struggles of the oppressed world?

I believe they don’t. And this is clearly visible from reading most of the so-called alternative media in both North America and Europe.

Yeah, it's too bad that many leftists support the crushing of revolutions and anti-imperial struggles. 

But after reading the article, I see that the author himself supports regimes who crush revolutions - so long as those regimes are anti-US. He wants full-on, "unconditional" support for right-wing dictatorships - so long as their nationalism leads them to oppsoe some (not all) US foreign policy goals.

I think lagatta called this "campism" and that she's right to do so. 

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
But after reading the article, I see that the author himself supports regimes who crush revolutions - so long as those regimes are anti-US. He wants full-on, "unconditional" support for right-wing dictatorships - so long as their nationalism leads them to oppsoe some (not all) US foreign policy goals.

Venezuela is looking to implement agricultural forced labour camps.  Should this be a problem for progressives?  Would it be treasonous, or traitorious, to say "OK, something's wrong about that"?

Not as long as they're doing it to fight the great imperial behemoth.  Or, just say that's why.

This really doesn't affect me directly, as a quisling.  But I find it funny that actual, real progressives should be guilted into standing shoulder-to-shoulder with that kind of nonsense.

Because "solidarity".

 

Unionist

Magoo, you should really take a breath. "Forced labour camps". What utter and unadulterated bullshit. Consider our forced education camps in Canada. You know, go to school or get punished, until you're 16. And then there's the "pay your taxes to help finance colonial wars and oppression of Indigenous people, or get your fucking ass thrown in prison!".

Before mocking Venezuela, have a look in a mirror. Buy one. Rent one. It's a salutary experiment. Really.

 

Mr. Magoo

So being selected to leave your job and go hoe cassava is the same as our school system?  It's the same as paying taxes?

As an advocate for workers, tell me how you'd tell some IT specialist that today he has to pull on some rubber boots and go hoe cassava, and how that makes any sense.

6079_Smith_W

Well, more like mandatory military and civil work service for men, which was suspended long after it was actually necessary in some European countries.

Same perhaps in terms of forced work. Quite a bit different in terms of the circumstances. Is the city expecting me to shovel the walks and cut the grass on their property forced labour?

/drift

Unionist

Mr. Magoo wrote:

So being selected to leave your job and go hoe cassava is the same as our school system?  It's the same as paying taxes?

No. Forced education as in Canada is ideological and social conditioning. Being selected to leave your job and go hoe cassava is feeding people in times of need. Pretty simple choice.

Quote:
As an advocate for workers, tell me how you'd tell some IT specialist that today he has to pull on some rubber boots and go hoe cassava, and how that makes any sense.

I'd see it sort of like mobilizing the population to go put up sandbags in case of a flood. If that's your definition of slavery, then I'm all for it.

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Being selected to leave your job and go hoe cassava is feeding people in times of need. Pretty simple choice.

Wouldn't being selected to leave unemployment to go hoe cassave be an even EASIER choice?

Or, it's better if you leave a job unfilled, for some reason (?)

Quote:
I'd see it sort of like mobilizing the population to go put up sandbags in case of a flood. If that's your definition of slavery, then I'm all for it.

I'll leave aside that the government of Venezuela started this "flood".

But again, can you tell us why it's better to have already-employed accountants and shopkeepers and teachers slinging those sandbags, rather than people who don't currently have a job to do?

When you were last a labour rep, what would you have said if management at your workplace decreed that 10% of the unionized staff, regardless of what they were hired to do, would be bussed out in the morning to go pick onions?  Would you have said "WTF" to that?  If it changes anything for you, assume that the people really need those onions.

 

Unionist

Really sorry, Magoo. I appreciate your attempts at analogies. But they don't work. I am still a "labour rep". And I work with my fellow workers to defend our rights and interests against lazy bloodsuckers. But when the time comes to stand up for the people as a whole, I will talk to the workers and share my conviction as to what is the right thing to do.

You see, my people were murdered by Nazis and their collaborators. I learned a few lessons from that. One of them is to avoid sophistry. It leads straight nowhere.

Mr. Magoo

Okay.  But can you just tell us how it makes more sense to take workers who have jobs, and reassign them to the farms, than it would make to simply offer jobs on those farms to those that want or need the job??

Heck, if nobody says "yes" then at that point, feel free to institute conscription.  But why start with that?

6079_Smith_W

Of course no one worries about us poor retailers who are forced by government to spend our labour doing work collecting your GST and PST, and paying out of pocket for accountants to tally it all up, and getting paid nothing by the feds, and a few hours worth of commission by the province. And no option of refusal.

/joke

Seriously, I do have questions about those measures taken in Venezuela; it has less to do with the morality of forced labour than a question of how much further that terrible and desperate situation is going to go, and thinking of other situations where governments have had to resort to that.

There are lots of far better examples of how willing people are to betray their values and common decency for a cause.

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
There are lots of far better examples of how willing people are to betray their values and common decency for a cause.

How many of those is Andre Vltchek trying to guilt you into supporting anyway?

6079_Smith_W

I know I feel it is somehow my duty to go out and make an omelette after reading that.

 

lagatta

He had a real funny passage in one of his diatribes against "Europe" ... a Marxist would have recognised that in Europe, as in all other developed areas and most less-developed ones, there are social classes in society and most people are some kind of workers. Sure people in Marseille make more than people in either Congo. We know that. And I suspect he is aiming his screeds at people who are at least somewhat aware of slavery, colonialism and imperialism.

A few lines from one of his many anti-Europe rants:

The continent rubs me up the wrong way. I feel terribly un-free there. I’m forced to eat lunches and dinners at particular designated hours (as if Europe does not have tens of millions of doctors, pilots, writers, sex workers, firefighters, train operators and others who are on totally different schedules). In September I cannot buy a windbreaker that I forgot to pack, as only clothes for cold weather are now available in all department stores. I stopped renting cars in Europe, as even passing the speed limits by 5km/h kept getting me endless (electronically processed) fines.
http://journal-neo.org/2016/09/17/burkini-and-french-imperialist-mind/

This guy SPEEDS in countries where speed limits are actually taken seriously - lower speed limits are one of the most important factors in reducing deaths and serious injuries in collisions, and yes, the Netherlands for example takes this VERY seriously. Check out their road death rates, André.

Yes, formal restaurants (the kind with white tablecloths) do have specific dining hours, but for the last 30 years at least, there have been many other kinds of places where the millions of workers on different schedules can find anything from a snack to a substantial meal. And isn't the way formal meals are served part of the CULTURE in many countries?

Immigration has also greatly increased the culinary offer in many European countries, with small restaurant owners exploiting themselves and family members (or people arriving from their village etc) working off the books after their official hours; a hard life but often part of a successful "migration strategy".

While I certainly agree with André that the French government has no right to dictate how women dress (beyond normal security concerns that apply to all people), his reasoning is one again most manichean. By the way, that silly regulation was overruled by French courts.

His photos of self standing in front of overlarge, overpolluting vehicles hardly indicate a progressive outlook either. He may have to drive them for practical purposes like many people in remote areas here, but celebrating them?

6079_Smith_W

Maybe it's because they are objective allies in keeping everyone at each others' throats instead of looking for real solutions.

Funny, with all that stuff about saving Africa, no mention of the South African dockworkers who refused to unload a ship with 77 tons of guns and bombs destined for Zimbabwe.

Damned imperialist lackeys.

 

6079_Smith_W

dp

6079_Smith_W

ikosmos wrote:

Workers of all lands, Unite!

Nice slogan, but the whole point being made here is that when those states which are presumably fighting western imperialism are acting against workers and others in the process you don't exactly have unity.

So no, if it is a matter of putting Vitchek's blinders on and pretending those conflicts don't exist, and anyone who doesn't accept his dogma uncritically is an "irrelevant laughingstock", there is no united front.

Certainly not in the imaginary sense both he and you are claiming. Real solidarity never looked like that.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

"It's not the Judean People's Front, ffs! It's the People's Front of Judea! Get it straight!"

6079_Smith_W

Exactly, and he's playing that same game as much if not more than others.

 

kropotkin1951

6079_Smith_W wrote:

ikosmos wrote:

Workers of all lands, Unite!

Nice slogan, but the whole point being made here is that when those states which are presumably fighting western imperialism are acting against workers and others in the process you don't exactly have unity.

You seem to be confused as to the class of people called Workers and whatever system of government they are currently living under. The slogan doesn't say, "Governments of the World Unite."  

You also seem to believe that many people on this site think that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I think your view of fellow posters is flat out wrong but as always designed to show you in a good light and other posters inherently inferior.

6079_Smith_W

No, I know it talks about workers. Hard to make that mistake given that the word is there.

I also read Vitchek's article, which is primarily about the actions of nation states which are presumably on right and wrong sides.

So when Vitchek chides people for not jumping on board with that he is leaving out part of the dynamic which some of us have mentioned here.

As well, as the contradiction of him criticizing division by creating quite a bit of it himself.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

My first point, that I very much appreciate Vltchek's "straight shooting" around the question of the necessity of a united left [forget about a United Front, ffs, without a united left the former is impossible] , made his piece that I linked to worthwhile for that reason alone.

Canada is an imperialist country. Period. We live right next door to the hegemon, and Barad-dûr, which is Washington, has an enormous and toxic effect on our country. One way is the dominance of culture - including political culture. I think he does a great service to the left by reminding all of us - and especially those whose sectarianism continues to echo long forgotten, and now unimportant, conflicts - about our simple duty to those struggling, literally, for their survival in the face of this great monster.

It's hard to be anti-imperialist in an imperialist country. It's an act of courage. There are a thousand ways that the machine chops off those that stick out. But that's the only way we make progress. Marx's little and prophetic phrase still rings true, and it will echo, through the ages, until we win.

Workers of all lands, Unite!

Hurray for Vltchek for saying so.

[edited]

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Okay.  But can you just tell us how it makes more sense to take workers who have jobs, and reassign them to the farms, than it would make to simply offer jobs on those farms to those that want or need the job??

Heck, if nobody says "yes" then at that point, feel free to institute conscription.  But why start with that?

 

A couple points. In times of emergency most countries have had a national service -- including Canada. This redirects labour where it is needed in an emergency.

The present example in Venezuala is not an emergency military service but an emergency food production service and this limited to 60 days. It is worth noting that Venezuala already has a conscripted military.

The criticism of this emergency action makes little sense to me.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

The criticism of this emergency action makes little sense to me.

Thanks for your reply to Magoo, Sean. I didn't answer a second time because it occurred to me it was just a test, and I had little interest in excelling.

As for the criticism of this emergency action - it's because it's Venezuela, and Venezuela is supposedly "socialist", and we need evidence of how bad "socialism" is, so we stretch a little.

Amazing that we need to see such criticism on this site, instead of finding ways to lend our support to a people that is fighting to maintain its independence and is paying a heavy price.

 

 

swallow swallow's picture

No problem with what Venezuela is doing. They get vilified in the Western media, while it largely ignores the overthrow of the elected president of Brazil for corruption she had nothing to do with. The double standard is insane. 

And for sure, Canada is imperialist, and Canadians far too good at pointing out laws in other countries while pretending we are perfect - even though we are a state built on genocide and which continues to oppress the first peoples of this land. 

I am still left confused as to why this means I have to lend unconditional support to right-wing imperialist regimes like the one in China. That's not a call for solidarity, it's a call for apologism and a call to abandon independent thought. 

Unionist

swallow wrote:

No problem with what Venezuela is doing. They get vilified in the Western media, while it largely ignores the overthrow of the elected president of Brazil for corruption she had nothing to do with. The double standard is insane. 

And for sure, Canada is imperialist, and Canadians far too good at pointing out laws in other countries while pretending we are perfect - even though we are a state built on genocide and which continues to oppress the first peoples of this land.  

Agreed.

Quote:
I am still left confused as to why this means I have to lend unconditional support to right-wing imperialist regimes like the one in China. That's not a call for solidarity, it's a call for apologism and a call to abandon independent thought. 

I'm confused. Who said you have to lend unconditional support to the regime in China? I may not have been following all the squabbles here lately, but that one leaves me puzzled. I see nothing about China in this thread.

6079_Smith_W

No, but Vitchek does talk about the hostility of the western left toward Beijing, saying that it disgusts Chinese leaders, but no mention of what he is actually talking about, or whether it is valid.

I mean, I think China deserves due for the good things which it has done for its society, but the thrust of Vitchek's essay is that one shouldn't criticize allies, even though in the case of China it is debatable how progressive, or how much better they are than western nations except that they serve as a foil against the United States in the anti-imperialist struggle. After all, their solidarity hasn't always been the best when it comes to its neighbour Vietnam (again, if Vitchek is calling out shortcomings).

On the other side though I notice that there was no direct reference to José Mujica. Can't be that he wasn't a dedicated enough revolutionary to take up arms, and it certainly can't be that he doesn't understand fascist oppression.

Maybe it's that he doesn't shout loud enough, or he wasn't powerful enough to be shooting down any planes in the global anti-imperialist struggle, or that he was more interested in building coalitions on the left than pointing out who the irrelevant laughing stock is.

 

 

swallow swallow's picture

It's in the linked article, Unionist. 

Quote:
But whenever some individual or country rose up and began openly challenging the Empire, most of the Western left-wing intellectuals simply closed their eyes, and refused to offer their full, unconditional support to those who were putting their lives (and often even the existence of their countries) on the line.

The examples given after that are Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, Syria, and North Korea. 

 

6079_Smith_W

Ah... missed the fine print. Thanks, swallow.

 

Unionist

swallow wrote:

It's in the linked article, Unionist. 

Quote:
But whenever some individual or country rose up and began openly challenging the Empire, most of the Western left-wing intellectuals simply closed their eyes, and refused to offer their full, unconditional support to those who were putting their lives (and often even the existence of their countries) on the line.

The examples given after that are Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, Syria, and North Korea. 

 

Ok, thanks, I honestly didn't read it that way. China wasn't given as an example of a country putting their lives and existence on the line. Those examples, I thought, were Venezuela and Cuba. He praises China for (allegedly) coming to Cuba's rescue. But I saw nothing indicating "unconditional support" for China, nor for Russia for that matter.

And by the way, when a country like Venezuela or Cuba is being undermined or invaded or bullied by the U.S. or Russia or the U.K. or France or Israel... I support UNCONDITIONALLY their resistance and their sovereignty. E.g. Afghanistan, when it was invaded by the Soviet thugs, or the U.S./Canadian/etc. thugs after them.

Likewise with Libya, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, etc. I don't give a crap what social/political system they choose (or endure). When some do-gooder White Christian assholes decide to murder and occupy them for their own good, I have very little difficulty in taking sides. UNCONDITIONALLY. I grew up in the movement against the aggression in Vietnam.

6079_Smith_W

True, though a government is not a nation. Back to Venezuela, I am okay with the decree, though as I said it raises the question of what is next. And even with the foreign interference one can't ignore that the government bears some responsibility for where they are. 

 I don't ignore it anyway. And frankly I don't see turning a blind eye to that as support at all.

Not to dwell too much on that country. Again, I don't see that specific example as a very good one.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
it's because it's Venezuela, and Venezuela is supposedly "socialist"

Isn't that a big part of why I'm told we need to support them?  Isn't that pretty much the "solidarity" argument in a nutshell?

It's a bit discordant to say that critics only criticize this or that country because those countries profess to be socialist, but because they profess to be socialist, that's all the reason we should need to support them.

And for the < 0 that it's probably worth, I spent a number of posts trying to convince the former babbler known as RDP that "Venezuela" and "socialism" aren't actually synonymous.  Venezuela isn't in the situation they're in because socialism is inherently inviable, and they're not in the situation they're in because one of their largest trading partners is raining destruction on them day and night.  They're in the situation they're in because of a perfect storm of ill-advised decisions and policies, .

Quote:
I am still left confused as to why this means I have to lend unconditional support to right-wing imperialist regimes like the one in China. That's not a call for solidarity, it's a call for apologism and a call to abandon independent thought.

Why should you be expected to lend your support to ANY country? 

Certainly, if you DO support a country, for your own reasons and having given it your own consideration, carry on. 

But what's the difference between some stranger shaming you into supporting China and some stranger shaming you into supporting (say) Cuba?  What happens to your independent thought in both cases?

I find it kind of interesting that babble seems to more or less agree that the NDP has no good reason to assume that just because the NDP say "we're the progressive party" progressives will line up behind them.  Why should any country or its government have only to say "we're all about the people" and the good, REAL progressives (as opposed to the faux ones) will join them, shoulder to shoulder?

Quote:
The examples given after that are Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, Syria, and North Korea.

Wowzers.  North Korea (DPRK).  Well, there's a hard done by progressive government that's surely earned the support of all good people.

Quote:
And by the way, when a country like Venezuela or Cuba is being undermined or invaded or bullied by the U.S. or Russia or the U.K. or France or Israel... I support UNCONDITIONALLY their resistance and their sovereignty.

What if they're being undermined or bullied by their own government?

When we say "Support Venezuela", do we mean "support the people of Venezuela", or do we mean "support Nicolas Maduro"?

Because right now it looks like a lot of Venezuelans are still holding out hope of enjoying their constitutional right to a recall referendum, but the government understandably wants no part of that.  Maduro's approval tends to hover in the low 20's.  So I don't really think it would make any sense to answer "support BOTH!!!!".

Should I be supporting the people, or the government?  Someone tell me what a REAL, Vltchek-Approved(tm) progressive would do!

6079_Smith_W

It isn't even about whether a nation is socialist. In Vitchek's opinion it is about whether it is one of those nations which is considered to be fighting the struggle against western imperialism and western colonialism. Russia isn't socialist. Syria isn't socialist. And China? Socialist for some perhaps; for others it is a capitalist powerhouse.

And does it matter if those nations engage in imperialism and colonialism of their own while they are fighting the west? Evidently not if that support is unconditional.

Strangely, he doesn't even mention the one socialist nation which beat the U.S. in war. Maybe because they arent' pulling their anti-imperialist weight nowadays, and telling Obama to go to hell like Rodrigo Duterte (who gets an honourable mention even though his country isn't socialist).

 

 

 

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
It isn't even about whether a nation is socialist. In Vitchek's opinion it is about whether it is one of those nations which is considered to be fighting the struggle against western imperialism and western colonialism.

So a thousand words to say "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

Quote:
And for some reason he thinks western media is judging Rodrigo Duterte harshly even though supposedly the U.S. proxy in the south china seas.

Is that the guy who boasts that he'd happily kill every drug addict in the Philippines?

If he's tweaking the nose of Uncle Sam then is there is there an e-mail I could send my good wishes to, or a GoFundMe page or something?  Sounds like a fellow progressive who needs my solidarity.

6079_Smith_W

Sorry, edited. But basically the same.

Gee, I hope everyone here realizes we are just taking a piss at Vitchek, and not critcizing these nations, whose self-determination I for one unconditionally support.

Speaking of which, several of my Phillipine friends just love him. And really, he isn't doing anything the U.S. doesn't do (though we call them murderers and war criminals for it).

I passed a stranger at the Leisure Centre this evening who saluted his friend and yelled "Hey, Duterte". So yes, eveyrone loves the noisy ones. Not all that different than in the U.S., when you think about it.

 

 

Unionist

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
it's because it's Venezuela, and Venezuela is supposedly "socialist"

Isn't that a big part of why I'm told we need to support them?  Isn't that pretty much the "solidarity" argument in a nutshell?

No. Not even remotely close. We support them because all nations have a right to determine their affairs without outside intervention. That's why progressive people condemned the U.S. invasions of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, the U.S.-sponsored coups and other attacks against Chile, Grenada, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama [long list to follow], the invasions and occupations and coups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Israeli aggression against Lebanon, Palestine, etc.

Did you notice much "socialism" in that list of peoples victimized by imperialism?

The solidarity movement is based on opposition to imperialism and colonialism. Whether a nation chooses "socialism" (whatever that word means) or capitalism or feudalism is its own business.

Quote:
I find it kind of interesting that babble seems to more or less agree that the NDP has no good reason to assume that just because the NDP say "we're the progressive party" progressives will line up behind them.  Why should any country or its government have only to say "we're all about the people" and the good, REAL progressives (as opposed to the faux ones) will join them, shoulder to shoulder?

You are meticulously constructing a huge straw man, and rather clumsily knocking it down. I hope I've explained that point in the earlier part of this post. I have no clue who holds the opinion that you're tilting against (namely, that we should support countries or governments that claim to be socialist or "all about the people"). You're intelligent enough to take on people's real positions, without oversimplifying them to death.

Magoo wrote:
Quote:
And by the way, when a country like Venezuela or Cuba is being undermined or invaded or bullied by the U.S. or Russia or the U.K. or France or Israel... I support UNCONDITIONALLY their resistance and their sovereignty.

What if they're being undermined or bullied by their own government?

Ah, well, in that case, we declare a no-fly zone, and either support some local faction to overthrow that government, or if they're too weak or non-existent, then we send in troops directly to teach them how to respect their own people's rights. Above all else, we must judge other governments, especially those freely elected by their own people, to see how well they measure up to our standards - decency, Christianity, liberty, welcoming foreign resource-extraction and other enterprises, cooperating with defensive alliances like NATO, etc. On a scale of 1 to 5. Below 2, we bomb.

Quote:
When we say "Support Venezuela", do we mean "support the people of Venezuela", or do we mean "support Nicolas Maduro"?

I supported Vietnam against U.S. aggression. I supported the country (North, South, and later the unified country). I supported the people. I supported no individual, because they stood or fell by decision of the people, without outside interference. I supported Chile and the Chilean people. I have no recollection of what Salvador Allende's real or declared policies were (except that the U.S. and some corporations wanted him dead, and fast).

Are we starting to understand what international solidarity means? Are you really asking these questions seriously? I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Quote:
Because right now it looks like a lot of Venezuelans are still holding out hope of enjoying their constitutional right to a recall referendum, but the government understandably wants no part of that.  Maduro's approval tends to hover in the low 20's.  So I don't really think it would make any sense to answer "support BOTH!!!!".

Should I be supporting the people, or the government?  Someone tell me what a REAL, Vltchek-Approved(tm) progressive would do!

I don't know who Vltchek is (nor do I care much, after having waded into his uninteresting diatribe). What does interest me is the unending questioning and distortion of what it means to oppose imperialism and colonialism, and defend the sovereignty of nations. We're not even talking about some prerogative of "leftists". This is about accepted principles of international law, and the basis of the United Nations.

But it's important to keep discussing. Otherwise we're left with abominations like Hélène Laverdière and Nycole Turmel and Paul Dewar and Thomas Mulcair and the rest, who (in the name of social democracy or something) demand sanctions against Russia, demand shutting down of diplomatic relations with Syria, support aggression against Libya, and never allow a discouraging word about Israel. We don't expect decent stands from the Liberals or Conservatives, but we obviously have a lot of work to do within what is politely called the "left".

6079_Smith_W

Yup, I'd agree with your basic argument, even though my interpretation of our role in international affairs isn't quite the same as yours U.

That's why I think Vitchek's take on it is bombastic nonsense, and an attack on people who are doing real work, but not yelling loud enough at America to suit him. Sovereignty and self-determination don't seem to be the issue, although he is dressing it up as that, because (unlike you and me) he only seems to be concerned about it when western imperialists are doing the assaulting.

And clearly he doesn't care what you do so long as you are yelling at the western imperialists, and it seem s to be less about dealing with problems than perpetuating that war.

In this case, war against those who are actually trying to make the world a better place, but not doing it in the way he wants them to.

Sean in Ottawa

I would criticize any country if I disagree with something. I could be convinced the criticism was wrong and that is what conversation is about. I won't be automatically opposed or in favour of any government.

My reaction to Venezuela's action s were to observe that they seemed proportional and reasonable under the circumstances they face. I think there are enough knee jerk reactions around already and so I try to measure an action rather than decide if this or that country is worth supporting.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
No. Not even remotely close. We support them because all nations have a right to determine their affairs without outside intervention.

Fair enough.  I would agree.  But I'm really having trouble believing that "foreign intervention" is the real source of Venezuela's problems, particularly since the only material evidence for this seems to be Maduro's say-so.  He talks about shadowy "imperialists" and "agents" the way Dubya used to talk about "terrorists", and for much the same reason, I think.

Quote:
Ah, well, in that case, we declare a no-fly zone, and either support some local faction to overthrow that government, or if they're too weak or non-existent, then we send in troops directly to teach them how to respect their own people's rights. Above all else, we must judge other governments, especially those freely elected by their own people, to see how well they measure up to our standards - decency, Christianity, liberty, welcoming foreign resource-extraction and other enterprises, cooperating with defensive alliances like NATO, etc. On a scale of 1 to 5. Below 2, we bomb.

Har, har.

Seriously though.  Should Venezuela hold a recall referendum in 2016, assuming they get enough signatures calling for this?  Seems to me that supporting that would be supporting the Venezuelan's self-determination.  But I get a definite sense that I/we should not be critical of the Venezuelan government's attempt to delay this process for their own gains.  Which brings us back to playing team sports instead of just using our own brains.  Should the left support the people's demand for a referendum, or should the left support the government's opposition to one?

Quote:
My reaction to Venezuela's action s were to observe that they seemed proportional and reasonable under the circumstances they face.

For the record, I'm not opposed to a country conscripting people to toss sandbags in an emergency.  My only question was why it makes more sense to conscript people who already have a job, when so many others have no job and would probably love to have one. 

I don't know how to say it any plainer, but saying "sometimes people need to help out in times of emergency" doesn't really answer that.

 

6079_Smith_W

Or more to the point, you feel it is okay to criticize them, and you are doing so. I'd say I am doing so to a lesser degree (I think some of your concerns are kind of irrelevant), and some here think not at all is the better option.

But anyway, you have demonstrated that you can raise those concerns.

I don't see those differences of approach as being a big issue unless your name is Andre Vitchek, who considers some of us irrelevant laughing stocks for doing so.

As for the nuts and bolts of what you think they should and shouldn't be doing, maybe we should take that back to the Venezuela thread. Not trying to shut you down or anything (if we want to talk about how far support should go, fine), but I don't think hammering out what Maduro should be doing is going to shed too much light on the central question here, which is whether we should be able to disagree and criticize and give qualified support.

 

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
As for the nuts and bolts of what you think they should and shouldn't be doing, maybe we should take that back to the Venezuela thread.

For the record, it's not my intent to try to bring the Venezuela thread(s) here.  But since Venezuela seems to be one of those countries we should be supporting, I don't think it's out of line to wonder whether that means support for the people, or support for the President.

Quote:
but I don't think hammering out what Maduro should be doing is going to shed too much light on the central question here, which is whether we should be able to disagree and criticize and give qualified support.

Personally, I think this particular example is all about whether we should be able to disagree and criticize and give qualified support.

To put it another way, go to the Venezuela thread(s) and hammer out that you think Maduro should be doing, and then see who comes promptly along to tell you that you shouldn't disagree or criticize or give qualified support.

6079_Smith_W

Yes, I know we have had that conversation over there, and I agree about what happens sometimes. And I know there can be radically different ideas about what it means to support a country.

And it is also very complex, when you have a movement which might be politically progressive in some things, or a better alternative than others, but self-serving, corrupt or just plain inept.

And I wouldn't assume that it is all the same and that (to use another example) Cuban exiles and supporters of the Revolution are on the same side just because they both profess to love their country.

But I'd say Vitchek is going too far in the opposite direction, and I question whether he even is concerned about national sovreignty or the good of the people at all (never mind whether there can be common ground between people on the left who have different approaches) because he really seems to be focused on a particular kind of struggle (or in some cases, badmouthing will do) against the west. Really, I see him as wanting good political theatre more than real change. And the notion of resolving conflict? Doesn't even enter into the picture, as far as I can see.

 

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Yes, I know we have had that conversation over there, and I agree about what happens sometimes. And I know there can be radically different ideas about what it means to support a country.

Sorry to continue using the example of Venezuela, but it's fresh and familiar to me.

I honestly think that in the case of Venezuela, some babblers feel that they have a special duty to support not the people, and (maybe) not the government, but "the revolution".  And it always strikes me as bizarre when "the revolution" becomes some thing unto itself, with more rights and more importance than the people themselves.

And I think this leads to a massive blurring of the line between "solidarity" and "team sports". 

Not to mention a whole lot of shushing and shaming.

6079_Smith_W

Well without getting bogged down in Venezuela (because we could also just as easily speak of this in general terms) I agree with you about that distinction.

You know as well as I that the specifics aren't going to get hashed out here any more than they are over there, because there is a range of opinion and allegiance.

It is kind of central to what Vitchek accused his laughingstocks of, even if it isn't central to what he argues we should be supporting.

Is supporting people's self determination and improvement of standard of living the same as supporting a specific political party or political philosophy (or in Vitchek's case OPPOSING a specific philosophy in a specific way). Does that mean you can't criticize a government when they act in an undemocratic way, when they commit abuses, or simply when they are inept and corrupt?

And does it mean you demand they remain in power even when they have lost majority support?

Again, we have a range of opinion on all that here. You know we aren't going to resolve those differences and come to one common policy. And you know some people are probably going to criticize you for those differences in the future.

For the most part I have respect for people's opinions here, even if I disagree with them. Looking down one's nose at others and declaring them laughingstocks just because they don't jump through a certian hoop or shout loud enough? Not so much.

 

 

Pages