The collapse of the eastern bloc, imperialism and the 1992 Balkan War

201 posts / 0 new
Last post
Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 20 2007 18:18

The EU is riven by deep imperialist divisions, not least between Britain and Germany, the longest standing in the history of the continent. It lacks the unity of purpose and the common enemy that bound together imperialist blocs in the past.

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 21 2007 12:52

Catch, I'm not at all suggesting that you are deliberately ignorant at all, but it is a bit weak to say that you were only young at the time of the collapse of the eastern bloc. There's been bundles written about it but most is not worth reading anyway. And it's also, I should imagine for most of us, a matter of time for just keeping up with events, let alone deepening on major issues from the past. I think that that is where a coherent framework is essential invaluable and one can always try to join the dots within that (it wont' always be spot on but when I first came on here the ICC and its sympathers were accused of parroting a party line).
There's been loads written on the IRA, the USA and Britain and I'm sure that anyone seriously interested in seeing how this fits into the overall imperialist framework, as Oliver mentions above, can verify this. I don't have time to do this at this moment, so I say Amen to our outraged, blushing violets.
I welcome your relevant contribution on the question of a European bloc. The point that triggered this thread, the war in ex-Yugoslavia in 1992, showed the complete fallacy of any possible European bloc against American imperialism. Germany's action over Croatia and Slovenia was a diplomatic "act of war" against the other European nations and its old enemies. Britain's invasion and occupation on the side of the Serbs in order to counter resurgent German imperialism, independent of its former bloc leader, was absolutely unacceptable to the Americans. France and Holland backed the Serbs also (and Russia), but these were all from the perspectives of their own national interests and imperialist rivalries (though Holland tended to side directly with GB). America (contrary to the timescale of Wildcat above) had pronounced the "new world order" along with its seemingly successful "international coalition" against Saddam in 90/91. But even then one could clearly see the tensions within this apparant "coalition". The resulting wars and fighting against Iraq demonstrate the tendency away from any coalition to the tendency of each for themselves with centrifugal tendencies taking hold.
Wildcat above, unceremoniously dumping the previous pages of their analysis of the "new world order", raise the possibility of Chinese-led bloc. But to form a bloc you have to have a bloc leader and there are much too many tensions themselves around China and its "neighbours" (see recent thread on Burma), for the latter to subsume their interests for the former. And however weak it may appear, in order to form an imperialist bloc, ie, gear up and unify to some extent for a war against a rival entity, there has to be some sort of ideological cover to it, not least to keep its own populations under control. In fact the absence of such an entity and ideology leaves a joke of an imperialist "bloc" against the USA, Al queda with its completely reactionary ideology and depleted ranks. Just a pathetic caricature of an "imperialist bloc".
Never rule anything out, but for the foreseeable future, the USA is lumbered with the role of world copand there is no prospective bloc on the horizon. It would easier for the US if there was. The perspective is for one superpower, becoming increasingly stretched (and somewhat deranged) and its imperialist rivals, because this is their very nature, taking advantage of its weaknesses and fighting among themselves.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 21 2007 13:19
Quote:
Catch, I'm not at all suggesting that you are deliberately ignorant at all, but it is a bit weak to say that you were only young at the time of the collapse of the eastern bloc. There's been bundles written about it but most is not worth reading anyway.

Well yeah, that's a problem with those events and a lot of stuff since the early '70s really. Very little around that's any good. It's only relatively recently that I've started finding stuff.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 21 2007 23:02
baboon wrote:
There's been loads written on the IRA, the USA and Britain and I'm sure that anyone seriously interested in seeing how this fits into the overall imperialist framework, as Oliver mentions above, can verify this. I don't have time to do this at this moment, so I say Amen to our outraged, blushing violets.

You did the same here; http://libcom.org/forums/history/fall-thatcher-regime-and-history (which I linked to earlier); made a stupid claim, couldn't back it up but insisted it's true (why - cos it fits what you want to believe?) - then said any doubters can go and find the proof yourselves. And yet you want to be taken seriously for your analysis of history. roll eyes Misleading and dishonest...

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 22 2007 10:21

I find Ret's attempts to play the lawyer here lacking in any revolutionary spirit whatever, and guy is just flaming. There have been loads of assertions about, for example, Hizbollah being armed by Iran, but people aren't routinely told to provide formal evidence for this before they develop an analysis of the Middle East. But there is a clear political logic which leads us to see Hizbollah as an agent of Iranian imperialism - just as there is with the IRA, which is why Baboon was quite right to ask why people are getting so upset by the suggestion that it was being backed by the US. If the people who are getting so miffed about this took their opposition to national liberation seriously, they would perhaps respond by saying that this is an interesting and coherent hypothesis, and contribute towards the analysis, including looking for more direct evidence of US/ IRA links.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 22 2007 14:07

I find baboon's repeated attempts to pass off unfounded speculation as fact and serious political analysis 'lacking in any revolutionary spirit whatever'. It was not presented as 'hypothesis', but as fact - so stop pretending otherwise, Alf, in a poor attempt to save face. The ICC flock have been caught out playing fast and loose with historical truth on several occasions, here and elsewhere; the Sean O'Casey thread, Norway (Mortiva Forlag article), the 'Thatcher regime' thread linked to earlier (not to mention many accusations of deviousness from ex-members). Attempts to deflect from such unpalatable facts with smear phrases like 'play the lawyer' I also find 'lacking in any revolutionary spirit'. It is your convoluted attempts at justifying the unjustifiable and twisting of facts that resembles the practice of lawyers.

Felix Frost's picture
Felix Frost
Offline
Joined: 30-12-05
Dec 22 2007 16:19
Alf wrote:
There have been loads of assertions about, for example, Hizbollah being armed by Iran, but people aren't routinely told to provide formal evidence for this before they develop an analysis of the Middle East. But there is a clear political logic which leads us to see Hizbollah as an agent of Iranian imperialism - just as there is with the IRA, which is why Baboon was quite right to ask why people are getting so upset by the suggestion that it was being backed by the US.

While the Iranian government officially denies supplying Hizbollah with arms, they do openly support them politically and admits to sending "humanitarian assistance". Iran and Hizbollah also have similar political ideologies, Hizbollah marches around with portraits of the late Iranian ruler Ayatollah Komeini, etc. So this is perhaps not quite the same as claiming IRA was backed by the US.

Alf wrote:
If the people who are getting so miffed about this took their opposition to national liberation seriously, they would perhaps respond by saying that this is an interesting and coherent hypothesis, and contribute towards the analysis, including looking for more direct evidence of US/ IRA links.

Are you really saying that people on here don't "take their opposition to national liberation seriously" unless they are supportive of this kind of loose speculation presented as facts? I would think if you took the readers of this forum seriously, you wouldn't post such nonsense.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 22 2007 17:37

Yes, Baboon should have presented what he was sayiing as a hypothesis rather than as a statement of fact. But the point remains that the hypothesis is entirely coherent with what we know about national liberation movements. They are organically drawn to seeking the aid of one imperialist backer against another. Whenever we are analysing their actions, we have to pose the question of 'who backs them, where do the guns come from.' etc.

In conflicts when an imperialist power is openly using a nationalist movement against a declared enemy, the question is not hard to answer and the 'evidence' is less hard to come by. In the case of the IRA, when German imperialism tried to support it during world war one (and to a lesser extent in the 30s and 40s), this was pretty much an open secret. Similarly, in the period of the cold war, there was more explicit support for the IRA or certain factions of it by the 'enemy' imperialism, certainly through the medium of Lybia.

With the end of the blocs, the situation is somewhat different. The USA is frequently involved in imperialist conflicts with its alleged allies. This was certainly the case in the Balkans in the 90s - the US and Britain were more or less fighting wa proxy war against each other. The question in such a situation is why wouldn't the USA make maximum use of all its possible weapons to rein in the British, including the already long established informal links it had with the IRA via the 'Irish American community' in the US?

Precisely because this is a case of a conflict between 'allies', any use of the IRA by the USA would necessarily be far more discreet than in an open imperialist conflict, so the 'hard' evidence is going to be difficult to pin down. But there is no reason why there shouldn't be a discussion about the real interests the USA has had in supporting Irish nationalism.

Perhaps we should play at detectives, Ret, rather than lawyers. A good detective will always pose the question 'who benefits from the crime', even if he doesn't have any direct clues about who did it. If he didn't ask that question, he wouldn't even know where to start looking.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 22 2007 17:57

Strange metaphor - who have ever been 'good detectives'? Lenin's Cheka? Mixing legal models with theoretical and historical analysis doesn't really do it for me. But - just to play along; to be a 'good' detective would depend on your motives - if one really wanted to 'solve the crime', one would have to sift the wheat from the chaff, speculation from fact, to try and find the real truth of the matter. If one was was only concerned with getting the conviction one required, one could simply pick'n'mix the two to arrive at the desired outcome.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 23 2007 09:16

If one was was only concerned with getting the conviction one required, one could simply pick'n'mix the two to arrive at the desired outcome.

Which is pretty much your attitude to proving the "deviousness" of the ICC, Ret.

Felix Frost's picture
Felix Frost
Offline
Joined: 30-12-05
Dec 23 2007 13:01

There are a lot of things that can be said about the ICC, but being devious is surely not one of them. On the contrary, you seem rather blunt about how you go about things.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 23 2007 13:30

So, more smear tactics from Alf whilst carefully avoiding dealing with any unpalatable, indisputable facts; well, to continue your dubious metaphor - the evidence is plentiful and the jury will make up their own mind. If it wasn't clear that the criticisms were accurate, you wouldn't be so concerned to try and discredit your critics. Myself and others have pointed out your flock's factual inaccuracies, which you seem to deeply resent. But all that is left in your 'defence' is attempts to portray yourselves as persecuted.

Here's the sequence; Baboon/ICC bullshits - others ask for proof of claims - no proof forthcoming, only evasions/squirming convoluted defence - as last resort, attempt to discredit critics.

That's the funny thing about forums - think twice before you type - once you've posted it, it's there for all to see. It reflects badly on your leadership, Alf, allowing such an undisciplined public expression under your command. The proletarian camp demands better from its vanguard.

Merry proletarian festivities. Go easy on the decadence.

ernie
Offline
Joined: 19-04-06
Dec 24 2007 00:53

Ret, as a ICC bullshit I have one simple question to ask you, and that is the one asked earlier of Guy: do you think that the IRA was and is an anti-working class outfit?

On our avoidances etc please could you make explicit what we have avoided, because you mention this or that as if it was a proven fact that we had avoided this or that: proven to you may be, but then don't you accuse Baboon of thinking that just because he believes something that proves it right!!!!!

ernie
Offline
Joined: 19-04-06
Dec 24 2007 01:03

Guy,

we can take it that

Quote:
Baboon you're a dishonest moron who won't substantiate his claims.

means you do not think that the IRA is and was an anti-working nationalist gang?

Your silence on this question is very relevant to this whole discussion

mikus
Offline
Joined: 18-07-06
Dec 24 2007 01:24

Classic ICC debating tactic. If you disagree with what they say, you're not a true radical because you're in fact a nationalist/pacifist/insert-commie-swear-word.

Ernie, no one has denied that the IRA is an "anti-working [class] nationalist gang". This has nothing to do with the question of whether or not they were funded by the US.

Quit diverting.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 24 2007 02:06
mikus wrote:
Classic ICC debating tactic. If you disagree with what they say, you're not a true radical because you're in fact a nationalist/pacifist/insert-commie-swear-word.

Ernie, no one has denied that the IRA is an "anti-working [class] nationalist gang". This has nothing to do with the question of whether or not they were funded by the US.

Quit diverting.

Exactly. Ernie knows well enough I've never expressed any nationalist sentiments, in fact quite the opposite - and if I had, his flock would've long ago leapt on them and milked it for all it was worth. Stop bullshitting.

Continuing Alf's metaphor; you've been convicted by your own tongues - I appreciate that must be hard to swallow.
Sentence: life membership of the ICC.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Dec 24 2007 07:21
Alf wrote:
Is the IRA an exception to the rule that all nationalist movements are pawns in the imperialist game?

I don't think that this is a rule. I think that it is a general tendency. I don't think that every national liberation movement at every point of its history is a direct pawn of some imperialist power or other.

I would also like to see evidence of US IRA leeks as I am quite dubious about the whole thing. It says a lot about the tone of this debate that people have generally ignored Demogorgon's attempt to back up the argument.

One of the things that makes me weary about the whole thing is how we constantly hear how the PKK is supported by, well basically, everyone. It is undienable that the PKK was in the past a pawn of Syria, and also that it is not moving towards the US. However, the average Turkish nationalists allegation that the UK, for example, seems to be based on the fact that PKK supporters can sell their press there. You can also buy 'An Phlabolacht' in the UK too. Does that mean that the UK supports the IRA?

Devrim

Leo
Offline
Joined: 16-07-06
Dec 24 2007 11:28
Quote:
Classic ICC debating tactic. If you disagree with what they say, you're not a true radical because you're in fact a nationalist/pacifist/insert-commie-swear-word.

Lets see:

Guydebordistdead posted a one liner insulting Baboon, saying that he is a "dishonest moron".

Ernie, rightfully, questioned whether this angry reaction was a result of the incapability of Guydebordisdead to recognize that the IRA was an anti-working class organization.

To be honest, he could have also said that Guydebordisdead was an immature cunt who can't put forward any argument other than insults. Instead he tried to bring up a political question. I think it is the correct approach.

mikail firtinaci's picture
mikail firtinaci
Offline
Joined: 16-12-06
Dec 24 2007 11:50

Devrim;

I think a national liberation movement needs guns and weapons. And in the case of pkk these were sometimes us weapons. I mean of course news might lie. But it is thru. the states and their agents that these groups acquire their weapons. Can it be otherwise? If a nationalist movement is not a carricature of a real armed national movement than it has to have some connections with drug dealing, illegal trade and also arms dealers which are most probably open to interventions and manipulations of certain states...

Maybe except Lakota national independance movement every nat.lib. movement... smile every nat.lib. movement is tailed to imperialism. PKK is not exception. As Alf said the question to be asked should be who benefit? And in principle every nat.lib. movement is counter revolutionary. Only one more step to be pawn of imperialism then --- step coming with weapons...

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 24 2007 12:37

The Sean O'Casey thread is here;
http://libcom.org/forums/libcom-wobblies/iww-members-1916-rising-ireland
If the ICC were ever humble/mature enough to just say in situations like this, 'OK, so I over-stated my claim' then the discussion might develop into something more worthwhile. But instead, for the sake of some imagined protection of the group image/reputation, they dig the heels in and score yet another own goal for that image.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Dec 24 2007 15:00
Leo Uilleann wrote:
To be honest, he could have also said that Guydebordisdead was an immature cunt who can't put forward any argument other than insults.

This is unacceptable.

Devrim

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Dec 24 2007 15:05
mikail firtinaci wrote:
Devrim;

I think a national liberation movement needs guns and weapons. And in the case of pkk these were sometimes us weapons. I mean of course news might lie. But it is thru. the states and their agents that these groups acquire their weapons. Can it be otherwise? If a nationalist movement is not a carricature of a real armed national movement than it has to have some connections with drug dealing, illegal trade and also arms dealers which are most probably open to interventions and manipulations of certain states...

Maybe except Lakota national independance movement every nat.lib. movement... smile every nat.lib. movement is tailed to imperialism. PKK is not exception. As Alf said the question to be asked should be who benefit? And in principle every nat.lib. movement is counter revolutionary. Only one more step to be pawn of imperialism then --- step coming with weapons...

Every national movement is anti-working class. That does not mean that at all times they are all clients of one rival power, or another.

If we take the example of the PKK, there was a time when they were clearly a client of Syria. What about the period directly after Syria dumped them? I think there was a period where they didn't have a backer.

That doesn't mean that they weren't looking for one. It doesn't mean that they weren't involved in drug dealing, and other gangsterism. It doesn't mean that they still weren't anti-working class. It does mean that not every national liberation movement at every point in its history is a direct pawn of a rival power.

Devrim

Leo
Offline
Joined: 16-07-06
Dec 24 2007 15:24
Quote:
This is unacceptable.

Yes, it is as unacceptable as calling people dishonest morons.

alibadani
Offline
Joined: 12-09-05
Dec 24 2007 19:15

Dev,

Does Leo get a spanking tonight?

mikail firtinaci's picture
mikail firtinaci
Offline
Joined: 16-12-06
Dec 24 2007 19:29

"That doesn't mean that they weren't looking for one. It doesn't mean that they weren't involved in drug dealing, and other gangsterism. It doesn't mean that they still weren't anti-working class. It does mean that not every national liberation movement at every point in its history is a direct pawn of a rival power."

Devrim, I think the source of confusion here is that you think PKK as a simple leftist organisation and not as a pre-state beurocratic formation. -Sometimes even states might seem isolated. -

I quess one thing must be clear; nat. lib. organisations always needs the help of another imperialist country.

About the anti-working class; You are over-emphasising that part. Yes pkk 's "class interests" and proletariat's are different. However the source of difference is not based on pkk's lack od sympathy or hatred towards the working class. It is becouse pkk is a pawn or a part of imperialist conflict, because it is an alternative beurocracy aiming towards to fill the void caused by the crisis of turkish burgeoisie-state... In the final analysis pkk is a pawn of a conflict inside burgeoisie using working class for its aims. -Even pkk did not kill the turkish teachers it will still be an anti working class organisation.-

In short, i think your description of "anti-working class" needs evaluation and clarity. Otherwise it has the denger of a becoming a mystical principle or definition...

mikail firtinaci's picture
mikail firtinaci
Offline
Joined: 16-12-06
Dec 24 2007 19:47

dev

you did not understand Leo's point. What he want to say is -i think-, if a discussion is becoming hostile or personalised then the only option is to politicise it again. this means trying to question class positions rather than intentions, individualities or personalities which helps nobody...

it was an unnecessary responce posed without understanding what leo actually said.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Dec 24 2007 20:19
Leo Uilleann wrote:
Quote:
This is unacceptable.

Yes, it is as unacceptable as calling people dishonest morons.

Yes, that is unacceptable too, but we don't need to act like them.

mikail firtinaci wrote:
you did not understand Leo's point. What he want to say is -i think-, if a discussion is becoming hostile or personalised then the only option is to politicise it again. this means trying to question class positions rather than intentions, individualities or personalities which helps nobody...

it was an unnecessary responce posed without understanding what leo actually said.

No, I understood, and I think he was right. It doesn't mean that we need to put cheap insults in our posts though.

I will come back to the political points later.

Devrim

ernie
Offline
Joined: 19-04-06
Dec 24 2007 20:52

Ret

If I have missed your rejection of nationalist gangsters I am sorry, but I was not aiming to question if you did or didn't but trying to establish a basis to discuss on. Now given that we are agreed that the IRA are a nationalist gang, there is a common ground for asking the question of whether these gangsters would be of service in the wider imperialist struggles, especially in the context of the post 89 period. Now we can disagree on whether this is the case or not, but at least we will be discussing in the same framework. I do not think this is dishonest or what ever.
What is wrong with asking you to explicitly to explain your allegations of the ICC dodging issues etc. Personally I do not store up all of your allegations against us, sorry, but we will certainly seek to answer them if possible. On the Norway thing -I do not remember all of the details- but we have been seeking to clarify this with our comrades in Sweden- but one thing is for certain there was no dishonesty on our part.
What is it about the O'casey article that you are so upset about? Is there a thread where you explain this?

ernie
Offline
Joined: 19-04-06
Dec 24 2007 21:12

Guy

you say

Quote:
This isn't a place for me to put forward an argument but rather for the ICC to defend theirs. Devrim and Ret seem to be more or less agreeing too. So baboon do substantiate your claim withdraw it, or mark it as gross speculation.

But later appear to say that you do think that the IRA and its various manifestations are anti-working class gangsters, well expressing your position does help to clarify the discussion and avoids any false arguments. That said we need to go a bit further in order to help develop the discussion: do you reject the slogan of national liberation?

Why on earth should Baboon withdraw his analysis of the role of the IRA in the wider imperialist struggles? If may not like the analysis, but he and Demo have provided reference material. This is also the analysis of the ICC and we are more than willing to defend it. Yes we may not be able to come up with singed confession by the IRA leadership and the CIA admitting that they are or were in cohoots in order to put pressure of their common rival, but looked at in a historical and strategic framework it is perfectly legitimate to take this as a framework.
With your lawyers method it was not right to talk about a shoot to kill policy in the North for many years because there was not 'concrete' evidence. Nor was was there any right to talk about the IRA and its offshoots being penetrated by the British State, but then hay presto the British bourgeoisie find it convenient to expose this. May be we should make no analysis of anything unless the ruling class confirm it first in black and white?

. We do not ask you to withdraw your analysis or insult you (would you talk to some one in person like that?), but rather try to answer it. One is right to think that your objectionable insulting of Baboon implies he has put his finger into a very sore point for you. It is your attidue that has have put the onus on you to prove this is not the case.

ernie
Offline
Joined: 19-04-06
Dec 24 2007 22:06

Here are some articles we have written on Northern Ireland and its place in imperialist tensions. We not provide definitive proof but there are legitimate theoretical and historical reasons for saying that the IRA has help to serve the interests of US imperialism;
- Ireland: Power sharing will not end imperialist conflicts: http://en.internationalism.org/wr/303/ni-elections
- The British State organises Terrorism in Northern Ireland: http://en.internationalism.org/wr/274_collusion.htm:
- Irish republicanism: weapon of capital against the working class: http://en.internationalism.org/wr/231_ira.htm
- Polemic with the CWO: Imperialist conflict or capitalist 'peace'? (if I remember correctly this takes up some of the points raised in the discussion) http://en.internationalism.org/wr/241_cwo.htm
- resolution on the British situation from the WR 13th Congress, the section on the imperialist tensions seeks to place this question in its full imperialist context: http://en.internationalism.org/wr/221_britres.htm
- Ireland: Power sharing will not end imperialist conflicts: http://en.internationalism.org/wr/303/ni-elections

Ret and Guy, we apologise if our 'sloppy methods' annoy you but please try to humor us and address the wider question, there is a frutiful discussion to be had. For example, why wouldn't the US try to use the IRA if it sees the British imperialism as a disloyal former ally? What better way to put pressure on it. Is it historically unknown for the US or any other power to make use of such terrorists to further their own ends? The problem is that when addressing these question it is difficult to find concrete evidence, but that does not mean we should not try to understand what the class enemy is up to, should it?