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

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Red Marriott
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Jan 15 2008 14:20
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Who on Earth is talking about "proof"? We're not talking about abstract mathematics here.

Some of us are - as something more than mathematical (or other) abstraction. There's surely a necessary relationship between evidence and proof. Otherwise never talk of facts or try to convince us of anything. My interest here has been in the mode of discourse more than its topic - that is as legitimate a subject as any. As for "substantial issues" - I have commented on evidence presented here, and possible alternative interpretations of it.

Feel free to ignore me, Alf - coming from you, I take it as a complement. wink

trenchone
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Jan 15 2008 16:18

"My interest here has been in the mode of discourse more than its topic". Oh that discourse! This is probably where the difficulty lies. An interest in "mode of discourse" is bound to come up against any serious attempt to establish a method that can be used by the working class.

For example, trying to understand the roots of any phenomena is not easy to do outside of a historical framework. To return, for instance, to the strategy of the Provisionals in the 1970s - its roots can be traced back more than a century,

After the American Civil War the American Fenians tried to provoke Britain and the US into a war by making raids into Canada in 1866, 1870 and 1871. As it turned out, the US authorities did not rise to the bait. In June 1866, for example, it turned a blind eye to British military incursions on to US territory to capture and slaughter Fenian forces. The US saw no advantage in conflict [and was also happy, in due course, to collect $15.5 million for British 'non-neutrality' in the Civil War].

Engels (in a letter to Bernstein 26 June 1882) examined the sitiuation in retrospect and thought that "Had it come to a war, Ireland would in a few months have been part of the United States or at least a republic under its protection". He emphasised the very limited circumstances in which an Irish rising could be successful. "Without war or the threat of war from without, an Irish rebellion has not the slightest chance; and only two powers can become dangerous in this respect: France and, still far more, the United States." Irish nationalism would need support from a major power. Engels didn't see any reason for any immediate US action - although thought the situation would be different 20 years further on. Assuming the possibility that he might also be wrong he went on "However, if there should be danger of war with America, England would grant the Irish open-handedly everything they asked for - only not complete independence, which is not at all desirable owing to the geographical position"

Geography! That's the reason that Britain retains its attachment to the North of Ireland, and why Irish nationalists and Britain's imperialist rivals court each other. That Ireland is a potential springboard for an invasion of Britain is still relevant, even in the age of the inter-continental missile.

Hitler was well aware of the strategic importance of Ireland, in particular as a base for attacks on the ports and industry of NW England and Scotland. In December 1941 he mused that "The occupation of Ireland might lead to the end of the war". Earlier that year a diversionary German paratroop attack on Northern Ireland was planned (to coincide with German attacks on the southern English coast). Before the idea was shelved, a date was chosen - in April, the 25th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

In Churchill's autobiography there is a famous passage (1922ish) where he muses on the things that had changed since the Great War and those that will always be the same: ‘whole empires had disappeared in that great cataclysm… the boundaries of many countries have been re-drawn… But when the floodwaters have subsided and we look across the landscape, we see again in all their glory, the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone. Only the integrity of their quarrel remains undiminished…’ As someone who had participated [!]more than most in Irish affairs Churchill had an axe to grind. He tried to make out that the 'quarrel' began and ended on the island of Ireland. Showing how so-called backwaters fit into the global picture is a difficult but important task.

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Red Marriott
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Jan 15 2008 16:48
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"My interest here has been in the mode of discourse more than its topic". Oh that discourse! This is probably where the difficulty lies.

You mistake my conscious choice for an unconscious error.

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An interest in "mode of discourse" is bound to come up against any serious attempt to establish a method that can be used by the working class.

No - one doesn't necessarily exclude the other. But do carry on teaching the working class the method. The revolution will only arrive with ideological conformity and when we all talk like ICC clones.

baboon
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Jan 15 2008 17:42

I think it's simplistic to see IRA bombs as against British imperialism on one hand and IRA "peace" on the other as, perhaps, somehow neutral. There's an idea expressed in the post of Devrim and revol above that "peace" is somehow not part of imperialism - the pacifists would agree with that one, in fact that's their position.
The peace talks were as much, if not more about US manouvres against British imperialism as the bombing campaign. Just read all the papers at the time and you will be easily able to verify who was running the "peace process" against the interests of whom. Gadaffy wasn't in charge of the Irish "peace process", the US State Department was. "Peace", capitalist peace, is, and has always been, just as much a part of inter-imperialist rivalries as war. So too for Ireland.
And as for understanding "national liberation movements", I think it incumbent on revolutionaries to recognise the stinking corpse of nationalism when it's rotting right under your nose - no matter how many books you[ve read or what your university degree was.

LongJohnSilver
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Jan 15 2008 21:44

I'm open to correction - but after reading through this thread I still don't know what Ret Marut actually thinks about all this. I've gathered that he thinks the ICC is wrong... but what does he actually think himself about what the IRA represents and the reasons behind the various twists and turns in its history? And the relationship between the IRA and the US government (which clearly existed at some level or other).
I get the impression - and again I'm open to correction - that there is a sort of general unwillingness amongst those who are opposed to the ICC position to consider the idea that secret "conspiracies" do exist - if by that you mean that there is a lot goes on under the surface that it is extremely difficult for us to know about until long after the event. I remember in my long-lost youth reading the Pentagon Papers (anyone remember those?) - you wouldn't believe the degree of deviousness (at least I couldn't in my young and innocent days). More to the point, what goes on under the surface is often the direct opposite of what we are presented in the official version: I mean, if the ICC told us that the US government sold weapons to an enemy power in order to finance an illegal gun-running operation to drug-traffickers in South America, then revol & Co wouldn't believe them, I imagine. And yet it happened! Dohh! wall
Surely this is one of the things that revolutionaries are supposed to do: to strip away the false surface of the bourgeois world and reveal the sordid reality underneath. One of these myths is the so-called "special relationship" between the US and Britain which was largely an invention by the British for the benefit of wartime propaganda - they desperately needed US help at the time of course, but they were not going to hand over the empire just like that. It was only after being stitched up by the US over the Suez business in 1956 that the Brits more or less decided that "never again will we do anything without the Americans" - but that doesn't mean they liked them or trusted them, nor does it mean that the Americans liked or trusted the Brits (not 100% anyway - the Brits were the only country in the world that ever got given a nuclear bomb).
By the way Ret, I don't want to be rude... but haven't you noticed how much like clones so many anti-ICCers sound? Though I admit they don't all have revol's witty way with the vernacular. Perhaps it's time to stop worrying so much about the language and talk about substantives...

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Red Marriott
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Jan 15 2008 23:36
LJ Silver wrote:
I get the impression - and again I'm open to correction - that there is a sort of general unwillingness amongst those who are opposed to the ICC position to consider the idea that secret "conspiracies" do exist

Where has anyone expressed that here? It is the standard ICC defense and dismissal of specific criticism to claim so - and it may serve the grouplet self-image to imply that criticisms of and disinterest in discussing your conspiracisms are based on a naivety about the covert state and a softness on nationalism. But that's not the case here. Your observations that states and nationalist groups are devious and enter into various opportunist relationships are not, IMO, as great a revelation nor as key to understanding capitalism as you appear to think (as Khawaga & Bugbear pointed out on the 'machiavellian' thread). There are plenty of right wing conspiracists.

For example, I put this in the library in 2006; http://libcom.org/library/allied-multinationals-supply-nazi-germany-world-war-2 - and I found it very interesting, but I'm not going construct a political identity out of it, make it that central to my analysis of capitalism, or attempt to patronise others due to my 'possession' of that knowledge. That would be naive.

Deezer
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Jan 16 2008 03:18

trenchone wrote:

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Hitler was well aware of the strategic importance of Ireland, in particular as a base for attacks on the ports and industry of NW England and Scotland. In December 1941 he mused that "The occupation of Ireland might lead to the end of the war". Earlier that year a diversionary German paratroop attack on Northern Ireland was planned (to coincide with German attacks on the southern English coast). Before the idea was shelved, a date was chosen - in April, the 25th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

In Churchill's autobiography there is a famous passage (1922ish) where he muses on the things that had changed since the Great War and those that will always be the same: ‘whole empires had disappeared in that great cataclysm… the boundaries of many countries have been re-drawn… But when the floodwaters have subsided and we look across the landscape, we see again in all their glory, the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone. Only the integrity of their quarrel remains undiminished…’ As someone who had participated [!]more than most in Irish affairs Churchill had an axe to grind. He tried to make out that the 'quarrel' began and ended on the island of Ireland. Showing how so-called backwaters fit into the global picture is a difficult but important task.

Hitler was so well aware of the strategic importance of Ireland that he quickly forgot his plans to invade.

Churchill also keenly aware of the strategic imporance of Ireland threatened to invade then offered reunification to de Valera for the Republics abandoning of neutrality.

De Valera, more concerned with the Irish language and green post boxes, declined reunification as Churchill hadn't conslted with the Unionists!

More bizarrely, for those who mechanically see some unified singular direction to interimperial conflict and to the interests of British imperialism is evidenced in the British state hand over of the treaty ports to the south in 1938.

Cutting out snippits of history does not cut it. I suppose I'm handing the ICC current ammo in pointing out that once america got involved in WWII Northern Ireland became a base for thousands of American troops - something that the neutral south of Ireland declared as an invasion!

Most of British imperialist feeling was in favour of home rule within the empire for Ireland before the start of and into the early 20th century - the supplanting of the IPP with Sinn Fein in the south and Unionist opposition to Home Rule (both in terms of opposition to Irish Nationalism and to Westminster) put paid to that.

If anything WWII woke Westminster up to the significance of the geographic location of Northern Ireland particularly at the start of the Cold War after a period of complacency and wanting to keep Ireland, particularly the north, at a distance.

As for the US and the peace process consider that Unionists in all likelihood secretly wished 9-11 and Americas new-found 'anti-terrorism' had happened a decade earlier, then, the reasoning goes, they may have been given the resources and a free hand to really take their war to their 'terrorists'.