Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The "anti-imperialsm of fools" - some Leftists get it

There's an interesting interview here on the AWL site with Marxist academic Moishe Postone from the University of Chicago. The main subject is the hole the "anti-imperialist" Left has gotten itself into with regard to anti-semitism and support for Islamists and other vile anti-Western forces.

Postone seems to have a very clear and sensible view of the idiocies of the majority of the modern Left, see especially here :
Q. You have argued that the USSR and similar systems were not forms of emancipation from capitalism, but state-centred forms of capitalism. It follows that the general attitude on the left of siding with the USSR — sometimes very critically — against the USA was self-destructive. You have indicated parallels between the sort of anti-imperialism today which sides with political Islam as the counter-power to the USA, and the old Cold War. What do you think are the common features of those two political polarisations? And the differences?
A. The differences are that the older form of anti-Americanism was tied to promoting Communist revolution in Vietnam, Cuba, etc. Whatever one may have thought of it at the time, or may regard it retrospectively, its own self-understanding was that it promoted an emancipatory project. The United States was sharply criticized not only because it is the United States and a great power, but also because it was hindering the emergence of a more progressive social order. That was the self-understanding of many who were in solidarity with Vietnam or with Cuba.
Today, I doubt that even the people who proclaim “We are all Hezbollah” or “We are all Hamas” would say that those movements represent an emancipatory social order. At best what is involved is an Orientalist reification of the Arabs and/or Muslims as the Other, whereby the Other, this time, is affirmed. It is yet another indication of historical helplessness on the part of the left, the inability to come up with any imaginary of what a post-capitalist future might look like. Not having any vision of a post-capitalist future, many have substituted a reified notion of “resistance” for any conception of transformation. Anything that “resists” the United States becomes regarded positively. I regard this as an extremely questionable form of thought.
Love the last bit and totally agree.

Also this is important : "the inability to come up with any imaginary of what a post-capitalist future might look like". What is the vision now of the Left ? There are no practical existing alternatives to Western democracy that are not economic or human rights basket cases and no amount of ridiculous cheer leading for China or Chavez can disguise that.

"What's Left ?" - indeed.


A.C. said...

MMN, just to let you know that some of my posts have been selectively deleted from Pickled Politics to create a distorted view of what I've said.

Extremely cheap.

All the best,


MoreMediaNonsense said...


Sunny is really losing it on this Begg thing, he's made it into another blogwar with HP, but even most of the PP regulars seem to be getting fed up with it.

Soon he'll be running PP on his own as a ranting echo chamber.