Re: Ukrainian communists pictured alive but face pressure to admit to trumped-up charges | Steve Sweeney | The Morning Star

Mark Baugher

I could parse every one your statements, but in the end it all comes down to the appeal above, and that is your appeal to authority.
It's a start, not an end: Why do we bother to study tens of thousands of pages written by mostly dead people who were concerned about forgotten events? Those pages are the repository of past knowledge, experiences and lessons from people who helped shape events. In crises like a military invasion, it's valuable to start by examining how they approached similar circumstances, what's the same and what's different That's not an "appeal to authority" fallacy, particularly when the authorities are debating diametrically opposed views, like Luxemburg and Lenin on the "national question."

You provide not a shred of concrete analysis of the situation in Ukraine, the "macro" forces propelling this conflict, and ignore completely the critical issue which, since 1848 has been the independent program of the working class for social revolution.

Then why not apply that program of the working class for social revolution? My "concrete analysis" is that you misunderstand or just ignore the programmatic position on the national questions and nationalities. What do you think they got right and what do you think they got wrong? It's a place to start, not end. But you haven't started.

And please be respectful. It's not true what you say about me. I wrote yesterday that the forces propelling this conflict include expansion of NATO over three decades when the putative reasons for its existence no longer existed, and I said that Russia is trying to reconstruct the Czarist prison house of nations by reclaiming Ukraine as its crown jewel. Isn't that "macro" enough? Or is that not enough "concrete analysis."

We get none of that. We get the appeal to "tradition" of the "fathers"

I appealed to a mother as well.

Engels? Are we to moor ourselves to the tradition that has Engels endorsing the US war on behalf of its slaveholders against Mexico? Should we moor ourselves to the tradition of Engels in 1848 who applauded the French conquest of Algeria calling it "an important and fortunate fact for the progress of civilization"? Or should we moor ourselves to the position he took 9 years later, denouncing that conquest? Or the position he wanted Marx and the IWMA to take, uncritically endorsing Germany in the Franco-Prussian war as it would quicken the consolidation of the German working class? Fortunately the communards didn't give a rat's ass about Engels' arguments.

Lenin? Should we moor ourselves to the position that argued revolutionary defeatism, that warned against dissipating the programmatic independence of the proletariat within the eruption of "national liberation" in the colonies? Or do we moor ourselves in the tradition of the 3rd Intl, which with the approval of Lenin and Trotsky puts forth the Joffe-Sun manifesto declaring communism unsuited for China, and vice-versa, and uncritically support Sun and order the young communist party to adhere to the discipline of the GMT?

You forgot to mention that Marx used the n-word.

CLR James? That tradition? Would it be the tradition of the Johnson Forest Tendency? The Third Camp? of Pan-Africanism and Nkrumaisim? Which tradition do you want?

I want the tradition where activists engage in a struggle rather than stand aside carping that it's not proletarian-pristine enough for them - that's the hallmark of sectarianism.

So, what would you have us do about Ukraine? Should we demand that Russia withdraw? That NATO be dismantled?


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