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Submitted by Jason on Sun, 15/04/2007 - 09:43

Arthur, you seem to be denying that imperialism meaningfully exists. Is this what is behind your views?

But imperialism is first and foremost not to do with military hardware- it is to do with the scarcity of capital, the imposition of favourable terms for foreign capitalist investment, the ripping up of tariffs, the prevention of the formation of cartels- in short the imposition of the market on the underdeveloped world. This is then backed up by military intervention- from blockades, assasinations, funding of one side of the bourgeois, right through to aerial bombardment and miltary invasion.

You seem very dismissive of my examples- for example-
"Ethiopia – troops firing from British donated vehicles, come on please. "

What do you mean 'please'? That this is too small an example to consider? Yes it's a detail- a detail chosen as an evocative one by an Ethiopian Teachers' Association activist we interview in our current magazine. Imperialism in Ethiopia is to do with the way that there is comparitively very little domestic capital in Ethiopia, with coffee prices collapsing, and what capital there is is completely tied into to the world market. The government is largely dependant on aid, and meanwhile the fact that Britain and the US have supplied help, material and funds to the Meles regime- which recently sent Ethiopian soldiers to Somalia- is far from irrelevant. The ETA correspondant sees Ethiopia as being in effect a cleint state of the US.

In this context firing on demonstrators and trade unionists with US and British support and even hardware is not something to be met with your dismissive 'please' as if this is utterly irrelevant.

I lived in Ethiopia for two years and the majority of people I came into contact with from fellow workers to students ad small farmers understood imperialism- the majority for example supporting Iraq against the US.

When we as communists seek to intervene in the class struggle we must recognise that the military defeat of the imperialist troops is a good thing- in the semicolonies or underdeveloped world that would mean arms to the workers who or may not enter into a tactical alliance with anti-imperialist bourgeois or petit-bourgeois forces (as you acknowledge it';s a tactcal question)but to withdraw from the antiwar movement here is damaging and therefore it is not a 'lie' to say that the AWL is a rightward and damaging trend in the labour movement on these issues (actually it's an opinion so could hardly be a'lie'- that just seems designed to malign- but it is an opinion based on reasons).

Clive you may or may not be right about the term underdeveloped coming from dependency theory and you may also be right it is a flawed theory. I don't know the theory- but I was using it simply in terms of meaning that capitalism now by imposing terms of trade favourable to the multinationals operating out of the industrialised countries and backed up by the military might of those countries does in fact underdevelop large parts of the world.

As for Argentina- a miltary defeat for Britain and a victory for Argentina would have damaged British imperialism and the ruling class in Britain at the time. Similarly in Iraq now- the working class and small farmers are not served at all by the US-led occupation and puppet government and therefore they should organise and fight against the occupation and if class conscious workers and communists could come to the fore they could both lead Iraqi workers and small farmers away from the poisonous reaction of the petit-bourgeois (clothed in the garb of radical islam) and organise and arm themselves against clerical reaction.
This from over here though can only be sketchy- we should seek to find out more and lend practical assistance e.g. to Basra oil workers.

However, what is concrete and definite is the AWL's refusal to even participate in the antiwar movement and the blocking of motions calling for it- this is in practice pro-imperialist whatever your subjective intentions.

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