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Submitted by Jason on Tue, 17/04/2007 - 01:22

The point is that the Socialist Organiser position from 1982 seriously distorts the Marxist position, falsely equating support for Argentina against British imperialism with support for Galtieri.

Supporting Argentina or Iraq against imperialism is not at all to do with supporting their brutal regimes (e.g. Galtieri or Saddam) but saying that workers attacked by imperialism (in Iraq) have the right to fight back; the working class needs to be armed to resist the imperialist attack and through this overthrow the bourgeois. If SO in 1982 were revolutionary defeatist on both sides but took an active part in the antiwar movement here then it is a mistaken position (not supporting Argentina) but not pro-imperialist. By the way, British possession of Malvinas did become important for British imperialism not only in giving a new lease of life to a section of the ruling class around Thatcher but sending out a message that Britain and the US (ruling class) would ruthlessly defend its interests.

In the current Iraq occupation though as far as I can tell AWL are absent from the antiwar movement. I was told at one point (in person) by an AWLer that he may support troops out now in theory but it wasn't a priority- so in practice it ends up being a pro-imperialist position by refusing to engage in the antiwar movement. If the AWL threw themselves into the antiwar movement arguing for troops out now and class struggle tactics to dirsupt the war effort then that would be a different matter and then perhaps in a united front around common action there would be some point in having public debates between our two tendencies on these points.

However, the AWL's position on imperialism has seemingly led them into an impasse where they withdraw from the movement. Of course we can chat and discuss matters hopefully in an open manner (not disfigured by accusations of lying or they're never change etc.) whether in person or online but for the tendencies to prioritise debate when - on this - we're not even in the same movement seems rather impractical.

Of course where we are in united fronts around common action for example in the unions or other working class campaigns we will work and debate with the AWL.

In the meanwhile keep an open mind and remember that though opinions can and do change through debate real changes normally come through action and undertaking a common set of tasks within the working class. Whilst trying to enact those common tasks, differences will arise and need to be debated as they have practical consequences. We need to win workers to socialism, including revitalising the antiwar movement which, despite some 60% opposing the current occupation, is not able at the moment to mount a serious challenge to British imperialism.

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