I realise that I’m not in synch with AWL slogans on Iraq. I would call for immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
I experienced the same logic with the American Socialist Party under Shachtman in the late 60s and early 70s. On Vietnam, they too insisted that they placed no confidence in American imperialism, but that a victory for the NLF would lead to the elimination of all democratic and independent forces in South Vietnam. They called for “Negotiations Now”, rather than “Out Now”. Historically they were right that a victory for the Viet Cong would be a democratic disaster, but that became the entrée for a whole host of subsequent apologias ultimately culminating in Max Shachtman’s support — critical, no doubt — for Nixon.
An earlier split from the International Socialist League revolved around similar critical support for the American intervention in Korea.
And look at the trajectory of [Labour Friends of Iraq campaigner and former AWL member] Alan Johnson.
Since the AWL has to stand in isolation from the anti-war movement, won’t it eventually be compelled to lend critical support to the forces that back Blair, if the alternative demands an out now prospective?
Has the AWL similarly rethought its positions on Vietnam? Korea? Would it, in retrospect, walk part of the way in Shachtman's shoes?
There are no political guarantees, but American imperialism, by its ferociousness and callous indifference and arrogance, is the principal recruiting agency of the “resistance”. It is waging a war that the American public has already grown weary of, while making it ever more dangerous for the Iraqi left. And as far as I can see most of the revolutionary elements in Iraq recognise this and are calling for these forces to be withdrawn immediately.
Barry Finger, New York, USA