what's left

Achcar Turns Lenin on His Head

with 13 comments

By Stephen Gowans

Gilbert Achcar has invoked the authority of Lenin to claim that support for Western military intervention in Libya is the only defensible anti-imperialist position. Lenin made compromises, Achcar says, and like him, so must we.

Achcar doesn’t deny that the intervention is imperialist, but believes that imperialist or not, it was necessary to prevent a slaughter. His logic, however, is elusive. If the intervention is imperialist, even if it did prevent a slaughter (and it’s likely instead to have created the conditions for a protracted civil war) how can support of it be anti-imperialist? This is like saying that support for coal-fired generators is the only defensible pro-clean-air position, because nuclear could produce a catastrophe. You can argue about the relative merits of coal versus nuclear, and decide that coal is better than nuclear on balance, but that doesn’t make your position pro-clean air.

Lenin once said that he would ally with the devil himself if the devil was opposed to British imperialism. Where Achcar differs with Lenin is that he, Achcar, has allied with imperialism because imperialism says it opposes the devil.

Written by what's left

March 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm

13 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Achcar is a scoundrel. I’m glad to see his sympathies being exposed once more.

    Good work as always.

    againsttheempire

    March 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm

  2. Do you have a citation for that Lenin reference? I thought Churchill had said that comment about allying with the devil himself against the Nazis.

    Sam

    March 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    • The citation comes from Albert Szymanski in The Soviet Union: Socialist or Social Imperialist? Part II: The Question is Joined, RCP Publications, 1983, p. 30.

      gowans

      March 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

  3. sw

    March 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm

  4. Achcar has his history wrong.

    If he’d made a comparison to Eduard Bernstein or the Fabians, he’d be correct.

    The Lenin comparison is just a joke.

    sw

    April 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

  5. US is doing what it claims Gadaffis airforce did..and didnt: bomvbing civilians

    ‘US-NATO bombings kill civilians in Tripoli
    By Bill Van Auken
    1 April 2011

    US-NATO air strikes on Tripoli and other Libyan cities have claimed growing numbers of civilian victims, according to the Vatican’s top representative in the Libyan capital.

    The report represents a severe blow to the attempts by Washington and its NATO allies, backed by the overwhelming majority of the Western media, to dismiss the Libyan government’s claims of civilian casualties as “propaganda” and portray the continuous air raids as a “humanitarian” defense of the population.

    “The so-called humanitarian air raids have taken the lives of dozens of civilians in various areas of Tripoli,” Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli told Agenzia Fides, the Vatican news service.

    “Of particular concern, in the district of Buslim, a building collapsed because of the bombing killing 40 people,” he said “Yesterday I reported that the bombing had affected some hospitals, albeit indirectly. I can now confirm that one of these hospitals is in Misda,” a town about 110 miles south of Tripoli.

    The Euronews television channel reported that a bombing raid on an ammunition dump in Misda had caused damage to the hospital and nearby homes, wounding at least 13 civilians.
    http://wsws.org/articles/2011/apr2011/nato-a01.shtml

    brian

    April 2, 2011 at 1:12 am

  6. did u know:

    ‘As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to “seduce” three other members to get the vote.

    Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.

    Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution .’
    http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/obama%E2%80%99s-north-african-war-face#comments

    brian

    April 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

  7. Anti-imperiaist Michel Collon discussing Libya and “humanitarianism” at http://www.michelcollon.info/Michel-Collon-about-the.html?lang=fr

    Adam Curtis’ fascinating blog/history of “humanitarian” warfare going back to Biafra:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/03/goodies_and_baddies.html

    I tried to read Achar’s Monthly Review book on the Middle East but had to give up due its juvenile anti-communism

    Justin O'Hagan

    April 4, 2011 at 8:51 pm

  8. Phony antiwar critics like Gilbert Achcar would have you believe that the United States and Britain–the two war criminal countries that are the guilty of the Iraqi genocide and Afghani slaughter–have some kind of moral legitimacy claiming to be saviors of Libya!

    Their assertions are not only laughable but reveal the barely disguised imperial arrogance that particularly infects Anglophone nations across the political spectrum.

    Deep down, these people feverishly hold the belief that the West is morally superior to the rest of the world and thus has a God-given right to invade, bomb, or colonize whatever nation they choose.

    Humanitarian war is just a continuation of the Western civilizing mission or White Man’s Burden, with the underlying agenda unchanged.

    And the American-led aggression against Libya is a replay of the NATO assault on Serbia in 1999 with similar lies, “humanitarian” rationalizations, and support of Western progressives, who came to be known as the Cruise Missile Left.

    The Dismantling of Yugoslavia
    http://monthlyreview.org/2007/10/01/the-dismantling-of-yugoslavia

    The Cruise Missile Left
    http://globalresearch.ca/articles/HER405A.html

    Achcar is thus not an isolated case. He represents the fraudulent nature of much of the Anglo-American “antiwar” movement.

    These people are playing a political double game. They spout a lot of “antiwar” or “anti-imperialist” rhetoric to give themselves political street cred, but when push comes to shove, they will support America’s latest imperialist war and its legitimizing lies. Or they will only oppose this war for self-serving concerns of cost and feasibility or to control the political boundaries of “acceptable” dissent.

    Ultimately, Americans and their allies understand that their precious “way of life” is based upon expanding Anglo-American imperialism the world over.

    Imperial self-interest—not their national lies about liberty or democracy—is what drives them.

    But then again, it always has.

    A sheep in wolf’s clothing?
    http://williambowles.info/2011/03/28/a-sheep-in-wolfs-clothing-by-william-bowles/

    AR

    April 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  9. FYI
    awkward insights: this article attempts to investigate the al-baida massacre, one of the founding atrocities used to justife US/NATO’intervention:

    The writer says:’So it appears these regime-loyal fighters were not murdered for refusing to “shoot protesters.” Rather, it could be they were offed for refusing to join the insurgency. This
    goes strongly against the once-prevailing idea that the whole country had effectively mutinied, leaving an illegitimate and insanely depraved tyrant in charge with only a few paid thugs. ‘
    http://12-7-9-11.blogspot.com/2011/03/behind-scenes-of-al-baida-massacre.html

    if truem, another incubator baby story vanishes and with it the reason to invade Libya

    brian

    April 7, 2011 at 8:38 am

    • For anyone who has been paying even minimal attention to these USA-led media deceptions, it’s long overdue to ask the question: what *isn’t* America lying about?

      From its world historic lies such as “WMDs in Iraq” and the “War on Terrorism” to its individual lies like Kuwaiti incubator babies, the Racak “Massacre,” Tony Bliar’s 2003 Iraq dossier, Saving Pvt. Jessica Lynch fantasy, or the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue, the USA and allies like Great Britain have proven themselves to be such serial liars that they put Joseph Goebbels to shame.

      Nazi propagandists of the past are nothing compared to the West’s sophisticated CNN/BBC/Hollywood/Social Media propaganda machine of today.

      It’s not even close.

      And in many ways, it’s worse because imperialist “democracies” like America are able to peddle their propaganda behind the mask of freedom and liberty.

      Here’s yet another example:

      Gaddaffi’s African “Mercenary” Story is a Disinformation Ploy by the CIA http://www.creative-i.info/?p=32621

      AR

      April 8, 2011 at 11:29 am

  10. LIes about Gadaffi bite the libyan dust:

    He also quotes Alan Kuperman, an associate professor at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, as having said,

    Qadhafi did not massacre civilians in any of the other big cities he captured — Zawiya, Misrata, Ajdabiya — which together have a population equal to Benghazi. Yes, civilians were killed in a typical, ham-handed, Third World counterinsurgency. But civilians were not targeted for massacre as in Rwanda, Darfur, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bosnia, or even Kosovo after NATO intervention.

    Chapman also wrote,

    I emailed the White House press office several times asking for concrete evidence of the danger, based on any information the administration may have. But a spokesman declined to comment.

    That’s a surprising omission, given that a looming holocaust was the centerpiece of the president’s case for war. Absent specific, reliable evidence, we have to wonder if the president succumbed to unwarranted panic over fictitious dangers.

    http://justworldnews.org/archives/004188.html

    brian

    April 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: