Sunday, September 23, 2007

Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend?

Lately in the left-wing and activist circles, a discussion has been heated up regarding alliances, and its justifications. Mainly the theme rotates around: “My Enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Such concepts appear in terms of 14th of March supporting US involvement in Lebanon (as long as it supports their goals), opposing Iran and Syrian intervention, or witnessing 14th of Marchers supporting Fatah while the opposition supporting Hamas, Chavez, and Galloway. Another logic would be the secular Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) supporting Hezbullah and their coalitions in the name of resistance. Same applies when a member of the Democratic Left would tell me “Comrade Seniora” (which is contradictory if you ask me since the latter supports 100% free market as well as burying Lebanon in the WTO.)

Europe of the past would fit our investigation. Probably we witnessed such alliances being forged when one powerful figure became too powerful and forced the others to bandwagon against that ruler. One example would be Napoleon, whereby his blunt theme was “Unified Europe” under his self-proclaimed empire. The 19th Century itself was an era of kingdoms and alliance fluctuations. Different Monarchs/republics fluctuated their alliances according to interest, in order to establish a balance of power. This might fit the Realist School in international affairs, whereby nations switch alliances to maintain a balance of power. No Republic/Monarchy would enter an alliance to make one nation stronger than the others to the extent being unstopped. World War I witnessed the explosion of these alliances whereby few nations (Axis) saw they had the chance to balance against if not completely annihilate their opponents.

The first time we can witness the alliance falsely assumed is the Brest-Litovsk conference, which resulted at first the invasion of the Soviet Union by Monarchy Germany. Indeed, Lenin and Trotsky from the beginning found they had no choice from the beginning but gain time to organize their army. Karl Radeck also found the same logic and tried to spread the ideas of Marx and Engels by distributing Pamphlets of Communism to the German soldiers. At a one point, Monarchy Germany declared they are defending themselves, Western Europe, and the whole world from Bolshevik toxic ideas.

The first time we can regard the concept Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend was witnessed to its full scale was the unholy alliance between Stalinist Moscow and Capitalist Washington DC during World War II. The allies tried to overthrow the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution of 1917, but Trotsky’s defenses were capable to block them and repel outside Soviet borders 11 major invading armies, not to forget the civil war ignited by the West against the Red Army. The first time I say the unholy alliance was formed between tyrant Stalin and greedy Franklin Roosevelt. There was no choice in the mater, lunatic Hitler swept through Europe, and made to the borders of Leningrad and Stalingrad, while the whole West except for Britain (the fact it was an island played a role). Stalin started his unholy alliance with Hitler to seize 50% of Poland, but then his plan backfired on him when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. After a relapse of six months, Stalin recovered and played his plan B card. It wasn’t planned actually, the United States needed Russia to remain standing, Russia (and here I say Russia instead of Soviet Union because Stalin was desperate to survive the offensive and introduced Russian Nationalism with the Logo: ‘Fight For Mother Russia’; not bad for a Georgian fake Communist). Eventually Nikita Khrushchev spilled the bottle in his memoirs (Khrushchev Remembers; interviewed by Roshenko) that 81% of the Soviet heavy equipment were merged between US and Russian technology. Hitler failed to take over Russia and its rich resources, but eventually his army collapsed at two powerful fronts.

I went to the details of World War II because this is par excellence the number 1 unholy alliance to occur in the history of the world (unless we consider the alliance which included Lebanese Forces and Hezbollah voting for each other more awkward. Now, I will move to two unholy alliances that go parallel to each other, and till now they seem to be holding: RESPECT in the UK and Kifaya in Egypt. Both also included two unholy alliances that are really parallel to each other. George Galloway’s coalition includes the Muslim Brotherhood and The Socialist Workers’ Party. The coalition emerged with good performance on the syndicate level. Galloway took the opportunity to bandwagon with the Muslim Brotherhood over there, while the Muslim Brotherhood accepted a coalition made of heresy committers or atheists (in the case of the SWP). The SWP stepped down on its revolutionary goals or shorter run goals, which is opposing US imperialism by all means available, and hence weakening the Marxist movement in England. George Galloway is the spearhead of the RESPECT coalition and the second in command is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The SWP blindly supports Hezbollah for example because Hezbollah for them defeated Israel. Moreover, the spearhead of the RESPECT coalition, Mr. Galloway disregards who opposes US imperialism and supports blindly anyone who stands up to their faces. Galloway eventually became a hero in the Lebanese arena when he broke the media silence on Lebanon as it was being bombarded by the Israelis with his famous interview with Sky News. Yet, Galloway for me as a revolutionary Marxist, his influences are more negative rather positive. The goal is not parliamentary gains, or political points, rather establishing a workers’ movement that would achieve the Proletariat’s demands. This takes a lot of effort, and hopefully our esteemed comrades of the SWP would realize to use their immense knowledge of Marxism and experience for that goal.

The Kifaya movement in Egypt is a similar scenario. The Comrades never learnt by supporting Jamal Abdul Nasser to become the President of Egypt, they signed their doom with a two-fold seal. The short run for our comrades in Egypt was to get rid of British colonialism, and hence they went blindly after Abdul Nasser, and he repaid them with placing a blind eye on the Muslim Brotherhood as they devoured Marxists from one side, and then he butchered with them (well, not only Egypt, but Syria and Lebanon as well except those blindly following Russia, such as Khaled Bikdash). Later, Nasser foolishly thought he can use the Socialists and the Muslim Brotherhood to balance against each other. Only difference, the Brotherhood in prisons increased in numbers, specially after the humiliating defeat of Nasser in a time-interval less than a week, which was the Six Day war of 1967, where Nasser as an undisputed leader collapsed, and secular Arab Nationalism was replaced with Islam as the only salvation for the Arabs. As economy worsened, the Brotherhood and its look-a-like expanded through its Islamist Social Welfare system while Sadat (as well as Moubarak) abused their position as Presidents to maximize profits and powers while the people were starving.

Kifaya emerged as a reaction to the never ending rule of Moubarak. Kifaya is sort of motivated by the Zapatista logo, Ya Basta!, because Kifaya’s translation to English means Enough! Unlike RESPECT which is forged out of three primary partners, Kifaya embodied anyone who despised Moubarak’s regime. This includes the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies (most powerful driving force), the Communists, the Arab Nationalists, Socialists, intellectual movements, Feminists, Syndicate, lawyers, and of course alter-globalization movements such as AJIJ. Yet, the comrades over there never learnt their lesson, that short run goals (ousting Moubarak out of office) will bring them more trouble if they are not well prepared. If you ask any socialist over there, they will reply “first get rid of Moubarak, then when the time we and the Brotherhood encounter each other comes, we will handle it.” Problem is that Egypt has the Islamist networks and welfare systems have been spreading around to the extent it makes the return of a real organized Marxist movement semi-impossible at this rate. The Marxists should focus on building themselves as a first priority, rather rush blindly after Kifaya. Now, I may sound I am undermining the efforts of our comrades in Egypt, but on the contrary, I salute every single one of them who raises his finger at Moubarak’s regime, which at least he is regarded as a US satellite installed over Cairo and Egypt. Yet, the Marxists’ primary goal is to build themselves from scratch (same as our situation in Lebanon), and I know it is difficult, but I can foresee that a coalition with the strongest party (Brotherhod) if they win, it will be disastrous to the progressive reforms and welfare system of the Marxists. The Islamist networks offered the majority of the Egyptians and non-Muslim foreigners their services equally, but the long-run is still not showing ok. After a religious movement s a right-wing and we shouldn’t commit the same errors of Galloway cheering el-Assad. So, in such cases, is my enemy’s enemy my friend? I think not specially if there is no progressive core essence on their side.

Lenin and Trotsky knew that perfectly well back in 1917. Lenin wouldn’t reconcile his Marxist goals for nothing. He was offered different positions when the February revolution took over. The Right-Wingers offered him and Trotsky several cabinet positions, Trotsky, like Lenin, saw that only a workers’ revolution would bring the salvation to the Proletariat. The Bolsheviks remained low profile and indirectly a small hunted down sect while attempting to preserve their core as revolutionary, progressive, scientific, and Marxist. Sadly, few glitches escaped, and Stalin emerged out of these glitches. The theme is “no enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The only time Lenin and Trotsky agreed that the Bolsheviks to ally with other factions when they split them (Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks) into a reactionary right-wingers, and the revolutionary left-wings, with them at what Lenin would call years later “Commanding Heights”. The road to victory is always long and harsh, and mind you, there is no such thing as a back-route and easy victory, the only victory is through the emancipation of the society into Marxism and its full mobility into class struggle rather trust blindly a group whose agenda is the gradual annhilation of non-believers.



Renegade Eye said...

Incredibly good post.

This post is incredbly long, but it compliments yours.

MarxistFromLebanon said...

It is on the international level comrade, I am writing part II on the Lebanese scale... thank you for your support Renegade... I found also the perfect article written by the number one Marxist scholar from Lebanon...

I am leaving it for your blog...

Practicing Marxist from Lebanon said...

The analysis in this article is a bundle of ambiguity and miss-information. and my assessment is that the person who wrote it was never involved in any real practice.

First of All, Respect does not include the Muslim Brotherhood, it includes the Muslim association of Britain which is a totally different organization then the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition how did you come up with the idea that the SWP in respect let down on their Marxist tradition, actually the main argument in respect right now between the SWP on one side and George Galloway on the other is about whether respect is a pioneer movement towards socialism or is it just an electoral coalition. so i actually advise you to read more and when you give your opinion make sure you have the facts right, because in addition the SWP in their support to Hizbollah they were quite clear that they support the act of resistance but in no way they would consider it as a party working towards revolution, and this is where as Marxists we have to be clear in our support but also to know the limits of who we support in the fight against imperialism.

also on the Kefaya movement, i would really advise you to read on the workers strike in Egypt and who is leading them?
it's not the Muslim brotherhood nor Kefaya it is the revolutionary socialists in Egypt which you speak about them as if they have lost track of Marxist tradition, isn't worker's emancipation and struggle the core of Marxist theory and practice.

the issue about alliances that you draw at the beginning is quite antigone to the examples you give on the left.

Khawwta said...

Good and very interesting post

MarxistFromLebanon said...

"First of All, Respect does not include the Muslim Brotherhood, it includes the Muslim association of Britain which is a totally different organization then the Muslim Brotherhood"

It is true that it is the Muslim Association, and the difference with their activism that they empower the women equally to be spearheads over there (like RESPECT's second in command)... but for me any religious institution remains so...

Second, let us face it, things changed a bit ever since Tony Cliff passed away... to be more precise, things escalated in relations to george galloway, there is a difference with him and SWP's historical line (and definitely with the Muslim Association)... but that doesnt deviate us from the main point: SWP also supports Muslim brotherhood in Egypt... and that topic alone takes ages to discuss.. and willing to do so if you want. Disagreeing with RESPECT doesnt mean non-practicing Marxism, unless you want to consider the likes of Alan Woods, Lal Khan, the late Ted Grant, as non-practicing Marxists (and if you do, then I am the one who recommends you to read more about marxism).

Trotsky attempted to build the 4th International because that is the only way to support resistence to Imperialism, and there is no other way. Lenin never stepped down on a single point within the sciences of Marxism because there is nothing to be traded, Marx learnt that through the hard way when he had to break away with the Anarchists in the First International. The only dimension I would support RESPECT (other than bringing respect among the Proletariat) is if in the long-run it brings more comrades to the SWP. That, time will tell... RESPECT is not Marxism, and all the Marxist intellects dwelled
that only a people's movement is the vanguard of the proletariat and nothing else. It is the same when the Marxists in the 1950s & 1960s fell in the dilemma of Stalin and Mao... (check Natalia Sedova's resignation letter from 4th Int.)

Moreover, I didnt diminish the story of socialism (and only form of socialism I recognize is as comrade Serrati said in the second congress of the third international: I am a socialist because there is no socialism but communism) in Egypt. Several comrades actually are assassinated or accused with high treason on almost yearly basis by the Moubarak regime while the Israeli ambassador is free to stroll around wherever he wants. But if you knew Marxism as you claim to practice it, this will lead to a best scenario to a February Revolution atmosphere of 1917, because again the root is not Marxism.

Now, third, please define to me resistence when you go supporting blindly iran and Syria, AND neglect the basic rule they oppress their people. It is what the Marxists through out the world rose: "No War! No Dictatorship" as in no to US imperialism, and no dictators like Saddam or Assad. This also includes Hezbollah as well as a matter of fact. They are the result of blunders of Israeli aggression and previous "Christian" governments that never invested in the South, and hence their platform wouldnt be progressive. You cant support one side and neglect the other. The only way to oppose Imperialism is as comrade Zinovieve said: "They have their International, we need our own to face to face them". because again, the problem of the left is they think in the short run rather long run... (re-read my post).

In the end, there is no war but class war... unless Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and the entire Marxist militants are wrong and only George Galloway is correct (which is not the case at all)

(hi Khawta)


Anonymous said...

You mean the same Lal Khan who is in bed with Benazir Bhuto?

Dave said...

"how did you come up with the idea that the SWP in respect let down on their Marxist tradition" Calling on their members conference after conference to vote down motions supporting socialist principles kinda gives the game away I think. SWPers voted against socialism being the act of the working class, against open borders, against Respect's elected representatives taking only a workers wage, against republicanism, against accountability of representatives, and against the extension of abortion rights.

A pretty shameful list. And all in the name of "making a difference" by holding a popular frontist coalition together in the hope that you would get some SWPers elected.

"actually the main argument in respect right now between the SWP on one side and George Galloway on the other is about whether respect is a pioneer movement towards socialism or is it just an electoral coalition." - No comrade, the SWP made it clear a long ime ago that they positively do not want Respect to be socialist. Leading SWPer Lindsey German said she wouldn't join it if it was. The argument at the moment is a power struggle between the SWP and Galloway. The SWP's claims to be concerned about the subordination of socialism within Respect are nothing but hypocrisy given their record.

"the SWP in their support to Hizbollah they were quite clear that they support the act of resistance but in no way they would consider it as a party working towards revolution, and this is where as Marxists we have to be clear in our support but also to know the limits of who we support in the fight against imperialism." - It certainly didn't seem that way to me! Prancing around in Hezbollah t-shirts chanting "We are Hexbollah!" doesn't really seem like being clear about their limitation does it?!?