Re: Marxist response to East Timor
Source Carrol Cox
Date 99/09/23/09:58

Michael Keaney wrote:

> Louis,

> As one willing to have his mind changed by superior argument, regardless of
> its geographical source, what would be the principled Marxist response to
> the problems of East Timor? I am sufficiently familiar with the awful
> history, and recognise the culpability, complicity, duplicity, involvement,
> etc., of the Western powers. What I want to know is, what is to be done
> given the present conjuncture?

There is a quite false assumption here that there is always something to
be done. This case, unfortunately, is one in which the first response has
to be: There is nothing to be done.

Please note that the assumption that "something" has to be be done is
strictly a result of the way in which the bourgeois press treats the world,
carefully picking out what "problems" demand solution and what problems
do not even exist. The problem of severe malnutrition for those children
in the U.S. whose mothers were kicked off welfare does not exist. The
problem of [you name it] does not exist. The only problem in the world
now is in East Timor. (Never mind the deaths of children from disease
and malnutrition in Iraq.) Why do you immediately feel that whenever
the bourgeois press yelps every marxist must mount her silver stallion
with a Hi Ho Silver, Away!???

There is nothing we can do except continue developing and (when
possible) spreading our understanding of imperialism and its role
in the world today.

Nothing any marxist does will save so much as one sprained finger
in East Timor. It is either self-indulgence or ignorance to think "we"
have to "do something." What have you done today to increase
wages in South Africa? What have you done today to reduce
malaria in Guatemala? What have you done today to reduce the
prison population in the FSU?

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