Saturday, March 17, 2007

Throwing names around

Is this an attention-grabber, or what?

Was Leon Trotsky the intellectual author of the Iraq War?

So argued Benjamin Ross.

So argue many anti-war commentators on both the right and the left. They trace the concept of using military intervention as a method of liberation back to the Trotskyist origins of the war’s neoconservative advocates.

Neocons disagree, of course. A lengthy rebuttal by the writer Josh Muravchik in the September 2003 Commentary denies that neoconservatism has Trotskyist roots....

The argument centers on the neoconservative intellectuals of the 1970s. This was a clearly defined school of thinkers who had indeed started on the left, often with direct or indirect connections to the Trotskyist left. They shifted rightward in response to the cultural radicalism and contempt for democracy of the 1960s New Left, in the process pioneering the anti-elitist stance of today's Republican politicians....

The neocons who brushed most recently with Trotskyism – and about whom I can speak from personal knowledge -- are a group who began as followers of Max Schachtman. Schachtman had been Trotsky's secretary in the early 1930s and then moved continuously to the right. In the late 1960s he assembled a group of young disciples, several of whom later went on to neocon prominence, and took control of the Young Peoples Socialist League, the youth wing of Norman Thomas's Socialist Party....

In 1971 Michael Harrington, then Chairman of the Socialist Party, broke with the Schachtman group. Before leaving the party and founding what became the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, he formed an opposition caucus....

[T]he meaning of the term neoconservative has shifted since the 1970s. Today the word describes all rightist advocates of a strongly interventionist approach to world affairs, regardless of philosophy or past beliefs. Among them the neocons of the 1970s and their successors are only one segment, and at that one whose role is limited to theorizing and advocacy. The men who ordered armies into Iraq are a different group with different backgrounds -- the most scholarly among them, Paul Wolfowitz, is an intellectual heir of the elitist philosopher Leo Strauss.

Does this mean that this cheer for the Reed College rugby team, circa 1980, was actually a precursor to our Iraqi intervention?

Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky,
We're the team that's really hotsky!


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