From the present issue of the Weekly Worker
“Given the AWL’s position of not condemning Israel were it to launch an attack on Iran, I was interested to see what they would have to say about Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia and the Russian response.
“After all, this is an organisation that advocates the right of self-determination for Tibet and for Kosovo without regard for what the consequences of that might be for workers’ unity in these areas, and which puts forward no programme based on proletarian internationalism as a means of resolving these issues. It is an organisation that in the case of Kosovo considered the issue was so important that it thought that the bombing and cruise missile attacks on Belgrade by US imperialism were “good” in trying to bring an end to them. Surely, an organisation that tells us it is one of “consistent democrats” would be consistently democratic in condemning Georgia’s ethnic cleansing of South Ossetia, and would tell us that the Russian response was “good” to stop it, wouldn’t it?
“Well, actually, no. Almost a week went by before the AWL could find words to give us a “provisional” response. In the meantime, long-time AWL cadre Jim Denham did come out with a response fairly quickly in his Shiraz Socialist blog. But rather than condemning Georgia’s murderous attacks on South Ossetia, which the United Nations now says have created around 150,000 refugees or about half the South Ossetian population, he quotes from an article by David Clark in The Guardian, which says: “By any reasonable measure, the impact of Russian policy has been uniquely destructive in generating political divisions in the Caucasus … Whatever his faults, [Georgian president] Saakashvili is no Milosevic – and wild Russian allegations of genocide have no independent support.”
“Denham tells us that he finds this argument “a lot more convincing than the crazed anti-American conspiracy theories and pro-Putin triumphalism”. In other words, it is a blatant attempt to minimise the murderous attacks by Georgia on South Ossetia. Worse, even after TV had been showing pictures of the devastation in South Ossetia caused by the Georgian action, and the vast number of refugees forced to seek refuge in Russia, Denham argued with me: “Arthur: all your last statement is just bullshit and bluster (as I suspect, you know full well): even if (as I don’t, in fact, believe) what you say about Georgia’s role in South Ossetia is true, it still doesn’t justify Russia’s actions …”
“But the incident is a good example of AWL politics. Denham later suggested that I was in some way afraid to reply to him. When I pointed out that the reason I had only just then replied was that that was the first I had seen of his posts, Denham accused me of lying. This was followed by the now usual AWL bureaucratic tactic of suppressing an argument if you can’t defeat it, and a threat to ban me from the site – I’d only ever posted a handful of posts there anyway – in addition to the AWL’s previous decision to delete my posts from their website.
“This is now clearly a very degenerate Stalinist organisation. Trotsky called Stalinism “the syphilis of the labour movement”. We should treat the AWL accordingly.
Jim D replies: At risk of opening up another futile row with this lunatic, I repeat: where and when have I (or anyone else on the left) ever defended Georgian actions in South Ossetia? The liar Bough cannot produce one single shred of evidence.
Bough: I defy you – once again – to find a single quote. Chapter and verse, please.
You are, quite simply a liar. Or a lunatic. Or both.
PS: What do you think about reports of Russian-inspired ethnic cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia?