Academic SWP’er: rape with a broken bottle “an unwarranted excess”

March 20, 2007 at 1:27 am (Jim D)

More anti-imperialism from that font of Marxist profundity, Mr Richard “Lenny-Lenin” Seymour (this time about the heroic Iraqi “resistance” that he and his organisation, the “S” WP,  discretely support ; scroll down to the entry for March 18th: “Resistance , tactics and goals”):

“…a women rumoured to be a police agent is beaten, stoned, set on fire and raped with a broken bottle. I have no idea if this is true, but even so assume that it is: it is reasonable to conclude that in the course of a legitimate struggle, this was an unwarranted excess“.

He’s a tough guy and a principled anti-imperialist, that Mr “Lenin”, isn’t he? I’m sure all the women comrades would agree?

Correction and clarification (it is the policy of Shiraz Socialist to correct significant errors as soon as possible): since writing the above, it has been drawn to my attention (by Jules in the comments box), that the report of the rape and murder of an alleged police informer described above, comes from South Africa and was cited in Norman Geras’s 1989 essay “Our morals: the ethics of revolution”. My piece gives the false impression that this is a recent report from Iraq and has lead to at least one fellow-blogger (our friend ‘TWP’ over at Unknown Conscience), in all innocence, reporting it as such.

In mitigation, I would point out that Lenny “Lenin”‘s piece on “Lenin’s Tomb”, does not make it clear that the rape story comes from Geras (it is immediately preceded by an attributed quote from Geras, but the rape story is not obviously part of the Geras quote, and looks as though it’s Lenny himself commenting on a recent event).  And as the entire raison d’etra of the Lenny “Lenin” piece is to justify his support for the Iraqi resistance, I assumed that was what he was on about.

As sections of the Iraqi “resistance” (notably the Sadre movement) do have a record of savage attacks on women, and given that the phrase “unwarranted excess” is Lenny “L”‘s own choice of words to describe the rape/murder incident, I think my essental point stands. But don’t take my word for it: I’ve provided a link to the “Lenin’s Tomb” article, above. You can judge for yourself. 


  1. said,

    Lenin’s Tomb is disgusting, have they glorified that chlorine gas attack by the “resistance” yet?

    or was that too excessive as well??

    I wonder if the penny has finally dropped with some SWPers that their “noble and heroic” resistance are a pile of reactionary thugs and murderers?

    or is this just a bit of window dressing??

    what say you, JohnG? tell us the line on chlorine gas attacks, where do they fit in to the anti-imperialist struggle? above or below beheading and kidnappings?

  2. voltaires_priest said,

    If he thinks that’s just an “unwarranted excess”, I wonder what he considers “reasonable”?

  3. twp77 said,

    Wow… I’m really speechless….. And that doesn’t happen very often…

  4. Jules said,

    Misreading guys. Lenny was not talking about the resistance in Iraq. The example quoted above referred to an alleged “excess” by an ANC member in the struggle against aparthied. The example comes from a Norman Geras essay ‘Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution’.

    What Lenny was arguing was that such unwarrented excesses do not by themselves invalidate an entire struggle. In the case of the ANC it would be hard to argue with that wouldn’t it?

  5. twp77 said,

    Ok – not so speechless – see the response on my blog:

  6. Jim Denham said,

    You’re right, Jules, that the example Lenny “Lenin” cites came orginally from an essay by Norm Geras and was in relation to South Africa: but if you read Symour’s article, it is clear that he is using it in the context of support for the Iraqi “resistance” (sections of which have commited comparable atrocities on women) – and using it in the context of *support* for people who commit such atrocities in Iraq. The phrase “unwarranted excess” is also Seymour’s choice of words, not Geras’s. It is clear, from the context that those words are an accurate description of Symour’s atitude to such atrocities.
    My view, for what it is worth, is that *any* movement, whatever its osensible objectives, that deliberately targets, victimises and aims for the oppression of 50% of humanity, simply cannot be supported. The ANC had no policy of oppressing women: the Islamist “resistance” in Iraq does.

  7. twp77 said,

    Thanks for the clarification Jim. I think that the points made are still valid as the discussion is indeed about the Iraqi “resistance”. The only misunderstanding was that the example he used was from SA and not Iraq. However, it appears to me that his position would stand for all ‘resistance” movements and this is the context in which he used it – to defend the Iraqi “resistance” – but as you say, people can read it for themselves and decide.

  8. johng said,

    I can remember meeting people who had seen young activists butchered by MDC activists and burnt alive. This took place on a large scale. I still supported the MDC against the South African state. Has anyone read Alex Hornes ‘A savage war of Peace?’. There might be people here who never support armed struggle. Thats a legitimate position. But for those who don’t they have no reason to object to Lenin’s terminology. The only real difference is because sections of the resistance are islamist some people here think the same rules don’t apply. The majority of the left disagree with this. So, once again, why is honest argument impossible with you people?

  9. voltaires_priest said,

    Well, the majority of the SWP and global stalinists “disagree with this”, anyway.

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