I sent this letter to the Morning Star back in January. They published it, albeit in a slightly edited form. It produced some truly Jesuitical responses, attempting to explain why the Falklanders do not have the right to self-detemination. Extraordinary, isn’t it, how sections of the “left” are so ready to tie themselves up in knots in order to justify the denial of basic democracy to ordinary people..?
Above: he has the right to be a prat.
Neither John Wight in his article on the Falklands (M Star January 7) nor Mike Starke in his letter (M Star January 9) address the central issue for socialists and consistent democrats: the right of the Islanders to self-determination.
The Islanders are a distinct historical, ethnic, linguistic economic and geographic community 400 miles from Argentina. They exploit no other community, threaten no other community, have not dispossessed any other community and are not being used, and are not likely to be used, as a base for imperialist control of any other community.
The Falkanders’ right to self-determination cannot be invalidated by their desire to adhere to Britain: that desire would only be of significance if it resulted in direct imperialist / colonial consequences for the people of Argentina – and no-one, including President Kirchner, has been able demononstrate any practical (as opposed to demagogic) way in which that is the case.
Mike Starke at least acknowledges that Argentina’s claim to be an “anti colonial” force in this situation is somewhat incredible, given the fact that it only exists as a result of European settlers, mainly Spanish and Italian, having vitually wiped out the native population. Argentina’s “claim” to the Falklands rests on a few years of formal possession in the 1830’s by a garrison sent to establish a penal settlement! There never was an indigenous population there.
Galtieri’s 1982 invasion did not liberate anyone from colonialism or imperialism. It did not lessen the burden of imperialist exploitation, or improve the conditions for the fight against it, for a single Argentine worker. Kirchner’s government may be somewhat less reactionary than the fascistic Galtieri regime, but her posturing over the Fallkands is just as contrived – a cynical ploy to divert the Argentine masses at a time of economic crisis at home.
Argentina is a developed bourgeois state and possesses political independence. It also occupies a subordinate rank within the imperialist world economy. That subordination, however, in no way gives any progressive character to the Argentine ruling class and their mini-imperialist designs on the Falklands and its harmless population.
John Wight, like too many British leftists, is engaging in a fantasy “let’s pretend” “anti imperialism” that in fact makes him an apologist for the regime and a vicarius Argentine chauvinist.