Are the war on terror and the war on drugs neoTrotskyesque?
July 10, 2004 1:07 AM   Subscribe

BushTrotsky? To my non-historian eyes, the war on terror and to some extent the war on drugs strike me as neotrotskyesque. Is this a fair characterization, or have other political philosophers advanced a theory more similar to the current trends in modern US "war"?
posted by Kwantsar to Law & Government (5 answers total)
So you're basically asking if it would be unwise of our Presidente to retire to Mexico?

It's not likely that anyone in this neck of the woods would notice the parallel you propose since it would involve equating their pal Leon with their un-pal George.
posted by jfuller at 6:27 AM on July 10, 2004

The parallel seems very weak. The War On Terror has nothing to do with social or political change. It's just a simple label placed on something complex. Politicians love simple, emotive labels.

The telling proof that "The War On Terror" is just a feel good sound bite is Bush's claim that Iraq is it's focus. It would be as if the focus of the permanent revolution was invading Sweden.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:50 AM on July 10, 2004

A state of permanent revolution can with more justice be called Maoist since, though both missed by millions of miles, Mao came slightly closer to achieving it than Leon did.

However, its (theoretical) permanence isn't what makes one want to equate it with the state of permanent idiot turmoil of which all the current wars on (terror, drugs, the Great Satan, whatever) are instances.

Rather, it's the resultant idiot turmoil caused by attempts to reify theoretical constructs like "permanent revolution" that make them such obvious blood brothers to the wars of George, the wars of Osama, and so on.
posted by jfuller at 7:36 AM on July 10, 2004

IMO it's a waste of time looking at "theories of history". Yes, Hegal did it. Yes, Marx did it. And ultimatly they were wrong, the approach is fundamentally flawed. Rather, examine the facts of history and come to conclusions based on and supported by those facts.. do not come to conclusions first then cherry pick the facts that make the theory work.
posted by stbalbach at 10:00 PM on July 10, 2004

I actually was thinking about this recently and though I don't see the same parallels with Trotskyism Kwantsar is asking about, I do see one. Trotskyites seem to have the annoying idea that they should joing large leftist parties and gain power within them as a vanguard party, finally turning the chosen party into a fully Trotskyite party. I think it actually is part of their political philosophy (extending being a vanguard party into being a vanguard caucus of a party that wishes to assume a position of possibly undemocratic power in the party).

Anyway, many neoconservatives are former Trotskyites or were heavily influenced by Trotskyism. Thus I often have a feeling that neoconservatives, while having changed their politics, have kept the same strategies and have succeeded in taking over the Republican party and reaching its positions of power, turning it into a revolutionary party in terms of its approach to international affairs. Rather like attempts made by small groups of Trotskyites in the Labour party, who were quite soundly defeated.

As a small note to this, yes, I know this attempt at party influence occurs often, from all political movements, but I am under the impression that with many Trotskyites it is a deliberate goal upon entering the party (i.e., this is just a front for our further goals). Please do correct me if I am mistaken.
posted by Gnatcho at 11:25 PM on July 10, 2004

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