the degenerated workers state and yugoslavia

tgs at tgs at
Thu Nov 3 20:26:30 MST 1994

Whoa, Pete!
Yea, I remember you now. That bright young Althusserian guy.
I never said, and  I certainly do not believe, that Yugoslavia is a creation
of the imperialist powers.  Nor do I believe that attacks on Stalinism
tantamount to attacks on imperialism, nor that any part of the former
Yugoslavia is right now even a degenerated workers' state (in your language,
"Stalinist").  As a genuine Trotskyist, I am for the political overthrow
of any and all Stalinist bureacrats by the workers, yet am for the defense of the
workers' STATES (which is by no means the same as the bureaucracy, but consists
rather of the collectivized social relations) from imperialism.
NOr do I seek to downplay the role of nationalism.
What I do seek to do is to critically examine the current models of Stalinism
which now operate ideologically (this word familiar?) to put Schachtmanites and
to a much lesser extent state-cappers into the position of being stooges for
imperial genocide or even consumers of imperialist fantasies of Serbia as

Your althusserian conjuncturalism has gotten you into trouble once again, ol'
Pete.  (For a solid critique, see Trotsky's IN DEFENSE OF MARXISM, where he
attacks it in Schachtman).  I am freely willing to admit the role of nationalism
in Yugoslavia.  But please inform me how all that theoretical comprehension
of the "nationalist moment in the conjuncture" translates into PRAXIS?!
So as to not in any way at all be culpable for "downplaying" this incredibly
important theoretical moment, should I erase from my memory the much more
crucial idea that the imperialists are guilty until proven innocent?  Should
I assume, as is so common with Althusserians and Schachtmanites these days,
that any and all culpabillity pointed at the imperialists must simply be
unsophisticated "conspiracy theory," the product of an overactive Lacanian
Imaginary, or a overcredulous acceptance of Stalinist propaganda?  Should
i take up arms against these immoral Serbs instead, as you yourself so
moralistically term them, by arguing that the Serbian "people" have made
themselves "responsible" for the carnage by "choosing" to be nationalist?
This is moralism bordering on racism.

Unless we talk about the practical significance of our theories, and pretend
instead, as with Althusser-Schachtman, to be sit in our armchairs above all that,
we land ourselves in all kinds of frightful theoretical contradictions.  LIke
offering moralistic and well-nigh racist arguments about the Serbs natural-
born propensity for carnage, all in the name of anti-moralistic "theory."
We will end up on the wrong side, by failing to identify who are the real
culprits.  I certainly blaming the imperialists, and even the nationalist
LEADERS for this conflict.  But when you start holding the PEOPLE morally
responsible, you not only leave yourself no constitutency with which to work
AGAINST THE WAR, (besides the imperialists, of course) Your "discourse" also borders on racism.


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