Populism

Walter Daum WGDCC at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU
Fri Feb 17 12:44:54 MST 1995


On Fri, 17 Feb 1995 11:12:16 -0600 (CST) Christopher A Fons said:
>
>	On Doug's other point about socialization of production and the
>technological advances that capitalism has brought about and that we should
>applaud, Bill Warren would be proud.  If we do take this position (which I
>am very sympathetic with) does it not lead to politically difficult
>positions.  For example could not the reasoning follow that because the
>Zapatistas are fighting primarily for land for petty producers should we
>support agra-buisnesses that revolutionize production and eliminate the
>reactionary peasantry or because NAFTA is going to crush the fuedal like
>corpratist Mexican state should we support it?

True, Marxism has defended the advance of the productive forces, and therefore
technological advances. But the productive forces are not simply technological.
A key force of production is the mass proletariat, whose development is most
crucial for the socialist future of humanity. For this the proletariat must
develop not only numerically and organizationally, but also consciously,
through struggle. In Marx's view that is how it learns to achieve its
revolutionary needs and fit itself for power.

The modern proletariat is also the inheritor of the achievements and struggles
of all the oppressed peoples and exploited classes throughout history, as with
the peasant-based armies of Zapata and Villa in the Mexican Revolution. And it
must continue to do so, as with the Zapatista army today. The EZLN appears to
still have illusions that it can successfully pressure the PRI and the
capitalist state into yielding major concessions. It does not see the
centrality of the proletariat for the "socialism, only better than Cuba" that
it has called for.

That means that Marxists have to criticize the EZLN strategy while supporting
their struggle. The implication that the other side should be supported -- the
Mexican government, voracious capitalists, Wall St, the U.S. ruling class and
all -- would be totally foreign to the spirit of supporting social progress.

Walter Daum <wgdcc at cunyvm.cuny.edu>


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