Nicaragua, socialism and Sandanistas

Andy Daitsman adaitsma at
Tue Jul 11 12:24:46 MDT 1995

I'll save Jim the trouble of answering at least Louis's first question...

>On Sat, 8 Jul 1995, Jim Jaszewski wrote:
>> 	Considering the abysmal result of the above attempts at reaching
>> socialism thru 'gradual reform' of capitalism, it seems pretty reasonable
>> to suggest that the 'tercera' way will only be doomed to further failure
>Louis Proyect:
>Please excuse my ignorance, but I am not sure what 'tercera' means. Could
>you provide some words of wisdom on that this 'tercera' thing is and why
>it's doomed to failure.

Tercera is the feminine form of the Spanish word meaning "third".  In this
context, Jim could be referring to one of two things: 1) the Sandinista
"Tercerista" or Insurrectionist tendency, one of the three factions into
which the FSLN split in the mid-70s.  As I mentioned a while back, the other
two tendencies were called "Prolonged People's War" and the "Proletarian"
Tendency, both of which give a pretty good indication of their politics by
their name.  The Terceristas, headed by the Ortega brothers, contended that
Nicaragua was ripe for a popular insurrection in the mid- to late 70s, and
set out to incorporate the anti-Somocista bourgeoisie into a revolutionary
coalition.  In terms of strategies for seizing power, the Terceristas are
generally recognized as having been correct.  An early success was the
creation of the Group of Twelve, prominent intellectuals and businessmen
including future vice president Sergio Ramirez, the banker and future contra
Arturo Cruz, if I'm not mistaken Alfonso Robelo, a member of the first Junta
de Gobierno and later a contra, was also in the Group of Twelve.  In the
long run, too, the Sandinista revolution was in effect a popular
insurrection.   It was because the Tercerista strategy resulted in a
revolution that they took over the most important positions in the
revolutionary government--president, vice president, and commander in chief
of the army.  Borge, from Prolonged People's War, got the Ministry of the
Interior, and Wheelock from the Proletarios took the Ministry of Agriculture.

Now, Jim could also be referring to "la tercera via, ni capitalista ni
socialista" (the third path, neither capitalist nor socialist).  This is a
politics more closely associated with Latin American Christian Democracy
(normally understood as center-right) than it is with the left.  As should
be clear from my debate with Jerry, I'd hesitate to apply this label to the

>Also, could you please enumerate the most important steps you took as a
>US citizen to stop imperialism's war on Sandinista Nicaragua while the
>FSLN was in power?

Ah hell, I'll take a stab at it (even though I think it's a little unfair).

All I did was learn Spanish, go to Nicaragua on a work brigade, attend an
international peace conference in Managua (where I read the US delegation's
formal address cause the person who was supposed to do it was sick), go to
grad school in Latin American history, and write a masters' thesis on
revolutionary Nicaragua.  But unlike the brave comrades who sacrificed the
better part of their youth to stop the US invasion of El Salvador, I didn't
devote my life to defending the Nicaraguan revolution.  Maybe if some of us
had, things would have turned out different...


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