Is Liberation Theology reactionary?

CEP iwp.ilo at ix.netcom.com
Wed Nov 22 18:13:15 MST 1995


You wrote: 
>
>Some people on the list have in effect tried to refute the progressive
>character of Christian Liberation Theology by pointing to the huge 
number
>of former proponents of LT (or in some cases apparently current
>adherents) who in the end have joined bourgeois establishment parties.
>      The trouble with such a line of argument is that by the same 
token
>you'll discredit Marxism. Need I elaborate? In Spain (e.g.) A great 
many (sniped)

    Carlos Replies:

    Sure, individuals joining the other side do not constitute a good
    reason for judging the faction they came from.... however, if they  
    do it in "huge" numbers (as you yourself recognized) and/or as I    
    stated in my posting before THEY DID IT AS AN STRATEGY OF THE
    ENTIRE ORGANIZATION (MINUS FEW WHO DECIDED TO STAY IN "this" SIDE)
    THE QUE QUESTION IS ENTERILY DIFFERENT.

    In Latin America, for example, the tendency was one of TLers to
    move "in masse" to the right, building entire political bourgeois
    projects.  For example the Social and Democratic Christian parties
    in Argentina, El Salvador, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua ... should
    I continue?

    The other question is, I never said TL was "reactionary".  What I
    said is TL is absolutely 'NOT REVOLUTIONARY".  They went to all
    sides of the bourgeoi political spectrum: liberalism,               
    neo-liberalism, moderate conservatives and, yes, few times to
    reactionary politics.

    After more than thirty years of TL, let see what "Chrsitianism and
    Revolution", one of its most reknown magazines have to say as a 
    kind of "balance-sheet": "It is not doubt that TL is not a movement
    but an indea of individuals.  The experiences of the last 30 years
    has clearly indicated that without grasping the essence of          
    political, as class struggle, TL tended to assimilate to bourgeois
    politics.  Those proponents who opposse this overwhelming trend
    were expelled or quit the church out of despair" (November, 1993    
    issue).

    Now, about the question of the jesuit in our list.  I'm not one of
    those proposing to kick him out.  For me Marxism is a social        
    movement (not just an ideology or a program).  In that movement we
    have different wings: Stalinists, trotskyists, Maoists and          
    yes...maybe some religious types.  The question is, outside the box
    and the label, the issues that divide us still exist.  So, let's
    debate them. Moreover, let's debate what Marxism is.  Here is a
    brief definition I once read and agreed with:

    "Marxism is a historic social movement of the working class which
    main aim is to promote the mobilization of the working class, the
    establishment of its own political power and the develop
    ment of a socialist/communist society"  In that context,            
    "reformist" will argue for an interpretation of this movement that
    will obtain those goals through a series of, IMO, adaptations to
    bourgeois politics and estrategies and revolutionaries will argue
    in favor of a permanent mobilization of the working class and its
    allies, without any confidence in the bourgeoisie, to obtain the
    same end.  The ultimate division inside the Marxist movement is
    between these two poles, with several variants in the middle.

    Economic Marxist theory and Marxist ideology as well as Marxist
    logic (dialectical materialism) are the theoretical weapons         
    utilized, or at least they say they do, by all factions of the
    Marxist movement to defend their POLITICAL STRATEGIES.  The
    importance of that theoretical debate, then, is of the utmost 
    importance provided that is not disconnected of the Political
    discussion of the strategy of the Marxist movement to achieve its
    historic objectives.

    You wrote:

. There are times to sow and times to harvest. Times when
>it is easy to be a radical revolutionary and times when it is very 
hard
>to be even a moderate anti-market reformist (I beg your pardon, 
market-
>socialism enthusiasts).

    Carlos Replies:
    I don't agree.  There are not such times in which is easy to
    be a revolutionary.  It is always hard. As a matter of fact 
    get harder and harder when you are closer and closer to achieve
    your ends.  It is much harder to have the responsability of
    LEADING A REVOLUTION IN THEIR FINAL STEPS (1917) THAT IT IS TO
    BE A MARXIST DEBATER IN TIMES OF TOTAL DOMINATION OF CAPITALISM
    (AFTER ALL, IN THOSE CIRCUNSTANCES YOU ARE NOT A THREAT).

    Comradely,

    Carlos



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