involution in peru

Michael Luftmensch MLuftmensch at hubcap.mlnet.com
Mon Apr 8 09:49:34 MDT 1996


involution in peru

A couple of years ago, I saw a film in which a group of medieval
English peasants, fleeing the onset of the plague, tunnel through
the Earth and emerge in late 20th century New Zealand. I thought
of the film in relation to the use of the term "semi-feudal" in PCP
propaganda to  describe conditions in Peru.

A form of feudalism in which foreign-owned electricity pylons dot
the countryside and peasants are thrown into a panic by the fall of
prices on the international market - to say nothing of the existence
of a capital city inhabited by eight million people - has more in
common with the surreality of the film than that distinctly European
socio-economic formation known as feudalism.

500 years ago, the Spanish conquered the Inca empire and yoked
Peru into the emerging world market. While many pre-capitalist
modes of production persisted after the conquest, the relations of
production can in no way be identified as feudal.

The question why the most *developed* areas in the pre-conquest
Americas are today the most *underdeveloped* while those areas
which were the most *undeveloped* are now the most *overdeveloped*
is one that can only be answered in reference to the capitalist world market.


By using the term "semi-feudal" that question is neatly avoided - and
by extension, the global context of historical and contemporary conditions
in Peru. "Strategic equilibrium" - a recurrent theme in PCP
propaganda - can only make sense if the borders of Peru are reified
and the rest of the world put in brackets.

This seems to be an ideological recipe for involution.

When questioned about how a PCP government could  defend Peru
>from the pressure of international finance
capital, Adolfo Olaechea angrily wrote to me (on March 2):

"Of course International finance capital can cause problems to any
nation by disrupting a good number of the necessary elements to put
the country back on its feet  (deny industrial replacements, foreign
exchange to purchase them, etc. etc..  That is why our faith in the
CREATIVE POWER OF THE MASSES is boundless."

So much for marxian materialism.

- michael luftmensch

postscript

The Lesson of Cambodia

"In our view, the lesson of Cambodia is quite essential, because
it occurred in a country whose structures and situation are highly
reminiscent of those of the average African country and some regions
of Asia. Thus the victorious strategy of our Cambodian comrades must
be systematically compared with those advocated elsewhere... The
revolutionary experience of Cambodia demonstrates a correct
assessment of the hierarchy of contradictions specific to that type
of society... The lesson of revolutionary strategy they have given us
in doubtless the most relevant one for most of the countries of Africa."
- The Lesson of Cambodia, by Samir Amin, *1977*




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