A few thoughts about morality and methods
zeynept at turk.net
Sun Apr 28 00:07:47 MDT 1996
>What I'm trying to get at is the Marxist implications of illegal (by
>western standards) economies. Clearly the opponents of the PCP have attempted
>to taint their movement with narco-connection propaganda, so there is no need
>to get in to any defense of that group here. I just can't resolve the
>question whether revolutionaries should be bound by moralities (against
>opium, coca, marijuana, etc.) that may be the product of a market created by
>bourgeois oppression of the industrial proletariat.
>Can a revolutionary movement legitimately use an illicit economy as a
>weapon against capital and/or a way to feed and clothe the revolution?
I didn't argue the "What if Peru.." case, for reasons stated in previous
post. The question raised here, is different and I wanted to separately
Dispair and Agony! After three attempts at trying to spell separately
correctly: Somebody tell me where I can get a e-mail program *with* a spell
checker. English is a bloody complicated language in terms of spelling, not
my native tongue either, to make matters worse. How do you all live with
this? Except Malecki who seems not to care about it :-)
This for me boils down to another problem, of "means and ends". The issue is
raised in several other posts, "everything that advances the revolution is..."
I think, questions as "if torture advanced the revolution, would you use it"
are wrong, because it is like saying, "would you commit suicide to save your
life" or something. Everything that advances the revolution is intrisinctly
linked with the revolution and what you are aiming at. How you behave and
think are interdependent. (I think this quote is from Althusser, not sure,
but it goes as "if you want to believe in god, *first* kneel and start
This is an important issue, not just because it feels good to feel one is
good. Socialism is and must be a shift of the basic paradigm of life.
Revolutionary struggle under capitalism and socialism involve this shift in
paradigm in different ways obviously.
Revolutionary struggle's shift in methods and means is bound to be
restricted, but knowing this should not be an acceptance of it. Above all,
you are fighting a capitalist system, which you are a product of -and we are
all products of it, tainted with its shaping of us no matter how we try to
resist-. It is like trying to lift oneself from the bootstraps, and I think,
unfortunately, one of the biggest dilemnas that face revolutionaries before
and after the revolution.
This is an important aspect of Soviet Union's failure. One shouldn't compete
with capitalism say, in terms of tons of steel produced, but maybe in terms
of free time of the workers, social development of all, participatory
decision making, equality for everyone...
I know we can't eat equality and participatory decision making. But, if
socialism is a superior system, the collective planning processes, the
declining of alienation, the lack of social loss due to market anarchy
should mean a better, more productive system as a whole (again productive
not in the capitalist sense of the word).
This may sound crazy, but this problem worries me more than whether a
revolution is possible or not. I really believe the capitalists will destroy
the world, maybe even in my life time, if there is no revolution. Capitalism
periodically dives into crises and causes so much human misery, it will
collapse into "revolutionary situations" even if there are no
revolutionaries. And there will be revolutions, whatever the form and content.
But, how does a society, born out of thousands of years of class societies
(that is the difference between the transition between all the previous
systems -all were class based- and socialism), give birth to a fresh
society, that walks a new road. Btw, I think that is how we should try to
analyse and argue about the Soviet Union, China and Cuba, to identify the
painful contradictions and pulls of the transition- not to fish out which
fellow among us is a "Stalinist" or not.
And practically, we should concentrate on the current implications of the
post-revolution contradictions on todays pre-revolution struggle.
Finally, a last note: For example drug smuggling, pornography and
prostitution would be out as ways to "feed and cloth" the revolution. But,
if the Peruvian revolutionaries want to print counterfeit Dollars, I ain't
MAY DAY INFO: May Day in a few days! This is a big issue here. Outlawed
since 1980, 75 killed in the 1977 march, house arrest for *everyone* (yes,
the whole population) in 1978, outlawed since 1980 military coup, we took to
the streets anyway since 1988, one young worker killed by the police in
1989, a young woman paralysed by a police bullet in 90, up to a few thousand
people detained every year, a lot of injuries of course! Now, they allow
legal rallies, but not where it is traditionally celebrated -the place of
the 1977 massacre-, and workers and revolutionaries force what we call
"pirate" rallies there, clashes, clashes, clashes. Tense week for us, they
start detaining people a few days *before* (they got smarter) and release on
the 2nd or 3rd. Is it like this anywhere else?
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