Socialism in a backward country - II

Zeynep Tufekcioglu zeynept at
Sun Apr 28 17:03:18 MDT 1996

But, the revolution again will happen in similar countries. That is because
of the character of imperialism. Engels had noted that it would be more
difficult to have a revolution in Britain, but easier to sustain it. (Sorry,
I don't remember where he said that). Would we tell the Russian
revolutionaries of '17 to wait until capitalism was developed enough? Do we
tell the Peruvians, "don't try folks, you'll be embargoed out of existence".
Do we turn our backs on the Kurdish revolutionaries because they are so very
backward in many ways (they have a leadership cult, don't have a democratic
culture at all, only recently have accepted women as partners after so many
young women took up the fight among their ranks, ...)

This is our tragedy. Revolutions are not clean events. I think one of the
basic things wrong with Trotksy is that he explains everything. But, the
explanation does not work, because his solutions are not rejected simply
because he couldn't convince people. Trotsky, not as a person, but as a
historical alternative did not work out in the conditions prevailed in the
Soviet Union of that time.

I'll concede that Marx didn't work out in terms of "socialism in a backward
country" either, and I'll concede that Trotsky is closer to Marx on the
issue. The basic difference is that, revolutions do happen in "backward

Immediately, I'm expecting this response "well the Soviet Union did not push
for a world revolution, which would change all that". It may not have, but I
think at least in Lenin's time it did. Doesn't matter. Revolutions don't
happen or not happen because of external pressure, help, solidarity, stance.
They are mainly due to internal dynamics. (That is why I wrote in a previous
post the continuing importance of the nation-state. That is still the link
we face). It wouldn't have mattered if the Soviet Union, say, took a
different stance, and "did all it could" to advance the world revolution,
whatever that could be.

>As for 'concentrating on postrevolutionary contradictions' now, I think we
>should concentrate on the struggles in hand in relation to the
>revolutionary transformation of society, without forgetting that our
>present methods of work have implications for developments after a
>revolution. This is a big difference of emphasis.

I meant to emphasise just as you did. I care about the *current*
implications of post-revolutionary contradictions. What can we do *now* to
avoid them, as much as possible. Might have misstated.

I think what I said in my introductory post now makes sense:
"I tend to feel for many other third-world non-marxist revolutionaries or
schools of thought, which sometimes seem "crude" and "too black and white"
to Marxists from Western countries".

You see, I can imagine what would happen if and when a revolution takes
place here. It ain't going to be "Gotha-Erfurt" in Turkish. I truly wish it

For example, I am following the gay-liberation debate with sorrow. The word
"gay" is as insulting as you can get here. I am personally very outspoken
about the subject, and usually draw incredible reaction for my position. I
usually get "well, you are such a nice person in other manners, how can you
support such a 'deviation'". If there were a revolution, the laws about the
prosecution of people for sexual preferences could be abolished. But,
attitudes would probably remain as strong for a generation at least. I have
close friends, who dare not use the term as an insult in my presence anymore
because I throw a tantrum, but I know even they are not convinced. I don't
know of one revolutionary who openly acknowledges being gay, and I can't
blame them, because it might be the end of politics for them. There are many
other issues like this, where the fibre of the society I live in and try to
transform is very different than our "ideal". Listing all the things we'd
like to happen does not help. There has to be priorities, and there are
problems that can only be solved maybe after many generations, and in the
meantime, there will be "patriotism", "leadership cults", "machoism"...

"Men -hey Marx, and women- make their own history, but they don't make it
just as they please, they don't make it under circumstances chosen by
themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and
transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs
like a nightmare on the brain of the living." (Marx, 18th Brumaire)

If the revolutionaries from the imperialist/developed countries wish to have
their revolution first, and spare us the agony of trying to build socialism
under these conditions, please do so. If anyone convinces me that it is
possible to have a revolution in England, or Sweden, or Germany, or US
before one in Turkey, and that a revolution in Turkey would be doomed, just
as the Russian was because of the backwardness, I hereby announce and
promise that I will immediately move to that country, convince as many of my
comrades as possible to come with me, learn the language and work there.

So far, I've been spared in this list. Now, I get it don't I :-).


>Finally, for now, in relation to funding revolutionary work. Would Zeynep
>see it as wrong for a revolutionary party to 'tax' organized crime if it
>had the social power to take some of the gangsters' money, but not enough
>to eradicate them?

I don't know. After writing this post, I'm in a mood to join the mafia.

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