Rahul and Adolfo on small capitalists

Rahul Mahajan rahul at peaches.ph.utexas.edu
Sat Jun 1 16:25:15 MDT 1996


Hugh, I suppose my disagreement wasn't actually violent, since I know what
will happen if I start another war with Adolfo. I haven't actually
responded to his response, where I was going to be more forceful. I believe
I stated my views unequivocally, though:

Thus, the idea of collaboration with the national bourgeoisie is
hopelessly outmoded, inapplicable to socialist revolution, and inapplicable
to most countries in any way.

However, I didn't supply enough background for you to decide it's a
principled objection, and I doubt it would be by your definitions. What we
were talking about was not the final goal, which is not merely
expropriation of the expropriators but freeing humanity from the tyranny of
money, but rather pragmatic questions of how to fight the revolutionary
fight. From what I have seen, any invocation of pragmatism in this arena
would to you be fundamentally unprincipled. My position is that trying to
court the bourgeoisie to support a socialist revolution is one that has
been tried many times, and every time it was more trouble than it could
conceivably have been worth. In fact, it was generally the primary factor
in the failure of the reolution (Spain being the obvious case in point).
Furthermore, I think there are clear and simple reasons for this, and that
it is not an accident of one or two or half a dozen historical
circumstances.

I don't think however that we addressed the question of the petty
bourgeoisie. If you're using this term in its full generality, to include
vegetable hawkers on city streets and small-scale peasants, then I can't
possibly agree either that they shouldn't be an integral part of the
revolution or that one of the primary goals is to expropriate them. A
person who owns a sweatshop that employs 10 or 15 people is in a completely
different class from the above, even though the same term is used for all
three of these types, and also for high-powered corporate lawyers and
university professors.

I'd like to change society all the way instead of half or a quarter of the
way, too, but that's never happened and I'm not sure it ever will. The
closest, I suppose, were some of the Spanish collectives, but they never
solved the problem of how to defend themselves either from Franco or from
the Republic.

Rahul




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