YA BASTA! - and French & German strikes & other musings

Zeynep Tufekcioglu zeynept at turk.net
Thu Jun 6 03:21:22 MDT 1996

Hi Listfolk,

I recently attended the 1st Intercontinental Encounter Against
Neo-Liberalism for a Humane Society, in Berlin. There were 1000 participants
>from all over Europe and Latin America. There were two types of
participants. As the conference was called by the EZLN, some were there from
a humanatarian stand-point, "let's do something for the indigenous peoples
of Mexico", and some of course because of the appeal of charismatic Marcos
with the ski-mask. There were also many Europeans who had taken part in the
strikes in France, and the struggles in Germany and elsewhere against
Maastricht and neo-liberal policies.

I came back with a lot of questions and insights. Wanted to share a few.

1- European communists seems to share the "tide is not turning" sentiment
expressed in the list, in the political sense. Though also, they seemed to
accept the economic argument that the end of the sustainability of the
welfare-state keynesian policies was going to have profound consequences.
They seemed not to have any hope for the left, and in themselves. So,
funnily, it was pessimism of the will and optimism of the intellect that
seemed predominant. Hmmm.

2- Continuing from (1) above, as per the poor state of the left, the workers
involved in the strikes kept emphasising -self-organisation-, -autonomy-,
-distance from political parties-. I discussed with them that workers'
always "self-organise", and pointed how they wanted to solve the problems of
continuity as self-organised committees that spring up in each strike
dissolve and fizzle out, and then the highly organised, patient and planning
bourgeois state reintroduces the same policies it was defeated about, in
bits and pieces. How do we connect riot with revolution? Interesting
arguments came up. They had not problems with the idea of a leninist-type of
a vanguard emerging, as long as it was dynamic and always reshaping itself,
in line with the struggle, in the struggle. They, I think, rightly mistrust,
communists that confuse politics with the ability to act as prophets. Hmmm.

3- The EZLN's guerilla strategy, is very interesting. I urge especially
Adolfo and those interested in Peru and Latin America to look into it. Their
explicit rejection of caudillismo type warfare, and the path they claim to
have taken before taking up arms, and the way they fuse communal habits and
way of life of the indigenous people with a democratic machinery is worth
thinking about. The EZLN does not claim to be marxist, but this obviously
does not undermine the value of understanding their experience. Hmmm.

4- My belief, expressed some time ago in a post, that the time is ripe for a
heteregenous "International" like the 1st, and not the 2nd or 3rd, (or
versions of the 4th) and it suited the politics of the decade found
acceptance among many I had talked to. A regrouping and realignment of the
left, along revolutionary left/ reformist-system confined- left, rather than
the  Pro-Soviet Union/ Maoist/ Trotskyist/ Euro-communist/ Revolutionary
Democratic/ Anarchist divisions of the last 30 years resonated well among
many. Hmmm.

There are of course many other questions that were raised, particularly
concerning the economics and politics of "neo-liberalism", and around the
definition of the term. Maybe I'll post later more about the arguments we've


(I can't help it ;-) Persistent Jazz and Blues threaders who don't want to
get involved in the debate: If ever the winds of life take you to Berlin,
the name of the game is Quasimodo. Kantstrasse 12a. Go basement.)

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