Unified Field Theory (nee: Annual Jerk of the List Award,

Zeynep Tufekcioglu zeynept at turk.net
Tue Jun 18 00:55:28 MDT 1996

Re: People Compete
Re: Communism's Name
Re: Civil Society
Re: Zapatista threads
Re: "Genderscape" of the list
Re: List Ecology
Re: Civil Society
Re: Ya Basta! Berlin Conference
Re: ..

What's the connection?

Just this: I think the Marxist left, at least most in the west, has lost the
ability to claim to represent a total emancipatory thought and action. Women
seemed to find it inadequate;  guerrilla movements pop up trying to
disengage themselves from being called Marxists; the banner for ecology, a
subject that is fundamentally anti-capitalist is often carried by
wishy-washy liberals and petit-bourgeois folks; the working class in Europe
engages in biggest strikes for maybe a decade and where really is the left; ...

There are many reasons for this state of the affairs. I think a few points
are worth pondering over.

1-The unfortunate failure of the Soviet Union to create a new society and
the demise of the socialist system should have "unencumber" us to embrace
more the revolutionary essence of communist thought and action. The process
of failure has negatively affected the whole left, including Trotskyist and
Maoist left. Trotskyist and Maoist comrades may object, saying "no, we were
proven right, we are better for it." I say look around again. The whole left
is influenced by the same dynamics. Some of the diseases run in the family.

2- In the past, communists would be there in the forefront of any
resistance. Here, it is still so to some degree. We can't get permission to
legally organise say, an "Association Against Inflation." Ah, a communist
legal front, the state reacts, to my pleasure. So is it I guess in Peru. In
Philippines, maybe. I think, in the "North", groups that tried to get
involved in mass-movements found themselves losing their own identity within
the movement. Disintegrating within, instead of transforming themselves and
the movement.

3- We seem to have lost the ability of "concrete analysis of the concrete
situation". You can quote Lenin till you turn purple. Big deal. Why is it
left to the EZLN to be able to make such a concrete, unifying call for
resistance against "neo-liberalism". It is exactly what one should do, in
today's world, imo. Neo-liberalism's economic and political logic is best
construed by Marxism, and the only real possible call to rally is a
communist one. In the Berlin Intercontinental Conference against
Neo-Liberalism, I found the non-Marxist
left discussing real action, real problems, real people. The Marxist left
that bothered to turn up was reflecting how well this passage from
Grundrisse explains the alienation of today's worker. This is a bit
caricaturised, I admit. But, it was something like that.

This psychology of this list is interesting. It is illuminating, if to a
limited degree, to watch which threads do get picked up. I'm in most senses
and outsider to the Western Left. I don't know, I'm sometimes surprised.
Most of us speak the same Marxist language, so I can follow the
state-capitalism and Kronstadt and gang of four arguments etc. It is a bit
perplexing to me to see that some of our biggest concerns here do not come
up in the list. I follow the left in the West from other sources as well,
and my impression is that this list is a representative sub-sample.

Maybe more later.


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