Miller, Rodwell: Nicaragua, *not* El Salvador

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Sat May 4 16:44:43 MDT 1996

On Sat, 4 May 1996, Hugh Rodwell wrote:

> Can't get much more typically petty-bourgeois than that. Most especially in
> the lack of a strategy of their own. They follow the strategy of the great
> classes in society (this is Marx, not me), the bourgeoisie, the land-owners
> or the proletariat. In Nicaragua's case, the contradiction between a) the

Louis: This is just amazing. I spent a month putting together an analysis
of Nicaragua that had 4 parts:

--The Working-class

--The Agrarian Problem

--"Permanent Revolution" in Nicaragua?

--The counter-revolution in Nicaragua.

Everybody else except Rodwell, who was probably in a distracted state over
on Marxism 2 trying to recruit people to the 92nd incarnation of the "4th
International", read what I had to say and I don't see any need to

Basically I said:

1) The working-class was extremely small and that it was vastly
outnumbered by self-employed artisans, people in the informal sector and
the "subemployed". The working-class had nowhere near as much weight as it
did in the Cuban revolution, for example.

2) The agrarian situation was, as I have spent countless words trying to
explain, different from any other Central American country. In
Nicaragua, the major contradiction was not between land-starved campesino
and landed gentry, but between small and medium proprietors and the Somoza
dictatorship which exploited all of Nicaraguan society. This gave the
revolution a multiclass character. The petty-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie
played a much larger role than it did in El Salvador's popular struggle.
The murder of Violeta Chamorro's husband in cold blood was an event that
led to the distancing of US imperialism from the Somoza kleptocracy.
The obvious fact that you are unaware of any of this suggests that you
should find some time to read something about Nicaraguan history before
shooting off your mouth in a way that embarrasses you.

3) Permanent revolution was a "red herring" in Nicaragua since Lenin and
Trotsky understood revolutions in third world countries, Russia
particularly, to be doomed to "perish" unless they received aid from
industrialized workers state's in Western Europe. Trotskyism has distorted
this notion to mean that land reform, democracy and national independence
can not take place unless capitalism is overthrown. Nicaragua clearly
belies this claim for all those who see it as it is and not as Spain in
1935, China in 1927, etc.

4) A counter-revolution took place in Nicaragua. Unlike Chile, the
government was not overthrown. Instead, the combination of military and
economic pressure from US imperialism, coercion from Western Social
Democracy to adopt a "Swedish" model (ie., respect capitalist property
relations) and abandonment by the USSR forced the Sandinistas to cave in.
Now I know that if you, Carlos and Jim Miller had been in the driver's
seat rather than Ortega, Borge and Tirado, everything would have been

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