Sandinistas change anti-U.S. anthem (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at freenet.tlh.fl.us
Fri Sep 6 16:35:07 MDT 1996


I had intended my previous post to be a comment on the FSLN as
vanguard...the Sandinistas considered themselves to be, rightly so.
..but this was in terms of their ability to carry the revolution
to almost all possible social sectors.  If vanguard means
articulating and uniting a broad-based front, then the FSLN
performed that function - akin to R. Luxemburg's conception of
leadership coming to the fore in the midst of struggle...in
contrast to some apriori designation as such, so to continue...

The mixed economy strategy was intended to reduce class conflict.
Some economic incentives were designed to benefit capitalists &
land-owners more than artisans & peasants because the former
controlled a larger share of what the Sandinistas wanted produced.
The FSLN pursued "developmental" policies tied to modern sectors
of the economy - agricultural export/manufacturing/construction.
Control of these sectors would occur through state control of
credit.  And, state investment was channeled toward projects with
long-gestation periods - textile combine/suhar refinery/deep-water
port/irrigation projects.

The Sandinistas were open to criticism when larger, private
producers proved reluctant to invest & state enterprises could
not overcome managerial problems.  Broad, popular support for the
FSLN had come - in part - from distribution of confiscated Somoza/
Somocista property, implementation of various social programs (left-
Keynesian), and recognition of the importance of mass organizations.
Development of a solid campesino support base was hindered, however,
by land-reform establishibng state & coop farms rather than individual
plots - in what may have been an indication of things to come, the
Sandinistas received a smaller percentage of votes than the 65%
nationally in the '84 elections in rural areas where few peasants
had yet to benefit from post-revolutionary policies.  In industrial
sectors, the government's position resembled a bureaucratic-
productivist approach which often made it antagonistic to labor
with respect to unions/strikes

Peasants, artisans, and workers represented important political
constituencies that held little economic power.  FSLN policies
would begin to undermine its relationship with these "natural" allies
while never gaining support of domestic elites/foreign capital.
"Flexibility" neither elicited adequate assistance nor provided relief
>from the war.  The burdens of war forced mass organizations into
performing "patriotic" functions and began to turn grassroots groups
into top-down structures.

The Sandinista bureaucracy provided power/privilege to individuals
in it, generating strata distinctions.  The style of management
tended to be impersonal/inefficient.  The FSLN did not have a
plan to upgrade worker participation at the points of production,
and if it had, the war would have probably blocked it.  So ever-
growing numbers of policy decisions were made without popular
input.

Signs that FSLN support was declining and popular morale was sinking
were evident by the mid-80s.  The war had becun to take its toll.
While some policies were modified in an attempt to better address
peasant/artisan/small trade interests, Sandinista concessions to
foreign capital/export-oriented domestic interests/landlords
continued.  The net result was limited influence over the economy -
a shift from regulated activity to free-markets.  By the late
'80s, the government was liberalizing the economy at the expense
of the poor/peasantry/workers.

one more post (mercifully so) on this stuff to follow...Michael


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