Reply to Jim B.
ulhasj at SPAMbom4.vsnl.net.in
Wed Aug 4 18:38:32 MDT 1999
I understand what Jim B. is driving at. But here are some clarifications.
1. The challenges facing the Left in some parts of developing world are
In large areas of Asia and North Africa, the politics is dominated by
obscurantist elements. e.g. Taliban. South Asia is characterised by the
strong presence of both,
Hindu and Muslim communalism. It is wellknown that such tendencies are
the blind hatred of the 'West', are ignorant of the wealth and contribution
of European culture
etc. The task of the Left in this context is to actively combat
wholesale dismissal of the 'West' etc. Thus, 'Euro-Centrism' can equally be
a kind of
'curse word'. There are enough Indian 'historians', who are busy
fabricating for us a
glorious past. Indian Marxism can not have anything in common with such
vacuous patriotism. Historical scholarship and political judgement have to
objectivity and rigour. I am not saying anything new, but in the climate now
in South Asia it is necessary to restate some simple truths. e.g. With the
of Sonia Gandhi as a significant personality in Indian politics, there is a
about her Italian origins, her Roman Catholic faith etc.: Can an Indian
citizen of Italian
origin become next prime minister of India? Obviously, it is possible to be
an opponent of Sonia Gandhi's
politics without bringing up her 'race', gender, faith and the place of
birth. Indian Marxism
can not base its critique of bourgeois politics on such dubious grounds.
The search for 'origins', the true, the real, the authentic etc. is a
in certain discourses, whose inadequacies can be easily understood without
having recourse to Freud.
2. The term 'Third Worldism' as a political strategy has reached the dead
end. With the
disintegration of the SU, rapid integration of China, Vietnam with the
world market and its
consequent impact on the internal structure of these societies, the
strategies of economic
development based on autarchy and isolation are not seen to be viable any
longer. It is
not clear if the Left in the developing world possesses a viable economic
strategy. There is a
programmatic vacuum, which the rhetoric of anti-imperialism can not conceal
any longer. Do I
need to add that in the developing nations, anti-imperialist rhetoric is
in practice with complete servility to imperialism in economic, political
and cultural matters?
There are too many dimensions to the problem in question, some of which I
attempted to indicate briefly.
----- Original Message -----
From: James M. Blaut <70671.2032 at compuserve.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 1999 8:24 AM
Subject: Reply to Ulhas
> Ulhas: "The entire debate has been polarised between 'Euro-Marxism' and
> 'Third Worldism'. Are these the only possible frameworks for debating the
> nature of contemporary world economy?"
> The term "Third Worldism" is a curse word, coined and used by Eurocentric
> Marxists, and academic pseudo-Marxists, and soon-to-become-ex-Marxists, to
> describe those who take the underdeveloped, excolonial world as seriuously
> as the European world, past and present. "Euro-Marxists," in my opinion,
> are people who retain the prejudices of European society, which they share
> with non-Marxists, against non-Europeans, or, at best, retain the
> of European society toward non-European societies, past and present. There
> is no antinomy here, and nothing worth debating.
> Jim B
> P. S. Don't forget neocolonialism. And don't forget countries like Puerto
> Rico which are still old-fashioned, indirect-rule, colonies (Lord Lugard
> would be proud).
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