Dilemmas of third world communism

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at SPAMsinectis.com.ar
Fri Aug 20 01:12:31 MDT 1999



Tahir Wood wrote:

> I'm not able to understand Julio's message fully,
> unfortunately, but I gather that he admires Meisner's work,
> which I somewhat flippantly, and perhaps quite unjustly,
> dismissed. But I would  still say that for a scholar who is
> obviously well versed in Chinese politics and revolution it
> seems particularly unforgiveable to interpret Mao's concept
> of people's democracy (New Democracy) as a bourgeois
> democratic revolution, which is what I see in the quotation
> provided by Louis. Mao always intended the proletariat to be
> in the vanguard and for the previous ruling classes
> (compradors, etc.) to be overthrown. One should do him
> justice here - he was at great pains to point out the
> difference between the two notions of democracy and how this
> capitalism differed from the imperialist-comprador version.

This is what Meisner says:

"Mao Zedong´s views on capitalism were ambiguous from the outset. If
Marxist-Leninist theory taught that capitalism was a universally necessary
and progressive stage of historical development, Mao´s nationalist and
populist impulses militated against embracing that elemental Marxist
proposition. Nonetheless, during most of the revolutionary era, and indeed
for several years after 1949, official Maoist theory emphasized the
essentially "bourgeois" character of the Chinese revolution, an emphasis
that received its main ideological expression in the celebrated theory of
"New Democracy." It also found expression in the official description of
the new Communist state as a "people´s democratic dictatorship" rather than
a "dictatorship of the proletariat," the latter, of course, being the
accepted Marxist formula for a socialist revolutionary outcome".

La idea de una revolucion proletaria realizando tareas esencialmente
"burguesas" no son ajenas a la tradicion revolucionaria. Lo que Meisner,
creo, intenta explicar, frente a la version verbalmente ultraizquierdista
del maoismo, es la naturaleza de las tareas, no la hegemonia de la clase
obrera o, por lo menos, de su pensamiento. Y esto tambien en el caso de
China es problematico puesto que el agente social activo de la revolucion ha
sido el campesinado, como han coincidido, creo, todos los que en la lista
han participado de la discusion.

Pregunta Tahir:

> Why not just call it socialism, once the proletariat,
> through the party, has begun to assert its dominance? This
> is the theoretical question that I have been posing and
> trying to give some sort of answer to. It seems to me a
> distortion to describe the situation as socialism as soon as
> proletarian politics is in command-  in the third world
> situation, that is.

De un modo generico y en terminos politicos llamamos a eso socialismo. En
ese sentido decimos que Cuba es socialista o que China lo es. Pero si
analizamos y discutimos en profundidad las tareas y los contenidos sociales
de estas revoluciones creo que tenemos que ser mas precisos. El socialismo
no es simplemente la realizacion por parte de un estado "obrero" de tareas
burguesas de acumulacion primitiva, de desarrollo de la industria pesada, de
aumento de la productividad del campo y la industria, etc. La democracia
obrera, la autogestion obrera en las unidades de produccion, la paulatina
desaparicion de distancia entre representantes y representados, etc, son, en
cierto sentido, las tareas propias del socialismo, es decir de la revolucion
proletaria. Es cierto, como dice Tahir, que en el Tercer Mundo estamos aun
lejos de alcanzar los niveles de desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas que
permitan de manera plena la realizacion del socialismo.
De ahi que comparta tambien con Tahir su propuesta:

> Because of the incomplete and exocentric
> nature of capitalism in these countries, which I am sure we
> all recognise as being different to US or West European
> experiences of capitalisim, we really have a situation that
> Marx and Engels could not have told us much about. It is not
> at all what they would have recognised as socialism. Instead
> we have societies that exhibit the features of feudalism,
> capitalism and socialism, sometimes in pretty much equal
> measure. We really have to understand this - it is not at
> all clear as to the path of development that is best to
> follow. One of the most problematic aspects that one has to
> deal with is the vast differences in consciousness between
> urban intellectuals, workers peasants, etc., differences in
> consciousness that quite literally correspond to differing
> historical epochs.

snip

> But I wouldn't like to lose the general problem in endless debate
> about Chinese history. That's why I have introduced a new
> subject heading (and also due to the justified compalints
> made by some list members, of course).

Creo que es justamente en este campo donde la discusion en esta lista se
puede hacer mas rica y fructifera.
Julio F.B.













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