Dilemmas of third world communism

TAHIR WOOD TWOOD at SPAMadfin.uwc.ac.za
Fri Aug 20 01:54:02 MDT 1999

I'm sorry, once again I would appreciate a little linguistic
help with Julio's message if anyone has the time. (By the
way, Spanish is one language I'm attempting to learn, but
it's slow going) Could I just reiterate at the same time
though that it seems to me important to appreciate the
subtlety of Mao's thought on this question of democracy and
socialism in the context of semi-colonial and semi-feudal
societies (which also vary one from another greatly in terms
of level of development, cultural and linguistic complexity,
etc.). I think the attempt to conjure away this whole
problematic that he was addressing, through a kind of
fundamentalist insistence on the difference betwee
capitalism and socialism does nothing for the revolutionary
project. As the contemporary jargon has it, the process is
as important as the product. And I think to pretend that
we've theoretically solved all these 'process' problems is a
very regrettable stance to take. As Mao said in On
Contradiction, "our dogmatists are lazy bones."


>>> Julio_Fernández_Baraibar <julfb at sinectis.com.ar> 08/20
9:12 AM >>>
Tahir Wood wrote:

> I'm not able to understand Julio's message fully,
> unfortunately, but I gather that he admires Meisner's
> which I somewhat flippantly, and perhaps quite unjustly,
> dismissed. But I would  still say that for a scholar who
> obviously well versed in Chinese politics and revolution
> seems particularly unforgiveable to interpret Mao's
> of people's democracy (New Democracy) as a bourgeois
> democratic revolution, which is what I see in the
> provided by Louis. Mao always intended the proletariat to
> 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
> capitalism differed from the imperialist-comprador

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
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

La idea de una revolucion proletaria realizando tareas
"burguesas" no son ajenas a la tradicion revolucionaria. Lo
que Meisner,
creo, intenta explicar, frente a la version verbalmente
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
> 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
> all recognise as being different to US or West European
> experiences of capitalisim, we really have a situation
> Marx and Engels could not have told us much about. It is
> at all what they would have recognised as socialism.
> 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
> deal with is the vast differences in consciousness between
> urban intellectuals, workers peasants, etc., differences
> consciousness that quite literally correspond to differing
> historical epochs.


> But I wouldn't like to lose the general problem in endless
> 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.

More information about the Marxism mailing list