[PEN-L:14652] Re: Re: Re: Keeping focus after the WTO

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky gorojovsky at SPAMinea.com.ar
Sun Dec 12 06:18:23 MST 1999

Carrol's message would easily turn him a honorary citizen of the
Third World.  The problems he poses here are the crucial problems
of a revolution on The Day One After The Revolution.

This is not an academic issue, since if people (a footnote: on
these issues I prefer to stick to this slippery, all-embracing
definition until the sets of actual forces deploy materially on
the battlefield), if people, I was saying, will revolt and act,
this will have to be because people believe that there is
something worth the struggle at the end of the dark tunnel that
is to be entered. [Remember Lenin still once again: "Bread,
Peace, and Land']

So that the Day One After is, obviously, part and parcel of the
struggle of the Many Days Before.

Let us see.  Carrol writes:

:So the question might be, "Is it possible for a nation to escape
:without an authoritarian regime?" Is democracy compatible with

And he bluntly states that

:The obvious answer seems to be No to both questions. At least
the burden
:of proof would seem to be on those who would answer yes.

Well, it depends on what we believe 'democracy' to be. This is
not a "concrete abstraction" in the sense, say, 'class struggle'
is. It is an overtly void abstraction until it is adequately
given full historical and social meaning. We have this abortion
known as 'Western democracy', the contents of which boil down,
after carefully sifting away the chaff and dirt, to 'imperialist
bourgeois domination'.  We do also have this thing 'bourgeois
democracy', that is the formal care for the abstract right of
anyone to utter her or his ideas and to give them to print or the
media (this form of 'democracy' is usually associated, and
rightly so, with the economic and ideological dictatorship of the
ruling classes on the media, but I do not find it impossible
that, within an imperialist country where the working classes are
extremely corrupted, these rights are extended and even enforced
by the state to EVERY citizen; witness Sweden as a proxy).
This kind of democracy has been (perhaps all too) easily
dismissed by Anatole France: "Democracy is the regime that allows
both the beggar and the millonaire to sleep under the bridges of
the Seine".

We could go on and on, but the point is reasonably made, I
suppose. Then, a step further.

It is obvious, however, that one of the dilemmas that confers
some tragic measure to our impending revolution is that the
greatest measure of free speech and political autonomy must be
ensured for 'people' on the camp of revolution while the sternest
dictatorship has to be exerted on the vast camp of
counter-revolution. This was a practice common to every bourgeois
revolution, even to those that were made from above (though in
some contorted manners).  And it is reasonable to understand that
this necessity forms the backcloth to the question by Carrol:

:Perhaps the really relevant question would be, Is it possible to
:the authoritarian state necessary for development without
:brutality? Of course "unacceptable" needs to be defined, which
:be difficult to do, but that is a separate question. I would
suggest the
:answer might be "It depends."

Here I slightly diverge. "Unacceptable' can be easily defined,
IMHO. Brutality is unacceptable when it threatens our own camp.
In this sense the answer may be 'it depends'.  But out of care
for ourselves, revolutionaries in Third World countries should be
very careful when resorting to Terreur.

Let us be clear: I am not criticizing the necessary measures of
emergency without which we shall be crushed. I am wholly for
them. I have even dreamt of some shootings in my own country, and
hope to be able to have a saying on who is to be shot (and here I
am meaning each letter I wrote). But there is an enormous risk in
this, which must be properly addressed.

The great advantage of the bourgeois, or even of the ancient
slave owning ruling classes (such as the Spartans or the
Athenians) was that their economic interests tended to bind them
together, in the midst of the worst storms, and thus could afford
to exert, if need be, brutality even onto themselves. But our own
kin does not enjoy that bonus.

Thus, in the midst of the hard times the authority of the state
must grow but never, NEVER, to the degree that it may stiffle the
creativity of those on our own ranks. In this sense, the tragic
experience of the Soviet Union must be taken into account.
Probably most of what those men did I would have done, had I been
in their place. But what they had to do brought about tragic
consequences for the elan and the morale of our own fighters. And
in a very profound sense, their measures were in fact the
expression of a defeat: a defeat at the hands of the West.

Carrol then passes on to a related issue, where he supposes
(wrongly IMHO) that revolutionaries in the 'underdeveloped'
countries (not 'nations', Carrol, a term that should be reserved
to First World countries since down here it is a pointer to the
future rather than a descriptor of the present) will find
ready-made authoritarian states, and that it is from these states
that they will be able to generate the conditions for national
and social revolution. I disagree with the assumption: in this
probably final stage of imperialism, the tendency will be towards
dissoluton of our States (and their replacement by some disguised
form of direct foreign rule such as has happened in my own
country under Menem); in fact one of our first tasks will have to
be to rebuild a State, And on this, I truly agree with Carrol:
one can never impose a cudgel on society without exerting a great
measure of authority. This is true even for that most wonderful
of cudgels, the dictatorship of the  proletariat. The trouble is
not to turn it into a dictatorship ON the proletariat, the old
dilemma of the Russian Revolution, as every learned list member
on these so learned lists may recall.


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