Gary's sketch on the second half of the 20th. century

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky gorojovsky at
Sat Dec 11 07:33:52 MST 1999

Before leaving on holidays, Gary wrote:

 what the hell, here is my summary of
:post WW2 history:
:1. 40 - to 1947-9 leadership of the working class is in the
hands of the
:Communist Parties. Even where Labor Govts are in power as in
Australia and
:England the communist parties still enjoy a great deal of
influence in key
:sections of the union movement and the cultural organisation.
Ralph Gibson
:of the CP Australia described this period as the 'interval of
hope'.  It
:was also the time of Browderism where the CPs hoped to continue
:war  time collaboration with the ruling classes.

The scenario is not complete, however, if we do not add the
increased militancy of Third World national and revolutionary
regimes and struggles. Here, as a rule, the leadership was NOT in
the hands of the Communist Parties (which took the "war time
collaboration" to shameful extremes in cases such as Argentina,
where they sided with the American Ambassador himself against
Peron), but it fell to the hands of the radical nationalists.
Browderism was crude pro-imperialism when translated to the Third
World. This alienated the CPs from the masses almost everywhere.
And, where this did not happen (and I am thinking of the
Phillipines, or of that "affluent" fringe of the Third World that
are the Southern Balkans), these CPs were taken to terrible
defeats by their attempts at collaboration with the new
imperialist warlords.
:2. 47- 75.
:The Cold war.  The CPs are destroyed.  The left Liberals are
crushed and
:intimidated totally. The working class are given their homes,
cars and jobs
:and the security of the welfare state. They become thoroughly
:and this condition persists until today. So the scissors of the
:War  consists of bribing and corrupting the working class and
the ruthless
:elimination of those who stayed political. However because
unemployment is
:high and the capacity to get a new job is also at a record high,
:working class become belligerent on the job and secure pay rises
and a
:general slow down in the rate of exploitation.  This apolitical
:transmits to the middle class and we have the 60s. This is
fundamentally a
:rejection of authority, but because the working class is still
:and will not or cannot give leadership the radicalness of the
middle class
:is marked by excess and political naivety. But the very success
of the
:ruling class in eliminating the Communist Parties means that
there is no
:one to discipline the middle class. Excess and naivety - yes but
also a
:very creative ferment that deeply alarms the ruling class. The
academy and
:the work place are marked out as in need of disciplining.

Again, a true but too partial view, too First Worldist IMHO.
Because the cooptation of the working classes of the First World
implied further exaction of the Third. The whole period is marked
by strong resistance outside the First World, and by outbursts of
actual radicalization by middle classes that are not allowed to
hope for a better future in the New World Order of those times.
This is particularly clear for me as a middle aged Argentinian,
because I witnessed personally (and partly lived through) this
radicalization and nationalization of the middle classes. The
1975 date is as significant for the First World as it was for the
Third, however. Disciplining ran the planet over, and is
evidently linked to what Gary considers to be the basic trait of
the third period:

:3. 75-
:The communist menace is increasingly eliminated culminating in
the fall of
:the Berlin Wall in 1989. The bourgeoise feel more and more
confident about
:eliminating the bribes that they gave the working class.  Mass
:returns. The welfare state comes under attack.  The working
class retreats
:and retreats some more.  It has no politics to explain what has
:happened.  Their leaders when not being totally venal and
:desperately seek ways to placate an ever more ruthless ruling
class.  The
:middle class respond to the decline of working class militancy
with a
:desperate attempt to deny reality.  This is known as post
modernism. It
:becomes fashionable for a time in the universities where it
destroys the
:last vestiges of Marxism.

If there is something interesting with this period is that in the
Third World the situation is similar, as opposed to dialectically
opposite (such as it was during the previous two). The problem
here, however, is that the line of retreat is DIRECT
PHISIOLOGICAL MISERY. This is also an important feature in the
moulding of the consciousness of the working class in the First
World. One of their greatest defeats is that they fail to see the
overexploited, and now overstarved and overdiseased, workers in
the Third World as one of the main reasons for their -dwindling,
yes, but not less real- relative welfare. This is one of the most
important tasks I feel First World Marxists should tackle, to
propose their fellow countrymen this elementary truth: "Those
starving guys out there in the wilderness are YOURSELVES, not
THEM".  Not easy, but essential in order to attain what Gary goes
on with: "to emerge from the Cold War induced torpor", because,
yes,: "History waits".


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