marxism-digest V1 #1680

Dave Silver dmsilver at SPAMescape.com
Fri Dec 31 15:15:39 MST 1999



Friends, Are these long pieces the "Digests?"
Dave

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From: owner-marxism-digest at lists.panix.com
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Subject: marxism-digest V1 #1680



marxism-digest      Thursday, December 30 1999      Volume 01 : Number 1680



In this issue:
==============

   Re: Lenin, secession and the national question
   [corp-focus] The Corporate Century]
   [Fwd: [Cuba SI] US and stooge-Argentine Junta. Canada Communism**]
   Correspondence on Berryman
   RE: Lenin, secession and the national question
   Re: Lenin, secession and the national question
   Re: Marx breaking street lamps for fun
   Re: Lenin, secession and the national question
   India China Border Dispute
   Re: Marx breaking street lamps for fun
   Re: Grammatical Gould
   UT Labor Teach-in
   RE: Biafra war (it was Unita)
   RE: Lenin, secession and the national question
   RE: [Fwd: [Cuba SI] US and stooge-Argentine Junta. Canada Communism**]

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 18:49:46 -0500
From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
Subject: Re: Lenin, secession and the national question

Norm Dixon wrote:
>Comrades,
>
>I am posting a fairly lengthy section (sorry Louis) from an article
>I wrote for the latest issue of Links, the international journal for
>socialist renewal, which I think is very relevant to the many discussions
>we have had on this list this year over Kosova, East Timor, Ethiopia and,
>lately, Nigeria.

Oh, good. Maybe you can elaborate on what you've written here with respect
to the hotly debated question in Ethiopian Marxism as to whether the
Amharas are an oppressor nationality, such as defined by Lenin.

As Hegel said, the truth is concrete. Also, Lenin said the devil is in the
details. And I say, "A brokh tsu dayn lebn," which roughly translates into
"You have to know something about a country before assuming that your
Marxist template applies to it."

Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org/

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 12:39:37 +1100
From: Rachel E <grrrach at yahoo.com>
Subject: [corp-focus] The Corporate Century]

email from corp-focus...

The Corporate Century
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

As we move to the end of the millennium, it is important to remind
ourselves that this has been the century of the corporation, where
for-profit, largely unaccountable organizations with unlimited life,
size
and power took control of the economy and of the political economy --
largely to the detriment of the individual consumer, worker, neighbor
and
citizen.

Let us again remind ourselves that corporations were the creation of
the citizenry. (Thanks here to Richard Grossman of the Project on
Corporations Law and Democracy for resurrecting and teaching us a
history
we would have collectively forgotten.)

In the beginning, we the citizenry created the corporation to do the
public's work -- build a canal or a road -- and then go out of business.

We asked people with money to build the canal or road. If anything
went wrong, the liability of these people with money -- shareholders, we
call them -- would be limited to the amount of money they invested and
no
more. This limited liability corporation is the bedrock of the market
economy. The markets would deflate like a punctured balloon if
corporations were stripped of limited liability for shareholders.

And what do we, the citizenry, get in return for this generous public
grant of limited liability? Originally, we told the corporation what to
do. You are to deliver the goods and then go out of business.
And then let humans live our lives.

But corporations gained power, broke through democratic controls, and
now roam around the world inflicting unspeakable damage on the earth.

Let us count the ways: price-fixing, chemical explosions, mercury
poisoning, oil spills, destruction of public transportation systems.

Need concrete examples? These are five of the most egregious of
the century:

Number five: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Price Fixing.

In October 1996, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the good people who
bring you National Public Radio, pled guilty and paid a $100 million
criminal fine -- at the time, the largest criminal antitrust fine ever
- --
for its role in conspiracies to fix prices to eliminate competition and
allocate sales in the lysine and citric acid markets worldwide.

Number four: Union Carbide and Bhopal.

In 1984, a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India released
90,000 pounds of the chemical methyl isocyanate. The resulting toxic
cloud
killed several thousand people and injured hundreds of thousands.

Number Three: Chisso Corporation and Minamata.

Minamata, Japan was home to Chisso Corporation, a petrochemical company
and maker of plastics. In the 1950s, fish began floating dead in
Minamata
Bay, cats began committing suicide, and children were getting rare forms
of brain cancer. Thousands were injured. The company had been dumping
mercury into the bay.

Number two: Exxon Corporation and Valdez Oil Spill.

Ten years ago, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Prince William Sound
Alaska and spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil onto 1,500 miles of
Alaskan shoreline, killing birds and fish, and destroying the way of
life
of thousands of Native Americans.

Number one: General Motors and the Destruction of Inner City Rail.

Seventy years ago, clean, quiet and efficient inner city rail systems
dotted the U.S. landscape. They were eliminated in the 1930s to make way
for dirty and noisy gasoline-powered automobiles and buses. The inner
city
rail systems were destroyed by those very companies that would most
benefit from destruction of inner city rail -- oil, tire and automobile
companies, led by General Motors.

By 1949, GM had helped destroy 100 electric systems in New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles
and elsewhere.

In 1949, a federal grand jury in Chicago indicted and a jury
convicted GM, Standard Oil of California and Firestone, among others, of
criminally conspiring to replace electric transportation with gas- and
diesel-powered buses and to monopolize the sale of buses and related
products to transportation companies around the country.

GM and the other convicted companies were fined $5,000 each.

These are not unusual examples. Books have been written documenting
the ongoing destruction. The question remains -- how do we put a stop to
it?

And the answer seems clear to us -- reassert public control over what
was originally a public institution.

The ideas on how to reassert such control are the subject of debate
and conflict, in Seattle and around the world. But it seems clear to us
that as the twentieth century was the century of the corporation, the
twenty-first promises to be the century where flesh-and-blood human
beings
reassert sovereignty over their lives, their markets and their
democracy.

Let us not forget that corporate control was never inevitable. They
took it from us, and it is our responsibility to take it back.


Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime
Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
Multinational Monitor. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The
Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common
Courage Press, 1999, http://www.corporatepredators.org)

(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman




_______________________________________________

Focus on the Corporation is a weekly column written by Russell Mokhiber
and Robert Weissman. Please feel free to forward the column to friends
or
repost the column on other lists. If you would like to post the column
on
a web site or publish it in print format, we ask that you first contact
us
(russell at essential.org or rob at essential.org).

Focus on the Corporation is distributed to individuals on the listserve
corp-focus at lists.essential.org. To subscribe to corp-focus, send an
e-mail
message to corp-focus-request at lists.essential.org with the text:
subscribe

Focus on the Corporation columns are posted at
<http://www.corporatepredators.org>.

Postings on corp-focus are limited to the columns. If you would like to
comment on the columns, send a message to russell at essential.org or
rob at essential.org.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 12:52:46 +1100
From: Rachel E <grrrach at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Fwd: [Cuba SI] US and stooge-Argentine Junta. Canada Communism**]

ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN
News * Analysis * Research * Action

MANUAL TELLS ARGENTINE JUNTA MEN 'DENY EVERYTHING'
REUTERS
World Headlines Tuesday, Dec 21, 1999 4  By Mayra Pertossi

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Former members of the Argentine military who
face court investigations into human rights crimes in the 1976-83
dictatorship are circulating a manual on how to avoid incriminating
themselves by "denying everything.''

A judge from the central province of Cordoba, investigating the fate
of hundreds of people who vanished after being taken to clandestine
torture centers, said on Tuesday the manual turned up during the
search of one former officer's home.

Judge Cristina Garzon de Lascano said the three-page manual is
called, "Ways of rejecting trials and judges and refusing to answer
questions even as simple witnesses.''

"They are instructions about how to respond: by refusing to recognize
the authority of civilian courts, denying everything and alleging
that you don't remember,'' the judge told Reuters.

Other tips included denying the existence of the clandestine
detention centers and blaming the horrors of the "Dirty War'' --
which the military waged against leftist guerrillas and their
suspected sympathizers -- on dead comrades-in-arms.

If questioned about the estimated 15,000-30,000 people who died or
"disappeared'' during the dictatorship, former officers were advised
to say the victims "fled abroad'' or "fell in combat.''

The manual argued, "It is not the courts' job to carry out historical
investigations, so judges have no authority to call us to testify.
They are not investigating crimes to be punished, it is mere
historical curiosity.''

Garzon de Lascano said the instructions were circulated among former
military men in Cordoba, Argentina's second most-populated province,
who were likely to be summoned to give evidence about the precise
fate of Dirty War victims.

After democracy returned to Argentina in 1983, many military men and
police officers who waged the Dirty War were tried and sentenced for
their crimes. The most senior junta officers were given life
sentences in 1985.

A series of pardons in the 1980s set them free. But former officers
are being called as witnesses in "truth trials'' to establish what
became of the "disappeared'' and where their remains are, so their
families can finally bury them.

Other judges are investigating crimes not covered by the pardons,
such as theft of babies born to women detainees. These cases led to
the detention of nine elderly former top junta officers. Most of them
were put under house arrest.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved." JC

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 19:19:19 -0500
From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
Subject: Correspondence on Berryman

Louis, I was intrigued by the
John Berryman poem. Firstly as I have never heard of him at all. I liked
the poem in of itself but also because it reminded me of an East German
poet called Johannes Bobrowski. His poems mostly dealt directly with nature
and its relations to people. He died in 1965, when I was 4 but I've always
felt an affinity to his work, since I discovered it in translation when  I
was a Post Office worker in the mid 1980s. As a typical German of his
period he fought in the German army during the second world war which I
think partly explains the neglect of his work. My selected English language
edition of his selected works dates from 1984 and as far as I can tell, no
more recent edition has been produced, though there is an edition available
on Amazon, but which one I can't remember. In German, most of his poetry
was still available at least in the mid 1980s.

A sample example of his poetry is the following from Shadow lands. Anvil
Press Poetry 1984:

'Bird's Nest'

My sky
interchanges with yours,
so does my dove
now
it flies over yours,
I see two shadows,
falling
in the oatfield.

We look with
each other's eyes'
we find
a place:
rain
we say
like a story
the half-sentence
green,
I hear:

Your Mouth
with the speech
of birds
carries twigs and feathers
up to my brow.

Another key poem is 'Kaunas 1941' which tackles the guilt of German
soldiers, presumably including himself, who were involved in killing Jews.

The last two paragraphs of which are:

Did my eyes avoid yours
brother? Sleep struck us
at the bloody wall. So we went on
blind to everything. We looked
like gipsies at the villages
in the oak-wood, the summer
snow on the roofs.

I shall walk on the stone banks
under the rainy bushes,
listen in the haze of the plains.
There were swallows upstream
and the woodpigeon called
in the green night:
My dark is already come.

One of the strangest things about Bobrowski was that he never fitted in to
the post war East German mold of poet but at the same time wasn't a
dissident. Most of his poetry seemed to be related back to an earlier
period of German literature and in particular Hölderlin. Nowadays, little
is remembered of Bobrowski as far as I know. However, he is someone who I
think is grossly undervalued.

Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org/

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 22:21:40 -0300
From: "Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky" <gorojovsky at inea.com.ar>
Subject: RE: Lenin, secession and the national question

Louis Pr dared translate:

:"A brokh tsu dayn lebn," which roughly translates into
:"You have to know something about a country before assuming that
your
:Marxist template applies to it."

Dear comrades,

Never hire Louis Pr as a translator from Yiddish to English! He
is simply too smart for the task!

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at inea.com.ar

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 01:45:50 GMT
From: "Ghebremichael Woldeselassie" <ghebremichael at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Lenin, secession and the national question

>Norm Dixon
>
>**************************************************************************
>
>Lenin on the right of oppressed nation to national to >self-determination

CLIP
>The Leninist theory was set out most clearly in Stalin's 1913
>work `Marxism and the National Question', which was written in
>close collaboration with Lenin and summed up the Leninist side of
>the debate with the reformists. The Leninist definition of a
>nation was summarised as ``a historically evolved, stable
>community of people, formed on the basis of a common language,
>territory, economic life and psychological make-up manifested in
>a common culture.''

Considering some comrades' fears for the 'balkanization' of Ethiopia, and
other 2/3 World countries, this comes as a surprise.  Clearly Lenin knew
little outside of Europe, for by this definition, most African countries do
not constitute 'nations', not even little Eritrea, which shares 9 separate
language groups - Tigrigna, Kunama, Saho, Afar, Hedarb, Arabic, Tigre, Bilen
and Rashaida.  Most surprising of all, it justifies the catastrophic
division of the Indian sub-continent in 1947, and the present split between
the Hindi north of India and the Dravidian south (forgetting for the moment
Bengal!).  And what on Earth are we to make of "psychological make-up"?

That being said, the article needs careful study, bearing in mind that it is
based on considerations of the early 20th century.  There is always the
danger that what was said under very different conditions from now could be
transformed into a dogma that refuses to take into account the new.  Without
a great deal of knowledge of those conditions in the colonial and
semi-colonial world of the early 20th century, these statements of principal
have a mystical air about them today.

One problem is over alliances with national bourgeois forces today, when
most are the open agents of imperialism, or when imperialism is only a minor
factor in immediate events because of its effective abandonment of huge
areas because they do not present any ready source of surplus value- both
apply to the Horn today.

______________________________________________________
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 01:40:25 +0000
From: "João Paulo Monteiro" <jpmonteiro at mail.telepac.pt>
Subject: Re: Marx breaking street lamps for fun

michael perelman wrote:

> I have not read that bio., but I recall that he threw the rocks once when
Bauer visited him.
>
>
>
> >  Has anyone read the new Wheen bio of Marx. Apparently
> > Marx used to get up to hijinks by throwing stones at street lamps and
> > then split when the bobbies arrived. There's nothing wrong with
> > having fun as long as its at the bosses' expense. Its when we are
> > paying for it that makes it no fun at all.
>

Yes, the episode seems to have happenned in the 1850's.
Alex Callinicos, in 'The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx', depicts it like
this:

"On one memorable occasion, Marx, Edgar Bauer, an old friend and sparring
partner from his Young Hegelian days,
and Wilhelm Liebknecht went on a pub crawl in London from Oxford Street to
Hampstead Road, stopping at every
pub on the way. All went well till they reached the end of Tottenham Court
Road, where they nearly got into a
fight with a party of celebrating Oddfellows and started to throw paving
stones at street lamps. Naturally, the
police appeared, and chased them. They got away, thanks partly to a
surprising burst of speed on Marx's part."

I would sure like to know the original source for this episode. I guess the
presence of Bauer must have
reawaken in Marx his old goliard ways of Bonn and Berlin.


João Paulo Monteiro

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 02:07:45 +0000
From: David Bruce <dave_bruce at ryelands.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Lenin, secession and the national question

At 30/12/99, you wrote:
>Norm Dixon wrote:
> >Comrades,
> >
> >I am posting a fairly lengthy section (sorry Louis) from an article
> >I wrote for the latest issue of Links, the international journal for
> >socialist renewal, which I think is very relevant to the many discussions
> >we have had on this list this year over Kosova, East Timor, Ethiopia and,
> >lately, Nigeria.
>
>Oh, good. Maybe you can elaborate on what you've written here with respect
>to the hotly debated question in Ethiopian Marxism as to whether the
>Amharas are an oppressor nationality, such as defined by Lenin.
>
>As Hegel said, the truth is concrete. Also, Lenin said the devil is in the
>details. And I say, "A brokh tsu dayn lebn," which roughly translates into
>"You have to know something about a country before assuming that your
>Marxist template applies to it."



It is my experience that the "National Question" is generally a debate in
which people from very small parties in big countries instruct people from
big parties in small countries as to whether they have a language or merely
a dialect, a literature or merely folklore, an army or merely guerrillas,
etc etc etc.

If, in the course of what can be a one-sided debate, permission is granted,
the people from the big parties in the small countries may then fight and
die for aims which, while thoroughly admirable, are nevertheless only
partial. They are expected eventually to see this and then to express, in
English only please, their eternal loyalty to the people from the very
small parties in the big countries who have, in the meantime, got mighty
fine jobs at universities or even with big parties in the big countries.

As long as I live, I will not forget the British "Trotskyist" who,
discussing the efforts of Republican prisoners in British jails to learn
the Irish language and Irish history, said that, while it was all very
well, he would be much happier if they "were to spend the time studying
*Capital*". He pointed out (no doubt correctly) that this was not available
in Irish.

Dave



===========================================
David Bruce, Woodside Cottage, Ryelands,
Strathaven, Lanarkshire,  ML10 6QF
Tel:+44(0)1357 440459 Fax:+44(0)1357 440464
===========================================

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 06:53:47 +0530
From: "Ulhas Joglekar" <ulhasj at bom4.vsnl.net.in>
Subject: India China Border Dispute

The Indian Express
Wednesday, December 22, 1999
Chinese envoy calls for "patience" on Sino-Indian border
NEW DELHI: China's ambassador to India on Tuesday called for patience in
resolving a decades-old border dispute that dragged the two Asian giants
into a bloody war in 1962, reports PTI.
"The Sino-Indian boundary question left from history was very complicated,
(and) will take time to resolve and require patience," Zhou Gang told PTI in
an interview. The envoy said Beijing had resolved its border spats with
other countries, including Russia, on the basis of "mutual understanding and
mutual accomodation."
"With India also, China had advocated a peaceful solution of the boundary
issue through friendly talks in accordance with the (same) principle," Zhou
said. India claims China still holds 40,000 square kilometres (16,000 square
miles) of its territory in Kashmir. Beijing lays claim to a wide swath of
rugged territory in the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The
dispute caused a brief but a bloody border war 37 years ago.
Zhou, however, stressed that both sides should maintain the peace along the
heavily militerised border in line with peace pacts signed in 1993 and 1996.
"The two sides while being engaged in seeking a solution of the boundary
question, must also strive to develop relations in various fields and
promote mutual understanding and trust to create favourable conditions and
atmosphere for a solution." The two neighbours agreed to maintain border
peace through measures such as troop cutbacks, non-violation of each other's
airspace and other confidence-building methods. The diplomat's statement
came a month after India and China held expert-level negotiations to resolve
the problem.
They are scheduled to convey the outcome of the November 24 talks to a joint
working group in 2000.
EXPRESSindia.com

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 02:22:49 +0000
From: "João Paulo Monteiro" <jpmonteiro at mail.telepac.pt>
Subject: Re: Marx breaking street lamps for fun

João Paulo Monteiro wrote:

> I would sure like to know the original source for this episode.

Well, now I know. It was, no doubt, Wilhelm Liebknecht's memoirs.
I only needed to have read Jorn Anderson's post on this thread earlier.
Thanks.


João Paulo

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 22:05:22 EST
From: KDean75206 at aol.com
Subject: Re: Grammatical Gould

This talk about grammer reminds me of a few stories.

Here in Buffalo, NY we have a company that owns parking lots for the sole
purpose of charging people to park their cars during special events.  They
were called "Alright Parking".  After complaints from teachers and other
community leaders that their name wasn't proper Engish, the company finally
changed their name to "All Right Parking."

Which brings me to a point.  In the English language we developed
contractions to bring words that are commonly used together into unity.  I
would think that terms such as "All right" and "a lot" have every reason to
become one word.  In email correspondance it is common to say "Alright, I'll
be there soon", or "I have alot to do today!".  It seems only natural.

Of course I would imagine that the popular use of Email will change the
rules
of grammer someday.

Another ancedote I have heard is that the American founders were terrible
spellers.  (I remember hearing this in the second grade)  George Washington,
when making corrections would use the acronym "O.K." when something was 100%
accurate.  The story is that he thought "All Correct" was spelled "Oll
Korrect".  Does anyone know if this story is true?  (of course I remember
learning in the 4th grade that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves but he "treated
them well".  I swear! It was in my history book!)

We do know that "O.K." is now an accepted term in the English language.  It
seems that changes to the language comes from ruling class circles--ie.  any
use of English grammer outside its accepted use is considered "uneducated".
We have all witnessed the backlash against "Ebonics" for example/

Also, I find that English professors can be pretty fickle about sentence
structure.  Consider this example:

"He told me that he likes to make fun of Marxists."

Now which "he" is telling you?  Are both "Hes" in this sentence the same
person?  This would be the fickle quetion of an English teacher.

Of course, sentences are rarely ever used in isolation.  One would suspect
that there would be a thought before this.

"George mentioned that Frank was no radical.  He told me that he likes to
make fun of Marxists."

There should be no confusion that the first "He" is George and the second
"He" is Frank.  Why do English teachers go bonkers?

A few more stories and then I'll shut up.

I remember a PBS show where they were discussing the origins of dialects.
They did a study of a Philidelphia suburb.  It was a middle class
neighbourhood and they found that there was a very distinct difference in
their language.  They would accentuate certian words--they would have new
words, ect.

It's funny how dialect develops.  I do Technical Support for a national ISP,
which means I talk to people from all over the country.  Unconsciously I
have
picked up on the accents and speaking style from various locations. I don't
notice it at all but when I meet new people they always tell me I have a bit
of an accent.  Quite strange, language!

(ps.  I'm quite sure I made quite a few grammatical mistakes in this post!
I
hope you will forgive me!  I remember when one of my signatures has a quote
from Frederick Engels and I inadvertantly misspelled his name.  I received
numerous private emails from list members informing me of my mistake--but
never telling me what I did wrong.  I finally figured out I misspelled his
last name.   And then about a week later, I found out I spelled his first
name wrong...)

Kevin | Buffalo, NY
ICQ# 8616001
David McReynolds for President!
http://www.votesocialist.org
Socialist Party of Western New York
http://sp-usa.org/ny/buffalo
http://members.aol.com/kdean75206/pub/
Money is the universal self-established value of all things. It has,
therefore, robbed the whole world -- both the world of men and nature -- of
its specific value. Money is the estranged essence of man's work and man's
existence, and this alien essence dominates him, and he worships it.--Dr.
Karl Marx

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 22:26:32 -0500 (EST)
From: UT Labor Teach-in <governer at utkux.utcc.utk.edu>
Subject: UT Labor Teach-in

**Please Forward to all Interested Parties**

University of Tennessee Labor Teach-in
"Labor Rights as Human Rights at Home and Abroad"
March 3 and 4, 2000
University of Tennessee Knoxville
University Center

Featuring:

Richard Trumka, Secretary Treasurer AFL-CIO
Elaine Bernard, Director of the Harvard Trade Union Program
Bill Fletcher, Former Education Director and Special Assistant to the
President, AFL-CIO
Barbara Prear, University of North Carolina Housekeepers' Association

With the successful WTO protests in late November and the resurgence of an
active labor and student movement, a strong movement for economic and
social justice appears to be on the move in the US.  On March 3 and 4 of
2000 join national and local figures at the University of Tennessee in a
weekend of labor and human rights education and vision building for the
future as people from all over the southeast and US participate in the
University of Tennessee's first labor teach-in.  Worker struggles locally,
nationally, and internationally will be linked in the discussion of where
we are going as a movement, with an additional focus going to the labor
policies of the University and how it participates in the exploitation of
workers.

Some of the panels and plenaries include:

Workers affected by globalization (featuring workers from U.S. and Latin
America)
University Labor Policies
Historical Globalization
Careers in the labor movement
Immigrant Worker Struggles
Welfare "Reform"
Radical Labor History
Race, Gender, and the Labor Movement
Local Labor Struggles

And many more are still in the works.

There are no registration fees for the teach-in, and free housing is
available. For more information or if you have any questions, email
hopeutk at utk.edu or call (865) 546-6721.

In Solidarity,

Knoxville Area Jobs with Justice
Alliance for Hope at UTK, a student economic justice group
Tennessee Anti-Sweatshop Coalition (TASC)
UT Living Wage Campaign






****************************************************************************
***

     "Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and
continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, black and white,
both here and abroad."  -- Martin Luther King Jr.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 00:34:20 -0300
From: "Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky" <gorojovsky at inea.com.ar>
Subject: RE: Biafra war (it was Unita)

Dear David,

a)

:
:My apologies, Néstor, but "Biafra," as you've probably guessed,
is a
:personal obsession of mine.
:

Well, David, if I had to apologize for each and one of my
personal obsessions, the whole impending millenium would not give
me enough time!

b)

What you post from Nkrumah on Nigeria fits my opinion as the
glove fits the hand.

Note that Nkrumah found that 'The way out now is for that country
to be divided into four independent separate states, all pursuing
a socialist pattern of development within the framework of an
All-African Union Government", where I humbly stress the
framework while you seem to stress the 'independent separate
states'.  Within the framework of an overwhelming imperialist
control of African affairs, the meaning of these states would be
completely different, and I do not think that Nkrumah was unaware
of that.  Free voluntary association is of course the only way to
achieve the high goal of African Unity, but I cannot honestly see
how can further breakup fueled by oil companies (the best of
possible fuels!) would help approaching us to that goal.

The remaining evidence of 'good guys' supporting the Biafrans
looks more impressive, of course, and I would very much like to
read your more accurate quotations. But let us go ahead:

c)

You say:

:  I bring these quotes up to refute the "big lie" promoted by
the Stalinists
:during the war, and which has since moved into left-wing
"folklore," that
:Biafra was nothing but an imperialist puppet state for the
purpose of
:"balkanizing" Africa.  I think I've made the case that it
stemmed from
:internal divisions within Nigeria, divisions which were the
legacy of
:British colonialism.

To begin with: I do not remember having discussed this tragic
Biafra war with anybody on the Left nor on the Right. For
example, in spite of long militancy together and long
conversations on the humane and the divine, I had never broached
the subject with Julio Fernández Baraibar. My only remembrances
of the Biafra war were of the headlines on the newspapers, those
awesome photos of children starved with their protruding bellies,
and the generalization of the word 'biafrano' in everyday
Argentine talk to refer to starving, destitute people.

This implies that I am quite ignorant the details of Nigerian
affairs, which I admit beforehand. All that I can say on this
matter stems from comparison with my own revolutionary experience
in Latin America and general ideas on Africa and the Gulf of
Guinea.

So that I am not repeating anyone's big lie. But the fact that,
as you say, you've 'made the case that it stemmed from internal
divisions within Nigeria, divisions which were the legacy of
British colonialism' does not impress me too much either, since
the British colonialists (and not only them, but they have been
unsurmountable in their slyness and perfidy) were experts in
winding up internal divisions and transforming them in
confrontations irrigated with human blood. Probably this is a
tradition that comes from the Hundred Years war and their
struggle against the unification of France under the King of
Paris.

The fact that the divisions were straddled on true _internal
divisions_ does not make them any less product of imperialism,
and weapon of imperialism. We in Argentina know lots of this kind
of division, particularly when it comes to the Paraguay war of
the 1860s or to the (thank God never took place) almost war
against Chile of 1978, and there are other examples. The problem,
however (and if there is something the Argentinian experience may
add to the book of revolutionary theory, it is this), lies in
that _national unity_  is _precisely the goal to be achieved_
against dissection generated by imperialism but without 'making
believe' that imperialism has never happened.

Later on (I skip your reference to my speaking of the 'Nigerian
working class', an act of crass demagoguery on my side which I
apologize for), you say:

:I don't see why, in the name of "African Unity," Africans must
be compelled
:to accept the artificial borders and divisions imposed on them
by European
:colonialism.  I think that in the future we will see more
secessionist
:movements (and unions of countries and territories), in Africa
as Africans
:decide for themselves how their affairs will be ordered. Isn't
that what
:"self-determination" means?


The argument that the colonial frontiers were 'false' does not
hold too long. They were what they were. It is not by rubbing
them away and rebuilding the map of Africa on 'ethnic' lines that
the unity will have to be achieved after a long process of
peaceful coexistence of 'national' states drawn on 'tribal'
lines. The only 'national' state in Africa is the Unified African
Nation which will hold within its broad arms almost all of Africa
South of the Sahara.  A 'national state' is not only a state that
can succesfully contend with the imperialist interventionists. It
must be in a position to foster the development of all those
features of human society that national states were called upon
to fulfill by history. This implies, today, large national
states, and it is not by further breaking the 'artificial' (not
in every sense) colonial frontiers that this is to be achieved.
The fact of colonial domination can not -and should not- be
washed away by an act of will. It has taken place, and it has had
consequences. These consequences are as part of the history of
Africa as any other event, and since so recent they are stronger
than many other events.

'Self determination', for me at least, does not mean that
everyone has the right to secede and enjoy support from Marxists.
I will give you an example from my own country. Twice at least,
there appeared local provincial political parties (once in
Northern Salta, during the 1920s, and for the second time in the
Patagonian province of Chubut, quite recently) that proclaimed
their right to secede -in the North of the province of Salta, in
the South of Argentina as a whole- and enjoy their own natural
riches (funnily enough, in both cases oil was what they sought to
monopolize). And the city of Buenos Aires attempted secession, in
the same way that Montevideo and its hinterland obtained it,
repeatedly. These were overtly 'antinational' secessions in the
sense that they ran against the healthier constitution of a vast
national arena for the development of productive forces. No
serious Marxist would support these secessions. In Nigeria I do
not see a situation where a dominant nationality exploits others,
such as was the case in the classical example of pre-1917 Russia.
I repeat, however, my first reckoning:  I am ignorant of the
details of the Nigerian issues. And even if I were not an
ignorant, I am none to explain others which their tasks are. What
I can do is only to offer my own experience as a Latin American,
Bolivarian, Marxist.

:
:As for whether I think that's a good thing or a bad thing, it
all depends on
:the particular circumstances.  Marxists may not favor
"Balkanization" in
:principle, but they don't fetishize huge multinational states
either,
:particularly states based on force and bloodshed.
:

Sometimes the building up of a national state implies unwanted
but unavoidable force and bloodshed. What it must not involve is
exploitation of one nationality by another nationality. This is
what I found lacking in your position. I suppose you will be able
to bring evidence that the Ibo nationality was exploited by the
remaining nationalities in Nigeria. If you do, you will win me
for your side. If you don't then I am afraid I will still
disagree with you.

As to the Middle East example, I still believe it was apt, but OK
I will not debate this side issue now.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at inea.com.ar

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 00:42:17 -0300
From: "Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky" <gorojovsky at inea.com.ar>
Subject: RE: Lenin, secession and the national question

Our Ethiopian friends wrote:

:Clearly Lenin knew
:little outside of Europe, for by this definition, most African
countries do
:not constitute 'nations', not even little Eritrea, which shares
9 separate
:language groups - Tigrigna, Kunama, Saho, Afar, Hedarb, Arabic,
Tigre, Bilen
:and Rashaida.

Not at all. He knew little outside of Europe (something he never
denied, and even stated publicly during the Congress of Baku),
but the definition has nothing to do with the construction of a
nation for each nationality (Lenin was very keen of the Swiss
example to show, against the ideas of the chauvinist Russifiers,
that four nationalities could be united democratically into a
single nation). It implies, on the contrary, that outside Europe
there have not been national revolutions. No African country
constitutes a nation, in the same manner no Latin American
country constitutes a nation. Imperialism has either deformed,
thwarted or drowned in blood the processes by which our peoples
would have been able to constitute nations out of our local
realities. This is the deep truth beneath the quote from Bolivar
I am so fond of: "Allow us to live our own Middle Ages by
ourselves'.

The confusion between nationalities and nations still plagues our
thinking, which may prove fatal for our action.

By the way, reading on Tawodros II on the Britannica Online, I
learnt that he was of plebeian origin. Is this true?

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at inea.com.ar

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 00:51:27 -0300
From: "Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky" <gorojovsky at inea.com.ar>
Subject: RE: [Fwd: [Cuba SI] US and stooge-Argentine Junta. Canada
Communism**]

- -----Mensaje original-----
De: Rachel E <grrrach at yahoo.com>
Para: Marxism List <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Fecha: Jueves, 30 de Diciembre de 1999 21:18
Asunto: [Fwd: [Cuba SI] US and stooge-Argentine Junta. Canada
Communism**]
:
:MANUAL TELLS ARGENTINE JUNTA MEN 'DENY EVERYTHING'
:REUTERS
:World Headlines Tuesday, Dec 21, 1999 4  By Mayra Pertossi
:
:BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Former members of the Argentine
military who
:face court investigations into human rights crimes in the
1976-83
:dictatorship are circulating a manual on how to avoid
incriminating
:themselves by "denying everything.''


.....


:The manual argued, "It is not the courts' job to carry out
historical
:investigations, so judges have no authority to call us to
testify.
:They are not investigating crimes to be punished, it is mere
:historical curiosity.''


As always, I wonder what are the dirty reasons behind Reuter's
publicizing what has been common knowledge in Argentina for
years. That the military are instructed on how they must answer
is no news at all, thus not amenable to the supposedly sacred
mission of a 'news agency'. I have a couple of ideas on this, but
I will not expand here. What I want to stress is the last
paragraph, because the first phrase ("It is not the courts' job
to carry out historical investigations') is absolutely
unassailable, and gives the clue to my opinions on related issues
in Latin America.

Nestor.

------------------------------

End of marxism-digest V1 #1680
******************************











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