The end of South American nationalism?

magellan at magellan at
Wed Nov 10 10:01:41 MST 1999

If I have some time available I intend to translate into English the
clarifying text of  Julio Fernández Baraibar that was sent in Spanish to the
lists at  Sat, 6 Nov 1999, "Sobre el destino del peronismo" (On the destiny
of Peronism) or  "¿Hacia dónde va el peronismo?"  (Where Peronism goes?).
I changed its title because I think that it fits quite well to the whole
South America.

The central idea of Julio, which I agree to, is that nationalism is over
forever.  I put a question mark in the title in order to appease those, who
still are many, that think the the old nationalism may have one more chance yet.

I think that I don't need to remember that South American nationalism is
quite different from the Eurasian and African one.  It is purely economic
and deprived of ethnical, racial, religious or national hatred.  It would be
impossible otherwise, since both the Argentinan and the Brazilian peoples
have important roots in more or less recent immigrant waves from Europe and
elsewhere, which added up to the original population from the colonial
times, that already was ethnically diverse too. Though this description may
also fit to USA, the difference is the pervasive and divisive manifold forms
of racism.  The Iberian "mother" countries around 1492 had already been
absorbing one ethnical group after another for too many centuries, including
non-Europeans as Carthaginians, Arabs, Moors, Jews and Gipsies.

The national bourgeoisies, be them the private local manufacturers and
bankers, be those entrenched in the state apparatus as the Armed Forces and
the cadres of state strategic monopolies  (former ones or in the way of
privatization), as oil and electricity, are becoming demoralized compradore
burgeoisies each passing day of the globalization era or are being
outrightly downgraded.  They have lost the historical role that they never
fully understood nor fulfilled.  Nationalism is losing its social framework
and becomes an empty ideological flag of gone days.

USSR also is gone and the European Union could barely replace the role of
the Soviets.  In 1973, during the first oil shock and the not so veiled U.S.
menaces of invasion of Venezuela, that had just nationalized the oil
industry, Carlos Andrés Pérez  said in a famous interview to the
conservative  (monarchist ! ) "Jornal do Brasil", one of the most
influencing daily newspapers of the continent, that  "if USSR didn't exist
it must be invented".   He obviously referred to the countervailing
anti-imperialistic power of USSR.   That old rascal afterwards became a
liberal champion that killed more than 300 people during the  __Caracazo__
riot against the I.M.F. and was impeached in 1993 on corruption charges.

I also agree with Julio that only the proletariat alone could now take the
lead of the tasks of national emancipation, which are now clearly
inextirpable from those of social emancipation.  Nevertheless, proletarians
still lack the great leaders and organizations, though in this case Brazil
is in a better situation than Argentina, where the mainstream  "opposition"
is so liberal as the shameful liberal Peronists (now liberal, as Julio
explains).   As Gramsci said, we are living a time when the future is not
born yet and when the past is dead.

Notwithstanding this, I do have a great doubt.  Since the present stage of
capitalism is that of a permanent crisis,  when mass unemployment will never
recede in the next cycle, but will increase instead, the proletariat is
demobilized and even demoralized.  Could the proletariat, in the road to the
lumpenproletariat, keep (develop) a revolutionary mentality?   In Brazil
this is true only in the case of the organized peasantry and of the
expropriated small farmers and in the new (and little) urban squatter movement.

In solidarity,
Roberto Magellan

Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans  ......
Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes

                ( L' Internationale )

1919 / 1999:   Entweder Sozialismus, oder Barbarei !
                        Socialismo ou barbárie !

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