Brenner feedback

Carlos Eduardo Rebello crebello at
Tue Oct 19 01:25:18 MDT 1999

> Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 10:38:19 -0400
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at>
> Subject: Re: Brenner feedback.

 When I first began looking at some of these
> questions, provoked by Comninel's highly original observations on 1789, I
> took out Daniel Guerin's history of the French Revolution, which argues
> that everything revolutionary came from the popular classes.

Yes, and in fact Gurin's main tenet is that the French Revolution was
the first historical case of a bourgeois revolution that, by pushing
harder the idea of political democracy, finished by exhibiting the
dynamics of Permanent Revolution.

 I didn't have
> the time to read it from cover to cover, but what I did read found
> extremely impressive. Guerin was a Trotskyist in the 30s who evolved into
> an anarchist.

In his _Rosa Luxemburg and Revolutionary Spontaneity_, he describes
himself as a Communo-Anarchist ("Libertarian", in the European sense of
the word)

 His book "Fascism and Big Business", written from a
> Trotskyist standpoint, is a classic.

And also his diary of a trip to early Nazi Germany, _La Peste Brune_
(The Brown Pest), which is a companion volume to "Fascism and Big

 His book on the French revolution was
> not, to my knowledge, influenced by the "revisionist" writings such as
> Furet's that is the subject of Comninel's book.

Oh, no! My copy here (*La Lutte de Classes pendent la Premiere
Republique, Seuil, 2 volumes), according to French costom, retains the
date of the 1st. edition, not mentioning number of reprints, and the
date given is 1946 (It would be intersting to know how such a huge work
could be composed and written during WWII). Furet regarded Guerin's
history of the Revolution as an eccentricity, since to him it was the
only history of the Revolution written from an Hebertiste viewpoint
(this is a perfect banality, BTW).

Carlos Rebello

> Louis Proyect
> (The Marxism mailing list:
> ------------------------------
> Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 15:13:04 +0100
> From: jbm7 at (Jim Monaghan)
> Subject: London Socialist meeting
> This sounds interesting
> Jim Monaghan
> The Workers' Liberty-sponsored conference, "Socialism past, present and
> future", will be held at Caxton House, 129 St John's Way London N19 (Tube:
> Archway) London, Saturday 6 November.
> The school marks the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin
> wall and the collapse of Eastern European "communism" - momentous events in
> recent history and events which have had a lasting impact on the
> international left.
> Moshe Machover and Pat Murphy will discuss the questions facing Marxists in
> the new period: what lessons can be drawn from the collapse of Stalinism?
> How has social democracy been affected? What will the new century offer the
> left?
> Sean Matgamna and Peter Gowan will debate "Marxism, imperialism and war".
> Peter Gowan is the author of a new book, The global gamble - Washington's
> Faustian bid for world dominance. Sean Matgamna is the editor of a
> forthcoming book dealing with the question of war and socialist politics.
> A series of discussions will deal with the issues surrounding the 1917
> revolution. Kate Buckell will debate the SPGB on "Were the Bolsheviks
> democrats?" Paul Hampton will discuss the current situation in China. Jill
> Mountford will look at the lessons from the two waves of feminist
> mobilisation in the twentieth century and discuss the prospects for a
> socialist feminist renaissance in the 21st century.
> In the evening we will be showing films by Eisenstein.
> A creche, cheap food and accommodation are available.
> Tickets are £10 and £5 (students and unwaged). For more details contact
> Workers' Liberty office at or phone 0171 207 3997.
> Look at the new Action website:
> <office at>
> Workers' Liberty, PO Box 823, London SE15 4NA
> Phone +44 171 207 3997/0706/4774
> Fax +44 171 277 8462
> Web
> ______________________________________________________________________
> To unsubscribe, write to AWL_MAILING-unsubscribe at
> Start Your Own FREE Email List at
> ------------------------------
> Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 15:40:08 +0100
> From: jbm7 at (Jim Monaghan)
> Subject: Trotskyists on Balkan war
> __________________________________________________
> International Viewpoint * Inprecor * Inprekorr
> PO Box 27410, London SW9 9WQ, Britain
> Fax +33-01 43 79 29 61
> <International_Viewpoint at>
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> Free electronic subscription
> __________________________________________________
> A Fourth International Document
> >From the Balkans to the world order: balance sheet of the war
> [The International Executive Committee of the Fourth
> International approved this resolution in September 1999. It is
> also available in French.]
> The war that the NATO governments unleashed against Serbia is at
> the same time a new stage of the crisis that has torn apart
> former Yugoslavia, and of the geostrategic recompositions that
> have been affecting relations among the big powers, in particular
> the European Union and the United States, as well as their
> institutions (the UN, NATO, etc.) since the fall of the Berlin
> Wall.
> This is why it has elicited two main types of one-sided reactions
> from left milieus: 1) reactions arising primarily from rejection
> of the repression carried out by the Serbian regime in Kosovo
> since 1989 and more broadly from rejection of the policies of
> ethnic cleansing that have ravaged Croatia and Bosnia since 1991
> ? it is from this current that NATO's war has drawn its popular
> support as a "moral" war, abusing inappropriate historical
> analogies; and 2) reactions from another current that has
> primarily seen the war as a NATO war like earlier ones, in the
> context of the "new world order", its hypocrisy and its
> international, geostrategic stakes.
> Even if rejecting NATO and rejecting the Milosevic regime
> obviously cannot be put on the same level, rejecting both enables
> us to break with the false dilemma of having to choose one
> reactionary "camp". Far from undermining resistance to
> imperialist policies, a critical approach to the Serbian regime
> made it possible to get a response from people who saw the
> difficulty and the counterproductive character of this war from
> the standpoint of its own declared goals (stopping ethnic
> cleansing). Finally, the fact that Milosevic leads a party that
> calls itself "socialist" required us, more explicitly than in the
> case of Iraq, to express our criticism of his policies very
> clearly at the same time that we condemned NATO's war.
> This is why these two critical axes, along with the defence of
> the Kosovars' right to self-determination, served as progressive
> reference points.
> They did not however tell the Kosovars how to defend their right
> to self-determination against the aggressive violence of the
> Serbian state.
> Rather than sliding into a "pacifist" position that would be
> indifferent to the suffering of the Kosovar people, we supported
> their legitimate right of self defence. We don't accept a
> symmetrical analysis of Serbian state terrorism and the armed
> struggle of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). But the KLA's
> political orientation after Adem Demaci was removed from its
> leadership, and the group's organisational weakness, made it
> impossible for us to consider the KLA the necessary base for the
> double struggle against ethnic cleansing and against the NATO
> war. So we were reduced to the position of struggling for a halt
> to the bombings and in favour of an agreement which would
> prioritise the return of the expelled population?protected by a
> multinational force.
> The end to the war, and the return of the refugees, was achieved
> through a compromise which reintroduced Russia and the UN into
> the Balkan procedure, and allowed NATO troops to occupy Kosovo.
> Such an agreement?between the Belgrade regime and the major
> powers, and excluding the Kosovar resistance?has  a conflictual
> and reactionary content, which we must analyse and fight against,
> while supporting the right of the Yugoslav and Kosovar peoples to
> take charge of their own destiny.
> The consequences of the war and our tasks
> A) In Yugoslavia and in the Balkans
> 1) In Kosovo.
> 11- The agreement which stopped NATO's attacks and made possible
> the withdrawal of the Serbian army and police has resulted in a
> military occupation of Kosovo mainly by NATO troops and the
> establishment of a big power protectorate under a UN mandate.
> The massive and rapid return of the Albanian-speaking Kosovo
> expellees gave an initial legitimacy to the presence of the
> international interposition force ? although this is the least
> reparation that could be made for a war that was a catalyst for
> (not an obstacle to) the worst ethnic cleansing committed by the
> Serbian forces. Of course from the Kosovo Albanians' point of
> view the protectorate breaks the Serbian yoke, but it is at the
> antipodes of what the peace accords claim to be establishing: "a
> multi-ethnic and tolerant Kosovo". There is no plan to recognise
> the right of the Kosovar population to express their views about
> their own future.
> KFOR (the multinational interposition force in Kosovo) says it is
> incapable of protecting the non-Albanian minorities that are
> massively fleeing from the province. All this can encourage the
> growing doubts in public opinion about the real goals (or at
> least about their "effectiveness" in reaching their supposed
> goals) of the war and protectorate. This is in conflict with both
> Belgrade and the Kosovar pro-independence forces. On the one hand
> it is formally maintaining Serbian sovereignty over the province
> and the external frontier of Yugoslavia?which suggests the
> theoretical possibility of the return of Belgrade troops. But in
> practice it is making the Deutschmark the official currency of
> Kosovo at the expense of the Yugoslav dinar. On the other hand
> the power of the big powers is coming into conflict with the
> aspirations of the KLA for independence and with its will to
> control the province's institutions.
> Just as in the old colonial days, an "administrator" of Kosovo
> has been appointed. The "administrator's" troops will be present
> for years, maybe decades. For the moment, this Protectorate
> excludes the option of ethnic partition. But the reorganisation
> of Serb paramilitarys, and their entry into the
> (French-controlled) northern part of Mitrovica could lead to a
> new spiral of ethnic cleansing.
> The various political forces of the Kosovar resistance are
> demanding the establishment of an army and police force based on
> the Kosovars' own decision-making. This is a legitimate demand.
> So is the demand for democratic self-administration, in place of
> a UN Protectorate.
> The lasting presence of foreign troops and organisations will be
> a source, as in Bosnia, of very great social inequality,
> corruption and dependence ? along with the acceleration of
> privatisation, which is a source of the same mafia-type disasters
> as in neighbouring Bosnia. Our objective is to help Kosovar civil
> society and in particular its young people and its workers - men
> and women - to take control of their own future, their defence
> and their institutions as quickly as possible in a democratic
> framework. The development of international links, particularly
> on the trade-union level through a continuation of International
> Workers Aid for Bosnia will be essential in this context.
> 12 - Right of self-determination for the Kosovars; respect for
> minorities; and solidarity among the peoples of the Balkans.
> Hesitations about defending this right derive from the fear that
> it will only lead to growing fragmentation and the building of
> ethnically pure states. But a selective approach to the right of
> self-determination or its rejection necessarily imply accepting
> that might makes right and accepting the Big Powers' arbitrary
> choices.
> Our intransigent defence of peoples' right to self-determination
> does not mean that we support a universal solution of "one people
> one state". But it means that the people themselves have to
> decide in a given, changing, context. The defence of this right
> is inseparable from a struggle for political and ethnic
> pluralism, against all policies of ethnic cleansing and for equal
> treatment for all communities.
> Albanians constituted 80% of the population of Kosovo. After Tito
> died, Milosevic's first act, in 1989, was to abolish the Statute
> of Autonomy which Kosovo had enjoyed within the Yugoslav
> Federation. It was replaced by an apartheid regime, with a system
> of 'national preference' installed  for the Serbs.
> The only democratic and political solution is through the
> self-determination of the people of Kosovo. Through a democratic
> consultative process, they must decide on their future. If they
> want independence, they should have it.
> Self determination means that the Kosovo people should freely
> decide on their own political regime, their relations with other
> peoples, the status of Kosovo, its future, and its relations with
> the Belgrade government.  This should all be done by a free
> choice, through a democratic consultation. Federation can only
> work if it is freely accepted by each of the components.
>  It is for the people of Kosovo to decide, though while
> respecting the rights of Kosovo's minorities (Serbs, Roma,
> Turks).
> Such a process is the only guarantee that all the communities
> will define the rules and the institutions necessary for
> cohabitation and equality. On the other hand, increasing tension,
> and any desire to impose things on the minority will surely lead
> to war and ethnic cleansing.
> In September 1991, Kosovo's underground authorities organised a
> referendum, in which 87% of the population participated, of which
> 99% voted for a sovereign republic?leaving open the question of
> this republic's relationship to the neighbouring states. This
> choice has been confirmed in all the subsequent elections
> organised by Kosovo' s 'parallel' society. The elected
> 'president,' Ibrahim Rugova, was in favour of independence, but
> Kosovars disagreed as to how this independence should be
> achieved.
> After the mass deportation of Albanians from Kosovo?organised by
> Milosevic?it is clear that a large majority of Kosovars are
> sympathetic to the call for an independent Kosovo. We support
> this legitimate aspiration. No-one has the right to force the
> Kosovars to remain in a Yugoslav federation led by the regime
> which organised the purges.
> Equitable solutions and reciprocal rights can be realised for all
> the peoples concerned only on the Balkan level. This is why we
> defend both the Kosovars' right to self-determination along with
> respect for all minorities and the necessity of links between the
> peoples and workers of this region, so as to build regional
> relationships of solidarity, cooperation, and social, cultural
> and political equality.
> 2) NATO's war has solved nothing; rather it has increased the
> main danger that it was meant to ward off, the risk of further
> Balkan explosions.
> 21- Far from facilitating the overthrow of Milosevic on the basis
> of a political clarification and progressive critique of his
> politics, the NATO war has confused things more than ever and
> made it still more difficult for a coherent, progressive
> opposition to emerge.
> Milosevic has consolidated his power by playing every card:
> appealing to anti-bureaucratic mobilisations which made it
> possible for him to consolidate his power against his rivals in
> the first place ? and relying on bureaucratic and clientelist
> mechanisms to control the enterprises; references to the Titoist,
> anti-fascist, Yugoslav past ? and a radical break with this past
> through an alliance with Serb nationalist currents with
> anti-communist traditions; support for the secessionist
> aspirations and policies of the Serb minorities in Croatia and
> Bosnia relying on extreme-right ultra-nationalism and its
> paramilitary militias ? and then support for "peace plans" which
> meant breaking with his former allies. He thus appeared socially
> more protective than his neo-liberal opponents and more moderate
> than his extreme right ? while he borrowed part of the
> extreme-right programme.
> Milosevic is neither Hitler nor an anti-fascist. His political
> and programmatic alliance with Seselj's Radical Party and its
> militias is criminal. Just as criminal is the incorporation of
> extreme-right currents and orientations into the Tudjman regime
> in Croatia. And on this level the lack of symmetry in the media's
> and politicians' treatment of Milosevic and Tudjman comes down
> very largely to a soft spot for those who identify with
> neo-liberalism and with anti-communism. To turn this hypocritical
> asymmetry upside down and support Milosevic as a "progressive"
> does not make any more sense.
> Alone and unarmed, the Kosovo people were the victims of real
> ethnic cleansing, carried out by the ultranationalist Serb
> militias which became so infamous in Bosnia. During 1998 Serb
> forces pushed about 200,000 Kosovars out of their homes. In the
> first week of the NATO intervention,  a further 400,000 Kosovars
> were pushed to the borders. Just before the NATO intervention,
> Milosevic increased his aggression against the Kosovo Albanians.
> No-one can say that they did not know what was happening.  That
> the nature of the Milosevic regime was not clear, after the years
> of war in Croatia and Bosnia, and after the Srebrenica massacres.
> The Milosevic regime should be opposed. Its barbarian practices
> and its ideology based on ethnic separation or ethnic domination
> are just as dangerous as any other racist and xenophobic
> ideologies.
> To stay in power, the Milosevic regime  embraced a great-Serbian
> nationalism, which promised to bring all Serbs together in one
> state, through ethnic cleansing of a range of territories. These
> are crimes against humanity and war crimes. Those responsible
> should be prosecuted by the International Penal Tribunal in the
> Hague.
> It is up to the Yugoslav population and particularly the Serbs ?
> and not NATO ? to draw up the final balance sheet of the
> tragedies to which Milosevic's policies have led.
> The indictment of Milosevic and the conditions made for economic
> aid push a good number of the former supporters of "Greater
> Serbia" to "launder" themselves in "radical" campaigns for the
> resignation of Milosevic, a demand which replaces any real
> programme. They can base themselves on the aspiration to peace
> and to receive Western loans in order to rebuild a ruined country
> ? as well as on the accumulated disillusionment with Milosevic's
> regime. But the bitterness at NATO's policies also goes very
> deep, which makes the outcome of elections uncertain. The great
> majority of Serb refugees from Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia may
> provide an electoral base for the extreme-right Radical Party.
> We denounce the way in which the Serbian people has been taken
> hostage twice, first by the war, then by economic strangulation
> (the population of Montenegro for its part was subjected to
> strangulation by Belgrade).
> We also have to fight against the selective ? and thus political
> ? character of the International War Crimes Tribunal (IWCT)'s
> actions. Not that we reject the IWCT nor its indictment of
> Milosevic but we demand the prosecution of all the criminals and
> the extension of penal action under international law to the NATO
> leaderships, ie the imperialist governments.
> 22- The overall mechanisms of privatisation that accelerated the
> break-up of the Titoist federation, as well as the maintenance in
> power of a strong coalition between Milosevic's party and
> Seselj's Radical Party, will continue to have disintegrative
> effects, particularly in Montenegro. The loss of Kosovo is
> reinforcing a political offensive by Milosevic, in alliance with
> Seselj, around Bosnia. This could lead to a relaunching of
> military action with the goal of partitioning Bosnia-Herzegovina
> ? gaining territory there, while definitively abandoning any
> claim on Kosovo.
> At the same time, the risks of a break-up of Macedonia still
> exist, since it has not responded in a satisfactory way to the
> demands of its Albanian population.
> 23- We therefore need to develop solidarity and trade-union,
> grassroots and feminist links on a Balkan scale against the
> predominant reactionary policies in order to prepare from below a
> progressive recomposition of the links among peoples.
> The growing awareness of the risks, of the (un-admitted)
> disasters of the war and of the overlapping national questions in
> the whole of Balkan Europe is the source of the proposal for a
> "Stability Pact", which was signed in Sarajevo on 31 July 1999 by
> all the region's governments ? except Serbia's. The NATO
> governments will offer their multinationals the chance to rebuild
> the infrastructure destroyed by their war. As in Bosnia and
> elsewhere in the neoliberal universe, bribes in order to win
> privatisation contracts will accompany this "Pact" with its goal
> of "stabilisation", which will be contradicted by the socially
> disintegrative logic and social austerity policies involved in
> building neoliberal Europe.
> This is the logic that we must oppose on the scale of the whole
> continent.
> B) The dimension of the "world order"
> Expansion of NATO, of "humanitarian" neo-colonialism and of
> militarism: this is the disastrous balance sheet of this war.
> Nonetheless, even if on a limited scale so far, we may see the
> emergence as well of an anti-militarist, anti-imperialist "civic
> consciousness" based on demands for control over government
> policies and for equal power and respect for all peoples.
> 1) Claiming to up hold the rule of law, NATO's war has meant a
> flagrant violation of democratic rights, even the most limited
> ones, of the countries involved. Parliaments have been confronted
> with fait accomplis. In some cases the constitution has even been
> violated (this is the case of Italy whose constitution explicitly
> forbids recourse to war). This has been a real trauma in Germany.
> The evasion of procedures for parliamentary control, as well as
> those of the UN, obviously do not mean that the same decisions to
> go to war taken by parliaments or by the UN or the specific
> content of the peace agreements are defensible in our eyes. But
> the demands for public control and radical contestation of an
> imperialist order are at stake. It is not an innocent thing for
> decisions to go to war (which are particularly serious forms of
> intervention) to be taken by people who claim to act in the name
> of the "international community" without most of the countries of
> the world or public opinion having anything to say about it.
> Although they are all obviously part of a world order dominated
> by the imperialist powers, the UN, the OSCE and NATO are not
> identical institutions on this level.
> 2) On the occasion of its 50th anniversary NATO has redefined its
> reason for existence, its strategic goals and its rules of
> behaviour, although the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact should
> have (and should still) put its dissolution on the agenda.
> Relaunching arms spending is once more on the agenda in every
> region of the world, with all the inevitable consequences for
> national budgets and social policies.
> 21 - The United States are themselves "profiting" from the Kosovo
> experience by planning improvements and a supplementary research
> effort in order to supply itself with still more sophisticated
> and powerful means of destruction.
> Japan and Germany have also experienced a radical change in the
> "peaceful" attitude that they adopted after their defeat in the
> Second World War.
> Taken as a whole, the countries of the European Union are at a
> turning point. If they do not want to be outclassed by their
> ally/rival, the US, they have to make a maximum effort to reduce
> the yawning chasm that currently exists between them at the
> military level. After monetary convergence it is military
> convergence and an increase in military spending that are on the
> agenda ? even while the restrictive logic of the EU's budget
> continues in force.
> The mergers among arms multinationals, as in other fields, are
> also at stake in the political decisions made by the Big Powers,
> which will lead to growing disquiet and an arms race in the rest
> of the world, particularly in China.
> 22 - At the same time, suspicion of NATO has also revived in the
> public opinion of most countries of Eastern Europe and the
> European Union, in contradiction to the unconditional support
> given by their governments. The balance sheet of this war in
> terms of of ecological, material, human and political disasters
> will help to delegitimate it.
> Our condemnation of this war is both moral and political. It
> flows from our opposition both to the political and economic
> interests of the big powers and to the overall strategy that they
> have concretely deployed in pursuit of its supposed immediate
> goals: pacifying Kosovo and defending human rights. The
> pseudo-negotiations, the bombing to compel signature of an
> "agreement", using civilian populations as hostages, establishing
> a protectorate to block peoples' right to self-determination ?
> all this is characteristic of the intrinsic arrogance of big
> powers.
> The fact that a country like Turkey?where human rights and the
> rights of a national minority are trodden underfoot?took part
> directly in NATO's bombing by opening its air bases to it is in
> itself sufficient to demonstrate the completely hypocritical
> character of the propaganda about humanitarian intervention.
> A discussion and systematic balance sheets of this war in the
> different European parliaments should lead to challenges to a
> European "security" policy and to an international campaign for
> dissolution of NATO.
> 3) In the short term the European Union still has a considerable
> power of attraction in Eastern European and Balkan countries.
> Projects for Balkan regroupments are often perceived (or
> presented by the dominant parties) as diversions meant to slow
> down admission to the EU. We should refuse to counterpoise
> rapprochements among Balkan peoples in a community of states and
> the links that they seek to the European Union. We must oppose
> the logic of building the European Union as a neoliberal fortress
> of rich countries.
> In the face of the destruction caused by the war, declarations
> about openings towards the East and the Balkans have been
> multiplying. But they contradict the current austerity budgets
> and are oriented towards militarist priorities that will cut
> social programmes more than ever to bare bones. We must therefore
> both oppose the current socioeconomic and political logic of the
> European Union and propose its unconditional opening to all
> countries that want to join ? but this implies a completely
> different project, which must be redefined through a constituent
> process that breaks with the existing EU treaties. A different
> Europe must redefine itself through a co-operative approach that
> respects the rights of peoples to decide for themselves.
> We must push this perspective forwards by developing European
> links, particularly throughout the Balkan region, with the
> political, trade-union, feminist and youth forces that resist
> every form of reactionary policies. But from this moment on we
> must be in favour of any policy of aid for reconstruction of the
> countries devastated by this war ? while demanding that they not
> be condition on "structural adjustment" policies and that they be
> subject to public, pluralist control.
> ------------------------------
> Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 16:06:29 +0100
> From: jbm7 at (Jim Monaghan)
> Subject: Balkan Socialist network
> __________________________________________________
> International Viewpoint * Inprecor * Inprekorr
> PO Box 27410, London SW9 9WQ, Britain
> Fax +33-01 43 79 29 61
> <International_Viewpoint at>
> URL (1): <>
> URL (2): <>
> Free electronic subscription
> __________________________________________________
> >From the Balkans to a World Order
> As a follow-up to the International Appeal "for a lasting peace
> in the Balkans" launched in Paris on 15 May, several dozen
> signatories from different European countries met on 2-3 October
> in Geneva.
> The war decided by NATO outside any normal democratic procedure
> has had a very high political price, both on a local and regional
> level and with regard to international order.
> In Kosovo, the legal situation and daily reality have been thrown
> into confusion following the agreement between the Serb regime
> and the great powers. Yugoslavia is supposed to retain
> sovereignty over Kosovo, which has been transformed?for an
> indefinite period?into an international protectorate by UN
> Resolution 1244. The DeutschMark has been decreed the official
> currency of this protectorate held under a UN mandate and NATO
> military occupation.
> The Albanian population has returned, but the Serb and Romany
> minorities are in the process of leaving completely. Tensions
> between communities have greatly increased.
> Aid programmes are determined by the strategic orientation which
> lay behind NATO's military intervention?integrating the region
> into NATO's security vision and into the rules of the market
> economy as defined by the major western powers.

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