Colombia and Ireland

Jose G. Perez jgperez at SPAMfreepcmail.com
Wed Oct 27 22:35:23 MDT 1999



>>For centuries the proletariat and the peasantry struggled for reforms
against
feudalism and capital.  Out of that emerged various reformist political
organisations - the Whigs/Liberals and Labour Party in Britain for instance.
<<

I could not have wished for a clearer expression of the ULTRALEFT IDIOCY of
your position.

So! The struggle for "reforms" leads to "reformism!" So much for the
politics of the Communist Manifesto! So much for the idea that "the real
fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever
expanding union of workers." As far as you're concerned, the "real fruit of
their battles lies" in the creation of bourgeois workers parties.

Welcome to the Socialist Labor Party, comrade! And so much for Lenin's
Marxist, materialist analysis of the real social and material basis for
reformism, which has got nothing to do with the struggle for reforms and
everything to do with begging from crumbs from the table at which the
imperialists divide the pie of superprofits from the exploitation of their
colonies and semicolonies.

>>Whereas
>its leadership trimmed and dissimulated from the moment of inception, the
Labour
>Party was, through its members and supporters a material force that put
into
>practice the main platform - that of Clause 4, regarding the
nationalization of
>the central sectors of capital, and the Welfare State - in 1945.  That same
>Labour Party today has abandoned every last shred of reformism, for the
simple
>reason that it has dawned upon it that capital cannot be reformed, other
than
>ephemerally. <<

So! the "nationalization" by the bourgeois state of the bankrupt factories
and industries of the British bourgeoisie after WWII was an achievement of
the working classes! Fat chance, mate. Sure, they nationalized the losses,
passed them over from their own accounts to that of the state, which wasted
no time in presenting the bill to the workers. The "nationalization" of
British enterprises in the 40s was 100% bourgeois. If the English capitalist
s again came to such a pass where most of the enterprises were bankrupt,
you'd see Blair & Co. all hot and bothered for nationalizations once again.

There is a difference between a partial conquest of the working class and a
swindle, you know. What happened in Britain was a swindle.

In general, it is a matter of complete and utter indifference to the working
class whether an individual capitalist, a capitalist family, a partnership,
capitalist stockholders, a capitalist church or the capitalists collectively
through their state (in imperialist countries) hold title to a given
enterprise. I care about this question about as much as I care about the
subject that has the U.S. bourgeois press in thrall -- which one of the them
will get to rule us for the next four years. As if it made the slightest bit
of difference!

The only circumstance in which the working class should take an interest in
these matters is when a change in property forms or titular control forms
part of an attack on the workers. A *classic* case is Roosevelt's
strikebreaking, scabherding attempt to "nationalize" the coal mines in
Woirld War II. Not for a second did the class-conscious miners of the UMW
fall for this silly claptrap the Stalinists were pushing about "our" mines
and "our" war effort. The miners stuck to their guns and won their strike.

As for your touching remembrance of times past, when reformism, alas, really
worked, what this shows is that you are living proof that an ultraleft
sectarian is just a reformist turned inside out. You discard the struggle
for reforms because reforms are no longer POSSIBLE. When, in the morning,
the impossible becomes reality as the class struggle intensifies, you will
become the most abject of reformists.

You attribute this all to the nature of the period, or some such nonsense.
In 1945, you see, having been bombed and bled dry by their imperialist enemy
(Germany) AND by their imperialist ally (The United States), the British
bourgeoisie had all this resources with which to make concessions, like
"nationalization" of their losses (that was really white of them, I'll
confess) and the welfare state. Now, 50 years later, the poor dears don't
have two pence to rub together, and we must abandon the struggle for reforms
and rely instead on ... demanding of the workers that they make a revolution
right now, with none of this reform claptrap.

How many concessions the unions are winning right not has got NOTHING, zero,
zip, nada, to do with some "stage"  capitalism has arrived at. It has got to
do with the degree of organization and combativity of the working class, and
that is ALL it has anything to do with.

So, you think there are too many "nationalists" on this list and not enough
"Marxists." That's because you don't understand the ABC of the Marxist
position on the nationalism of the oppressed. The nationalist movements of
the oppressed against their oppressors are revolutionary. The working class
is duty bound to give them, not passing "critical support," as has been
suggested here, but unconditional solidarity. And I want to stress
unconditional. The working class in an imperialist country or a semicolonial
country that oppresses other peoples can NEVER be free until it understands
that the chains that hold down oppressed peoples are the VERY SAME CHAINS
that keep the "white" or "English" or "Spanish" workers in wage slavery.

To withhold support from the just struggles of oppressed people for national
liberation because you don't like their leaders is scabbing just as much as
it is crossing a picket line because you don't like the labor fakers at the
head of the union on strike. It is, in a sense, the WORST FORM of scabbing,
because at least the scabs get the bourgeoisie to pay them for their
scabbing, whereas soi-dissant "critical support" Marxists render their
services freely, as SLAVES of bourgeois ideology and bourgeois great-nation
chauvinism.

José

-----Original Message-----
From: bernie wool <bernard.wool at tesco.net>
To: marxism at lists.panix.com <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Date: Wednesday, October 27, 1999 7:52 PM
Subject: Re: Colombia and Ireland


>
>
>Jose G. Perez wrote:
>
>"The essential politics of both [meaning all three, the ELN, the FARC,
>and the IRA] is reformist," you write. This is the bottom line of your
>analysis. Moreover, you identify "reformism" with the struggle for reforms.
>You say "in the past" (when? where?) Marxist should have extended "critical
>support" to reformism, but NOW (why now?) the struggle for reforms becomes
>"a palpable illusion." You imbue reformism with the attributes of a
material
>force in society, and moreover, identify it with the struggle for reforms,
>which is absurd.
>______________________________________________________
>For centuries the proletariat and the peasantry struggled for reforms
against
>feudalism and capital.  Out of that emerged various reformist political
>organisations - the Whigs/Liberals and Labour Party in Britain for
instance.  In
>the case of the latter, it became the mass party of the working class.
Whereas
>its leadership trimmed and dissimulated from the moment of inception, the
Labour
>Party was, through its members and supporters a material force that put
into
>practice the main platform - that of Clause 4, regarding the
nationalization of
>the central sectors of capital, and the Welfare State - in 1945.  That same
>Labour Party today has abandoned every last shred of reformism, for the
simple
>reason that it has dawned upon it that capital cannot be reformed, other
than
>ephemerally.  That is particuarly the case when capital has become like
mercury,
>difficult to take a grasp of and capable of flowing anywhere unhindered
except
>by the working class.
>
>Much the same can be said of combinations and unions - their role was to
fight
>for reforms against individual personifications of capital through the
combined
>strength of their members.  Their other function was to defend the gains
made in
>the past.  You see, defence and reform are hand in glove, dear Jose.  Now,
name
>me any union that is able to defend the gain made by its membership in the
past,
>and any reforms that they have recently achieved.  In some miraculous way,
both
>sides of this particular dialectic have dematerialized, or hadn't you
noticed.
>Reform and reformism are now truly idealistic, as workers on all continents
are
>discovering to their dismay.  What to do?  What to do?  Now, most workers
are
>not like Chicken Little and are keen to find alternative means of struggle
as a
>means of assuring the means of life and a greater share of the use values
that
>they produce.  I leave it to you and our erudite comrades to take that a
little
>further.
>______________________________________
>Jose:  Yet, having denounced the struggle for reforms, in the *very next
>sentence*  you castigate me for failing "to consider the present concerns
of
>workers and farmers facing giant petrochemical transnationals, the IMF's
>structural adjustment programs, endemic unemployment in Belfast and the
>fluidity of the EU Common Agricultural Policy" -- without, of course,
saying
>one word concretely as to what those "present concerns" consist of.
>_________________________________________________
>I'm awaiting your answer with what amounts to solemn gaiety comrade.
>_____________________________________
>Jose:  As for a lot of flak being reserved "in defence of nationalism" I
don't
>at all agree. A lot of flak is being directed at great nation chauvinism,
>which finds expression not only in political positions that oppose the just
>aspirations for national liberation of the masses in countries like
>Colombia, but also in an arrogant know-it-all supercilious attitude of
>certain Marxists towards revolutionary movements in the third world.
>_______________________________________________
>Very noble of you all to oppose great-nation chauvinism, but to whom is
that
>addressed?  A list called marxist seems to me to take that as read, and
since
>one would not expect great-nation chauvinists to spend much time on air, it
is
>blowing off in the wind.  Sorry, but that is pompous and does match the
>supercilious know-all attitudes that I mirror back at you and Proyect.
Since
>you think that I am too polite regarding my suspicions that there are some
>personal interests at stake - I think there are too many nationalists and
too
>few marxists on this list, despite the phraseology - methinks you do
protest too
>much.
>
>Yes, dear chaps, those of us who are curious must forever hold our piece
(just
>in case Proyect comes back with a masturbation aphorism!).  We must speak
of
>what we 'know', or not at all.
>
>BW
>
>
>


---

Free computers.  Free Internet access.  I don't pay -- why should you?
Click on www.free-pc.com to get started today!









More information about the Marxism mailing list