Future answer to Jose and Jim.
Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestor at SPAMsisurb.filo.uba.ar
Sat Sep 25 09:48:01 MDT 1999
El 24 Sep 99 a las 21:02, Jose G. Perez nos dice(n):
> >a) It is _not_ smallness that makes Eastern Timorese
> >claims for independence suspicious to my eye now, nor has
> >it been before. Did I ever deny Puerto Ricans any right
> >to fight for independence? I would say mine is rather the
> >opposite position. But Puerto Ricans do not rely on
> >imperialists in order to achieve their goals.
> They do not? Check again.
> It has been the long-standing position of one wing of the
> independence movement to reject and to boycott U.S.
> sponsored referenda. These forces have insistently argued
> that referenda under auspices of the colonial
> administration and the colonial power are illegitimate;
> that only a referendum under UN auspices and preceded by
> the withdrawal of the occupying force and its replacement
> by a United Nations force could have any legitimacy.
But keep an eye on this, dear Jose: these groups are
calling the UN _against_ imperialist rigging of the
referendum, that is to dillute the almighty power of the
United States bourgeoisie to impose what, to my rage and
dismay, has become a new feature of cable TV advertising:
"Puerto Rico, USA". The question here is: are you saying
that "Puerto Rico, USA" is the same thing as "East Timor,
Indonesia" (or as I would rather prefer, East Timor, Malay
Confederation of Independent Socialist States)? Resorting
to the UNO against the USA is a reasonable anti-imperialist
option; resorting to the UNO against a Third World right
wing faltering country with support of American and Australian
imperialist bourgeoisies is a different thing. Wonder why
the UNO have so smartly seen the difference? Why have they
NEVER sent a single soldier to enforce the declarations
that support Palestinian rights against Israel, and they
have so swiftly answered to the "pressure" of the
Murdochized Australian "people"? There is a difference,
then. Don't you think? What _I_ believe is that the East
Timorese leaders have, in their desperate situation, sided
with the worst of evils. This you did not contest as yet.
But the consequences you have not drawn, Jose.
> It is an OUTRAGE to characterize the heroic struggle of
> the Timorese people as reliance on imperialism to achieve
> their goals.
I did say nothing on that struggle. I commented on Ramos
Horta's definitions. In the same way that it is humans who
explain chimps, and not the other way round (Marx
criticizing Darwin), we should ask ourselves whether this
position stems from some particular sector in the thought
of the East Timorese heroic revolutionaries or not. If it
does, then we cannot but make it seen. And if it doesn't,
we must show them what they are doing. What we can not do,
precisely BECAUSE we have been supporting their
anti-imperialist struggle, is to fail to declare that in
our own humble and modest view they have taken a dangerous
course that may ultimately prove fatal. The facts are
stubborn: there are Australian imperialist troops in East
Timor now. Ramos Horta does not say a word against this. He
says lots against Indonesian troops. I am not judging, I am
just commenting on HIS own declarations (as compiled by
Phil F., granted, but nobody has contested his compilation
> They have waged an unrelenting struggle
> against Portuguese colonialism and then against the
> Indonesian occupation. The Indonesian occupation was a
> 100% IMPERIALIST occupation, with Indonesian troops
> standing in for those of the major imperialist powers.
This is where we depart. It was certainly the occupation by
a country where the regime was a 100% pro-imperialist
regime, what means that while imperialists backed it, it
would stand, and when this backing was retired it would
fall (as it did). These were not AMERICAN, or AUSTRALIAN
troops. The Indonesians were just that, Indonesians. It is
puzzling to see that AT THE VERY MOMENT when the Indonesian
regime begins to waver, the imperialists move PERSONALLY,
so to say, to East Timor. A defeat for the Indonesian army
in East Timor will not help leftists either in Indonesia
nor, certainly, in East Timor. There is a lot we MUST
debate on the role and situation of the military in a Third
World country, even on the situation of "rogue" armies such
as the Indonesian or (for that matter) the Argentinian
> Timorese have not failed us by trying to take advantage of
> contradictions within the imperialist camp nor by calling
> for a UN force under the current desperate circumstances.
I understand the second part of the sentence. Not the first
one. There has been NO contradiction within the imperialist
camp. Indonesia has NEVER belonged to the imperialist camp,
in the same sense Argentina has never belonged to the
imperialist camp. Indonesian military and right-wing
leaders (what here we use to call the "sepoys") may have
entertained such an ilussion from time to time. But when it
comes to great definitions, then the imperialists put
things in black on white. That is why East Timor is under
Australian occupation today, and that is what the
Indonesian people (I repeat, _people_, not only _army_) is
forced to swallow the bitter medicine. There has been a
Holy Imperialist Alliance in the sense that East Timor had
to be handed over to Indonesians while the Indonesian sepoy
military were able to keep the whole area safe for
imperialist capital, and there is a new Holy Imperialist
Alliance in the sense that East Timor must be occupied by a
fake-UNO force under Australian leadership when those
sepoys become weaker. No contradiction at all.
> Rather it is us, the world working class, and especially
> the working classes of the imperialist countries who have
> failed them.
Dear Jose, the working classes of the imperialist countries
have, FIRST AND FOREMOST, failed to themselves. Will you
help them out of that failure by supporting the policies of
their own bourgeoisies? I doubt it.
> For when the Cuban revolution faced a similar crossroads,
> and imperialism was preparing a massive invasion which the
> revolution would almost certainly not have survived, the
> Soviet Union and Nikita Khruschev, who history will
> remember, and not just for the many problems of the
> socialism he was associated with, were there for Cuba.
As to survival of the revolution, I do not know. I am the
last man on earth to propose OTHER PEOPLE'S suffering. But
the possible outcome of a full invasion of Cuba may have
been quite different than what you are supposing. This may
have been a matter of dogma in Cuba (a right I do not
dispute), but I believe that the resistence of the Cuban
people together with the wave of outrage that such an
invasion could have raised in Latin America as a whole
could have had unexpected results. And I suppose the CIA
planners may have been aware of this, also.
As to Khruschev and the Soviet Union, this is a different
matter that has little to do with our debate. At any rate,
if the Cuban people had not been decided to fight for
themselves, the Soviet Union would not have engaged in
nuclear war for them. The heart of the matter still lies in
the Tropics, not in the Polar Circle.
> But who from our class is there for the Timorese? And so
> the Timorese have had no recourse but to call on the
> United Nations.
This I do not contest. I have even recognized that they may
be attempting to "dance tango on a floor tile" (almost
impossible, believe me). What I say is that if this was
their attempt, then they are doing things badly, very
badly. They are not dancing tango, they are dancing a
deadly dance which will lead them to become, IN THE BEST OF
THE OUTCOMES, in the Israel of the Malay world. It is my
duty to say this wherever I can, out of respect for the
East Timorese themselves. The United Nations are not
neutral, they have never been (ask Palestinians, again).
> >b) The national question has _little, if anything_ to do
> >with what is known as "ethnicity". The Malay national
> >question, in particular, does not imply either mingling
> >different "ethnic groups" together in an inorganic way,
> >nor does it imply that the "largest group" has a
> >historical right to stamp the minor groups away.
> >Ethnicity and nationality, in fact, are seldom the same
> >thing though there may be some overlaps. On this,
> >Argentinians do know something.
> Let me guess. Half or more of the population of Peru, of
> Bolivia may be native peoples. But the "national" question
> isn't the Quechua, etc., national question, but the
> Peruvian one, and the Bolivian one, and the Latin American
> one? Did I get it right?
You are mocking a position. But in a certain sense, you are
getting it right. This is the part of the posting that I intend to
answer fully when I have time left.
The Quechua (or Aymara) questions are not "national" in the
Marxist sense of the word. Mariategui himself explained,
decades ago, that the "Indian" problem was the "peasant"
problem. This problem is inextricably enmeshed with the
Latin American national question, but it is not the same
thing nor does it enjoy the same strategic meaning and
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