New Age for Aussie imperialism

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at
Thu Sep 30 22:21:39 MDT 1999

I wrote:
>> So the fact that they now support bourgeois democrats
>> cannot therefore be put down to the impact of mass
>> movements for democracy.  These have always existed and
>> always been opposed by the imperialists.

Nestor wrote:
>You are not right on this, Phil. In fact, imperialism has
>ALWAYS had a preference for what you call "bourgeois
>democrats" in most of Latin America.  These are not exactly
>"bourgeois democrats" but more properly "colonial
>legalist republicans". The problem with them
>was that they were not able to curb the militancy of the
>mass movements, so that stronger medicine was necessary.

Hi Nestor, thanks for the correction.

Perhaps this was a rushed/sloppy forumation of mine.  I did not mean to say
that the imperialists "preferred" juntas to bourgeois democrats (or, as you
probably more rightly call them, "colonial legalist republicans").  I was
more indicating that in practice the imperialists opposed the 'democrats'
and supported the juntas etc.

I am thinking of the democratic regime in Guatemala in 1954 (Arbenz?), the
regime in the Dominican republic that the US invaded and overthrew in 1965,
the Somozas in Nicaragua etc, Batista in Cuba, and a string of similar
regimes in South America.

My basic point was that Jose was wrong in suggesting that the US supports
the 'democrats' today because they are leading popular movements and were
necessary to stabilise things and prevent revolutions where old
dictatorships were crumbling.

I was trying to establish that in the past the US intervened *against the
democrats* - I should have said this was because, as you say, they worried
that the democrats might not be able to contain the situation.  Today,
however, the US is *for* the 'democrats'.  This suggests that something
*new* has occurred.

My view of what is new is that the demise of the Soviet bloc involves the
demise of an alternative model to the market (whether the Soviet model
really *was* much of an alterntaive is another thing, the point is that it
was widely seen as such).  The demise also means that any Third World
country has little choice but to be drawn into the global capitalist market.

This is the framework which allows us to understand why the US, having in
the past put military dictatorships and so on in power, is now able to
remove them and back bourgeois democrats/colonial legalist republicans.

(The other very important aspect of this framework, of course, is that many
of these old dictatorships have become obstacles to imperialist profits,
free flow of capital and so on, while the 'bourgeois democrats' these days
are often more pliable instruments of the World Bank, IMF and so on.)

All the best,

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