Class Dismissed but not Dissed: the Latin American Case

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at SPAMarnet.com.ar
Wed Aug 16 18:37:52 MDT 2000


En relación a Class Dismissed but not Dissed: the Latin America,
el 16 Aug 00, a las 15:28, Julio Pino dijo:

> In the same way that The Great Depressed One insisted that he was
> not interested in objective proofs for the existence of God, only in the
> subjective experience of being a Christian, I'm not convinced, simply
> on the evidence of this or strike or peasant mobilization that this is
> CLASS STRUGGLE, ie,that those so engaged have a consciousness of class
> as a political weapon.

Ah, this is where we differ. In a sense, it is just a matter of
definitions. By "class struggle"  Julio P means something quite
restricted, that is "class struggle waged by subjects conscious that
what they are doing is confronting, as a class, another class".
Well, in this sense, and Julio P is a historian who knows his history
well, there has been little "class struggle" if ever.  Capitalism in
England was delivered under the auspices of the Old Testament, in
France under those of Ancient Rome, and so on. Socialism is a
different story, perhaps, but even in this case you have the leaders
of the Russian Revolution thinking in terms of the French Revolution,
and the great radical mass leaders of Asia (Mao, Ho) rooting their
practice in the deep intellectual traditions of their own countries.
If this is all that our difference boils down to then I will sleep
well tonight, and I guess Julio will do the same.

I fear it is just a matter of definition, one of those debates that
can fruitfully be made last on an academic stage, but which does not
worry me too much. Perhaps I am wrong.

> Struggles between oppressors and the oppresed
> will go on forever, presumably even on Jupiter when it is colonized.
> But it's one thing to engage spontaneously to fight this or that
> injustice and quite another to comprehend and act upon particularly
> class interests.

I would rather say that the passage from the economic state of
consciousness to the politic state of consciousness implies the
generation of a totalizing project for the whole society. In fact,
the "class discourse" is not delivered to the class which generates
it, but essentially to the other classes.

However, Julio's point is a serious one, because in Argentina at
least, the best representatives of the working class movement are
stubbornly clinging to their past convictions. A day does not pass
without us in the Izquierda Nacional telling one of them or some of
their advisors that if they do not begin to think in terms of power,
they will be either co.opted, crushed or reduced to irrelevance. The
merit of these leaders being that they do represent the ways of
thinking of the average worker, their renuence to leap into politics
(even the best of them, like Ferrarese of the Pharmaceutical Union or
Barbeito of the Flour Mills Union) is a confirmation of Julio's
opinion. If this kind of politics is not what Julio would call "class
politics" (I do), then he is right. But in my opinion, what we are
witnessing is the early dawn of a vast movement which is only
beginning. I do not opposse "national" and "class" politics. The
first is simply a moment of the latter during a particular stage of
history.

I have thus begun to anser to Julio P's query below:
>
>    Argentina: Yes, the union movement is beginning to stir once again,
>    and some in its ranks even talk of "rolling back" neoliberalism. But why,
> then, is there no organized political resistance to de la Rua? Why was
> Menem replaced by Menemismo with a more kindly face?(Confirm this
> Nestor, quien es mas feo?)

What do you want me to tell you, Julio, that I feel that there IS  a
choice between the fire and the frying pan? Both are representatives
of what we in the Izquierda Nacional have termed the Partido Unico de
la Dependencia (the One Party of Dependency), which just as Gore
Vidal has commented on the American political scene, manages to have
two right wings! De la Rúa is, in fact, a Menemist with a kindly face
(but for the lowest ranks of our society, this is not necessarily so;
things are kind of slurry in Latin America, you know this very well
Julio).

There  IS, however, political resistence to De la Rúa. Though still
inchoate, it is beginning to get organized, and this organization
will take its time. But the process by which Radicalism as well as
Peronism have begun to lose their constituency after they lost their
basic progressive and national features is rolling on. What we shall
probably witness is a situation that we have lived at least twice in
modern Argentina(1): an interregnum where political representation
will be eroded slowly and will suddenly give place to something new.
This "something new", however, will not be able to appear if it does
not understand that we face class options. The problem is how to swim
along the current muddy waters and get to that goal.

(1) There were precedents during the 19th. Century as well, but since
Argentina entered the 20th. Century transformed by massive
immigration, I will just stick to the latter. We have the 1890-1916
transitional period, when Roquism slowly broke apart into pieces, the
more progressive wings entered the Radical Party of Hipólito
Yrigoyen, and the most reactionary constituted the core of the
Conservative Party, and we have the 1930-1943 transitional period,
when Radicalism drifted towards the oligarchic establishment, and
eventually split, helping to give birth to Peronism in 1945. Whoever
wants to gauge the despair and cluelessness of average Argentinian
progressives in those times should read the novels by Roberto Arlt,
or listen to the bitter tangos by Discépolo.



Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar





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