a clip of bourgeois news on Colombia

Owen Jones owen_jones at SPAMcwcom.net
Thu Aug 17 19:39:55 MDT 2000


 Johannes,

 Thanks for the welcome, good to hear from you again.

 I certainly agree that history has proven wrong the assertion that the
petty-bourgeoisie, with all its vacillating tendencies, is incapable of
independence from either the bourgeoisie or proletariat. Indeed, what
history has shown is that the peasantry is capable of carrying out the
historic tasks of the proletariat, even when the working class itself is
completely passive. I need not tell any comrades of the manner in which
Mao's peasant armies crushed the organised working class of the cities. Most
would agree that a form of workers' state was set up; some people think it
was marvellous until the Xaoping Revisionist Capitalist Roader Traitors
marched in and ruined everything, although I myself see it from the
beginning as a bureaucratically deformed workers' state, with the
bureaucracy arising from the ranks of the peasantry which filled the
guerrilla armies. (What do comrades expect, I'm a trot, so shoot me!)

 In the case of China, however, although 97% of the armies were peasants, we
have to remember that after the 1927 Revolution which was routed by the
Soviet bureaucracy, hundreds of thousands of workers were emptied from the
city into the countryside, and the working class was so atomised it ceased
to exist. However, there was still a core in the armies of ex-urban
proletarians who had fled 1927, and this made a sizeable difference in my
opinion, even though they had been forced into the peasantry. The
vacillating nature of the peasants was clearly very obvious with the
occasional subordination to Chiang Kai-Shek, although on orders from the
Soviet bureaucracy, which ended in a disaster people need no reminding of,
but suffice it so say one million communists dead was certainly a "mistake".

 In Cuba, I agree, although the proletariat was not as passive as the other
examples you listed; it was after all the General Strike which finally broke
Batista's back. That was a complicated revolution - I would say a
vindication of Permanent Revolution. It began as a petty-bourgeois
nationalist revolution with a radical bourgeois-democratic programme, but
the intense class struggle on the ground eventually caused a rupture in the
July 26 Movement which ended with the propertied elements in Miami. I do not
believe, however, that without the Soviet Union, Cuba would have become a
deformed workers' state (sorry with those comrades who think it is healthy
in any way, but I cannot believe that, not simply from reading books on the
matter, since the material I had selected was often hagiographic, but from
talking to Marxists - and non-Trotskyists at that - who visited the country;
one of whom on a German Communist Party delegation to Cuba; its benevolence
is due to such factors as the social weight of the proletariat, its high
level of cultural development, the strength and radicalisation of the
petty-bourgeoisie and proletariat, etc).

 But basically, these examples you supply, as well as others (like Albania
or Vietnam), show definitively that the peasantry is capable of seizing
state power and expropriating the bourgeoisie even with a passive working
class. What I have not heard is a satisfactory answer from Marxism as to why
this has been shown to be so.

 Yet in the case of Colombia, I think the petty-bourgeoisie is incapable of
a seizure of power and the overthrow of the ruling class. Perhaps if the
Soviet bureaucracy still existed, this possibility would exist. It is the
last Latin American peasant rebellion of modern times that has yet to trail
of because of the peculiar circumstances of Colombia, in my opinion.

 But as I have said, I will read up on the subject, my only purpose was to
provoke a debate on the matter.

 Cheers

       Owen






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