Forwarded from Anthony (victimology)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Tue Dec 12 11:31:46 MST 2000

Anthony wrote:

>The historic fact is that the concentration of workers from the countryside
>in factories causes dislocation, atomization, etc. as Lou described - and
>THEN - ussually several years or decades later - the workers begin to
>organize to defend themselves.
>How do they defend themselves? Anyway they can.
>By protesting as women against the rapes and murders of other women for
>Or by protesting against contaminated water with some college student
>Or by community protests demanding paved roads or electricity led by nuns
>and priests.
>Through those struggles on the immediate issues before them workers learn
>to have self-confidence, and they gain a new consciousness. Some times this
>becomes revolutionary working class consciousness.
>Ussually it doesn't.
>The first stirrings of such a movement does not always, or even ussually
>start off as trade unionism, social democratic electoral consciousness, or
>revolutionary communist uprisings.
>The first stirrings of the workers class struggle are ussually led by
>bourgeois and petty bourgeois with moral reasons, self interest, or
>something else only tangentially related to Marx's enthusiasm about workers
>class struggle.
>This is 'natural'.
>If you are weak, you look for someone strong to help you. And workers who
>are unorganized and atomised are weak - until they get organized. So they
>start off by looking for someone to help them. And ussually they find
>someone who is looking to help them - for whatever reason. Those who want
>to help them could be some priests, some politicians looking for votes, or
>some revolutionaries.  To the atomised disorganized workers, any of these
>offers of aid ussually looks good.
>And it turns out any of them can really be 'good' if they help advance the
>workers in becoming organized and self-conscious (even if, as usual, that
>isn't the intention of those offering the aid.)
>This is not, in my view, in conflict with your principal notion that
>communal peasant relations are revolutionary, and they should be defended.
>Nor is it in conflict with opposition to NAFTA.

In the main, I agree with Anthony.  In addition to Anthony's remarks,
we should also note that the "help" from outside come in various
guises, some of them outright reactionary.  For instance, we need to
distinguish UE's solidarity with FAT from the "support" from the
AFL-CIO's proxy work for the U.S. national security state.  To take
another example, fundamentalist Christians have been trying very hard
to recruit converts in Latin America, dislocating Catholic base
communities sometimes.  Some Trotskyist groups in the West organized
"solidarity work" with trade unions in ex-Yugoslav republics &
autonomous areas, which has had an effect of giving aid & comfort to
imperialists.  So, we need to distinguish between different kinds of
solidarity work.  I expect that Anthony will agree with me here.

One can oppose NAFTA without minimizing Mexican women workers'
capacity for organizing.  Furthermore, American & other oppositions
to NAFTA and other forms of so-called "globalization" are often
downright reactionary, and we cannot ignore this aspect.
China-bashing is a good example of them, and so is the Teamsters'
argument that Mexican truck-drivers' entry into the USA will increase
drug-trafficking: "Even tainted food is not the worst of it. Senior
Drug Enforcement Administration officials fear that increased truck
traffic from Mexico will mean increased drug traffic" (at


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