Forwarded from Anthony (Bush victory)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Dec 21 07:50:39 MST 2000

Michael Hoover:
>I've never held "betrayal" view but, perhaps, as you indicated in
>previous post, that comment isn't directed towards me...

Actually, the post was written nearly 5 years ago and was directed mainly
against the American SWP and James Petras to a lesser extent.

>without popular input.  Disagreements - of which mixed economy
>was prominent - could not be adequately addressed in context of
>decade's circumstances.  FSLN was front organization that became
>party, sort of.  It never held congress nor elected delegates
>during 1980s.  What it did do was hold state power during period
>of economic & military warfare, time not conducive to democracy.

I don't know if there is much that can be learned from studying Sandinista
methods of governing. It is a little bit like trying to learning to be an
obstretician in the delivery room of a hospital that has lost electrical
power during an earthquake. Carlos Vilas told folks at a Brecht Forum 3 or
so years ago that when he was asked to teach at Columbia University, he was
expected to prepare class outlines a semester in advance, to be reviewed by
department chairs. But in Nicaragua, there was no preparatory time at all.
Guerrillas who had zero experience in governing were all of a sudden thrust
into the position of running a revolutionary society while the Reagan
counter-revolution was in full force and when the USSR was embarking on a
path to mollify the USA.

My organization reported directly to Carl Oquist, who was in charge of
economic planning. Oquist was a USA citizen about my age whose knowledge of
economics was completely theoretical. He was an old friend of Danel Ortega
who had married a Nicaraguan woman. After Somoza was overthrown, he was
invited to take assume a lofty position. In all honesty, I'd have to say
that Oquist was in over his head. Shortly before the 1990 elections I met
with Oquist and told him that I thought Chamorro would likely be the
victor. He was taken aback.

The main lesson of the FSLN is not how to govern a country, but how to
build a revolutionary organization. It was one of the first to successfully
apply lessons implict in the Cuban revolution. 3 factions of the party
Carlos Fonseca had founded transcended factionalism and sectarianism to
become a true vanguard of the Nicaraguan people. Unfortunately Colombia
faces a divided left with the forces of the ELN and FARC at odds both
politically and militarily.

Louis Proyect
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