What is Peronism?

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at SPAMsinectis.com.ar
Sun Jun 4 19:43:08 MDT 2000

Yeah, Lou. The man was Felix Morrow and it seems he had a lot of commun
sense not only about Argentina.
Very interesting information.
Ramos told me that the different sects that fought for the official
representation of the 4th mistrusted Morrow as a consequence of his job in
Fortune-Time. American agent was, it seems, the general mistrust. The
information that you sent add a lot, because in this rare atmosphere of the
trotskysts sects, his position, opposing what you call "catastrophism" can
be very easyly acused of being "por yanqui".

Thank you.

Julio FB

> >Speaking about it I remember a conversation with Jorge Abelardo Ramos in,
> >perhaps, 1974 (my God, I can speak on twenty six years ago, what happened
> >during this time?). He spoke about an american delegate of the Fourth
> >International whose name I can't remember just now (another sign of that
> >this twenty six years have not passed in vain) who was in Argentina in
> >working as journalist for Fortune-Time. Ramos remembered that this man
> >written in a report to the 4th a very good interpretation on October 17
> >1945, an interpretation that doesn't differ of the our one. Had this man
> >something relation with Cochran's group? I don't know but it could be
> >interesting to search about it.
> >
> >Julio FB
> This sounds like Felix Morrow. Morrow was a very interesting figure. He is
> best known in the Trotskyist movement for his book on the Spanish Civil
> War, but he was also very critical of the SWP's "catastrophism" in 1945.
> The SWP leaders predicted a repeat of the 1930s, seeing WWII in the same
> light as WWI. Here is something I wrote a while back:
> In 1943 and 1944 the world Trotskyist movement expected the end of WWII to
> usher in the same types of revolutionary cataclysms as WWI. The
> International Resolution under consideration by the FI stated
> that the allies would impose military dictatorships. It considered
> capitalism to have begun an "absolute decline" in 1929. This decadent
> system said the resolution "has no programme for Europe other than its
> further dismemberment and degradation, and the propping up of the
> capitalist system with American bayonets".
> The choice for the worker's movement was stark. Unless they made socialist
> revolutions, they would face "savage dictatorship of the capitalists
> consequent upon the victory of the counter-revolution." The workers would
> rise to the task since it was "in a revolutionary mood" continent-wide.
> This analysis of the world situation was strongly influenced by Trotsky's
> conceptions from the start of the second world war which were of a
> "catastrophist nature". He could not anticipate any new upturn in the
> capitalist economy based on Keynesianism and arms spending. Trotsky's
> catastrophism can be traced back to the early days of the Comintern. I
> recommend Nicos Poulantzas's "Fascism and the Third International" as a
> critique of this tendency in the early Communist movement. No Bolshevik
> leader was immune from this tendency to see capitalism as being in its
> death throes. Stalin and Zinoviev incorporated this thinking into their
> "third period" strategy. Stalin eventually lurched back and adopted a
> right-opportunist policy. What is not commonly appreciated is the degree
> which Trotskyism has a lineal descent to the ultraleftism of the early
> 1920s Comintern.
> This ultraleftism stared Felix Morrow in the face, who like a small boy
> declaring that the emperor has no clothes, ventured to state that American
> imperialism might not have been on its last legs in 1945. He argued
> forcefully that the most likely outcome of allied victory was an extended
> period of bourgeois democracy and not capitalist dictatorship. Therefore
> is necessary for revolutionists, Morrow advised, to be sensitive to
> democratic demands:
> "...if one recognizes the probability of a slower tempo for the
> of the European revolution, and in it a period of bourgeois-democratic
> regimes -- unstable, short-lived, but existing nevertheless for a
period --
> then the importance of the role of democratic and transitional demands
> becomes obvious. For the revolutionary answer to bourgeois democracy is
> first instance more democracy -- the demand for real democracy as against
> the pseudo-democracy of the bourgeoisie. For bourgeois-democracy can exist
> only thanks to the democratic illusions of the masses; and those can be
> dispelled first of all only by mobilizing the masses for the democracy
> want and need."
> One of the main areas of contention between Morrow and the leaders of the
> FI was how these differences in policy would play out against the
> background of German politics. The SWP was convinced that the German
> working-class would lead the rest of Europe in the fight for socialism. A
> document states that "the German revolution constitutes the essential base
> of the European revolution, that it alone can provide the indispensable,
> genuinely harmonious political and economic organization for the Socialist
> United States of Europe."
> Morrow disagreed completely with these projections. He stated that the
> document contains not "a single reference to the fact that the German
> proletariat would begin its life after Nazi defeat under military
> occupation and without a revolutionary party."
> What was the source of these false projections? "To put it bluntly: all
> phrases in its prediction about the German revolution -- that the
> proletariat would from the first play a decisive role, soldiers'
> committees, workers' and peasants' soviets, etc. -- were copied down once
> again in January 1945 by the European Secretariat from the 1938 program of
> the Fourth International. Seven years, and such years, had passed by but
> the European Secretariat did not change a comma. Exactly the same piece of
> copying had been done by the SWP majority in its October 1943 Plenum
> resolution in spite of the criticisms of the minority." Evidently
> is not a recent trend in the Trotskyist movement.
> Morrow stood his ground against all attacks. He appeared as a heretic. One
> of the charges against him made by Pierre Frank contained an interesting
> thought. If Morrow was right, what implications would this have for the
> world Trotskyist movement? Frank seemed to be thinking out loud when he
> "The false perspective of Morrow has a farther implication if it is really
> drawn to its logical end. If American imperialism has such inexhaustible
> powers that it can, as he thinks, improve the standard of living in
> then of course there exists a certain basis, on however low a foundation,
> for the establishment of bourgeois-democracy in the immediate period
> From that we must assume the softening of class conflicts for a period
> the class struggle will be very largely refracted through the
> struggle, that for a time the parliamentary arena will dominate the stage.
> If that were true, we would have to revise our conception of American
> imperialism. And of course the Trotskyist movement would have to attune
> work to these new conditions -- conditions for a while of slow painful
> growth, propaganda, election campaigns, etc., etc."
> Frank's fears were of course grounded in reality. This would be the fate
> the Trotskyist movement and the rest of the left. The 1950s were not even
> period of slow, painful growth, however. They were a period of decline.
> FI only woke up to new realities when it shifted toward the student
> movement in the early 1960s. After a period of sustained growth, it
> returned to its "catastrophist" roots and proclaimed in 1975 that the
> workers were ready to launch an attack on capitalist power in the United
> States and the other industrialized countries. SWP leader Jack Barnes not
> only led this return to Comintern ultraleftism, he did the early
> one better and predicted war, fascism and proletarian revolution nearly
> every year or so for the last 20.
> The "catastrophism" of the Trotskyist movement is built into the manifesto
> that created it, the Transitional Program. This is the political legacy of
> Trotsky's uncritical acceptance of the perfect wisdom of the early
> Comintern. How could it be otherwise, since at that time Trotsky itself
> one of the key leaders. He made it his business to straighten out any
> wayward Communists, like the French, who stepped out of line. The
> organizational legacy of the Trotskyist movement is in Zinoviev's
> "Marxist-Leninist" model. The ultraleftism of the political roots and the
> sectarianism of the organizational roots make for a powerful inhibition to
> growth. As we struggle to create new political and organizational
> paradigms, it will be important to shed ourselves of such
> Louis Proyect
> Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org/

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