Latin American Marxists (and Burt Cochran)

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at
Mon May 15 15:23:05 MDT 2000

Yes, I am exultant indeed.

I quote and translate here some lines that  Jorge Enea Spilimbergo wrote in

"Socialism can not aspire to be the combatant vanguard of the exploited
masses if it does not appear as the synthesis and rebirth of all anterior
movilizations of these masses. Such as the rest of the democratic federalism
of the provinces rejoined themselves in the end of the XIX Century around
Yrigoyen and his movement; and the popular layers of the last named added
themselves to the peronist movement, in the same way, a socialist party of
masses must represent not "a rectification" of the masses "errors", but a
ratification of its historical movement in the past, a critical depuration
of hopes and intuitions, a continuation of all  the problems in the
conditions of the new stage, an enrichment, consolidation and
universalization of all what they longed potentially, confusedly,
But, for this goal, it is necessary that the socialist thought reconcile
itself with the Argentinian reality, because if its mission is to express
it, to convert it in understandable, to overcome its conflicts and to save
the continuity of its development, socialism must flesh in men not only
conceptually, but spiritually and efectively rooted in the real country, as
its most concrete and lucid expression.
Because the tragic discord, that is one of our constants, between
intelectuality and masses, has converted that in steril victim of its own
exile, and has made impossible for those to have political and cultural
teams that could express congruently the strong and exact intuition that
gave life to them.
In the same way that the colonial liberalism (not the revolutionary and
national liberalism of Moreno, Monteagudo or Jose Hernández, but that of
Rivadavia and Mitre) dreamed on the des-identifying of the country in order
to re-making it from nothing, according with the models of the moment, the
Argentinian "marxists" dreamed on the Belgian cooperatives, the German
socialdemocracy, the Russian Revolution, the Soviet State, Guatemala,
Yugoslavien, Cuba or something else".
"A socialist movement can never win if it is not closely embraced with a
revolutionary conception on marxism and integrated with the lively history
of its land and its people.
The socialist militant do not want convert ourselves in a european
sect -either reformist or pseudo revolutionary- but in the firm vanguard of
the Argentinian worker class and people in the big battles that are coming.
Besides, either as socialists or argentinians we can not ignore that we
belong to this complex of brotherly peoples that is Latin America, whose
real national and social liberation lies in a National Confederation, the
only exit able to take us out from our parrochial isolation, spiritual
colonialism, economic degradation  and political slavery"

The contents of this article of Cochran, that I had not read before, explain
to me a couple of things.
One of them, the comprehension that our points of view founded in the
moderator of the list, comrade Lou Project. It has been not only a question
about wideness, kindness or politeness of an well educated host. It has been
a question about a deep understanding of the objetive historical and social
conditions in which a revolutionary thougth must grow and develop. Precisely
this has been the main task of the Izquierda Nacional in Argentina during
more than fifty years. This ideological and political struggle has meant for
most of us to be out of the academic and oficial circles of the "left". To
find an "global" agora for explain our ideas is one of the most important
things that I, and suppose Nestor too, have experienced in this black years

It is also very interesting the year of this article. It was in 1955 when
our ideas could structure in some kind of organized movement, in spite of
its birth has to do with the golden year 1945, when a new worker class saw
the ligth in my country.

Julio FB

> (Forwarded from Nestor)
> Dear comrades,
> This posting has to do with our debate on Latin American Marxism, and the
> reasons why it is (a) little known abroad, and (b) ineffective among us.
> I would like to add to the debate some excerpts of Burt Cochran´s speech
> introducing the _American Socialist_ magazine in 1955, which were
> by Louis Proyect for Sol Dollinger´s website.
> These excerpts are strongly coincident with our own points of view in the
> Izquierda Nacional on the necessity for a Latin American Marxism to
> generate a
> political ideology that can be understood by the large majority of Latin
> Americans as a logical, normal and almost unescapable conclusion of our
> historical and social traditions. This is the only way for us Marxists in
> Latin America to generate an interpretation of our reality with the
> to become, as Gramsci stressed, a new hegemonic principle, a constitutive
> part
> of the common sense of the masses which (as Marx said) will act as a
> force.
> I will add a few comments to the words by Cochran. And I will perform a
> trick,
> that is of adding some <few words> in his speech, which will almost make
it a
> Latin American Marxist Manifest.
> *********Excerpts begin here**************
> [T]here is a real need for genuine <Latin> American radicalism. By that I
> mean
> a movement that understands th<ese> countr<ies>, that is sensitive to the
> feelings and aspirations of <our> people, that knows how to establish
> communication with them and how to make itself heard, that has the ability
> come up with drastic structural solutions which recommend themselves to
> significant bodies of people as meaningful and realistic. [...] I know
that a
> new important radicalism will arise in th<ese> countr<ies> in response to
> needs that exist and are due to become more pressing as time goes on.
> the existing radical circles will play any role in this coming development
> another question.
> [...]
> I would state as the first proposition that the day of organizing a
> movement in th<ese> countr<ies> as a branch office of the Russian
concern --
> is over; and thank God! And that is true whether it is a branch office
> gets its instructions from Stalin or Khrushchev or Lenin or Trotsky.
> America> is too big, too diversified, too self-sufficient and
> it has too many people, it has too powerful a tradition of its own to
> tolerate
> a radicalism whose source of inspiration or whose hidden allegiances
> abroad. We can be friends of socialist achievements wherever they take
> and we can practice international labor solidarity on behalf of a common
> cause
> without surrendering the dignity of our independence and without losing
> bearings that socialism in <Latin America>, as in all major countries,
> only be won as a manifestation of <our> own national will.
> [...]
> The new movement has to be new in fact as well as in name. It has to
> the spirit of an all-national <Latin American> enterprise <such as the
> Independence wars were>, and eschew the spirit of a faction or sect.
> The [...] new movement will have to effect a wedding between radicalism
> democra<tic nationalism> all over again. It was a fatal error that an
> estrangement was permitted between the two, and reconciliation will have
> be
> consummated, not as a matter of mutual convenience, but of true love.
> Socialism can have appeal and attractive power in Latin America [...] only
> it rests on the <national> democratic achievements that have been wrested
> thus
> far and seeks to extend them, only if works to realize the <Latin>
> dream one of whose main components is <independence>, freedom and
> And the promise will not carry conviction unless it is accompanied by the
> practice, by resistance to <colonialism as well as> to injustice, by an
> outcry
> against brutality, by hostility to dictatorship, wherever it appears, be i
> in
> Russia or <Latin> America. Moreover, a revived <Latin American> Left will
> demonstrate its democracy by the free play for variegated concepts of work
> permits in its own councils. The experiments with semi-military,
> over-centralized and over-bureaucratized forms of organization have proven
> fiasco.
> [...]
> **********EXCERPTS END HERE*********
> Well, how do you like this, Julio P, Mario, and Carlos R? (I do not ask
> FB because if I know him well he must be exultant by now!)
> Louis Proyect
> (The Marxism mailing list:

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