Brenner Redux (was Re: Russell R. Menard on Eric Williams)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Mon Oct 23 18:15:27 MDT 2000

> >>> furuhashi.1 at 10/23/00 01:19AM >>>
>Well, I've already quoted a lot from Brenner, but here goes again:
>Now, this is a very subtle & nuanced criticism of one school of
>Marxists by another.  Allow me to go on a little further:
>CB: Yoshie, the section of Brenner you quote is a criticism of the
>Frank, Wallerstein and Sweezy Marxist school. This seems a
>discussion confined to the academy. What does Brenner say about the
>Marx-Engels-Lenin-Communist Parties Marxist school discussion of
>these issues ?

One doesn't have to await Brenner's words on the matter:

*****   From: Michael Hoover <hoov at>
Subject: Re: Nationalism, Indigenismo, & Vanguardism (was Re: Patriotism)
To: lbo-talk at
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 08:35:29 -0500 (EST)

> What Mariategui says above was largely true during the days of
> anti-colonial struggles for independence.  Now, long after the heyday of
> anti-colonial movements in the Third World, we need to assess each Third
> World nationalism, case by case, taking a close look at its social and
> ideological compositions, as well as its position vis-a-vis imperialism.
> Still and all, what Mariategui called "the Indigenous Question" is an
> unfinished one anywhere in the Americas and especially important in the
> largely Indian nations in Latin America.  I suspect that the combination of
> nationalism & indigenismo is in many ways meaningful to, say, peoples in
> Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, etc.
> So, nationalism of one kind or another is likely to be with us in the
> foreseeable future.  The questions are, of what kind?  When?  And where?
> To what effects?
> Yoshie

Engels, in an 1882 letter to Kautsky, wrote:

"It is historically impossible for people to discuss seriously any
internal questions as long as national independence is lacking...To
get rid of national oppression is the basic condition of all free and
healthy development." (quoted in H. B. Davis, _Nationalism and

To which Mariatequi's insights on adapting to national conditions
must be added...

Nationhood (however much an 'imagined community' the concept is as
Benedict Anderson suggests) cannot be completed in instances such as
ones cited above unless balance of class forces can mitigate
historical pattern of capitalist integration that has had generally
uniform, negative effects for majority of people.  Various
'nationalisms' have condemned conditions of persistent of poverty,
authoritatian gov't, outside intervention, absence of real autonomy.
They can't all be correct.  History shows bourgeois factions
(irrespective of their 'progressive' character) cannot break from
core's domination because they are only nominally independent and
their class interests work against doing so.  The system of
exploitation to which labor has been subjected, a system maintained
by capital supported by US interests, reflects maldevelopment of
quasi-national status.

Nationalism in countries such as those cited above cannot correspond
to property-owning classes leading 'national project' pursuant to
their particular interests.  Rather, 'national question' is about
possibility of building, through differing process of hegemony, a
popular subject.  Chile (evolutionary) and Nicaragua (revolutionary)
posed the most important question of all:  Will capital cooperate in
transformation of state form that facilitates exploitative relations
upon which it depends?

Of course, pseudo-sovereign status of nations that have occupied
place in US 'backyard' reinforce warnings as old as those of Bolivar
and San Martin that declarations of independence are meaningless so
long as colonial power remains.  Thus, nationalism in such
circumstances must take on trans-national character in repudiating
neo-colonial, dependent capitalist relations.  Such nationalist
struggles must combat both entrenched ruling classes and
subordination to imperial power.

Michael Hoover   *****


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