Engels on GATT

Brian James hillbily at intergate.ca
Fri Apr 20 21:28:58 MDT 2001

Louis Proyect wrote:

> I don't understand why Brian was so reluctant to accept the charge I
> leveled against him a month ago that he was a pro-Nafta Marxist. By
> attaching Engels analysis (rather odd on its own terms--it borders on
> vulgar Marxism with its assertion that "misery" will cause people to rise
> up) out of context to a modern-day institution like GATT, he leaves no
> doubt that he thinks Marxists should favor GATT, NAFTA, WTO, FTAA, etc.
> This is a dogmatic mistake.

I don't see how posting a quote from Engels on a relevant topic, without
any commentary from me, makes me a dogmatic pro-NAFTA Marxist! The
heading "Engels on GATT" was meant solely as a humorous rejoinder to
"Marx on the FTAA," which essentially makes the same points but which
received no hostility from Proyect. Once again Louis Proyect is showing
off his amazing powers of extra sensory perception, and his penchant for condescension.

> Engels' article was written in the pre-imperialist context when the
> bourgeois revolution had not been completed in many countries....

Responding to this very point on another list I made the following

"Very good point. Many developing nations would do better by a policy of
protectionism, and according to Marx we should support them on that

Protectionism versus free trade represents one of the fatal
contradictions of capital and is a dichotomy to be rejected by Marxists,
for to embrace one side against the other categorically would be to
maintain a contradiction of capital, not negate it. The only way to
negate the contradiction is through an internationalist working
class movement...

Problem is, the most powerful section of the working class in developed
countries is ruled by trade unions, and the trade unions are reactionary protectionists."

I am looking to understand this dilemma over "globalisation" and thought
adding Engels' preface to Marx would add to a discussion. But Mr.
Proyect is more interested in rubbing peoples' noses in his superior analysis.

Brian James

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