Forwarded from Anthony

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Apr 20 09:56:23 MDT 2001

>My questions for you, Lou, and othes too, are two:
>1. What should Leninists have done, or do now, in relation to "figures such
>as Argentina's Peron or Chavez in Venezuela."?

Fight to defend them when they are under siege from imperialism. Latin
American, Central American and Caribbean history is filled with examples of
left-leaning bourgeois states that are unacceptable to Wall Street: Arbenz
(Guatemala), Bosch (Dominican Republic), Michael Manley (Jamaica), etc.
Until the working class party has achieved political hegemony, it must not
take a "third camp" attitude toward the conflict between a nationalist
government and imperialism.

>2. How do you see such "figures" differing from a figure like Kerensky?

Russia was both an empire and a colony. Trotsky devoted much of "History of
the Russian Revolution" to explaining this combined character of Czarist
Russia. Kerensky represented the continuation of empire, through the guise
of populism/social democracy and by prolonging Russia's participation in
WWI. It is not out of the question that if the Kerensky regime had
withdrawn unilaterally from WWI and given land to the peasants under the
auspices of the SR program (Kerensky's own party), the Bolsheviks might
have not organized the October 1917 assault.

Chavez has aligned himself with Castro and made it more difficult for the
USA to consolidate a reactionary bloc against the Colombian left. He has
also tried--short of socialist revolution--to promote the interests of
workers and peasants. The trade union resistance to Chavez does not come
from the left, but the tarnished social democratic unions that never gave a
shit about the "left out" in Venezuela's slums.

Louis Proyect
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