Facts on Google and facts in the minds (was Re: On Making "Geo-Strategic" Mean "Peripheral" and on the "Conspiracy Exemption")

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar
Fri Dec 14 07:09:48 MST 2001

En relación a Re: On Making "Geo-Strategic" Mean "Peripheral" a, 
el 13 Dec 01, a las 16:34, Mark Jones dijo:

> There,
> that's my opinion which you asked for, but I prefer facts to opinions. 

Dear Mark,

Your opinion I already knew.

What I wanted to know is what do you believe that the masses of ordinary 
Russians think about their present, and their future. What's more: I want to 
know what do you think that they don't they dare to think but _should_ think if 
they want to remain alive. This is the _kind of fact_ that we should be after.

No Google search will ever give us a hint of that. However, it is precisely 
this kind of things which make history escape the Catch 22 of automatic 
functioning. Revolutions are the belated expression of previous transformations 
in the structures of society, yes, that is Marxism 101 (I would say that this 
isn't even Marxism, this is simply sound materialism). But revolutions are also 
the imposition of the consciousness of humankind on the blind forces of that 
structure, that is the imposition of what people _don't know that they know_, 
of what people _don't know that they want_, but they _know and want_, on a 
mechanism which perpetuates itself forever without this human intervention. 
That is why history, and not statistics, is all-important in our task (1). 

When I say that I trust you on Russia I don't think of your factual knowledge, 
(which as you yourself have told us can be quite easily reached through the 
proper Web searches), I mean that you have been _living_ there, that you have 
seen the social classes in action, that you have a solid historic backcloth -
however "flawed"- through which to sift the mass of raw data. This is an 
existential filter, a basic kind of knowledge, the one that allows us Marxists 
to write 18th Brummaires once and again. 

Marx was not knowledgeable on Spain because he had read the Spanish statistics. 
He was knowledgeable because in order to begin to study Spain he went to the 
Quixote of Cervantes(2).  This is what we need, IMHO.

But, anyway, you have explained your core belief that without a revolution in 
Germany nothing can be expected from Russia. Let us agree in that if we remain 
Marxists we must accept that this core belief will shape your views on 
particular things.

Then, the ultimate question -politics and war share its subject matter- is:  
"Are the Russian masses psychologically defeated? Are they convinced that any 
move forward will put them in a worse position than the one they suffer 

You seem to answer "Yes, they are, they have given up fighting for themselves, 
and they are sinking in a hell of vodka and mysticism". I think otherwise, and 
under the influence of what little I know of history I keep remembering Father 
Gapon. Maybe you are right, maybe _I_ am right. Two points seem to stand out, 

(a) Nothing more solid than a core belief separates our views. It is only 
through a bet that we shall see who's right. It is always the same old story, 
isn't it?

(b) This bet is not an _innocent_ bet. Because there _is_ something we can do 
against the weakening of the Russian masses, which is to oppose any move 
towards weakening the Russian state, pitting ourselves against any form of 
imperialist (or pro-imperialist) fragmentation and invasion. We cannot, IMHO, 
say that "since the Russian ruling elites are sold out there is nothing we can 
do".  We can, at least, try to put some boulders on the road of that ruling 

That is the difference, or so it seems to me, between these lists and Johnson's 
Russia List. If this difference ceases to exist, then I am afraid we are 
walking on very thin ice. And water below is very very cold. I, for one, have 
no intention of freezing myself.

N O T E S 

(1) Lenin used statistics galore, but he did it politically. My first lesson in 
serious statistical analysis was given by Vladimir Ilitch on _The development 
of capitalism in Russia_, when he took in consideration the political leanings 
of the compilators (and designers of data compilation systems) in the 
_zemstvos_ to understand the Czarist statistics on agrarian change in Russia.

(2) Incidentally, Pierre Vilar demonstrated during the 60s how clever was this 
decission by Marx, by showing that the basic contradiction of the Quixote -the 
contradiction between dreams and realities- copied the basic contradictions of 
the contemporary Spanish society almost to the last comma

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list