Facts on Google and facts in the minds

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar
Fri Dec 14 14:59:07 MST 2001


En relación a Re: Facts on Google and facts in the minds , 
el 14 Dec 01, a las 16:22, Mark Jones dijo:

> At 14/12/2001 14:09, NMG wrote:
> 
> >No Google search will ever give us a hint of that.
> 
> You seem to think history is the work of the unconscious motives and 
> desires of the 'seething, protean masses' etc. 

Not at all.

What I think is that history is not written in the base, as sometimes I have 
the idea that some Marxists believe. I think that the objective necessities of 
the working masses and the oppressed may, under certain circumstances, become a 
part of the base, so to say. But you know I think this, so that what's the 
point of repeating it again.

[I snip the ABC which we share and stop for a while here:]

> [...] all which conscious
> subjects can do is to realise and bring to life an inherent logic which is
> certain to play itself out in one form or another.

Certainly so. The problem lies in what kind of inherent logic we are talking 
about. According to you, the 1917 October revolution was less the effect of the 
actions taken by conscious, decided, and emboldened Russian workers and 
peasants than the consequence of a structural miracle. Instead of Deutscher's 
definition of the St. Petersburg working class as a "miracle of history", you 
propose a "miraculous specific structural situation". Of course that there was 
a peculiar situation, which allowed the October revolution to take place.  But 
I am not very sure that the situation was the one you depict here: 

> ... If Wilhelmine Germany had not been
> defeated (or in the process of collapse and defeat) it would have imposed a
> different and more adverse peace even than Brest-Litovsk. But there was a window
> of opportunity between 1917-1919 thru which Bolshevism passed. By 1919 the
> revolutionary moment had gone and the process of capitalist restoration was in
> full swing in Central Europe. No ardent desire for emancipation, no
> revolutionary acts of the will, made any difference after that.

The defeat of the German Revolution was an important fraction of this history, 
and this defeat (which has been all too easily blamed on Luxemburg's 
"democratist" tendencies) should also be understood as a part of the defeat of 
Germany. Perhaps, in a less tremendous scenario, the German workers and sailors 
wouldn't have been crushed the way they were.

Then we come to your general conclusion, which certainly puts the 
adequate backcloth to your description of the "miracle" of 1917: 

> ... there are no circumstances short of a general 
> debacle, collapse of the EU, revolution in Germany etc, when any such 
> window of opportunity might re-emerge. 

Wasn't it E.H. Carr who explained that history is a long winding procession 
where the participants look at the coils of the line from peculiar standing 
points, projecting their views on the past (and the future, I add). It is your 
own opinion that no revolution can take place in our world if it does not begin 
in Europe. I would give Shylock a pound of flesh with blood if it helped this 
to happen. But I am afraid it won't. So that here is where our points of view 
separate. You seem to have hopes in the future developments in Europe (and 
that's fine, since Europe is your own battlefield), while I tend to feel that 
the red thread is still passing through the colonial and semicolonial areas of 
this planet (which, I suppose, you will accept as a necessity for me in Buenos 
Aires).

We shall see who "wins". In either cases, this is one of those strange games 
where both players can be happy with the results.

Where we differ more strongly is, as it could be conceived by any smartie, in 
the practical realm of concrete action. Since you think that the whole issue 
turns around what will happen in the EU, you believe that 

> What the Russian masses might do in that
> circumstance is a moot point, but it is surely not worth a second's debate. 

Of course, this is perfectly consistent with the idea of a relatively nearby 
general crisis:

> In such a general crisis, such a meltdown of world-capitalism, no-one except the
> Russians themselves will be worrying about Russia, we shall all be preoccupied
> with events closer to home.

Look, Mark, while the crisis reaches you we are already living through it in 
Russia, Argentina, the Third World over. Of course the only ones who care about 
this are those who are passing through the crisis (not surprise for us, since 
we have been left to ourselves long ago by our brothers in the core). But your 
idea resembles too much the ghastly perspective of Eurocentrists that we down 
here should wait for your people to make a revolution for me to accept it as 
more than a product of too much Lagavulin in your diet today.

I still do not believe that trying to understand what are the RATIONAL (of 
course) options that the Russian (or Brazilian, Indonesian, Chinese, 
Argentinean, Haitian or Chadian) oppressed are facing now is useless, nor 
mistaken. I still believe that we are very far away from the moment when the 
workers at the core will discover that they are victims, too. So that I still 
cling to my prescription for action. I can't accept that trying to restablish 
some degree of power that puts balance on the world scene is simply "pro-slavic 
revanchism", as you say:

> 
> So what is the point of these pro-slavic revanchist manouevres of certain 
> parties? None that I can see.

According to you (and, I presume, your sources), the Russian masses

> [...] are *defeated* and they know it. If they were in denial about it, this
> would be a bad thing, not a good thing. Nothing good can be born of illusion,
> especially optimistic illusion. They are defeated and have been dying by the
> million. They can be depressed or exhilarated, they can harbour unspoken desires
> for revenge or they can love to lick American boots, it makes no damn
> difference.

Sometimes I feel amazed and depressed at how much British Imperial haughtiness 
wells out from your usually excellent pen. What do you mean "it makes no damn 
difference", if not "imperialism is overwhelming and it is nonsensical to put 
dams to its strength"? 

As to your comments where you try to explain that strengthening a Russian state 
works in the sense of the imperialists' interests, well, sorry, you don't 
convince me. But I guess it would be useless to argue on this issue, 
particularly when I have so urgent tasks to do here in Argentina before the 
country melts down.

Well, Mark, we shall keep good friends but it looks like we are taking 
different paths. I hope I don't interfere with yours, and expect you not to 
interfere with mine.

I still have a strong hope in the link between reason and revolution, and a 
still stronger confidence in the ability of human masses to take our own 
livelihoods (and the conditions for them) in our own hands. Whether the workers 
at the core decide to revolt, or not.

With a hug,

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

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