Part one of Nestor's "Rogues and sovereignty"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Sat Feb 10 07:56:22 MST 2001


I am unsure as to whether Mark has answered me on CrashList alone, so that
I am
copying this posting to L-I and Marxmail as well. Please excuse me if I am
wrong.

En relación a RE: [CrashList] Z-Net Flunks Test on Depleted Ura,
el 10 Feb 01, a las 11:14, Mark Jones dijo:

>
> > > to take just one example out of many, Noriega --
> > > is he someone we should defend?)
> >
> > YES.
>
> You don't defend quislings when their own masters turn against them. This
has
> nothing to do with issues of sovereignty, except in the sense that the very
> presence of quislings at the helm of state indicates that this is not a
> sovereign country but a fiefdom.

I defend the Panamanians from invasion. Noriega, on the other side, was a
rogue
but he was attacked _because he was not roguish enough_, in a similar manner
that the American establishment helped Fidel oust Batista by a mistaken
computation of actual forces in Cuba. This was the last opportunity, because
they learnt their lesson well. (Sigh.): Whenever there is a possibility
that a
situation gets unstable and there is a slight risk that the "normal"
political
movement within the peripheric country may imply the possibility that
perhaps,
maybe, who knows, some popular upheaval does for its own behalf the task that
the American troops will do for the sake of the Empire, then the
sovereignty of
that people is ALWAYS at stake. This, to begin with. I would comradely ask
from
my great friends in the First World to stick to the simple position: "US
(Britain, France, Germany) out of ......... !". But please allow me to probe
deeper into this issue.

Presence of Quislings at the head of a state is not the indication that the
country is not sovereign, much to the contrary. Unlike the original Quisling,
who had been installed by the Nazis, even the worst of our rogues (Batista)
is
still one of "us", not of "them".

The simile is more _Petain_ (a noble French product of its own brewery
actually
representing truly existing forces in France after the German invasion), not
_Quisling_  (a puppet who had as much links to the Norwegian society as I am
linked to Planet Uranus). Noriega was the degenerate continuation of
Torrijos,
and he was taken away by a bloody invasion because he was that continuation,
not because he was degenerate.  _The Panama Deception_ is very instructive in
this sense. In a certain way, invasion toppled the _continuator_ in order to
make sure that no local movement replaced the _degenerate_. A _degenerate_
was
necessary, not a _continuator_. Whenever there is an imperialist country in
action, they are The Voice of Evil. By definition. They are like the scorpion
of the joke (it is in their nature to kill, even though they kill the poor
little beaver who is wading them cross the river).

I have been thinking over this issue yesterday night, and I believe I found
the
way to make my own ideas clear to all. I can only thank Mark, because his
posting is giving me the occasion to pose them as a kind of debate not with
him
but with the ultra-left petty bourgeois who, locally, are vocal
distributors of
the same ideas (ideology?) he exposes below. They, through Mark, say:

> Argentina is not a sovereign country. It can
> only retrieve sovereignty thru a popular revolution. No-one will die at the
> barricades for the like of Borodin or Noriega. This is just a counsel of
> despair.

To begin with, save for direct colonial status (such as Puerto Rico today),
the
main feature of the non-core countries (you see I am very careful as to
language, do you?) is that all of us "enjoy" a limited degree of sovereignty.
The thesis so brutally exposed by Brezhnev in 1968 is, in fact, business as
usual in the semicolonial periphery. That is why we are semicolonies:

"Not only there are the two basic groups of countries -owners of colonies and
colonies-, but another characteristic feature of the time is the existence of
manifold forms of dependent countries that, from a formal point of view, are
politically independent but are in fact enmeshed in the net of financial and
diplomatic dependency." wrote Lenin on _Imperialism_ (chapter 6, "Partage of
the world  between the great powers, which is most useful here).

Strict semicolonies, for Lenin, included China, Persia, and Turkey. But he
explored the data available to him, and discovered that there were other
kinds
of countries that must be considered dependent, although in varying degrees.
Since he would never dare say more than the data available to him could
allow,
he was cautious in the drafting of this chapter (five years, a civil war,
and a
Socialist Revolution later, he would still remind the representatives at the
3rd Congress in Baku that "we know nearly nothing on Latin America").

But he could not fail to realize that countries which, to the naive eye of
Europe, may look independent and thriving, could in fact be nearer to a
semicolony than they actually were. He thus simply exposed a couple of
examples
of those "manifold forms" that did not fit a strict definition of semicolony:
Argentina ("It is not hard to imagine the solid links established between the
financial capital --and her faithful 'friend', diplomacy-- and the circles
controlling all the economic and political life in that country"[1]), and
Portugal ("a sovereign independent state but in fact a British protectorate
for
more than two hundred years, since the War of Spanish Sucession
(1701-1714)" in
a "somehow different kind of financial and diplomatic dependency together
with
political independence").

I am not very fond of quoting. But if I quote Lenin on this, it is because
these developments, _which were somehow marginal by the times he noticed
them_,
have become the _basic trait_ of imperialism after World War II, when open
protectorates and colonies were dismantled and a host of independent
political
formations mushroomed in the colonial world (the French African example is
quite instructive: each "département" in the A.E.F. and the A.O.F. was turned
into a "country").

The new conditions in which imperialism was forced to operate (direct
occupation is always the Panacea, seldom possible however in our days)
transformed the equation in a way that Mark's positions as stated above (as
well as those of my fellow countrypeople who support ultra-left positions,
and
who consequently either get immolated in suicidal actions, are isolated from
our masses, or relapse into bitter cynicism by considering that "there is no
alternative") are not taking into account. The eventual result (scant as it
is,
it is a positive result) of the immense wave of upheavals that followed World
War II was the possibility, for our own societies, to enact our own politics,
in a way that no open colonial state (not even "Home Ruled" India) could
imagine. This makes everything messier, of course, but this is a fact that
any
political analysis must take into account.

Yes, in a sense "Argentina is not a sovereign country. It can
only retrieve sovereignty thru a popular revolution", as Mark has established
above (may I suggest that one of the reasons why he did it is my own
pertinacious set of comments in this sense?). And, perhaps, "no-one will
die at
the barricades for the like of Borodin or Noriega" [2]. But my strong
affirmative answer to Mark's question, far from being "just a counsel of
despair" is a strong, pertinacious, unwielding defense of Leninist positions
against ultra-leftism (or direct pro-imperialism).

Just allow me to show a cognate though different case, that of Argentina.

When Peronism returned to power in 1973, most Argentineans either hoped to
live
again the golden age of 1945-55 (basically workers), or had a vague
expectation
that Perón's proclaimed "socialismo nacional" was our own Argentinean way to
socialism (basically the petty bourgeois layers who had been forced by
history
to 'rediscover'their own country and resignify Peronism). What actually
happened was that the programme of Peronism -which was already anachronic in
1955- couldn't solve the dilemma of Argentina during the mid 70s, proved
itself
useless, and in the end showed it had become a new M. Valdemar in a country
full of such kind of political entities.

After Perón died, July 1st, 1974, the Vice President and widow of Perón,
Isabel
Martínez de Perón, took power.

Now, General Juan Perón, although himself a quite refined spirit (he was in a
sense what one may call a "gaucho rico", that is a child of rural Argentina
not
devoid of culture, taste and money), had a tendency to relish on the
company of
some bufoons and jesters that a then comrade of mine aptly defined as an
incurable illness, "malandrofilia", which might be translated as
"roguephilly".
This may be given a political reading, but it is not our interest now.

At the moment of his death, Perón had been chosen President, for the third
time, less than a year ago (in September 1973) after a complex process that
implied the resignation of President Cámpora (chosen on March, 1973) and thus
the loss of positions for the petty-bourgeois "Peronist Left" that had
gathered
around Cámpora (against Cámpora's own will, by the way) with the dream of
putting Perón in the attic with Grandma's photographs, and the old toys of
childhood.

(continued)


Louis Proyect
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