From the Debate mailing list (on John Saul article)

Hinrich Kuhls kls at
Fri Jan 19 14:21:08 MST 2001

 From the Debate mailing list:

From: "Patrick Bond" <pbond at>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 17:04:04 +0000
Subject: DEBATE: (Fwd) Saul on Saul
Sender: owner-debate at

Comrade John Saul says the following lines should preceed your
reading of the 6 part essay that Cde Andile has sent earlier today...

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

<I hope comrades will read my article (time permitting) rather than take
Messrs Proyect and Dwyer's word for what's in it which I don't much
recognize as being my own thoughts: that's why i've taken the liberty of
forwarding to you in however lumpy a format (uploading documents still
befuddles me) - hope it's of some use to the ongoing "debate" in any case
- cheers - jss>

At 10:02 18.01.01 -0500, Louis Proyect had written:

>[Patrick Bond crossposted my critique of John Saul's MR article along with
>John Enyang's thoughtful followup--John, btw, is from Kenya--to the Debate
>mailing list. Debate is a very fine leftwing journal edited by Patrick and
>other South African comrades. This was a response from a Debate mailing
>list subscriber.]
>------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
>From:          peter dwyer <P.Dwyer at>
>To:            Patrick Bond <pbond at>
>Cc:            debate at
>Subject:       Re: DEBATE: (Fwd) Debating John Saul's MR article
>Date:          Thu, 18 Jan 2001 11:43:33 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
>Reply-to:      peter dwyer <P.Dwyer at>
>I am inclined to agree with comrade Proyect-the issue of
>reform or revolution has and is being dodged here.  Still,
>it is no surpirse to see Saul for all his wonderful work
>dodging the issue, in this he has been consistent.
>Essentially Sauls' arguments in the early 1990s (SA
>Between Barbarism & Structural Reform NLR 188 1991) in
>relation to South Africa amounted to a creeping
>colonisation of the state by the left utilising notions of
>social contracts as a means of instituting 'ever-expanding
>working class empowerment'.
>Apart from subtle determinism this was a strategy that had
>failed miserably in Europe under social democrtas.  What
>seems to have shocked Saul so much is that the ANC even
>shyed away from this left reformist strategy jumping
>further to the right instead.  Maybe he didn't read Dale's
>book first!?
>However what Louis seems to ignore and needs serious
>discussion etc is the need for building bridges to aid the
>development of a revolutionary current or a even debate in
>South Africa.  What has been useful is that the idea of at
>least electoral alternatives to the ANC in the lcoal
>elections has taken root.  It is important I thin as
>it has always been in teh UK for the left to try and
>offer an alternative to the main social democratic
>parties, developing he ida that politics lives and
>thrives in extra-parliamentary actina nd
>organsiastion beyond the pale of the 'offical left'.
>Whilst this has been a very encouraging step-forward I
>still think that comrades have been side-stepping the
>fundamental idea of the need for a revolutionary
>transformation of South Africa and elsewhere.
>I know some comardes on the list  are averse to such talk
>if not hostile nowadays to the idea.  Fine that is their
>prerogative and a reflection of the early 1990s I think.  I
>genuinely feel things are changing and moving back
>towards a favorable climate for the re-emergence of if not
>revolutionary politics then radical reformism.  All well
>and good but we will still end up with the problem
>confronting Saul: are we really trying to seriously suggest
>that reformism (in any form) *is a long-term strategy* as
>an answer to the problems that confront humanity today?
>I for one don't think so.
>I think (crudely) the reform or revolution debate is a
>discussion that is going to rear its head more and more in
>the growing anti-capitalist movement and in fact some who
>don't identify with Marxism are already ahead of many of us
>in their serious talk of the need for revolution to stop the
>ravages of capitalism.  We can run from this discussion but
>I don't think we can hide from it.
>Louis Proyect
>Marxism mailing list:

More information about the Marxism mailing list