On behalf of the people (some divergence between Patrick and

Mark Jones jones.mark at SPAMbtconnect.com
Wed Jan 24 07:31:34 MST 2001


Patrick Bond wrote:


>
>
> Ok comrade Mark, this is getting more serious and mutually
> respectful, so sorry for Proyectist sarcasm in my last two posts.
> (When in Rome...)

Pat, you simply have not wanted to debate me before, unfortunately. I do not deny
that I wanted to debate you and in the same way I have tried to engage other
ambiguous politics, for eg Doug Henwood's, I do not hesitate to use whatever means
serve the purpose.

There is a REAL and dramatically SERIOUS political (as well as personal) issue here:
you are an important political figure in a movement in southern Africa (a prime
locale of class struggle)  which can go in a revolutionary direction but is much
more likely to be dragged back onto more familiar ground: and at the moment, you are
*assisting the latter process not the former*.

You are providing an apologetics for ANC/SACP backsliding, for their growing
corruption and growing embrace of neoliberalism, and this is despite your entirely
gestural and frankly, unserious, even weightless, criticisms of them, because you
yourself are providing the best theoretical justification for neoliberalism, by
proving that there really is no alternative (for what else does you theoretically
incoherent apologetics for 'delinkage', for 'attacking the embryo world state' etc,
amount to?)

>
> The optimism is that what had been a series of often self-destructive
> responses to the int'l crisis, especially in Third World cities ("IMF
> Riots") is now beginning to take on more coherent form as a
> broad-based rejection of neoliberalism. (That's the basis of another
> long paper, which I'll send along offlist tomorrow.)


Please do send this paper, and I'll be happy to post it uncritically on the
CrashList website, as always.

My objection to optimism about the NSM is that the responses we shall see to any
overt *politicising* of the world accumulation crisis will bury them forever, and
this will happen because THIS IS NOT HOW TO ORGANISE A REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT (sorry
to teach granma how to suck eggs, but it has to be said).

This is so fundamental in fact that it has to be said repeatedly, ad absurdam
practically. OF COURSE wide-scale inchoate movements have their Father Gapon stage,
and this applied to India in 1916 (Congress), China in 1911 (Sun Yat-Sen), etc, as
well as Russia in 1905 etc. And OF COURSE it is OUR job to take the thing much
further than that.

And I'm not even talking about organisation here, I'm not engaging in vacuous
chatter about 'party-forming', lenin etc. I'm talking solely about theoretical
clarification, a task you are in pole position to do.

 >
> We are ALWAYS, in our circuits (just check
> e-debate list) trying to distinguish between reformist reforms and
> non-reformist reforms.

Well, I have been. I was on the debate list for a long time, until I fell ill. I've
rejoined it. I have read your stuff. And it is on the basis of that that I say you
are not at all making a distinction between revolutionary and non-revolutionary
reforms. You are not doing this. Sometimes you come close to it, especially when
discussing global; rather than local insatnces of power, restructuring processes
etc.

> Do you reject ALL
> reforms as reformISM?

No, of course not. What I say, and it is very clear and simple, is that your *entire
politics* is based on the illusions of obligatory social optimism. It is completely
lacking in any revolutionary content at all! It is simply delusional to hope for
amelioration; this whole era is the era of the capitalist endgame, it is class war
to the finish, and the era of reforms is long since passed. You are simply not able,
organisationally, programmatically or ideologically -- or theoretically -- to embody
this reality in your work. You are simply not able to stand up and tell people the
truth: that the struggle is not over, it is barely begun; that overthrowing
apartheid only revealed the REAL enemy, which is altogether better armed, more
ferocious, more deadly, more desperate, single-minded and determined than apartheid
ever was, and that only by raising the level of struggle to an equivalent level of
ferocity can you offer any chance of victory, and that NOT to do that, is simply to
PLAY at politics and is simply to LEAD the masses like lambs to the slaughter.

I'm not very optimistic that you'll buy off on this, but my aim is to help people to
come to terms with the reality of their own commitments and undertakings. I will do
my best to demonstrate clearly and logically the theoretical incoherence and
political opportunism of for eg Boris Kagarlitsky, Doug Henwood, etc, and make this
so clear that it becomes IMPOSSIBLE for those persons, or their followers, even to
appear in revolutionary discussion-spaces like this, because they are too thoroughly
exposed and because people have got the message about them.

>That's a serious error on your part; the
> Kagarlitsky trilogy from Pluto (1999-2000) offers better rebuttals
> than me, but I guess K doesn't impress you.

No, and I'm about to try to show what's wrong with him, on L-I.

>
> (Will send my rap to you about global overaccumulation crisis and the
> limits to its spatio-temporal and environmental displacement.)
>

Thank you. That would be encouraging.

> probably no one else discussing Zim politics is taking this problem
> as seriously as I am.

I don't doubt for a second that this is true, and that's why we are talking (if you
think you have to apportion your time carefully, believe me, so do I).

> Not support for right-wing, pro-IMF parties, no.

You said:

>>This article has laid bare some of the core
contradictions associated with diverse forms of
political rhetoric in Zimbabwe, including radical
arguments by presumed `left nationalists' and
presumed pragmatic arguments by MDC economic
conservatives, and has found them both wanting. The
resolution to this confusion can only be found at a
deeper, structural level.<<

Thus showing equivalence between ("Stalinist") etc Zanu and "neoliberal" etc MDC.
You then go on to look for a Third Way (I honestly don't know what else to call it)
and conclude by saying that rallying popular forces will help MDC form an "honest"
govt:

>>This is the core group of social forces
that will attempt to keep the MDC honest.<<

Well? What, actually does this mean? You are talking here -- you are proposing to
the Zimbabwean masses -- a policy of critical support for MDC!!! Don't like my way
of putting it? How should we put it then!!!!

>Support for leftwing
> grassroots activists in unions and other mass-democratic
> organisations (and even some NGOs) who still think the MDC can be
> won.

What does THIS mean? Support for people who have illusions, if only the illusions
are widely-spread enough???? You don't feel uncomfortable with any of this???
Endorsing support for the MDC by the left???

>I'm extremely doubtful, but these comrades are on the ground
> fighting in Harare, and I'm in a Jo'burg armchair, and so I take
> their optimism seriously. Because it's actually the only hope left
> for that country.

This, I'm afraid, is a very characteristic Pat Bond "I am a typewriter" cop-out. But
as you just said, you are practically the only person writing seriously about Zim,
so let's leave them out of it for now, yes? We need to avoid what the maoists used
to call Tailism.


>
> > a social/electoral alliance with popular forces, *against* the 'corrupt, rotten,
> > exhausted' etc Zanu-PF/Mugabe leadership.
>
> Do you think I'm wrong about Zanu PF? What's your evidence?

You yourself began to give one kind of answer, when you spoke of the "alliance" at
Seattle between Zanu people inside the WTO talks and the demonstrators outside. But
let me ask you this: do you think it is possible, and has there ever been any
evdience of, a one-party autarkic state which has not eventually succumbed to
paralysing corruption? But you yourself are arguing for autarky!!! You yourself are
*simultaneously* showing the *futility* of autarky, the truth oif neoliberal TINA
mantras, in YOUR OWN criticism of Mugabe, Zanu etc orruption. Have you even begun to
think thru what would happen if you got your way, and the whole of southern Africa
became some kind of semi-aitarkin enclave where prices, as you put it, will be
'fixed wrongly', ie for the 'better social ends'? When you get that kind of
bureaucratically-managed linkage, why can you possibly expect, 10 tyears down the
line, but endemic corruption, political exhaustion and mass cynicism on a
still-larger scale! You have not escaped the TINA trap, my friend. You yourself
provide, wittingly or unwittingly, the best possible advocacy for neoliberal TINA,
ie the advocacy of the honest but misguided opponent.


> The MDC programme is, by some accounts, still sufficiently fluid so
> as to roll back those fractions.

Well, and you are opposed to getting into ebd with the MDC? FUCK the MDC, for
chrissake! Fuck them! If we cannot make a revolution without these kinds of people,
lets do something useful like grow herbacous borders instead.

>As you can imagine, this resembles a
> bourgeois `revolution' in which there are pro-`democratic' forces in
> the white Rhodesian business community, and in order to fleece those
> guys for some money, the MDC trade union leaders have let them come
> in and have lots of discursive influence.

Oh, right, the 'Wise Guys' here are the labour bosses, already? While if this is
true (I simply, intestinally, cannot make myself believe it for a second), what it
means is that your delinked, price-managed economy won;t take ten years but much
less to unravel; the labour bosses are in bed with the capitalists before the damn
revo has even begun!!!

> > an end to 'Zanu-PF socialist trash',
>
> No, if you read closely, I was ridiculing the guy who said that.

I read it carefully, and I didn't and don't think so; you have a very ambiguous way
with words sometimes (here's another eg:

>>Contrary to Hardt and Negri, I will conclude that the
appropriate normative formula is not the dismissal of
state-sovereignty as a short-medium term objective of
Third World progressive social forces, but instead,
aligned simultaneously with international popular
struggles against the forces of Empire (both in
Washington and transnational corporate headquarters),
the rekindling of nation-state sovereignty but under
fundamentally different assumptions about power
relations and development objectives than during the
nationalist epoch. <<

What do you mean here by "fundamentally different assumptions"? Theoretical
assumptions about the stance we/the movement takes towards the emergent post-Bretton
woods internaional institutions? Or do you mean that thos institutions themselves
will be fundamental different, ie intrinsically non-capitalist? There is a world of
difference, pratcically, between the 1st and 2nd. Not specifying what you mean gives
you one more degree of freedom to qualify out of existence l;ater on in the debate,
whether or not you are talking about *capitalist* post-neoliberal institutions or
*non-capitalist* ones. The first means selling out, the 2nd might feasibly mean
"revolutionary reforms" but no-one who reads the article however forensically, can
ever be sure which it is.

>I
> have an op-ed in the main Zim paper on Friday making this point more
> clearly (it's below).
>
> > and the full embrace of
> > neoliberal prescriptions and remedies. But you also call for the exact opposite!
> > Wow.
> > Characteristically, you thus heroically muddy the waters by ALSO calling for a
> > return to what you coyly call " policies ... adopted, during the
> > > 1930s and just after the Unilateral Declaration of > Independence was
> declared in
> > 1965, the Zimbabwean > (then Rhodesian) economy grew at nearly
> double-digit > rates
> > each year for a decade."
>
> Comrade, this is getting silly. If I said "policies adopted during
> the early 1960s by Che Guevarra in the Cuban central bank," or
> "in the late 1910s by Lenin," you'd like that, wouldn't you, and get
> off my back?

Why on earth is it silly? Unfortunately there is *no serious discussion anywhere*
here about the real meaning of autarky. This is something I know a bit about. And I
can tell you that it is NEVER an accident when people choose their examples from the
history of CAPITALIST attempts at protectionism/autarky etc. They do it for a very
simple reason: because the truth is that NON-capitalist autarky is inconceivable
without real working class revolution, real expropriation of the expropriators, and
that is somehting you NEVER mention. Your version of autarky is a version of crony
capitalism managed by the nice folks in the ANC, or Zanu, or whatever.

Sorry, gotta go, sorry for any typos etc, more later, maybe.

Mark






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