Julio Huato juliohuato at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 14 09:44:39 MDT 2001

Xxxx Xxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxx.xxx>:

>The general problem with Julio is that he refuses to come terms with the
>discourse of this list..

If this is to be a Marxist list, its discourse must then be in a constant 
state of flux.  I reject the notion that the 'discourse of this list' is 
best represented by Néstor's or Xxxx's ideas.  Not even by Louis' ideas.  As 
far as I'm concerned, there's no party line here.  When you subscribe to the 
list, you commit to a 'non-sectarian' and 'non-dogmatic' approach to 
Marxism.  That doesn't put Lenin's theory of imperialism or even Xxxx's 
interpretation of Lenin off limits.  I'd think that what defines Marxism is 
the struggle for human emancipation, a revolutionary attitude towards the 
status quo, and a method of thought -- but I'm willing to deal with people 
who may have a different take on this.  In any case, Marxism is not a 
crystalized discourse that someone -- by divine inspiration or something -- 
have already produced for the rest of us to absorb.

In the current conditions, in which the role of revolutionary Marxism in the 
world, particularly in the rich world, is confined and marginal, the need to 
rethink the old ideas and look at the reality from fresh perspectives is 
even greater.  We need to set our illusions aside.  The only way Marxism can 
survive is by exposure, application, and continuous reinvention.  Nobody can 
keep a set of Marxist beliefs in a little cyber-bottle to ensure its eternal 
purity and truth.  That's how Marxism dies.

>His insistence that  imperialism is becoming more
>and more irrelevant in today's world is unexpected from a person writing
>from Mexico.

With all due respect, I don't care what one individual's expectations are.  
I have frankly said why I think anti-imperialism is a necessary democratic 
struggle, but it should NOT be the main element in a communist strategy in 
our times.  And I'll be glad to elaborate on my views as necessary.  Instead 
of trying to shoot the messanger, you should try and deal with the message.  
If expectations need to be adjusted to cope with reality, so be it.

>Only a person living in some form of wealth or elite of their
>countries can make such comments.

That is your assumption.  Most wealthy and elite Mexicans are likely to be 
busy doing other things and could not care less about Marxist lists.

>Julio also refused to engage in my El
>Salvador article that I posted as an evidence of how labor conditions in
>garment industry are socially sucking in the third world. Julio's
>implication was that those working for low wages-- 55 cents per hour that
>is-- deserve what they get because of the "unskilled" or "unproductive"
>labor they put in.

This just goes to show how little the Marxist theory of wages is understood. 
  There's no moral judgment attached to the idea that the real wage rate is 
determined by the costs of reproduction of labor power of a certain quality, 
and that these costs have a historical and social element.  Marx's theory of 
wages is not an apology of the living conditions of workers under 
capitalism.  I have said clearly and loudly that the focus of workers' 
struggle in poor countries should be on improving living and working 
conditions.  To people who want to read what I truly write, that should be 
clear enough.

But we cannot undertake that struggle if we substitute objective social 
analysis for pious and wishful thinking.  Why are workers in El Salvador 
laboring in the garment industry for such low wages?  Have you considered 
the possibility that the alternatives to these jobs may be even worse?  Why 
is looking at this reality a defense of capitalism?  How can anyone fight 
capitalism sensibly if she is not able to look at these facts in the face?

>And he tried to "rationalize" this in terms of the
>historical context of labor unique to Latin  America. This sort of blaming
>the "victim", rather than capitalism forcing people into conditions of
>selling their labor power,  is one endorsed by Julio. Very unfortunate.

I do not blame the victim.  That's a distorsion of my views. Capitalism 
exists and it does not need my endorsement.  It doesn't suffer much as a 
result of my condemnation either.  However we feel about this, the 
responsibility for changing these conditions does not fall on capitalism.  
The responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the workers.  What we 
need is look at these conditions in the face, look at the big picture, and 
act accordingly.
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