Query from an Iranian student

ermadog at SPAMfreenet.edmonton.ab.ca ermadog at SPAMfreenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Sat Mar 31 20:24:01 MST 2001

On Thu, 29 Mar 2001, Louis Proyect wrote:

> Dear Louis Proyect
> I am an Iranian student, interested in socialist alternatives and the
> related debates.
> I have a question in mind that I think you can help me about it: What can
> you propose as a developement plan for the so called "under developed"
> countries?
> Now a days, the World Bank and the International Money Fund (IFM) have
> prepared a developement "Recipe" for the Third World which is widwspread
> despite its terrible consequences, but no serious alternative developement
> strategy has been proposed from the left. The contemporary Left literature
> on the third world, is full of slogans and  curses against globalization of
> capitalism, IMF and world bank! but no socialist solution is proposed for
> the problem of Underdevelopement.

Have you checked out the web site of the Food First Foundation? They have
been debunking the myth of "foreign aid" since the early '60's. At that
time, they showed that the West extracts $5 dollars for every $1 dollar of
aid sent to the Third World. I believe that figure is now up to $13. The
left here is well aware that the problem of underdevelopment *is* the

> The alternative socialist models are designed to deal with the problems of
> modern, fully developed and technologic societies but are far from what is
> going on in the real world around me. In the third world, some basic human
> needs are still unsatisfied, serious ethnic problems persist, the avarage
> education rate of the masses is low and the massive burden of the global
> capitalism exists. So I can not imagine the particapatory planning by the
> associated councils of  workers or a fully computerized planning and rsouse
> allocation as a serious alternative for the third world.
> On the other hand, it is not acceptable for me to wait for an extraordinary
> happening (such as a revolution) in the developed countries to solve the
> problems of all of us! Some problems of the Third world are so urgent that
> it is not reasonable at all to pospone their solution untill a world
> revolution. Besides, the International Imperialist institutions are
> currently running thair favorite pro-capitalism program on the third world
> and benefit considerably from the lack of powerful Left rival programs.

Nor should you have to wait for revolution in the developed countries. If
you go to www.trotsky.net, you will find the classic Trotskyist theory of
permanent revolution.

If you go to www.wsws.org and search on the phrase "permanent revolution",
you will find many examples of how some Trotskyists apply this theory in
today's struggles.

I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about your country to help beyond
generalizations. Marxists do not believe in imposing societal models from
above. The revolution can only succeed when masses of people mobilize to
solve their own problems in common concert, not relying on false messiahs
nor chasing mystic dreams.  Only people intimately acquainted with the
problems of your country can help you analyze the situation and propose

The problems of the developing world are indeed dire; and I believe that,
if I were in your shoes, I would be tempted to grasp at all straws. The
transitional programme of classical Trotskyist thinking proposes
encouraging people at whatever level of struggle they are capable of and
pushing the struggle in a revolutionary direction.

I hope this helps.

Joan Cameron

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