Response to Louis' posting

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun May 6 07:00:04 MDT 2001


Julio Huato:
>These are elements of your program for Mexico:
>
>>1. expropriation of agribusiness. distribution of the land to the landless.
>>2. expropriation of all foreign owned corporations and all Mexican
>>corporations falling into the "commanding heights" category.
>>3. a planned economy.
>>4. a monopoly on foreign trade.
>>5. a revolutionary foreign policy, starting with solidarity to the FARC and
>>ELN in Colombia and with Chavez's government in Venezuela.
>
>First, you would NEVER get anywhere in Mexico with this program.  Second, 
>you would NEVER mobilize the people in favor of a political revolution with 
>these goals.  Third, while a relatively functional democratic political 
>system like the one currently in place in Mexico exists (I know what its 
>class character is), NO revolution is possible.  Fourth, the illusion that a 
>workable economy can be built solely or mainly on the basis of acts of 
>expropriation and wealth redistribution is head-on opposed to all Marx's 
>analysis of capitalism and economic history teach us.

I had a feeling these proposals would turn you off. It was the same
reaction I got from my cocker spaniel Trixie when I tried to give her a bath.

> Or make it simpler: 
>Suppose there was socialism in Nicaragua. While the possibility of 
>capitalist regeneration would have been a constant, its probability would 
>have been significantly reduced had socialism been built on a stronger 
>productive foundation.  

Yes, I think I have heard something like this before. I can't seem to put
my finger on it. Wait--I think it is something like this:

"According to the laws of social development established by Marx, a
backward agricultural country cannot show the way to Socialism to other
countries. Its failure in this respect is foreordained. It is merely a
question of when and how this failure will finally manifest itself. Until
now the Bolsheviki have been skillful in disguising their failure under the
mask of promises of a glorious future. The last such promise was the
Five-Year plan. But the Bolshevist state economy has been in existence now
more than fifteen years. For more than ten years the USSR has been enjoying
complete peace. And yet, contrary to all promises, things under the
Bolshevist state economy have been getting worse every year, (excepting the
short period of the Nep), and the day is not far distant when even the most
credulous will become convinced that the Bolshevist way leads not upward,
toward Socialism, but downward, to open ruin or slow disintegration."

Karl Kautsky, "Marxism and Bolshevism—Democracy and Dictatorship", 1934

>
>But if a revolution is not a historical fluke, then the causes of its 
>failure are probably much deeper than the accidents that apparently 
>triggered its demise.  Making of the imperialist siege the main culprit for 
>the failure of the Sandinista revolution is a diservice to Nicaraguans.  You 
>  ignore the internal conditions that weakened the revolution, those within 
>the scope of the Sandinistas' decisions and actions.

Actually, during the first 5 years of its existence, the Sandinistas
presided over the most rapid GDP growth of any Central American country.
Much more rapid than Mexico's under NAFTA. That, of course, is why it had
to be destroyed. It was what Chomsky called the threat of a positive example.

>  The fact is, from the 
>point of view of a revolution like the Sandinista, imperialist attacks are 
>to be expected.  They are to be taken as a constant. Hence, it's up to the 
>revolutionaries to ensure that the factors that are under their direct 
>control allow them -- within reason -- to hold the ground against 
>imperialism. 

The Nicaraguans and Cubans were foolish enough to think that there would
always be a Soviet Union. Perhaps if they had planned its disappearance as
a contingency, they too would have been trumpeting the need for "free
trade" on the basis of Karl Marx's 1848 articles. A depressing thought indeed.

>Colonial plebeians with no ideological conviction to speak of, except 
>personal survival.  They only mean anything to you when they move in 
>revolutionary directions.  If that's all you see in the "colonies," your 
>revolutionary plans are even more dead than I originally thought.  Louis, I 
>honestly hope you're writing this lightly, because you're tired or sleepy, 
>and these thoughts don't really reflect your beliefs.

You are right. I feel tremendous existential dread after reading this. I
will make an appointment with my Rabbi, Isadore Fishbein, in order to pour
out my soul.



Louis Proyect
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