Whither capitalism? (was Re: The EU question (Response to Louis - I))

Julio Huato juliohuato at SPAMhotmail.com
Thu May 3 10:17:32 MDT 2001


Nestor wrote:

>1.  To begin with, we should do well in throwing bourgeois categories
>such as "populism" or "neo-populism" to the dustbin.  These categories
>are mere descriptions of entities. Their class character is completely
>avoided by them (ah, another classic: "charismatic leader", as if
>"charisma" and "leadership" were not precisely what we HAVE TO EXPLAIN
>IN CONCRETE CLASS TERMS AND IN A CONCRETE HISTORIC SITUATION...). So
>that I would like Julio Huato to explain what is the class meaning of
>"populism", and then we may proceed.

I don't think we should dispose of these terms just because they are
descriptives.  Why? That's what concepts are for, to describe entities.  I
think I've given enough clues as to the class character of populism.  But if
I haven't, it shouldn't be difficult for you to figure it out if that's so
important for you.  And I've not used the term "charismatic leadership."
Yet.

>2.  Nobody on this list has stated that capitalism is impossible
>anywhere. As for me, probably one of people alluded to by Julio, I am
>absolutely convinced that capitalism is strongly entrenched in, at
>least, my country, a country which at the same time belongs to the
>Third World (no inverted commas, please, unless you have a good reason
>to criticize this category).
>
>What Julio probably confuses for "populist views" (if by "populists"
>we are speaking of Lenin's "populists", then we are missing the target
>entirely, because I don't see that kind of ideas among us on the list)
>is the idea that, since the capitalist world system has become a
>strongly hyerarchical structure, then the only kind of capitalism that
>can thrive outside the few core countries is a capitalism that cannot
>close its own full circle of enlarged reproduction.

The reason why I went back to Marx, Engels, and Lenin was precisely to make
sure every reader understood what I meant by populism.  By the way, that's
also why my  daughter is afraid of asking me questions.  She says my answers
are always Big-Bang, origin-of-life, or stone-age answers.  Anyway, Nestor,
you just keep stating the conclusion of a reasoning I've questioned.

>Lenin's polemics with the "populists" showed that in pre-capitalist
>Russia there WAS already a possibility to develop a capitalism which
>did not depend on the foreign market for existence, that is a
>self-centered capitalism. It was an important point in a struggle for
>establishing the possibility of an independent Marxist politics based
>on the working class, not on the peasantry.  If I am a "populist", I
>am sorry to tell Julio that I am one of the strongest defenders of
>Lenin's thesis. IT IS PRECISELY BECAUSE LENIN WAS RIGHT that
>imperialism will do anything to prevent any possibility that dependent
>countries decide on a path that puts them in a situation to reproduce
>the relation between Sections I and II of economy that makes them
>producers of the bulk of their own capital from cycle to cycle, that
>is which sets them free from the tyranny of foreign market.

I responded to this "full circle" theory in my other e-mail.

>What we are debating here is not whether capitalism is possible in,
>say, Argentina. Argentina IS capitalist. Period. What we are debating
>is an entirely different thing, which is the problem of accumulation
>in the periphery. Without a clear understanding of this, we fall in
>the trap of equating Burundi with Belgium. Just give Burundi enough
>time, they will reach the levels of Belgium...

We are debating whether accumulation in the "periphery" is hindered by the
existence of noncapitalist or precapitalist production relations (that, yes,
may be violently supported by local and foreign interests) that capitalism
itself is struggling to remove, or it is hindered by capitalism itself, as a
consequence of its own structural behavior, say, because of some Quasimodo
deformation it suffered when it landed in Latin America.

>The fact that these
>ideas, which have been repeatedly demonstrated false, appear once and
>again in our minds is one of the most adamant demonstrations of the
>strength of social relations on the forms of consciousness...

Ditto.
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