Forwarded from Nestor (sepoy Marxism)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Sun May 6 10:45:57 MDT 2001


To be honest, dear friends and comrades, I expected something better from
Julio Julio Huato. Maybe my long experience in Argentina with the _actual_
punditry in sepoy Marxism -seasoned by more than a hundred years of
opposition to our own people- brought me to expect much more from this
Mexican branch of the same tree. Partly disappointed, however, I will
anyway give some answers to his, er, puerile?, rebuke of my so-called errors.

Most of what I have to say on Julio's ideas and ways of reasoning could be
easily replaced by a glance at data sheets. Empiricism, however, is not the
best medicine against this disease. We should always try to do some
theoretical analysis of the basic "ideas" (or, as Jauretche said,
"zonceras", that is, "foolish notions") that support the "leftish-colonial"
mind. Because what really matters in Julio is NOT the material validity of
his assumptions, what really matters is _the ways_ of his mind, that is the
"theory of knowledge" that he unconsciously espouses.

These ways of mind would turn _any_ empirical evidence into an argument
that favors the continued penetration of imperialist capital in the
colonized country, or into something that should be dismissed as
"insubstantial". This is why I will take the rather more complex road of
turning the glove's insides to public exposition.

In so doing (and I am honestly thanking Julio Huato for the opportunity he
is so kindly offering us), I will also answer to the criticism made
recently by someone on those military leaders who were hard on Leftist
organizations in Latin America as if this were a sin: the ways of Julio
Huato's mind are the ways of most of those "leftists". What would any
revolutionary do, stay with these organizations which are siding with or
unwantedly helping the imperialists against the masses at every crucial
political crisis, or with the masses? A good question, indeed. Julio will
help us find out the answer.

Perhaps some will find the atmosphere in this mail and those which will
follow rather asphyxiating. This is to be expected. Julio H.'s mind works
much in the way of those of the scholastics in the late Middle Ages. His is
essentially a mental process that relies on the most elementary form of
syllogism. So that all of my task will be to expose the obvious faults with
these syllogisms. For the time being, I will stress only the FIRST
syllogism he makes, because, oh Fortune, it is at the same time the most
essential one. On other postings I will go ahead with the rest of his
propositions.

Quite boring but essential. Because the basic core of the colonized mind is
to rely on a few, ideological, prejudices, and build a whole structure of
"ideas" which support each other without any necessity to pass the proof of
reality. If reality, stubbornly, behaves in a way different to what these
ideas predict, so much the worst for reality. It is only in the hope that
Julio (and those who, like him, argue accordingly with this sterile method)
realizes the way his own mind that I will do, once again, the usual
dissection.

That this is not an unnecessary task is proven by the fact that yours truly
was recovered for revolutionary action by the same method: I know the ways
Julio is thinking because in my personal prehistory I also thought in that
way. I was a fool myself. If _I_ was able to step ahead of my idiocy (that
is, in the original Greek sense, "a self-referential, navel-gazing mind"),
then everyone can. You can believe me.

There exists a rude and self-congratulating ignorance among our Latin
American "intellectuals", and this is one of the most pervasive and deadly
diseases in Latin America, more deadly indeed than most of our social
diseases such as TBC, AIDS, Chagas and others. This disease acts by
promoting an attitude of scornful dismissal of anything that is _rooted_ in
the own realities of the society to which belongs the said intellectual,
anything that has not been _discovered_ by reading some "serious" volume,
and in the end around anything that has not been sanctioned by the
authority of a foreign school of thought and by the pervasive system of
celebrity building that constitutes one of the main agencies of imperialist
pressure on our minds.

Ideas, of course, are universal. But what is not universal is the way those
ideas must take root in each particular situation. The basic operation of
this disease of mind is to suppress this last caveat, and to turn ideas
(even good ideas) into a barren field where debates run out of oxygen very
fast. Julio has made us the immense favor, however, of exposing this
mechanism in such an obvious (and, yes, extraordinarily naive) way that I
would warmly invite him to go ahead and help us in our surgical room
demonstrations.

He has begun by displaying the basic working of the colonized mind in such
a way that I even became suspicious of his sincerity, and to feel that, in
fact, he was in complete agreement with me, with Mine and with John E.,
only that he had been doing an exercise in ridiculization of sepoy Marxism.
This was a brief dellusion however, and I hurry up to state that Julio
Huato is one of the most intellectualy honest types I ever met on the Web.
And I want to thank him still again for his brave and honest standing. No
pun intended.

On to his admirable examples, then. And particularly to the first and most
wonderful one. Once I have dealt with it, the others will receive scant
attention, because all of them derive from what will be shown within a few
paragraphs: the abstract ways of the colonized mind.

En relación a Nestor's errors, el 4 May 01, a las 18:34, Julio Huato dijo:

> Nestor writes: > > > {...] capitalism exists in Latin America. Therefore,
the process
> outlined by Marx in Capital, volume 2, must be taking place, one way or
> another. It is going on as long as capitalism keeps going and even growing.
> Since capitalism in Latin America has grown, then these economies have
> been going through the FULL circle of expanded reproduction many times
over.

Wow, ain't this serious, man?

Well, sorry to tell you, it is not. This is simply an elementary syllogism,
which Thomas Aquinas would have derided in a burst of laughter. It is,
furthermore, a display of the authoritarian character of the colonized
mind. Let us look at the wonderful sentence from closer quarters.

You have a general premise:

a) "In order to exist, capitalism requires that the process outlined by
Marx in Capital, volume 2, takes place"

Then a particular premise:

b) "Capitalism exists in Latin America"

Finally, you get to a triumphant conclusion:

c) "Ergo, the process outlined by Marx is taking place in Latin America"

Once this undisputable truth established, we can proceed with our musings
in full safety (that is, we shall NEVER put imperialist plunder in
question) as in, e.g., Julio's immediate concession to actual facts:

> For some periods, going through the full circle of reproduction has been
more
> torturous, sometimes a wild ride, but it has gone on repeatedly.

 Please note, however, that even this apparent concession is a confirmation
of the conclusion: the process not only has gone on, it "has gone on
repeatedly". And please note the wording of Julio's statement:

> capitalism exists [...] therefore, the process [...] _must_ be taking place

My emphasis on the "must", because it betrays Julio's way of thinking. He
doesn't even allow a _conditional_ here, such as "should" or "can be
supposed to". Not at all, the process MUST be taking place. And it MUST be
taking place because the "zoncera" requires precisely this kind of
authoritarian, don't- decry-me-or-else, method of exposition.

Much like advertising, certainly. The technique is also much like that of
the journalists who work for the ruling class: first you establish (or,
rather, GENERATE) an _indisputable_ truth, then you keep on repeating it
once and again. This is not a matter of chance: pedagogic colonization, in
order to be effective, operates at EVERY level of the social creation of
meaning. The Julio Huatos operate at the level of the "conscious
revolutionary professionals", others operate at the more popular and
massive level of working class TV watchers. There is a strong difference
betwen both tasks, by the way, that makes that of the Huatos quite easier:
the social classes who "benefit" from their lessons are more prone to
strike an alliance with imperialists or to simply sell themselves out at
bargain price than the poorer classes, for whom imperialism has nothing to
offer, in the long run, but further hunger and indignity.

OK, very nicely said but not substantial, would burst Julio at this point
of the mail. So that let us pass on to more serious things. What's wrong
with Julio's syllogistic rebuttal of my own positions?

Allow me to give a similar example, just for didactical purposes:

a) My general premise

"Mexico has a very high natality rate"

b) My particular premise:

"In order to have a high natality rate many babies must be delivered"

c) My conclusion:

"There is permanent delivery of babies all around Mexico, in the maternity
wards and the huts of the Indian villages, as well as in the Zocalo, the
main square of Mexico City".

Of course, I am smuggling in the "Zocalo, the main square of Mexico City"
bit. Doesn't this sound stupid and mischievous? Women do not deliver babies
in this public space. Well, this is stupid but this is not mischievous,
unless we believe Julio is mischievous himself, because this is EXACTLY
what Julio is doing in his basic exposition.

The existence of capitalist relations of productions does not imply, as a
consequence, that the surplus value is reinvested in the proportions and
ways Marx exposed, except ON THE GLOBAL LEVEL. The problem, thus, appears
in full light. Julio takes the abstract consideration that the "capitalist
mode of production" relies on a certain proportion of the amounts of
surplus value that are incorporated to Sections I and II of economy as a
general truth that is valid AT ANY LEVEL of analysis. Particularly, at the
level of analysis of the social formation.

If the relation between Sections I and II can be demonstrated to exist on
planet Earth as a whole, then it follows (it "must" follow) that it exists
at the level of any specific state or even tract of land (USA, Vanuatu, the
La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, the main hall of that
paradigmatically _capitalist_ space, the NYSE). This ahistorical and
ageographic point of view misses the elementary fact that it is very
difficult to establish such a relationship when, for example, you don't
have any industries where to invest part of your profit. Or the equally
interesting fact that, at the level of a given formation, there are other
ways to fuel the growth of capitalism, and good old Marx was completely
aware of this. There is even some remark by F.E. that is somehow touching
for me, a lover of Southern Argentina:

"Whoever struggled to reduce the political economy of Tierra del Fuego to
the same laws that rule today the economy of England would obviously bring
nothing to light but a few commonplace notions of the most vulgar trifleness".

So that I am afraid Julio cannot convince anyone of his basic assumption
simply because this assumption is, in fact, ideological smuggling.
Geography counts in history. The geography of capital is as important as
the general laws of its existence. Dismissing the geography is an operation
that colonized leftists perform without even noticing it, in the same
manner as bourgeois nationalists in a semicolony dismiss the general laws
of the existence of capital.

This e-mail is too long already, so I will stop, for the time being, here.
There is nothing "substantial" in it for Julio Huato, of course. But I hope
others will find substance where he finds vacuum. Since my mind's eye is
already showing a Julio Huato who thinks I am an unfair polemist, however,
I will analyze all of his rebuttal on my next mail [I will put some stress
in his view of the workings of the global capital market, in particular.
Just for the sake of suspense, this will be Lesson 2 of this primer.]

Once the Augean task finished, I will put myself to rest. Julio Huato will
have given us all that he can give us: a powerful example of why the "left"
in Latin America is so much rejected by our peoples, the Shimeles of Louis
Proyect's joke, who can tell kreplach when they are offered some... even by
people of Mexican Indian origin, such as the Malinche who helped Cortes
against Aztec "imperialists".

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org/





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