marxism-digest V1 #4593
alternative at sbcglobal.net
Fri Apr 12 16:18:17 MDT 2002
"If Lenin thought the USSR was doomed unless it was rescued by a
victorious revolution in Germany, what were Nicaragua's chances?"
Lenin never thought that Russia was doomed, he just stated the fact that
because the centrality of Germany (proletariat, more advanced means of
production, etc), he was willing to sacrifice Russia in exchange for a
victory in Germany. The German revolution was defeated and Russia was
The isolation created by the German and other defeats on Russia were one
of the reasons stated by Trotsky to explain the emergence of the
Stalinist bureaucracy (others being the destruction of the proletariat
and the Russian infrastructure during the prolonged "civil war", the
tiredness of the masses, etc).
But even with the rise of the bureaucracy Russia was not pre-ordained
for failure: it actually took the Stalinists a long time to destroy the
gains of the few first years of the revolution.
Not to rehash old discussions, let's summarize: the FSLN did not do
everything they could to provide the material basis for the triumph of
the revolutionary process. i.e: failed to developed a comprehensive
agrarian revolution, ceded to pressures of imperialism in the hopes that
that will spare the wrath of the US empire (which did not); failed on
the development of a proper policy on the national question (Atlantic
Coast); they failed on the internationalist duties in regards with the
Salvadoran and Guatemalan revolutions (again in the hopes that that will
spare them the wrath of imperialism, which did not); they insisted on
policies of governing with the shadow of the bourgeoisie (Chamorro and
Robelo in the first Junta) and gave them time to re-organize and
strengthening their base that collapsed during the revolutionary period,
and so on (excellent results on literacy and elementary health services
and some other gains notwithstanding.)
The Sandinistas inherited, is true, a mainly petite-bourgeois society,
but did little to change that by not having any coherent policy for
developing and strengthening the working class and the agricultural
layers of the proletariat. The accent was put in a policy of smarting
and outmaneuvering their enemies - and got trapped in their own tricks.
Of course, did not help that FSLN officials also acted as the best role
model for the petite-bourgeoisie to remain ideologically predominant by
giving themselves privileges, nice houses with swimming pools and
stamping out left wing opposition...
"...for Nicaragua to have "reproduced" the proletariat, it would have
taken a miracle considering the economic toll that contra war was having
the country. Where was investment for new industry to have come from?
Banana sales overseas during a harsh embargo?"
As I said, your response on the "two stages" was on the mark until you
ran into the hurdle to try to apply it to concrete situations. Then you
sound much as the DSP, it seems. The rationale behind the "two stages"
is precisely the assertion from reformers of the impossibility of
developing the means of production without a bourgeois stage. The FSLN
DID apply the "two stages" theory and got kicked in the ass, anyway. I
pointed before and again above what I think are some of the things that
were realistically possible. There are possible others that I'm not
If there is nothing revolutionaries can do in underdeveloped countries
in the course of a revolution - if they are opposed and blockaded by
imperialism - other than trying to outmaneuver imperialism, maybe they
should change careers, move to the US or Europe and become college
professors. Hope you can see the contradiction between your support for
the Permanent Revolution theory and your pessimistic view that nothing
can be done when you're outgunned. In terms of resources, all
revolutions faced and will continue to face, big oppositions from a
powerful world system. Even reformers do (Chavez) and it is no way
around it, it is not amount of trickery or maneuvers that will spare
them from attack, other than trying to succeed in the tasks in front of
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