Louis on the Failure of the Left

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 29 10:34:35 MDT 2002


Domnhall asked me offlist to comment on this, although I had not planned
to. Here goes.

>The general rationale for this is that in the absence of a different world
>balance of forces (after 1991) any further would be opportunistic and not
>sustainable. I have good friends who are carrying that way of thinking into
>Cuba and China as economics advisors. At the same time, the neoliberal
>market has clearly failed generally and is in the process of being
>challenged in Argentina and other 'weak links'.

I do not object to markets per se. They reflect the relationship of forces
when a country breaks free from the world capitalist system. The more
isolated a country is, the more it will be forced to allow such mechanisms
whether it is Yugoslavia in the 1950s or Nicaragua in the 1980s. My
objection is directed more to the sort of blueprints advanced by market
socialist ideologues who look to Mondragon, plywood coops, employee owned
corporations like United Airlines as sprouts of the future socialist society.

I deal with this in:
http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/economics/nlr_market.htm

>effectively. It's the question of what do you tell an unemployed person in
>Ballymun about that new Intel factory job - he can't have it because they
>will exploit his labour! Again, I am not cheerleading that line, just
>reflecting that that's the question which you get hit with when you oppose
>FDI on principle.

One does not go around campaigning against FDI. One, however, is obligated
to challenge maquila socialism of the sort that Doug Henwood advances. To
quote Joan Robinson out of context that the only thing worse than being
exploited is not being exploited is Menshevik dishonesty. FDI will happen
whether or not there are revolutionaries. Our only goal should be to
organize workers in foreign-owned plants along militant lines.

> I would think that most of our theorists would see the
>need for a large degree of state intervention with the social economy taking
>up the slack; however, the development process will be organic with our
>circumstances. I might add that going the whole hog on upturning the market
>relations might be viewed as somewhat ultraleftist in most countries.

One does not advocate upturning market relations in the abstract. One
instead explains why socialism is necessary. With all of the wars,
environmental destruction and widening poverty, this message is need more
urgently than ever.

>Venezuala is not in that predicament (oil seems never to go out
>of style) and that's why their leadership has been able to force only
>relatively small amendments to capitalist property relations (albeit to the
>huge disquiet of the US).

Unfortunately Venezuela will not be allowed to carry out a meliorative
program under Chavez. Unless the revolution presses forward, it will be
overthrown. He is eminently reasonable. His enemies are not.

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



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