Mohammad J Alam
alam.m at neu.edu
Wed Feb 6 00:10:01 MST 2002
"So you have come up with no evidence for this extravagant claim, but you
are nevertheless "positive"."
Look, man. I am quite positive someone on this list said, some of us look
at Serbia as a model for European socialism, or something to that extent. I
am not a liar, call me what you will.
"You claim that the 'revolt' against Milosevic was "a progressive revolt
Where did I make that claim? Where did I say those words? If you can find
them, please show me, because that would definitely be a mistake. What I
said, I believe, is that it shows the population had no great support for
Milosevic or his brand of statification. I also said it laid the basis for
the sweeping away of Stalinism, which I consider a good thing in the
long-term for reasons I have listed and will not repeat here so as not to
irritate the moderator.
"The tradition you come from is right to emphasise the importance of
struggle from below. Unfortunately, it often forgets the class character
of struggle and the ability of ruling classes to manufacture certain forms
of 'struggle' and pass them off as 'democratic' movements. A less
superficial analysis, let alone cheerleading from afar, might have
suggested a more nuanced understanding of what was going on."
And what "tradition" is it that I come from, in your eyes, anyway? I am not
forgetting the class character of struggle. Nor did I describe the movement
as democratic--though it was, in a bourgeois sense. Why am I forgetting the
class character of the struggle? I've never taken a social-democratic
position on supporting IMF or whatever. Like I said about Marx, I support
capitalism replacing Stalinism the same way he "supported" Bismarck: the
end justifies the means. And also like I said, I think that the end (world
socialism) will be achieved if workers can unite, and are not cynically
played off each other in the interests of bureaucracies or capitalists. At
least credit me for having a reason, instead of pretending that I have
*forgotten* the class character of Marxism. That is a pretty serious
Who am I cheerleading from the sidelines, also? Rhetoric without basis is a
rather empty enterprise, no? Certainly I have not supported the World Court
or the IMF. If you interpret my non-defense of Milosevic as a defense of
the IMF, that is an ideologically-based assumption on your part, and not at
all a fact of any sort. The IMF was coming to town anyway, if we look at
the record of collapse in Stalinist states. Plus, at least according to
some sources, Milo and his gang were selling out parts of national
industries to foreign companies even before the war. It's like what I said
about foam barriers meant to prevent a flood: defending it is useless
because it doesn't last very long.
One canard here must really be done away with.
"How strange then that the outcome, moreover the immediate
outcome, is so reactionary. If it was "a progressive revolt form below" we
might have expected that at least part of the outcome would be
So what about Poland 1956 and Prage 1968? This is also "reactionary"? You
are so prepared to smash things I haven't even said that you have stopped
making sense sometimes. 1979 Iran was a positive anti-imperialist
development; did not at all become any less "reactionary" than beforehand.
But did it set the basis for a socialist alternative, by having done away
with an American stooge and exposing the bankruptcy of fundamentalism as a
program? I think so. And I think the same will happen to
gangster-capitalism in ex-Stalinist states.
You see what I mean? These "successes" of capitalism only expose its
contradictions and inner tensions on a greater, more explosive scale. I
mean, sure, we do not have Marx's predicted socialism today--but we do have
Marx's vision of capitalism, this great polarization of classes and income
on a worldwide scale that is getting out of control for the ruling class.
Movements can no longer be derailed by USSR clique or veneered away from
radicalism towards a bourgeois-anti-colonialist direction--this has
*already* been done.
I know many consider this absurd. But there is no reason to get all angry
about it without at least explaining why one thinks so.
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