Nicaragua, moreno, etc.

Mike Friedman mikedf at
Wed Feb 13 17:24:36 MST 2002

[ bounced Feb. 9 due to inclusion of complete quoted text. Les]


    I think we agree with regard to ultimate causation. Where we disagree is
with respect to proximate causation. You seem to think that
technico-military and material shortcomings brought on by lack of Soviet
support were to blame. I'm convinced that the gutting of popular
organizations in the name of defense, a shortcoming which even the FSLN
criticized after the fact, had a far greater impact on the FSLN's and the
RPS's fortunes (although not some of the FSLN leaders' fortunes). And the
lack of food supplies and medicines was a consequence of the imperialist
blockade, as you know. I merely state the obvious to locate the issue in the
proper context. Accountability and democracy in the mass organizations would
have forestalled demoralization and corruption, put a break on bureaucratic
excesses and on decapitalization. Example: folks stopped attending union
meetings and participating in activities at INPESCA, because "they don't
listen anyway." The head of our directorate -- a legitimate member of the
bourgeoisie -- felt she could get away with extracting resources from the
directorate and making all kinds of sweetheart deals on behalf of her
friends, none of which could have happened in the face of a belligerent
union or a FSLN base committee that wasn't largely part of the mess. Healthy
popular democracy would have had an impact on the supply situation by making
resources available and assuring their adequate distribution. Curtailment of
the useless efforts to buy the cooperation of the "patriotic" bourgeoisie
would similarly have put resources at the disposal of the public. Recall
that during their period of "self-criticism" following the 1990 elections,
even some members of the FSLN national directorate placed major blame on
verticalism for their loss of popular support. I don't believe the
self-criticism went far enough, nor could it have, because the curtailment
of popular democracy and the concessions to the bourgeoisie were expressions
of increasing ascendancy of pro-capitalist tendencies within the FSLN (not
to mention its fusion at the top with the oligarchy, as Carlos Vila pointed
out), and its final bureacratic decay -- its "PRI-ization," if you will. And
as for the social gains of the revolution, to which you refer, by 1986,
austerity had eaten away at these, as well -- while the FSLN continued to
channel resources to oligarchs. I would just note that by that year, the
literacy rate had fallen to pre-Literacy Crusade levels and infant mortality
was on the rise. Yes the war had the major role, especially for the former,
but your point was that these conquests would have assured continued popular
support. No, Jose, the proximate causation was endogenous and not exogenous.
Imperialism will be around for some time to come. What can we do, if and
when we participate in successful revolutions, to optimize the chances for
survival in the face of the inevitable onslaught?


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