Comprador Definition [craven]

Craven, Jim jcraven at
Thu Feb 14 11:37:35 MST 2002

In any case, while I am here, and working here, I will definitely be in
favor of progressive reforms to the extent that I can. But I have no
illusions about an American revolution without several prior conditions,
including mass rebellion in at least one sector of the Third World. As a
writer or a historian or a lawyer or a fighter or whatever, I intend to
support it. The stuff you've said to me, you could've also directed to Che
vis. Argentina and Cuba.

Which reminds me: my latest Che image

Che once told a group of American activists in Cuba: "I envy you, you are
doing struggle within the belly of the beast." Che's position was that of a
Latin American trying to forge links between different struggles into a Pan
Latin American revolution/struggle. He had concrete links with the
grass-roots where he was operating; but I must say that Che had his
adventuristic side--which he himself acknowledged--as well. Indeed when he
was murdered, some who had turned him in were poor campesinos he and his
comrades had been trying to help and link-up with--and had been berated for
their "backwardness".

Shopping for--and dropping in on--a personally gratifying revolution is a
form of commodification that not only commodifies and demeans the struggle,
but also commodifies and demeans those victims making revolution. Among
Blackfoot, we periodically have some who claim Blackfoot "blood" (all of a
sudden) and want to drop-in and join-up. We always ask: "Where were you
before now?"; "Why is it that only now you have discovered your Blackfoot
'roots'?"; "Some of our worst traitors have Blackfoot "blood", why do you
think having Blackfoot "blood" is some kind of a credential for anything per
se?"; "What makes you think you would not be more of a liability than an
asset for our struggle?"; "Before now, what have you done to understand and
tell others about the concrete realities and forms of oppression we face?";
"What do you really know about the concrete realities we face?"; "Why not
stay where you have roots and contacts and serve our cause--and other causes
as well--where you can be most effective and have the greatest impacts?";
"If you are a serious and experienced revolutionary, why do you just drop-in
on us, declare your "blood" and willingness/desire to join-in without any
obvious concern for or appreciation of our need for security and screening
processes?"; "Why do you talk before listening, spout-off about all sorts of
things you are obviously ignorant about, and come-off like a know-it-all
messiah here to direct us ignorant 'savages' in the 'truth path' to

These are but some of the questions we must ask because of the state and
forms of siege we are under; we also use these questions as a test of who is
really serious as any serious and experienced revolutionary would expect
these and other questions to be asked and answered; there is simply too much
on the line not to pose such questions. We want to know who is in it for the
long haul. We want to know who is willing and capable of doing any kind of
work, hard work, and is willing to stand side-by-side and endure any
hardship or do some of the real tough jobs and show by example that another
road is possible. We want to know who is able to quietly and patiently
investigate concrete conditions with concrete methods in covert ways without
sounding off about what they are doing.

It appears to me that some on the "left", with so many slogans and instant
answers/formulaics from "the classics", simply do not appreciate/know--or in
some cases want to appreciate/know--a) what they do not know; b) what they
know "for sure" that just ain't so. A-priori theorizing, from an armchair or
behind a keyboard about the "state of the left" or "class consciousness" in
America or whatever is so much easier than the concrete praxis and
investigations and "shit work" that it takes to make generalizations that
have any real substance and operational value to them.

Jim Craven

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