Sandinistas, Moreno, etc

Alternative alternative at
Sat Feb 16 18:12:44 MST 2002

dear friends:

My only point on writing what I wrote about Moreno, the Sandinistas and
the Simon Bolivar Brigade was to highlight the facts.  They participated
in the civil war, played an important role, one than even the
Sandinistas had to recognize afterward.  I made these clarifications
based on the dismissive attitude from some quarters.  If the left learnt
from that, much for the better.  They will serve better the
revolutionary cause in the future.  If they don't, then we will have
this same discussion few years from now.

Was not my intention to draw a balance sheet of why the FSLN failed to
deliver in the revolutionary process.  Just to set the record straight
on the Brigade.

But since some in the list would like to make it appear as if the war,
the pressure of imperialism and not the political actions of the FSLN
was de cause of the demise of the revolutionary process, let me tell
you, in synthesis what my opinion is:

1. Yes, the military and economic pressure from US imperialism was very
great and definitely had an impact on the demise of the revolution in
Nicaragua and Central America.

2. But there was not military pressure from the US in the first period
and the support for the revolution worldwide was kind of universal.  The
FSLN did not utilize that capital properly.  They did not use their
influence to expand the revolutionary process throughout Central
America, etc

3. The FSLN did make some very important mistakes from the go: forcing
Spanish on native aborigines and Blacks, jailing left wing critics,
letting the National Guard go, forcing an agrarian "solution" that was
neither a proper land reform nor something that improved  production;
made too many concessions to the Robelo-Chamorro wing of the bourgeoisie
and imperialism and asserted a burocratic and iron-fisted control of the
party, the mass organizations, etc

4. Ideologically, the FSLN was bankrupt even they started to make
mistakes and the mistakes were, to a certain degree committed by their
ideas of how a revolution was to be conducted, some additional mistakes
were committed because their inexperience, but ...

5. There was and it is rampant corruption among the cadres of the FSLN
from the very beginning and even before they took over.  How do you
explain the houses with swimming pools, the privileges and now the fact
that 150 of their commanders are an intrinsic part of the bourgeoisie
with the means the appropriated for themselves during the revolution?

6. The FSLN were also excessively pragmatic.  Whatever works is OK.  So
now they are go-governing with the neo-Somozistas through a formal pact.
That will guarantee the subsistence of the leaders, but does not help to
maintain any principled revolutionary program.  This pragmatism lead
them from pro-Cuban  positions to become the official section of Social

Trying to justify the FSLN nowadays by blaming everything on imperialism
would not help to resolve the question of a revolutionary process and
leadership in the next round of the class struggle. Will only set us up
to commit the same mistakes, over and over again.

On the other hand, blaming the failure of the revolution on the
atomization of the working class and the mass movement without
explaining that much of that was the result of the policies of the FSLN
- like compulsory military draft and sending kids to be killed without
proper training; continuous zig zags in the economic field;
inconsistency in their foreign policies; bureaucratic over control of
the mass movements; liquidation of the union independent role, backward
cultural policies, the FSLN attacks against the rights of ethnic and
language minorities, etc ... it is a little like burying your head in
the sand...

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