Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Feb 17 06:57:10 MST 2002

On Sun, 17 Feb 2002 12:52:52 +0100, Red Globe wrote:
>I did not say that the FSNL was not a
>revolutionary movement. I said in its  whole it
>was not a socialist one, or a marxist movement.
>Anything wrong with  that?

Martin, it is entirely possible that some of the background
literature on the FSLN is unavailable in Germany, but you might want
to track down George Black's "Triumph of the People" which has an
in-depth study of the roots of the FSLN.

Carlos Fonseca founded the Sandinista movement in 1961 along with
Tomas Borge and Silvio Mayorga. Fonseca was an exceptionally gifted
leader. He died in combat in 1976. In the early 1970's, the FSLN went
through a series of crises and eventually split into three factions.
Each faction regarded itself as the true and only vanguard of the
Nicaraguan revolution and each was explicitly Marxist in orientation.
Fonseca himself spent time in Cuba trying to learn how to apply the
Cuban revolutionary model to his own country. He was more successful
than others.

The first tendency was the TP (Tendencia Proletaria). It emphasized
the central role of the proletariat in the coming revolution. A TP
leader Jamie Wheelock wrote "Imperialism and Dictatorship" in 1974 to
show that an urban proletariat and agro-export based rural
proletariat had become a major factor in the Nicaraguan class
struggle. (Wheelock, of course, was doing exactly the sort of
theoretical work that Lenin did in Russia when he examined the
development of capitalist agriculture.)

The TP thought it was a mistake to rely on rural peasant-based
guerrilla warfare. They saw only one answer to the needs of socialism
in Nicaragua: the creation of a Marxist- Leninist vanguard party.
They concentrated their efforts on the neighborhoods and factories of
major cities like Managua.

The second tendency was the GPP (Guerra Popular Prolongada). Tomas
Borge and Henry Ruiz led the GPP. It concentrated on rural guerrilla
warfare in northern Nicaragua. In some respects, this formation had
more in common with the "foquismo" approach followed by Guevara with
elements of Maoist "peoples war". The GPP did not connect to urban
struggles, however, an arena that belonged to the TP.

The third tendency was the "third force" or Terceristas. Another name
for them was the "Insurrectional Tendency." They tended to stress
bold, almost adventurist, actions to spur the masses into action.
They recruited from the middle- class, including lawyers, academics,
Church and lay workers, and even from lumpen elements. Daniel and
Humberto Ortega were the leaders of this faction. The Terceristas had
a lot in common with some of the more adventurist groups that were
operating in Colombia at that time. If they had not found a way to
reunite with the other FSLN factions, they probably would have been
repressed out of existence.

In actuality, the three factions simply represented contradictory
class aspects of the Nicaraguan revolution. They were all correct in
responding to local features of the revolutionary struggle, but were
also incorrect in assuming that their own tendency had the inside
path to victory. By finding a way to achieve a higher synthesis, they
showed how necessary it is to fight sectarianism no matter its
origin. This should inspire us, not the hammer-and-sickle festooned
tracts of miniscule "Marxist-Leninist" sects that are read by nobody.

Louis Proyect, lnp3 at on 02/17/2002

Marxism list:

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list