Reply to the Reply From Anthony

Alternative alternative at sbcglobal.net
Mon Feb 25 14:25:30 MST 2002


Anthony:

Here are some additional questions and comments.  Don't see them as
polemical, because they are not.  Just thinking aloud.  I know you wrote
you have little time, so feel free to answer these comments at your
pleasure.  There is no rush.  Sorry for the hast of these notes, but I'm
also very busy.

Anthony wrote:

"The period of the 'peace processes' is over. That period was the period
of the retreat of the Soviet Union, before it expired. Imperialism
thinks it no longer has any real reason to negotiate peace.

"The Russian nuclear arsenal is no longer a chip on the table."

Addition:

Yes. The fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had an effect in
geopolitics, but also in consciousness. Whether we like it or not,
critical layers of the working class and the mass movement saw that as a
defeat and that had an added effect on the retreats of the 90s.  It was
not just the nuclear arsenal but also the material existence of the
Stalinist-ruled states - which was a contradictory element in a world
where capitalism was and is hegemonic -- that had an impact as a
deterrent for imperialist actions.

While the Stalinist burden and obstacle was removed, once the lid was
removed, all hell broke loose. Everything left unresolved by the very
nature of the Stalinist regimes, blew on the face of the entire world,
like the question of oppressed nationalities.  Not only the peace
processes are over, the Balkan wars were possible, so were the
disintegration of a number of countries in Africa, Afghanistan, the grow
of fundamentalism and the retreat towards social democracy of the
leaderships of the Central America or the PT, etc.

Anthony:

"Consensus has not yet been reached within the imperialist ruling
classes, but things are moving - the Europeans favor peace processes,
and some kind of social democratic regime as the outcome - as a balance
to US imperialist hegemony. Europe is steadily losing - In Yugoslavia
they lost big time. In Afghanistan they couldn't even pretend to have an
independent position. In Colombia, the international mediators were led
by the French and Italians, and they were the biggest losers in the end
of the peace process. The US embassy was the big winner."

Addition:

So they did in Argentina.  The UCR, the party in power with De La Rua as
a president was the official section of the 2nd. International. Part of
the privatizations benefited European businesses.  But there was simply
no economic basis for a faction of the social democrats to resolve the
situation in their favor.

The US just had to wait and let Argentina fall in order to recapture
whatever they want from there.  That is why they won't bail out all the
financial institutions, the US want some of them, not just bail them in
favor of the Europeans.  Besides, there are still a couple key banks in
the state's hands.

The faction of the social democrats from Europe that promoted the
"interventionist" line in the countries in the US backyard as a way to
balance the hegemony of US imperialism,  did fail in Mexico, first with
the PRD and then with the Zapatistas.  They got the pro-American Fox,
instead. And in Nicaragua and El Salvador (the FSLN and the FMLN are now
the social democrats) but they got the parties of Somoza and the death
squads in power in those countries, instead.

Their next bet is on Brazil with Lula and the PT, that is why they sent
6 ministers and a number of their honchos to dominate the Porto Alegre
Forum. If your logic is correct, the peace processes are over,  then a
victory of Lula will unleash again the military?

Do you see the development as one in which the Stalinist-led deterrent,
once over, was replaced by a weaker one led now by Social democracy as a
whole - or more accurately, I think you described it as the "European's"
? And that is what is happening in Colombia? Following your logic then,
the peace process in Colombia is over and the old game of the "pressure
to negotiate" is now transformed into open and total war?

Anthony:

"The European/US split is likely to grow. The US will push the divide by
moving against any and all peace processes - in process now, or proposed
in the future. The peace processes give Europe leverage, war gives the
US leverage.

"This is the simplified picture, and all I have time for."

Answer:

Agree in general ... But aren't the Europeans divided themselves between
those who would like to see those "peace processes", like the French,
the Scandinavians, etc and the British, for example, who are more in
tune with the US?  The British has acted in Africa and the Middle East
and Central Asia and the Balkans following the Americans.

Anthony:

"The FARC, is to some extent an 'independent player'. But they
understand very well the game outlined above. As do Hugo Chaves, Fidel,
and the PT in Brazil. The game, from their point of view is to play
Europe and the USA off against each other, and to keep the local
bourgeoisie caught in the middle."

"However, at this moment the FARC has overplayed its hand (in my humble
opinion). They have played into the hand of the USA, and into the hands
of Alvaro Uribe Velez. Their strategic blunders are contributing to
bringing the paramilitaries to state power."

Question:

The FARC is an "independent player"?  Independent from whom?  I can see
Fidel as the "independent" player and Chavez in the crossroad of having
to decide whether he would play the "independent" role or not. This, of
course, related to the geopolitical games between the US and a sector of
social democracy - I can't see Europe playing as a unified bloc (but I'm
maybe wrong).  But I thought both the PT and the FARC - with all the
differences they may have in strategy and tactics - had a complete
different game plan, which was their institutionalization through social
democracy.

Anthony:

"New negotiations, if they do occur, will occur under conditions
distinctly to the disadvantage of the FARC - both on the battlefield,
and on the political field."

Question:

Doesn't exist the variable of the class struggle? And the outcome of a
war? The geopolitical game between the US and social democrats is a
reality, as it was the games between the US and the Stalinists when the
latter were in power.

But as the past processes - US/Soviet Union - were upset more than once
because the class struggle, there is that possibility at the present
time as well.  In terms of Colombia, the question of the war is what I'm
interested in trying to understand.  You wrote that in your opinion the
FARC "overplayed" its hand, but they were nowhere to be found when the
Colombian Army moved into their areas.

Moving that number of troops and equipment meant that the FARC were
expecting that to happen. Knowing a little as I do about Colombia and a
little more about Latin America, a direct military intervention by the
US in Colombia would not be easy or as easily accepted as it was, let's
say in the Balkans or Afghanistan.  Nor would victory come as cheap in
terms of lives.

I do understand that few months back, there was big support for the
"Plan Colombia" strategy in Colombia itself, but that may change rapidly
as the war, if it is total, develops and inflicts thousands of
casualties, particularly civilian casualties.  In that sense, it is
possible that the resistance to the US plans in Colombia will start
outside Colombia, in the rest of Latin America.  This will be further
complicated by the fact of the potential of the combination of the
Colombian situation with Venezuela, the ongoing crisis in Argentina, the
potential new government in Brazil, the events in Ecuador and Bolivia,
the upcoming Fox's crisis in Mexico ...

Unless the Colombian government changed dramatically the characteristic
of its army in the last four or five years - something I'm unaware of -
and they are now efficient, disciplined and uncorrupted and unless the
US believe that the paramilitaries are Colombia's version of the
Northern Alliance - in which case they are up for a big surprise - I see
no way the US could win a war in Colombia without upsetting the politics
of the entire region of Latin America, provoking a major upheaval, or
without losing a bunch of US lives.

In Colombia the US may have the drug issue as the excuse, but drugs are
not 9/11 as they had in Afghanistan. IMO, the line that the US drew in
the sand about the "peace processes" may have worked in the Balkans and
other places, but it will certainly backfire or may become a big blunder
in Colombia, Venezuela or Brazil, or in all three of them.

Anthony:

"PS: I have no desire to contribute to any existing or planned
publication in the United States or elsewhere. This list is it for me.
However, it would be interesting if you would describe for listmembers
your plans for REV. It seems that at least two interesting new left
publications have started in the USA recently: Left Turn and the antiwar
newspaper started up people from the old CP/DSA/LOM mileau. Why do you
think another is needed?"

Answer:

Sorry for that.  You are a good writer.  As to the need for new
publications in the US:

a) Your own listing of who is behind the two publications you mentioned
is the first answer.  The "antiwar' publication is just an attempt to
repeat the experiment of the Guardian in the 70s, but the forces behind
it are no longer the same, nor are the political conditions or the new
movements. It will fade away or remain irrelevant, soon rather that
later. As the new political processes in the world seem to indicate, the
old ways of the left are no longer valid;

b) the "Left Turn" is an artificial creation financed by the British
SWP.  That space is already occupied in the US by the ISO.  Whether it
will be an small drone of the British in the shadows of the ISO or will
disintegrate into a formation such of Solidarity, the extension of its
effectiveness is determined by its origin and material possibilities.

c) Movements and revolutions from below (Mexico, Argentina, Indonesia to
certain extent, Ecuador, etc), also the example to a great degree of
layers of the anticorporate/ anti-globalization movement in economically
advanced countries are just the tip of the iceberg, the small sample of
the beginnings of the reconstruction of a mass movement for social
change.

That phenomena is helping Marxists to return to the original concept of
socialism/communism.  Not as a movement striving to take power by
itself, but a movement - not just limited to a passive existence as an
ideology - that "do not have interests other than or separate from the
interests of the working class."

d) There is not in existence, today in the US, any Marxist current with
organic links with the semi colonial world, particularly Latin America.

That's why is necessary, not just ONE new publication, but a set of
different ones.  There are a growing number of people in the US - and
fortunately a number of people in Mexico, Central America, Argentina,
etc - interested in this project.

Carlos



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