John Paramo's, er, mistakes...
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Sun Jan 19 08:25:43 MST 2003
Will have to write something on John Paramo's posting, sorry.
It is a silly matter to debate these things now, in the midst of a
national mobilisation effort of cdes. in the First World against the
war in Irak. But since I have been attacked in the viperous style
that is usual with the Argentinean antinational Left, I beg your
pardon dear cdes. in the North, but I must clutter your mailboxes
with secondary material.
I pray our moderator Louis Proyect to please allow the following,
rather hot, lines to reach Marxmail. I hereby solemnly swear not to
answer to anything that Paramo can write against what is stated
here. But Paramo's attitude cannot be left unnoticed and "uncrushed".
Why? Perhaps because, John Paramo, perhaps thinking that he would not
have been noticed by yours truly, wrote on this list:
"I would like sincerely to avoid any and all polemics
with Nestor. His position of supporting Rodriguez Saa
and previous characterizations of his about the left
in Argentina are so distant from mine that any
discussion would be fuitless and only lead to a flame
Not a flame war, but certainly a dialogue of the deaf.
Paramo's (faked) shyness, -as a _social_ fact- has little to do with
the declared intention to keep the air of this list clear. This idea
of "not debating with the National Left" is a very old practice of
the Antinational Left. And it is a tactics that, by the way (and due
to "most mysterious" reasons to be revealed within a few paragraphs
when we speak of imperialist tactics in a semicolonial country), is
also applied by the mainstream press to Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, who of
course is not a member of the National Left, but simply the most
Peronist of all candidates.
In Buenos Aires there is even a verb to denote such an attitude:
"ningunear", that is to act as if somebody did not exist. An English
surrogate would be "to nobodize" someone.
Let us go to the core of the thing. What John Paramo ignores (or
pretends to ignore), either in practice or in belief, is the basic
fact that in Argentina, as well as elsewhere outside the imperialist
core, the main contradiction, the main _economic, social and
political_ contradiction, is the contradiction between the nation and
In terms of the set of active political groups and parties, of the
"nomenclature of the classes" (Gramsci), this main -not single, but
main- contradiction permeates the whole political rainbow, and
generates an antinational right as well as a national right, an
antinational center as well as a national center, and an antinational
left as well as a national left.
The whole secret of revolutionary politics in a semicolonial country
such as Argentina lies in (a) consolidating a national front where
(b) if you are a serious revolutionary socialist you will struggle to
make sure that the workers and peasants head and lead. The whole
secret of the antinationals, on the contrary, is to _avoid_ such a
consolidation, and the antinational left is an essential building
block of this politics: The whole system operates by stressing the
"left"-"right" divide, in this context an ideological dispute hiding
the will to _isolate_ the workers from the main body of the
oppressed, thus rendering the oppressors invincible.
This posting by Paramo is a clear demonstration of this fact of life,
which is, in the end, simply reasonable in a country where
imperialist capital forms part of the domestic economy. Conditions of
existence always define, in the end, the forms of consciousness. The
petty bourgeoisie of Latin American large towns (which has usually
been created and grew up as a byproduct of imeprialist intervention
in our countries) has an almost self-destructive tendency to side
with the anti-national bloc, and the "Left" has a lot to work to do
in this sense. Witness Teodoro Petkoff or Bandera Roja in Caracas
John thinks he has caught me by the balls, and triumphantly cross
posts something I wrote in haste to the list leninist-international.
Incidentally, his cross-posting extracts _a single paragraph from a
whole debate_, a very usual misdemeanour by those who try to "debate"
with us from the "left". If the moderator of this list accepts, I
will repost _the whole debate_ so that Paramo's school of historic
falsification is fully exposed. On the Leninist-international list,
BTW, Paramo did not debate my really significant interventions.
Which indicates that maybe his posting not only attempts to
"nobodize" me but also to slander me. Nothing new under the Sun, as
the Spanish saying goes. If they can't hide us beneath the rug, they
twist our ideas, generate a scarecrow, and then struggle against that
scarecrow. Such is life. Sigh.
Let us now allow Paramo to represent himself. He says of Néstor, with
gleaming eyes and a "gotcha" smile:
"...a recent post from him about General Galtieri,
needs to be answered if only for the record:
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky wrote:
"...the viperous hatred of imperialism against General
Galtieri spurted through the gutters yesterday on
the occasion of his death. Both in London and Buenos
Aires, the mainstream press were radiant and did not
save words to blast him, perhaps the only
military man in Argentina who defended our land
against imperialist occupation. Imperialism is
always aware of who are their enemies. Not
even death will save them. BTW: Galtieri left his
family a sabre and a military hat, this is all he
had at the moment of death."
The posting was not "about General Galtieri" but about imperialist
press. Let us keep in our mind this side issue as simply a forerunner
of a lot of other ideologically-determined misunderstandings. Let us
now go to the core of the matter. Against the above (where, in
retrospect, I now find an excessive stress in a single sentence),
Paramo bursts in anger:
"Galtieri was not a patriot, but a ruling member of the
dictatorship that murdered tens of thousands of people
Just as I did with Julio Huato, I will resort to surgery with Paramo.
Please note the _not so subtle_ operation: Paramo (in a move
resembling Alfonsín and --Bignone!) blames me with saying that
"Galtieri was a patriot". Where, pray, can you read _that_ in the
lines above? Please, comrades, take your time, climb up on this
mail, read Paramo's excerpt of my words. Search for the concept
"Galtieri was a patriot" You will not find it. Nowhere. Nowhere at
all. But Paramo is a "honorable man", and Paramo says that I did
write that "Galtieri was a patriot". Please read again. Did not find
the damned words, did you? No, you didn't, nor you will.
First result of the dissection, then? Yes: Paramo is displaying here,
for anyone whith open eyes, the ways in which the Antinational Left
debates with the National Left. By creating a scarecrow, and stabbing
The Argentinean province of Corrientes is famous for the courage of
the Correntinos. There is a Correntino saying that is particularly
applicable to this situation: "Puñalada en barriga ajena no duele,
ch'amigo" (Stab in other one's belly does not ache, my friend). As to
Paramo's stabs, I feel exactly that way. He is not debating with me.
He is simply trying to substitute a scarecrow for the actual Néstor
Gorojovsky that he would not be able to have a serious debate with.
Once the attempt at deformation shown in public, let us forget
Paramo's scarecrows. What do _I_ believe?
I don't think that Galtieri was "a patriot". In a decissive moment,
when the oligarchic dictatorship wanted to cave in, he wanted to keep
on fighting (and the political consequences of this were impressive,
as well as the fact that when Argentina surrendered the British were
almost ready to cry "uncle"). This is why he was overthrown. In this
sense, yes, I am absolutely convinced that, as patriotism goes,
Galtieri showed to be more patriot than Paramo, since he was ousted
_because_ he did not want to bow at the will of imperialists and
clung to the last minute to the idea of struggling to the end.
But I insist: where did I say that Galtieri was "a patriot"? At most,
what I would say is that in the twilight of his last days he began to
understand that there was something very wrong in the History he had
been taught (he spent all his time afterwards in reading Argentinean
history, don't know with what results, but I am sure that with more
seriousness than the "Left" that Paramo represents here).
All the remaining posting by Paramo is simply antinational crap. His
sources are all antinational sources. He repeats, from a "leftist"
position, the positions of the antinational front in Argentina,
particularly those of Alfonsinism. He leans on Gral. Balsa, for
example, when Balsa was the most important single individual person
in the task of neutralizing, closing off from the workers and
ultimately destroying the patriotic and nationalist movements that
had arisen in the Armed Forces after the Malvinas War. Incidentally,
Balsa was an Alfonsinist who enjoyed the best relations with Menem.
Paramo also leans on the pro-imperialist Rattenbach report, drafted
by a General who, later on, expressed deep regret at the antinational
consequences of his "findings" the only political meaning of which
was to give a powerful lever to the de-Malvinization of Argentina
essential to impose the "colonial democracy" that lasted from 1983 to
2001. The whole Report turns around the basically pro-imperialist
idea that Argentina should never never rise against imperialists.
In this context, what follows is simply lip service:
"The Malvinas are Argentinean and the struggle to
recover them from the hands of British imperialism a
just cause. But the military dictatorship,
particularly Galtieri betrayed that struggle and acted
cowardly during the war."
Galtieri himself did not act _cowardly_. Those who acted "cowardly"
(if such moralizing nonsense has anything to do with Marxism and
politics) were the ones who deposed him and put him to trial, and who
found in Gral. Bignone and his coup the way to put an end to that
war: Menéndez did, Astiz did, and so on. But by no means every
officer, nor soldier.
Instead of reading Paramo's imaginative anti-militaristic prejudice
of Anarchist, not Marxist, origin (could it be otherwise, in the end,
when the Left that he supports is a typically petty-bourgeois left?),
one should go to the reports by the British soldiers and commanders,
or read the cold figures of the death toll paid by officers and
soldiers (the percentage of officers dead far outweighs that of
soldiers dead, not a resonable result for an army where the officers
The "high command" that Paramo blasts thus
"The high command abandoned the rank and file soldiers
in the Islands under attack from British troops"
was, funnily enough, AGAINST Galtieri and his determination to keep
on fighting. This, of course, is a detail that for Paramo and his
Buenos Aires friends lacks any meaning. Later on, he lies when he
"most officers surrendered cowardly and provoked revolts
among the soldiers, the exception of few pilots from
the Argentinean Air Force nonwithstanding."
_Cowardly_ surrender there was a single one. It was the surrender of
Astiz, who should be shot twice (firstly because he was an
Intelligence Officer who infiltrated organizations and pointed out
those to be disappeared, and secondly because he surrender his
position in San Pedro -wrongly known as South Georgia- without a
shot). And his troop, all of them "professionals" of the Navy, thus
people who somehow or another had been active participants in the
repression after 1976, and staunch anti-Peronists (the Navy has
always been the most anti-Peronist branch of the Armed Forces, and in
1955 it was supplied from outside by the British Navy to help them in
the overthrow of Perón). He had to quell no rebellion at all.
There were also heroic Navy officers. For example, the first casualty
during the war was that of Pedro Giachino, a Navy officer who had the
order not to kill a single Englishman during the storming of Puerto
Argentino -AKA as Port Stanley- and he paid with his life but acted
according to orders.
The resistence of most Argentinean troops in the islands was not only
a matter of heroism by the soldiers (the same soldiers that the
sobbing "Left" calls "the kids of war", as if Israeli or Palestinian
soldiers were much older!), but also by the officers. Ask the British
about Mount Langdon defenders, for example, where a local artillery
officer stood in place after dismissing all his men, because he had
some ammo left and wanted to use it to the last second. As to the Air
Force, well, Paramo himself has to admit of their courage and
Paramo then goes on, regarding Galtieri:
"Galtieri and his commanders looted the resources
raised by the Argentinean population for the soldiers
fighting in the front"
Looting existed, but Galtieri had no part at all in it. I will not
defend looting, of course, mainly because this was a demoralizing
action and just another action which led to defeat. But this stress
(Paramo mentinos it in the first place, as a moral issue) on this
issue makes me think of the moralizing petty bourgeois who is
outraged by the misuse of HIS or HERS "great" contribution to war,
not of the revolutionary socialist who would shoot looters to save
Paramo, again, at last hitting a correct nail by attempting to
establish a strategic debate (though with a silly proposition),
criticizes the high command for their way to establish the basic
guidelines of war regarding troops in the Continent and those in the
", they maintained them isolated from the main forces in the
but marring it all with this:
"and they dissappeared from the frontlines as soon as the shoots
Would you, John Paramo. blame a Patton, or a Trotsky for that matter,
for keeping himself safe while "others" put their bodies against
enemy fire? Why, then, do you blame the Argentinean high command,
however roguish it may be (and it was), for doing what in any other
command would be reasonable? I will tell you why: because you are a
petty-bourgeois moralizer clad in "Leftist" robes. That is why. And
that is why although you are right in what follows...
" they acted solely on the speculation that
London would not counter-attack and that the US would
not support Britain. (...) They thought that they could get away with
a badly improvised "invasion" and when they faced the
US/British opposition, they just collapsed and ran."
...but you are completely wrong in this single line, which confuses a
colonial democracy with a popular upheaval and, simply, LIES:
"Then they were chase out of power by the mass
The 1976 dictatorship was NOT chased out of power by the mass
movement. It was replaced _by the imperialists_ with a democratic
fiction, which was already the move that General Viola had attempted
during the early 80s. The defeat in the South was not a defeat for
the high command, it was a NATIONAL defeat. The popular movement had
no weight at all in the liquidation of the dictatorship.
The decission to substitute civilians for military was taken in
Washington immediately after the April 2, 1982 takeover of Malvinas,
and most probably it had been taken long before, the war giving the
ultimate pretext (it is meaningful that the US winkled friendly,
though keeping silent, when the Argentinean military probed them in
order to see if they would count on their approval. Same move was
made against Hussein during the Kuwait war...)
In fact, Paramo cannot raise to the level of politics. Against my
opinions, which were aimed at the imperialist coincidence to pour
shit on Galtieri while keeping safe the rest of the civilians and
military who took part of the Proceso, he can only lick his wounds
once and again, and explains things that we don't ignore and nobody,
in fact, ignores:
"Galtieri was directly responsible for kidnappings,
assasinations and torture of unarmed left wingers and
tradeunionists, the stealing of their babies and the
looting of their properties during the so-called
"dirty war" of the military Junta against the
Chocolate for the news, as we say in Argentina! And so? Many others
did the same. I was very happy to see Galtieri in jail. I even
celebrated it on the lists. But I am not a blind anti-national
"Leftist", and my politics does not lie in lovingly licking old
wounds (which, of course, must be seriously healed). I want to stress
those sides of the reality that makes the healing process possible:
the confrontation between the Argentinean people and imperialism.
Paramo prefers not to stress this side of the issue, thus becoming
actively involved in a general thrust of the imperialists to prevent
Argentinean leftists to assume their necessary role as defenders of
the country against exploitation.
Later on, Paramo shows his ultimate misunderstanding:
"The only heroes and patriots in the Malvinas war, were
the rank and file Argentinean soldiers who fought
bravely and were abandoned by their "superiors." Of
course the British media dennounced Galtieri for his
failed invasion of the Malvinas Islands. So what?"
To begin with, this is stale "workerism" writ military. And this is
false. But the final sentence is a demonstration that Paramo does not
have the least idea of the word he lives in (or, conversely, he has
an extremely accurate idea and acts accordingly, a possibility that I
will write off, of course, because its implications reach _too_ far
away). I repeat:
"Of course the British media dennounced Galtieri for his
failed invasion of the Malvinas Islands. So what?"
So that John Paramo can't understand what imperialism is made of. So
_that_. Why didn't the "British media" dennounce Videla, and they
denounce Galtieri? Because they, the imperialist media in Britain,
Paramo's innermost conviction, which is the innermost conviction of
the "antimilitarist" Left in Argentina: that the Malvinas war was not
"national war", that we did not _recover_ Argentinean land from a
power, that, as Paramo betrays himself in this closing paragraph,
was an "invasion".
Go to sleep with the imperialists, Paramo. You will make wonderful
And don't attempt to side stab me again.
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
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"Aquel que no está orgulloso de su origen no valdrá nunca
nada porque empieza por depreciarse a sí mismo".
Pedro Albizu Campos, compatriota puertorriqueño de todos
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