To Nestor

John Paramo albatrosrojo2000 at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 19 20:01:56 MST 2003


As I said, I did not want to polemicize with Nestor. 
I only debate (which is different than polemics) with
serious Marxists, or nationalists, or serious people.
Period. But,  when Nestor needed to resort to insults
and amalgams to counter my brief factual correction of
his eulogies for the murderer former dictator
Galtieri, I'm forced to answer some of the most
outrageous claims from him:

Nestor wrote:

"On the> Leninist-international list, 
> BTW, Paramo did not debate my really significant
> interventions."

Correction:

Maybe Nestor is confusing me with somebody else, which
is not rare giving the fact that he also confuses
political categories, dumps every Marxist and leftist
in a broad category of "antinational", etc.

Fact is, I do not participate of the
Leninist-international list nor I read any of his
contributions there and except from the one he posted
in Marxmail praising the murderer Galtieri, I don't
know nor I pay attention generally to any of his
comments.

Nestor wrote:

> 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,

Correction:

At the time of the Malvinas war and when he was
overthrown, Galtieri was the HEAD of the "oligarchic
dictatorship" which "wanted to cave in." Galtieri made
no effort to keep fighting ... by a miraculous magic
pass, Nestor in one sentence managed to separate
Galtieri from the murderous and cowardly Junta HE
PRESIDED.

Nestor:

> as well as the fact that when Argentina surrendered
> the British were almost ready to cry "uncle"). This
is why he was overthrown.

Correction:

Nestor is here re-writing history.  Galtieri signed
the order of surrender in Malvinas sent to the troops
in the Islands with the other two members of the Junta
over some objections from the Air Force commander. As
to the readiness of the British imperialists to "cry
uncle", I'm afraid I'm not in a position to confirm or
deny those circumstances.

Of course I read one illustrious British Conservative
that wrote such assertion in a book about Malvinas.  I
also read number of reports of the backup plans of the
British to bomb Buenos Aires and even use tactical
nuclear warheads launched from alleged submarines off
the coast of Buenos Aires... but again, I'm in no
position to judge any of this information as I do not
know the intelligence secrets of British and American
imperialists... In any case, I would judge historical
events for what happened, not for what I wished
happened or based on the methodology of the "if."

Simply put, I'm not in possession of any documentation
either way. I do, however, know that Galtieri was
overthrown by a combination of big protests and the
rebellions of soldiers at the garrisons across the
country that forced the military to license the entire
rank and file.

Nestor:

"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)."

Answer:

Now, Nestor appeals to the understanding of the aging
former dictator Galtieri - murderer, looter and coward
-much in the like one would like to understand the
patriach dictators described by Garcia Marquez.

But Galtieri was much worse, criminal and sadist than
the Trujillos of this world. He represented a new
generation of the Latin American military caste that
also gave birth to the Videlas and Pinochets of the
continent.

As a  marxist I don't give a damn about the "history"
courses Galtieri read - I doubt he understood any of
them even if he read them - because the material basis
for his judgement does not rest in the process inside
his head at the "twilight of his life" and after being
overthrown.

It rest upon the actions of the Junta he presided over
that massacred the left wing - and many no so left
wing - vanguard of the working class, intelligentzia
and left parties of Argentina and commanded the Armed
Forces in their betrayal of the national cause in the
Malvinas war.  As Nestor appropriately wrote about
Aztiz, Galtieri too, deserved to be shot twice.

Nestor wrote:

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.

Answer:

Nope. I did not lean on Balsa.  I wrote that even
Balsa -- being what he is -- had the opinion that
Galtieri and his Junta were "cowards and sadists"
which means that even reactionaries like Balsa could
identify the true attributes of the military leaders
in Argentina.

"Patriotic and nationalist movements that had arisen
in the Armed Forces" after the Malvinas?  Here, Nestor
is unmistakenly talking about the "carapintadas" of
the type of Rico (a present partner of his candidate
Rodriguez Saa) and Seineldin, organizers of failed
coup d'etat and armed rebellions of officers during
the first civilian government after the overthrown of
the military junta.

Balsa, his predecessor, Alfonsin and the UCR and the
Peronist governments of Menem ... all of them covered
up and pardon the military from their crimes both
during the "dirty war" and the Malvinas war. Rico,
Seineldin, even Aztiz, Menendez, Galtieri, Videla,
Viola, Massera were at one point beneficiaries of the
law of "Final Point" and "Due Obedience" and those who
were "punished", were sent to luxurious encampments
with all the conforts of their homes. 

I opposed Alfonsin's government even before was
elected, and I characterized him as the transition to
re-estabilize the system. But I also opposed and
participated in the demonstrations against the
military officers that revolted against his government
demanding, among other things, more concessions to the
military.

If anything, I wished we had the forces at the time to
crush them indepedently of the government.

Nestor:

> 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.

Answer:

General Menendez (another murderer) was named the
commander of the Malvinas operations by Galtieri
himself and Aztiz (the other one you recognized as a
coward)were both in the same circle of genocides to
which Galtieri belonged.  In fact, the coward acts of
both were approved at the time by Galtieri as their
Commander in Chief.

I specifically said that the rank and file soldiers
were no cowards and I also wrote there were some
exceptions among the officers, particularly in the Air
Force who fought bravely.  But the high command,
particularly those under the direct command of
Galtieri - the Army - were as a whole a bunch of
cowards.  So much so that many were disarmed by the
soldiers in Malvinas when they ordered the surrender.

Nestor:

> 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?), 

Answer:

It has been a historical line of the petite bourgeois
left to eliminate the class lines in every analysis
and blurring the lines between the class interests and
objectives of oppressors and opressed, more to the
tune of Nestor's positions which identifies his style
fully with the petitebourgeois left..... Seems as if
this is a case of "in the eye of the beholder..."

Nestor:

> one should go to the reports by the British soldiers
> and commanders,

Answer:

Now, the "nationalist" Nestor appeals to the records
of the military imperialist caste to prove a point? 
Well, it will be dissappointing for him to know that
the British generally judged the Argentinean officers
as cowards -- again, with the exception of some
officers in the Air Force -- and the Argentinean rank
and file soldiers as brave.  So much so that in the
British Imperial War Museum they exhibit the flags and
weapons surrendered by Argentinean officers without
fighting.

As recently as two or three weeks ago, a delegation of
the British high command visited their Argentina's
counterpart and pay honor to the Argentinean Air Force
pilots ... only.  Upon their return to Britain, one of
them said to the media there that they only regarded
with respect the soldiers and the Air Force pilots.

Nestor:
> 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 
> behaved "cowardly").

Correction:

The rate of dead soldiers way surpassed the ratio
officers-soldiers present in the Island.  You can
check that fact too. On the other hand, most of the
Argentinean casualties were suffered during bombing
raids and artillery shelling.  So far, British
imperialists had been unable to produce shells and
bombs that differentiate between "cowards" and "brave"
soldiers when dropped.

Nestor:

> _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).

Correction:

Aztiz was not the only one. Dozens of officers refused
to serve as logistical support for Air Force's planes
operating from the mainland scared that such flight
missions will attract reprisals from the British
against mainland garrisons. Navy captains in warships
operating off the southern coast of Argentina strongly
objected to be used as supportive fire stations for
the Air Force pilots who used Kamikaze tactics thus
denying these pilots fire cover to approach the
British fleet. Intelligence Army officers surrendered
upon British disimbarkment in the Malvinas Islands
without fighting instead of complying with orders to
retreat and report the positions of enemy forces, thus
exposing the fixed positions in the frontlines (first
line of defense), mostly petty officers and rank and
file soldiers to surprise attack by British commandos
and SAS... the High Command in the mainland
specifically refused to engaged in combat from their
positions, except some sorties flew from one airport
in the south to avoid bein attacked by the British
Task Force...

Nestor:

> 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" ...

Question:

Who is this generic left Nestor speaks of that calls
the veterans of Malvinas "the kids of war?"  Please,
quote if you do not mind since this is completely
unkown to me.  Every tract of the left I read about
the Malvinas war and the veterans calls them "Malvinas
Veterans."

Nestor:

> 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.

Correction:

A massive effort was done by civilian organizations to
collect food, matresses, blankets, clothing for cold
weather, etc.  Money was raised, truckloads of
material donated by thousands upon thousands of people
around the country and donations also arrived from
Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and elsewhere. None of this ever
reached the soldiers fighting in the front and was
rapidly looted and stolen by the chain of command,
from the Junta down to the high commands in the
mainland.  Now, it is true that is no evidence that
Galtieri was personally involved in this massive
looting of the war effort by the civilian population. 
In other words, nobody saw him running from a
werehouse with a truckload of blankets... but he was
both the President of the Junta AND the Commander in
Chief of the Army, the force mostly responsible for
the looting.

Nestor:
> 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 
> the revolution.

Correction:

My raising of the issue of looting was not a moral,
but a military one. The soldiers were left fighting
without proper shoes, blankets, clothing and food
waiting for weeks for the enemy to attack, left mostly
in trenches and surrounded by a freezing weather while
the officers rested and fed themselves in houses
appropriated in Puerto Argentino. This behavior in
purely bourgeois military terms is considered "high
treason" and "fifth columnism."

Nestor:

>> 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?

Correction:

One of the reasons Patton and Trotsky - of course
saving the class differences of their military careers
- were respected and followed by their soldiers was
their personal courage in combat.

In the case of Trotsky is a historical fact that he
did charge the enemy, revolver in hand couple of times
when the troops were hesitant. He traveled constantly
in his famous train to the frontlines, exposing
himself to attack from the enemy and personally giving
instructions to the agitators who were sent before the
army into enemy lines.

Nestor:
I will tell you why:
> because you are a 
> petty-bourgeois moralizer clad in "Leftist" robes.
> That is why. 

Answer:

No moralizing at all. In politics, even in bourgeois
politics, and more so in military actions, leadership
must be exercised by example. Courage under fire is
not adventurerism but a necessary task of those in
command. Should I mention Stalingrad? 

I wrote:

> 
> " 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."

Nestor answers:

> ...but you are completely wrong in this single line,
> which confuses a 
> colonial democracy with a popular upheaval and,
> simply, LIES:
> 
> "Then they were chased out of power by the mass
> movement."
> 
> 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.

Answer:

After the betrayal and cowardly actions of Galtieri
and the high command, there were mass protests, the
structure of the army from the base, the soldiers,
collapsed, discipline became impossible in the
garrisons.  The government and the Junta was divided
as to whom should be made the scapegoat for the
defeat.  People lost the fear to the military and took
over the streets.

The bourgeois parties distanced themselves from the
military and the Junta found itself internationally
isolated and despised.  From the right (mostly the
imperialist powers)because they dared to take over the
Malvinas Islands, from the left because they betrayed
the national struggle (the mass movement both in
Argentina and internationally.)

That is what ended the military rule and what explains
that even today the bourgeoisie cannot use the Armed
Forces to quell the popular unrest. Denying the role
of the mass movement, both in Argentina and
internationally, in the overthrown of the military
Junta after their cowardly surrender in Malvinas is
denying reality, nevermind Marxist analysis.

Of course, Peronists and the UCR lent their hand to
replace the rule of the military by the rule of the
civilian bourgeois parties. They succeeded in
channeling the discontent and the massive outpouring
of protest into a "democracy for the rich."  

And in this, my dear Nestor, were as responsible the
UCR and Alfonsin as the Peronist leadership - at that
time led by the criminal labor bureacracy that came
out of the collaborationist period with the
dictatorship with whom they joined hands to hunt down
and kill labor activists during the "dirty war."
(True, not all of them, but most of them)

But one cannot confuse the cause of the fall of the
dictatorship, a generalized uprising against the
military, with the eventual re-estabilization of the
political situation through bourgeois rule.


Nestor:

The defeat in the South was
> not a defeat for 
> the high command, it was a NATIONAL defeat.

Answer:

On this point we agree.  But it was a national defeat
inflicted by a combination of the imperialist attack
coupled with the betrayal of the Junta, headed by
Galtieri and his High Command.

Nestor:

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 ...
(etc)

Answer:

This is a version of events that renders history to a
simplistic view of big guys planning everything in an
office in Washington or London.

The imperialists may had had their plans, but
ultimately, those plans are either defeated, modified
or implemented by social forces, at they are at the
mercy of the laws of the class struggle.

Nestor's version of history denies the mass movement
any and all role in any event that does not fit his
narrow view of a bipolar world in which everyone is
aligned, independently of the class they belong to, in
one camp or another of the national cause.

He completely ignores that neither side is homogeneous
and that class interests and allegiances, in many
cases, shift and changes the sides in the dispute,
re-align and confront ultimately to fit the class
interests of each layer of society or subordinate
those interests to those of other classes.

Thus, is not a permanent "national front" that persist
in his beloved Peronism independently of what the
Peronists did in the last 50 years or what they do
now. Nor is the working class aligned forever nor is
written in stone that they will be aligned forever
under the influence of bourgeois nationalists or that
even bourgeois nationalist remain such forever. The
character of political parties more often than not
change over time. Look at the PRI in Mexico or the
evolution of Peronism in the last 50 years for further
illumination of the changing character of political
forces.

Nestor:

> the "antimilitarist" Left in Argentina: that the
> Malvinas war was not a "national war", that we did
not _recover_Argentinean land from a foreign 
> power, that, as Paramo betrays himself in this
> closing paragraph, Galtieri's was an "invasion".

Answer:

None in the left in Argentina stated at the time or
now that the Malvinas War was not a "national war."  

In fact, most of the left, if not all, mobilized
against British imperialism during the war.  Many in
the left were among the combatants in the Islands. 
Many veterans of Malvinas are today members of the
left.

What most of the left did not do is what Nestor does
which is to capitulate to the criminal Junta that led
the military operations.  Most of the left opposed
that leadership because with it was impossible to
defeat imperialism.

There is not an "anti-militaristic" left, at least not
miy left.  There is, of course an anti-bourgeois
militaristic left.  The military exist under bourgeois
rule to be the executioners of the policies of the
ruling class.

As Marxists we oppose and we are for the destruction
of the institutions upon which rest the power of the
state of the ruling class.  The Armed Forces, the
courts, etc  In that sense you may talk about
"anti-bopurgeois militaristic" left, not of
generalized "anti-militaristic" (you meant pacifist)
left.

Nestor: 
> Go to sleep with the imperialists, Paramo. You will
> make wonderful 
> bedfellows.

Answer:

Such an insult cannot but make me laugh. Coming from a
self-proclaimed bedfellow of Galtieri, political
partner of genocidal Rico at present and
self-proclaimed supporter of the corrupt Peronist
former governor, member of the oligarchy and
collaborator of the dictatorship, Rodriguez Saa,
cannot be anything but a cumpliment.


Have a nice day,

JP



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