Replies to David S.

D OC donaloc at
Mon Jan 20 06:15:42 MST 2003

David wrote:

>As far as distinctions between globalization and imperialism. The analysis
>of imperialism and the program for self-determination developed before
>during after the RR has proven highly problematic.  First and foremost, the
>RR itself, half-imperialist half imperialized absolutely disproved the
>viability of a national front and a national bourgeoisie.

I like the slogan 'Globalisation: The Highest Stage of Imperialism'. I think
it says it all. Was the Workers and Farmers Govt anything but a National
Front? Your take on things reminds me of the Permanent Revolution stuff
that's anathema for any third world revolutionary worth his or her salt. A
front with the bourgeoisie was not appropriate in Russia because of its
imperialist nature - however, that this didn't apply to Russia doesn't prove
its inpractibility in a simpler case. Again, you need an argument grounded
in objective realities. Nothing I have read has really undermined the
fundamentals of what Lenin wrote in 1917. Having said that, the situation
has moved on, the US has a hegemony although I mean that in its not
exhaustive, Gramscian sense and as Louis Proyect once pointed out ITHC was
written to explain WWI rather than to describe imperialist-colonial
conflicts. In a sense, it was a little eurocentric.

>And the record of the Chinese Revolution, the defeat of the Chinese
>Revolution in the 1920s adds to that proof. Yes, we can point to Mao's
>victory and the Vietnamese victory  but you're going to half [sic] to
>account for substantive actions taken by a national bourgeoisie in
>combatting imperialism.  And the record there is sparse to say the least.

The national bourgeoisie in most colonial societies is inextricably linked
to the dominant imperialist powers. The situation is however much more
complicated. In Latin America, the army is almost a separate social force in
itself. The key to political activism in this environment is knowing how to
ride these different social forces in order to progress to your objectives.

>In Cuba, as ill-defined "ideologically" as the July 26th  movement was,
>combat was borne by those attacking the institutions of the national
>bourgeoisie (bankrolled by the US), the police, the military, etc.  The
>combat was supported by the rural and urban poor.  And after a assuming
>power, the revolution acted without regard to a national front.

The first line is quite objectionable. The problem is that in a real
struggle the first difficulty is learning to manage and control rising
contradictions. The situation is much simpler in imperialistic centres -you
know who the enemy is and you know who you should rely upon. In colonial
states the situation becomes much more murky - simply applying your gut
analysis to our situations without any understanding of the underlying
social forces will lead to errors. You have to contend with external as well
as internal forces and this adds further complications to the mass of
contradictions. What's key is to have a strategy with priorities and to work
to accomplish that always reviewing it with time. Unless you understand that
Castro, Allende, Chavez and Lula will all appear ideologically uncertain.
Having said that, its not clear who's right without searching and serious
discussion. I think that the situation with Nestor's support of Galtieri is
a case-in-point. You can't simply speculate in the usual lazy fashion of
armchair revolutionaries. Real analysis is required. That going on between
the Argentinians is an example of what's required.

>Another item, if we are going to attribute the success of the Chinese,
Vietnamese, Angolan, struggles to the national front tactic, then we must
confront the decay and disintegration of those social gains and locate them,
or at least a part of them within the nature of the revolution itself. I
understand how theoretical that may appear, but that's inherent to the logic
of capital and its overthrow.

I agree. But then we must remember that since the fall of the Soviet Union,
the playing field is not very flat. Lessons must be learnt but we must
remember the pressures facing those opposing imperialism. It's not always

>IF you think imperialism is somehow a radically different development of
>capitalism, somehow changes the structure and relations of production so
>that a cross-class institution, let's say a Duma or a Constituent Assembly
>or a national military can assume revolutionary significance then you have
>need to show how those relations are now different, and how the
>manifestation of resistance, perhaps first as a cry for self-determination
>or civil liberties, how this form, is the true and final content and simply
>the residue, the cry of something still-born in its appearance.

The explanation lies in the commonality of exploitation. In an imperialist
country, the workers are the principle class exploited. In a colonial
society, whole layers of the middle class can be exploited and driven to the
point of outrage by events. Does that mean that we can rely upon them - not
at all - but it does mean that sometimes we can use their strength. Indeed,
sometimes we have to.

It's a difficult call to make, but it really has to be made by people on the
scene at the time - and they don't even agree. The key struggle however will
be in the belly of the beast. Perhaps David would be better served focussing
his analytical talents to advancing something there given the positive
attendences at the anti-war demos.

My congratulations to those who have worked so successfully.

Is mise,

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