Forwarded from Nestor (Civil War)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Jul 10 11:45:04 MDT 2003

I am delighted to see that my comments on the American Civil War 
triggered such an interesting debate _between American cdes._ This is, I 
believe, the kind of stuff that makes this list so exemplary and important.

I wanted to stress, however, that I definitely wrote those lines on the 
ACW as an aside, an illustration of a general point. I bother to state 
this because I have read, somewhere, that DMS questions my intentions in 
broaching the issue (on a reply to Jim Farmelant, I believe). Honestly, 
I prefer not to guess what is it that DMS is thinking about when he 
makes such a questioning.

What else could I talk about the American Civil War for, if not as an 
illustration of a general point? What is the use of that lesson from 
history to a Latin American, if not that "underdevelopment" and foreign 
intervention overlap, enmesh, intertwin and constitute a single set of 
problems? That the answer from the Southerner slaveowners was secession 
and disruption while that of the North was the Union? And that the 
political goal of the North could only be obtained by an expropriation 
of the slaveowners? And -last but not least- that the North won the war 
-originally fought over the issue of "Union or Confederacy"- because 
they expropriated those slaveowners, and not the other way round (a 
Trotsky of those times would have smiled at such a demonstration of the 
principle of the permanent revolution!)

The other great issues involved (particularly slavery and "states 
rights") are not, _as such_, sointeresting for us in Argentina. Slavery 
is not a focal Argentinean issue (nor, in general, Hispanic American 
save, perhaps, for the expeditions of the _Southerner_ Walker in Central 
America during the 1850s). We are sinners of many sins, but that one 
cannot be laid at our doorstep. So that emancipation as such is not a 
focal point for a revolutionary here. And "states rights" has a 
completely different contents and meaning here, where federalism was the 
result of very different and in a sense opposite historic forces than in 
the US.

DMS is consistently attempting to deform not only my ideas, now he 
questions my intentions too. Isn´t this a little bit too much, dear 
cdes. and friends?


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