[Marxism] Bolivian unions press for insurrectional strike

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 3 03:25:00 MST 2004

Whoever Jorge Martin is, he probably doesn't have a Bolivian
passport and, thus, wouldn't be able to provide the essential
leadership to the workers, poor peasants and revolutionary
intellectuals. Apparently no one in Bolivia is following his
strategic and tactical advice, since no one in Bolivia gets
a serious quotation. As one who's loathe go give advice on
tactical matters, a country where I both have citizenship
and speak the dominant language, I'm even more cautious as
to making sweeping pronouncements about Bolivia.

I scanned through the Jorge Martin article and can see that
it's a typical example of formulaic writing. In this school,
whichever country the events are unfolding in has simply to
be fit into the pre-conceived formula which the writer has
in mind before seeking any facts to buttress the formula.

The emphasis on having a declared "socialist programme" is
precisely this. It's the excuse used to criticize and then
oppose all revolutionary struggles, such as those being led
by President Hugo Chavez Frias in Bolivia and so on. Let me
remind everyone that it was precisely this kind of thinking
from a formula, rather than from a real knowledge of the
actual facts on the ground, which led the Trotskyist paper
THE MILITANT to declare, over a year after the triumph of
the Cuban Revolution, that the main danger to the Cuban
Revolution was "in its own leadership." While I'm hardly
in a position to evaluate all of the specific tactics of
Evo Morales, something Jorge Martin is completely at home
doing, I am convinced our most important job in relation
to such places and struggles is, first of all, to try to
UNDERSTAND what's actually occurring, then to solidarize
with existing struggles, and only then, within that kind
of context, to raise questions for discussion and so on.

I've seen writings by this Jorge Martin previously about
Venezuela, and he seemed to have the exact same approach
of plugging the names and dates into the formula and then
come up with the unshakeable prognostication. Not good.

Here's how THE MILITANT fell into that formulaic trap:


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