[Marxism] Re: A Henwood-Featherstone-Parenti article
mstainsby at resist.ca
Wed Feb 11 13:26:34 MST 2004
marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu wrote:
> 8. Re: A Henwood-Featherstone-Parenti article (Louis Proyect)
>>>> It is interesting that the most serious challenges to neoliberalism
>>>> have come from governments of the left in Latin America
>> It looks as if I have missed something.
> Yes, you were busy at the time reading the Transitional Programme.
It is deeply disturbing to see that, in the course of two posts, any
criticism of Lula and Gutierrez or Mesa has become equivalent to the
useless category of 'ultra-leftism'. In reality, Lula has done less than
Goulart in the days before Death Squads made their first full tour through
Brazil. It is absolutely essential that people in North America find ways
to get out of the genuflection to attack 'states' in general, and therefore
find nothing revolutionary in seeing peasants and workers rise up to defend
a revolutionary process and government in Venezuela, or continue to rally
around and defend the project of Cuban socialism on that heroic island.
Just as much, it is deeply troubling that, apparently, we are being fed the
notion that any and all reformist or left-sounding government, even in
countries where there is no possibility of challenging the current state
apparatus, are engaged in 'serious challenges to neo-liberalism'. It would
be far greater of use to people in North America to realise that tail
ending is not a sufficient antidote to blind anti-statism.
In most Latin American countries, there is a process of class struggle that
has pushed some otherwise unpalatable to imperialism but still generally
reliable governments to the fore. It is important to recognise the
underlying forces in Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil etc that have created a
space wherby *in order to protect capitalism*, the ruling class has
accepted a left-face on the current government. The populations acting
indpendant of the state, unlike in Cuba or Venezuela, have created this
This represents a clear indication of the radicalization of the struggle;
and the clear mobilization of anti-neo-liberal forces, whether acting in
concert with real institutional attacks on the structures that adhere to
neo-liberalism, such as is going on and deepening in Venezuela. In other
places this confluence is not the case, but movement in the government
reflects adhering to the popular mood, just enough to satiate, even
Ironic that the authors of both the essay and now the reply by Lou seem to
suggest that Autonomism and council communist-Luxembourgian types and
others attacking 'Empire' and the like state that there is too much focus
in these theories on mere activism. I find that the theories themselves are
what happens in isolation: Comrades today who are adherents of Autonomism
et al end up with wholly rational, reasonable and dialectical responses to
problems they come up against, and completely contradict their own politics
about worker's councils etc. This happens in the course of struggle, but
the same 'Empire' dogma about 'being beyond states' reamins when the person
is only writing and not practicing.
All of those descriptions; i.e. of a society after the current one has made
a revolution, are pronunciamentoes-- no matter who is making them.
Politics, on the other hand, is actual praxis, of which modern activsts are
not escaping nor neglecting. Leave this to the same ones that are always
guilty of declining the need for praxis: the suits and briefcase toting
academics at universities who never leave campus, always work on their
book, are well fed smug pimples on the face of the radical movement (these
are not the derscriptions of all who work in academe at all, but only those
who neglect practice, or worse, who see their research as revolutionary
work in and of itself, wating for the next fawning student or publisher).
In the choice of tail-ending vs ignoring class struggle where we are in
charge of the state, like Kerry v Bush, I'm hoping for none of the above
and going for something independant of these twins.
By way of analogy, I have never heard one window breaking defender
denigrate the masses in Argentina or Bolivia, but the academic stuffed
shirts tend to denounce Venezuela as a populist without direction, Cuba as
anti-Socialist for visiting with the Pope.
Truly though, all of these are heroic.
As far as upChuck0, the less said the more learned.
In the contradiction lies the hope
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