[Marxism] Re: A Henwood-Featherstone-Parenti article

Macdonald Stainsby 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.

Macdonald Stainsby
In the contradiction lies the hope

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