[Marxism] Re: Van Kol

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Mon Jul 26 18:10:16 MDT 2004

Respuesta a: [Marxism] Re: Van Kol
Remitido por: Lueko Willms
Fecha: Lunes 26 de Julio de 2004 
Hora: 19:52

> .    Am  26.07.04
> schrieb  nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar (Nestor Gorojovsky)
>     auf  /ALIST/MARXMAIL
>      in  4105093B.16726.AC8FE5 at localhost
>   ueber  [Marxism] Van Kol
> NG> It is sad to recognize that Van Kol's was, in the end, the
> position NG> that adopted not only most Western European Social
> Democrats, but the NG> working class of those countries as such.
>    "The working class 'as such' is just exploitable material." (LD).

From within an imperialist country.  But let us assume this as a 
valid assertion, since it will not harm our argument.

>    Besides that, your assertion is quite an accusation, and it can't 
> be proven. How can "the working class as such" adopt a political 
> position? There can only be majority or minority political currents 
> being based on the working class, but "the working class as such" has 
> no decision making bodies to adopt or reject a political program or 
> position.

I am happy that cde. LW takes this issue to heart. This is quite 

Mine was not an accusation, however, but simply recognition of a 
fact: whether we like it or not, the "natural" tendency within First 
World working class is not only to struggle against their 
bourgeoisies over the rate of exploitation (economism), but also over 
the spoils of the pillage of the Third World (colonialism).  On this 
issue, the experience shows the workers (OK,  "no working class as 
such") tending to side with their bourgeoisies, nay, to "think like 
their bourgeoisies" (as Engels said about the English working class, 
adding that this was quite reasonable in a country that "in a sense, 
exploits the whole globe" --or words to that effect).

This does not mean that there is no revolutionary potential in First 
World working class. Capitalism is built on contradictions so tense 
that we would be naïve if we hoped them to wane. But in that First 
World, the road to open up the box and releasing this potential is 
quite complex and -let us admit this- we haven't been extremely 
succesful in that endeavour, which of course we must keep alive.

> NG> It should not surprise anybody that the most vocal of the
> NG> defenders of colonialism in the Congress had been a Dutchman.
>    This statement needs to be explained. It doesn't make sense to me.

As a relation with its population, and taking into account the long 
centuries that Dutch colonialism had been imposed over what today is 
Indonesia, Dutch workers and their representatives were more 
accustomed to take colonialism and imperialism as something natural, 
to begin with.

And if I am not wrong, three years before Stuttgart, the last general 
strike in Holland had taken place, never to appear any such beast 
again.  It is already a century since the Dutch workers have not 
needed to wage a general strike.  This cannot be overdetermined by 
the extraordinary productivity of this fraction of the global working 
class (in fact, during the last decades discovery of gas and oil in 
the North somehow de-industrialized the country by way of a very high 
currency rate, so that maybe its _global_ material productivity is 
lower now than it was, in relative terms, in 1904).  I find it more 
reasonable to think that two or three centuries of systematic plunder 
in the Dutch East Indies were reflected in the highly conservative 
position by Van Kol.

This made him quite more vocal than "other representatives of parties in  
countries with large colonies, not only the Netherlands (Indonesia), 
but also Belgium (Congo), England, France, and Germany."

In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised (had I been a 1907 
Congressman) to hear a _Belgian_ express what Van Kol expressed. 
Different reasons made representatives of English, French and 
(particularly) German workers more careful and reluctant to adopt 
such a position (though as we all know they were massively adopted, 
as a fact, by the Second International within less than a decade). 
As to Belgium and its workers, maybe we should remember that the idea 
of a "Belganization" of a working class, implying its full co-
optation by the ruling classes, was quite usual by the early years of 
the 20th. Century.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de 
Buenos Aires, 1822
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