[Marxism] Get real!

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Fri Jun 18 12:12:57 MDT 2004

>>Melvin, I'm afraid, was guilty of a refusal to think in class terms.<<

It is not true that you can reduce all political manifestation that
arise from the class struggle to class terms. Our starting point cannot
be simply the division between capital and labor, but must also include
the division between oppressor and oppressed nations, which is
absolutely *central to everything* in this epoch. 

Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism and brings with it a
historically unprecedented intensification of chauvinism, racial and
national oppression. The reason for this is not hard to understand.
Capitalism as an economic system is international in scope, but the
political power it relies on to create a proper environment for its
operation is *national.* 

The obvious, quick way to remedy this situation is to subjugate those
political systems that are not under direct imperialist control to those
that are, either directly through colonialism, or less directly through
the IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA and so on. 

Thinking "in class terms" to the exclusion of recognizing the difference
between oppressor and oppressed nations, and the differences between a
pliant neocolonial regime like the Mexican one that makes itself a tool
of the imperialists, and a government that is, with whatever
hesitations, contradictions and mistakes, resisting imperialism is
*precisely* the kind of error that Lenin criticized in his 1915-1916
articles against "imperialist economism."


-----Original Message-----
From: marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu] On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2004 10:51 AM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Get real!

LouPaulsen wrote:
> Well, do you think Melvin's use of the term "rotten white chauvinism" 
> is tantamount to someone organizing a nationalist rebellion against 
> the USSR??

Of course not. It is just typical grovelling before state power that you

see from somebody miseducated in the Maoist movement. Early on in the 
discussion Melvin was writing stuff like this:

"In other words the modern criticism of China - specifically by the 
white Marxist in the imperial centers, and most certainly the American 
Union is indistinguishable from one hundred years of white chauvinist 
ideological assault against her."

Using formulations such as these makes a class analysis of China 
impossible. David Walters was guilty of sloppiness. Melvin, I'm afraid, 
was guilty of a refusal to think in class terms.

> "What is going on here" is not just what Melvin wrote, but also the 
> responses of you and other members of the list to what he wrote and to

> each other.  To be blunt about it, a bad pattern is coming into focus 
> where members of the list who are from oppressed nations are 
> expressing concerns about the national question, and members of this 
> list who are not from oppressed nations are expressing great 
> disrespect for their concerns, impugning their motives or their common

> sense.  If this were going on in any other setting - in academe, on 
> the shop floor, anywhere but on this list into which you have put so 
> much time and productive effort - all of your critical faculties would

> be brought into play and all of your instincts as a Marxist and as an 
> anti-racist would warn you to listen to what the oppressed have to say

> and not dismiss it cavalierly.

Sorry, Lou. At the risk of being characterized as a white chauvinist, I 
refuse to be cowed into genuflecting before the altar of the Chinese


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