[Marxism] US SWP, Haiti, Nicaragua and South Africa

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Mar 3 21:50:32 MST 2004

In reply to the myopic Steve Gabsoch, Louis wrote:

> Steve's response is far too lengthy and far too myopic for me to respond 
> to, but I do want to make a point about the above. In the latter days of 
> Sandinista power, there was *no difference* between their economic 
> policies and those of Aristide. That point was made by the Militant 
> frequently as it began to denounce the FSLN as a bunch of traitors to 
> socialism. In my opinion, the SWP's failure to understand the tragedy of 
> the Sandinista revolution in its dialectical complexity was a seed that 
> has blossomed into a truly massive sectarian tree.

It's all a bit like discussing the 'Militant' position on Iraq with 
them.  It's clear to everyone else that they are adapting to US 
imperialism, but their own ranks can't see it any more than the Healyite 
ranks could see what was wrong with their outfit.

The US SWP leaders' reaction to (what I agree strongly with Louis was) 
the tragedy of the Sandinista revolution, and not some simple sell-out, 
actually contrasted quite strongly with their position on South Africa 
and the ANC.

Whereas the Sandinistas' followed a pretty genuinely anti-capitalist 
course in power, and built and mobilised real mass organisations before 
the revolution was destroyed, primarily by US imperialist power, the ANC 
*demobilised* the masses from the very start of when they got a sniff of 
power and certainly after they won the 1994 elections.  They no sooner 
had their feet under the table of government than they began 
implementing essentially neo-liberal economic reforms.  Yet Barnes and 
co. were totally uncritical cheerleaders for them, in complete contrast 
to the very different standards to which they held the FSLN leadership.

Eventually the neo-liberal reforms in South Africa, and the workers' 
partial fightback, made it impossible for Barnes and co. to continue 
their uncritical cheerleading for the ANC without exposing themselves as 
being on the wrong side of the class war in South Africa.  So they 
simply stopped writing much about South Africa and stopped cheerleading 
for the ANC, without so much as a by-your-leave.

Now, they've flip-flopped again, abandoning the basic Marxist position 
that communists in the imperialist countries side with the oppressed 
masses of the Third World against the imperialists.  Instead, the 
'Militant' preaches abject passivity in the face of imperialist 
occupation and declares this occupation to be some kind of benign, or at 
least not very malign, "protectorate" and make out that benevolent US 
imperialism has even opened up a "civic space" in Iraq and the left 
shold use this rather than any form of armed resistance.

The position of Haiti is much of a muchness with this.  Who knows, 
perhaps Jack from his position of splendid isolation from the world and 
the actual class struggle, will decide that Bush is deivering a friendly 
"protectorate" with "civic space" for the Haitians as well.

These kinds of positions reflect the fact that this dwindling wee group 
is totally isolated from the mass movement *and* from the working class. 
  They may physically work industrial jobs, but they are not *in* the 
working class in any serious political sense.  The working class is just 
the target market for their books - although I notice they aren't 
sending any reporters and booksellers to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Philip Ferguson

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