[Marxism] "Those stupid masses!" (or: rrubinelli has swallowed thebait)
rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 10 12:29:37 MDT 2005
Being the simple, misguided person that I am, it certainly would help me
if Mr. Gorojovsky could be a little bit more concrete. But concrete is
not the stuff Nestor's replies are made of.
Nobody has said the masses are stupid. I, and others before me have
said, that the immediate manifestation of the struggle does not spring
fully formed from the forehead of the Zeus like Nestor, who, turns on
his heel of Achilles and walks away from the actual historical
development of revolutionary struggles.
Nobody has said the masses are stupid in Vietnam, Venezuela, China-- or
even Poland when the workers struggle covered itself in crosses,
marketeering, and pathetic bleatings about Katyn massacres, the tragedy
of Grunwald etc.
I, we, others have said the struggles emerge wrapped in the skin of its
own pre-history, with capital's penetrations and obstacles to
penetration, where democracy, freedom, nation appear as revolutionary
ideologies but become talking and acting points for the democracy of the
exploiters, freedom of the bayonet, the nation of private property
And I hope its more than just me who sees those struggles shedding that
Now Mr. Gorojovsky, whom I know to be male, Argentinian, formerly
zionist, and a very busy man, can with his usual self-satisfaction
talk about swallowing baits but instead of dealing with the real history
of Venezuela or any particular struggle, he provides a series of
arguments that claim,that I we others think the masses are stupid, that
the workers must not risk contact with any other sector of society not
immediately and forever socialist, that I we then wind up objectively on
the side of plant managers, imperialist penetrators, (left out death
squads there Mr. Gorojovsky) etc.
The arguments are loaded all right, but as is the case more often than
not with Mr. Gorojovsky's arguments, they are loaded with blanks.
It is fundamental to Marxist analysis and practical work that Marxists
participate, intervene, commit to these struggles at the very earliest
stages-- but it is just as fundamental that that participation always be
based on analysis and work that articulate and might even lead to a
transition of the struggle to a deeper, more resonant, more "classical"
you should forgive my use of this word, class struggle.
A concrete example of such is the the civil rights movement in the US, a
movement with which I have had practical hands on (and feet running not
a few times. Nothing focuses the human mind like a rifle shot.)
experience. Should Marxists have participated in this struggle when its
very first steps were for integration, voter registration, equal access,
etc. Absolutely.And Marxists did. Take it a step further. Should
Marxists have participated in the struggle to seat the Mississippi
Freedom Democratic Party? Absolutely. And Marxists did. Another step.
Should Marxists have supported and defended, perhaps critically but
support nonetheless, when SCLC and/or the NAACP asked for federal
protection of civil rights activists andd demonstrators. Absolutely (I
go for the critical support on that one).
Nevertheless, to apprehend or accept that civil rights movement as once
and for all and forever a struggle for civil rights, as a national
struggle,without knowing, showing, its deep, profound roots in class
struggle, without posing a workers' class solution and resolution to
institutional racism, is to condemn the struggle itself to disarray and
defeat-- and a major part of that defeat was manifested in a non class
specific black nationalism. Those are historical facts.
But let us go another step into busy Mr. Gorojovsky's battle with straw
men when he talks about the masses patriotic reactions to invasion, and
how intelligent practical nationalists differ from stupid Western
Look at Angola. Suppose Fidel had not sent several divisions to Angola
to defeat the US/China/ sponsored UNITA/Apartheid South African
alliance. Suppose, and this was absolutely a possibilty, then Savimbi
wins. And five years later, for reasons of greed, or caprice, Savimbi
gets tired of his terms with SA and decides that he wants a bigger cut,
or he even expropriates the mines, and the oil. And the US/China/SA
alliance acts again, sending another apartheid army to overthrow
Savimbi. Should/would Marxists organize and act against such an
invasion. Absolutely. Including those in Angola (if any were able to
survive 5 years of Savimbi). But would that, should that resistance
have been couched in terms of national sovereignty? And the right of
Angola to have Savimbi as its ruler? Of course not, the invasion itself
would have posed the issues of class struggle in more acute terms-- that
only a social revolution could defend the society from the expropriators
and their agents. Would or should Marxists have refrained from their
class analysis, their class criticism against Savimbi?
Take it another step. In Iraq. Should Marxists organize,
participate, demand the immediate release of Saddam Hussein.
Absolutely. And in the military struggle against the US invasion,
should the Marxist cadres have defended, physically, Baath party
headquarters and cadres from the US military assault. Again absolutely.
But that defense to be successful requires a clear-headed analysis, an
independent class-based program which does not obscure the real content
of the unfolding social struggle.
I agree with Mr. Gorojovsky in one matter: we have discussed this
before, and I am sure we will do so again. It is precisely that vital
Oh and one more thing about taking advice and taking the bait: Mr.
Gorojovsky advises me to "check the archives, but beware".... My advice
is for everyone to check the archives to see how Mr. Gorojovsky's wished
for national revolution causes him to totally misapprehend not just the
content, but the actual events and dates of the struggle in the
Philippines at the end of the 19th century. Mr. Gorojovsky's
distortions and double speak in those exchanges are classics in the
annals of busy men who can't be bothererd with knowing the actual
history of events that must be forced to conform to their particular
brand of insight.
From: "Nestor Gorojovsky" <nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2005 12:05 PM
Subject: [Marxism] "Those stupid masses!" (or: rrubinelli has swallowed
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