[Marxism] Re: The pom-pom treatment

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 10 09:50:14 MDT 2005


Fred:
>One had the right to hope
>that more of the ANC would have avoided being swept up in the
>possibilities for bourgeois advancement, but retrospectively one can see
>how the conditions of the 90s worked for undermining the ANC as a
>representative of the Black masses and their white allies, toward a
>weakening of the unions, and so forth.

I don't understand this. Did the collapse of the Soviet Union exert some 
kind of irresistible pressure on Thabo Mbeki to privatize water and 
electricity? Also,  I am not sure what Fred means by "being swept up in the 
possibilities for bourgeois advancement"? Like ANC'ers becoming 
millionaires? Or rather developing a belief in the idea that capitalist 
growth after the fashion of the Rostow brothers or Thomas Friedman is the 
way to develop South Africa?

>On Ireland, I have no doubt that a process of the leadership moving away
>from the struggle for national independence and unity as a mass popular
>struggle has been taking place, but I think the portrayal of Adams as a
>Thatcherite/Blairite is stereotyped at best.

Who said anything about Thatcher? In any case, it might be far more 
important to consider the relationship that developed between Clinton and 
Gerry Adams in the 1990s. After all, it was Clinton who pushed hardest for 
the current project, which many at the time saw as analogous to the "deal" 
worked out between Israel and Palestine. You will find numerous references 
to Adams as the Irish Yasser Arafat in the press at the time. Here's an 
item from the May 24, 1995 Australian that will give you a sense of how 
things were developing:

 >>PRESIDENT Bill Clinton will seek to bolster the fragile peace deal in 
Northern Ireland by rallying US investment at a three-day conference this 
week.The sidelines of the conference could see the highest-level public 
contact between a British government representative and Sinn Fein, the 
legal political wing of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, in more than 20 
years. British Northern Ireland Minister Patrick Mayhew has invited Sinn 
Fein president Gerry Adams to meet him in Washington.The conference, aimed 
at improving economic conditions across Ireland, is seen as adding momentum 
to recent strides toward peace following the Irish Republican Army truce 
declared last September after 25 years of fighting British rule.US 
officials view the conference as a means to reduce violence by improving 
economic conditions."There is a very high correlation between unemployment 
and violence," the co-ordinator of the three-day conference, Mr George 
Mitchell, said yesterday.Unemployment in Northern Ireland, with a 
population of 1.6 million, hit 11.9 per cent in March 1995, while the rate 
for Britain excluding Northern Ireland stood at 8.4 per cent.The jobless 
rate in the Irish Republic, with a population of 3.5 million, hovers around 
14 per cent but has hit 18 per cent in the northern border counties. 
Mitchell, the former Senate Democratic leader who advises Clinton on 
Ireland, said the US administration was "trying to encourage economic 
growth as an integral part of the peace process." But "when it comes to a 
corporate decision (by US firms), business people will look at the cold 
business facts," said Irish embassy spokesman Mr Noel Kilkenny. There are 
400 US corporations operating in the republic, and 40 in Northern Ireland, 
Mr Kilkenny said."The reasons they are there is because it made sound 
economic sense," he added, underscoring that "Ireland is the most 
profitable location in Europe for US investment, according to the Commerce 
Department." The conference on Britishruled Northern Ireland and the six 
neighbouring counties in the republic does not pit the north and south 
against each other as would-be business bases, Mr Kilkenny said, adding 
that economic co-operation was the order of the day.<<

>The FSLN in Nicaragua, gave up a revolutionary perspective under the
>brutal pressure of imperialism and the beginnings of the rise of
>neoliberalism, but announcements that they had become supply-siders or
>neoliberals or whatever turned out to be premature.

Actually, the FSLN became social democrats. If Thabo Mbeki or Lula would 
simply function as social democrats as does the FSLN, the people of South 
Africa and Brazil would be far better off.

>On Lula.  I believe that Lula's foreign policy, the coming to power of
>the Workers Party, and other changes are legitimate concerns of the
>Brazilian working class.  Why have the exposures of corruption -- on
>which list members prone, in my opinion, to a touch of neo-Spartacism,
>place so much weight -- not led to an out of control crisis for Lula's
>capitalist government? I suspect that Louis, etc., see this as a result
>of the imperialists' fanatical dedication to keeping their neoliberal
>puppet Lula in power.

Frankly, I had not heard anything about corruption until Brazilian 
subscribers to Marxmail brought it up. My opposition to Lula was based much 
more on his indifference to Indian suffering, his accommodations to the 
IMF, etc.

>Why have the Brazilian workers failed to get caught up as Louis is in
>the enthusiastic exposes of Lula.

You have to read Brecht to get the answer to this.

>On China, there is no doubt that capitalism has grown stronger there,
>and that workers (and perhaps sections of the peasantry largely unheard
>and unrepresented politically here even more so)are being confronted
>with conditions that push them toward organization, unification, and
>struggle.

Yes, a mining cave-in or toxic drinking water can concentrate the mind most 
excellently.

>In any case, I hope we can agree that all forms of "fear of a Chinese
>planet" today are reactionary

Who said that here? Off with their heads.


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