[Marxism] The two souls of socialism (was: RE:JohnHolloway-AlexCallinicos debate)

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sun Aug 21 09:55:09 MDT 2005

Just as an additional comment on my earlier response to Walter, the 
following describes to a "T" the prevaling political conception within the 
FSLN leadership, although with far more justification than the formally 
similar concept expressed by various so-called "revolutionaries" in the 
developed countries. After all, the latter didn't try to "storm the 
heavens" in a tiny and poor country with porous borders, and end up ground 
down by the mightiest military and economic imperialism on the planet. 
Rather, they've shamelessly adapted to that imperialism without shedding a 
drop of their own blood. I would also add that, to their everlasting credit 
(and for whatever the reason), the FSLN leadership did NOT support the 
Nicaraguan government's integration in the military aggression against 
Iraq. The former Sandinista and current Commander of the Nicaraguan Army's 
attempts to justify the sending of troops to Iraq with Sandino's legacy 
were too much even for the "pactists" in the FSLN leadership, and were 
lucidly refuted by Bayardo Arce.

>Ian in his various posts gives sharp and clear expression to what I
>noted was a clear danger of the way Callinicos absolutizes the global
>power of capitalism: a perspective that reduces the masses of the third
>world, the big majority of humanity, to passive impotence awaiting the
>revolution in the white countries, Western Europe and the United States.
>I know this attitude well because it is the attitude of much of the
>Latin American petty-bourgeoisie and intelligentsia. Sure, they
>recognize that the U.S. in insufferably arrogant, petty, self-absorbed
>and imperialistic, but who is going to stop it from being that way?
>This was the explanation I heard --privately, of course, and on at least
>one occasion after alcoholic lubrication-- from representatives of
>several of the countries that decided to "play along" with the United
>States and support the invasion of Iraq, some even sending their own
>troops. "The United States can do anything it wants," the argument goes.
>"Our choice isn't whether to approve or disapprove, but simply whether
>we're going to get a better deal for ourselves by playing along."

Yes! Yes! Yes! That "Socialism from above/below thing" is a totally false 

>This, I would say, is the most essential "soul" of socialism in our
>epoch. Not from above. Not from below. But struggle.

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