[Marxism] Re: Is the Bolivarian revolution a Marxist revolution or a dead-end tactic?

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Mon Aug 29 13:54:54 MDT 2005

Fred, Do you bother to read what I write before shooting off at the keyboard?

Your initial paragraphs, quoted below, are a bit disingenuous and 
mostly irrelevant, since we are not talking about the abstract 
generality of a "mixed economy," but the specific formulation used by 
the Sandinistas, codified in their program and in the program of the 
Sandinista government. More than just a hodge-podge of forms of 
property ownership and social relations under one roof, the 
Sandinistas conceived of this mixed economy, as I stated, in both 
political and economic terms, summed up as an anti-imperialist united 
front under their hegemony.

In addition, "what went wrong" with the revolution? "the revolution 
could not extend. On the contrary, it contracted." It contracted 
because it was asphyxiated by imperialism. I will admit that you 
imply this in the rest of that paragraph, but I want to be clear 
about this. This was not a foregone conclusion. It was contingent on 
many things (Soviet help, revolutions elsewhere in Central America, 
solidarity movements in the imperialist countries, etc.), but 
contingent it was. Just as the rise of Stalinism was one contingency. 
Just as the defeat of the Commune was one contingency. Of course 
hindsight is 20-20. While I share your concern and criticism of some 
of what you identify as the FSLN's "the growing reliance on 
administrative methods" (definitely not the draft), these 
"adaptations" exacerbated the effects of the aggression.

You rehash much of what I pointed out (the effects of the initial 
policy of collectivization), but you fail to realize that the 
revolutionary government substantively reversed this policy by '86, 
as I stated. They did so under the rubrics both of regional autonomy 
for the Atlantic Coast, and a re-orientation of the agrarian reform, 
under the title of something like "integral regional plans" which 
specifically prioritized individual and cooperative holdings. I used 
to take the position that he FSLN should have nationalized *all* of 
the capitalist holdings, but for the reasons I stated in my previous 
post and more recent events in Venezuela, I'm no longer so sure about 


>First of all, let me express once again my distaste for mixed economy as
>a description of a specific type of economy that countries choose to
>have, rather than economies that are purely this and purely that.
>I don't know about the rest of the animal world, but mixed economy today
>is simply the human condition.It is not a great idea developed by
>technocrats or critics of communism or capitalism for solving economic
>problems.  Nicaragua was and IS a mixed economy -- and will probably be
>one for as long as there is a Nicaragua as a distinct nation.
>Mixed economy is necessary.  Mixed economy is inevitable.  Mixed economy
>will be with us for a long time to come.  And mixed economy is not a
>plan, despite frequent pretenses, but a constant battleground of class
>struggle, and also of struggle within classes.
>Of mixed economy, it can truly be said, as Margaret Thatcher said of
>capitalism and neoliberalism as an expression of capitalism, "There Is
>No Alternative."
>Those who claim to have an alternative to mixed economy today -- the
>supposedly absolutely nationalized, absolutely planned economy (Pol Pot
>being a prime exemplar)end up with a bandit army that makes its living
>by smuggling diamonds and currency across the Thai border and rifling
>the pockets of those they torture and kill.


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