[Marxism] Morales's first post-election TV interview withtheforeignpress

Jorge Martin jorge at marxist.com
Sat Dec 24 05:57:17 MST 2005

Hi all,

One of the reasons I do not post much to Marxism list is precisely this: the
knee-jerk kind of reaction that most of my posts get. I always thought that
Marxism started from concrete conditions, the analysis of reality as it is
and then from this it tried to deduct certain hypotesis as to how things
would develop and from this a certain course of action.

Instead of this what we get in this list from some people is preconcieved
and prejudiced schemes of the type "Jorge Martin is a Trotskyist (or a
bizarre Trotstyoid, whatever that is), therefore he thinks A, B and C, he
has no right to do so". This has nothing to do with reality most of the
time, but as they say, never allow the facts to get in the way of a good
story, or in this case a good rant in an internet list.

First of all, in relation to my one post on Bolivia, I limited myself to
provide some sources of information from Bolivia which I think are useful
(from a wide range of political perspectives) and then I reported on a
number of facts that are on the public domain and that I think are
interesting. There was little commentary in my post, if you care to re-read

When I reported Morales had said that he would have to respect neoliberal
laws, this is just a report, he did say that and this is in the public
domain. I did not even comment whether I thought this was right or wrong in
my opinion. I also reported on Morales' stated course of action regarding
the multinationals (which I said is similar to the one followed by Chavez in
Venezuela), without again saying whether I thought this was wise or not.

In fact the one who commented on this was Walter Lipmann who said that he
thought this was correct and served to educate the people.

So here we have a white leftist from the US passing judgement on what the
leader of mass movement does in a Third World country, but then it is Jorge
Martin, not Walter Lipmann who is criticised in the strongest terms for
expressing an opinion and is accused of all sorts of things for doing so.

One of the accusations is that I, since I am a "Trotskyist", start from the
point of view of "the decisive question is program, bywhich is meant written
declarations, statements and words" and that I am, surely since I am a
"Trotskyist", "AGAINST anyone who doesn't have a "correct program first".

Now, I really resent this and I think it is a totally dishonest method of
conducting any discussion. I am personally and as actively as I can involved
in the Bolivia solidarity movement, as is the International Marxist Tendency
to which I belong. We have in relation to the Bolivia the same attitude as
we have in relation to Venezuela, Cuba, etc. First duty is to organise the
solidarity, and this needs to be done in the broadest possible terms (I also
resent Louis Proyect allegation that the Hands Off Venezuela campaign is
sectarian, something for which he obviously provided no evidence). And we
have ACTIVELY organised solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution and with
the Cuban revolution, including breaking the embargo imposed by the Spanish
Booksellers Association on the Havana book fair, organising speaking tours,
educational events, etc, in more than 30 countries around the world.

But at the same time, we think that the Marxist movement worldwide has the
duty to also comment on these and any other struggles, try to enter into a
dialogue with their leaders and organisations, and somehow try to
participate in the debates that are taking place within those movements. As
David Walter pointed out there is no need for a repetition of the "Friends
of the USSR" experience. Those who slavishly followed everything that was
coming out of Moscow and said any criticism was out of place where the ones
that were more surprised when the Berlin Wall fell and those they had been
praising led the march to the restoration of capitalism.

Now, before the hue and cry starts, that does not mean that I think that
Chavez, Morales or Fidel are the same as Breznev, Gorbachov or Krushev! It
means that it is perfectly legitimate to realise that within any of these
countries the revolutionary movement is not monolithic, that there are
debates taking place between different tendencies and wings (and some will
inevitably be sectarian and ultraleft, others will be reformist and
opportunistic, others even will be open agents of the enemy class within our
movement, and many will be in the countless shades of grey in between), and
that we need to be informed of these debates because we can learn from them,
and we can also contribute to them. If you do not do this, then when the
splits start within the MAS parliamentary group, within the mass movement,
etc then you are going to be surprised and will not understand anything.

So, just to make the point clearer, I am not against Evo Morales, I think
his election victory is a victory of the Bolivian masses against
imperialism. I do not make an appraisal of him only on the basis of his
programme, but also on the basis of his past record, particularly during the
revolutionary events of October 2003 and May-June this year. And if you read
the article I wrote, what I said is precisely that he will have to be judged
by what he actually does in practice.

One final point, we had a really excellent Hands Off Venezuela conference in
Britain on December 3rd. This was a genuine non-sectarian event, something
that many of the participants remarked (since many solidarity campaigns in
Britain are run on a very sectarian way). There were more than 200 people
there, and there was a wide range of political opinions (including the CP,
different trotskyist groups, the labour left, Respect, peace activists, even
Liberals, and many who were non-political). The platform was dominated by
the Labor and trade union Lefts, though there was at least one Marxist, the
Venezuelan ambassador (who is certainly not a Leftist) and others, but
everybody was allowed to speak. But the highlight of the event was Ruben
Linares from the national coordination of the UNT from Venezuela. He is not
a member of any political group but is a commited and active Bolivarian and
trade union activist. He said something which summs up the attitude of most
of the activists and leading figures in the Bolivarian movement that I have
had the privilege to discuss and work with: "we need your criticisms and
your comments, we cannot allow ourselves to make many mistakes, our
responsibility is too big, the fate of the Bolivarian revolution is not only
the fate of Venezuela but that of the world movement of the workers and the
people, we need your help".



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