[Marxism] Ollanta Humala interview

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 5 22:20:24 MDT 2006

Let's look at some of the differences. Fidel Castro came to power in
a revolutionary armed struggle which overthrew a military dictator
who had abolished parliamentary democracy. Ollanta Humala is running
for elective office within the capitalist system, just as Hugo Chavez
and Evo Morales did. Running for office within a system of capitalist
democracy puts a few constraints on the candidate. Whatever this man
has inside his mind, and that's but one of the factors at play here,
the relationship between Cuba and Peru aren't comparable. They have
completely different political and social situations. And there is a
substantial difference in the world-historical situation do to the
fall of the Soviet Union. Capitalism hasn't been abolished in the 
seven years since Hugo Chavez came into office, and isn't likely to 
be abolished in the near term. Therefore, one shouldn't expect that 
to happen in in the immediate future in Peru, either. Frankly, to
even posing the question is somewhat disingenuous in Latin America's
present climate. The task ahead for Latin America is continental 

Selecting a few words Humala uttered about not wanting socialism
exaggerates the importance of such verbal expressions. It's kind
of a "gotcha" for some. That was the mistake the U.S. SWP made in 
Cuba, and it seems the same as is being advocated for Peru today. 

I'll be the first to admit, I already have, that I know as little 
as anyone else who doesn't speak fluent Spanish, hasn't been to 
Peru, and hasn't read much beyond a sampling of what's published 
in the capitalist media, the Cuban media and Hugo Blanco's views. 
So far, it doesn't appear that most of what Marxmail subscribers 
have written reflects much profound understanding of the Peruvian
present-day reality. So far, the most knowledgeable comments we've 
had on Peru come from the Peruvian Hugo Blanco, someone who
is Peruvian, alive and active in that country, and speaks Spanish
and the indigenous languages. This gives him certain advantages
and, to my way of thinking, a distinct political authority.

As far as "single-minded focus on heads of state", you may well
have a point. I'm "for" Evo Morales. I want him to succeed and
hope that he does, though that gurantees nothing except that I'll
look at him sympathetically. But then, others on this list are 
"against" him. Nothing he can do will satisfy some Marxmailistas.
Maybe everyone writing is "single-mindedly focused on heads of
state"? I don't think it was me who raised the question of the
interview with Ollanta Humala. As a matter of fact, this thread
was begun by Louis Proyect, who indicated he was in favor of
Ollanta Humala two days ago. Is that no longer the case?

Instead of admonishing others to "say nothing" on pain of being
charged with "idle speculation", it'd be better to seek knowledge
than to demand silence by those with other viewpoints. I'd like to 
suggest a more constructive approach to discussion. Psychologist 
Lonnie Barbach: "When seeking fault, use a mirror, not a telescope." 

Walter Lippmann

Because Humala decries neoliberalism, does this mean that there is a
good chance that capitalism will be abolished in Peru once he takes
office? Frankly, the reason I keep bringing up the need to apply
Marxism to situations such as these is because it is rooted in class
relationships. What are the class dynamics at work in Peru today? 
How are the peasants and workers mobilized and what are their
relationships to Humala? Is there something analogous to the July
26th Movement in Peru? Unless you can begin to roll up your sleeves
and dig into the nitty-gritty of Peruvian society, you are probably
better off saying nothing than engage in idle speculation.
But more to the point, you have to get over your single-minded focus
on heads of state. Marxism is about analyzing class relationships.
Humala is of far less interest to us than the peasant and working
class movements in Peru. I know that you are not likely to find
information on these movements by surfing the Cuban press, but I am
sure that there are libraries in Los Angeles that can be a help.

I also have to say that your act is getting rather tiresome. You point
out to us that the SWP was not clairvoyant enough to see that Fidel
Castro would lead a succcessful revolution and from that you tack on a
rather specious conclusion that just about everybody who comes along
should get some kind of endorsement, from Humala who states that he is
neither "left" nor "right" to the Chinese government that shuts down
socialist websites run by workers.

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