[Marxism] "I know what I mean."

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 10 05:39:46 MDT 2006

What is the class nature of the state in India's Kerala province? 
Its nature is capitalist, just the same as it is in Venezuela today.

The government of South Africa continues to have the support of
the overwhelming majority of South Africa's black population, a
fact irrefutably demonstrated in that county's last election, yet
an end has been brought to the system of institutional racism
known as apartheid. Some people dismiss that accomplishment.

My voice is not among them. Nor do I "extol" the government
of South Africa, as you allege. Facts are stubborn things and a
tree DOES make a sound when it falls in the forest, even if 
no one's there to hear it. The abolition of apartheid is a good
thing, even if other problems remain. Ending apartheid is a
good thing, even if other social problems deepend. TSOTSI is
a movie from South Africa and about South Africa today which
shows, perhaps more graphically than the writings of some on
Marxmail, the deep contradictions existing in South Africa. 
TSOTSI was the official nominee of South Africa to the Oscars.

Brazil's economic growth is obvious. It was an unequal society in
the past, and it remains one today. Brazil remains a capitalist
society. I'm not aware of anyone claiming anything else. But if
Kerala's class nature is capitalist (I haven't studied the matter 
and will take your word for it, and can experience economic
development, or economic growth, or economic progress, even
to the extent of receiving the Proyect Prize, I can onl respond 
by saying, "good for Kerala".

On the international scene, Brazil's role is a mixed, contradictory
one. It provides occupation troops for Haiti, that's negative. Yet it
seeks to incorporate Cuba into the economics of Latin America,
while Washington tries to exclude Cuba. That's positive. It's too
bad some people can only focus on one aspect of this reality. On
the domestic front, too, progress and regress may be noted, as a
substantial and positive effort has been made to fight against such
evils as AIDS has been undertaken, yet the racism which has long
been hidden, at least from the attentio of white people, has lately
received more public attention. These are positive things.

On China, the general drum-beat on Marxmail can be summarized
in the words "bad, bad, bad". Take the focuses on Chinese censorship
of websites of which the Chinese government disapproves. Cuba does
the same kind of thing, blocking webites of which it disapproves, like
that of the Cuban-American National Foundation, CubaNet and so on.
I neither approve nor object to such things, though I don't approve of
such practices. I simply try to understand that governments often do 
things for reasons of state and I try not to make an international fuss 
about it. 

Finally, I neither "extol" nor do I "condemn" the government of China 
today. I've posted materials which reflect both positive and negative 
aspects of life in the world's most populous country. Some individuals 
exclusively post negative materials about China. I believe such that 
my approach about China provides more balance than that. Here are 
three examples:

Lisandro Otero: Socialism and the Market (2006):

Tian Liang and the Flip Side to Fame in China:

Fidel Castro on the 50th Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution:

Walter Lippmann

Brazil Upbeat with Astronaut

   Rio de Janeiro, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) For a moment Brazilians have
left soccer aside and their attention is centered on their astronaut
Lt Col Marcos Pontes earth coming after 9 days in the International
Space Station (ISS).
   A space capsule carrying Pontes, American Bill McArthur and Russian
Valery Tokarev successfully landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan early
on Sunday.
   All three crew were reported well after their three-and-a-half-hour
journey back to Earth.
   Brazilian media and press are giving broad coverage to the space
   "I am very happy," Col Pontes, who had taken a Brazilian football
team shirt with him on his mission, said. "I want to say: thank you
for everything."
   The departing trio were replaced by Russian cosmonaut Pavel
Vinogradov and US astronaut Jeffrey Williams, who will crew the
orbiting station for the next six months.
   Pontes, who was taken to Moscow together with McArthur and Tokarev
after medical check-ups, had been training since 1998 for such a
mission, which was originally to have been on a US space shuttle.


I know what I mean by economic development, but I am sure that 
we have different understandings of the term. What I mean by this 
is steady improvement in the way that people live, which is not
synonymous with economic growth--which is really the concept that you
are enamored with at least to judge by your encomiums to the Chinese
and Brazilian governments. For example, there has been steady
improvement in the lives of the people of Kerala under a Communist
government, but if your criteria is GDP growth, you have to look
elsewhere in India. Even more crucially, socialists are always
focused on economic equality. By any criteria, South Africa, China
and Brazil have become some of the most unequal societies on earth
under governments that you extol.

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