[Marxism] Bolivia discussion

Brian Shannon brian_shannon at verizon.net
Sat Jan 7 12:26:35 MST 2006

On Jan 7, 2006, at 12:55 PM, Richard Fidler wrote:

> Old schemas and stereotypes are of no use. Events in Bolivia in the  
> coming months and years will teach us all a lot more about the  
> mutual interrelationship of the national, indigenous and socialist  
> revolutions in Latin America.

I inverted the above two sentences. I guess the "old schemas and  
stereotypes" are what we have learned from the Russian, Chinese,  
Cuban, Algerian, Nicaraguan, Guatemalan, Iran (Mossadegh), etc, etc.

Let us also junk* all of Trotsky and most of Lenin (the part from the  
April Theses on). The text for the new "schemas and stereotypes" is  
Barnes's "Their Trotsky and Ours," from which the supporters of the  
"growing over" theory represented in many of these contributions take  
their cue. To this group, we must ask, as Cannon did of Shachtman,  
what do you propose to substitute? Over 65 years later, Richard  
echoes their reply: you'll find out "in the coming months and years." **

Unfortunately, broadly speaking, what we will find out will be very  
much like what we found out from the above revolutions.

There are, of course, other "old schemas and stereotypes" to be drawn  
on. If revolutionists are to adapt to and not go beyond the interests  
of the "national bourgeoisie," can the "two-stage theory of  
revolution" and "popular front" be far behind? They will never be  
clothed with these names, but they are here in their full monty.

Brian Shannon

* Yaroslavsky, under the direction of Stalin, only junked the record  
of the November 1, 1917, session of "The First Legal Petrograd  
Committee of the Bolsheviks in 1917." (The Stalin School of  
Falsification, 3rd ed. pp. 101ff.) Richard Fidler at least is open  
about throwing out "old schemas and stereotypes." Others have been  
more cautious.

** As I was writing this, Louis has posted a reference to Engels.  
This reference is also used by James P. Cannon in "Socialism on  
Trial" which is on line at the MIA website. In it Cannon clearly  
states that we desire a peaceful transition to socialism. One of his  
examples is the election of Lincoln to office, who then defended the  
majority of the nation from the rebelling slaveowners. In my opinion,  
this is a brilliant example of literary legerdemain or revolutionary  
smoke in the capitalist court. Cannon makes clear that revolutionists  
do not expect such a schema to be reproduced. However, it is a useful  
reminder that old regimes never fall without resisting by force.

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