[Marxism] Either a socialist revolution or a caricature of revolution

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jan 8 08:58:04 MST 2006

Walter wrote:
>Trotsky was correct when he said that every reformist sounds like a Bolshevik
>when defending themselves against critics to their left. Yet Trotsky 
>didn't put
>in anywhere NEAR the time attacking the inadequacies of Haile Selassie as a
>defender of Ethiopia which people like James Petras, International 
>Viepoint, the
>Spartacists, Socialist Action and the rest have put in attacking Evo Morales.

Trotsky defended Ethiopia against Italy in the same way that we would have 
defended Panama against invasion. We support a Panama with Noriega to one 
that is run from the US Embassy. However, we are dealing here with another 
question entirely: SOCIALIST STRATEGY.

>This is distressingly reminiscent of the stuff Joseph Hansen wrote about 
>so well
>in defending the SWP's support for the Cuban revolution against those like
>Robertson, Wohlforth and Mage who frothed about the lack of democracy, or
>rather the lack of "workers democracy" in Cuba in the spring of 1961. Hansen
>pointed out that this campaign dovetailed a campaign in the imperialist media
>about the lack of democracy in Cuba.

Cuba had overthrown capitalism by this point. What we are dealing with 
instead is how to accomplish the same thing in Latin America in a series of 
countries that have developed alternatives to what existed in the past but 
are still operating under capitalist class relations. For a refresher 
course on this, I recommend Lenin's "State and Revolution". Of course, if 
the only goal is to achieve reform-oriented governments that refuse to go 
along with US foreign policy, then there's really no debate. I would back 
Lula's Brazil to one run by the generals, but so would the Nation Magazine.

>Cuba does rather well in taking care of its own diplomatic needs, and the 
>efforts of some of us to report on these are but a virtual reflection of 
>what Cuba
>has accomplished in the real world. Real world. Real countries. Real 

But we are under no obligation to prettify China. One can understand why 
the Cuban press does not attack class inequalities in China in the way that 
the Monthly Review does, for example.

>Sometimes it seems that this strong fascination with renegacy may have some
>other roots. We're all getting somewhat older. I'm getting older each and 
>day, though I'm not sure about everyone in this forum. Could it be that 
>this very
>strident concern for purity, sometimes mislabled *socialist strategy*, has 
>similar origin? Are some authors looking in the mirror and worrying about what
>has become of their dreams, their youthful hopes and illusions for a quick 
>of society? There must be a reason for the ferocity of these polemics?

Speaking for myself, I have been appalled by your refusal to acknowledge 
the depth to which the governments of Brazil, South Africa and China--all 
speaking in the name of the working class--have operated in the interests 
of the capitalist class. That beings out the ferocity in me at least. This 
list is in broad sympathies with Counterpunch, MRZine, Lefthook, et al. 
When you intervene with a political line that is warmed over 1930s 
Comintern, naturally you will cause sparks to fly. The only surprise is 
your (feigned?) surprise at our reaction.

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