[Marxism] Troubled times

Wayne S. Rossi felianan at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 19 20:26:47 MST 2006

I appreciate Joaquin's candor in saying that he is moving away from what is traditionally identified as Marxism.  It is clear that his politics are not what has been Marxist since Marx's time, and are instead a form of Latin American nationalism that abandon any kind of analysis based on class, which he claims is no longer the main vector of struggle today in the imperialist countries.

Joaquin's analysis, such as it is, focuses on probably the most ironic angle from which to attack the proletariat as potential actors in the United States:  the classic labor aristocracy.  I call this ironic because, if Joaquin weren't so focused on his nationalist analysis of the white working class as complicit, it would be obvious that this stratum of the working class has been systematically devastated in recent 
decades to the point where it will soon enough be socially irrelevant.  It is absurd to try and address the situation in the United States without taking into account the fact that reasonably highly paid, secure factory jobs -- indeed, reasonably highly paid and secure jobs of any sort -- are fast becoming a thing of the past.

Part of the problem of what Joaquin is talking about, which would involve a fundamental orientation around entities and struggles other than the working class and its struggles, is that this inevitably leads to a tailist Left.  This is not to underestimate the massive importance of, for instance, the struggles of Blacks or Hispanics; but this tailism in an imperialist country has meant that the social movements are at the beck and call of forces aligned with the "left" wing of imperialism, and can be demobilized to devastating effect.  In a revolutionary situation, it would be far more dangerous, and quite possibly deadly.

Frankly, with the class struggle at a point in history when the working class as a whole has taken a severe (and ongoing) beating, it is not in any way courageous or innovative to abandon a working-class perspective for one that is explicitly nationalist.  It's understandable for Joaquin, who is much more excited by movements in Latin America and among Latinos in the US at the present time, to abandon traditional Marxism and follow the ideology he finds more attractive; however, I would reject the idea that his challenge to Marxism is anything more profound than one revolutionary getting frustrated and giving up on the working class.

 - Wayne

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