[Marxism] Joaquin Bustelo on FARC

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Sat Jul 5 14:27:26 MDT 2008


Steve Houston writes:

"Here's the deal and the only one who has come close to saying this is
Jscotlive.  I could give a shit about Ingrid Betancourt.  If holding
her hostage is a tactical liability, then release her.  If the
tactical move was to execute her, are you going to apologize for it
out of "sympathy"?

"There ain't no such thing as morality Jaoquin and even if there is it
has shit to do with us.  There ain't no "rules of warfare" either,
because what you call warfare is terrorism of civilians and nothing
else."

*  *  *

"That is the worst case of testosterone poisoning I've seen in a long
time." --Cmdr. Susan Ivanova

Joaquin










On Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 11:17 PM, steve houston
<stevehouston3000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> The trouble I have with this list, and why I rarely comment, is two-fold.  One is a philosophical vulgarization that leads to discussions about whether the Big Bang model constitutes a dialectical explanation of the Universe.  That part I could live with however frustrating because it doesn't matter much anyway.  The other problem is more serious and almost makes the list DOA for me: sectarianism of the worst type, so much as to be comical and, frankly, unbelievable.
>
> Everytime I turn around its "Stalinist" this, "revisionist" that or 1000 other such ideological assaults.  Its to the point that headway is made only if one ignores every adjective or descriptor in the writings of many subscribers to this list.  It is not only a case of comrades living in the past (say 1930) either.  Its time to cut the shit and grow the hell up.
>
> Jaoquin "feels" for Betancourt out of humanitarianism but  claims it isn't high-handed moralizing.  Jaoquin advances the line that there are "rules" of warfare that should be honored above all and bases his analysis in large part on this observation.
>
> I invite him to explain John Brown, Fra Dolcino, or Nat Turner using the above as a guideline.  Incidentally I do NOT invite him to  rattle off how these individuals were Stalinoid or any such inanities.
>
> Here's the deal and the only one who has come close to saying this is Jscotlive.  I could give a shit about Ingrid Betancourt.  If holding her hostage is a tactical liability, then release her.  If the tactical move was to execute her, are you going to apologize for it out of "sympathy"?
>
> There ain't no such thing as morality Jaoquin and even if there is it has shit to do with us.  There ain't no "rules of warfare" either, because what you call warfare is terrorism of civilians and nothing else.
>
> Jaoquin has taken "correctness" to such an extreme (and he's not alone on this list) that any perceived deviation means the group in question should simply give up.  David Walters touched on this with FARC and why it is not so easy.
>
> Here's the thing: one of the very first rules is **we don't fucking give up**.  Its the reason why every critique of "Stalinism" promulgated on this list ever is complete bullshit.  What did you want the Soviet Union to do?  Disband in the wake of the German Revolution being crushed because "socialism in one country" was theoretically incorrect?
>
> Or maybe  Proyect wanted the USSR to simply surrender to fascism since the Popular Front was clearly not worthy of support compared to something ultra-left nothing group of Trotskyites in Spain.
>
> Comrades, many of you have lost your minds and I have no illusions that my admonition will make even a dent in your ideological armour.  But if I read the term "Stalinite" one more time I'm going to fucking puke.
>
> Jaoquin offers intelligent commentary when he is not blathering  away reciting the catechism of liberal "democracy" or the Litany of Piety of "freedom", "justice", "humanitarianism", "peace", etc
>
> Surely everyone on this list knows better.  We are not fighting to fighting to make the world a better place in the abstract.  We're not fighting because capitalism is a moral abomination.  We're not fighting FOR ideas or a "cause".  We're not fighting to cultural progression.  It has everything to do with Nat Turner.  Like John Brown later and Fra Dolcino before him, on the surface one could conclude he was a lunatic.  And it doesn't matter a bit if he was.  He fought because he had to, that's revolutionary necessity.  What was his alternative?  Give up?  No doubt Joaquin would've chided all three men at the time for being too "brutal" or "alienating the masses" or a hundred other sins that simply supercede the significance of their struggle.
>
> Time to cut the shit
>
>
> Jscotlive has written what I consider basically a disingenuous reply.
>
> For example:
>
>> Betnacourt's six years of humiliation in comparison to the generations of
>> humiliation and exploitation and misery suffered by Colombia's poor pales by
>> comparison.
>
> So was it OK to do what was done to Betancourt? To Clara Rojas? To
> HUNDREDS of others still rotting in FARC concentration camps and
> jungle cages? The crimes of the Colombian oligarchy, immense as they
> may be, do not justify the policy the FARC adopted and has stuck
> fiercely to, despite the most fraternal imaginable efforts of people
> like Chavez to help the FARC correct its course.
>
>
>> The notion that we should join in the deluge of sympathy and
>> glorification of this member of a privileged class I personally find nauseating
>> coming from a self declared proponent of revolutionary politics.
>
> The notion that we should turn our back on defense of human dignity
> and deny our feelings of solidarity to victims of inhuman treatment
> because the person is "a member of a privileged class" goes against
> everything I believe in as a revolutionary.
>
> Moreover, your accusation that I would have us join "a deluge of
> sympathy and glorification of this member of a privileged class" is
> off the wall. What is going on here is that Uribe won a huge political
> victory, not just against the FARC, but against the Latin American
> left generally. So much so that much of the left fell into an
> uncomfortable silence.
>
> On a day when every other daily paper in Latin America (and many more
> throughout the world) gave front-page coverage to the hostages having
> been freed, Granma buried it on the inside pages, preferring to
> feature instead a meeting of Cuba's national assembly president with
> Lula and a 35-year-old July 26 speech by Fidel. In Venezuela, despite
> Chavez's prominent association with hostage release negotations, it
> took many hours before an official government statement came out via
> the foreign ministry. That's why then the next day, the central
> leaders of those revolutions --Fidel and Hugo Chavez-- prominently
> took up the question, Fidel in his role as columnist in chief, Chavez
> through a major address to the nation on radio and television.
>
> THAT, IMHO, is not good enough. Working people the world over would
> have benefited from having a prominent and cogent Cuban and Venezuelan
> response to the development -- in real time -- especially because both
> countries have been so prominently involved in trying to promote a
> peace process in Colombia through political and diplomatic channels.
>
> This is a political situation and a political blow. It is you who turn
> it into an occasion for (frankly) quite unintelligent moralizing by
> suggesting that expressing sympathy for Ingrid Betancourt and relief
> that she is now free means engaging in "glorification of this member
> of a privileged class."
>
> It would be suicidal for the left to adopt this sort of "it was just
> payback to a rich bitch" attitude.
>
>> Yes, we may have questions to ask with regard to the trajectory of the  Farc,
>> and yes there is no doubt that they have been backed into a corner, a  victim
>> of their inability to take the struggle forward. But to disengage from
>> dialectics in favour of moralism in the process is not the way to do  it.
>
> What Jscotlive is proposing is not dialectics, but "on the one hand on
> the other" balancing of blame, and dissolving the concrete into
> abstract mouthings like "a victim of their inability to take the
> struggle forward."
>
>> The adoption of the  tactic of hostage taking,
>> though I still prefer to describe it as placing  people under arrest who come
>> into territory controlled by them, has run its  course, there is no doubt. Wider
>> events that have taken place in the  region as a whole -namely the leftward
>> shift in Latin American politics  - have undubtedly overtaken them. This in no
>> way justifies the calumny  being directed at them by people on this list.
>
> The "tactic" of "placing people under arrest" has "run its course"
> because it succeeded in turning the big majority of people in Colombia
> against the FARC. The tactic wasn't just "placing people under arrest"
> but kidnapping and holding them for ransom, using them for extortion.
> The result of the adoption of such tactics is not just loss of popular
> support, but a tendency towards the political and moral decay of the
> organisation that adopts it.
>
> Not only can you not win a revolutionary war with such tactics, to the
> extent they become dominant, the war you are waging stops being
> revolutionary and becomes something else. Such actions are *material
> facts on the ground* that speak to working people much more loudly
> than May Day speeches.
>
> The political message is that the self-organization of working people
> isn't where it is at. The Rambo masculinist stunts of an armed band
> that more and more behaves in a fashion similar to that of traditional
> criminal gangs are the road to liberation.
>
> Moreover, the FARC claims to be a belligerent party in a civil war.
> Under the laws of war, taking hostages to extort ransom is a war
> crime. Keeping people under the sorts of conditions the FARC kept
> Betancourt and is keeping hundreds more is a war crime. And no
> military necessity or extenuating circumstances defense can some into
> play here. This isn't a calamitous situation that resulted from force
> majeure, but rather the conscious, thought-through policy of the
> group.
>
> And it isn't a "calumny" to describe things as they are and call
> things by their right names.
>
> Cutesy evasions like "placing people under arrest who come into
> territory controlled by them" only discredit those who employ them
> when those who hear them know that the way some of those people came
> into the territory was by force, for example hijacking the plane they
> were on and forcing it to land there.
>
>> Being held as a hostage for six years for any individual must be one of the
>> most traumatic and difficult experiences imaginable. That said, for every
>> individual the Farc have taken into capitivity, they have liberated thousands of
>> the poorest and exploited in that wretched country.
>
>> Being held as a hostage for six years for any individual must be one of the
>> most traumatic and difficult experiences imaginable. That said, for every
>> individual the Farc have taken into capitivity, they have liberated thousands of
>> the poorest and exploited in that wretched country. Unfortunately, their
>> constituents are not rich and privileged enough to be the focus of the world's
>> media and will forever remain faceless and anonymous.
>
> I think this captures the underlying differences between us quite well.
>
> First, I suspect you know little about Colombia. Because you imply
> that the FARC has liberated about half the population, a claim that is
> absurd on its face. The FARC has kidnapped about 7,000 people, and
> still hold 700. Giving a very low value of 3,000 for your vague
> expression "thousands" ("for every individual ... they have liberated
> thousands"), this works out to 21 million, out of a total population
> of 44 million.
>
> But irrespective of the numbers, for you, liberation is something
> brought by the FARC to the "faceless and anonymous." I would suggest
> that the the liberation of "the faceless and anonymous" can only be
> the work of the faceless and anonymous themselves.
>
> *  *  *
>
> Finally your defense of Walter is quite touching but unnecessary. I've
> known Walter for nearly four decades; a few years ago we were thick as
> thieves, and actually, CubaNews was a project we started together.
> Unfortunately for some time now Walter has been applying --as best as
> I understand it from his explanations-- a very peculiar theory, that
> stuff you do online doesn't have to be done seriously or responsibly,
> it doesn't "count" as real political activity.
>
> I quite thoroughly disagree with this crotchety conceit he has somehow
> got into his head, and anyways, there is a clear direction to his
> politics. He is becoming a Marcyite Stalinoid, constantly applying the
> same kind of double-think and evasions that you deployed in your
> arguments against me.
>
> I mean, I understand why you feel identified with Walter politically,
> but if you think that's going to stop me from trying to beat some
> sense into my old friend's head, or at least reawaken  the sense he
> USED to have, you're quite mistaken.
>
> Joaquin
>
>
>
>
>
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