[Marxism] FARC Hostage Scenario

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 12 10:24:34 MDT 2008

A critical issue, for me at least, is Joaquin's assertion that (and I 
paraphrase) along with the narco-traffickers, the death squads, 
paramilitaries etc., the activities of the FARC tended to weaken the 
Colombian state and the Colombian nation.

There's a lot to be said explicitly about the implicit assumptions behind 
JB's assertions.  I offer several.

1. The assertion ignores the intimate connection between the Colombian 
state, not just the government, its foundations in class and its 
institutions (not just personnel), and the narco-traffickers, the death 
squads, the paramilitaries, the oligarchs, and the bourgeoisie, domestic and 

2. The Colombian state does not exist as some supra-class entity, capable of 
acting as a buffer, and barrier to international capitalism.  The state 
plays its role within the framework of the world markets with its 
governments and policies reflecting the internal alignment of the classes 
wedded to capitalist private property-- here the agent of the landed 
estates, there the instrument of urban based, and export oriented 
bourgeoisie,-- and the pressures of the world markets on that alignment. At 
all times, the history of the state power in Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, 
Chile even at its most "nationalist" moments is focussed upon maintaining 
landed and urban manufacturing private property against an advancing class 

3. JB's argument that the FARC struggle makes the Colombian state weaker can 
be seen simply as a variation on the same old song used against resistance 
everywhere-- that such resistance is provocative and provides an excuse for 
repression; as if the Colombian state needed that excuse to maintain its 
repression against workers and unionists.

4. The "weakened" form of development of the bourgeoisie, or of the "state," 
in Colombia does not mean that such weakness can be remedied by removing 
imperialist penentration.  Historically, it is much more accurate to point 
out that the "weakness" of the development of the bourgeoisie in Latin 
American is actually the product of the pre-capitalist imperialism 
transplanted from Spain and Portugal-- the hacienda system, huge landed 
estates, debt slavery, forced work.

5.But more important than that, the resolution to these problems cannot be 
found in a national, state, regional capitalism with the "state" acting as 
its benign guarantor.  That has been tried without success, with the benign 
part being dispensed with and the state doing what it does best-- shooting 
workers to protect private property and paving the way for greater 

6. Certainly the national, regional bourgeoisie would not survive without 
support from imperialism.  They know that.  But this is the confirmation 
that a national, regional resistance that is not, beginning to end, based on 
a class organ of power different from that of the existing "states"  cannot 

More information about the Marxism mailing list