[Marxism] José Carlos Mariátegui

Ruthless Critic of All that Exists ok.president+marxml at gmail.com
Wed Jul 30 16:01:15 MDT 2008

On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 5:12 PM, chegitz guevara <absynthe at gmail.com> wrote:

> I think the main problem with AMP is that it lumps together a whole variety
> of different modes of production. China's peasantry wasn't communal in the
> main (but certainly in places), but if we go to places like say, Cambodia,
> it does appear to have had communal production, and I've read the same about
> parts of India. On the other hand, Japan seems to definitely have been a
> feudal economy.
> But again, I'm no where near equipped to have this discussion, as I've only
> begun studying Asia.

Here is a related comment written by Cde  Sukla Sen, a Marxist of the
Trotskyist persuation based in India (who has been an occasional
contributor to Marxmail in the past):

By Sukla Sen

Both Trotsky and Lenin started off from the premise
that the bourgeoisie had ceased to be revolutionary
and hence could no longer lead 'bourgeois democratic'
revolutions. Consequently, it is for the other
'fundamental' and revolutionary class viz. the
proletariat, to take the lead. However, Lenin was
initially unable to think beyond (bourgeois)
'democratic' revolution. And hence the thesis of the
Democratic Dictatorship. (It is pertinent to note that
in putting forward this formulation Lenin had to also
radically break with the traditional Marxist
visualisation/characterisation of the peasantry as "a
sack of potatoes". Subsequently Mao made an even more
radical break in this regard. And it was for a
quasi-Marxist Franz Fanon to make similar
(theoretical) break with the usual Marxist evaluation
of the role of the (urban) petty bourgeoisie,
particularly in capitalistically underdeveloped
colonised societies. The Cuban revolution was a sort
of highly successful demonstration of Fanon's
theoretical position.) Trotsky, however, went far
beyond. If the Proletariat emerges as the 'leader' of
the 'revolution', it is logically totally untenable
why they should stop at the democratic stage just in
order to enchain themselves once again, albeit under a
new dispensation, under its own leadership! Hence the
theory of continuous/uninterrupted/telescoped or
Permanent Revolution. Hence the theory of the fusing
of two (successive) revolutions - the 'democratic' and
the 'socialist' into one integrated whole. (The theory
of Permanent Revolution, however, has an external
dimension as well in clear acknowledgment of the
classical Marxist reservation regarding building
socialism on a less than global scale and that too in
an industrially backward nation.)

But while for Trotsky there is no revolution except
under the leadership of the proletariat, and once that
is so, there's just no stopping halfway; Lenin, even
in his most matured position, is far less
self-assured. There's of course no Chinese wall. But
that only means that there's a wall nevertheless. And
whereas scaling of the wall would evidently be highly
desirable and it'd be criminal to stop short in
deference to some (metaphysical) rules of
impermissibility, whether the wall can be actually
scaled or not would depend on "the level of
consciousness of the proletariat and the degree of
solidarity between the proletariat and the poor
peasantry", which evidently is not a given. And, it'd
also imply that even if you cannot make it to the last
post, it'd be quite worthwhile to cover as much
distance as one could under the given circumstances
(marked by the inadequacies of "the degree of
preparedness" and "the degree of solidarity").

The history of the twentieth century, particularly its
second half, however, calls for certain basic
modifications in these formulations.
The working class, in any case even numerically weak
in the underdeveloped East, for the most part played a
rather secondary role, if at all any, in the unfolding
epic saga of decolonisation. One can of course counter
with the argument that the resultant revolutions(?)
were at best "truncated and half-baked" giving
credence to (at least) the Leninist formulation. But
given the significant strides made by a number of the
newly independent nations, an honest reappraisal of
the role, and potentials, of the colonial and
post-colonial bourgeoisie, and petty bourgeoisie,
would very much be in order.

In Nepal, I presume, it's nobody's case that the
(scarcely extant) 'working class', in a physical
sense, is playing the lead role either in the cities
or in the mountains.

(By Sukla Sen)

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