[Marxism] Permanent revolution
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Oct 21 07:41:37 MDT 2016
There are important and unresolved theoretical issues in the exchange
between Andrew Pollack and Joseph Green. Specifically, there are
differences within Marxism, and in particular within its Trotskyist or
semi-Trotskyist wing, over how to theorize the "bourgeois revolution".
For the Brennerites, there is no such thing. For Neil Davidson, and
those that agree with him like me, there is. But if there is, what are
its dynamics in the epoch of imperialism? Did Mustafa Kemal carry out a
bourgeois revolution? Was the Arab Spring a kind of bourgeois
revolution? I should add that Davidson rejects the term
bourgeois-democratic revolution that was used consistently by Lenin.
Even more problematic is the term democratic revolution. When the Arab
Spring was likened to the 1848 uprisings in Europe, was there a failure
to come to terms with exactly what had happened during Marx and Engels's
time? It was clear that the democratic struggles were aimed at removing
the remnants of feudal forms but did that relate to the revolutionary
uprisings against someone like Mubarak who was the chief executive of
Egypt's military-industrial complex?
Furthermore, if we conceptualize the bourgeois revolution as a struggle
against feudal remnants, how do we reconcile that with a struggle whose
front-line fighters support to some degree or another a religious state?
Is the demand for Sharia law simply a reactionary longing for the
The Middle East and North Africa has a way of defying formulas that
developed in European Marxism. For example, Omar Mukhtar led a heroic
struggle in Libya against Italian imperialism as a leader of the Senussi
movement. Its goal was to preserve Sufi values and its social base was
Bedouins. Not exactly the same thing as Garibaldi.
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