[Marxism] Socialist Action on Libya and Syria -- Reply to David Walters

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Sat Oct 22 13:08:17 MDT 2016

Joseph, my original description of Permanent Revolution (PR) was an attempt
to defend it (though I do) rather it was to point out what it is and what
it isn't. However, you reply back to me shows that you too don't have an
understanding of PR anymore than others do who misunderstand it.

Everyone of your examples vis-a-vis National Liberation is actually a
"proof", by *negative example*, of the general correctness of PR. You wrote
that many countries have achieved "independence" people still suffer from
exploitation. PR is very explicit that the *tasks* cannot be completed if
capitalism is not overthrown. Or, it sinks back into a neo-colonial
relationship. Every Trotskyist group historically fought for "independence"
in Latin America because they understood that the formality of independence
achieved throughout the early part of the 19th Century from Portugal and
Spain (France and England as well) would not be true independence unless,
as the Cubans did, overthrow capitalism. And that is the point of PR. Every
gain you noted is not a gain unless it can be achieved in full and without
those democratic tasks being turned back. Only a socialist revolution will
insure or at least truly lay the ground work for a permanent form of
sovereignty otherwise *impossible* to achieve under Imperialism. That is PR
and it's been proven in everyone of the examples you cited.

But it's not a perfect theory. It's a guide. Obviously countries can in
fact achieve formal independence in the age of Imperialism. The dislocation
of the very influential Indian Trotskyist organization after WWII is an
example of this. Again, "they didn't get it". They believed that the
*granting* of independence by the British was an impossibility "because of
Permanent Revolution". Certain forms of land reform (codified in the 1918
Mexican Constitution for example) can be achieved. The granting of peasants
the land in S. Korea and Taiwan by buying off the landlord class is an
example of this 'exception'.

But if one is going to discuss PR, we have to agree on what it is, not
project one' own ideological prejudices onto interpreting it.

David Walters

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