Discussion:
Social networks and "leaderless" revolutions
(too old to reply)
Dan
2011-02-17 21:19:07 UTC
Permalink
Leaderless Revolution sounds amazing. Sounds like Council Communism come
true : workers organize THEIR OWN revolution, self-manage their own
affairs, take over from the bosses and run the factories in the
interests of the Working Class. The dream of so many Revolutionary
Syndicalists (IWW, CGT, CNT, ...) come true.

However, "lederless" does mean "rudderless". I mean, workers
demonstrating for bread and an end to a promised lifetime of
humiliation, powerlessness and misery, are conscious of who their enemy
is : the bourgeoisie. But they also need to be aware of their own
strength, of their capacity to organize by themselves and of their
ability to REPLACE THE BOURGEOISIE. Such a degree of class consciousness
emerges from the class struggle, is primarily fostered by union activity
empowering people in the workplace to say f*** you to the boss, and
necessitates organizing from the bottom-up throughout a whole nation.
Workers assemble, debate, get info from other localities, debate, call
for regional assemblies, debate, draw up proposals, debate, send these
proposals to the regional assemblies, etc.
Twitter can immensely assist in this task, by making the flow of
information bi-directional. A clear picture of what is going on and the
contributions of each region can rapidly enable workers to form a
picture of the global situation and further their local debates. How
many tanks ? How many weapons ? Which local lackey has fled ? Which
factories are in revolt ? What are the international reactions ? Who is
trying to betray the revolution ?
So social networks are forging the demise of Capitalism (I'm not
kidding). They are the main force driving the increased social
inter-connectedness of workers as opposed to the Capitalist forces
striving to individualize, separate, monitor, transform each worker into
an interchangeable automaton. Marx knew that the social organization
necessary for Capitalism was at the same time the ultimate limit of that
mode of production. Capitalism brings together billions of individuals,
interconnects them through production, and yet limits their dealings
with each other by mediating them through market forces. That is a
contradiction. No man is an island anymore. By providing a means for
workers to communicate INSTANTLY the world over, Capitalism is extending
the process of bringing together disparate producers into a single
factory that meant that workers became suddenly aware of their potential
in the late 19th century. The whole world has been brought into a single
factory, with manufacturing in China, retail in California, accountancy
in Bangalore, advertising in London, ... But now, workers can
communicate with each other, something Marx would have found wonderful
in the extreme.
Soon twitting will be used for precisely that purpose : to galvanize a
revolution, to bring re-enforcements where they are needed, to relay
calls for workers' councils, to express the rage and frustration of
millions, to re-kindle hope, to help a factory restart production under
workers' management, to thwart secret dealings by the bosses and the
army, to indicate which army units are defecting, where weapons are to
be found, to organize the mass encirclement of Army barracks by hundreds
of thousands of civilians...
The only card THEY can play is always the same : Nationalism. Listen to
US, trust in US, obey US. OUR trump cards are of course CLASS and
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY.
dave x
2011-02-17 21:47:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
Leaderless Revolution sounds amazing. Sounds like Council Communism come
true : workers organize THEIR OWN revolution, self-manage their own
affairs, take over from the bosses and run the factories in the
interests of the Working Class. The dream of so many Revolutionary
Syndicalists (IWW, CGT, CNT, ...) come true.
I share your enthusiasm for revolution and for social networks, but as they
say on Slashdot, RTFA. The article I posted actually deals with the
characteristic of horizontal networks to become very hierarchical, known as
the "Iron Law of Oligarchy":

to quote the article:
"Thus, networks which start out as diffuse can and likely will quickly
evolve into hierarchies not in spite but because of their open and flat
nature."

This is an unresolved problem as the article points out.

http://technosociology.org/?p=366
Dan
2011-02-17 21:59:08 UTC
Permalink
An aside,

Yes, harassment of women has got worse, far, far worse since the 80s in
many Muslim countries. This "Eve teasing" as it is known in several
places, increased JUST AS MORE AND MORE educated women began to wear the
Muslim headscarf out of social pressure caused by political Islamism.

If you compare the old Egyptian or Algerian Black and White TV series of
the 70s, where women were unveiled and even wore skirts down to their
knees !, and where the main theme was always love between a young couple
prevailing against the old-fashioned malevolence of their parents, when
you compare those old series to the current portrayal of hijab-wearing
women in Egyptian TV series, who stoically pray to God for their
husbands to come back to them (and guess what, they do !), well, then,
you have a clear illustration of Kulturkampf, of how Islam has been
instrumentalized to further a society-controlling agenda.

My friend Karim remembers a time when there were NO religious prayers AT
ALL on Tunisian TV. Hell, Tunisia legalized abortion in 1964 ! Before
France ! Divorce was legalized at the same time as Tunisian
independence.
But then, in the 1990s, Ben Ali, while cracking down on Islamists
(imprisoning 20 000 people in the terrible prisons of the regime where
the only way out was death, preferably quickly), started to promote
"Islamic" values in Tunisa. All of a sudden, the five daily prayers were
being broadcast live, every day, on state television. Madrassas were
re-opened and on Fridays the state TV would dully broadcast the passages
from the Koran, with explanations on how to pronounce them clearly and
Imams explaining the obscure subtleties of such and such a sourate.

Very similar developments took place in Algerian and Iraki TV. TV in the
Arab world nowadays is choke full of Imams.
Dan
2011-02-17 23:25:29 UTC
Permalink
Yep, as I thought, a case of the present craze in American sociology to
apply laws from Physics to describe the behaviour of networks.

I actually was quite interested in this trend three years ago and
purchased a few books on the subject of the importance of the
"scale/no-scale network" dichotomy.

I read about stock mArket crisis as being caused by fundamental problems
in information transfer that imply that markets always end up being
irrational. I read about the modelizing of the spread of diseases,
showing how an epidemic grows, reaches a hight, and then levels off.
I read of how networks were now established on a firm, scientific basis,
with their own laws. Networks that are too decentralized end up being
destabilized when two or three important nodes coincidently disappear.
The sudden re-routing of information causes the entire network to be
overwhelmed as the other nodes are not prepared to handle such a sudden
increase in information.
I read of how sociologists are now using thermodynamics, analogies to
the law of dispersal of gases, everything Physics has that is not too
complicated (Quantum Mechanics for example), to write papers on the
"behaviour of networks".
Well, that is supposed to be the new, "no-nonsense" approach to
sociology. With exciting new explanations of why things are the way they
are, why ideas circulate the way they do, and crucially why the masses
behave the way they do.
My guess is that it is interesting but is just a fad. A reaction will
soon occur against too much modelizing and too many mathematical
formulas, and then there will be a swing in the opposite direction,
subjectivism, relativising everything and holding up barely understood
versions of Godel's theory of incompleteness to deny the possibility of
modelizing anything.

But you are right that horizontal networks end up becoming hierarchical
networks. That is a truth born out by history. We are egalitarians but
we know that it is a fact that some people end up with far more
influence than others. The Athenians strove to resolve the problem
through the drawing of lots. They considered lot-drawing as the most
democratic way of choosing a civil servant.
And through ostracism. And through limiting mandates to only two terms.
And very importantly through compensating poor people for attending the
General Meetings. And through making sure there were ten stratiagoi
(generals) in charge instead of only one, and through setting time
limits on people who wished to speak. And through demanding that any
elected official give a precise account of the way he used the city's
funds. And through making sure the chairman of the Assembly's debates be
changed with every session.
Of course, they were racist, sexist, slave-holders. But they were
conscious of the problems posed by "demagogues", which cannot be said
about other, more modern, proponents of "democracy".

Anyway, until people are meaningfully engaged in their own
self-management, they will be swayed by fear of the boss, hopes of
currying favour and yearning to get others do do all the work. Just look
at what happens in many households when the husband comes home from his
job. Again division, divison in the labour process, is to blame.
Dan
2011-02-17 23:56:24 UTC
Permalink
Hey david x,

I like your tone. I agree 100% with your statement that unions tried to
become part of the system in the 60s-70s and that they have since been
pushed aside by, well not "neo-liberalism" (because it's not neo), but
corporate interests beginning to more forcefully assert their
priviledges after two decades of increasing working-class wages and
buoyency.
In the US, in France, in the UK, well all over the "developed world",
the 80s was a period of reducing real wages and breaking traditional
patterns of wage-earning.
However, I fear that without a conscious effort to reclaim the
workplace, the masses will be lead into "symbolic" demonstrations of
rage and will thus be forced to rely on an external, "charimatic"
mediator. Only the control over the production apparatus can give the
working class any real power over its destiny. Failing that, it is a
"rudderless" mass prone to taking to the streets to angrily demand
change and be either massacred or tricked into accepting a Bonapartist
leader.
dave x
2011-02-18 06:05:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
Hey david x,
I like your tone. I agree 100% with your statement that unions tried to
become part of the system in the 60s-70s and that they have since been
pushed aside by, well not "neo-liberalism" (because it's not neo), but
corporate interests beginning to more forcefully assert their
priviledges after two decades of increasing working-class wages and
buoyency.
In the US, in France, in the UK, well all over the "developed world",
the 80s was a period of reducing real wages and breaking traditional
patterns of wage-earning.
Thanks. I often appreciate what you say as well. Interestingly that analysis
of union leaderships is one that Trotsky basically came to before he died. I
have to regard that as prescient as I doubt it is a conclusion that I would
have reached at that point or any time soon after:

'Trade Unions In the Epoch of Imperialist Decay':
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/xx/tu.htm
In retrospect the title 'Trade Unions In the Epoch of Imperialism's Zenith'
might have been better. I don't agree with his conclusions as they strike me
as ultra-left, but I do think he was pointing out a very real issue that
became even more significant in the post-war period.

I used to work in retail at a mid-sized US national chain. Towards the end
of the tech bust the company developed some restructuring plans that were
going to effect us pretty severely. Being the start of the recovery there
were some stirrings here and there on the labor scene. Some of us initiated
an organizing drive which then turned into this two year saga. We took a
very democratic, political, social movement oriented approach. We brought in
an outside union, one that represented many retail workers. I knew this
would be a problem but thought that we would need their resources and
thought it would be possible to counter-balance them by our own organizing
efforts and with the help of the extensive activist community I was plugged
into at the time. This was true but only partially so. I underestimated the
weight of the bureaucracy, the experience of having to simultaneously
organize against the bureaucracy and the bosses was eventually demoralizing
and the effect of the union's resources was less decisive than I had hoped.
In retrospect I don't think there is any way we could have truly won. The
climate for it simply didn't exist, although we did have some remarkable
successes along the way. However, if I had to do it again I think I would
have taken the Starbucks workers approach and kept the outside union out. It
would have been more empowering overall and our impact would have been about
the same. I am not however dogmatic about this and every situation is
different. In any case labor advances in the US are going to require a
social movement of a size equal to any that we have seen in the past. I have
immense respect for those who have spent their lives inside of the labor
movement but I think until then it is a bit like banging your head on a
wall.

In regards to the term 'neo-liberalism', I admit the term is not
unproblematic but I believe it represents a very real set of complex
phenomena and that there is genuine 'neo' aspect to it. There are a wide
variety of accounts of just what neoliberalism is on the left, plenty of
confusion and no real agreement on the exact causes though everyone seems to
recognize most of the symptoms. A good discussion of this would be
interesting.
Post by Dan
However, I fear that without a conscious effort to reclaim the
workplace, the masses will be lead into "symbolic" demonstrations of
rage and will thus be forced to rely on an external, "charimatic"
mediator. Only the control over the production apparatus can give the
working class any real power over its destiny. Failing that, it is a
"rudderless" mass prone to taking to the streets to angrily demand
change and be either massacred or tricked into accepting a Bonapartist
leader.
I don't really see it this way. Leadership will inevitably emerge one way
or another. Hopefully it is the right sort of leadership and people can hold
them accountable. There are of course a number of past revolutionary
experiences we can point to for insight in this area. Personally, I still
think this means a mass working class revolutionary party, preferably a very
broad based one. How to get to that party? I don't have any magic recipes.
There may be many roads or none depending on the situation. I think large
scale contestations of the 'production apparatus' are more a natural
consequence of social upheaval rather than something we can with conscious
effort have in place beforehand to ensure things turn out okay. Instead, as
is happening in Egypt now it all sort of comes together in a crazy mix.
Revolutionary organization and workers organization whether pre-existing or
emergent may well be crucial but the wrong sort (think the French CP and
associated unions in '68) can also be a major impediment. It is also
important to note that even if one has a relatively healthy workers
revolution, the challenges it will face are going to be enormous. Choices
will become both momentous and restricted in ways difficult to foresee. I do
tend to think that there may be some merit in the old republican notion of
separation of powers, at least once a revolution has taken root and fought
off its first attacks. It would be utopian to try and specify the form of
future societies, that will be determined collectively by the people as they
are built, but it would also be naive to ignore a century's worth of the
history of party-states and their often deleterious consequences. If those
difficulties can be at all mitigated through conscious action, it would be
good.
-dave
Andrew Pollack
2011-02-18 16:59:35 UTC
Permalink
1. See this important new book by Solidarity/Labor Notes milieu
authors on the 1970s upsurge which Dave correctly references:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Rebel-Rank-and-File/Aaron-Brenner/e/9781844671731
2. Whether the new upsurge will come in or out of existing unions will
be seen as things evolve. Almost certainly it will be a combination of
the two. And this question overlaps with the valid points La Botz
makes about the interaction between political and economic actions and
demands -- a point Luxemburg made in The Mass Strike. The distinction
doesn't disappear, but the two spheres become mutually reinforcing, as
victories in one inspire the other and on and on (a parallel process
to that on an international level: first Europe, then the Arab Nation,
now the US!).
3. We should all do whatever we can to support the Madison workers.
Already small left groups are calling their own solidarity actions,
which doesn't impress me so much; the harder but crucial job is
getting official structures and prominent rank-and-file leaders to
call them.
But we should also begin preparing for solidarity with the next
upsurge in whichever state tries to impose draconian restrictions on
union rights, wages, jobs and benefits.
And as part of that preparation, to begin forming alternative
crossunion networks -- which seek official support! -- to more easily
and effectively respond.
Jim Farmelant
2011-02-18 00:58:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
I read of how networks were now established on a firm, scientific
basis,
with their own laws. Networks that are too decentralized end up
being
destabilized when two or three important nodes coincidently
disappear.
The sudden re-routing of information causes the entire network to
be
overwhelmed as the other nodes are not prepared to handle such a
sudden
increase in information.
I read of how sociologists are now using thermodynamics, analogies
to
the law of dispersal of gases, everything Physics has that is not
too
complicated (Quantum Mechanics for example), to write papers on the
"behaviour of networks".
Well, that is supposed to be the new, "no-nonsense" approach to
sociology. With exciting new explanations of why things are the way
they
are, why ideas circulate the way they do, and crucially why the
masses
behave the way they do.
My guess is that it is interesting but is just a fad. A reaction
will
soon occur against too much modelizing and too many mathematical
formulas, and then there will be a swing in the opposite direction,
subjectivism, relativising everything and holding up barely
understood
versions of Godel's theory of incompleteness to deny the possibility
of
modelizing anything.
This way of doing sociology is not so new. Back in the
1970s and 1980s, University of South Carolina sociologist
Bruce H. Mayhew was promoting an approach to sociology,
which he called "structuralism," which he emphatically distinguished
from most forms of French structuralism, which viewed sociology as the
science of social networks. I once wrote a short synopsis of
this for this list many years ago. See:
http://www.panix.com/~lnp3/archives/Mar99/mayhew.htm
Also:
http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/2000/2000-January/000090.html

Jim Farmelant
http://independent.academia.edu/JimFarmelant
www.foxymath.com
Learn or Review Basic Math
____________________________________________________________
$65/Hr Job - 25 Openings
Part-Time job ($20-$65/hr). Requirements: Home Internet Access
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3141/4d5dc46699ab9442a06st01vuc
dave x
2011-02-18 06:49:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim Farmelant
Post by Dan
My guess is that it is interesting but is just a fad. A reaction
will
soon occur against too much modelizing and too many mathematical
formulas, and then there will be a swing in the opposite direction,
subjectivism, relativising everything and holding up barely
understood
versions of Godel's theory of incompleteness to deny the possibility
of
modelizing anything.
There are fadish aspects as in most academic trends, and certainly a healthy
suspicion of academic sociology is warranted. I doubt, however that it as a
trend it will be reversed. Computational techniques are steadily
revolutionizing all the disciplines with profound effects. It happened in
the hard sciences and engineering some time ago. Biology is currently in the
midst of full-scale revolution. In the social sciences it is just beginning
but it will continue.



On Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM, Jim Farmelant <farmelantj at juno.com> wrote:
==============================
Post by Jim Farmelant
This way of doing sociology is not so new. Back in the
1970s and 1980s, University of South Carolina sociologist
Bruce H. Mayhew was promoting an approach to sociology,
which he called "structuralism," which he emphatically distinguished
from most forms of French structuralism, which viewed sociology as the
science of social networks. I once wrote a short synopsis of
http://www.panix.com/~lnp3/archives/Mar99/mayhew.htm
http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/2000/2000-January/000090.html
Interesting. I had not heard of Mayhew. I will have to check him out.
-dave
Dan
2011-02-21 19:12:13 UTC
Permalink
The difference between Ghaddafi and Tunisia's Ben Ali or Egypt's
Mubharak is that the Libya is a small (population-wise), culturally and
socially extremely heterogeneous country.
Ghaddafi's regime is much more of a "superstructure", payed for with
oil.
So, whereas Ben Ali's army never "cracked", because of the patriotism of
the officers, Ghaddafi's army broke after only five days of riots, with
the entire eastern part of the country siding with the rebels. Army
bases have been looted and T-72s paraded through the strets.
Ghadaffi's precious airforce that he bought from France, and remember
HOW PROUD Darkozy was when he anounced to the French people that he had
finally found a second MAJOR BUYER for French Mirages (after Brazil).
Sarkozy nearly wet himself when Ghaddafi came to France in 2010 and
ordered "the best" of French Military air-force technology. Sarkozy made
arrangements for Gahdaffi to "camp" in his "beduin tent" on the grounds
of the Elys?e and to have hundreds of women (at his request, yes,
"women" as he told Sarkozy he was a great believer in Feminism) cheer
him. And after that three-day long stately visit (Ghaddafi spent time in
Versailles and commended Louis XIVth and Napoleon), finally, the great
leader took out his pen and signed a ground-breaking deal with the
French military to supply Libya with French ground-assault "Puma" and
"Tiger" helicopters and advanced 4th Generataion "Mirage" jet-fighters,
together with a 15-year maintenance and spare-parts deal.
Sarkozy went on to announce that this was a resounding success for
French industry. IT wasn't that long ago. I mean less than 12 months...
And now ?
Well this afternoon, 2 Libyan mirage jet-fighters have landed in Malta
after their air-base was overrun by protesters in Benghazi. And two
"Puma" helicopters have landed in Malta, after their crew refused to
carry out orders to machine-gun and use missiles against residential
suburbs of Tripoli.
However, credible reports suggest brand-new "attack-vector optimization"
Puma attack helicopters ares being used as I write to shoot at any
gathering of more than three people in Tripoli. And Mirages have also
launched missile strikes against protesters.
If I were cynical, I would point out that only 20% of the cost of all
these French armements has actually been paid by Libya. Will the 80%
remaining percent be forthcoming ? Well, knowing clearinghouses, the
answer is probably yes.
Ghadaffi has always used oil-revenue to artificially boost the armed
forces of one of the smallest countries in the region (by population).
Remember when he lost 300 tanks in three days in Chad in the 80s due to
anti-tank missiles (but really to the incredible amateurism of the
Libyan armed forces who hadn't even realized that in the 80s, you don't
send a column of tanks through 800 kms of open sand dunes desert without
infantry support) ?
Despite his lovely and expensive array of French, Russian, Chinese and
Korean fire-power, Ghadaffi never managed to create a Libyan army with
any real commitment to anything other than their pay-checks. Which is in
keeping with the Libyan view of things : a small country, with strong
commitment to tribal loyalties, and an instinctive disregard for
centralization. This typically Libyan point of view was responsible for
Ghaddafi's insistence on "Popular Assemblies". Power is an exchange of
'loyalty' for support to a certain section of the population.
Money has bought support, but every major project has necessitated the
arrival of thousands of foreign technicians.
And in the 90s, Libya rapidly became one of the most unequal societies
in North Africa.
Apparently, Libyan paid foreign mercenaries (let me guess, Sudanese ?)
are currently rampaging through Tripoli armed with multi-barrel RPGs,
firing indescrimenately at the crowds.
Dan
2011-02-21 19:36:00 UTC
Permalink
Ghadaffi comes from Western Libya and that's where he will try to
regroup a support base. He will be joined by the thousands of members of
the security apparatus that espoused the cause of the regime over the
last 40 years.
60 people killed in Tripoli since 18:00 (three hours). Tripoli is a city
that is made up of people from all over Libya.
Ghaddafi's son has been organizing the transfer and training of 10 000
Sudanese, Chadian and Somali mercenaries since 2007. And then there are
10 000 "Revolutionary Committee" Guards, paid for and ideologically
committed to Ghaddafi (a majority of whom are from Ghaddafi's hometown).
The rest of the "Libyan Army" (especially in the East of Libya that has
always been disinclined to follow the Western part of the country), is
now clearly opposed to the regime.
So tonight we have 20 000 heavily armed pro-Ghadaffi thugs shooting at
the people of Tripoli. They can keep on doing so for quite some time,
seeing the incredible amount of weapons and ammo Ghaddafi has
accumulated over the years.
Dan
2011-02-21 20:12:47 UTC
Permalink
I could be wrong on this, but I have often felt that Libya was similar
to Chad, held by a brutal strongman (Ghadaffi), just as Chad is under
the sway of Idriss Deby (Deby is still there, BTW, since 1989).

I think we could be looking at a few years of guerrilla warfare in
Libya, similar to the Chadian "model".
With anti-Ghaddafi forces holding the coastal regions, and thousands of
former pro-regime turned "irregular" soldiers, holding areas of the
Sahara and regularly mounting sophisticated operations right into the
heart of Tripoli.
These "pro-Ghaddafi" irregulars would draw upon a vast supply of
weaponry to harass any future Libyan government and strive to slowly
encircle the cities.
But the Chadian, or Somali for that matter, scenario will not be allowed
to unfold in Libya by Western countries, because Libya is just too close
to Europe.
If pro-Ghadaffi irregulars transform Libya into a new Chad, you can be
sure any new Tripoli government will be upheld by Europe militarily.
If the "Chad" scenario is anything to go by, we will have major guerilla
offensives mounted every fall, which will temporarily re-occupy some
cities before retreating to the desert pursued by French and American
helicopters. Every Libyan district will have its own armed forces, and
the military situation will be at times quite fluid. Libya is in essence
a vast desert, with coastal cities linked by roads.
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-21 22:12:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
Every Libyan district will have its own armed forces, and
the military situation will be at times quite fluid. Libya is in essence
a vast desert, with coastal cities linked by roads.
A wonderful scenario to turn Libya into an array of -as of all people
seems to have said one of Gadaffi?s children- Emirates like those on
the Gulf Coast.

I am not saying a word for or against Gadaffi. But I would be careful,
and suggest comrades to do the same.

Imperialists come in all shapes and forms.
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Dan
2011-02-21 20:49:38 UTC
Permalink
Oh come one, Walter, Cuba IS an "authoritarian" regime. Cubans are not
pro-yanki (is that how you spell "yanquee" ?), they have the same mixed
feelings towards their powerful US neighbours as all Caribbeans do. They
like to brag about their tios in Miami and show off their "LA fashion"
street-ware, but just like the Dominicans and Jamaicans, they hate US
arrogance.
Trujillo murdered thousands in the death camps of la Ningua, and
Dominicans showed what they thought of the US when Marines invaded the
island (for the second time in the 20th century) in the 60s.
I've lived in the Caribbeans (5 years in Surinam, 2 years in Trinidad, 1
year in Haiti ...) . I know their obsession with defining themselves as
"black"/"chabine"/"mullatto"/"Chino"/"preto"/"chino" (any skin color
gradient), their deep felt pride in being "who they are" and yet sending
their sons off (as far as the elite is concerned) to graduate in the US,
their overtly Catholic and yet deeply animistic religiosity (belief in
curses, fate, witchcraft, ...), their "machismo", their feeling of
hatred/love of the US...
Caribeans are a great people. A proud people.
They have suffered much and the divides within their society are still
baying.
But Walter, don't tell me Cuba is not an authoritarian regime. Please
don't lie.
Cubans DON'T WANT the US to come back, but do they really think Raul and
the elite should remain in power for ever and ever ?
Louis Proyect
2011-02-21 20:58:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
But Walter, don't tell me Cuba is not an authoritarian regime. Please
don't lie.
My advice to comrades is to ignore this trolling.
Dan
2011-02-21 21:17:07 UTC
Permalink
So Louis, since I'm a troll (a pretty harsh statement), I'd like you to
explain to me why you object to my calling the Cuban regime an
"authoritarian regime".
You know, just point out how the Cuban working class directly controls
Cuba, how they make all the decisions, how they control the state
apparatus.
If the word "authoritarian" disturbs you, please explain to me what
happens when a Cuban writes "a bajo Fidel" on a wall, once the CDR
identifies him/her.
Louis Proyect
2011-02-21 21:46:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
So Louis, since I'm a troll (a pretty harsh statement), I'd like you to
explain to me why you object to my calling the Cuban regime an
"authoritarian regime".
I don't think you are a troll except when it comes to the question
of Cuba, the USSR, etc. I don't see any point in repetitious,
mind-numbing debates where you can display your narcissistic
professions on behalf of true communism. We know that you are a
more evolved, freedom-loving human being. We just don't you need
to repeat that to us every week. Maybe once a month if you are not
too obnoxious about it. Make that every other month. Well, every
other year and let's leave it like that...
Post by Dan
If the word "authoritarian" disturbs you, please explain to me what
happens when a Cuban writes "a bajo Fidel" on a wall, once the CDR
identifies him/her.
They pluck out his or her eyeballs and make soup with it?
Adam Proctor
2011-02-21 21:55:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis Proyect
They pluck out his or her eyeballs and make soup with it?
I'd say you were a better theorist than comedian, but I rarely see
serious analysis on such questions coming from you on such topics,
only wise-cracks. With that being the case, I must assume you are
neither.

Quick, Louis! Respond! I'm simply dying to hear your next witty quip.



-Adam
Louis Proyect
2011-02-22 15:16:41 UTC
Permalink
I plan to write something about Libya at some point, especially in
light of the failure of the left to keep up to date with what was
happening there. This is from the Workers World newspaper from
only a month ago:

When you compare the various countries where imperialism holds
power, you see brutal oppression. In Nigeria, where Shell Oil owns
the government, the result is massive unemployment, malnutrition
and lack of basic necessities.

However, the highest life expectancy in Africa is in Libya, where
the nationalist government has taken control of the oil and used
it for the good of the people. I agree with Vince Copeland, a
founder of our party, that it is time we do the same thing because
oil belongs to the people!

---

And this is from today's Politico.com:

One of the more unlikely image-mongers that has worked to burnish
Qadhafi's and Libya?s image never registered with the Justice
Department. Prominent neoconservative Richard Perle, the former
Reagan-era Defense Department official and George W. Bush-era
chairman of the Defense Policy Board, traveled to Libya twice in
2006 to meet with Qadhafi, and afterward briefed Vice President
Dick Cheney on his visits, according to documents released by a
Libyan opposition group in 2009.

Perle traveled to Libya as a paid adviser to the Monitor Group, a
prestigious Boston-based consulting firm with close ties to
leading professors at the Harvard Business School. The firm named
Perle a senior adviser in 2006.

The Monitor Group described Perle?s travel to Libya and the
recruitment of several other prominent thinkers and former
officials to burnish Libya?s and Qadhafi?s image in a series of
documents obtained and released by a Libyan opposition group, the
National Conference of the Libyan Opposition, in 2009.

The Monitor Group did not return phone calls left at its Boston
offices Monday. But Monitor describes, in a series of documents
published by the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition in
2009, an ?action plan? to "introduce and bring to Libya a
meticulously selected group of independent and objective experts"
to travel to Libya, meet senior officials, hold lectures and
workshops, and promote the image of Libya and its controversial ruler.

A 2007 Monitor memo named among the prominent figures it had
recruited to travel to Libya and meet with Qadhafi ?as part of the
Project to Enhance the Profile of Libya and Muammar Qadhafi?
Perle, historian Francis Fukuyama, Princeton Middle East scholar
Bernard Lewis, famous Nixon interviewer David Frost, and MIT media
lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, the brother of former deputy
secretary of state and director of national intelligence John
Negroponte.
sobuadhaigh
2011-02-22 15:52:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
Remember when he lost 300 tanks in three days
in Chad in the 80s due to anti-tank missiles (but really
to the incredible amateurism of the Libyan armed forces
who hadn't even realized that in the 80s, you
don't send a column of tanks through 800 kms of open sand
dunes desert without infantry support) ?
which was the standard operating practice of the Israeli
Defense force until the Egyptian Army beat the shit out of
them in the opening phase of the 1973 war.
Post by Dan
Despite his lovely and expensive array of French, Russian,
Chinese and Korean fire-power, Ghadaffi never managed to
create a Libyan army with any real commitment to anything
other than their pay-checks.
I disagree. If their loyalty were only to their
paymaster then those pilots would have bombed and strafed
civilian neighborhoods instead of defecting to Malta.
Likewise the soldiers at the base on Bengahzi would not have
turned their tanks over to the insurgents. It would appear
as though elements of the Libyan military are loyal to
the people and more than willing give up their paycheck
from Ghadaffi.
.
Post by Dan
Apparently, Libyan paid foreign mercenaries (let
me guess, Sudanese ?)are currently rampaging through
Tripoli armed with multi-barrel RPGs,
firing indescrimenately at the crowds.
On a technical note, the RPG is a hand held rocket
launcher without a barrel as such. No doubt Ghaddafi's
mercenaries, wherever they are from, are fighting for
their paychecks and doing horrible damage. This is another
indication that the regime does not trust its own armed
forces and is willing to pay for those with no compunction
in killing Libyans. One wonders if the execs at Blackwater
are making note of this business opportunity.
Paula
2011-02-22 22:50:06 UTC
Permalink
Louis mentions the 'failure of the left to keep up to date with' Libya. It
might be tempting to laugh at the example he gives - a WW report one month
ago saying that in Libya 'the nationalist government has taken control of
the oil and used it for the good of the people'. But we should cry rather
than laugh. That oil wealth has been used, in part, to buy weapons with
which to massacre the people.

The reality about Libya is quite simple. You can find it in its oil
super-profits, its membership of monopoly-capital organization OPEC, and its
imperialist adventures in Africa, as reported here:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/gadhafis-influence-on-africa/article1915484/?from=1915485

Incidentally I hear that Daniel Ortega today telephoned Gadhafi today to
express his solidarity with the Brother Leader.
Let's hope that with these criminal regimes the false illusions of the left
will also soon be history.

Paula
Louis Proyect
2011-02-22 22:54:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
The reality about Libya is quite simple. You can find it in its oil
super-profits, its membership of monopoly-capital organization OPEC, and
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/gadhafis-influence-on-africa/article1915484/?from=1915485
For comrades' information, Paula has an ultra-heterodox definition of
imperialism that is really not worth trying to refute. No Marxist who
has ever lived--to my knowledge--shares her analysis. The idea of an
"imperialist" Libya beggars the imagination.
CallMe Ishmael
2011-02-22 23:19:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis Proyect
For comrades' information, Paula has an ultra-heterodox definition of
imperialism that is really not worth trying to refute. No Marxist who has
ever lived--to my knowledge--shares her analysis. The idea of an
"imperialist" Libya beggars the imagination.
That may be so, but she's dead on in calling out Ortega's support for
Gadhafi. I however am a bit pessimistic about whether "the false
illusions of the left will also soon be history."

Ishmael
Mark Lause
2011-02-22 23:41:34 UTC
Permalink
Well, if everybody decides to use whatever terms they want and to define
them any way they want, we'll never be able to tell whether we're fading
illusions or shifting vocabularies.

ML
Dan
2011-02-23 14:42:27 UTC
Permalink
Recent messages from French/Arabic activist websites indicate that
Gaddafi has selectively released Islamist Salafists from prison and even
"sent them along" to Eastern Libya.

Since Gadaffi claimed yesterday that Eastern Libya had become an
"Al-Quaeda inspired Islamic Emirate", no doubt that he is intent on
achieving a self-prophetized development. By freeing the most
reactionary Islaimist prisoners from jail and possibly arming them,
Gaddafi is determined to cause civil war, taking his queue from Saddam
Hussein's moves, but in a more grotesque fashion (as always with
Gadaffi).
He is deliberately utilising the few remaining days he has in power to
create the conditions for a Libyan civil war, rallyinh his cousins and
his tribe around him, frantically spending every dollar he has left
(before his acounts ins Switzerland are frozen) to employ mercenaries,
using Al Afrikiyya aircrafts to shuttle said mercenaries, using the
secret police to infiltrate extremist pro-Al Quaeda elements and use
them to destabilize Eastern Libya, and, over the past hours, having
lists of pro-Gadaffi loyalist officers appear on state TV and
threatening to murder the families of any officers who defect.
He and his sons and cousins can probably hold out in Sabah and the
Sahara for some time and wage "Bedouin" warfare including indescriminate
attacks on civilians. Gadaffi prophetized an apocalypse, and he is going
to do his utmost to make sure it happens, dragging Libya into civil war
with the help of billions of dollars from oil revenue.
However, he will not succeed ultimately. The coastal cities of Libya
will take over, a new government will be ushered in. But Gadaffi has
probably decided that his best bet lies in continual harassment from
Guerrillas and former security personnel.
Paddy Apling
2011-03-01 20:35:51 UTC
Permalink
Evidently Gaddafi has lost his marbles - and certainly his ability to assess
reality !!

Paddy
http://apling.freeservers.com


-----Original Message-----
From:
marxism-bounces+e.c.apling=btinternet.com at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces+e.c.apling=btinternet.com at greenhouse.economics.utah.
edu] On Behalf Of Dan
Sent: 23 February 2011 2:42 PM
To: e.c.apling at btinternet.com
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Libya

======================================================================
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
======================================================================


Recent messages from French/Arabic activist websites indicate that
Gaddafi has selectively released Islamist Salafists from prison and even
"sent them along" to Eastern Libya.

Since Gadaffi claimed yesterday that Eastern Libya had become an
"Al-Quaeda inspired Islamic Emirate", no doubt that he is intent on
achieving a self-prophetized development. By freeing the most
reactionary Islaimist prisoners from jail and possibly arming them,
Gaddafi is determined to cause civil war, taking his queue from Saddam
Hussein's moves, but in a more grotesque fashion (as always with
Gadaffi).
He is deliberately utilising the few remaining days he has in power to
create the conditions for a Libyan civil war, rallyinh his cousins and
his tribe around him, frantically spending every dollar he has left
(before his acounts ins Switzerland are frozen) to employ mercenaries,
using Al Afrikiyya aircrafts to shuttle said mercenaries, using the
secret police to infiltrate extremist pro-Al Quaeda elements and use
them to destabilize Eastern Libya, and, over the past hours, having
lists of pro-Gadaffi loyalist officers appear on state TV and
threatening to murder the families of any officers who defect.
He and his sons and cousins can probably hold out in Sabah and the
Sahara for some time and wage "Bedouin" warfare including indescriminate
attacks on civilians. Gadaffi prophetized an apocalypse, and he is going
to do his utmost to make sure it happens, dragging Libya into civil war
with the help of billions of dollars from oil revenue.
However, he will not succeed ultimately. The coastal cities of Libya
will take over, a new government will be ushered in. But Gadaffi has
probably decided that his best bet lies in continual harassment from
Guerrillas and former security personnel.


________________________________________________
Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
Set your options at:
http://greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/e.c.apling%40bt
internet.com
Dan
2011-02-23 15:13:41 UTC
Permalink
"What is "Marxism"? If you ask thousand people, you get a million
different answers. Well, "Marxism" is the name which the owner of this
list chose to give is baby. So what?"

At it's core, Marxism is, not the belief but the certainty, that "points
of view" and mentalities are the outcome of social relationships. Change
the social relationships underpinning production and distribution and
you change "Mankind".
And mankind has the potential of changing its destiny, which is not "God
given", and changing the prevailing social relationships.
That is Marxism.
Non-Marxists will insist that "human nature" entails the continued
domination of the strong over the weak. They will then claim that
"MArxism" is a "faith" in the "intrinsic potential within mankind for
universal emancipation", and they will go on to blithely equate this
faith with established religions such as Christianity and Islam. That is
because they do not understand Marxism. They do not understand
dialectics, or the fact that social relationships are not eternally
fixed but are constantly changing.
Lüko Willms
2011-02-23 15:40:06 UTC
Permalink
Dan (d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr) wrote on 2011-02-23 at 16:13:41 in about
Post by Dan
That is Marxism.
for Dan Koechlin.


Cheers,
L?ko Willms
Frankfurt, Germany
--------------------------------
Paula
2011-02-23 16:42:41 UTC
Permalink
Louis wrote:
"The idea of an 'imperialist' Libya beggars the imagination."

That's because the radical left has no imagination. Or logic.
If a European country was doing what Libya is doing, we would call it
imperialism. Therefore, if Libya does it, we should also call it
imperialism.
Or is it our job to make excuses for those guys?

Paula
Louis Proyect
2011-02-23 16:54:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
"The idea of an 'imperialist' Libya beggars the imagination."
That's because the radical left has no imagination. Or logic.
If a European country was doing what Libya is doing, we would call
it imperialism. Therefore, if Libya does it, we should also call
it imperialism.
I think I now understand Paula's confusion. She views
"imperialism" in the same way that young radicals viewed "fascism"
in the 1960's and 70's, as something that bad guys do. Nixon was a
"fascist" because he did Watergate and bombed Vietnam to hell.
"Imperialism" is a question of what "Libya is doing", like
intervening in the Central African Republic on behalf of a dictator.

It occurred to me that there might be a use for the term "fascism"
in the sense of the untutored 60s radicals. For example, I would
regard car alarms and cell phones as fascist, as well as the music
of Elton John and Billy Joel.

Maybe we can use "imperialism" in the same way? Like dog owners
who don't clean up their pet's poop or the commercials for
laxatives on the TV evening news when I am trying to enjoy my dinner.

Down with fascism and imperialism! Long live niceness!
Midhurst14
2011-02-23 17:11:45 UTC
Permalink
Gadaffi plundered Libya's economy
See today's FT
Hardly a benign leader and a robber like Mubarak
George Anthony
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-23 19:13:17 UTC
Permalink
So that the Financial Times, of all sources, shows that Gadaffi
"plundered" his own country?s economy?

Great.

I have not read the FT piece, nor do I need it.

There may be many reasons to be against G. But this one isn?t.

Lev Davidovitch was proud that he had taught urbanity to the Eiffel
Tower (by the times of the Russian Revolution, one of the main media
sources of imperialist France).

Are our comrades, today, on the other side?
Post by Midhurst14
Gadaffi plundered Libya's economy
See today's FT
Hardly a benign leader and a robber like Mubarak
George Anthony
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Louis Proyect
2011-02-23 20:34:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
There may be many reasons to be against G. But this one isn?t.
Haven't you read the material that I posted to the list that
documents the eagerness of Qaddafi to open up the Libyan economy
to BP, Shell and all the rest of the vultures?

You make it seem as if he is Milosevic when he is really Kostunica.
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-23 20:55:05 UTC
Permalink
This was intended as FYEO for Louis, but well, maybe it can be sent to the list.

Inch'Allah.

He can?t be Milo. There has never existed a socialist revolution in
Lybia, dear Louis.

I am not thinking of Milosevic, but of so many L Am presidents who
after agreeing with imperialism were turned down and expelled by
"nationalist" revolts.

You also posted, yesterday, about the Rumanian case.

None of us wants such a poll to offer us similar conclusions in Lybia
some years in the future.

BTW, Gadafi has kept half the Lybian oil in Lybian hands, and stroke
national agreements with its main customer, Italy. This is what makes
it so difficult for the EU to agree on punishing Lybia as Sarkozy
wants.

Anyway, the lesson (a lesson in LA too many people failed to learn in
the past and hope will learn now -I am wary about no less man than
Evo) is that once you sign up with the devil, the devil will try to
cheat and kill you as soon as possible.

In THIS sense, and only in this sense, what is taking place in Lybia
today is the revenge of imperialists for what took place in Egypt
yesterday. This is my take, at least, until further events prove me
wrong.

Not because Fidel has given G his support or understanding. Because
Sarkozy has said what he has said.

Whatever state Lybia had was (in many senses, I repeat) built on sand.
But it was not completely functional to imperialists. They would never
miss the opportunity to ride another people?s wave to topple the head
of that state and turn Lybia into either a lax federation of
sheikhdoms (with Eastern Lybia almost independent) or simply more than
a single state.

There did NOT exist a Lybian nation (not even in the provisional sense
the word "nation" can be applied to a fraction of the Arab peoples)
before Gadafi. There does not exist such a thing even today. But what
exists is too much for besieged imperialists to bear.

As to how besieged they are, just cast a glance on what takes place
near Lybia, in Greece, while we are debating this.
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
There may be many reasons to be against G. But this one isn?t.
Haven't you read the material that I posted to the list that documents the
eagerness of Qaddafi to open up the Libyan economy to BP, Shell and all the
rest of the vultures?
You make it seem as if he is Milosevic when he is really Kostunica.
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Louis Proyect
2011-02-23 21:04:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
I am not thinking of Milosevic, but of so many L Am presidents who
after agreeing with imperialism were turned down and expelled by
"nationalist" revolts.
Look, the people of Libya and the people of Iran have the right to
peacefully protest the government. They also have the right to
publish newspapers that are critical of the government. By taking
the side of the governments against the people we are opposing
some of the bedrock principles of our movement. Karl Marx and
Frederick Engels were deeply involved in the 1848 struggle for
democracy in Europe. This is a new 1848. We have no business
aligning ourselves with despots against the people.
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-23 21:18:22 UTC
Permalink
Dear Louis, there was no imperialism in 1848.

This is not a new 1848.

Or, if it is, then you should place the Lybian situation in the
context of a joint Russian, British and Austro Hungarian attack on
Northern Italy. Where, BTW, there existed a most reactionary regime.
But the Papal States were Saudi Arabia.

Of course democratic rights are paramount. The first democratic right
is the right to national revolution. When the national revolution
strikes agreements with imperialists, there exists a right of
revolutionary militants to criticize those agreements, and to offer a
better solution. But when there is an imperialist attack under
"democratic rights" pretext, things change.

In Spanish we say "Los trapos sucios los lavamos en casa", and "Los de
afuera son de palo" (this is a River Plate saying, which reproduces
the famous watchword by an Uruguayan player during the 1950 football
cup, a black Communist Obdulio Varela by name, who used it to
strengthen the rest of the team during the final, a final that Uruguay
won heroically against Brazil in the Maracan? stadium).
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Louis Proyect
2011-02-23 21:25:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
Of course democratic rights are paramount. The first democratic right
is the right to national revolution. When the national revolution
strikes agreements with imperialists, there exists a right of
revolutionary militants to criticize those agreements, and to offer a
better solution. But when there is an imperialist attack under
"democratic rights" pretext, things change.
How do you have a clue what is going on Benghazi or Tripoli? We
have no idea what the masses in revolt are saying or doing for
that matter. You must adhere to European judicial standards, where
the defendant has to prove his or her innocence before the court.
You declare to Marxmail that they are willing agents of
imperialism without a shred of evidence. Shame on you. You opposed
the right of the East Timorese to have independence. You opposed
the right of the Mapuche to have control over their historic
lands. You support Ahmadinejad against workers and students
fighting for their basic democratic rights.

That is not my idea of Marxism.
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-23 21:39:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
Of course democratic rights are paramount. The first democratic right
is the right to national revolution. When the national revolution
strikes agreements with imperialists, there exists a right of
revolutionary militants to criticize those agreements, and to offer a
better solution. But when there is an imperialist attack under
"democratic rights" pretext, things change.
How do you have a clue what is going on Benghazi or Tripoli? We have no idea
what the masses in revolt are saying or doing for that matter. You must
adhere to European judicial standards, where the defendant has to prove his
or her innocence before the court. You declare to Marxmail that they are
willing agents of imperialism without a shred of evidence. Shame on you. You
opposed the right of the East Timorese to have independence. You opposed the
right of the Mapuche to have control over their historic lands. You support
Ahmadinejad against workers and students fighting for their basic democratic
rights.
I have direct eyewitness reports that at least in Tripoli there was
only shootings, never an air force raid on civilian population. I am
not saying that anyone is a willing agent of imperialism. I only say
that imperialism will mount and is mounting a provocation on the
revolt. You don?t have a clue as to how massive those "masses in
revolt" are, nor do we have a single clue of Lybian history that we
can safely stand on.

In this wave of ignorance, itself a demonstration that something is
rotten in Denmark, I refuse my support to those people who are
attacked by imperialism.

As to East Timor, I keep to my idea: there can be no truly
"independent", not to speak "socialist", East Timor no matter how
"socialist" the leaders of that "independent" state can be as
individual, er, believers. Heavens on Earth can be obtained only on a
global basis, and the fate of East Timor is, if independent, that of a
joint US-UK-Australian semicolony. I wish I was wrong, but I fear I am
not.

As to the mapuche, you are distorting my views: I am FOR their rights
to their lands (but, then, what to say about the tehuelches that were
massacred by the mapuches to grab their land). But I am AGAINST their
right to consider themselves a nation with a right to national
independence.

As to Iran, I have not supported anyone against workers and students
fighting for their democratic rights. I support Iran against
imperialists, even though as an Argentinean I have a lot of things to
tell Ahmadi Nejad, few of them nice (perhaps you don?t know, but
family of mine escaped death or serious injury during the AMIA bomb
strike in Buenos Aires by the narrowest of the threads). Any Iranian
not understanding what the national bourgeois intellectual Scalabrini
Ortiz understood, it is me who doubts of their understanding of
Marxism.
That is not my idea of Marxism.
So be it. I guess we both can get along with that. Last time I
checked, you and I agreed on crucial issues, and I hope this will
happen again. You are an adamant defender of debate within the
socialist community, and this list is a proof of that. This is more
than enough for me. At most, I feel we are family in strong
disagreement.

Sorry, but I have to conjure the ghosts of Kronstadt again. And don?t
tell me Gadaffi is far from a Lenin. THAT, I already know.
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
dave x
2011-02-23 21:45:37 UTC
Permalink
I am no friend of imperialism or imperialist military adventures but
fuck it. If they want to invade the entire Middle East and put it
under direct military occupation... that -would- be one way to break
their back. It would be insanely stupid and they know it, which is why
they aren't about to try. I will oppose imperialist military
intervention when and if it happens but this has nothing to do with
the issue of support for the revolutions and revolutionary peoples in
Libya and elsewhere. Their demands are just and democratic and to deny
them is to deny the very spirit of communism, it is to deny the blood
of all those who have died for it and the blood of those who are dying
right now under Gaddafi's bombs and machetes. In any case Gaddafi is
dead. A walking zombie. A nothing. There is no support for him now. He
will not survive this. He is irrelevant except as a butcher of his own
people, an obscenity on the face of humanity.
-dave
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-23 22:16:00 UTC
Permalink
OK. That?s a declaration by Dave. I will make mine:.

I oppose imperialist adventures even when they are on the making.When
they begin, it is too late.

While we are splitting hairs, Obama is speaking.

And speaking of democratic rights, Dave, don?t you think that the
right to oppose an imperialist attack is among the first and foremost
democratic right a socialist should support? It seems me you don?t. I
do. Probably because I don?t want such a thing to happen to my own
people. Call me national bourgeois. Have you ever suffered a military
occupation by imperialism? I have suffered a long military occupation
by their proxies, LOCAL proxies. I don?t wish it to any of my
socialist friends.
======================================================================
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
======================================================================
I am no friend of imperialism or imperialist military adventures but
fuck it. If they want to invade the entire Middle East and put it
under direct military occupation... that -would- be one way to break
their back. It would be insanely stupid and they know it, which is why
they aren't about to try. I will oppose imperialist military
intervention when and if it happens but this has nothing to do with
the issue of support for the revolutions and revolutionary peoples in
Libya and elsewhere. Their demands are just and democratic and to deny
them is to deny the very spirit of communism, it is to deny the blood
of all those who have died for it and the blood of those who are dying
right now under Gaddafi's bombs and machetes. In any case Gaddafi is
dead. A walking zombie. A nothing. There is no support for him now. He
will not survive this. He is irrelevant except as a butcher of his own
people, an obscenity on the face of humanity.
-dave
________________________________________________
Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
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--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
dave x
2011-02-23 22:59:14 UTC
Permalink
Yes of course I support the right to defend against imperialist
attack. But you are defending something undefendable (Gaddafi) from
something probably unreal (an imminent imperialist invasion). What
you, in Argentina (yes?), call a long military occupation by local
proxies, I would call globalized neoliberal capitalism. I have got
that up where I live too. Maybe not as bad for me as for you, at least
yet, but it sucks (I don't deny all distinction between core and
periphery, but capitalism is very dynamic, it has changed in certain
respects and this has implications for how we think about
imperialism). I am all for ending it. I think that is defacto what the
people of Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East are trying
courageously to do. I think it is important to support them. For their
sake. For my own sake.
-dave
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
OK. That?s a declaration by Dave. I will make mine:.
I oppose imperialist adventures even when they are on the making.When
they begin, it is too late.
While we are splitting hairs, Obama is speaking.
And speaking of democratic rights, Dave, don?t you think that the
right to oppose an imperialist attack is among the first and foremost
democratic right a socialist should support? It seems me you don?t. I
do. Probably because I don?t want such a thing to happen to my own
people. Call me national bourgeois. Have you ever suffered a military
occupation by imperialism? I have suffered a long military occupation
by their proxies, LOCAL proxies. I don?t wish it to any of my
socialist friends.
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-23 23:42:37 UTC
Permalink
I am not defending a person.
======================================================================
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
======================================================================
Yes of course I support the right to defend against imperialist
attack. But you are defending something undefendable (Gaddafi) from
something probably unreal (an imminent imperialist invasion). What
you, in Argentina (yes?), c
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Midhurst14
2011-02-23 17:21:48 UTC
Permalink
Marxism is method of thought
Always go to the root of a problem
In other words, dialectical and historical materialism
Where all events are connected and arise from the previous
George Anthony
Leonardo Kosloff
2011-02-23 21:47:02 UTC
Permalink
Well, I was about to chastise Louis for castigating Dan for responding to a thread on Kronstadt which had been actually started by Gorojovsky

and which of course had nothing to do with what's going on in Lybia (like the other 20+ posts he posted since yesterday), except Gorojovsky's

clarification to the world that he is far from supporting "popular" Gadhafi and far from siding with imperialism, that is, that he stands nowhere

close to socialism, except for the "cudgel brandishing" true revolution type.

But I see Moderator is slowly coming to his senses....success.

Seriously though, the Gorojovsky is cluttering the list with totally unrelated bullshit.
Ralph Johansen
2011-02-24 00:30:21 UTC
Permalink
N?stor Gorojovsky wrote

Dave, don?t you think that the right to oppose an imperialist attack is
among the first and foremost democratic right a socialist should support?
----------------------------
I hope no one here is setting up priority ducks without considering more
carefully what's happening in Libya.

We hear of Libyan government planes and helicopters strafing Libyan
people; of all except government-controlled media being ruthlessly
suppressed, a calculated risk, since it exposes them to suspicion and
rumor as much as or more than it conceals nefarious actions; of Gaddafi
characterizing protesters as hired drugged rats and foreign-controlled
traitors -- while what is getting out strongly indicates a massacre is
taking place under cover of blackout, including house-to-house searches
in Tripoli and environs, use of snipers, tanks and outsize cannon and
even obscure reports of use of napalm. We hear of a dictator who has
recently cut deals with BP, British-Dutch Shell and Italian ENI to haul
massive profits out of Libya, while the CIA Factbook reports that
unemployment as of 2010 in Libya stands at 30%. We hear the tyrant's son
and the tyrant himself admitting that their army are killing people,
with reports of mercenaries involved, and that could plausibly mean
hundreds or thousands of people. We hear that the Gaddafi family are
rolling in stolen billions, are exclusively in control of large sectors
of the local economy and are arranging a dynastic succession with no
regard whatsoever for the input of the rest of the Libyans. Also that
some of their military and diplomatic personnel are defecting, and that
Gaddafi's daughter has been flown out of the country.

On the other hand, Gaddafi invites (all of a sudden) independent
outsiders to come in and have a look around.

On the socioeconomic side and In possible mitigation, I also notice
this, from an undated website which I can't vouch for called the
Encyclopedia of Nations
http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Africa/Libya-POVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html:

"The living standards of Libyans have improved significantly since the
1970s, ranking the country among the highest in Africa. Urbanization,
developmental projects, and high oil revenues have enabled the Libyan
government to elevate its people's living standards. The social and
economic status of women and children has particularly improved. Various
subsidized or free services (health, education, housing, and basic
foodstuffs) have ensured basic necessities. The low percentage of people
without access to safe water (3 percent), health services (0 percent)
and sanitation (2 percent), and a relatively high life expectancy (70.2
years) in 1998 indicate the improved living standards. Adequate health
care and subsidized foodstuffs have sharply reduced infant mortality,
from 105 per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 20 per 1,000 live births in
1998. The government also subsidizes education, which is compulsory and
free between the ages of 6 and 15. The expansion of educational
facilities has elevated the literacy rate (78.1 in 1998). There are
universities in Tripoli, Benghazi, Marsa el-Brega, Misurata, Sebha, and
Tobruq. Despite its successes, the educational system has failed to
train adequate numbers of professionals, resulting in Libya's dependency
on foreign teachers, doctors, and scientists.

"Many direct and indirect subsidies and free services have helped raise
the economic status of low-income families, a policy which has prevented
extreme poverty. As part of its socialist model of economic development,

*GDP per Capita (US$) *
*Country * *1996 * *1997 * *1998 * *1999 * *2000 *
Libya N/A 6,700 6,700 7,900 8,900
United States 28,600 30,200 31,500 33,900 36,200
Egypt 2,900 4,400 2,850 3,000 3,600
Algeria 4,000 4,000 4,600 4,700 5,500
Note: Data are estimates.
*SOURCE: * /Handbook of the Nations / , 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th
editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA /World Factbook 2001 /
[Online] for 2000 data.

the Libyan government has weakened the private sector and confined it to
mainly small-scale businesses. While this policy has damaged the Libyan
economy significantly, it has also prevented the accumulation of wealth
by a small percentage of the population. While the ruling elite (i.e.,
top civil servants, military officers, and politicians), enjoys much
higher living standards compared to average Libyans, and corruption
exists within its ranks, Libya is not a highly polarized society divided
between extremes of wealth and poverty.

"Read more: Libya Poverty and wealth, Information about Poverty and
wealth in Libya
<http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Africa/Libya-POVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html#ixzz1EpBiy1QD>
http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Africa/Libya-POVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html#ixzz1EpBiy1QD"
<http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Africa/Libya-POVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html#ixzz1EpBiy1QD>


.........

Without objective information on the ground available, it's difficult to
know what is actually taking place there. What seems obvious is that
there's large-scale hatred of the regime, especially in the eastern
sector of Libya, that many have been moved to action by events nearby,
that significant areas of the country have slipped from government
control, and that this nation for at least the recent period of middle
east revolt has been in lockdown - a very obvious sign of repression and
prima facie evidence that those who control the flow of information are
in a very vulnerable position, even among their own people, and that
they have much to conceal.

I'm disappointed but not too surprised that Daniel Ortega is mouthing
support for Gaddafi, nor that Fidel is cautious and Chavez is silent.
Not only do they have their own fish to fry and plausible reasons for
wanting continuation of likely stable alliances with the Gaddafi regime,
but also Gaddafi has in the past made all the right populist noises and
thumbed his nose at imperialist power, on behalf as well of many
progressive leaders of poorer countries similarly situated; and the
opportunity for nefarious activity by the oil guzzlers is certainly
there, and could not only result in savage mayhem among the poor in the
region but could destabilize arrangements among the oil producers
everywhere and strife in the third world more generally.

It seems to me, however, that overt acts such as an invasion, even by
NATO, would further exacerbate uncontrollable rage all over the middle
east, and that the suits and uniforms in the imperialist countries are
factoring this into their machinations. So they come off with pious
finger-wagging instead for the time being and, in the same manner as
they're reacting to events in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, so also with
respect to Libya they're watching and waiting and searching for a
favorable entry point, some exploitable event that could gain popular
domestic consensus or tacit assent, that could be characterized as
bloodletting or disorder and chaos, from which to pursue their own
interests in maintaining control of stable access to middle east energy
- or at least to minimize the damage which could follow from some
measurable loss of control.

We can only hope that by now the aroused working classes all over will
also be aware of the labyrinthian, complicated games played in this
context and will be able to produce accountable leaders who are capable
of maneuvering beyond these age-old adversaries.
Matthew Russo
2011-02-24 01:22:56 UTC
Permalink
LOL, Nestor, you make this sound like Der Untergang des Imperialismus, with
Obama and the gang hunkered down in the Fuhrerbunker preparing for their
last stand while torching Germany out of spite. An interesting contrast to
Tariq Ali's pessimism, though.

------------------------------
Anyway, the lesson (a lesson in LA too many people failed to learn in
the past and hope will learn now -I am wary about no less man than
Evo) is that once you sign up with the devil, the devil will try to
cheat and kill you as soon as possible.

In THIS sense, and only in this sense, what is taking place in Lybia
today is the revenge of imperialists for what took place in Egypt
yesterday. This is my take, at least, until further events prove me
wrong.

Not because Fidel has given G his support or understanding. Because
Sarkozy has said what he has said.

Whatever state Lybia had was (in many senses, I repeat) built on sand.
But it was not completely functional to imperialists. They would never
miss the opportunity to ride another people?s wave to topple the head
of that state and turn Lybia into either a lax federation of
sheikhdoms (with Eastern Lybia almost independent) or simply more than
a single state.

There did NOT exist a Lybian nation (not even in the provisional sense
the word "nation" can be applied to a fraction of the Arab peoples)
before Gadafi. There does not exist such a thing even today. But what
exists is too much for besieged imperialists to bear.

As to how besieged they are, just cast a glance on what takes place
near Lybia, in Greece, while we are debating this.
------------------------------

Don't think imperialism is under siege in the present. Now, if the Greek
working class were to topple the parliamentary regime, and in doing so
topple the real dictatorship of capital just as the Egyptians toppled the
formal dictator Mubarak (without as yet ending the imperialist backed
regime, much less the dictatorship of capital), and this moreover in a
"democratic" EU country, then I'd say that the siege upon a retreating
imperialism may have begun. But in the Greek situation I have seen no sign
that this is not just another Big General Strike with a few street antics
thrown in by a movement that refuses to recognize that the task now is to
overthrow the bourgeois democracy and take power directly into the hands of
the worker's organizations as the only way to bring an end to the austerity.
Anything short of that is a farce. Please prove me wrong here, I'd love it!

But I am not so pessimistic (as with Tariq Ali) concerning the Arab Middle
East, including Libya, for if this is really a revolutionary situation -
apparently Ali thinks not - then as the stock-jobbers say, "The past is no
indicator of future performance", and a variety of very different outcomes
is possible, despite the dead weight of Nasser's' military caste.

-Matt
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-24 01:30:24 UTC
Permalink
Of course, I am not speaking of formal siege. That is something of the
past, on global terms, BTW.

I am speaking of some US attorney general predicating live ammo
against US citizens.

For Whoever?s sake, folks, can?t you see that, at least?

As to how do I make the whole thing sound, well, that was not my intention.
Post by Matthew Russo
Don't think imperialism is under siege in the present.
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Paula
2011-02-24 18:13:30 UTC
Permalink
Louis wrote:
"I think I now understand Paula's confusion. She views "imperialism" in the
same way that young radicals viewed "fascism" in the 1960's and 70's, as
something that bad guys do".

Louis is right. Imperialism isn't essentially about bad guys; it's an
economic and political system. The system involves each competing
nation-state searching for super-profits in order to buy off a section of
the population and acquire influence, and more profits, abroad. Thanks to
oil, it's what Libya does, what Venezuela does, what Saudi Arabia does, what
Iran does, what Norway does.

Confused about Telesur's pro-Gadhafi propaganda? Don't be. Alliances and
conflicts between imperialists aren't, fundamentally, a matter of
ideological principle. They're a matter of economic and political interests,
which make and unmake the strangest bedfellows. Today Gadhafi sleeps with
Chavez and Berlusconi, tomorrow he might get kicked out of bed. But Louis is
right. This isn't about bad guys. It's about the needs of Libyan capital,
Venezuelan capital, Italian capital.

There's an imperialist attack going on in Libya right now. It's Libyan
imperialism attacking its 'own' people.

Paula
Louis Proyect
2011-02-24 18:27:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
Louis is right. Imperialism isn't essentially about bad guys; it's
an economic and political system. The system involves each
competing nation-state searching for super-profits in order to buy
off a section of the population and acquire influence, and more
profits, abroad. Thanks to oil, it's what Libya does, what
Venezuela does, what Saudi Arabia does, what Iran does, what
Norway does.
Libya GDP in 2009: $62.36 billion
Norway GDP 2009: $272.3 billion
Exxon revenues 2009: $442.85 billion
Tom Cod
2011-02-24 18:30:55 UTC
Permalink
I think Paula really is confused. semi-colonial countries or countries
emerging from that shadow, regardless of what we might think about their
regimes are not imperialist, imperialism being as Lenin defined it, the
dictatorship of finance capital of the big imperial powers. Libya and
Venezuela are not imperialist powers, regardless of whether they are run by
bad guys or not. They do not have foreign countries and peoples under their
sway; they never had colonies and do not have a global empire they preside
over. Quite the opposite. That does not mean we should apologize for the
repression of their people by the regimes they do have.
Post by Paula
There's an imperialist attack going on in Libya right now. It's Libyan
imperialism attacking its 'own' people.
Paula
Dan
2011-02-25 19:01:01 UTC
Permalink
Weel, as was foreseeable, M. Gh(with a laryngical VOICED consonant,
actually sounds like K to non-trained ears)addafi has sent shockwaves
throughout the left-wing world who were too silly to understand that
propaganda by a strongman does not automatically equate with "people's
power".

I might need all the posts I'm allowed, so I will answer many posts at
once :

1) Telesur sees "nothing wrong" in Tripoli.
"resident of Tripoli has emailed the BBC's Arabic Service: "Mercenary
forces are collecting the bodies of those killed from the streets and
from the hospitals. They are using trucks. We don't know where they are
talking them. They are doing this to conceal any evidence of their crime
from the world. Because sooner or later, the media will come in."
"The Libyan Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbaschi, tells the
French AFP that he has information that mercenaries loyal to Col Gaddafi
have been loading the bodies of people killed in Tripoli on planes. He
says they are then taken to the desert near the town of Sirte, where
they are being dumped."

Most "independant" (read Red Cross) estimates now put the number of
people killed at around 2 000.

Plus numerous reports coming in that pro-Gaddafi forces have hastily
erased all anti-Gadaffi slogans from the walls and "whitewashed" the
People's assembly (parliament) building gutted by fire.

And TELESUR saw "nothing out of the ordinary" in Western Libya ?
"Nothing out of the ordinary" as reports come in suggesting most
medium-sized towns around Triploi have seen bloody clashes all day ?
TELESUR, the Venezuelian Channel, sees "nothing out of the ordinary" ?

2) Interestingly enough, popular comittees are running the eastern
cities of Libya and are attempting to coordinate their actions. That's
the one good thing that came out of Ghaddaffi (/Gaddaffi), people's
assemblies are tools ready to be used by genuine ... people. For the
time being, each city's local council is ensuring the arrival of food
and supllies (Eastward road from Egypt), that local electricty plants
are working and providing for their local defnse needs by having army
units and anti-Gaddafi fighters organize themselves into a coherent
local defense militia.
Socialism is an accepted idea, as all citizens are aware that they get
their wealth from oil, and that the proceeds of such wealth should come
back to the people.
So despite all the flux of civil war, the citizens of Libya have got two
ideas clearly in head : a) local government answerable to the people and
b) ownership of the billions of dollars of proceeds from oil.
They feel Gaddafi failed them on both a) and b). But, alas, once a new
pro-Western government comes into place, they will once again be
deprived from a) and b). But maybe that's why there is so much chaos in
Libya, as the people do have a pretty good idea of a) and b) and will
not be relinquishing their weapons soon.
Libya is going to become a very interesting focus of world attention.
Dan
2011-02-25 19:45:11 UTC
Permalink
Gadaffi has got literally billions of dollars (3 or 4 billion dollars ?)
at hand, stolen from Libya and earmarked for such a contingency.

At the present time, he can count on 5 out of the 7 "popular Jamaat
brigades" to obey him. He is trying to bribe the population by
announcing a sudden 150% increase in wages. He can also count on the
Chad rebels he has so tenderly showered with money over the last few
decades.

All that money (Libya is currently offering to pay ANY mercenary 16 000
dollars), all those weapons will ensure that Gadaffi, if he is no fool,
will arrange to slowly retreat southwards and into the desert. That
would be the wisest thing to do, because from the desert he could mount
guerrilla operations and bribe Al Quaeda in Maghreb and tribal leaders.

If, on the other hand, he really is deranged, and is suffering from a
"Hitler complex", then he will stage his last stand in Tripoli. The
battle for Tripoli will last several weeks, as suburb after suburb falls
into rebel hands, and Gadaffi will be left with a raggle-taggle army of
fanatics, youth organizations, foreign mercenaries and elements from the
Khamis brigade to hold his Tripoli compound.
Dan
2011-02-25 21:33:03 UTC
Permalink
OK, according to the most recent news out of Libya, the regime has
decided upon a "last stand in Tripoli" scenario.

The country is now firmly divided between East and West.

Gadaffi has invited foreign journalists, including the BBC to come to
Tripoli.
"More from the BBC's Jeremy Bowen in Tripoli, who was invited there by
the Libyan authorities. He said that on arrival, he and his team
received a briefing by a man who said he was an engineer recently
returned from Italy. The man said there would be some gunfire in the
city but that the situation was under control apart from some people
"causing trouble"."

Other reports suggest that the secret police has been suddenly told to
stop shredding incriminating paper trails.

My own hunch is that more "defections" will be forthcoming as Gadaffi,
his sons and cousins have clearly signaled their intention to hold on to
Tripoli. Any clear-thinking secret police operative will see the writing
on the wall at this point.

Very soon, Gaddafi will be unable to supply food to the population of
Tripoli, despite his generous increase of all wages by 150%. He is
making sure, however, that he will be able to rant and rave until the
end.

A "no-fly zone" is becoming futile, as Gaddafi can't even hold on to
Zahwaa and Misrati. Fighter jets might come in handy to stop an armed
column progressing from Benghazi, but that hasn't materialized yet.
Helicopter gunships, on the other hand, are still Gadaffi's best asset.
It's now down to a war of attrition, with pro- and anti-gadaffi forces
clashing in Western Libya, the whole Sate security apparatus crumbling.
Western powers however will probably mount military operations to
evacuate their respective citizens out of the country.
In the coming days, if foreign nationals are left stranded for a long
period of time, we will probably see mounting pressure on Imperialist
forces to get their citizens aboard military aircrafts.
How Gadaffi will react in the end is anybody's guess. I still don't
understand why this "proud son of the bedouin tent" does not prepare a
retreat to the desert. It would be much more "in character" than an
episode of urban warfare.
Paula
2011-02-26 00:52:49 UTC
Permalink
Tom wrote:
"Libya and Venezuela are not imperialist powers ... They do not have foreign
countries and peoples under their sway; they never had colonies and do not
have a global empire they preside over."

Norway doesn't have colonies or a global empire. New Zealand doesn't have
colonies or a global empire. Germany doesn't have colonies or a global
empire. So by Tom's logic these are not imperialist powers, either.

Louis wrote:
"Libya GDP in 2009: $62.36 billion
Norway GDP 2009: $272.3 billion"

Take a look at the GDP figures calculated by purchasing power parity (PPP).
You'll find that Norway's GDP is smaller than Venezuela's. By Louis's logic,
then, Venezuela is an imperialist power, but Norway isn't.

Figures here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)

Paula
Louis Proyect
2011-02-26 01:35:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
"Libya GDP in 2009: $62.36 billion
Norway GDP 2009: $272.3 billion"
Take a look at the GDP figures calculated by purchasing power parity
(PPP). You'll find that Norway's GDP is smaller than Venezuela's. By
Louis's logic, then, Venezuela is an imperialist power, but Norway isn't.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)
You really seem to have no interest in the rise of Europe and its role
in the subjugation and super-exploitation of Africa, Latin America and
Asia. In the case of Venezuela, you have had mineral extraction and
export agriculture for its entire history. With Norway, you have
industries that use the raw materials of places like Venezuela, Chile,
Congo and the Philippines.

For you history seems to have begun about 3 months ago and your sole
interest is in poring over the entrails of such graphs as cited above.
Your attempt to equate Venezuela and Norway is blithely innocent of
social realities, like how people live in Caracas versus Oslo. It is
like talking about New York City without being able to distinguish
between the South Bronx and the Upper East Side.

My mistake was even reducing myself to this level.
Joaquín Bustelo
2011-02-26 07:50:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
Take a look at the GDP figures calculated by purchasing power parity
(PPP). You'll find that Norway's GDP is smaller than Venezuela's. By
Louis's logic, then, Venezuela is an imperialist power, but Norway isn't.
I sometimes ask myself, why in the last year or two you find it so
increasingly difficult to even READ political stuff, never mind to write?

Then I come across a post like this, and it demonstrates yet again that
there are entire oceans full of utterly mediocre, worthless science
fiction that I haven't read yet, or not reread, at least not since last
Tuesday, that are infinitely superior to this kind of crap.

Joaquin
johnedmundson
2011-02-26 01:35:00 UTC
Permalink
That "second tier" of Western countries like Norway or New Zealand are
imperialist because they form part of the system of imperialism and they benefit
from a share of the take of imperialism. Countries like Venezuela or Libya are
the targets of imperialism. Raw comparisons of GDP or GNP, or trying to find an
imperial colony tells only a small part of the story, even though that
information is itself important and relevant.

But it's like looking at someone's wages and declaring a well paid skilled
worker to be a capitalist because they're "rich" but a small scale and
unsuccessful capitalist as a worker because their income is small. There are
plenty of capitalists who are not taking home much income and there are workers
on good salaries. Yet those facts don't affect their objective class position,
though it may well impact on their (especially the high paid workers') class
consciousness.

New Zealand has had direct imperial colonies in the past, and has even
perpetrated its own massacre (in Samoa). But primarily, it is part of the
imperialist world because it has a highly advanced capitalist economy and is
able to participate in the extraction of wealth from the less developed world.

Venezuela and Libya, while disproportionately wealthier than similar countries
due to their wealth, have not been able to move into the imperialist camp.
Cheers,
John
Michael Smith
2011-02-26 01:44:38 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 26 Feb 2011 14:35:00 +1300 (NZDT)
Post by johnedmundson
But it's like looking at someone's wages and declaring a well paid
skilled worker to be a capitalist because they're "rich" but a small
scale and unsuccessful capitalist as a worker because their income is
small.
The error goes deeper still -- in imagining that "capitalist" and
"proletarian" are categories that apply to *individuals*.
--
--

Michael J. Smith
mjs at smithbowen.net

http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org
http://www.cars-suck.org
http://fakesprogress.blogspot.com
johnedmundson
2011-02-26 01:49:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by johnedmundson
Venezuela and Libya, while disproportionately wealthier than similar countries
due to their wealth, have not been able to move into the imperialist camp.
Of course what this nonsensical sentence was supposed to say was "...due to
their *oil* wealth..."

Countries like Norway get raw materials from countries like Libya or Venezuela.
New Zealand is a little different because although our government hypes the
importance of innovative tech companies like Weta Digital (a movie special
effects firm), our economy is underpinned by a raw materials extraction industry
- dairy farming. But just like the wool/sheepmeat industries it has supplanted,
NZ's dairy industry is a highly advanced and capital intensive operation.
Fonterra, the NZ Dairy Farmers' Producer cooperative, is the largest dairy trade
in the world and NZ dairying interests are continually investing throughout the
world, including in Uruguay and China.

Having said that, there are Marxists in New Zealand who think they are living in
a semi-colony. I suspect if they actually went and lived in one for a while they
might start to see the difference.
Cheers,
John
Paddy Apling
2011-03-02 18:59:46 UTC
Permalink
This thread just shows the problems arising from making assessments based on
statistics instead of a class analysis !!

Paddy

-----Original Message-----
From:
marxism-bounces+e.c.apling=btinternet.com at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces+e.c.apling=btinternet.com at greenhouse.economics.utah.
edu] On Behalf Of johnedmundson at paradise.net.nz
Sent: 26 February 2011 1:49 AM
To: e.c.apling at btinternet.com
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Libya

======================================================================
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
======================================================================
Post by johnedmundson
Venezuela and Libya, while disproportionately wealthier than similar countries
due to their wealth, have not been able to move into the imperialist camp.
Of course what this nonsensical sentence was supposed to say was "...due to
their *oil* wealth..."

Countries like Norway get raw materials from countries like Libya or
Venezuela.
New Zealand is a little different because although our government hypes the
importance of innovative tech companies like Weta Digital (a movie special
effects firm), our economy is underpinned by a raw materials extraction
industry
- dairy farming. But just like the wool/sheepmeat industries it has
supplanted,
NZ's dairy industry is a highly advanced and capital intensive operation.
Fonterra, the NZ Dairy Farmers' Producer cooperative, is the largest dairy
trade
in the world and NZ dairying interests are continually investing throughout
the
world, including in Uruguay and China.

Having said that, there are Marxists in New Zealand who think they are
living in
a semi-colony. I suspect if they actually went and lived in one for a while
they
might start to see the difference.
Cheers,
John

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dave x
2011-03-02 19:14:12 UTC
Permalink
Nothing wrong with statistics. What it shows is pedantry, lack of
imagination and inability to grasp the big picture.
-dave
Post by Paddy Apling
This thread just shows the problems arising from making assessments based on
statistics instead of a class analysis !!
baba.aye
2011-03-06 13:30:31 UTC
Permalink
I wholly agree with Dave here. Statistics, situated within the broader living picture of the dynamics of social classes' interactions & engagements are actually sauce for the meal of class analyses. To think mere recourse to stats would make any sense though is to lose the life of such analyses.

This might be particularly so for class analyses but also affects vulgar social sciences as the responses to the British queen's question on why bourgeois economists could not foresee the Great Recession.

Baba
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

-----Original Message-----
From: dave x <dave.xx at gmail.com>
Sender: marxism-bounces+baba.aye=gmail.com at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 11:14:12
To: <baba.aye at gmail.com>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
<marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Libya

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Nothing wrong with statistics. What it shows is pedantry, lack of
imagination and inability to grasp the big picture.
-dave
Post by Paddy Apling
This thread just shows the problems arising from making assessments based on
statistics instead of a class analysis !!
________________________________________________
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Suresh
2011-02-26 02:02:25 UTC
Permalink
One issue which puzzles me is the continued persistence of the assumption that
the same group of countries that was imperialist a hundred years ago still
exclusively comprises the imperialist world today. I can't imagine Lenin or
Marx, having such a cramped imagination or understanding as to insist that New
Zealand is imperialist, but that no non-white nations aside from Japan can be
even considered for such a designation. I have the sense that there's a dawning
recognition that China is stepping into imperialist shoes, especially in Africa,
but I wouldn't be surprised to see that still debated about a generation hence.

Here's a question: can a country be considered industrialized or developed and
*not* be imperialist? If not, then de facto, a whole group of nations are either
already newly imperialist or are about to become as such. And if so, then the
question of living standards and the exploitation of the global South has to go
by the wayside to a certain extent.
Matthew Russo
2011-02-26 10:40:50 UTC
Permalink
The term "sub-imperial" has been in use for some time to fill in some of the
gaps. But in fact the composition of the core imperialist countries has
remained pretty stable. The key sub-imperialist countries are comprised by
the BRICs.

I don't really understand the question. A key, necessary feature of
imperialism is an effective monopoly on the global means of production,
which is why it appears that a "developed, industrialized" country is also
always in the imperialist camp.

-Matt

"One issue which puzzles me is the continued persistence of the assumption
that
the same group of countries that was imperialist a hundred years ago still
exclusively comprises the imperialist world today. I can't imagine Lenin or
Marx, having such a cramped imagination or understanding as to insist that
New
Zealand is imperialist, but that no non-white nations aside from Japan can
be
even considered for such a designation. I have the sense that there's a
dawning
recognition that China is stepping into imperialist shoes, especially in
Africa,
but I wouldn't be surprised to see that still debated about a generation
hence.

"Here's a question: can a country be considered industrialized or developed
and
*not* be imperialist? If not, then de facto, a whole group of nations are
either
already newly imperialist or are about to become as such. And if so, then
the
question of living standards and the exploitation of the global South has to
go
by the wayside to a certain extent."
Paula
2011-02-27 22:50:56 UTC
Permalink
John wrote:
?New Zealand has had direct imperial colonies in the past, and has even perpetrated its own massacre (in Samoa).?

That?s not a ?global empire?. It?s about regional influence, which Libya also has, including in military terms. Take a look again at this map:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/gadhafis-influence-on-africa/article1915484/?from=1915485

Louis wrote:
?In the case of Venezuela, you have had mineral extraction and export agriculture for its entire history. With Norway, you have industries that use the raw materials of places like Venezuela, Chile, Congo and the Philippines.?

Actually, manufacturing makes up a greater proportion of GDP in Venezuela than in Norway:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ind_man_val_add_cur_us_pergdp-added-current-us-per-gdp

So once again Louis proves that Venezuela is imperialist, but Norway isn?t. And where do Venezuelan manufacturers import their materials from? Perhaps one of the many Venezuela experts on this list can tell us.

Borhyaenid wrote:
?One issue which puzzles me is the continued persistence of the assumption that the same group of countries that was imperialist a hundred years ago still exclusively comprises the imperialist world today?.

Congratulations, you have the kind of critical spirit the left desperately needs. And let?s take it a step further. Who says an imperialist nation has to be ?developed? or ?advanced?? Remember the ?exceptional backwardness? of Russia under the last czar.

Paula
Louis Proyect
2011-02-27 22:56:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ind_man_val_add_cur_us_pergdp-added-current-us-per-gdp
Paula, you fixate on these graphs like you have OCD.

Do yourself a favor and read something like Galeano's "Open Veins of
Latin America" or Walter Rodney's "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa".

Bye.
johnedmundson
2011-02-28 02:00:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
Post by Paula
?New Zealand has had direct imperial colonies in the past, and has even
perpetrated its own massacre (in Samoa).?
That?s not a ?global empire?. It?s about regional influence, which Libya also
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/gadhafis-influence-
on-africa/article1915484/?from=1915485
Russia only had a regional empire too before the revolution. Fascist Italy only
had regional influence too. It just doesn't work to think in such mechanistic
ways. We have to be able to look at the whole picture.

Russia inherited its empire from its feudal past. If it hadn't had it back then,
it never would have been able to compete due to its backwardness.

New Zealand gets first world prices for its primary products (coal and dairy).
Australia gets first world prices for its mineral exports. The workers working
in those industries get 1st world wages (especially in Australia), and the
workers working in them are primarily Australians and New Zealanders. The
economies of both countries are 1st world economies. The same can be said for
Norway. In Libya on the other hand, the oil industry is significantly operated
by expats from 1st world countries and the vast bulk of Libyans don't even get
the trickle-down. The latter was also true in Venezuela, although under Chavez,
a significant part of the oil revenue is funding development, health etc.

I really don't see how anyone could confuse Libya, which has only shared a bit
of its oil wealth around since Gaddafi came to power, and increasingly less
since his rapprochement with the West, with highly developed and industrialised
1st world countries like Norway.

Louis wrote:
?In the case of Venezuela, you have had mineral extraction and export
agriculture for its entire history. With Norway, you have industries that use
the raw materials of places like Venezuela, Chile, Congo and the Philippines.?

Actually, manufacturing makes up a greater proportion of GDP in Venezuela than
in Norway:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ind_man_val_add_cur_us_pergdp-added-current-us-per-gdp

And if you went and stood in a typical manufacturing plant in Venezuela for a
few minutes and then compared that to one in Norway, you'd stop making those
comparisons. Or if you tried living on a Venezuelan's wage in Oslo.
Cheers,
John
Juan Fajardo
2011-02-28 02:30:49 UTC
Permalink
Even his famous "voluptuous blonde" Ukrainian nurse has now abandoned him.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/27/libya-muammar-gaddafi-nurse-ukraine
--
- Juan
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-28 12:55:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by johnedmundson
if you went and stood in a typical manufacturing plant in Venezuela for a
few minutes and then compared that to one in Norway, you'd stop making those
comparisons. Or if you tried living on a Venezuelan's wage in Oslo.
Cheers,
John
This is the main issue at stake. The wage/labor conditions fence or
rather wall, stronger and taller than any other fence or wall, mark
the limits. I agree.
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Joseph Catron
2011-02-28 13:22:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by johnedmundson
if you went and stood in a typical manufacturing plant in Venezuela for a
Post by johnedmundson
few minutes and then compared that to one in Norway, you'd stop making
those
Post by johnedmundson
comparisons. Or if you tried living on a Venezuelan's wage in Oslo.
This is the main issue at stake. The wage/labor conditions fence or
rather wall, stronger and taller than any other fence or wall, mark
the limits. I agree.
Perhaps someone can prove me wrong, but I instinctively suspect that
national wage and labor standards exist on a more-or-less continuous scale,
or perhaps a bell curve, rather than as a set of fixed, distinctive
categories. Am I completely mistaken? Either way, what would John, N?stor,
or anyone else who cares to answer, propose as the definitive lines dividing
these camps?

And Venezuela vs. Norway is too easy. Anyone will imagine themselves to see
what you're pointing out, whether it's actually there or not. Use your
standards to determine the countries at the bottom of the imperialist set
and the top of the semi-colonial one, or to just pick a couple near these
positions, and then to explain the crucial differences between them, and
I'll be impressed.
--
"Hige sceal ?e heardra, heorte ?e cenre, mod sceal ?e mare, ?e ure m?gen
lytla?."
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-28 13:34:57 UTC
Permalink
The so called "continuous scale" is a political one. While there is
full freedom for capital movement, there is no freedom for workforce
movement. And political control always runs from the center on the
peripheries, not the other way round.

The day a Lybian army supports a puppet Lybian governmente in
Washington, and wages in Lybia are thus enforced as higher than those
in New York city, with capital flows between both countries allowed
and workforce movements restricted down to zero, we can begin to speak
of "continuous scales".
======================================================================
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======================================================================
Post by johnedmundson
if you went and stood in a typical manufacturing plant in Venezuela for a
Post by johnedmundson
few minutes and then compared that to one in Norway, you'd stop making
those
Post by johnedmundson
comparisons. Or if you tried living on a Venezuelan's wage in Oslo.
This is the main issue at stake. The wage/labor conditions fence or
rather wall, stronger and taller than any other fence or wall, mark
the limits. I agree.
Perhaps someone can prove me wrong, but I instinctively suspect that
national wage and labor standards exist on a more-or-less continuous scale,
or perhaps a bell curve, rather than as a set of fixed, distinctive
categories. Am I completely mistaken? Either way, what would John, N?stor,
or anyone else who cares to answer, propose as the definitive lines dividing
these camps?
And Venezuela vs. Norway is too easy. Anyone will imagine themselves to see
what you're pointing out, whether it's actually there or not. Use your
standards to determine the countries at the bottom of the imperialist set
and the top of the semi-colonial one, or to just pick a couple near these
positions, and then to explain the crucial differences between them, and
I'll be impressed.
--
"Hige sceal ?e heardra, heorte ?e cenre, mod sceal ?e mare, ?e ure m?gen
lytla?."
________________________________________________
Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
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--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Joseph Catron
2011-02-28 13:55:56 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 8:34 AM, N?stor Gorojovsky <nmgoro at gmail.com> wrote:

The so called "continuous scale" is a political one. While there is
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
full freedom for capital movement, there is no freedom for workforce
movement. And political control always runs from the center on the
peripheries, not the other way round.
The day a Lybian army supports a puppet Lybian governmente in
Washington, and wages in Lybia are thus enforced as higher than those
in New York city, with capital flows between both countries allowed
and workforce movements restricted down to zero, we can begin to speak
of "continuous scales".
By all of which, I presume you mean that you have no idea where this "fence
or wall," whose location you claim is both crucial to distinguishing
imperialist powers and "stronger and taller than any other," actually is
(which was, of course, my question)?

Again, comparisons between countries like Libya and the United States are
for the intellectually lazy. If you want to show that you're actually
working with something, do as I suggested: name one of the weakest
imperialist states and one of the strongest colonial ones, and explain why
each belongs in the camp to which you've assigned it. You could compare
extremes (the UK vs. Somalia!) all day, but that would just be silly.
--
"Hige sceal ?e heardra, heorte ?e cenre, mod sceal ?e mare, ?e ure m?gen
lytla?."
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-02-28 18:51:38 UTC
Permalink
Dear Joseph, yours is an easy one for me. My own country, in different
moments of history, had higher wage rates than backwards central
nations like Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece. This did not make
Argentina a central country because the fence or wall is of political,
or rather economico-political character. I agree with you in that we
should not be lazy about these issues. Lenin, who was not lazy, saw
the issue clearly when, on "Imperialism" of all places, wrote that
Argentina, with all its "big" figures, was nevertheless a semi colony.
In those times, there was more freedom for workers to move around the
world than there is now, so that the political character of the
"fence" was still clearer.

Not me a lazy bum.
======================================================================
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
======================================================================
The so called "continuous scale" is a political one. While there is
Post by Néstor Gorojovsky
full freedom for capital movement, there is no freedom for workforce
movement. And political control always runs from the center on the
peripheries, not the other way round.
The day a Lybian army supports a puppet Lybian governmente in
Washington, and wages in Lybia are thus enforced as higher than those
in New York city, with capital flows between both countries allowed
and workforce movements restricted down to zero, we can begin to speak
of "continuous scales".
By all of which, I presume you mean that you have no idea where this "fence
or wall," whose location you claim is both crucial to distinguishing
imperialist powers and "stronger and taller than any other," actually is
(which was, of course, my question)?
Again, comparisons between countries like Libya and the United States are
for the intellectually lazy. If you want to show that you're actually
working with something, do as I suggested: name one of the weakest
imperialist states and one of the strongest colonial ones, and explain why
each belongs in the camp to which you've assigned it. You could compare
extremes (the UK vs. Somalia!) all day, but that would just be silly.
--
"Hige sceal ?e heardra, heorte ?e cenre, mod sceal ?e mare, ?e ure m?gen
lytla?."
________________________________________________
Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
Set your options at: http://greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/nmgoro%40gmail.com
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
Joseph Catron
2011-03-01 07:11:15 UTC
Permalink
Thanks! Would you believe I very nearly suggested Argentina to you (without
actually knowing your nationality) as a country deserving of more careful
analysis? I organized a few local events in solidarity with its popular
uprising in 2002-2003, and spent several weeks visiting its MTDs and
recuperated factories in the summer of 2003.

I'm still not sure that I share your categorization of it, mainly because I
think I would place more emphasis on its status as a settler state
historically akin to New Zealand or the United States. Regardless, though, I
agree that it's an excellent example to be considered by anyone seeking to
delineate the precise borders of the empire.
--
"Hige sceal ?e heardra, heorte ?e cenre, mod sceal ?e mare, ?e ure m?gen
lytla?."
Néstor Gorojovsky
2011-03-01 13:09:28 UTC
Permalink
I wrote on this list, long ago, on the definition of Arg as a "settler
state". If anything, it was a FAILED settler state. But not just that.
It is not even a fully bourgeois (nor will ever be) capitalist
country. Capitalist, yes. Bourgeois, not. Bizarre? Absolutely not.
Perfectly understandable when one goes to that kernel of deep truth in
Capital 3, the analyses by Marx of the relations between Section I and
Section II, reproduction of capital, and accumulation.
Post by Joseph Catron
Thanks! Would you believe I very nearly suggested Argentina to you (without
actually knowing your nationality) as a country deserving of more careful
analysis? I organized a few local events in solidarity with its popular
uprising in 2002-2003, and spent several weeks visiting its MTDs and
recuperated factories in the summer of 2003.
I'm still not sure that I share your categorization of it, mainly because I
think I would place more emphasis on its status as a settler state
historically akin to New Zealand or the United States. Regardless, though, I
agree that it's an excellent example to be considered by anyone seeking to
delineate the precise borders of the empire.
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
DW
2011-02-28 14:52:49 UTC
Permalink
Well...a neo-colonial developing country can be one like South Korea, but
with wages *higher* than the UK. I think there are limits to this
methodology. Imperialism is primarily a form of political economy where
finance capital...native finance capital, rules. Even at the Lenin wrote his
"Imperialism", in 1916, this was not actually true for even the
"Imperialist" countries such as the UK and the US where manufacturing
capital was at least in balance with finance capital or even more important
and powerful. But his *point* was well taken & his thesis represents one of
the more accurate prognostication (if looked at from that perspective) ever
written by any Marxist.

Having said that there are a LOT of standards one should us.

For example, prior to NAFTA, Mexican longshoremen (dockers) made upwards of
$300/day with complete control over the job, like their US counterparts.
After NAFTA, and the smashing of their union, they are back down to a
$10/day wage. So one can can look at the relative % of that section of the
working class that represents an 'aristocracy' relative the rest of the
working class. This would be a small criteria, granted.

When Lenin wrote Imperialism, a non-Imperialist nation was most noted for
it's countryside-to-urban ration as well. Many smashed developing countries,
such a the Philipiines, have a higher urban population than a rural one
precisely due to the dislocation of their neo-colonial economy by
Imperialism; that is, where the "land question" ceases being the most
important question. This caused a major split in the Philippines Communist
Party 20 years ago and the rise of the urban based Labor Party. So this is
really no longer a major criteria.

The ownership and influence, that is control, over the national economy of a
particular nation I think is what really is the criteria. To what degree
does native capital/finance control an economy? Is it dominated by
*Imperialist* finance capital (Wall Street, the City, etc)?

The ability to project Imperialist power over developing non-Imperialist
countries? (either by itself or as part of supra-Imperialist alliances like
NATO). Think Norway in conjunction with NATO and Europe.

Countries historically "Imperialist", like Greece, weak but
Imperialist...are they *still* Imperialist? If so, how are they so?

David
Baba Aye
2011-02-28 17:17:02 UTC
Permalink
David says: "Well...a neo-colonial developing country can be one like
South Korea, but
with wages *higher* than the UK. I think there are limits to this
methodology. Imperialism is primarily a form of political economy where
finance capital...native finance capital, rules. Even at the Lenin wrote his
"Imperialism", in 1916, this was not actually true for even the
"Imperialist" countries such as the UK and the US where manufacturing
capital was at least in balance with finance capital or even more important
and powerful. But his *point* was well taken & his thesis represents one of
the more accurate prognostication (if looked at from that perspective) ever
written by any Marxist"

I would like some clarification on considering such so-called NICs as
S/Korea and other more clearly "neo-colonial developing" countries
(like Nigeria) within the rubric of imperialist relations. In the
early '90s, there were discussions in the Nigerian Left on situating
the country which while clearly a neo-colony had in the wake of SAP
spawned banks and such "moneybag" capitalists as Aliko Dangote with
expansive exploitative interests in the West African sub-region. We
considered this some form of "sub-imperialism".

Later, we did realize there were similar discussions in S/Africa and
we did agree with Patrick Bond's view here:
www.ukzn.ac.za/.../Bond%20Bankrupt%20Africa%20historical%20materialism.pdf,
that "the West's imperial capacity is reproduced through sub-imperial
processes". Much later, in Brazil I got familiar with Marini's
formulation of this concept from the dependentistas school.

While, "the ability to project Imperialist power over developing non-Imperialist
countries? (either by itself or as part of supra-Imperialist alliances like
NATO)" does, I wholly agree, situate Norway for instance as an
imperialist state, could say South Korea, South Africa & Brazil and
even (though much less industrialized, but with being channels of
finance capital's dominance, e.g. with the slush of petro-dollars)
Libya & Nigeria for example, be considered as sub-imperialist
neo-colonies?

BA
--
Baba Aye
--------------------------------------------
Labour House, Abuja
blog:http://solidarityandstruggle.blogspot.com
skype name: iron1lion
*********************************************
*"Only struggle educates the exploited class. Only struggle discloses to it
the magnitude of its own power, widens its horizon, enhances its abilities,
clarifies its mind, forges its will." - V.I. Lenin*
Sergii Kutnii
2011-02-28 17:43:44 UTC
Permalink
I agree the notion of sub-imperialism is potentially quite productive
in analyzing current situation. We in Ukraine came to similar
conclusions.

What is important in my opinion is to shift the analysis from
countries to classes and define imperialist bourgeoisie as corporate,
monopolistic capitalists (a bit wider than "financial").
Non-imperialist bourgeoisie then comprises owners of small to medium
businesses.

The main distinction between colonial and imperialist proletariat is
that colonial proletariat is paid much lower for similar jobs than
imperialist one; imperialist bourgeoisie "under-exploits" imperialist
proletariat and gets compensation for this by means of
"over-exploiting" colonial workers.

So instead of the dichotomy of imperialist/colonial nations the
picture should include at least

a) pure imperialists (imperialist bourgeoisie & imperialist proletariat)
b) pure colonies (non-imperialist bourgeoisie & colonial workers)
c) sub-imperialists (imperialist bourgeoisie & colonial proletariat; i
prefer not to use thge term "semi-colony" for them since a semi-colony
is an exploited nation that has nominal sovereignty so most modern
colonial nations are, to be exact, semi-colonies)

The c case, I think, is the case for such nations as Ukraine (with
Ukrainian steel tycoons buying enterprises abroad and involvement in
imperialist military adventures) and, if comrade Baba Aye is not
mistaken, Nigeria
Sergii Kutnii
2011-02-28 17:44:26 UTC
Permalink
The case with imperialist proletariat and non-imperialist bourgeoisie
is non-existent I believe.
Paula
2011-03-01 00:22:07 UTC
Permalink
Joseph wrote:
"Perhaps someone can prove me wrong, but I instinctively suspect that
national wage and labor standards exist on a more-or-less continuous scale
... Am I completely mistaken? ... Use your
standards to determine the countries at the bottom of the imperialist set
and the top of the semi-colonial one ... then to explain the crucial
differences between them, and I'll be impressed."

You're not mistaken. Your instincts seem to be those of a critical and
dialectical mind.

Nestor wrote:
"Lenin, who was not lazy, saw the issue clearly when, on "Imperialism" of
all places, wrote that Argentina, with all its "big" figures, was
nevertheless a semi colony".

What Lenin said was that Argentina was NOT a semi-colony, but a formally
independent country that was economically dependent on British capital. He
then mentioned Portugal as a similar example of "economic and diplomatic
dependence" on Britain:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/ch06.htm

The point is, it's normal under imperialism for weaker states to depend on
stronger ones. In Lenin's time Portugal and Argentina depended on British
capital, Russia on French capital; today Britain depends militarily on the
US, the US depends financially on China, etc. As Lenin says, "Relations of
this kind have always existed between big and little states, but in the
epoch of capitalist imperialism they become a general system, they form part
of the sum total of "divide the world" relations and become links in the
chain of operations of world finance capital". Imperialism is a chain,
though evidently some links are stronger than others. And the order in the
chain changes over time.

Sergii wrote:
"I agree the notion of sub-imperialism is potentially quite productive in
analyzing current situation. We in Ukraine came to similar conclusions". Aba
in another post raised the same notion in relation to South Korea, South
Africa, Brazil, Libya and Nigeria.

A sub-imperialism is a weaker imperialism. If that's what the label means,
fine, but then the label itself is redundant. Moreover it's dangerous,
because it tempts us to think that there are two sides here, and that
perhaps we must be on one of them. Careful, we don't want to end up
supporting the claims of the weaker imperialists against the stronger ones.
Instead I have suggested we need an internationalist approach:
http://theoryandscience.icaap.org/content/vol8.1/cerni.html

Paula
Baba Aye
2011-03-03 03:09:41 UTC
Permalink
Paula wrote: "A sub-imperialism is a weaker imperialism. If that's
what the label means, fine, but then the label itself is redundant.
Moreover it's dangerous, because it tempts us to think that there are
two sides here, and that perhaps we must be on one of them"

.
I've been sucked in with our union federation's congress here and
couldn't get to make I clarification I'd intended on doing with your
view quoted...can see the discussion's gotten a wee bit tangled
meanwhile.

simply from here though; I do not see sub-imperialism as "a weaker
imperialism" nor one of being tempted to get on the side of this
weaker imperialism against the bigger imperialism so to speak. it
actually arose in our debates then here as a counterpoint to the view
of some "national bourgeoisie". practically, it entailed our building
bridges with workers in firms owned by Nigerian investors outside
country on the sub-continent against the interests of these and thus
capital as a whole.
--
Baba Aye
--------------------------------------------
Labour House, Abuja
blog:http://solidarityandstruggle.blogspot.com
skype name: iron1lion
*********************************************
*"Only struggle educates the exploited class. Only struggle discloses to it
the magnitude of its own power, widens its horizon, enhances its abilities,
clarifies its mind, forges its will." - V.I. Lenin*
Paula
2011-03-02 23:58:09 UTC
Permalink
Nestor wrote:
"[Argentina] is not even a fully bourgeois (nor ever will be) capitalist
country. Capitalist, yes. Bourgeois, not. Bizarre? Absolutely not."

Absolutely yes.
I guess it must be the nescafe...
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/americas/2011/03/01/has-chavez-been-drinking-nescafe

Paula
Paula
2011-03-03 23:35:20 UTC
Permalink
Baba wrote:
"I do not see sub-imperialism as "a weaker
imperialism" nor one of being tempted to get on the side of this
weaker imperialism against the bigger imperialism so to speak."

"Sub-imperialism" is a confusing term; it would be best to drop it.

Personally I prefer the classification used in Lenin's 'Imperialism'.
Essentially the world at the time was divided into colonies, semi-colonies,
and independent states.
Among the independent states were those that were "great powers" and those
that were smaller and to a greater or lesser degree commercially, militarily
or diplomatically dependent on the "great" ones.

In the third table in section VI of the above-mentioned text the "great
powers" are listed as Great Britain, France, Japan, Russia, United States,
and Germany.
Later in the same section, Lenin names among the smaller independent states
Portugal and Argentina. Clearly Spain, Italy, Holland, and Belgium also
belong in this category - since they are not counted as "great powers".
See here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/ch06.htm

So the smaller independent states aren't colonies or semi-colonies in the
political sense of the word; they couldn't be, since they are independent.
They are imperialist nations that happen to be weaker and therefore fall
within the spheres of influence of stronger ones. And I'm afraid there's a
long tradition of the weaker states challenging the stronger, eg Italy vs
Great Britain in WWII. Moreover, and here's why we need to be extremely
careful, substantial sections of the left in such states are nationalistic,
and make it their job to help their "own" state rise up in the rankings.

Now, what happens as more and more former colonies become independent
states? As with Argentina, Australia, and Libya, they usually join the ranks
of the "smaller" imperialist states; but sometimes they might develop to
become "great powers" too - eg China today. Remember, it's not a static
situation - the balance of power changes over time. Independent states that
were once "great powers" become relatively weaker (eg, Britain), weaker ones
get relatively stronger (eg, Brazil, South Africa), etc.

This is the commonsensical approach of the classical Marxist theory of
imperialism, which never used the concept of "sub-imperialism".

Its implication is that backing Gadhafi against the Libyan people is the
equivalent of backing Mussolini against the Italian people.

Paula
Louis Proyect
2011-03-04 02:58:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paula
Now, what happens as more and more former colonies become independent
states? As with Argentina, Australia, and Libya, they usually join the
ranks of the "smaller" imperialist states
(Substitute Australia for Canada below and you end up with pretty much
the same thing.)

http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/state_and_revolution/argentina2.htm

Since Argentina seemed to share an identical place in the capitalist
world system as Canada, namely supplying meat and grain exports, it
would be useful to see why Canada succeeded and Argentina did not. This
will require us to look at the specific differences in some detail.
Fortunately, Marxist scholar Jeremy Adelman has done an excellent job.
Apparently, there is a rather substantial literature around the
differences between Argentina and the British speaking agriculture-based
countries and we are fortunate to have a Marxist contingent that
includes Adelman, whose work has also appeared in New Left Review as
well as specialized journals on "comparative studies".

To begin with, Adelman points out that the state played different roles
with respect to land allocation. In Canada, public land was allocated in
160-acre lots starting with the 1872 Dominion Lands Act. After 3 years
of settlement and a 10-dollar administrative fee, a homesteader could
gain title. By contrast, the process of land allocation was largely a
private affair in Argentina. There newcomers seeking to purchase their
own land could only turn to the private market, where prices were
unaffordable for the average immigrant.

Furthermore, the Canadian ruling class, far less interested in land
ownership than their counterparts in Argentina, preferred to allow
pioneer families to entail all the risks of land development. Since the
Argentine pampas was far more fertile than the Canadian plains, the
risks were far less. Canada had a much different attitude toward
immigration as well. It actually sought *permanent* settlement and
discriminated against those who were not agreeable to becoming a stable
part of the population. They also tended to look to Northern Europe and
the USA for potential immigrants, since there was a much higher
likelihood that investment for land and machinery could be found in
these quarters. Less than 20 percent of Canadian immigration came from
the non-English speaking world.

Another difference between Canada and Argentina was the easy access to
credit in the northern country. Banks, mortgage houses and other lending
institutions, which could be found across the prairies, helped farmers
expand their homestead and buy machinery. In Argentina, bankers took
little interest in agriculture and preferred to loan money to large
ranchers and merchants who were part of the agro-export network.
Mortgage lending was unavailable to the poor tenant farmer, who tended
to come from poverty stricken Southern Europe.

Finally, social relations also dictated the kind of technology that
became institutionalized in both regions. In general, the rate of
capital formation on the Canadian prairies was high in comparison to
Argentina. In order to produce a profit on the relatively barren plains,
machinery had to be introduced as rapidly as possible. Writing in 1906,
agronomist W.R. Motherwell noted that:

"twenty-five years ago our prairie wheat crop was handled very much in
accordance with Eastern Canadian customs and methods. That is, it was
permitted to ripen well, carefully stocked and capped, stacked and
allowed to properly sweat [sic] before threshing. But during more recent
years, the rapidly extending wheat areas, with the consequent scarcity
of farm labour, has introduced entirely new, cheaper and more
expeditious methods."

In Argentina, not only was the growing season was much longer than it
was in Canada, the land itself was far less in need of mechanical
improvement. Indeed, one commentator noted that the "absence of weeds"
actually impeded the operation of harrows and other soil-turning
devices. (Don't ask me why!)

Wealthy landowners complained constantly about their tenant's tendency
to plough superficially and work in a top layer of mulch. According to
an American agronomist, the tenants:

"merely scratch the ground a little and leave the rest to providence. .
. . They dislike to spend money for help or better machinery if they can
possibly get the crop planted in any way without such expenditures. They
do not understand the wisdom of spending a dollar to save five. Their
only object is to get as much money as they can, and keep it."

Another writer noted:

"The uniqueness of our agriculture consists precisely in the little that
the land is ploughed and harrowed. ... In no part of the world is the
land cultivated as superficially as here. It is that nature itself had
already prepared it well for sowing, and consequently we can produce so
cheaply."

Until the Great Depression, such backward practices could be carried out
in Argentina with few social or political consequences. But after 1929,
the contradictions they introduced would finally lead to the powerful
left-nationalist movement led by Juan Per?n. This will be the subject of
my next post.

Sources:

1. chapter on Argentina by Juan Eugenio Corradi in Latin America: the
struggle with dependency and beyond, edited by Ronald Chilcote & Joel
Edelstein.

2. Jeremy Adelman, "The Social Bases of Technical Change: Mechanization
of the Wheatlands of Argentina and Canada, 1890 to 1914," Comparative
Studies in Society and History, Apr. 1992.

3. Michael Johns, "Industrial Capital and Economic Development in Turn
of the Century Argentina", Economic Geography, Apr. 1992
johnedmundson
2011-03-04 00:10:06 UTC
Permalink
I think the point where Paula and I (and others) part company is when she states
that "... as more and more former colonies become independent states ... they
usually join the ranks of the "smaller" imperialist states ..."

Firstly, treating the post-colonial histories of countries as diverse as Libya
and Australia in the one breath is a serious error. Australia has traditionally
(since its earliest colonisation, been one of the most heavily urbanised,
developed and wealthiest countries in the world. A white settler colony, it
declared independence on its own terms without the need for any form of
independence struggle and was welcomed immediately into the ranks of the white,
wealthy, imperialist world. Libya was a desperately poor country that had to
fight a long war of resistance against the colonial power - Italy. Between
independence and the revolution of 1969, its primary source of foreign exchange
was scrap metal, obtained by scavanging the desert for armoured vehicles
destroyed or abandoned during the second world war.

Sure, Libya has since developed an oil industry and Libyan money has been used
in investments outside its borders and as funding for the African Union, as the
map Paula posted laid out. But to claim therefor that Libya has "join[ed] the
ranks of the "smaller" imperialist states" is to deny the big picture of Libya's
post-colonial history.

Secondly, such a sweeping statment, that newly independent countries "usually
join the ranks of the "smaller" imperialist states" takes no account of the
history of the vast bulk of those countries, such as the vast majority of, for
example, African countries, which have remained desperately poor and have no
meaningful characteristics of imperialism. To that list could be added the
Island states of the Pacific, the majority of SE Asian countries, Latin America
etc, ie virtually every country to gain formal independence in the post WWII era.
Cheers,
John
Paula
2011-03-04 23:40:58 UTC
Permalink
John wrote:
"Firstly, treating the post-colonial histories of countries as diverse as
Libya
and Australia in the one breath is a serious error."

No two countries are ever alike, so the moment you classify countries, you
are going to bring together diverse elements.

Libya and Australia are different in countless ways, but they are similar in
this respect: they are not colonies or semi-colonies; they are independent
states with relatively small spheres of influence.

Sure, we know that independent states vary in size, reach, etc. Venezuela's
economy is larger and more industrialized than Norway's, Indonesia's economy
is larger and more industrialized than New Zealand's, etc. Some independent
nations have much less economic power and political influence than any of
these. It's a pecking order; variety is what we should expect, and there's
always someone at the bottom of the pile.

Look again at the figures:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)

Note that the "Great Powers" too are a diverse group of countries.
Today, at least in terms of GDP size ( and not counting the EU as one), the
6 most powerful countries are the US, China, Japan, India, Germany, and
Russia.
Quite a lot of variety there - as we would expect.

"Libya has since developed an oil industry and Libyan money has been used
in investments outside its borders and as funding for the African Union, as
the
map Paula posted laid out. But to claim therefor that Libya has "join[ed]
the
ranks of the "smaller" imperialist states" is to deny the big picture of
Libya's
post-colonial history."

Libya's development of a heavily monopolized industry, its use of the
super-profits derived from it to buy off a section of the population, invest
abroad, fund foreign adventures, etc - that's the actual picture of Libya's
recent history. And it's a fairly typical picture of imperialist
development.

Louis wrote:
"it would be useful to see why Canada succeeded and Argentina did not".

Canada's economy today is larger than Argentina's, but Argentina's is larger
than Austria's. Don't forget, success is relative. And that's before we ask
which class reaps most of its benefits under the current economic system.

Paula
Paula
2011-03-08 00:11:23 UTC
Permalink
Baba wrote:
"To think mere recourse to stats would make any sense though is to lose the
life of such analyses."

Who needs facts anyway? And who needs the classical Marxist theory of
imperialism? If we want to know which countries are imperialist, and which
are not, all we need is the word of Gadhafi and his friends.

Paula

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