Marxist theory on
democracy and socialism
in relation to revolutionary work
in Mexico

By Joseph Green
(from Communist Voice #13, May 1997)


Pushing the democratic demands to their revolutionary limits
--The struggle for democratic demands--
--The dual nature of the revolution--
The bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution
The uninterrupted revolution
--Hoping the peasantry and petty-bourgeois will stop vacillating--
--Transforming the Mexican liberals of the good old days of Lazaro Cardenas
into revolutionaries--
--The revolution is imminent--
--The independent proletarian movement has only to unite on a national level--
--The political organization that does nothing--
--About the alliance of all the working people--
--Merging with the petty-bourgeoisie--
Forgetting about the peasant bourgeoisie
--Glossing over the class differences between the workers and peasants--
--The ejidos in the Lacandona Jungle--

. In the article "Two Perspectives on Mexico" I outlined Anita's views which try to give a profound theoretical justification for the abandonment of the tasks of building up a socialist movement during a period of "democratization". She tries to present this as Leninism, even though the quotations from Lenin in her article actually oppose her petty-bourgeois democratic stands. It will thus be worthwhile to examine her arguments in more detail. Since she compares the situation in Mexico to the democratic revolution of 1905 in Russia, it will necessary to spend a good deal of time examining the actual Leninist theory concerning socialist work in a democratic revolution. Although Mexico is not actually facing a democratic revolution, this material remains of value not only to refute Anita's stands, but to illustrate the general Marxist-Leninist principles concerning socialism and democracy.

Pushing the democratic demands to their revolutionary limits

. The central point of Anita's theory about the relationship between democratic struggles and the socialist revolution is that the movement should push "the democratic demands to their revolutionary limits". But what does this mean concretely? Does this mean that one should fight for particularly radical demands? Does it mean certain ways of fighting for these demands? Anita never says.

. In fact, she ends her article by once again endorsing "the forces around El Machete". She says that they are seeking "to develop a program to push the limits of the democratic struggles". However, they too don't know seem to know what it means to push the limits of the democratic struggles. Indeed, in the last point (#10) of El Machete's "Elements of analysis for the current political situation", they call for "defining a strategic and tactical project to confront the diverse options for the strengthening of capitalist power", that is, the strategy and tactics haven't been set forward yet. (1) Yet this undefined strategy and tactics is all that separates El Machete from the EZLN. That's clear from point #9, where they agree with the general position of the EZLN leadership. They say that there are two principal proposals among the "popular, democratic, and revolutionary forces", that of the PRD and reformist forces and that of "rupture with the [PRI] regime", set forward by the EZLN, themselves and others. They have the same "principal proposal" as the EZLN, but there are different shades or "positions" within that proposal. After explaining the EZLN leadership's view of what is needed, they only add that their stand "supposes that this [what the EZLN leadership proposes--Jph. ] will not be possible without an advance in the preparation of a new revolution, with the coordinated use of all the forms of struggle which are decided upon by the people and which is called the construction of popular power. " They want "an advance in the preparation of a new revolution" but don't say what this is other than that the people will decide upon the forms of struggle and build a "popular power". It is not exactly a revolution, but only "an advance" in that direction, and yet it is already the construction of "popular power". (2) In short, El Machete wants to be more revolutionary than EZLN, but isn't quite sure how.

. It's a good thing to put serious effort into working out one's tactics and strategy, and it may take activists a long time. The problem is that Anita and El Machete don't see the problem in replacing tactics and strategy with bare revolutionary phrases like "take the democratic struggle to the revolutionary limit" or "advance the process of the revolution". El Machete seems to think that the revolutionary program can be developed simply by having various activist groups sit around a table and come to a consensus. In this situation, "taking the democratic struggle to its revolutionary limits" means little more than putting a revolutionary face upon whatever the more militant wing of the general democratic movement happens to be doing.

. Anita refers to Lenin's analysis of the 1905 revolution in Russia and quotes his book Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. But Lenin gave definite answers to tactical and strategic questions. In Two Tactics, for example, he discusses definite questions such as the stand to be taken to the convocation of a popular constituent assembly, towards a provisional revolutionary government, towards organizing an insurrection, towards the slogan of a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants, etc. When he talks about revolution, it is not an empty phrase that can describe any phase of militant activity, but a real revolution complete with an insurrection. When he discusses the popular constituent assembly, he doesn't say that the point is to take it to its revolutionary limits, but discusses precisely what the revolutionary proletariat wants and how this compares to the demands of other political trends. To instead evade the particular issues and say that the tactics are to be more revolutionary than anyone else is a method which has more in common with petty-bourgeois revolutionism than with communism. And indeed, until one analyzes the actual tactics needed for a situation, how can one know which tactic is more revolutionary?

. Anita uses the slogan of "taking the democratic struggle to its limits" as the answer for how to prepare the forces for socialism in Mexico at this time. Lenin's view about the relationship between the democratic struggle and the socialist movement is different: he held that the revolutionary proletariat had to "go far beyond the uttermost limits" of the democratic struggle:

". . . the radical difference between the workers' and the bourgeoisie's struggle for liberty, between proletarian and liberal democratism, is also becoming more palpable. The working class and its class-conscious representatives are marching forward and carrying this struggle forward, not only unafraid of bringing it to completion, but striving to go far beyond the uttermost limits of the democratic revolution. "(3)

. This didn't just refer to what to do after the success of the revolution, but also prior to the revolution. It meant that the proletariat had to organize independently and undertake work that the general democratic movement would not do or would oppose. He wrote that

", ,  How should the class-conscious worker, the socialist, [in the period of the democratic revolution--Jph. ] regard the present-day peasant movement? He must support this movement, help the peasants in the most energetic fashion . . . At the same time, however, he should explain to the peasants that it is not enough to overthrow the rule of the bureaucracy and the landlords. When they overthrow that rule, they must at the same time prepare for the abolition of the rule of capital, the rule of the bourgeoisie, and for that purpose a doctrine that is fully, socialist, i.e. , Marxist, should be immediately disseminated, the rural proletarians should be united, welded together, and organized for the struggle against the peasant bourgeoisie and the entire Russian bourgeoisie. Can a class-conscious worker forget the democratic struggle for the sake of the socialist struggle, or forget the latter for the sake of the former? No, a class-conscious worker calls himself a Social-Democrat for the reason that he understands the relation between the two struggles."(4)

. Can the work to disseminate socialism be presented as taking democracy to its revolutionary limits? Not in the Marxist view. It goes beyond the "uttermost limits" of the democratic struggle. Can the work to organize the rural proletarians against the peasant bourgeoisie be presented as taking the struggle for land reform to its revolutionary limits? No. Communist work in the democratic revolution must go beyond the limits of democracy, and it must do so right from the start and whether the democratic revolution succeeds or fails.

. Petty-bourgeois democracy sees socialism as a purer and higher form of democracy, as democracy applied consistently to social questions as well as political questions. Marxism sees socialism as going beyond the limits of bourgeois-democracy. A program that is restricted to "taking the democratic struggle to its limits" is not a formula for preparing forces for socialism, but for merging with the general democratic movement.

--The struggle for democratic demands--

. In line with her formula of "taking the democratic struggle to its revolutionary limits", Anita presents the present "nature of the Mexican revolution" as being the struggle for "democratic demands". For article after article, Anita and the CWV group have been saying that there the struggle in Mexico is for socialism, that only socialism will solve the problems of the masses, etc. Now Anita informs us that the revolution in Mexico is roughly analogous to that in Russia in 1905, implying that a democratic revolution is imminent. She reconciles this with the former assertions of the CWV by talking about "the duality of the Mexican revolution".

. For the sake of argument, let's accept for the moment Anita's implication that a democratic revolution is imminent or underway in Mexico. Even then, Anita's reduction of the tasks of the revolutionary tasks to fighting for "democratic demands" would be wrong. The proletariat and Marxist activists would also face many organizational tasks--such as building the proletarian party, developing trade unions that are independent of PRI and of all factions of the bourgeoisie, etc. --as well as the fight for various demands. Nor should the list of practical demands be reduced to only democratic ones. For example, in discussing a proposed program for the Russian proletarian party at a time when they really were facing an imminent democratic revolution, Lenin remarked:

. "Now let us look at the practical part of the program. This part consists, in our opinion, of three sections, in substance if not in arrangement: 1) the demands for general democratic reforms; 2) the demands for measures of protection for the workers; and 3) the demands for measures in the interests of the peasants. "(5)

The Marxist program doesn't just formulate the most radical general democratic measures, but gives a special status to the demands for the working masses.

. Anita's theory wrongly identifies the social demands of the masses as "democratic demands". This slurs over the different class interests of the various forces in the democratic movement. In Russia, for example, not all the forces who wanted a more democratic system necessarily supported the social demands. The liberal bourgeoisie wanted to increase its exploitation of the masses, this accounting for its treachery to the masses and the revolution. The peasantry supported demands in its own interests, but so long as it acts as a united whole with the peasant bourgeoisie and defends the general interests of small-scale production, it also had an interest in the exploitation of labor. Lenin, in the course of arguing that the peasantry is capable of wholeheartedly supporting democratic revolution, pointed out that one reason was that:

"Even in fighting the proletariat, the peasantry stands in need of democracy, for only a democratic system is capable of giving exact expression to its interests and of ensuring its predominance as the mass, as the majority [in the conditions of 1905 Russia--Jph. ]. "(6)

While Anita plays down the differences between different classes that all have "democratic demands", Lenin brings out clearly the class contradictions among the supporters of democracy, even among the workers and peasants.

. However, Mexico isn't facing a democratic revolution at this time, but a protracted period of class struggles leading eventually to the socialist revolution. The crumbling of the PRI's political monopoly is one of the important crises that will take place during this period. The most concrete facts referred to by Anita--such as that the bourgeoisie is now the ruling class in both the Mexican city and countryside, industry and agriculture, as opposed to semi-feudal landlords--speak against her comparison of the present situation to the democratic revolution of 1905 in Russia. All this further undermines the idea that the issue today is simply fighting for democratic demands. Such a view has more in common with the petty-bourgeois democratic idea that socialism is democracy taken to its further limits than with Marxism.

--The dual nature of the revolution--

. To give a theoretical basis to her assertions about the democratic struggle, Anita talks of "the duality of the Mexican revolution". She never directly explains what this "dual nature" is, yet this duality is how she reconciles the CWV's repeated assertions that socialism is the goal in Mexico with her comparison of the present situation in Mexico to the democratic revolution of 1905 in Russia. In effect, she mixes together the democratic and socialist revolution in order to present that "democratic struggles" are both democratic and socialist, and that the general democratic movement, if it is militant enough, will grow over into a socialist movement.

. A term like "dual nature" could, of course, refer to a wide number of aspects of a revolution. (7) But what we will deal with here is Anita's attempt to fudge on the social character of the revolution.

. Unable to explain what she means by the "duality of the Mexican revolution", Anita says that it is more-or-less illustrated by a statement from Lenin's famous Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, a statement that Anita says illustrates the duality of revolution in Russia. But Lenin says the opposite of what Anita says. (8) He lays stress on the fact that even a "complete" victory of the democratic revolution "will by no means be a socialist revolution". He doesn't refer to a "dual character" of revolution at all. Instead he emphasizes that the democratic revolution is precisely that, a democratic revolution and not a socialist one. He does state that the victory of the democratic revolution would "clear the way for a genuine and decisive struggle for socialism". This is the basic way in which Marxism defines the value of bourgeois democracy--it clears the way for broadening and extending the class struggle. There is a big difference between clearing the way for another revolution, the socialist revolution, and saying that the democratic and socialist revolution are simply two faces of a dual revolution. So it's no wonder that Anita goes on to imply that Lenin's views don't apply to Mexico after all; to do this, she lists every difference between Mexico and Russia she can think of, relevant or not.

. Anita needs the dual nature of the revolution for the following purposes:

The bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution

. All Anita's talk about democratic demands might make one think that the CWV group and El Machete are wholehearted supporters of the importance of dealing with the issue of democratization. The real story is a bit more complicated. The ongoing democratization in Mexico is not going to bring a revolutionary regime. When the CWV and El Machete are forced face to face with this reality, they can be quite skittish. The discussion article by Tono Garcia, "In defense of Marxism", which was carried in El Machete and the CWV, denounced bourgeois democracy as a plot of the CIA and made raving sectarian attacks on the general democratic movement. Another discussion article in reply, by Ricardo Loewe, was also carried in these journals. It defends the Jesuits, the non-governmental organizations, "organizations in defense of human rights" and various other sections of the general democratic movement and "civic society", but is notably silent on the overall issue raised by Tono Garcia of the attitude towards bourgeois democracy. (9) In general, the CWV and El Machete only support democratic demands when they can paint them as something separate from bourgeois democracy. Anita dreams of a democratization taken to its revolutionary limits, which is a most unlikely outcome of the present crisis in Mexico, because she apparently believes that this removes its bourgeois nature.

. This theory, that democracy loses its bourgeois nature when it becomes radical, can seem plausible. There are different types of democratic reforms, from some which provide a good deal of political liberties for the masses to miserable liberalizations that provide next to nothing for the masses. The petty-bourgeois democratic therefore believes that radical reform transcends "bourgeois" democracy. And indeed, the ruling bourgeoisie in Mexico and other countries hardly want radical democracy. So a multitude of petty-bourgeois democratic journals around the world expose the moneyed interests, blame the severity of the class struggle on violations of democracy, and promote a purer, wider, popular democracy, as the answer to exploitation. But the Marxist theory is quite different. It holds that even the most radical democracy has a bourgeois nature.

. In the book Two Tactics, which Anita quotes to prove the supposed dual character of the democratic revolution, Lenin states baldly that

". . . In general, all political liberty founded on present-day, i.e. , capitalist, relations of production is bourgeois liberty. The demand for liberty expresses primarily the interests of the bourgeoisie. "(10)

. That would seem to be clear enough. But perhaps Anita, who seems to be quite capable of reading Lenin in the exact opposite sense to which he writes, might somehow insist that Lenin is not talking about revolutionary democracy? Does Lenin, like the typical petty-bourgeois democrat, believe that this bourgeois nature of democracy vanishes when it is carried to "its revolutionary limits"? Well, Lenin, talking precisely about the most radical outcome of the democratic revolution, as a result of "a victorious popular insurrection", states:

". . . an appraisal of a provisional revolutionary government's significance would be incomplete and wrong if the class nature of the democratic revolution were lost sight of. The resolution [of a Bolshevik Congress--Jph. ], therefore, adds that a revolution will strengthen the rule of the bourgeoisie. This is inevitable under the present, i.e. , capitalist, social and economic, system. And the strengthening of the bourgeoisie's rule over a proletariat that has secured some measure of political liberty must inevitably lead to a desperate struggle between them for power, . . . Therefore, the proletariat, which is in the van of the struggle for democracy and heads that struggle, must not for a single moment forget the new antagonisms inherent in bourgeois democracy, or the new struggle. "(11)

. So the most radical outcome of the revolution still has a bourgeois nature. The reader may ask in perplexity, how can this most radical outcome, namely, the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of proletariat and peasantry, strengthen the bourgeoisie? A mere liberalization, which leaves the bourgeoisie in power, could do so, but a popular revolutionary regime? But consider. Such a regime in Russia would have eliminated the power and the estates of tens of thousands of semi-feudal landlords, while extending the freedom of tens of millions of small-proprietors, the peasants, including millions of the peasant bourgeoisie. Such a radical land reform would have immensely broadened the basis of capitalism in Russia, as would other democratic changes. In place of the slow evolution to capitalism of a relative handful of semi-feudal landlords, it would have spurred the development of capitalism on a mass scale. If the bourgeoisie is only identified with the large vested interests of the moment, with the particular moneyed interests at a certain time, then it is impossible to see how a revolution which chops down these interests can have a bourgeois nature. But in fact the chopping down of these interests may well inspire a faster and broader growth of capitalism.

. But if the democratic revolution has a bourgeois nature, should the proletariat participate in it? The CWV doubts that the proletariat or socialist activists should do anything that might accelerate the growth of capitalism. Take land reform. The CWV has had trouble distinguishing its program from that of the late reformist and president of Mexico from 1934-1940, Lazaro Cardenas. The main criticism of his agrarian program by the CWV's Jack Hill (Oleg), is that it "gave a big impulse to the development of modern capitalist agriculture. " But any land reform, however radical, would in the long run accelerate capitalist development, and so would the EZLN's demands. When I pointed this out to the CWV, Jack indignantly wrote that, if I believed such a thing, I must therefore be an opponent of any demand for reform. He was quite convinced of this, and righteously demanded that "Joseph should clarify" the issue. Clearly Jack believed that a socialist could not support demands that accelerated the development of capitalism. This would presumably be treason to the proletariat and the revolution. And presumably Jack thought that the proper demands would not develop capitalism but something else. A partial realization of socialism, perhaps? When I pointed out to Jack that not only land reform, but the struggle of indigenous women in Chiapas against patriarchalism, the anti-slavery struggle in the U.S. , and the national liberation movement throughout the world also opened the way for capitalist development, he fell silent. (12)

. So how could Lenin support democratic revolution even though he held that such a revolution was a "bourgeois revolution"? He wrote that

"only rebel Narodniks, anarchists, and Economists could conclude [from the democratic revolution being a bourgeois revolution--Jph. ] that the struggle for liberty should be negated or disparaged. . . . The proletariat has always realized instinctively that it needs political liberty, needs it more than anyone else, although the immediate effect of that liberty will be to strengthen and organize the bourgeoisie. It is not by evading the class struggle that the proletariat expects to find its salvation, but by developing it, by extending its scope, its consciousness, organization, and resoluteness. "(13)

. Thus, in the interests of furthering the class struggle, Lenin could support a peasant revolt which would broaden the basis for capitalism. He wrote:

". . . . full victory of this peasant movement will not abolish capitalism; on the contrary, it will create a broader foundation for its development, and will hasten and intensify purely capitalist development. Full victory of the peasant uprising can only create a stronghold for a democratic bourgeois republic, within which a proletarian struggle against the bourgeoisie will for the first time develop in its purest form. "(14) As Lenin explained, "Outside the class struggle, socialism is either a hollow phrase or a naive dream. "(15)

. The revolutionary proletariat seeks liberation through the development of the class struggle, while the petty-bourgeois democrat tries to evade the class struggle. That's why Lenin could support a democratic revolution without pretending that revolutionary democracy would transcend capitalism. He emphasized that the democratic revolution didn't eliminate class contradictions but broke up the old alliances of the democratic movement and brought new antagonisms and a further development of the class struggle. There is no way forward except the class struggle, and the broader base for capitalism established by the democratic revolution facilitates that class struggle.

The uninterrupted revolution

. But perhaps it will be objected that this theory of the bourgeois nature of democracy became obsolete after Lenin set forward the theory of the uninterrupted revolution. Did not Lenin say in 1918 that

". . . To attempt to raise an artificial Chinese Wall between the first and second [the democratic and socialist revolutions--Jph. ], to separate them by anything else than the degree of preparedness of the proletariat and the degree of its unity of the poor peasants, means to distort Marxism dreadfully, to vulgarize it, to substitute liberalism in its place. "(16)

Indeed, is this not what Anita is trying to remind the reader of when she writes that

". . . There is no 'wall' between the democratic struggles and the socialist struggle. How far the revolutionary movement can go depends on what class force wins leadership of the movement--on the strength of the proletariat in the fight. "

Doesn't this indicate that the democratic revolution need not have a bourgeois character if the proletariat wins leadership of the movement?

. Not at all. In the very passage when Lenin talks about "uninterrupted revolution" he stresses that this is the same theory that was "explained by the Bolsheviks as far back as 1905. " In 1905 Lenin had also noted that the possibility of the interweaving of bourgeois and democratic revolutions. Yet Lenin stressed that this did not wipe out the distinction between them. He wrote:

". . . we all insist on the absolute necessity of strictly distinguishing between them [the democratic and socialist revolutions--Jph. ]; however, can it be denied that in the course of history individual, particular elements of the two revolutions become interwoven? Has the period of democratic revolutions in Europe not been familiar with a number of socialist movements and attempts to establish socialism? And will not the future socialist revolution in Europe still have to complete a great deal left undone in the field of democratism?"(17) And the basic difference in class forces between these two revolutions, the great dividing line between the two that is so important in both theory and practice, was formulated by Lenin as "The proletariat must carry the democratic revolution to completion, allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush the autocracy's resistance by force and paralyze the bourgeoisie's instability. The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution, allying to itself the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of the population, so as to crush the bourgeoisie's resistance by force and paralyze the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. "(18)

. A few months later Lenin reiterated this analysis about the distinction between the democratic and socialist revolutions while talking explicitly about the uninterrupted revolution. He stated:

". . . for from the democratic revolution we shall at once, and precisely in accordance with the measure of our strength, the strength of the class-conscious and organized proletariat, begin to pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution. We shall not stop half-way. If we do not now and immediately promise all sorts of 'socialization', that is because we know the actual conditions for that task to be accomplished, and we do not gloss over the new class struggle burgeoning within the peasantry, but reveal that struggle.
. "At first we support the peasantry en masse, support it to the hilt and with all means, including confiscation, and then (it would be better to say, at the same time) we support the proletariat against the peasantry en masse. .  .  . We promise no harmony, no equalitarianism or 'socialization' following the victory of the present peasant uprising, on the contrary, we 'promise' a new struggle, new inequality, the new revolution we are striving for. Our doctrine is less 'sweet' than the legends of the Socialist-Revolutionaries [petty-bourgeois revolutionaries--Jph. ], but let those who want to be fed solely on sweets join the Socialist-Revolutionaries; we shall say to such people: good riddance. "(19)

. And now back to Lenin's passage in 1918 about there being no Chinese Wall between the democratic and socialist revolutions. He reiterated exactly this same analysis about the distinction between the two revolutions and two different sets of class alignments. He wrote:

"Things have turned out just as we said they would. . . .  First, with the 'whole' of the peasants against the monarchy, against the landowners, against medievalism (and to that extent the revolution remains bourgeois, bourgeois-democratic). Then, with the poor peasants, with the semi-proletarians, with all the exploited, against capitalism, including the rural rich, the kulaks, the profiteers, and to that extent the revolution becomes a socialist one. "(20)

. The result of this examination of Lenin's exposition of the Marxist view of the bourgeois nature of democracy is clear. Democracy, even when obtained by the most radical democratic revolution conceivable, has a bourgeois character. The socialist-minded proletarians should support democracy not out of any hope that democracy will transcend capitalism but because democracy creates a wider and broader field for the class struggle, which is the only path on which the proletariat can achieve emancipation. The recognition of the bourgeois character of democracy leads the Marxists to advocate that the proletariat must go beyond democracy while organizing, while the denial of the bourgeois character of democracy leads the petty-bourgeois democrat to, wittingly or unwittingly, subordinate the proletarian movement to the general democratic movement. This is true in an actual democratic revolution, as well as in the present situation in Mexico.

. The CWV thinks that one can distinguish between good and bad proposals for democratic reform by whether they give an impetus to capitalist development. If they do, they are bourgeois schemes, but--says Anita--if democratic demands are pushed "to their revolutionary (not socialist but revolutionary) limits" they are part of "clearing away the obstacles to socialist revolution". It is true that not just a democratic revolution, but even meaningful reforms can clear away the obstacles to socialist revolution, but they at the same time also clear the ground for a broader development of capitalism. But how can the same democratic reforms clear away the obstacles both to the growth of capitalism and for the socialist revolution? From the point of view of petty-bourgeois radicalism, this is absolutely impossible. From the point of view of Marxism, democracy can do both at the same time, because the wider, freer and broader development of capitalism provides a wider, freer and broader field for the class struggle, which is the only path to the socialist revolution.

. But if democratization, and even the most radical democratic revolution, prepares the ground for both capitalism and socialism, it follows that it is misleading to describe the struggle for democratic demands as by itself "gathering forces . . . for a socialist revolution". Democracy does not give rise spontaneously to a socialist movement. There has to be work that goes beyond democracy, work that is based on the spirit of the class struggle. Otherwise the opportunities created by democracy will be wasted, and the masses will be cemented more than ever to the bourgeois order. This socialist work cannot wait until various democratic reforms have been conquered, but most take place simultaneously with the democratic struggle, or else the activists will unwittingly be preparing the proletariat to trail behind the liberal bourgeoisie.

--Hoping the peasantry and petty-bourgeois will stop vacillating--

. Anita also uses her concept of the dual nature of the Mexican revolution to support slurring over the differences between proletarian and petty-bourgeois politics. Her idea is that the peasantry might vacillate with respect to socialism, but it can be consistently revolutionary in the democratic struggle. She ignores that even when the peasantry is a fervent participant in the democratic revolution, it still is subject to petty-bourgeois vacillations.

. She and I had clashed on this earlier. Upset by people who combined support for the Zapatista uprising with a critical evaluation of the EZLN leadership's stands, she wrote that while the EZLN was "a petty-bourgeois peasant force with vacillations between reformism and revolution", any serious criticism of these vacillations was "academic and sterile". Somehow, by avoiding such "sterile" activities as the fight against vacillations, she thought it a real possibility that the EZLN and "the peasant and indigenous movement can be won over to break completely with reformism". (21) In reply, I pointed out that "it makes a mockery of the recognition of the petty-bourgeois character of the peasant movement to say that this movement can stop vacillating and break completely with reformism. This is the standpoint of peasant socialism, which sees no difference between the general peasant movement and the socialist movement. "(22) In turn, Anita claims that, in the present conditions in Mexico, "there is a real potential for the proletariat to pull this movement away from reformism, pushing the democratic demands to their revolutionary (not socialist but revolutionary) limits. " Given the current state of disorganization of the workers' movement, which even Anita has to admit is presently "weak", she is not really expecting the proletariat to pull the peasantry along, but is glamorizing the peasant movement. Of course, if all she meant is that the proletariat should criticize the vacillation of the peasant movement, that would be fine. But as we have seen, she regards such criticism as "sterile". No, instead she is still dreaming that the peasantry will finally break, once and for all, with reformism.

. Aside from the practical absurdity of Anita's perspective in the current situation, its theoretical basis is also defective. To make her point, Anita uses an analogy to the Russian revolution of 1905. Actually, even with regard to that revolution, Lenin held that "Only the proletariat can be a consistent fighter for democracy". (23) The peasantry as a whole could fervently fight for a democratic revolution based on an agrarian revolution, and the proletariat needed an alliance with the peasantry if the revolution was to succeed. But it was only the revolutionary proletariat that could impart a consistent character to this struggle.

. Does it seem like a very subtle distinction--that the revolutionary peasantry might be one of the leaders of the democratic revolution and yet it remains prone to vacillation? Perhaps. Yet the Marxist theory of the democratic revolution pivots on this distinction, a distinction borne out by past revolutions. The history of the peasant movement, and of the various parties that represented its radical wing, such as the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Trudoviks, shows their vacillations in full. Recognition of this fact is essential to maintaining proletarian independence in the democratic revolution.

. Anita however hopes to prove her point and illustrate the relation between "the revolution movement and democratic revolutions" by citing a passage from a work of Lenin's entitled "The Bolsheviks and the Petty Bourgeoisie" from 1907. She notes that Lenin said that the proletariat may be able to lead the revolution "together with the peasant masses" and "the basic tactics of the socialist proletariat in the bourgeois revolution" is "to carry with them the democratic petty bourgeoisie, especially the peasant petty bourgeoisie" and "draw them away from the liberals". (24) Anita ends the quotation there, because Lenin spoke in the rest of this article emphatically and decisively against Anita's interpretation. Lenin went on to note that the peasantry will inevitably vacillate, and he drew definite organizational conclusions from this. He showed that the socialist proletariat must maintain independent organization. Instead of merging with the other forces in the democratic revolution, such as the revolutionary peasants represented by the Trudoviks, it must "march separately but strike together". (25)

So Lenin wrote:
. "How 'to guarantee that the petty bourgeoisie, recognized by Novy Luch [a Bolshevik paper--Jph. ] as allies, will not turn away from the Left and defect to the Constitutional-Democratic [liberal bourgeois, whose name is often abbreviated as "Cadets"--Jph. ] camp'? It is because this cannot be guaranteed that we are against any permanent agreement with the Trudoviks. Our line is 'march separately but strike together at both the Black Hundreds [the reactionaries--Jph. ] and the Cadets. That is what we did during the St. Petersburg elections, and that is what we shall always do. "(26)

. Anita cites from Lenin only that part of Marxist theory that is acceptable to the petty-bourgeoisie and not the part that separates the proletariat from the petty-bourgeoisie. She stops quoting Lenin as soon as he starts talking about proletarian independence, even in a democratic revolution. She talks about the possibility of the revolutionary petty-bourgeoisie being won away from the liberal bourgeois in a democratic revolution, and leaves out the Marxist analysis that there is no permanent guarantee of this and that petty-bourgeois vacillation will continue. The petty-bourgeoisie isn't won away from the liberals once and for all, but the socialist proletariat must constantly fight its tendency to vacillate. Anita's version of Marxism presents criticism of the petty-bourgeois vacillation as "sterile" since the petty-bourgeoisie might be won away from the liberals, while revolutionary Marxism presents this possibility as another argument in favor of criticism of petty-bourgeois vacillation.

. The Trudoviks themselves seem to have objected to Lenin's views about "march separately but strike together" and to have claimed, like Anita, that this means failure to recognize that the petty-bourgeoisie could ever be won away from the liberals. Lenin went on to reply to this objection, saying that:

. "Noviye Sily's [a Trudovik paper--Jph. ] objection is that part of the petty bourgeoisie might be drawn away from the Cadets. Of course they might, just as we took away part of the Cadet Tovarishch [a Left Cadet paper with some Menshevik contributors--Jph. ] at the St. Petersburg elections. To achieve this, we Social-Democrats must go firmly along our own, revolutionary road, . . . "(27)

. This question came up again at the Fifth Congress of the Russian Social-Democrats in May 1907. Lenin, while championing "the right and duty of the workers' party to assume leadership [in the democratic revolution--Jph. ] of the petty-bourgeois democratic parties, including the peasant parties"(28), sharply stressed the inevitable vacillations of the petty-bourgeois and peasant parties, including the most revolutionary and far left ones. He wrote that:

. "The Trudoviks are definitely not fully consistent democrats. The Trudoviks (including the Socialist-Revolutionaries) undoubtedly vacillate between the liberals and the revolutionary proletariat. We have said this, and it had to be said. Such vacillation is by no mean fortuitous. It is an inevitable consequence of the very nature of the economic condition of the small producer. One the one hand, he is oppressed and subject to exploitation. . . . On the other hand, he is a petty proprietor. In the peasant lives the instinct of a proprietor--if not of today, then of tomorrow. It is the proprietor's, the owner's instinct that repels the peasant from the proletariat, . . .
. "Vacillation in the peasantry and the peasant democratic parties in inevitable. And the Social-Democratic Party, therefore, must not for a moment be embarrassed at the fear of isolating itself from such vacillation. Every time the Trudoviks display lack of courage, and drag along in the wake of the liberals, we must fearlessly and quite firmly oppose the Trudoviks, expose and castigate their petty-bourgeois inconsistency and flaccidity. "(29)

. The Menshevik hangers-on of the liberal bourgeoisie ridiculed Lenin's attitude to the peasantry. How could one talk of alliance and vacillation at the same time? They apparently couldn't understand his views about "march separately but strike together", and mocked that this meant that Lenin did not even recognize the peasants as allies. This is exactly the same type of criticism as Anita makes of me, when she complains that criticism of petty-bourgeois vacillation is "academic and sterile". Lenin answered it as follows:

. "Comrade Lieber [a Menshevik--Jph. ] has most energetically accused me of excluding even the Trudoviks from the bourgeois-democratic allies of the proletariat. Lieber has again been carried away by phrases, and has paid insufficient attention to the substance of the dispute. I did not speak of excluding joint action with the Trudoviks, but of the need to cut ourselves off from the Trudoviks' vacillation. We must not fear to 'isolate' ourselves from them when they are inclined to drag along in the wake of the Cadets. "(30)

Thus even in a democratic revolution, the vacillation of even the most revolutionary and leftist parties of the peasantry and the petty-bourgeoisie is inevitable. Moreover, Mexico isn't facing a democratic revolution today, but a long preparatory period for a socialist revolution. Even Anita, after making the comparison to 1905, immediately adds that the present situation isn't at all like that anymore. This undermines Anita's point even further. Lenin's assessment of the class forces in the socialist revolution referred to "the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. "(31)

. Brushing aside the actual nature of petty-bourgeois movements, Anita instead pretends that in talking of the petty-bourgeois nature of the peasantry as a whole, I am denigrating the poor peasants and semiproletarians. She writes that:

". . . As to the future of the alliance between the proletariat and peasantry, I don't think it is inevitable (depending on how the democratic struggle develops) that the poor peasantry, and semi-proletariat in the countryside will 'betray the proletariat'. "

Since she says this in a reply to me, and even puts certain words inside quotation marks, the reader would think that I had made the dread accusation that the poor peasantry will inevitably "betray the proletariat". I said nothing of the kind. I emphasized that the proletariat should encourage any tendency on the part of the poor peasantry and rural laborers to develop independent organization in their own class interests, separate from that of the overall peasant movement. What I said was inevitable was that the general peasant movement would vacillate. I did not accuse the poor peasantry of some treachery in the future, but I did, in effect, accuse peasant socialism and petty-bourgeois democratism of betraying the proletarian class struggle today.

--Transforming the Mexican liberals of the good old days of Lazaro Cardenas
into revolutionaries--

. Anita also has difficulty dealing with the liberal bourgeoisie. She presents the real liberal bourgeoisie as being worthy of support, so that she can only oppose the liberals today or even the PRI by saying that they are not the liberal bourgeoisie as of old.

. Here too she claims that her views are similar to that of Lenin's. She makes the astonishing claim that Lenin saw the liberal bourgeoisie as a revolutionary force. She writes, referring to her comparison of the 1905 revolution in Russia to Mexico today:

". . . not since the presidency of Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940) has there been a section of the bourgeoisie who could actually claim the label 'liberal' in the sense it is used by Lenin to discuss a democratic, nationalist bourgeoisie who supported the peasants' struggle for land. "

. Actually, Lenin wrote that

". . . There is no doubt that the proletariat and the peasantry are the chief components of the 'people' as contrasted by Marx in 1848 with the resisting reactionaries and the treacherous bourgeoisie. There is no doubt that in Russia, too, the liberal bourgeoisie and the gentlemen of the Osvobozhdeniye League are betraying and will betray the peasantry, i.e. , will confine themselves to a pseudo-reform and take the side of the landlords in the decisive battle between them and the peasantry. "(32)

Indeed, in her article Anita even quotes the second sentence of this quote herself. Yet, surprisingly, she gets from it that Lenin uses the "label 'liberal'" to refer to a bourgeoisie which supports the peasant struggle for land.

. Also notable is her glorification of the Mexican reformist Lazaro Cardenas. There was a time when the CWV was indignant when it was pointed out how Cardenista their stands on Mexico were. Now Anita has gone to extent of claiming that Lazaro Cardenas was the leader of a liberal bourgeoisie which was "democratic, nationalist" and "support[ed] the peasants' struggle for land". This, mind you, is the same Lazaro Cardenas who originated the basic system of rule used by PRI today (he founded the PNR which later was renamed PRI). Indeed, Anita presents the rule of the PRI and its predecessors not as a bourgeois regime but as a worker-peasant-bourgeois alliance that grew frayed and finally was severed when the bourgeoisie turned to neo-liberalism relatively recently. Really! She says that

. "Coming out of the Mexican Revolution, the original program of the PNR and then the PRI defined itself as a class alliance of the peasantry, the workers and the political class. . . . Step by step, as the bourgeoisie grew stronger, the interests of the toilers were betrayed. For the peasantry, this betrayal was codified by president Carlos de Gortari with the changes in the land reform article [in Jan. 1992!!!--Jph. ] of the Mexican Constitution tied to the NAFTA negotiations. "

Here her criticism of PRI is solely its turn to neoliberalism in general (i.e. its abandonment of liberalism in favor of a conservative, also called neo-liberal, economic policy) and in particular its growing abandonment of the ejido program of Lazaro Cardenas. (33)

. All this shows a remarkably friendly attitude to the PRI. To see the betrayal of the peasantry as codified in Jan. 1992--whereas Emiliano Zapata was murdered in 1919--shows incredible illusions in the old Cardenista agrarian program of the late 1930s.

. And what about the liberal bourgeoisie of today? She says that there isn't really one in the full (Leninist) sense. In fact, a liberal bourgeoisie exists in Mexico, with representatives in the reformist PRD, in "civic society", in some sections of PRI, etc. The PRD, for example, has major influence in the activist movements, and the EZLN has let it and other reformists take the leadership of the national coalition that the EZLN is promoting. Yet Anita still doesn't see any liberal bourgeoisie in Mexico in the fullest sense. She is even reluctant to unequivocally label the PRD as a party of the liberal bourgeoisie. She says that it "politically represents a merger of petty-bourgeois social democracy (the Second International), reformist Marxism (the Partido Socialista Unificado de Mexico), and the liberal 'political class' (i.e. , bourgeois politicians such as Cuauhtemoc Cardenas). " No doubt the PRD has managed to carry along a good section of the petty-bourgeois groups and it has bourgeois politicians. For that matter, something similar could be said of the Democratic Party in the U.S. But the DP and PRD they are nevertheless parties of the bourgeoisie.

. Anita's equivocation about the liberal bourgeoisie and the PRD may be related to the fact that El Machete, which she supports, identifies PRD as "on the side of the popular democratic, and revolutionary forces". (34) El Machete says it has a "different proposal" for the movement than PRD, but includes PRD as part of the revolutionary forces. In its recent call for an organization, El Machete says that the organization should not have the same structure as the PRD, but does not say anything else about it. It seems that El Machete too has a hard time dealing with the PRD.

--The revolution is imminent--

. Anita also makes use of her theory of the dual nature of the revolution in order to present the situation as already very revolutionary today. She pooh-poohs talk about the importance of recognizing the importance of protracted work when the revolution is still far off, saying that everyone knows that "the socialist revolution is not imminent in Mexico". Yet she talks of "democratic struggles" throughout Mexico which might well be taken "to their revolutionary limits". Indeed, by the end of her article, referring to the present situation in Mexico, she says that "There is no 'wall' between the democratic struggles and the socialist struggle. How far the revolutionary movement can go depends on what class force wins leadership of the movement. " She thus dangles before the reader the perspective the proletariat might soon win leadership of the ongoing struggles in Mexico, converting them into "the socialist struggle". This would mean the socialist revolution might be pretty close after all.

--The independent proletarian movement has only to unite on a national level--

. What is needed to allow the proletariat to win leadership of the "democratic struggles"? Anita admits that "there is not a party of the proletariat or even a strong Marxist-Leninist trend". She admits that "the workers' movement continues to be weak". She admits that the movements are "nationally very fragmented and weak". But she doesn't put forward any task for building up the proletarian movement other than uniting the local struggles, for she says that

". . . The independent mass movements of workers and urban poor remained active and strong in their local areas, . . . "

. It is important that local and partial struggles break out among the workers even while the majority of their unions are affiliated to the Mexican ruling party, the PRI, and while the "independent" unions are subject to the strong influence of American pro-capitalist unions and other backward trends. It is vital that the masses intervene in this time of crisis in Mexico. But it is revolutionary play-acting when Anita tells us that these movements and local activist coalitions are locally strong and "independent", and hence implies that all they need do is unite. Can it be said that the majority of the organized workers, for example, are involved in independent local organizations when they are in PRI-affiliated unions? Can it be said that the local activist organizations have clear, revolutionary views, but for some unknown reason haven't been able to unite? Anita simply gets excited over the local demonstrations in working class neighborhoods, and tells the movement--just keep on doing whatever you are doing, and unite. She prettifies a situation where many such groups have illusions in the reformist party of the liberal bourgeoisie, the PRD, or with the middle-class "civic society". She leaves out any discussion of the serious problems concerning what to organize in a difficult objective situation: she reduces things to the simple contrast between "local" strength and "national" weakness.

. El Machete also engages in the same play-acting concerning the strength of a disorganized left. It assures the world that the left "has postponed the destruction of the ejido or the annihilation of the communal forms of production". Jack Hill (Oleg), another CWV writer and supporter of El Machete, had informed the world previously that "the ejidos are rapidly dying. The 'reform' of Article 27 [of the Mexican Constitution--Jph. ] did that. "(35) Now El Machete has great news--the ejido lives. And, presumably, it's all because of a few left coalitions and demonstrations. In fact, the ejido was and is decaying due to the development of the split between rich and poor peasants and the spread of capitalist relations in the countryside. The reform of Article 27 didn't start this process, and some demonstrations aren't going to stop it. We'll take a glimpse in the last section of this article at what the ejidos and the communal agrarian communities ("comunidades agrarias") really look like.

. But if Anita's main contrast is between local strength and national fragmentation, and if the main enemy is simply sectarianism, then the main task that remains is uniting these groups. At the end of her reply to me Anita endorses "the forces around El Machete" whose program she describes as follows:

". . . To strengthen the unity of the most revolutionary elements and organizations in the mass movement, to develop a program to push the limits of the democratic struggle, and to begin the process to form an independent proletarian organization. "

Bearing in mind what she means by these phrases, she is putting forward that the task is simply to unite and be more militant. She reprints from El Machete the article "Work to form the political organ of the toilers" to show what she means. (It is also reprinted elsewhere in this issue of Communist Voice. ) This article puts forth no analysis of what is holding back unity. It doesn't say what is needed to achieve unity other than to hold a meeting. It doesn't put forward any program as a basis for unity, not even Anita's formula of "push(ing) the limits of the democratic struggle". It simply hopes to see the unity of all those forces "who propose to make a revolution". (It does not even say what type of revolution. )

--The political organization that does nothing--

. What does El Machete see as coming from such unity? Is it aiming at a political party? In the discussion articles in El Machete, the need for a proletarian party has been questioned. (36) Today El Machete presents this as a minor question of a name, and says of the organization to be formed,

. "Will it be the Party of the Proletariat? Will it have another name? For now it is not important what we baptize the child, n or how its functioning will be structured or formed."

. Well, what is important? El Machete says over and over again that this new organization will not interfere with or have any affect on the various activist groups and coalitions that it is seeking to unite. It makes one wonder what the point of having such an organization is, if it isn't going to affect how the struggle is waged in demonstrations, strikes, workplace organizing, etc. But three of the eight paragraphs in El Machete's call for a meeting aim at reassuring the activists on this point; it's the only thing that is definite about the proposal. The proposed organization

"is not to exclude nor substitute for the social organizations"; the attempt to build it doesn't mean "to negate the serious attempts at political organization" which have already occurred; the organization "should not (and cannot) supplant the unions nor the popular organizations".

. Well, yes, there should be trade unions as well as a political party, but that's hardly likely to be too controversial. But any proletarian political organization worthy of the name will seek to radically supplant or transform those trade unions which are, say, affiliated to PRI. And, from the point of view of Marxism, it makes no sense to have a party if it isn't to dramatically alter the previous way the activists were organized, replacing some activist groups with the party branches and organizations and rallying other non-party activist groups around itself.

. There is of course a type of flimsy, do-nothing "Marxism" that has given up the struggle to transform the left movement, to say nothing of changing the broader world. Oleg, who also supports El Machete, writes in CWV that

. "At this point I no longer believe that any one group has a monopoly on the one and only true path to revolution, so I am inclined to come down hard against those who are holding onto their sects and saying that they have the one true answer to all questions of revolutionary tactics, strategy, and ideology. "(37)

From this point of view, why build a party at all? It's just another sect. Why spend all that time fighting about different views, as Marx did in the First International, or as Lenin did in order to build up a new communist international? It's all so simple, just give up the search for the proper revolutionary path and instead substitute a coalition of all the groupings, which will coordinate actions by consensus. And thus, the Marxist idea of building a proletarian trend is replaced by the post-modernist nonsense that objective truth doesn't exist, hard work to find the truth isn't necessary, and one opinion is just as good as another.

. Moreover, El Machete has most likely been influenced by the model put forward by the EZLN. The EZLN has been organizing a nation-wide coalition, called the Zapatista Front of National Liberation (as opposed to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, which is the EZLN itself). El Machete's plan of uniting, without much of a basis of unity other than the desire for some militancy, resembles the Zapatista call. Only the Zapatista Front is, even according to Anita, led in most of Mexico by the PRD and other reformists. (38)0 El Machete may perhaps see no further than a loose grouping that isn't so directly under the thumb of the outright reformists or that can function as a left faction within the coalitions dominated by the EZLN-PRD coalition.

--About the alliance of all the working people--

. But even without the loose coalition envisioned by El Machete, Anita thinks that the workers, peasants, and urban poor are already in an alliance. She writes that:

. "For many years, there has existed, in many forms, an alliance between the proletariat, the urban poor, and the poor peasantry around economic and democratic demands. " She says that this is seen in the fact that the peasants demand many things which "are the same as the demands of the workers and urban poor (e. g. , healthcare, education, justice, democracy, etc. ). This alone suffices to be, in her view, "another difference between the peasant movement in Mexico and in Russia in 1905. "

. There are, of course, many links between the workers and peasants of Mexico, especially as millions of peasants have flooded into the cities, and as millions of peasants have become full or part-time rural laborers. The Zapatista revolt, for example, found sympathy among millions of ordinary Mexicans, and not just peasants. But far from the joint action between the workers and peasants more advanced than it was in Russia in 1905, it is undoubtedly less advanced. Anita to the contrary, workers and peasants also wanted healthcare, justice, democracy, etc. in Russia, not just in Mexico. But moreover, the workers had developed their own party in Russia, and there was mass revolutionary action by both workers and peasants against the existing regime. When Anita presents demands for healthcare as a new advance in the worker-peasant alliance, she is engaging in revolutionary play-acting which trivializes the great principle of the working class leading the working masses. She is removing from this principle anything that could inspire activists to organize a separate movement of poor peasants and rural laborers in the countryside or otherwise make major changes in the way the Mexican movements are organized.

--Merging with the petty-bourgeoisie--

. The general glorification of the movement in Anita's writing leads to simply merging the socialist activists in the general democratic movement and with the petty-bourgeoisie. She pays lip-service to the organization of a proletarian movement by talking of a "revolutionary proletarian trend", but she simply attaches the proletarian label to any merging of the proletariat and the socialist activists with the petty-bourgeoisie.

. For example, she begins one paragraph with the view that "the peasant movement in Southern Mexico" is "absolutely not" socialist. However, in the next sentence she says that she thinks that "the existing struggle of the masses of peasants, indigenous peoples, workers and oppressed is where revolutionaries must fight to define a revolutionary proletarian trend". If all she meant is that the revolutionary workers and socialist activists should seek to influence the struggle of all the working masses, it would be a correct idea although badly stated. Or if it simply meant that socialist activists might originate as activists in other movements, which is another reason why socialist propaganda should be spread widely, that too would be correct. But as an answer to where an independent proletarian trend will be "defined", it suggests the idea of merging with the petty-bourgeoisie.

. In this regard, it should be noted that Anita never mentions the need to organize the rural laborers and semi-proletariat separately from the general peasant movement, even though she admits that this general peasant movement is "absolutely not" socialist. Instead she seems to think that the general movement of the peasantry and the petty-bourgeoisie will give rise anyway to a defined socialist movement, if only it is revolutionary enough. She certainly has a novel idea of defining the proletarian trend: it is something that need not be socialist nor proletarian. In support of her view, she puts forward a series of theses denigrating the difference between the proletariat and the petty-bourgeoisie.

. But before dealing with Anita's merging of the concept of the proletariat and the petty-bourgeoisie, let's note how Lenin discussed this matter even during a democratic revolution. He stressed not only that there is a sharp distinction between democratic and socialist revolution, but that the proletariat must organize separately from its temporary allies in the democratic revolution. No doubt Lenin was quite aware that various activists in the peasant movement or various non-socialist movements might sum up their experience and become socialists. One of the purposes of widespread socialist agitation is to reach such potential socialist activists. But he did not think that the petty-bourgeois movements would grow over into socialist movements. Instead he pointed out that:

. "A Social-Democrat must never for a moment forget that the proletariat will inevitably have to wage the class struggle for Socialism even against the most democratic and republican bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. This is beyond doubt. Hence the absolute necessity of a separate, independent, strictly class party of Social-Democracy. Hence, the temporary nature of our tactics of 'striking jointly' with the bourgeoisie and the duty of keeping a strict watch 'over our ally, as over an enemy,' etc. "(39)

. Lenin strictly emphasized that support for the general democratic movement, helping it fight the autocracy, taking part in the democratic struggle, were one thing and merging with the general democratic movement was another. Instead of presenting the general democratic movement as quasi-socialist, he emphasized the need for organizing the socialist movement as well as supporting the general democratic struggle:

. "Thus, we must combine the purely proletarian struggle with the general peasant struggle, but not confuse the two. We must support the general democratic and general peasant struggle, but not become submerged in this non-class struggle; we must never idealize it with false catchwords such as 'socialization', or even forget the necessity of organizing both the urban and the rural proletariat in an entirely independent class party of Social-Democracy. "(40)

. He indeed has a most interesting discussion of whether there should be socialist peasant committees during a democratic revolution, by which he means class organizations of the peasantry as a whole under the socialist label. He opposes the concept of "socialist" peasant committees and instead advocates the organization of full socialist committees in the countryside, branches of the proletarian party that aren't restricted to peasants and that unite socialist elements in the countryside with the proletariat as a whole. He regards revolutionary peasant committees as necessary and important in the democratic revolution, as something that should be supported, but as distinct from socialist committees. And he draws an analogy to work in the cities. There too the socialist movement is faced with allies of various sort in the struggle against the autocracy, and it should work with them, but without merging with them. Later on we shall see that Anita too draws an analogy with the city, but only because she takes it for granted that the proletariat should merge with the urban petty-bourgeoisie. Lenin's view, however, was different:

". . . In our opinion there should be no Social-Democratic peasant committees. If they are Social-Democratic, that means they are not purely peasant committees; if they are peasant committees, that means they are not purely proletarian, not Social-Democratic committees. There is a host of such who would confuse the two, but we are not of their number. Wherever possible we shall strive to set up our committees, committees of the Social-Democratic Labor Party. . . . These committees will conduct the whole of Social-Democratic work, in its full scope, striving, however, to organize the rural proletariat especially and particularly, since the Social-Democratic Party is the class party of the proletariat. . . .
. "The reader may ask--what is the point, then, of having revolutionary peasant committees? Does this mean that they are not necessary? No, they are necessary. Our ideal is purely Social-Democratic committees in all rural districts, and then agreement between them and all revolutionary-democratic elements, groups, and circles of the peasantry for the purpose of establishing revolutionary committees. There is a perfect analogy here to the independence of the Social-Democratic Labor Party in the towns and its alliance with all the revolutionary democrats for the purpose of insurrection. We are in favor of a peasant uprising. We are absolutely opposed to the mixing and merging of heterogeneous class elements and heterogeneous parties. We hold that for the purpose of insurrection Social-Democracy should give an impetus to all revolutionary democracy, should help it all to organize, should march shoulder to shoulder with it, but without merging with it, to the barricades in the cities, and against the landlords and the police in the villages. "(41)

. Is such a presentation of the task of the struggle for democratic demands compatible with the idea that the proletarian socialist trend can emerge from among the "heterogeneous class elements and heterogeneous parties" that form the general democratic movement without the necessity for specific work directed to building the socialist movement and distinctly proletarian organization? The socialist movement becomes something definite only when it has independent organization, separate from that of the general democratic movement. Lenin's discussion of this question makes clear that such independence has nothing to do with boycotting the democratic struggle. It is fully compatible with rendering aid and support to petty-bourgeois allies and propagating socialism among them, but it is not compatible with merging with these allies.

Forgetting about the peasant bourgeoisie

. Anita not only sees the proletariat and petty-bourgeois merging in the general democratic movement, she goes further and implies that there isn't much of a class difference between the workers and peasants anyway. For one thing, in discussing the peasantry, she talks only of the poor peasants or semi-proletarians, while glossing over the important role of the rich and middle peasants. Far from us to deny the great significance of the fact that the majority of Mexican peasants are poor peasants and semi-proletarians -- the Communist Voice has written about this repeatedly. It is the center of our analysis of the countryside. But Anita's doesn't point out that the peasantry is dividing up into rich and poor peasants. Her picture of the countryside and of the ejidos lacks rich peasants, and implicitly paints the entire peasant movement, all members of ejidos, and especially all the indigenous peasants, as basically semiproletarians. She talks of peasants selling their labor power to non-peasant exploiters, but she never points out that many poor peasants work on the fields of richer peasant neighbors in the ejidos or have to take usurious loans from them. Indeed, many poor peasants rent their land to the rich peasants and then end up working as hired laborers on what was their own land.

. True, the poor peasants and rural semi-proletariat are indeed the majority of the peasantry. This was also true in Russia in 1905 too. In an article on the situation in 1905-7, Lenin gives figures indicating that more than four-fifths of the peasants were then poor peasants who were being economically crushed; the middle peasants who could get by with labor on their own land were only about one-eight of the peasantry; and the peasant bourgeoisie was only about a tiny 5% of the peasantry. (42) But Lenin didn't thereby conclude, as Anita does, that the peasant movement didn't have a petty-bourgeois character. Instead he held that, so long as the peasants stand for small-scale production and until the poor peasants engage in class struggle against the rich peasants, this is a movement of the peasantry as a whole. Indeed, until the poor peasants engage in an organized fight with the rich peasants, and begin to adopt proletarian viewpoints, they preserve the hope of somehow getting more land and farm implement and becoming solid, independent peasants. It is observed over and over how many poor peasants work themselves to the bone in the hope of becoming a better-off peasant. Even when they become rural laborers or go off into construction gangs or factories, this doesn't necessarily mean that the ruined poor peasants have lost the aspiration of returning to the land, and peasants and small farmers who finance their failing farms with their wages from working for others are quite common. Also it's notable that, in the land reform of the latter 1930s during the presidency of the reformist Lazaro Cardenas, many rural laborers on the plantations who had been militant union members once again sought land to become independent peasants. Many indigenous ejidatarios still needed to work on the plantations to get by, but they no longer formed a base for militant labor organizing. The movement for land was a movement of the "peasantry as such", and it had a very different character from class organization of the rural proletariat and semi-proletariat.

. Anita however overlooks altogether the class struggle between the rich and poor peasants. No matter how much she talks about "poor peasants", it means little so long as she doesn't recognize that rich peasants exist in the ejido. She is simply dressing up the movement of the peasantry as a whole in proletarian colors, just as she dresses up the general democratic movement in quasi-socialist colors.

. This results in Anita giving an absurdly oversimplified picture of the political sympathies of the countryside. In reality, not all ejidos supported the Zapatistas, even if we talk only of ejidos in Chiapas or around the Lacandona Jungle. The peasantry isn't simply divided into supporters of real revolution and supporters of the reformist PRD: on one hand, the Zapatista leadership didn't put forward the road of revolution, while some peasants even support the bourgeois-conservative party PAN. And despite the picture of fervent support for the ejidos implied by Anita and others, the peasantry did not rise up as one person against the PRI's reform of Article 27, which legalizes the buying, selling and mortgaging of peasant land in ejidos (this has always gone on in the ejidos, but it used to be illegal), makes it easier to dismantle ejidos, ends land redistribution except for the finalization of past promises, etc. To understand this, one has to recognize both the actual class divisions among the peasantry, and the real position of the poor peasant in the ejido.

--Glossing over the class differences between the workers and peasants--

. But Anita, having implied that the peasants are all poor peasants and thus "very close to being a rural proletariat", concludes that their difference from the working class is therefore almost negligible. After all, she reasons, many workers are almost petty-bourgeois, and so what difference is there between the working class and the peasantry? Really! That's what she says! She argues that

". . . It is worth noting that the problem of petty-bourgeois ideology is not restricted to the peasantry. In Mexico, many workers have been so completely devastated economically that in order to survive, they are engaging in 'petty-bourgeois' economic activities. Neither is this problem restricted to the dependent or underdeveloped countries. In the developed capitalist countries, it's not unusual for industrial proletarians to own property and make income from rents, or to operate small businesses on the side and even to employ labor in those businesses. "

. So, she reasons, since there are urban petty-bourgeois of proletarian origin (to say nothing of labor aristocrats), and because the working class doesn't exist pure and automatically free of petty-bourgeois ideology, then the poor peasants are just as working class as anyone else. She argues in essence that, since there is a petty-bourgeoisie in the cities, even in Chicago, why pick on the peasants and point out that they are a petty-bourgeoisie? And this argument would be unassailable -- if the urban petty-bourgeoisie and the working class were really the same class, and if the struggle against petty-bourgeoisie ideology were not one of the important struggles facing the working class. In the article that she is replying to, I had already pointed to the existence of the urban petty-bourgeoisie. From the class similarity between the petty-bourgeois in town and country I had concluded that the peasantry is in a separate class position from the workers. Anita concludes from the same fact that the workers and peasants are all but in the same class position.

. Anita actually argues that any worker living in a house is basically in the same position as a peasant. Indeed, she says:

". . . It may be that the poor peasants in Mexico who own a piece of land and a house, and are exploited by the plantation owners, ranchers, and local capitalists [note, once again there is no mention of exploitation by the rich peasants, no mention of any class division within the peasantry--Jph. ], have more interests in common with the workers (who may own their little house and garden but are exploited by the capitalists), then they have with the petty-bourgeois and bourgeois ranchers. " (emphasis added,)

Naturally the poor peasants have more in common with the workers than with the capitalist ruling class. That's not the point at issue. The point is that those peasants who still cling to petty production as their salvation are in a different class position than workers, even if workers have a garden in their rented or mortgaged house. The point is also that the peasants are not just exploited by ranchers but by their rich peasant neighbors in the ejido. Moreover, if the poor peasants and rural proletariat are really to come into alliance with the urban workers it requires more than redefining the peasant movement: it requires that they organize in the countryside separate from the general peasant movement for aid to the ejidos.

. Anita's theories about the peasantry would logically lead to the view that Mexico not only doesn't have a liberal bourgeoisie in the Leninist sense of the word (as we have seen her argue), but it doesn't have a petty-bourgeoisie in that sense either. Indeed, in point #2 of the "Elements of analysis for the current political situation", El Machete reaches this type of conclusion. It refers to various sections of the urban and rural petty-bourgeoisie, but only in order to suggest that their position is similar to that of the working class. El Machete sees no political significance to the difference between the working class and the petty-bourgeoisie.

--The ejidos in the Lacandona jungle--

. Anita's theories about the peasantry are based neither on a close observation on what is going on in the Mexican countryside nor on any serious theoretical work, but on romanticizing the EZLN. She seeks to show that, whatever the case elsewhere, surely the movement of the rebellious peasants is essentially proletarian and the ejidos there have little to do with the Cardenista program. So while in general presenting the ejidos as composed only of subsistence plots of poor peasants, Anita especially glorifies the ejidos in that part of Chiapas where the EZLN is based. She writes that

. "The ejidos of the Lacandona are not the ejidos formed by the PRI as part of the land reforms of earlier epochs. "

. However, the ejidos in Chiapas in general and the Lacandona in particular were just as much a part of PRI's program as ejidos elsewhere in Mexico. The first really big wave of ejido formation in Chiapas took place as part of the campaign encouraged by Lazaro Cardenas, president of Mexico from 1934-1940. Since the 1950s a number of landless peasants have gone to Lacandona Jungle as their last resort. This migration was officially recognized when Luis Echeverria, president of Mexico from 1970-76, legalized many of these ejidos as part of his program of "colonization", which was the moving of landless peasants from their homes to uncultivated land elsewhere. The peasants who had settled in the Lacandona Jungle were one of the few groups of peasants who gained anything but marginal benefits from Echeverria's program of renewed Cardenismo .

. It is true that many ejidos in Chiapas in general and the Lacandona Jungle in particular aren't yet legally sanctioned. But this is no different from the situation anywhere in Mexico. The PRI always promised much more than it delivered. This is so notorious that one scholar has even compiled a table comparing the number of ejidos promised to the peasantry ("published resolutions" of the Mexican government) with the ejidos actually obtained ("executed resolutions") for each Mexican president. (43) Moreover, whenever PRI grants some ejidos, the peasants rush to claim additional ones. This happens all over Mexico.

. Cardenas and Echeverria developed a good deal of support among the peasantry due to their ejido programs. Even today, it is notable that there is much influence on the left of Cardenista-style ideas, and a good deal of the criticism of PRI is directed at its shift away from the policies of Cardenas and Echeverria. Any agrarian program which can't see further than the ejido and land reform, or which imagines them as somewhat socialist, has something in common with Cardenista views, and variants of Cardenismo (Cardenista ideas) have influenced very different class forces. For example, insurgent peasants with faith in the ejido represent a very different class force from the bourgeoisie that had backed Lazaro Cardenas, and the proletariat has to distinguish sharply between them. Nevertheless, the program of the proletariat, while supporting various just demands for land reform, has to reveal that land reform and the ejido will not stop the capitalist evolution of agriculture and that small peasant production cannot bring prosperity to the peasantry as a whole. It has to reveal the development of the class struggle among the peasantry and stress the need to organize the rural proletariat and the poor peasants in their own interests, separate from the general peasant movement.

. The CWV and El Machete have never successfully dealt with Cardenismo. Sarah's view that the ejido can be transformed into a socialist institution, or El Machete's view that the communal forms (agrarian communities, or indigenous ejidos) are in essence socialist, are nothing but a more refined, leftist form of Cardenismo. Sarah and Anita's views that the main issue is winning the peasantry from reformist ways of implementing land reform to revolutionary ways of doing it, is also one of the forms of "left" Cardenismo. It is no accident that El Machete, in its call to form an organization, doesn't criticize any aspect of the PRI regime other than its reversal of the Cardenista policies of the past. Such standpoints cannot help radical poor peasants overcome "left" Cardenismo and the idea that, with more government aid, the class struggle in the countryside will subside and the ejidos will flourish.

. It is because she is unable to clarify the nature of Cardenismo and the old PRI program, that Anita has to resort to the absurd statement that the ejidos in the Lacandona Jungle have nothing to do with PRI's old ejido program. Still mired in prettification of the old ejido program, Anita implies that the ejidos, especially of the indigenous peoples, consist solely of poor peasants. These particular ejidos are the "comunidades agrarias", or agrarian communities. The talk of "communal forms" may give the impression that the peasants in these communities are all equal, an impression reinforced by Anita's insistence that all one needs to know about these communities is that the peasants in them are the poorest of the poor. But not all the peasants in them are on the bottom. For example, one searcher of a reformist political bent who is sympathetic to small-scale peasant production wrote:

". . . My observations are drawn from research I performed as an anthropologist during three decades studying agrarian change in highland Chiapas, including ways in which Mexico's oil boom of the 1970s and the resulting debt crisis of the 1980s redefined the lives and roles of the region's peasants. Among the indigenous peasants I know, I saw a gap grow ever wider between the wealthy, who were able to infuse their farming with cash derived from wage work near oil fields, on dam projects, and in urban construction projects, and the poor, who are finding it increasingly impossible to be able to afford to farm even their own land. "(44)

. With respect to an ejido in Eastern Chiapas, he pointed that, as it evolved, peasants who started out pretty much all as poor peasants ended up divided into rich and poor peasants, with the rich peasants in the ejido hard to distinguish economically from private ranchers (in fact, this process goes on in ejidos of all types):

". . . the settlement's increasing commercial orientation separated settlers (who had for the most part begun production on roughly equal allotments of land) into two groups, one of poorer settlers who relied on subsistence farming and wage work for other compatriots, and a wealthier group involved in marketing cash crops and cattle. When one considers that wealthier colonists attained economies of scale from collective herding and commercial marketing, the distinction between them and private ranchers began to blur. Such differentiation . . . creates incentives for relative 'have-nots' to undertake new colonization of their own . . . "(45)

. Another writer on the peasant movement, Dan La Botz, whose book is sympathetically reviewed in the CWVTJ, states with respect to the agrarian communities:

. "The Indian leadership in the villages also changed. . . The state laws of the 1930s required each community in Chiapas to have a village government with elected civil authorities. Among these officials were escribanos or scribes: literate, bilingual Indians who served as middlemen between the Mayan community and the state and national government. The escribanos, or scribes gradually evolved into a new generation of caciques or political bosses allied with the PRI. These political bosses also exercised economic power through their control of beer and soft drink monopolies, trucking businesses, and local loan-sharking. "(46) He goes on to describe that "By the 1980s, Chiapas had changed fundamentally. . . . Indian villages were themselves became torn by a class struggle between the propertied and the propertyless. Whether the peasants became richer or poorer, the PRI tended to lose its grip over them. Chiapas's peasants became open to other forms of social and political organization. "(47)

Interestingly enough, La Botz describes the decay of ejido equality as the factor breaking the back of PRI domination. The ejido in full bloom, so idealized by El Machete, Sarah, Anita and many leftists, was a key factor demobilizing the peasantry and riveting it to the tyranny of the PRI.

. If you recall, Anita claimed in her article that "It seems that the CV author doesn't understand the indigenous peasant movement". Whether this is true centers on the nature of the ejido and of the indigenous ejido, the agrarian community. If the ejido really consists, for all intents and purposes, only of poor peasants and semiproletarians, as Anita insists, then she is right. But if the ejido really is breaking up into rich and poor, if a struggle between rich and poor takes place among the peasants within the ejido, and not just between the entire ejido and commercial interests outside it, then it is Anita who has closed her eyes to the reality of peasant life in Mexico. If the indigenous peasantry consists for all intents and purposes only of the poorest peasants who are essentially working class, then Anita is right. But if there is a division between rich and poor among the indigenous communities as well as among the rest of the peasantry, then it is Anita who is living in a fantasy world, and she is doing so in order to support the dogmas of peasant socialists such as the petty-bourgeois nationalists of El Machete. And by propagating this false picture of the ejidos, Anita is prettifying Cardenismo and the old politics of PRI, prior to its turn to neoliberalism.


(1) This document is available in English in CWVTJ #11, pp. 9-13, Oct. 7, 1996. (Return to text)

(2) Note that CWV writers describe the EZLN's actions as an advance in the preparation of the revolution. Yet the difference El Machete has with EZLN is that the EZLN's program can only be accomplished, not as the EZLN sees it, but with an "advance in the preparation of a new revolution. " El Machete's and CWV's program for Mexico thus appear to consist in large part of recasting EZLN's program in more revolutionary verbiage. (Text)

(3) "Two Tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, Postscript. Sec. II, p. 12. (Text)

(4) "Petty-bourgeois Socialism and Proletarian Socialism", Collected Works, vol. 9, p. 442, Nov. 7, 1905. (Text)

(5) "A Draft Program of our Party", Collected Works, vol. 4, p. 239, (Text)

(6) Two Tactics, Sec. 12, Chinese pamphlet edition, p. 108. This sentence is translated somewhat better here than in the Collected Works (Vol. 9, pp. 98-99), although the meaning is the same. In the Collected Works, the phrase is "even when fighting with the proletariat", which is perhaps ambiguous, although the context makes it clear that this means fighting against the proletariat, not alongside the proletariat. (Text)

(7) For example, it is a basic Marxist view that the class struggle takes place on the political, economic and ideological fronts. In this sense, every developed class struggle is not just dual, but even has three major parts. But it is one thing to note that the Mexican working class should both fight against political tyranny and against exploitation, and it would be quite another to mix up the general democratic movement and the socialist movement on the grounds of the "duality" of the class struggle. (Text)

(8) Similarly, she claims that Lenin said that the liberal bourgeoisie in Russia supported the peasantry in the democratic revolution, although her quote from Lenin says the exact opposite. (I will go into this later in this article. ) It is incredible that she quotes Lenin to provide authority for the very views that he is denouncing, but this reflects what happens when one interprets Marxism through petty-bourgeois democratic blinders. (Text)

(9) Tono Garcia's article appeared in El Machete, #63, July 19, 1995 and was translated into English in CWVTJ #8, Oct. 8, 1995. Ricardo Loewe's article appeared in the "For the Debate" section of El Machete in August 1995, and was translated into English in CWVTJ #9, Jan. 29, 1996. (Text)

(10) "Two Tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, sec. 13, p. 111. (Text)

(11) "Two Tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, Sec. 2, p. 27, emphasis added. (Text)

(12) I discuss this controversy in detail in my article "The ghost of Lazaro Cardenas and the present crisis in Mexico", Communist Voice, vol. 1, #5, Nov. 15, 1995, starting with the section "Oleg's main theoretical point--on the impulse to capitalist development". Jack Hill (Oleg) never replied. Sarah indirectly replied to this point--or at least, reiterated Jack's viewpoint--in her article "The continuing crisis in Mexico" by suggesting that if the reforms are carried out by the mass struggle of the peasantry, this might minimize such deleterious effects as capitalist development. I discuss this in the section "Women's rights" of my article "On proletarian tasks in the period of the tottering of the PRI regime/Once again on peasant socialism", which is the same article Anita is replying to. Both Sarah's and my article are contained in the CV, vol. 2, #6, Dec. 15, 1996. The CWV still hasn't grasped that there are objective economic laws at stake, laws that cannot be evaded or repealed by saying that the masses will arrange things as they like or the leftist coalitions will come to some consensus. As Lenin pointed out: "The better the condition of the 'village commune' and the greater the prosperity of the peasantry in general, the more rapid is the process of differentiation among the peasantry into the antagonistic classes of capitalist agriculture. " ("The Agrarian Program of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution 1905-1907", Collected Works, vol. 13, pp. 241-2, emphasis as in the original)) But the CWV still believes that, somehow, a proper program of aid to small-peasant agriculture will retard or hold back the breakup of the peasantry into rich and poor peasants, peasant bourgeoisie and peasant laborers, instead of facilitating this breakup. (Text)

(13) "Two Tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, sec. 13, p. 111. (Text)

(14) "Petty-bourgeois and Proletarian Socialism", Collected Works, vol. 9, p. 440, Nov. 7, 1905. (Text)

(15) Ibid. , p. 443. (Text)

(16) "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky", Collected Works, vol. 28, section entitled "Subservience to the Bourgeoisie in the Guise of 'Economic Analysis'", p. 300, emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(17) "Two Tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, sec. 10, p. 85. (Text)

(18) Ibid. , Sec. 12, p. 100, emphasis as in the original. Of course, here Lenin is talking about a democratic revolution against an autocracy based on landlordism in the countryside. Not only is the present democratization in Mexico not a revolution, but it will modify the form of bourgeois rule rather than overthrow a medieval autocracy. (Text)

(19) "Social-democracy's Attitude Towards the Peasant Movement", Collected Works, vol. 9, pp. 236-7, Sept. 14, 190, emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(20) "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky", Ibid. , p. 300. It is the theoretical distinction drawn by Lenin that is the point here. It is arguable how far the Bolshevik revolution actually succeeded in developing the struggle of the rural semi-proletariat against the rural rich before the revolution degenerated into the Stalinist regime. But then again, it is precisely the weakness on this front that was one of the most important factors undermining the socialist character of the Russian revolution. (Text)

(21) CWVTJ #11, p. 14, col. 1 and 2. She of course does not specify what she means by "breaking completely with reformism", any more than she says what "taking the democratic struggles to their revolutionary limits" means. As of yet, it seems she simply wants the Zapatistas in particular to cool their alliance with the reformist PRD. (Text)

(22) CV, Dec. 1996, p. 32, col. 1. (Text)

(23) "Two Tactics" Collected Works, vol. 9, end of Sec. 6, p. 60. (Text)

(24) "The Bolsheviks and the Petty Bourgeoisie", Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 182, Feb. 25, 1907, emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(25) Ibid. , pp. 182-3, emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(26) Ibid. , emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(27) Ibid. , p. 183. (Text)

(28) "Concluding Remarks on the Report on the Attitude Towards Bourgeois Parties", Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 469. (Text)

(29) "Speech on the Attitude Towards Bourgeois Parties", Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 467. But doesn't Lenin say that the Trudoviks aren't fully consistent democrats? The petty-bourgeois democrat might therefore conclude that the problem is simply that the Trudoviks hadn't yet taken democracy to its most revolutionary limits, and blithely ignore the Marxist analysis that the peasant and petty-bourgeois parties inevitably vacillate due to their class position. Only the proletariat--and, ironically, only if it goes beyond democracy in its organizing--could be a consistent fighter for the democratic revolution. (Text)

(30) "Concluding Remarks .  .  . " Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 470, emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(31) "Two Tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, Sec. 12, p. 100. (Text)

(32) "Two tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, Epilogue. III, p. 136. Also note that Lenin's description of the liberal bourgeoisie gets even rougher when it comes to the question of the preparation of socialism, and not of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. With respect to socialist revolution, Lenin talked in this work about the proletariat having to ally to itself "the mass of the semiproletarian elements of the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie and to paralyze the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. " (p. 100. ) (Text)

(33) Moreover, in line with the dogmas of petty-bourgeois nationalism, she attributes the change in the land reform article solely to NAFTA and ignores that capitalist development in Mexico is the main force breaking down the ejidos. (Text)

(34) See pt #9 of their "Elements of analysis for the current political situation", an English translation of which appears in CWVTJ #11, along with a glowing introduction by Anita. (Text)

(35) CWVTJ #9, "Regarding Mexico: Some points in reply to Mark and Joseph". (Text)

(36) See Ricardo Loewe's reply to Tono Garcia, in which he said "Neither do I understand why there is a 'need for a proletarian party' ". This was in the August 1995 El Machete and reprinted in CWVTJ #9, Jan. 29, 1996, pp. 31-2. (Text)

(37) CWVTJ #12, p. 26. (Text)

(38) See "News from Mexico", CWVTJ #10, p. 3, col. 2. The only problem that Anita mentions about the reformist leadership of the Front is that the reformists "may not be acting with great enthusiasm". (Text)

(39) "Two Tactics", Collected Works, vol. 9, sec. 10, p. 85. (Text)

(40) "Petty-bourgeois and proletarian socialism", Collected Works, vol. 9, pp. 445-6, emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(41) "Social-democracy's attitude towards the peasant movement", Collected Works, vol. 9, pp. 237-8, September 14, 1905, emphasis as in the original. (Text)

(42) "The Agrarian Program of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution 1905-1907," Collected Works, vol. 13, Ch. 1, Sec. 2, p. 227. (Text)

(43) See Appendix H, Samuel Schmidt, "The Deterioration of the Mexican Presidency: The Years of Luis Echeverria". (Text)

(44) From the introduction to "BASTA! Land and the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas" by George A. Collier with Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello. (Text)

(45) Ibid. , p. 45. (Text)

(46) La Botz, Dan, "Democracy in Mexico: Peasant Rebellion and Political Reform", p. 28. (Text)

(47) Ibid. , p. 30. (Text)

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