. The fourteenth issue of CV, vol. 3, #3 (Aug. 10, 1997, 60 pages of text)
contains the following articles:
(Titles are linked to the full text of the article. For articles without links, the text can be found at TOC14-alt.html, which, however, is only partially formatted.)
These articles dealt with the following subjects:
. The last half-century has played a cruel joke on both the bourgeois ideologists and the dependency theorists. Unlike what the bourgeois ideologists held, development has accentuated the split between rich and poor in the Third World, both within and between countries; unlike what the dependency theorists held, it really has taken place in the Third World. It is real development, but real development under capitalism means exploitation, monopolization, environmental ruin, and all the other features pointed out by the Marxist analysis of capitalism.The Third World is developing, but not according to the ideas of capitalist apologists like The Wall Street Journal or The Economist, nor according to the perspectives of dependency theorists such as A. G. Frank and Samir Amin, but according to the description of capitalism given by Marx and Lenin.
. Three articles by Joseph Green in this issue of Communist Voice deal with this debate over imperialism. The lead article, "The twilight of dependency theory", points out that dependency theory is in crisis. Dependency theory was right to insist that imperialism still exists, but it did not give a correct picture of what imperialism looks like. It has thus failed grievously to provide guidance for the proletarian movement. It has failed to take serious account of the economic development that has taken place; failed to see that the working class must be at the center of the socialist revolutionary movement; failed to give any guidance to the reorganization of the revolutionary and proletarian ranks needed today; failed to recognize the state-capitalist nature of the revisionist regimes; etc. It has flopped on all those issues on which it sought to replace Marxism. The article "Dependency theory and the fight against imperialism" (part one) develops this in more detail, with particular attention to the views of Samir Amin and A. G. Frank. It shows how the radical dependency theorists, who pose as the most extreme critics of the Third World bourgeoisie because they tend to deny the very existence of a Third World "national bourgeoisie", ended up as advisors to bourgeois projects in the Third World. It also shows some of the way that their theories of revolution differ from that of Marxism.
. The review of Warren's Imperialism: Pioneer of Capitalism deals with the other side of the debate--the denial of the existence of imperialism. Bill Warren became prominent in the 70's--and fostered a school that lived on--that used the existence of development to deny that imperialism existed today and to glorify the historical role of colonialism and imperialism. Using the opening provided by dependency theory, he cited innumerable statistics concerning ongoing capitalist development in the Third World. While his interpretations were often fanciful and his statistics one-sided, yet the dependency theorists went thrown for a loop, as their own interpretations were also one-sided. This also shows that continuing critique of imperialism must be based on a picture of the actual features of contemporary imperialism, not on the slogans of dependency theory.
. Moreover, Warren posed as a Marxist, and claimed that his songs of praise to imperialism and colonialism were really the "traditional" Marxist views. Many of the main academic commentators on Marxism have accepted this self-advertisement of Warren, as has Samir Amin.This shows how shallow is the knowledge of Marxism among dependency theorists and academic circles.
. This debate continues to have interest today. No matter how much world development has
undercut the views of both dependency theorists and bourgeois apologists, these views continue
to shape the way the world is discussed today. Looking into the theoretical basis of these views,
and repudiating them, is one part of upholding a Marxist view of world imperialism today.
. The campaign seeks to exploit Che's popularity to prevent criticism of the present ideas of the Cuban leadership and to prevent condemnation of what is really going on in Cuba today. The revolutionary momentum from the movement that overthrew Batista in 1959 has long been exhausted, and the Castro regime has been a state-capitalist regime for several decades now. For a long time now Castro has been a major advocate of revisionist ideas that undermine the proletarian struggle, and his regime has been the state-capitalist rule of a new bourgeoisie over the Cuban working class. A series of articles by Mark in past issues of CV have examined the economic base of the Castro regime, and shown how the state-capitalist system works.
. In this issue of CV Mark examines Che's views. Many of the activists caught up in the Che campaign haven't looked too closely at how these ideas relate to the major revolutionary controversies of our time. There is a view that all the controversies in the left are just so much bickering that distract from militant actions, the armed struggle, and high ideals. But a serious study of Che's ideas and of their results in his revolutionary practice show that one avoids a serious examination of revolutionary theory at one's own peril. In particular, Che sought to avoid the anti-revisionist struggle and the criticism of Soviet and other revisionist views. Mark's article notes that, despite Che's disagreements with certain Soviet policies, he also generally opposed the struggle against revisionism, whether of the Soviet or other types. This didn't allow Che to surmount the various sides of the debate or to develop a stronger revolutionary movement, but ultimately undermined his revolutionary efforts.
. This article examines Che's views. It goes into his "foco" tactics for guerrilla struggle, and why they failed in Bolivia and elsewhere. It discusses the Guevarist attitude to theory and to the anti-revisionist struggle. It also showed how Che's attitude to third world regimes had much in common with the Soviet theory of "non-capitalist development", and his revolutionary attempts against certain regimes were counterbalanced by a reformist attitude to bourgeois regimes with a somewhat nationalist or popular cover in the Third World.
. All in all, while Che's heroism has inspired activists, his theoretical views and his actions have
not provided any legacy that activists could use to fight revisionism or to build up a viable
revolutionary movement. This is one of the reasons why Castro, despite the disagreements
between him and Che which may have developed in the latter period of Che's life, can still cover
himself with Che's mystique. Che's life and the tragedy of his death show that personal heroism
cannot replace revolutionary theory and the struggle against revisionism; indeed, personal
heroism must extend to the struggle against revisionist ideas and forces that pose as revolutionary
and not be restricted only to the struggle against the conservative bourgeoisie.
. Nationalization by itself does not suffice to show that a regime is socialist. This was discussed extensively in part two of this series, "the anarchy of production under the veneer of Soviet revisionist planning". It was shown that the extensive nationalization in the late Soviet Union did not establish a social control over production. It did not establish a working class social control over production because the old Soviet Union was run by the revisionist ruling class;indeed, it did not even establish a unified control by the new bourgeoisie. Instead the various private and small-group interests in the new bourgeoisie were reflected in an anarchy of production. This anarchy is shown by many major features of the Soviet economy, which Soviet economists complained about for decades and could never solve" from hoarding of raw materials, machinery and other means of production by individual factories to the growing inability to complete construction projects (a phenomenon given its own name by Soviet economists--dolgostroi, or slow-construction); from absurd figures given by the enterprises to the ministries, to competition and deception among the ministries themselves.
. This being the case, the transitional economy should be discussed in a way that emphasizes not
just the degree of nationalization, but also whether social control is being achieved. The term
"state capitalism under workers' control" gets in the way of this. This article is designed to spur
study and discussion on this and other issues about the transition to socialism in the Communist
Voice Organization, and its view of the term "state capitalism under workers rule" is not
necessarily the view of any other CVO member.
. The letter points out that many religious groups today try to reconcile the conflict between science and religion, saying that science and religion are both true in their own spheres. The Watchtower itself, as a more fundamentalist group, seeks to challenge science somewhat more directly on its own grounds. This helps brings out more vividly the contradiction between science and religion which is raised in a more masked way elsewhere. This is useful to examine because it affects the whole orientation of the working class's activity.
. Watchtower for example demagogically claims that evolutionism is just social Darwinism
which lauds brutish competition as the eternal fate of humanity. The letter points out that in fact
it is the Watchtower's religious viewpoint which preaches passivity, on the grounds that humanity
cannot liberate itself. Pete shows that "science liberates, religion stifles" not only the struggle for
historical truth about the past of humanity, but the struggle for a future free from exploitation as
well. The causes of exploitation and war can be studied scientifically through historical
materialism, Marxism, which thus establishes a base for the struggle to change society.
. CV" also reprints the issue of Detroit Workers' Voice distributed by supporters of the CVO at
this demonstration, and also in preparation for it at workplaces. There were two articles. One
summed up the newspaper struggle and pointed to its having been stifled by the constant efforts
of the labor bureaucracy to undermine rank-and-file militancy. The other article discussed the
ongoing crisis in the left, and it gave rise to some interest at the workplace and among the
left-wing groups at the demonstration, with the Trotskyists coming up as heated defenders of
state-capitalist regimes like Castro's regime in Cuba.
. Meanwhile Red Star Rising Again!, which has been discussing with us the issue of
anti-revisionism, announces that it has taken the anti-revisionist pledge, yet it continues to praise
the revisionist regimes.
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