RE: [OPE] ['The Hankyoreh': Opinion Column] Third world financial order Dispatch from the International Political Economy Conference in Caracas

Date: Sun Oct 26 2008 - 09:20:20 EDT

> I don't think the left should get involved in strengthening one bloc of capitalist nations
> against another.

Hi Paula and Dave Z:

You left out the "i" word (hint: ends with "ism"). and, thus, left out the
question of self-determination. You also left out the 's' word (also ends
with "ism"). While the nations in this alliance are not socialist, I think
it's more than a little significant that it is the stated aim of some
of those nations in Latin America.

Would you support a bloc of _socialist_ nations formed for the purpose
of mutual advantage and protection against outside threats (like imperialist
invasions)? I would hope we would agree that international socialist revolution
will also experience uneven and combined development. There is, after all,
no reasonable scenario where capitalism collapses and is replaced by
socialism all at once on a global level. This is precisely the difficult reality
which the Bolsheviks had to deal with. This doesn't require an abandonment of
internationalism and the quest for a world revolution (as in the theory of
"socialism in a single country"), but it does imply a historical period in
which there are parts of the world and nations which will be pursuing a non-capitalist
direction and others which will be stuck for a longer period in the old system.

> This kind of 'Third World solidarity' is divisive and very dangerous.

There is a divisiveness and danger of the Left of ignoring anti-imperialist
movements for self-determination in non-imperialist nations.

> What we need instead is solidarity between the peoples of all nations - a globalist,
> not a Third-Worldist, perspective.

Solidarities of all peoples? Sorry, but I find that to be an even more
dangerous perspective since capitalists are people as well. I don't
want to build solidarity with them. The problem, historically,
hasn't been "Third Worldism"; the problem has been popular frontism
and class collaboration. Of course, that's not the only problem: there
has also been a problem in the Left of sectarianism and dogmatism. The
latter is evident in many ways, including their perspectives on how
revolutionary change is brought about.

But, let us be a bit more specific. Which of the following
proposals and statements do you object to and why?

In solidarity, Jerry

Chavez quoted Antonio Gramsci¡¯s concept of ¡°crisis¡± and defined the current crisis as being ¡°a situation in which outdated neoliberalism is dying but the new socioeconomic system that would take its place has yet to emerge.¡± He called for the abolishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the end of the reign of the dollar, and Third World solidarity through the establishment of a Banco del Sur, or Bank of the South. Ecuador¡¯s Minister of Economic Policy Coordination Pedro Paez Perez and Belgian political scientist Eric Toussaint both called for a review and selective annulment of foreign debt.

The Egyptian sociologist Samir Amin warned that the recent economic crisis could, instead of leading to an end to capitalism, ¡°give rise to neofascism or lead to a new war by the North (the West) to pass on the cost of the crisis to the South (the Third World).¡± He said there needs to be a ¡°revival of the spirit of the Bandung Conference, which declared the solidarity of Third World states under the principles of reciprocity and peace.¡± Canadian economist Michael A. Lebowitz agreed, saying that ¡°capitalism is not going to collapse on its own, despite the severe economic crisis.¡± Third World ¡°states and peoples¡± need to respond proactively, he said.

The joint statement adopted before the meeting closed called for an independent ¡°Bank of the South¡± that reflects the conditions of South American states, the biggest victims of this financial crisis, to counteract a financial order that centers around the IMF, the issuing of a common South American currency as a regional shock-absorption mechanism, and for the acceleration of economic integration that would not be dominated by the United States. It also reaffirmed the basic position that we need to seek a new financial order, one that goes beyond the speculative financial order. It was, however, unfortunate that the excessive emphasis on ¡°cooperation from above¡± to establish that alternative financial order meant Jeong Seong-jin¡¯s call to ¡°guard against the revival of reformism, Keynesian economics, and state capitalism¡± in the context of the economic crisis and Cho Hee-youn¡¯s suggestion of the ¡°need for joint global action to change the international economic crisis into an opportunity for the mas
ses to assert their political leverage instead of an economic crisis for the citizens of individual countries¡± were not reflected in the document.

Venezuela is in the midst of a modern socialist experiment as it moves against the global trend towards privatization to nationalize its key natural resources,

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Received on Sun Oct 26 09:32:32 2008

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