RE: [OPE] ['The Hankyoreh': Opinion Column] Third worldfinancialorder Dispatch from the International PoliticalEconomy Conference inCaracas

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Wed Oct 29 2008 - 04:44:13 EDT

I was in Caracas at the same time as this conference presenting our program for
a transition to socialism, looking at the other conference on tv and discussing it
with Heinz Dieterich and other participants in our group we formed the same basic
impression as Paula, that it was an attempt to seek a 3rd world capitalist solution.

On the other hand one has to recognise that a socialist government has to seek allies
of the moment in world politics who may not be socialist themselves, this point was
made by Zinoviev at the Baku congress.

Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 1629

-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of Paula
Sent: Wed 10/29/2008 1:23 AM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] ['The Hankyoreh': Opinion Column] Third worldfinancialorder Dispatch from the International PoliticalEconomy Conference inCaracas
> You ... left out the question of self-determination.

I support the right to self-determination. Please note that, today, many
so-called 'Third World' states also deny this right - eg Turkey to the
Kurds, China to the Tibetans, etc.

> 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.

As you know, I am skeptical about whether the Latin American nations you
have in mind are socialist. After all, France remained capitalist under the
'socialist' Mitterrand and with substantial state ownership of economic
resources (eg the electricity industry, as just mentioned by Paul C). The
Venezuelan economy can perhaps be best described as state-capitalist, since
its main product, oil, remains a commodity, even though it is state

> Would you support a bloc of _socialist_ nations formed for the purpose
> of mutual advantage and protection against outside threats (like
> imperialist
> invasions)?

Possibly. But that is not what a 'Third World' bloc would be today. It would
be one big powerful capitalist alliance against another; and by promoting
this kind of project Chavez adds to my suspicion that his goals are not

> 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.

So let the bombs fall on Iraqi capitalists, then? My main point is not about
capitalists anyway. By 'all peoples' I mean the Iraqi people, the German
people, the Malaysian people, the American people, etc. I mean that we
should not exclude Western peoples - the majority of whom are workers - from
our concept of 'solidarity'.

BTW, I notice this column mentions that 'Cho Hee-youn's suggestion of the
need for joint global action' was not 'reflected in the final document'. I
don't know who this person is, but I think (s)he had the right idea - do we
know any more?

> The problem, historically,
> hasn't been "Third Worldism"; the problem has been popular frontism
> and class collaboration.

Collaboration with the ruling classes of the 'Third World', in competition
with the 'First', is what I mean by 'Third Worldism'.

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

I object to advising capital as to what kind of currency to use or what kind
of financial institutions to set up, particularly when competition between
capitalist states is involved. Please remember that in our times this kind
of competition can easily lead to war; we have a responsibility not to
encourage it.


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