RE: SV: [OPE] Marta Harnecker's Ideas

Date: Sat Dec 05 2009 - 07:16:34 EST

> MH probably have written extensively on Cuba, Nicargua and Venezuela -
> but it does not show in her principles, Cuba is just mentioned once,
> Lenin, Trotsky, Martov, Dunajevskaja, Pannekoek or Bahro, Uhl, Belocerkovski...
Hi Anders:
I see that as a distinct advantage of the paper. It goes without saying,
given the history of Marxist discourse, that if these authorities were
mentioned then subsequent discussion would be fixated on whether her
interpretation and critique of those authorities was correct rather than
on the substantive points of the paper. It seems to me that your criticism
is (frankly) trivial and fails to grasp the merit of different styles of writing
for different readers. I think Howard is correct in terms of _why_ Marta chose
the particular form of writing that she did for this article: her intent -
if I understand it correctly - was to reach the widest possible audience.
> I have still not read it properly - but no theoretician of marxist
> organisation that I know of seems to be even mentioned. Strange - very strange.
Yes, it's strange. Strangely good but easily understandable given the intended
purpose of the article. btw, this also has another (perhaps unintended)
consequence: her writing is less boring. Certainly, it's "crisper" than the typical
Leftist or Marist article.

> - And as Alejandro points out - what she writes and her postions on Cuba, Venezuela etc. are "poles
> apart" (I do not know her position) but it does not suprise me if that is the case.
Huh? You don't know her position on these matters but it wouldn't surprise you?
Sadly, it doesn't surprise me that there is a rush to harsh criticism before
attempting to know what her positions are.

> - And why write about the SWPs, the FI? I agree that these were small, but was there anything concious,
> Marxist, cadre organisations thatt were bigger? Is not the real difficulty that rev. org. in the mature
> capitalist countries a) are small b) easily split up? IMHO any kind of "Ideas for the Struggle" must
> adress these challenges.
I don't agree that any discussion of strategy and tactics must include an
assessment of these miniscule sectarian political formations. But, yes,
a discussion of what is necessary to build revolutionary anti-capitalist
struggles in the advanced capitalist nations and how those struggles are
linked to struggles in other parts of the world _is_ important.
Also, I should add that in posing "ideas for struggle" there is a progressive
educational (and propagandistic and agitational) form which encourages readers,
listeners, students, and workers to think through the issues and details
themselves rather than to cross every "t" and dot every "i". If every time
someone wanted to put forward "ideas for struggle" they had to access and
explain every historical development and political formation that would be
a huge "turn-off" and extremely boring and tedious.


>- MH to me looks like a very soft critique of the authoritarian aspects of certain
> Lat.Am leaders/regimes. But since is is so soft, no names mentioned, no concrete
> affair used as an illustration - it is useless for me.
Since you haven't offered an example, your criticism is useless to me. This is not
to say that authoritarian aspects of different Latin American governments don't have
to be understood. Quite the contrary since this has enormous implications towards
her core points (some of which I don't really agree with) concerning ideas for
>From a "horizontalist" perspective (which is one that I don't think she is coming
from, btw) it is very important to *listen* to what others in communities in struggle
are saying and to do so in a *respectful* way. Being an anti-authoritarian in
practice involves more than just a critique of authoritarianism. Thus, there's a
difference - for instance - between asking for further clarification and dismissing
ideas - before you even are sure what they are - as "useless". I think we can
learn something in this regard from the praxis of the Zapatistas.
> So the question that is interesting is - why do Links promote these "truisms"
>(leaders should listen to the masses etc. etc.) - why do Jerry forward it?
> Can you throw any light on that issue Jerry?

I already did that in my reply to Jurriaan. I gave two reasons for why I
forwarded it to the list. The interesting question for me is why you
thought that those reasons were insufficient: is there some sort of an
alternative 'test' that you are proposing (other than the standard which has been used:
namely, that members try to exercise good judgment and forward articles which
they think will be of interest or importance to members and possibly stimulate
discussion) concerning which articles should be shared or which we should
be sent links to?
In solidarity, Jerry _______________________________________________
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Received on Sat Dec 5 07:19:31 2009

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