Re: [OPE] winning the battle of democracy

From: <>
Date: Wed Mar 16 2011 - 07:28:48 EDT

Alejandro, Paula,
when you talk of democracy, do you mean 'bourgeois democracy'? What a kind
of democracy is this?

> Jerry, how can you say that Castro is the most popular ruler if there are
> not
> accountability mechanisms in Cuba to prove this? At least, we can be sure
> that
> Chavez is popular in Venezuela. It seems that international observers back
> a
> reasonable degree of transparency in "competitive" elections there (which
> regrettably is being used to legitimize a dismantling of checks and
> balances
> that could contain the president‚€™s power).
> Come on! It is not so hard to see the flaws of the Cuba‚€™s regime, even
> if you
> have little knowledge about the mechanics of democracy.
>  Alejandro
> ________________________________
> Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
> Enviado: mié,16 marzo, 2011 03:51
> Asunto: Re: [OPE] winning the battle of democracy
>> Yes, Alejandro, there are ‚€œMarxists‚€ who over the years have been on
>> the side of tyranny ‚€“ going all the way back to the USSR. Now it‚€™s
>> Libya, Cuba, China, etc.
> Hi Paula:
> Cuba is not Libya and Castro is not Gaddafi. One minor problem with your
> suggestion that F. Castro is a tyrant is that he is probably the most
> popular
> leader of any nation in the world in his own nation. A rather trivial
> detail, isn't it?
> As for Libya, who exactly do you think are the 'pro-democracy' forces
> there?
> Large segments of the 'rebels' identify with the pre-1969 monarchy and
> openly fly the flag of that monarchy. Another trivial detail, no doubt.
> Also trivial is the base of support that Gasaffi has - which has allowed
> him to stay in power for so long. I guess the rights of women (which have
> been
> championed by the current regime - and ridiculed in the West, where the
> press thinks that him having women guards is another indication of how
> 'crazy' he is) is also a trivial issue.
> By all means be anti-authoritarian, but you might want to consider who
> exactly it is that you are supporting and who supports them and why.
> Note that the rebels haven't even put forward a political platform which
> calls for democracy or elections - instead they call for 'regime change'.
> Please note that I am NOT defending Gadaffi: rather, I am simply pointing
> to some realities and complexities which get in the way of the simplistic
> narrative of 'madman' vs. those who are in favor of democracy.
>> Regarding Jerry‚€™s question ‚€“ I don‚€™t have a strict definition of
>> fascism. It seems to be a label people apply to the most extreme cases
>> of something that‚€™s entirely normal in the age of imperialism ‚€“
>> political reaction with an element of popular support. I‚€™d say
>> Gadhafi‚€™s regime is a pretty extreme example, as bad as General
>> Franco‚€™s in Spain, if not worse.
> Political reaction? Was Gadaffi a 'reactionary' when he helped lead the
> coup
> which overthrew the monarchy? Then, what does that make the pro-
> monarchist forces? ... progressive?...revolutionary? ... democratic? Ha!
> It's an unfortunate tendency for some on the Left to loosely use
> the word 'fascist' to basically describe any movement, government, or
> person
> who doesn't have the 'correct line'. In so doing, the term looses any of
> its
> specific historical meaning. At a time in world history where there are
> genuine fascist movements and dangers this is a very dangerous - and
> sloppy and lax - practice. Why? Because if you can't identify the real
> fascists then you get in the way of effectively organizing a united front
> against fascism. Indeed, this is part of what happened in Germany
> in 1933: the KPD said that the SPD leadership was 'social fascist' and
> hence
> refused to have a united front in the election to the Reichstag (of
> course,
> the SPD leadership was also to blame because they didn't want a united
> front either). The result was that the Left split its vote - and the rest
> is
> history.
> Frankly, I think that the claim that Gadaffi is fascist is comically - and
> tragically - wrong. He is indeed an authoritarian leader who has violently
> repressed his own people but that doesn't make him a fascist. Rather, it
> makes him (in that sense) a normal bourgeois leader. He is no more a
> fascist than was the person he politically identified the most with -
> Gamal Abdel Nasser - although Israeli officials often tried to paint
> Nasser
> as a fascist (ironic, given the character of Zionism and the policies of
> Israel).
> I think a better take on Gadaffi is that he is a one-time revolutionary
> (bourgeois)
> nationalist (who was also internationalist in many ways as well) who over
> time
> became more conservative and ultimately came to a rapprochement with
> imperialism, especially US imperialism. Hence, just last year note H.
> Clinton's
> praise for Gadaffi.
> Certainly, the people of Libya deserve democracy - or at a minimum what
> passes for democracy (bourgeois democracy) in other nations. And it would
> certainly be a good thing if there was a genuine revolutionary movement in
> Libya, but I don't see that happening in Libya today. Frankly, I see the
> hand of imperialism promoting the current rebellion and taking
> sides in the civil war. I guess you could call me naive for thinking this
> had
> something to do with greater access to Libyan oil and a desire to
> eventually
> drive down the price of oil on world markets.
> In solidarity, Jerry                        
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Received on Wed Mar 16 07:39:53 2011

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