[Marxism] Re: Third-placed Brazil election candidate won't back Lula or Alckmin
suklasenp at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Oct 5 21:12:03 MDT 2006
--- Sayan Bhattacharyya wrote:
> I actively campaigned for Nader in 2004 and I am
> proud of it. I would do so
> again. I held and continue to hold "the
> strongly-expressed view that there
> was not much difference between Gore and Bush."
> Let me explain why Lula/Alckmin is very different
> from Gore/Bush.
> First, we have to realize that USA and Brazil are
> totally different
> countries. Brazil is a semicolonial country, while
> the USA is an
> imperialist country. One needs to analyze the
> different parties in Brazil
> in relation to the struggle against imperialism,
> whereas in the USA both
> parties are parties of imperialism.
Would someone please define what is a "semi-colony"?
What are its essential attributes?
Whether Venezuela, or Bolivia for that matter,
represents a different state system from Brazil or
Mexico or Chile or Argentina?
If so, how?
If not, what are the limits of (actual and potential)
political 'Independence' of the rulers - whether
democratic or autocratic, of these countries?
Whether, and how, (bourgeois)'democracy' is possible
Whether there is any stage between "imperialism" and
If so, who belong to this category?
In an earlier posting of mine in response to Vijay
Marla, I had posited that one can hardly have any
meaningful dialogue with a 'believer'.
And when the purported dialogue deals with
counterfactual, it becomes even trickier.
So it's not easy to challenge the claim that there's
no difference between George Bush and Al Gore.
(Though admittedly, there's a real dilemma here. If
you support Al Gore, who's supposedly to be on the
left of Clinton though the assumption became somewhat
weakened by his choice of running mate, you, in
effect, refuse to build up an independent platform for
the radical Left. On the other, you run the risk of
putting George Bush at the helm. In fact, it is Ralph
Nader who tilted the scale decisively in favour of
Bush in the Florida decider.)
Now how do you distinguish this scenario from the one
obtaining in Brazil today?
You put forward the theory that Brazil is Different
(from the US).
Of course it's different. Who can deny? But in what
way it counts? (If in the US the two contenders are
two imperialists, are we not in Brazil faced with
two semi-colonialists or whatever? And if two
"semi-colonialists" can differ significantly, why not
two "imperialists"? )
And then what about France, when Chirac, a recognised
hardcore right-winger - he is no Lula or even Al Gore
by any chance, pitted against Le Pen?
What about India, when the Congress a Right of Centre
party, is pitted against the Hindu Nationalist BJP?
(Both have broadly similar, though not the same,
policies vis-a-vis the US and economy.)
The thesis of "compromise under compulsion" is
obviously a tricky one. It's pretty difficult to
determine where one does draw a line. When
'compulsion' becomes actually a form of and alibi for
Lula submitting to IMF diktats: maybe it's
'compulsion' (I'm personally not too sure for I'm not
that conversant.) But what about Lula armtwisting
Morales and 'compelling' him to backtrack on his
programme for nationalising hydrocarbon fields?
But then how about letting Alckmin win? Does one
really believe that it won't make any difference?
These "compulsions" - the (at least hypothetically)
valid ones I'm talking of, flow from the fundamental
fact that you can't build just not only 'socialism',
but even 'welfarist capitalism' without the combined
strength of a number of reasonably developed
When there's a pronounced mismatch between political
developments and economic, things become really
tricky. (And this is just no matter of choice.) The
political wheel turning back is just one of the many
possibilities. Far greater menacing is the possibility
of encountering murder and mayhem on a massive scale.
My personal take is that there's no blanket rule,
which can be (mindlessly) followed. There is no
substitute for application of one's mind to the
specificities of a specific situation - "concrete
evaluation of a concrete situation", if one so likes.
Intellectually lazy and lousy ones would be outraged
at the suggestion that there's just no 'simple' rule
to be followed. But that can hardly be helped.
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