[DEBATE] : Re-Reading Ahmadinejad: TowardsaNeo-BandungConfiguration
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Fri Oct 12 08:24:34 BST 2007
Right Yoshie. On all counts.
Including struggle in relation to the nation-state and struggle in relation
to the inter-state sphere that some call the international state.
What has so far frustrated the left has been the repeated experience of
state capture or incorporation of the left...and of civil society and social
movements more generally.
But the left is hardly an innocent victim here since, with the exception of
the libertarian left, it has engaged in statolatry or worship of the state.
In all three other major traditions - social-democratic, communist or
radical-nationalist/populist, the aim has been to capture or control the
Only the marginal libertarian tradition has considered the state as the
problem rather than the solution (or a stage in the solution). Thus, in its
libertarian moment, the German Greens said, 'we will turn the state into
cucumber salad' (I am not sure whether in Germany this means dicing or
slicing). What happened, of course, was that the state turned the Greens
into cucumber salad.
The statolatry of the left was/is also due to the relative weakness of
society in the past. Thus it was a matter of months after the Russian
Revolution that the Party created its own secret police, which rapidly and
inevitably took on many of the characteristics of the Tsarist Okhrana.
That was there and then, this is here and now. Given the increasing relative
strength of inter/national civil society as against capital and state, the
reduction of the role of both of the latter is no longer something to be
postponed indefinitely but a task to be carried out today.
It may seem utopian (in its negative sense) to today - surrounded as we are
by a still rising tide of capitalist aggression and despoliation, to talk
about the increasing power of civil society and social movements. Perhaps
one should rather talk of potential. But indications of this potential can
be found everywhere - not least in the public distrust of 'politics' (in the
sense of state, parliament, elections, political parties, institutionalised
religion, and traditional unionism).
But capitalist triumphalism conceals the depth of capitalist crisis. So the
problem that confronts the left is that of re-inventing itself to relate to
such contemporary contradictions, rather than those of capitalism in its
The left has to surpass the belief in its ownership of (ageing) truths and
recognise that a struggle for the emancipation of society implies also an
emancipation of the left.
This increasingly understood - in South Africa, in South Korea, in Venzuela,
as well as in the traditional West. Struggling in this spirit is difficult
but more fruitful than being frustrated by the repetition of old errors.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Yoshie Furuhashi" <critical.montages at gmail.com>
To: "debate: SA discussion list" <debate at lists.kabissa.org>
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 1:26 AM
Subject: Re: [DEBATE] : Re-Reading Ahmadinejad:
> On 10/11/07, peter waterman <p.waterman at inter.nl.net> wrote:
>> But, as I recently said on this site, the creation of a Disciplinary
>> Committee before the creation of the Revolutionary Party is
>> not a good sign.
> I don't believe anyone has read it as a good sign. Since the party
> doesn't have "doctrinal documents," "statutes," or even "organic
> structures" yet, as Edgardo Lander points out ("Party Disciplinarians:
> the Threat to Dissidence and Democracy in the United Socialist Party
> of Venezuela," 28 September 2007,
> <http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?&&act_id=17397>), "discipline"
> at this point cannot but be arbitrary. Discipline is necessary but it
> shouldn't be arbitrary.
>> Incidentally, does not your metaphor apply more accurately
>> and richly to the statist politics of the Left over the last
>> century or so?
> I understand that you are (rightly, I should add) critical of
> INTERNATIONAL-ism (of the Kremlin) and inter-NATIONALISM (of old
> Third-World nation-states). But it seems to me that the state is
> worth struggling over and that leftists who shun this (no doubt often
> frustrating) struggle get sidelined.
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