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Re: Comments on a Leo Panitch article in the latest MR
by Luke Rondinaro
04 June 2002 16:56 UTC
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This is good, but it does prompt me to raise a few questions and comments.

1.  It seems a "democratic reconstitution of state power" would have to be set against a non-democratic one; in other words, a reconstitution of state power that works not from a point of centralized command or authority, but from a grassroots level of 'democratic' mass acitivities.

2. "Anticapitalism" is not a problematic conceptualized title.  True, many people are subsumed under that category with their many differing ideas, but in one one they all stand together, in their opposition to the current system. They're a "loose" "coalition", yes, but together they stand against the current Capitalist power structure in the world.  That in some ways is enough - because its only through this loose organizational alliance that these widely disparate groups can possibly work together towards this common goal of standing in opposition and working to bring about change and the end of this current system.

A final question, bf I go on, is this really a matter of being Anti-[Elitist]-Capitalism or Anti-(Market Activity) in a practical economic sense?  Please pardon the Amateur's question here, but I think its a query that needs desperately to be made.

I do believe, personally, that centralized command authority in standing and fighting against Elite Capitalist power in the world won't work for the [Anti]-Capitalist movement.  To partake in the same sort of nearly tyrannical power structure that's implicit in the Elite Power authority of the Global-[C]apitalist world and its political counterpart in the so-called "Free World" is self-defeating, and to follow such a model is to ultimately seal one's own doom.

Whether one agrees with it entirely or not, the following article by Joseph Sobran has a very good point. http://www.lewrockwell.com/sobran/sobran262.html.  And, if the tyranny of the state is as much of a problem as he says, then anything that attempts to model itself after such state authority is just as problematic.  Your thoughts?

Luke R.


  Louis Proyect <lnp3@panix.com> wrote:

full: http://www.monthlyreview.org/0602panitch.htm

A "democratic reconstitution of state power"? What in the world is this
supposed to mean? Marx and Engels, who supposedly Leo writes in the name
of, would never use such an amorphous formulation.

Unfortunately, designating oneself as "anticapitalist" lacks the precision
of something like "immediate withdrawal from Vietnam" (or "legalize
abortion now" for that matter.) The "anticapitalism" of this new movement
is not only unfocused, it is open to criticisms that the slogan means
different things to different participants. For many of the NGO's, it is a
term that suggests displeasure with the way capitalism is being operated,
not to capitalism itself. Keep in mind, for example, that the guy who runs
Jubilee 2000 out of Great Britain is a member of the WEF. Of course, he is
"anticapitalist" in the sense that many people are "anti-corruption"--but
so what? Unless a movement can develop SHARPLY FOCUSED DEMANDS, it will fall apart. This was the lesson of the New Left of the 1960s and early
1970s which sneered at the antiwar movement for not building an
"anti-imperialist" movement that would end all war. In the final analysis,
imperialism went its merry way while the New Left imploded trying to build
a movement that it lacked the objective capability to bring to a culmination.

Financial Times (London), May 24, 2002

Lula learns to love a free market: Brazil's workers' champion and veteran
presidential contender has softened his rhetoric, writes Raymond Colitt

In his navy-blue designer suit, sky-blue shirt and bright red tie, the
presidential candidate for Brazil's Workers' party is meticulously groomed.
Hardly a hair out of place and Luis Inacio Lula da Silva's broad smile
reveals immaculate cosmetic dental surgery.

It is all in sharp contrast to the rough and ready appearance of the past.
When the former metalworker first hit the campaign trail more than a decade
ago he was wearing jeans and T-shirt, the uniform of a union activist.
Investment bankers and business leaders now compete for time with landless
peasants and unions for a slot on the busy agenda of the Workers party
champion. Lula, as he is widely known, has not only moderated his
appearance but also many of his economic proposals, toning down much of his
fiery anti-capitalist rhetoric of yesteryear.


Lula has stepped back from the radical proposals of his early days such as
a moratorium on foreign debt or the nationalisation of parts of Brazilian
industry. He has embraced some of the basic policies that have ensured
economic stability in Brazil, including fiscal discipline, inflation
targets, and a floating exchange rate.

Roughly a quarter of Brazilians already live in cities and states run by PT
governments. Many have proven competent administrators and some have
introduced innovative social programmes.

"They won't commit any stupidities - a debt moratorium or a sudden, drastic
interest rate cut," says Walter Appel, director at Banco Fator, an
investment bank in Sao Paulo. He says a PT government, with the support of
labour unions and the necessary alliance it would have to form in congress,
could even undertake long-stalled reforms such as that of the social
security system.

Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

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