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Διεθνή / Αριστερά / Κριτική / Παρουσίαση Wednesday January 22, 2020 19:40 byDmitri (MACG - personal capacity)

Αυτή η εκπληκτικά πρώιμη όσο και ρηξικέλευθη κριτική απόρριψη της μαρξικής θεωρίας καθώς και του πρώτου της βλαστού, της σοσιαλδημοκρατίας, από τον εν πολλοίς λησμονημένο αναρχικό επαναστάτη και ουμανιστή Πιερ Ράμους -φιλολογικό ψευδώνυμο του Αυστριακού Ρούντολφ Γκρόσμαν- γράφτηκε εν μέσω του Πρώτου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, το 1916, και εκδόθηκε τρία χρόνια μετά.

Πιερ Ράμους, Η λανθασμένη θεωρία του μαρξισμού

Αυτή η εκπληκτικά πρώιμη όσο και ρηξικέλευθη κριτική απόρριψη της μαρξικής θεωρίας καθώς και του πρώτου της βλαστού, της σοσιαλδημοκρατίας, από τον εν πολλοίς λησμονημένο αναρχικό επαναστάτη και ουμανιστή Πιερ Ράμους -φιλολογικό ψευδώνυμο του Αυστριακού Ρούντολφ Γκρόσμαν- γράφτηκε εν μέσω του Πρώτου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, το 1916, και εκδόθηκε τρία χρόνια μετά.

Η εγκαθίδρυση της λενινιστικής και της μουσολινικής δικτατορίας ώθησε τον Ράμους να επανεκδώσει το έργο του το 1926 -η παρούσα ελληνική μετάφραση βασίζεται σε αυτή τη δεύτερη έκδοση-, συμπληρώνοντάς το με την κριτική των δύο άλλων βλαστών του μαρξισμού, του μπολσεβικισμού και του φασισμού, οι οποίοι ωστόσο, όπως λέει ο ίδιος, «αποτελούν απλώς διαφορετικά ονόματα των σταδίων της ακατάσχετης αυτοδιάλυσης του μαρξισμού, μια αυτοδιάλυση που έχει ως σκοπό τόσο τη σωτηρία του σοσιαλισμού και του προλεταριάτου όσο επίσης και την απελευθέρωση της ανθρωπότητας».

(Από την παρουσίαση στο οπισθόφυλλο του βιβλίου)


Περιεχόμενα

Βιογραφικό σημείωμα
Εισαγωγή: Μαρξισμός και εργατικό κίνημα, σοσιαλδημοκρατία και μπολσεβικισμός
Πρώτο μέρος: Το σάπιο φιλοσοφικό θεμέλιο του μαρξισμού
Δεύτερο μέρος: Η υλιστική αντίληψη της ιστορίας
Τρίτο μέρος: Το αντισοσιαλιστικό στοιχείο στο «Κομμουνιστικό Μανιφέστο» και στον μαρξισμό
Τέταρτο μέρος: Οι λανθασμένες εθνικοοικονομικές θεωρίες του μαρξισμού
Ι. Εθνική οικονομία και μαρξισμός
II. Το θεμελιώδες σφάλμα στο «Κεφάλαιο»
III. Η μαρξική μεταφυσική για τον «ελεύθερο» εργάτη
IV. Το πρόβλημα της αξίας
V. Η θεωρία της υπεραξίας
VI. Οι αυτοαντιφάσεις του Μαρξ στην παρουσίαση που κάνει όσον αφορά τη νόμιμη μείωση της ημέρας εργασίας
Πέμπτο μέρος: Οι μαρξικοί παράγοντες κατάρρευσης του καπιταλιστικού τρόπου παραγωγής
Ι. Τα τελευταία στηρίγματα του μαρξιστικού οικοδομήματος ιδεών
II. Η ουσία της καπιταλιστικής συσσώρευσης
III. Η τάση συγκέντρωσης και συγκεντρωτισμού
IV. Η κατάρρευση της μεσαίας τάξης και ο πόλεμος αλληλοεξόντωσης των καπιταλιστών
V. Η αποτυχία του μαρξισμού στο γεωργικό τομέα της παραγωγής
VI. Οι κρίσεις
Έκτο μέρος: Μαρξισμός, φασισμός και η προλεταριακή ταξική πάλη
Έβδομο μέρος: Η ριζική απόρριψη του μαρξισμού ως προϋπόθεση του σοσιαλιστικού απελευθερωτικού αγώνα
I. Η αναρχική αυτοαναίρεση της μαρξιστικής πολιτικής οικονομίας
II. Απομάκρυνση από τον μαρξισμό: Η πρώτη προϋπόθεση για ένα νέο ξεκίνημα του σοσιαλισμού

north america / mexico / the left / opinion / analysis Monday January 13, 2020 10:26 byWayne Price

What happens next after Trump's impeachment and trial? What is the Democratic vs. Republican conflict really about? Does the Constitution provide any guidance? How should anarchists and other radicals position themselves politically?

As I write this, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump—by its Democratic Party majority. Unless an asteroid hits the earth, Trump will be acquitted, by the Senate’s Republican majority. This is in spite of the way in which the personally vile Trump has repeatedly abused his power, broken laws, violated the Constitution, truckled to foreign governments for his own interests, and acted in a generally incompetent manner against both human decency and the interests of the U.S. imperial state. His actions include the caging of children at the U.S./Mexican border, the betrayal of the Kurds, a war on the environment, making money off the presidency, and, most recently, almost causing war with Iran without consulting Congress. These make the issues listed in the impeachment articles (which are real and justified) seem minor, like the indictment of Al Capone for tax evasion. After the Senate acquittal, both parties will gear up for the 2020 national elections, less than a year away.

At the same time, Democrats and Republicans have worked to produce several “bipartisan” bills of significance. This includes a lightly updated North American trade bill, opposed by the Autoworkers and Machinists unions and which does nothing against global warming The two parties passed a new military policy bill. At $738 billion it is one of most expensive military plans in U.S. history. It authorized a new branch of the military, a “Space Force.” It does nothing to prevent Trump from again raiding military funds to pay for his idiotic, nativist, border “wall.” It continues military support of the U.S. for Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen. The bill was passed over the objections of a handfull of progressive Democrats and “libertarian” Republicans.

The Democrats claimed that this was the best military bill they could get. They pointed to its expansion of family leave for government employees. But really the Democrats agree with the Republicans on the key issues: the need for massive U.S. military power, bigger than the next 9 military forces combined; the need for dozens of military bases around the globe; for being able to wage several wars at once; for enough nuclear bombs to be able to exterminate humanity several times over. These goals have been carried out through a series of Democratic presidents and Democratic-dominated Congresses, well before Trump. Consider President Obama, who passed a hugely expanded nuclear missile program, stepped-up the war in Afghanistan, and used drones to kill people around the world in countries with which the U.S. was not at war.

These military and trade laws show the real nature of the political system we live under. Democrats and Republicans, while squabbling over the spoils, are in fundamental (“bipartisan”) agreement over maintaining U.S. military might and domination of world trade.

The Impeachment

As soon as he was elected in 2016, there were Democrats who called for Trump’s impeachment; these calls increased after the 2018 mid-term elections which returned the House to Democratic control. But the established leadership of the Democrats, especially Nancy Pelosi (House Speaker and Democratic leader), opposed impeachment. They felt that it was too dangerous for them politically, that it would turn off moderate “independents,” and that it might rouse up the Republican base. A number of Democrats had been elected in fairly conservative districts; better not risk their re-elections. There was only a year or so until the next election; it would be wiser to focus on health care, raising wages, drug policies, and other bread-and-butter issues. So they reasoned.

These calculations may have been right, from the viewpoint of conventional politics. We will see how impeachment actually impacts on the next election. But the Democratic leaders probably had no choice, once Trump’s shenanigans with the Ukrainians came to light. Lacking any sense of right or wrong, and being fairly stupid, the freakish Trump simply could not hold himself back from outrageous and illegal behavior. They had to respond.

The Republicans’ defense of Trump has been rather limited. He didn’t do it, and anyway you can’t prove he did it, and even if he did do it, it wasn’t so bad as to be worth impeachment and removal. Trump himself has rejected the last “defense”—he wants complete exoneration. The Republicans have tried to confuse the issue every way possible, by denouncing the Democrats’ motives (they don’t like the president!), condemning the process, claiming that Trump was really trying to deal with Ukrainian corruption (as if Trump was ever concerned about corruption besides what he could get away with!). They even puffed up the nutty conspiracy theory that the Ukrainians, rather than the Russians, intervened in the 2016 U.S. elections. (Why the Ukrainians? Why not the Zambians or Uruguayans?)

The Trumpites have a point about the Bidens. When Joe Biden was Vice President and frequently dealing with Ukraine for President Obama, his son Hunter Biden got a high-paying job on the board of a Ukrainian oil company. His only qualification seems to have been his last name. Whether there was any actual U.S. government help for his company, it was not very ethical. But for Trump, with his family making business deals all over the place while he is president, to cry “corruption” is laughable.

The Constitution

Everyone swears deep love for the U.S. Constitution. Indeed the Constitution is a founding myth of the system. It was drawn up by a coalition mostly of big landowners, merchants, and slaveowners. They did not want another king nor a revolutionary dictator (this was before the French Revolution but not that long since the English Revolution had resulted in the dictatorship of Cromwell). But they also did not want a “democracy,” which most of them regarded as mob rule. (“Your people, sir, are a great beast!” said Hamilton.) Too much power to the majority might result in breaking up big landed estates or cheap money policies which would benefit poor debtors. So they devised this system with its two houses (the Senate with six year terms), different election years for different positions, two Senators from each state regardless of population size, Supreme Court judges for life, limited controls on a president (an elected monarch), the Electoral College, and so on. The undemocratic aspects of the Constitution were so obvious, that the Jeffersonian left would only support it if they got a promise to add a Bill of Rights immediately after its passage.

The founders did not foresee the evolution of the parliamentary system, where an unpopular leader can be challenged through a vote of confidence. So they put in the impeachment process as an emergency control on a corrupt or dangerous president. They also did not foresee the two-party system, which has made impeachment such a difficult matter.

As history ground on, the Constitution got better in some ways, such as abolishing slavery, providing the right of women to vote, and being “interpreted” as including a “right to privacy” which protected women’s reproductive rights and LGBT people. But the current system remains essentially undemocratic, with its gerrymandered election districts, the domination of big money in elections, the massive lobbying, the biased media (now with overtly reactionary television and radio channels and social media), and so on. While not a fascist or Stalinist dictatorship, neither is this truly a democracy. That is why I am not excited by fervent statements of loyalty to the Constitution raised by hypocritical politicians of whatever stripe.

The Democrats are not so much interested in reviving the Constitution as in restoring business-as-usual for U.S. capitalism. They want the national state to be run rationally and smoothly. They want at least the appearance of concern over global warming, without actually ending fossil fuel use. They want to seem to care about benefits for the working class. They want other nations’ governments to trust the U.S. again, to rely on the U.S. military and diplomatic policies. They want reasonable government efforts to limit economic downturns, to the extent this is possible. They want immigration reforms to provide cheap labor for big business. They want to keep a lid on overt fascist and racist movements. They want trade deals to keep wages down and promote profits. Sections of the capitalist class which have traditionally supported the Republicans also want these things.

During the impeachment hearings in the House, the Democrats made a point of puffing up the security forces of the CIA and FBI, foreign affairs officials, military officers, bureaucrats, and others whom Trump has denigrated as the “deep state.” Instead, they praised the professionalism, honesty, patriotism, and honor of these people. Whatever their personal virtues (being more honest than Trump is a low bar), these people are part of the repressive and imperial apparatus of the state—what the left has long called the “permanent government.” They have overthrown foreign governments and supported terrorism around the globe.

Just recently a scandal broke out. It was shown that the FBI had cut corners and even lied to judges (!) in applying for warrants to investigate people. Since the victims were on the right (as opposed to leftists or poor people of color), this was shocking, shocking! Also a movie is showing about the CIA’s torture of prisoners and destruction of evidence afterwards (The Report, with Adam Driver). Such matters were not raised during the hearings.

The Underlying Problem


The Republicans and Democrats are thrashing about because they are dealing with an unprecedented situation. Within the U.S. and on a world scale, the capitalist economy is weak. After the shock of the Great Recession, the recovery has been weak, uneven, and brittle. Those at the top have gained much, while the rest of the population has had stagnant wages, insecure jobs, and poverty-stricken regions, with vastly increased inequality. Mainstream economists are greatly worried that when the inevitable downturn comes, the system will not have the resources to deal with it. Meanwhile global warming is advancing at an alarming rate, with nothing being done to moderate it, let alone reverse it (even as Australia burns). Wars continue to rage around the world, always with the background threat of nuclear extermination. The rulers of the U.S. are frantic about the decline of U.S. power and wealth in the world, which has led to the increased influence of China. Since at least Obama, the U.S. state had determined to “pivot” toward China (new military bases in Australia, etc.) but it has remained stuck in the secondary theater of the Middle East. Having a totally incompetent national administration has only exacerbated matters.

One result of these developments has been a massive increase in popular dissatisfaction. Given the U.S.’s politics and culture, much of this has been channeled into the right. Despite all his failures, Trump has the staunch support of about 40 % of the voting population. This Trumpian “base” dominates the Republican party. Once a broad right party, it has become utterly reactionary. A big minority of this minority is neo-fascist (for using guns to overturn the more-or-less democratic mechanisms of the state) while a small but vocal minority is overtly fascist (Nazi or Klan). This right-wing growth is partly due to racism, nativism, and misogyny. White evangelicals are at the core of Trump’s base, motivated by superstition and sexual hysteria (fear of homosexuality, women who are sexually free, and Mexican “rapists”). But for many people, attraction to Trump is also due to economic decline, poor jobs, and real suffering, all associated (correctly) with the status quo of established Democrats and Republicans.

On the other hand, there has been an increase on the left of liberalism and even “socialism.” About 40 % of the population has a favorable view of “socialism” and so does an even higher percentage of younger people. What “socialism” is, or what they mean by it, is quite unclear of course, but it is no longer an evil word to the extent it once was. Bernie Sanders has an apparent possibility of winning the Democratic nomination, while calling himself a “democratic socialist” and calling for a “political revolution.” The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has grown to about 60 thousand members. Despite having an anarchist caucus, the DSA is strongly electoralist and deep into the Democratic Party. In no way is it as militant on the left as the Republican base is on the right. Meanwhile, the part of the historic left with the potentially greatest power, the unions, is mostly quiescent. Their leaders are totally tied to the Democratic Party, even as union numbers decline. There have been some important strikes, but no movement for a major working class struggle against capitalist attacks. But this may yet change as conditions worsen.

As the situation decays, the middle falls away. Even so, there are cries to return even more to the center—a center which is further to the right than it was in the past. As I write, the Democrats are torn between those who want to swing to the “left” and those who insist on sticking to the “middle”. How much should they promise the voters? How much should they worry about turning off their big donors? How much should they worry about the “moderate” voters (who have been deliberately miseducated by these same big capitalists)? How much should they rely on exciting their own base by promising them all sorts of new approaches? But will they risk disappointing their excited base when they are unable to carry out their promises once elected? (The DSAers are excited about “socialist” candidates but seem to have no knowledge of the history of socialist politicians elected to manage capitalist states. They are apparently ignorant of recent examples, such as Lula in Brazil, Syriza in Greece, the ANC in South Africa, Morales in Bolivia, Allende in Chile, the Labour Party in Britain, etc., etc., and so on. Socialist electoralism has never ended well.)

Personally, I regard Trump’s impeachment as probably a Good Thing But I doubt that even a Senatorial removal of Trump (not going to happen) would be a Very Good Thing. No, not even the defeat of Trump in the 2020 national election (a probable but not certain outcome). It would be good to see him gone, this disgusting human being and malign influence. But the fundamental problems would remain: the decline of U.S. and world capitalism, the growth of inequality, the looming environmental crisis, the continuing wars, the dangerous right wing movement (including the growth of outright fascism), and the incapacity of the rulers—conservative and liberal—to know how to handle any of this.

As the left wing grows, in rebellion against both the conservatives and the Democratic liberals, we have to build a revolutionary, anti-imperialist, libertarian socialist, direct action, and anti-electoralist wing of the movement. If at all possible.

internacional / a esquerda / opinião / análise Monday October 14, 2019 10:19 byBrunoL

Escrevo estas palavras enquanto o povo equatoriano joga sua sorte nas ruas de Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca e demais municípios e regiões do país. Este texto não pretende fazer um balanço crítico da luta indígena e social contra o Pacto 883 do traidor Lenín Moreno e tampouco uma análise de conjuntura a partir da intervenção do FMI no país. O tema de fundo é outro.

13 de outubro de 2019 – Bruno Lima Rocha
Introdução ao tema
Escrevo estas palavras enquanto o povo equatoriano joga sua sorte nas ruas de Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca e demais municípios e regiões do país. Este texto não pretende fazer um balanço crítico da luta indígena e social contra o Pacto 883 do traidor Lenín Moreno e tampouco uma análise de conjuntura a partir da intervenção do FMI no país. O tema de fundo é outro.
Pode parecer meio pretensioso, mas entendo que é necessário desenvolvermos os debates urgentes para a esquerda no século XXI, ao menos as esquerdas mais à esquerda operando na e para a América Latina e o Caribe. Os temas são vários e apontam problemas graves. Por exemplo, uma chaga histórica para começar: as correntes autoritárias ainda trabalham com a hipótese de partido único? Ao que parece no discurso sim, embora no mundo prático essa hipótese esteja cada vez mais distante (ainda bem).
E, por outro lado, será que existe vida fora e além da social-democracia? Entendo que sim, mas é preciso formalizar algum modelo de futura sociedade. O "realismo socialista" ou as ditaduras de partido único - com Nomenklatura burocrática, como na antiga União Soviética, ou ainda, no poder na heroica Argélia anticolonial - ou de líderes tirânicos como Enver Hoxha na Albânia ou Nicolae Ceausescu na Romênia, deixaram péssimos exemplos. Tais modelos execráveis de tirania política geram muito combustível para a direita mais asquerosa, a exemplo dos seguidores de Steve Bannon, como o presidente Jair Bolsonaro.
A ausência de crítica é outro problema, pois impede uma análise rigorosa de governos de exceção, como o de Nicolás Maduro, embora este mesmo governo seja heroicamente anti-imperialista e como tal o povo venezuelano deve receber solidariedade incondicional. O seguidismo (como no governo Jango, com o lema “manda brasa, presidente!”) quase sempre é a história de uma tragédia anunciada. Imaginemos a luta equatoriana se a CONAIE não tivesse autonomia organizativa e sua capacidade estratégica intacta após uma década de criminalização pelo governo de Rafael Correa?
Se não queremos isso de jeito algum, logo, queremos o quê? Uma pista: pluripartidarismo de esquerda com uma Constituição Plurinacional? Sim, esse seria o caminho. Dando base para tal, é necessária uma multiplicidade de representações sociais, étnico-culturais e políticas? Sim, óbvio que sim. E a democracia liberal, representativa e burguesa basta? Não, não basta e já está dando seu limite, mesmo no jogo institucional. Logo, qual a defesa de projeto? Uma democracia social com economia parcialmente planificada? Seria o mínimo para compor um ou mais programas comuns, onde as empresas estratégicas estatais deveriam ter controle social e democracia interna como forma de operar como agente do poder de veto da jogatina de partidos fisiológicos e ataques de grupos econômicos - nacionais ou transnacionais. Enfim, nesta retomada da resistência massiva contra o neoliberalismo, é preciso superar – e muito – o triste papel da coalizão de classes e a visão “ingênua” da ação do imperialismo em nosso Continente. Washington (sob tutela republicana ou democrata) não aceita a “coexistência pacífica” e isso está desenhando.
Urge debater o mínimo para ao menos podermos defender ou vir a cometer erros diferentes e acertos mais precisos. E falta teoria, muita teoria.
Teoria do Poder Social como materialização do Pensamento Decolonial?
Estudantes de graduação com quem tenho a alegria e o privilégio de conviver me comentaram algo que tento sintetizar e faço acordo. O "pensamento decolonial" é um absoluto como discurso historiográfico, a revisão necessária, a base discursiva que coloca as Américas de ponta cabeça e faz com que, mesmo não sendo de origem indígena, nos sintamos invadidos em Pindorama e, ainda que metade do país não tenha ascendência africana, nos posicionemos como Palmarinos afro-centrados. Até aí, perfeito, divino maravilhoso como a tropicália.
Mas, e a teoria do poder social que advêm dos territórios em luta e resistência? Falta outro pedaço, incluindo uma teoria econômica que seja ao mesmo tempo ecologicamente sustentável e habilite um território a se defender dos ataques que certamente virão. Neste sentido, é correta a crítica do antropólogo libertário David Graeber. Vale ressaltar que, sua contribuição é fantástica e vale a pena conhecer ao menos a parcela mais política obra. Mas, como quase todo “reconhecido” intelectual anglo-saxão, seu aporte carece de saídas viáveis, ao menos, de formas de vir a pensar em alternativas passíveis de execução. Ressalto que a presença de Graeber, assim como a de Noam Chomsky, é fundamental eu diria. Logo, aqui não se trata de crítica direta, mas sim como parte do debate de quem quer se somar e construir no mesmo caminho.
Pistas de categoria-chave para uma Teoria do Poder Social
Território: parece evidência e obviedade, mas o conceito de território é categoria-chave, dessas poderosas mesmo, para ajudar tanto na defesa dos direitos ameaçados como para ser propositivo a partir de um eixo de resistência. Para além do direito ancestral e inalienável, a defesa e o desenvolvimento autóctone dos territórios indígenas e quilombolas podem ajudar, e muito, muito, tanto o desenvolvimento sustentável e sem agredir os biomas, como também ser embrião de sociedades menos injustas. O conceito de território da mancha metropolitana ajuda também, mas em geral é usado no capitalismo ilegal e na repressão social. Sem querer exagerar o papel dos bons teóricos, geógrafos como Élisée Reclus, Piotr Kropotkin, Milton Santos e Aziz Ab'Saber seriam hoje de uma releitura quase obrigatória para a interpretação da categoria do território, para além do que já existe e é auto-organizado nas extensões de terra dos povos originários ou tradicionais.
Degeneração da liderança: outra categoria-chave é evitar a degeneração da liderança política. Esse é um tema clássico e aqui vai só um início de debate. Reconhece-se que existe liderança política e algumas atribuições facilmente identificáveis como: carisma, oratória, exemplo, dedicação, trajetória, capacidade resolutiva. Mas, quando estas características se cristalizam em uma estrutura de poder permanente?! Piorando. É quando isso se torna culto à personalidade?!

Mazelas típicas: as mazelas no pensamento e propaganda de esquerda precisam ser interpretadas, localizadas e severamente combatidas. Quais fenômenos da interna política levam ao culto à personalidade? Como forças políticas enormes dependem necessariamente de um grupo muito reduzido de "dirigentes"? O culto da liderança não é também um elogio ao individualismo, às lutas mais mesquinhas pelo poder? Creio que a resposta é sim para tudo, logo, a necessidade de criar mecanismos institucionais (das instituições sociais digo) que evitem essas práticas, mas desde o nascedouro das experiências ou de seus saltos organizativos. Na metade do caminho, a correção é bem mais difícil.
Outra mazela é a ilusão do discurso. Qual o maior equívoco da esquerda, não da ex-esquerda, mas da esquerda restante? Determinismo sociológico (em busca da classe ou fração de classe prometida) ou ilusão com as próprias análises que levam a algum tipo de auto-proclamação?! No caso equatoriano, se observa que há tensões entre a população auto-organizada, como a representada pela CONAIE e a FUT, e uma esquerda urbana, mais ideologizada, que busca ver o que há “de proletário” nestas demandas que são anteriores à formação do próprio proletariado. Superar este tipo de alienação livresca é fundamental para toda a América Latina que se organiza de novo e de novo.
Apontando conclusões óbvias
Tomo a ousadia de compilar um guia básico para sair do cientificismo ou da auto ilusão da retórica filosófica mal aplicada na política. A primeira passa pela convicção ideológica. Os valores fundamentais não são negociáveis e ultrapassam até mesmo o caráter das identidades políticas. Não há como tergiversar sobre liberdade política, direito a multiplicidade de representações, democracia direta e projetos autossustentáveis. O que é inegociável é objetivo finalista e demarca as possibilidades da grande estratégia.
Outra dimensão é o ajuste da doutrina do emprego nos períodos históricos determinados. Por exemplo, se a meta é o protagonismo do povo organizado e o empoderamento de diversos sujeitos sociais, as formas de alcançar estas conquistas podem variar ou incorporar elementos novos de mobilização e acumulação de força social. Mas não há como abrir mão destas formas de acumular força, caso contrário, não se tem nada mesmo.
Todas e todos que não confundimos ideologia com ciência e entendemos que a teoria está a serviço da análise e não apenas como reforço discursivo de um sistema de crenças, todos nós, todas nós temos dúvidas teóricas. Mas a incerteza das possibilidades não se confunde com a crença naquilo que é correto diante das possibilidades concretas da vida em sociedade em nosso Continente. Utopia é lugar a ser construído e neste sentido está mais distante uma utopia liberal-republicana com “instituições funcionando perfeitamente” do que um território libertado através do poder do povo organizado. Qual utopia nós queremos? Quem somos nós no curto, médio e longo prazos? Quais instituições substituem e antes, coexistem, com a “normalidade institucional aparente” neste ciclo de “golpes institucionais” inaugurado há dez anos com a derrubada do presidente hondurenho Manuel Zelaya Rosales em junho de 2009?
Ou temos projetos viáveis ou seremos reféns das circunstâncias ou de lideranças cristalizadas sem uma democracia social e participativa operando.
Bruno Lima Rocha (estrategiaeanaliseblog.com / blimarocha@gmail.com / t.me/estrategiaeanalise) é pós-doutorando em economia política, doutor e mestre em ciência política, graduado em jornalismo e professor nos cursos de relações internacionais, direito e comunicação social. Mais importante, é brasileiro e latino-americano.

internacional / a esquerda / opinião / análise Monday October 07, 2019 02:52 byBrunoL

Neste breve artigo, compilo observações dos embates recentes os quais participei neste início de outubro de 2019. A divisão por tópicos pode facilitar a leitura embora reconheça que na tradição mais “ortodoxa” dos textos das esquerdas, quebra o ritmo da narrativa. Entre prós e contras, seguimos,.

07 de Outubro de 2019, Bruno Lima Rocha
Apresentação
Existe uma nova onda na internet brasileira, especificamente o uso político da rede, que é interessante e ao mesmo tempo merece um alerta. Há um esforço considerável e reconhecido para normalizar os crimes de Stálin, e não só, de recuperar toda a experiência do Leste Europeu e ligar simbolicamente à presença da China hoje, como a Superpotência Mandarim. Neste breve artigo, compilo observações dos embates recentes os quais participei neste início de outubro de 2019. A divisão por tópicos pode facilitar a leitura embora reconheça que na tradição mais “ortodoxa” dos textos das esquerdas, quebra o ritmo da narrativa. Entre prós e contras, seguimos.
A NEP antissoviética, a China capitalista e a alucinação da “esquerda” viúva do Leste Europeu
Os "amigos" que defendem e se escoram na NEP (Nova Economia Política, “nova” no paradigma do marxismo russo) - a segunda grande traição Bolchevique, com Lenin vivo e Trotsky e Stálin trabalhando lado a lado - usam um argumento que cola no delírio pós Guerra Fria de mistificação dos processos históricos. Entre a falsificação do século XX e as ilusões no século XXI resta uma conclusão. Se não passar a limpo a NEP e fizer uma crítica sem dó, alucinados como esses vão "interpretar" a Gazprom (ou a Huawei, talvez a Cargill) como uma etapa necessária, de repente "intermediária" esperando que um Estado autocrata de base capitalista se "autodissolva" um dia por passe de mágica com "razão dialética" ou qualquer outro jogo de palavras sem sentido. Como não pensar que a tradição autoritária floresce nas cloacas da história?
Stálin, a Nomenklatura e o Hobbesianismo por esquerda
Sempre pergunto em aulas de Política se a turma, hipoteticamente, aceitaria viver numa sociedade de pleno bem estar, com todos os direitos assegurados, todos mesmo (trabalho, saúde, moradia, cultura, lazer, gestação, desporto etc.), mas com absoluto controle e cerceamento dos direitos políticos. Ou seja, ditadura de partido único e a filiação ao partido como a única forma de acesso a postos-chave no aparelho de Estado. As quatro elites formais na antiga URSS, a política, a acadêmica, militar e econômica (na gestão das empresas estatais) tinham como critério de entrada a filiação ao PCURSS. Em geral não digo que esta sociedade existiu e o exemplo dado é no período soviético da Nomenklatura, especificamente nos governos Kruschev e Brejnev. Ou seja, reforço o mito da “tentação autoritária”, o que geralmente no Brasil é associado a posições imaginárias como sendo conservadoras e à direita.
Surpreendentemente, a imensa maioria diz que NÃO, JAMAIS ACEITARIA, pois na ausência de direitos políticos não teriam certeza da garantia ou ao menos da possibilidade de lutar por estes direitos. Quando digo que este mundo existiu e sua era de ouro durou quase quarenta anos há muita surpresa. Hobbes, coitado, é muito mal interpretado e ficaria feliz em ver o direito à vida plena em termos materiais aplicado na antiga União Soviética. Mas, e o direito político? Então, quando a elite da Nomenklatura virou de lado (a partir de 1988) e dilapidou o patrimônio público, o Estado ruiu em menos de quatro anos. Parafraseando nosso poeta maior “E agora José, a festa acabou e teu ‘ônibus da história’ despencou barranco abaixo”. Para não parecer terra arrasada de toda a experiência, apesar ao menos deixa o exemplo de que uma economia planificada, mesmo que estupidamente centralizada, pode gerar bem estar social.
As características estruturantes dessa forma de pensamento político por “esquerda”
São mais que reconhecidos os crimes do stalinismo, seus asseclas e clones mundo afora (como Enver Hoxha na Albânia, Nicolae Ceausescu na Romênia, Kim IlSung na Coreia do Norte e a lista segue conforme a perspectiva histórica e ideológica). Infelizmente, parece que o mito supera o fato e a compreensão perde para a interpretação. Vejamos alguns problemas fundamentais, de estrutura mesmo.
Quais fenômenos da interna política levam ao culto à personalidade? Como forças políticas enormes dependem necessariamente de um grupo muito reduzido de "dirigentes"? O culto da liderança não é também um elogio ao individualismo, às lutas mais mesquinhas pelo poder?
Também cabe perguntar. Qual o maior equívoco da esquerda, não da ex-esquerda, mas da esquerda restante? Determinismo sociológico (em busca da classe ou fração de classe prometida) ou ilusão com as próprias análises que levam a algum tipo de autoproclamação?!
Sobre a degeneração e a liderança política esse é um tema clássico e aqui vai só um início de debate. Reconhece-se que existe liderança política e algumas atribuições facilmente identificáveis como: carisma, oratória, exemplo, dedicação, trajetória, capacidade resolutiva. Mas, quando estas características se cristalizam em uma estrutura de poder permanente?! Piorando. É quando isso se torna culto à personalidade e já não há mais volta atrás!
Vale o debate e mais ainda a preocupação.

international / the left / opinion / analysis Monday September 23, 2019 12:03 byWayne Price

The most well-known anarchist of the "sixties," Paul Goodman explored vitally important aspects of theory and practice: decentralism, community, liberatory technology, and utopian thinking.

There is a 2011 documentary (directed by Jonathan Lee) titled, “Paul Goodman Changed My Life.” This was true for me and many others in the “sixties.” Paul Goodman (1911-1972) was the most well-known anarchist of the period (much better known at the time than was Murray Bookchin). He was widely influential in the student and anti-war movements. His books were extensively read. After his death, George Woodcock, the historian of anarchism, called him possibly “the only truly seminal libertarian thinker in our generation.” (quoted by editor in Goodman 2010; 13)

From my current perspective of revolutionary anarchism, I have come to see limitations and flaws in his views. But there remains a great deal of value in his work, for today’s anarchists and other radicals. He is not so well known now, but it is, I believe, well worth reviewing some of his key ideas.

There is no overall system of “Goodmanism” (unlike Bookchin’s efforts to create a total worldview). But central to Goodman’s thinking was what he called “the anarchist principle.” This was a belief grounded in historical evidence but also in humanistic faith. He thought that people, working in a face-to-face community, could solve problems with which they were directly in touch. They performed better without threats, coercion, external bosses, extrinsic rewards, top-down direction, and pre-set agendas. “A man [note] is dependent on his mother Earth. We are forever dependent in the universe, but not on princes.” (Goodman 1962a; 16)

Anarchism is grounded in a rather definite proposition: that valuable behavior occurs only by the free and direct response of individuals or voluntary groups to the conditions presented by the historical environment….Anarchists want to increase intrinsic functioning and diminish extrinsic power.” (2011; 29)

Goodman defined centralization and decentralization as not just being big or being small, but as types of social organization. “In a centralized enterprise, the function to be performed is the goal of the organization rather than of persons….The persons are personnel. Authority is top-down. Information is gathered from below in the field and is processed to be usable by those above; decisions are made in headquarters and… are transmitted downward by chain of command….The system was devised to discipline armies, to keep records, collect taxes, and perform bureaucratic functions and for certain types of mass production. It has now become pervasive.

The principle of decentralism is that people are engaged in a function and the organization is how they cooperate. Authority is delegated away from the top as much as possible and there are many accommodating centers of policy-making decision. Information is conveyed and discussed in face-to-face contacts. Each person…works at it in his own way according to his capacities. Groups arrange their own schedules. Historically, this system of voluntary association has yielded most of the values of civilization….” (1965; 3-4)

He rejected the common argument that people had to be impossibly good for anarchism to work. On the contrary, he writes, anarchists believe that power corrupts, therefore no one is good enough to have power over other people. That is why we need decentralization, pluralism, participatory democracy, and checks-and-balances. “The moral question is not whether men are ‘good enough’ for a type of social organization, but whether the type of organization is useful to develop the potentialities of intelligence, grace, and freedom in men.” (1965; 19) (Note that he used “men” generally to mean people—or perhaps just men.)

For Goodman, freedom did not mean simply being left alone by the state (freedom-from), but the opportunity of individuals and groups to initiate, to make society, to be autonomous citizens (freedom-to). “Civil liberty must mean the opportunity to initiate a policy, enterprise, or an idea….It cannot mean merely freedom from restraint….Such liberty will not be preserved, except in form.” (1962a; 48) He ends Communitas with “the remarkable and thought-provoking sentence of Michelet, ‘Initiation, education, and government—these are three synonymous words.’ ” (Goodman & Goodman 1990; 224)

Overall, he argued, “We are in a period of excessive centralization….In many functions this style is economically inefficient , technologically unnecessary, and humanly damaging. Therefore we might adopt a political maxim: to decentralize where, how, and how much [as] is expedient. But where, how, and how much are empirical questions. They require research and experimentation.” (1965; 27)

Using his definition of “decentralism” to mean a form of radically-democratic, voluntary, and federalist self-organization (and denying that this means “anarchy” in the sense of chaos), Goodman writes, “…Most anarchists, like the anarcho-syndicalists or the community-anarchists, have not been ‘anarchists’ either, but decentralists.” (1965; 6) Yet he continued to describe himself as an anarchist.

Goodman’s Anarchism, Its Roots and Consequences

Goodman was of course strongly influenced by the classical anarchists. His book Communitas (1960), co-written with his brother Percival, is, in many ways, an updating of Peter Kropotkin’s Fields, Factories, and Workshops (Kropotkin 1985). He was much influenced by the bioregionalist Lewis Mumford and by decentralists such as Ralph Borsodi. Thomas Jefferson’s radically democratic vision (at least for white people) was important to Goodman. “Jefferson championed decentralization, for people can reasonably decide only what they know about intimately…transforming the town meeting into an experimental, self-improving unit.…Any basic function could be the principle for the small political unity….Applied to industry, the unit is the soviet.” (1962a; 69)

Goodman was greatly influenced by John Dewey, the great liberal, progressive educator, and advocate of decentralized community and industrial democracy. Goodman applied Dewey’s philosophy of pragmatism to various fields.

He was also inspired by Karl Marx. “I found, again and again, that the conclusions I slowly and imperfectly arrived at were already fully and demonstrably…expressed by Karl Marx. So I too was a Marxist! I decided with pleasure….But as regards political action, on the other hand, I did not see…that the slogans of the Marxians, nor even of Marx, lead toward fraternal socialism [the absence of state or other coercive power], rather they lead away from it. Bakunin was better. Kropotkin I agree with.” (1962; 34) On the relation between anarchism and Marxism, I am essentially in agreement with Goodman. (I also agree with his philosophical grounding in Dewey’s pragmatism.)

Such a perspective led him to condemn much of the industrial capitalist society. His most well-known book, Growing Up Absurd (1962b), had a main message: that “youth problems” (delinquency, alienation, etc.) were not due to the youth but to the society they are growing into. Young people needed a worthwhile world in which they could explore their potential abilities and find their way into work and activities which were useful and creatively productive. Similarly, his voluminous writings on education (from elementary ages to graduate school) did not focus on improving the schools. Instead he advocating making society itself educative, in all its activities and occupations, so that young people could grow into being self-developing, society-making, subjects.

I am not going to discuss his political activities, which were mainly in the antiwar movement “Any acts for peace…are in fact proposing a radical relaxing of centralized sovereignty and power as a way of organizing society. But this is anarchism.” (1962c) For awhile he was in danger of being arrested for supporting draft refusers during the U.S.-Vietnam war.

He was bisexual but did not participate in any LGBT movement. His main contribution here was being a prominent writer who lived openly as an Gay person (for which he got fired from various teaching jobs).

He wrote little about the African-American liberation struggle (the major issue of the time, besides the war). He did point out that “most of [the] progress toward civil rights so far has come from local action….The Negro organizations themselves have been decentrally coordinated.” (1965; 13) (I am not covering his fiction writing, his poetry, or his psychological works—he was a co-founder of the psychotherapeutic school of Gestalt Therapy.) As he summarized, “The hope in face-to-face community…is still the only truth I know.” (1962a; ix)

A Libertarian Approach to Technology

Of all the topics Goodman discussed, the one which most affected me was his view of technology. One of the main arguments against anarchism was, and still is, that modern technology requires centralization, massive industries, stratification, and a strong state. This is the dominant view of liberalism and most varieties of Marxism. This is even though Marxism says that capitalists do not organize industry to be most efficient in making useful products, but organize it in the best way to produce surplus value (profits)—not the same thing at all. And that modern capitalists have recently reorganized industry into smaller factories and workplaces, in order to better control the workers.

Goodman demonstrated (to my satisfaction anyway) that industry could be reorganized to be consistent with a decentralized, communal, society—democratically self-managed—while still maintaining a comfortable level of living with plenty of free time. This required “a selective attitude toward the technology….Nor is it the case, if we have regard to the whole output of social labor, that modern technical efficiency requires, or is indeed compatible with, the huge present concentrations of machinery beyond the understanding and control of small groups of workers.” (1962a; 35-36)

For the first time in history we have…a surplus technology, a technology of free choice, that allows for the most widely various community-arrangements and ways of life….We could centralize or decentralize, concentrate population or scatter it…..If we want to combine town and country values in an agroindustrial way of life, we can do that. In large areas of our operation, we could go back to old-fashioned domestic industry with perhaps even a gain in efficiency, for small power is everywhere available, small machines are cheap and ingenuous, and there are easy means to collect machined parts and centrally assemble them.” (Goodman & Goodman 1990; 11—13)

I do not believe that an advanced technology necessarily involves… concentrated management, bureaucracy [and] alienation of labor….Quite the contrary,, these are by and large inefficient, unexperimental, uncritical, and discouraging to invention.” (1962a; 109) Self-determined workers and engaged citizens should decide, “’This should be automated, this should be made in small plants, this by domestic power tools, this by hand, and this isn’t worth the trouble to make at all.’ “ (1965; 38-39)

Communitas was originally written in 1947. This was before the modern ecology movement demonstrated the terrible “side effects” of centralized industrialization as organized by capitalism. It was before E. F. Schumacher’s “small-is-beautiful” movement which showed the possibilities of what has been called “alternate,” “appropriate,” or “liberatory” technology. It was before the Internet created the possibility of widespread coordination-from-below of units of small scale production.

In this area, Goodman’s work has been continued by the anarchist Kevin Carson (2010; 2016). He has updated Goodman’s analysis of the possibilities of a decentralized technology, based on the latest developments.

Weaknesses and Limitations

Probably the worst flaw in Goodman’s social criticism was his attitude toward women. This was often patronizing and condescending. In his Growing Up Absurd (1962b), he explained that the “problems of youth” he was discussing referred to the problems of boys and young men. Women, he claimed, already had meaningful and creative work in being wives and mothers. No doubt taking care of children and maintaining a home can be important and meaningful work—for women or men. It is mistaken, however, to see this work as completely fulfilling for a lifetime—and to be blind to the oppression of women. Of course most men were blind in this regard, especially before the “second wave” of feminism. However, Goodman was acquainted with the most advanced radical thought of his time and chose to not know better.

Goodman was not a standard liberal or state socialist, but he was a gradualist, pacifist, and reformist all the same. Except for occasional rhetorical flourishes, he did not advocate revolution. In his earliest writings he presented his program as implicitly revolutionary only in aim. Under conditions of prosperity, he argued, “We may…act in a more piecemeal, educational, and thoroughgoing way….Our attack on the industrial system can be many sided and often indirect, to make it crash of its own weight rather than by frontal attack.” (1962; 35)

Over decades he became less radical, partly due to his alienation from the radicalizing youth (for good and bad reasons). He told his brother he did not want to update Communitas because “he no longer believed in schemes for improving the human condition.” (Goodman & Goodman 1990; 225) Really speaking for himself, he wrote, “I don’t think that there’s any anarchist thought at present which is interested in a total revolution of society.” (1962c) Instead, he preferred “conservative solutions…that diminish tensions by changing 2 percent of this and 4 percent of that.” (2011; 100) He made proposals for subsidizing small farmers, for encouraging local television, for expanding workers’ rights in industry, to ban cars from Manhattan, to set up local children’s classes without schools, and so on.

Instead of the classical anarchist program of libertarian socialism (or communism), Goodman came to advocate a “
mixed system” (1965). By this he meant a combination of consumer and producer cooperatives,, small businesses, NGOs, state enterprises, and capitalist corporations. This implied the continuation of a capitalist market and state.

This reformism (by which I do not mean support for reforms but a belief that reforms are enough) was consistent with his life-long radical pacifism. Goodman had often been insightful when opposing imperialist wars or nuclear armament. But his pacifism led to opposition to revolution and wars of national liberation.

His gradualism and pacifism led to an estrangement from the radicalizing generation. At first he was influential due to his well-put opposition to the multiple evils of our society. But left students and youth were, unfortunately, influenced by the examples of Mao’s China, Ho’s Vietnam, and Castro’s Cuba—that is, by Stalinist/state-capitalist regimes which appeared to be fighting U.S. imperialism. Goodman was completely correct in rejecting the authoritarianism of the developing new left. Yet he was wrong in opposing revolution—considering how total was the crisis and how unyielding the capitalist class remains in holding on to their wealth and power. His gradualism, reformism, and pacifism turned off the tens of thousands of young activists who were moving toward revolutionary politics. Since he was the most well-known anarchist at the time, this made it harder for anarchists to oppose the influence of Stalinism (including orthodox Trotskyism).

Part of the problem was that Goodman’s politics solidified in the period of the capitalist boom after World War II. Like most others, he expected the underlying prosperity and stability to last indefinitely. He did not expect the return of the crisis-laden economic and social-political conditions of the pre-war period. His brother, Perceival, later recognized at least the ecological aspects of their misunderstanding. “About a half-century later [after Communitas], what had seemed an everbriming cornucopia threatens to run dry. Limits, not free choice, scarcity, not surplus, are now the facts that will condition our future.” (Goodman & Goodman 1990; 226) This implies the need for a revolutionary, rather than reformist, anarchism.

Utopian Thinking

Goodman raised a method which he called “utopian thinking.” This meant to look at social problems in their objective contexts, and to propose direct solutions which were technically practical—ignoring the obstacles of conventional politicians and conformist public opinion. Hopefully, this could pressure the authorities (if this was at all possible) and educate the people. It was to be “direct: to start with things that need doing and to find available skill and labor willing to do them.” (1965; 143) That might be part of a piecemeal, reformist, approach. But this method is also consistent with what has been called “non-reformist reforms” or “transitional demands” (such as solving unemployment and poverty by dividing all the work which needs to be done by all the available workers, and similarly dividing the wealth available for pay—the “sliding scale of wages and hours”—which is actually the principle of a socialist society). This approach could be part of a revolutionary program for the working class and all oppressed people.

Is a humanistic, radically-democratic, and libertarian-socialist revolution possible, in time to avert catastrophe? I don’t know. However, referencing de Tocquevile on the French Revolution, Paul Goodman wrote at one point, “It will be said that there is no time.Yes, probably. But let me cite a remark of Tocqueville. In his last work, L’Ancien Regime, he notes ‘with terror,’ as he says, how throughout the eighteenth century writer after writer and expert after expert pointed out that this and that detail of the Old Regime was unviable and could not possibly survive; added up, they proved that the entire Old Regime was doomed and must soon expire; and yet there was not a single [person] who foretold that there would be a mighty revolution.” (2010; 122)

References

.Carson, Kevin A. (2010). The Home-brew Industrial Revolution; A Low-Overhead Manifesto. BookSurge.

Carson, Kevin A. (2016). “Agency and Other Anarchist Themes in Paul Goodman’s Work.” Center for a Stateless Society Study No. 22 (Spring-Summer 2016)

Goodman, Paul (1962a). Drawing the Line; A Pamphlet. NY: Random House.

Goodman, Paul (1962b). Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized Society. NY: Vintage Books/Random House.

Goodman, Paul (1962c). The Society I Live in is Mine. NY: Horizon Press.

Goodman, Paul (1965). People or Personnel; Decentralizing and the Mixed System. NY: Random House.

Goodman, Paul (2010) (Taylor Stoehr ed.). Drawing the Line Once Again: Paul Goodman’s Anarchist Writings. Oakland CA: PM Press.

Goodman, Paul (2011) (Taylor Stoehr ed.). The Paul Goodman Reader. Oakland CA: PM Press.

Goodman, Paul, & Goodman, Perceival (1990). Communitas: Ways of Livelihood and Ways of Life. NY: Columbia University Press/Morningside.

Kropotkin, Peter (1985) (Colin Ward ed.). Fields, Factories, and Workshops Tomorrow. London: Freedom Press.

*written for Anarcho-Syndicalist Review

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