Archive for the 'Countries/Regions' Category



Lukács on non-Proletarians and Revolution

Russian peasants in 1918 during a period of numerous peasant revolts against their previously untouchable landlords (source: http://www.soviethistory.org/ )

On a critique of Rosa Luxemburg‘s (1871-1919) “Critrique of the Russian Revolution” György Lukács points out the mistake of just solely focusing on the proletariat in countries that are majority non-proletarian, such as Russia, which had been mostly peasant and feudal based.

[Her essay] consists in the overestimation of its purely proletarian character, and therefore the overestimation both of the external power and the inner clarity and maturity that the proletarian class can possess and in fact did possess in the first phase of the revolution.  And at the same time we as a corollary the underestimation of the importance of the non-proletarian elements in the revolution.  And this includes the non-proletarian elements outside as well as the power wielded by such idologies within the proletariat itself.  And this false assessment of the true driving forces leads to the decisive point of her misinterpretation: to the underplyaing of the role of the party in revolution and of its conscious political action, as opposed to the necessity of being driven along by the elemental forces of economic development (274-5).

Source

Lukács, György.  1971.  Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  Cambridge: MIT Press.

History and Consciousness

In his work History and Class Consciousness György Lukács (1885-1971) wrote:

In his celebrated account of historical materialism Engels proceeds from the assumption that although the essence of history consists in the fact that “nothing happens without a conscious purpose or an intended aim”, to understand history it is necessary to go further than this.  For on the one hand, “the many individual wills active in history for the most part produce results quite other than those intended–often quite the opposite; their motives, therefore, in relation to the total result are likewise of only secondary importance.  On the other hand, the further question arises: what driving forces in turn stand behind these motives? What are the historical causes which transform themselves into these motives in the brain of the actors?”  He goes on to argue that these driving forces ought themselves to be determined, in particular those which “set in motion great masses, whole peoples and again whole classes of the people; and which create a lasting action resulting in a great transformation.”  The essence of scientific Marxism consists, then, in the realisation that the real motor forces of history are independent of man’s (psychological) consciousness of them (46-47).

Source

Lukács, Georg.  1971.  Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Heidegger’s Impact on Philosophy

Richard Wolin wrote that Heidegger‘s impact on Marcuse, Arendt, Jonas, and others:

affirmed that what they found unique in Heidegger’s approach was his capacity to revivify antiquated philosophical texts in light of present historical needs and concerns…doing philosophy ceased to be an exercise in disembodied, scholarly exegesis.  At issue was a momentous, hermeneutical encounter between the historical past and the contemporary being-in-the-world.  By proceeding thusly, Heidegger was only being self-consistent: he was merely applying the principles of his own philosophy of Existenz to the subject matter of his lectures and seminars.  Two of the central categories of Being and Time‘s “existential analytic” were “temporality” and “historicity.”  Both notions addressed the way that we situate ourselves in time and history.  In Heidegger’s view, one of the hallmarks of “authentic” being-in-the-world was the capacity to actualize the past in light of essential future possibilities.  Conversely, inauthentic Dasein (das Man) displayed a conformist willingness to adapt passively to circumstances–an existential lassitude that bore marked resemblances to the inert being of “things.” Heidegger’s ability to fuse the discourse of “everydayness” with the demands of “rigorous science” he had imbibed during his youthful apprenticeship with…Edmund Husserly, distinguished his thinking from the Lebensphilosophie or “philosophy of life” that flourished among popular writers…at the time (bold mine, xii-xiii).

Source

Wolin, Richard.  2005.  “Introduction: What Is Heideggerian Marxism?”  In Heideggerian Marxism, eds. Richard Wolin and John Abromeit.  Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.

Neoliberal Globalization and the Bangsamoro Struggle in Mindanao

Soldiers from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

Dr. Kenneth E. Bauzon writes that while the Moro National Liberation Front created a semi-autonomous region in the Philippines due to peace negotiations they were soon subsumed by the devastating effects of global capital. An effect that they had failed to perceive due to low theoretical grounding in political economy. Much of the programs and investment implemented by the U.S., U.S. affiliated organizations, and the G-7 countries, have been heavily geared toward counter-insurgency operations in order to undercut local autonomy and groups that fight against global capital investments.

Whether the government is determined to fully implement the rules of neoliberalism as in the case of privatization, or is unwilling or unable to enforce existing laws that appear to stand in the way of monopolistic tendencies as in the above-cited laws, the ultimate outcome of either scenario is the emergence of the Philippine state as the final arbiter in behalf of the forces of neoliberal globalization, enacting and enforcing laws that facilitate their penetration into the domestic economy, and easing their control and domination over the country’s valued resources…It is under this set of conditions that makes the Philippine state a distinctly neoliberal state through its active share in the promotion of the market economy on a global scale quite distinct from the prevalent conception of the state over a hundred years ago governed by the principle of laissez fair and seemed quite disinterested in the economic affairs of society or seemed all too happy to get out of the way of business.

Further implications may be discerned concerning the future of the Bangsamoro struggle as represented currently by the [Moro Islamic Liberation Front].  With its history of uttering rhetoric for independence spliced with religious verses, on one hand, and accommodation and negotiations, on the other, it seems that we are bound to experience a similar scenario in which the [Republic of the Philippines], with its greater resources, would simply wear down the MILF both at the negotiating table and the battlefield.  Negotiations have been the government’s way of dangling promises that it knows could not be kept and in pushing the adversary into a corner from which it could not escape.  Thus, the dizzying series of talks, delays, further talks and further delays constitute not much more than a fancy footwork in a dance for pure entertainment but leading to nowhere (Bauzon, 67-69).

Source

Bauzon Kenneth E.  2008.  Ruminations on the Bangsamoro Struggle and Neoliberal Globalization.  In The Moro Reader: History and Contemporary Struggles of the Bangsamoro People, ed. Bobby M Tuazon, 59-71.  Quezon City, Philippines: CenPEG Publications.

Book Review of “Pinoy Capital”

I have Part I of a two part book review of Benito M. Vergara’s book Pinoy Capital: The Filipino Nation in Daly City at my blog The Mustard Seed:

BenitoSunny” M. Vergara’s ethnographic study of Filipinos in Daly City is a very welcomed and much needed academic work centering on one of the more predominate Filipino communities within the United States, Daly City (which lies on the southern border of San Francisco).  When one looks at the back cover one sees a quote by Martin Manalansan who states that “Pinoy Capital is a colorful and nuanced ethnographic foray into the social institutions and quotidian lives of Filipino Americans living in Daly City.”

The Popular Front and Feminism

Report on Congress of American Women (LexusNexus).

James R. Barrett writes about the Communist Party USA’s strategy of the Popular Front during the Great Depression and the Second World War:

[M]any of the roots of modern feminist movement are located in the Popular Front organizations of the postwar period. Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, as women poured into the Party, they organized national and state commissions on the status of women, raised the issue of women’s rights, and joined with liberal middle- and working-class women in consumer and feminist organizations. The creative thinking of Mary Inman, a theorist whom the feminists of the 1970s often invoked as a mother of the new movement, outlived her 1943 expulsion from the CPUSA. Communist women built on her ideas regarding the special exploitation of women, going beyond the Party’s usual language of class. By the late 1940s, such activity had pushed the CPUSA beyond its narrowly economic interpretation of women’s oppression and produced a campaign within the Party against what came to be called “male chauvinism.” The Party launched the Congress of American Women (CAW) in 1947, which was deeply influenced by Communists but also included many prominent and many anonymous early feminists. Born in the midst of political reaction, the organization was short-lived, but what survived of Popular Front-era women’s activism brought the issues of feminism into the labor movement and a variety of consumer and community groups. The Party’s activities also drew African American women to feminism, highlighting their tripple oppression, and laid the roots for Black feminist theory…The tragedy of these Popular Front women activists, as Landon Storrs (2003) has shown, was that while the Communist party provoked and to some degree nurtured this early feminism this same political link, in the context of postwar political repression and CPUSA sectarianism, helped to isolate them and limit their potential to create a mass feminist movement. The effect of such repression was severe enough that left-wing feminists covered up their close contacts with the CPUSA and their early feminist work in unions, consumer groups, and other Popular Front organizations even as they pioneered “second-wave feminism” in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Barrett, 544)

Source:

Barrett, James R. “Rethinking the Popular Front.”  Rethinking Marxism 21, no. 4 (Oct. 2009): 531-550.

Review of “Latin America and Global Capitalism”

Serra Pelada gold mine, Brazil (Photo by Sebastiao Salgado).

Jeffery R. Webber, of University of Regina, reviews the book Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective by William I. Robinson in the October edition of the Monthly Review:

In chapter two, one of the most powerful and persuasive, Robinson charts the crisis of developmental capitalism, or import-substitution industrialization, in the 1960s and 1970s, and then shifts to neoliberalism, or export-led development, in the 1980s and 1990s across Latin America. Drawing on the historical materialist categories of proletarianization and primitive accumulation, he examines the contours of the new economic model through a focused exploration of nontraditional exports and services. He offers a penetrating look at the cut flowers industry in Ecuador and Colombia, the explosive growth of the fruits and wines sector in Chile, soy production in Argentina and the rest of the Southern Cone, and winter fruits and vegetable production in Central America. He demonstrates how there has been an “accelerated replacement of noncapitalist by capitalist forms of agricultural development” and a “concomitant displacement of the peasantry and its conversion into a rural proletariat. This has occurred along with an increase in rural to urban and transnational migration”; promotion of “flexible…work in the new agro-export platforms”; a move to “predominance of female workers in these platforms”; and “the articulation of local agricultural systems…to global agricultural and industrial food production and distribution chains.”

The main weakness in this otherwise compelling portrait of the political economy of the Latin American countryside today is the one-sided structural power allotted to capital. Opportunities for increases in agricultural workers’ bargaining power under certain conditions, such as those examined by Ben Selwyn in his important study of export grape production in North East Brazil, are elided.


Archives

My Tweet Ramblings

  • RT @jfagone: Good news: San Francisco just announced they’re ramping up testing for the city’s healthcare workers and will open drive-thru… 2 days ago
  • RT @RadReflections: On this day in 1871, the Paris Commune first opened for official business. A brief blossoming of proletarian state pow… 1 week ago
  • Under capitalism, if your poor, you don't get access to water. "Almost 90 cities and states across the US have sus… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @prwc_info: This is Macario Sakay. He fought alongside Andres Bonifacio against Spanish colonization and led the Philippine-American w… 4 weeks ago

My Internet Ramblings