File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 115

Date: Tue, 7 Oct 1997 13:23:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: M-I: Fascism and social fascism

On Tue, 7 Oct 1997, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> At any rate, a comrade has asked me to reflect on what Rosa Luxemburg would
> have thought about the nature of the so-called independent unions the
> support of which by social democrats you are defending here. They seemed
> not to have been able to effect whatever remained of the goals of their
> movement or to use the legal and more generally parliamentary means
> available to them to destroy Hitler once he had come to power. The question
> remains of how Kautskyism and more generally social democracy was
> implicated in the fascist victory; more specifically, how fascism was able
> to emerge out of the failures of social democrats despite or because of
> their energetic use of legal trade union and parliamentary means (if I
> remember correctly, Richard Breitman has written a critical history of
> German social democracy).

This is a very good question, the relation between social democracy
and fascism (and Rakesh, welcome back) which Louis P and others
are refusing to see and analyze. Louis P implies that this leads to
sectarianism. It is true that sectarianism is a danger at one pole but
on the other pole there lurks opportunism. How to navigate a path
between these two precipices?

> You also suggest that state control by the fascists should be
> differentiated from the state control social democrats fought for.
> However, Social democrats  did not call for (and indeed counseled against)
> the conquest of industry by revolutionary soviets and the creation of new
> institutions for the organization of production (it would also be
> interesting to look at the revolutionary critiques of Otto Bauer's
> socialization schemes in Austria both from the left wing of the Austro
> Marxists such as Max Adler and of course from Grossmann as well). Thus, the
> state control  remains in the interests of the petty bourgeoisie given that
> political management would remain the occupation of those who had seized
> state power.

In Nicaragua, the ex-social democrats like Daniel Ortega have said that
given a chance once again, they would not carry out the land-reform
program or weaken it considerably. Tomas Borges (a critic of "Stalinism"
although labeled one by the free press) has become a millionaire. In
El Salvador, Joaquim Villalobos has become an anti-worker right wing
reactionary. Villalobos may have been involved in the murder of the
poet Roque Dalton. Today, Castro meets with the Pope and welcomes
Fujimori and the Cuban government is instituting measures which are
transforming the Cuban economy in a capitalist direction with
emerging signs of class stratification and prostitution.

When actually confronted with concrete events like this, what should
one do? There are two responses. One is to look away or try to explain
everything always as resulting due to the force of external factors
(e.g.,imperialism). Any straws that one can clutch at (Louis P's
recent post about non-capitalist Cuba; he had posted a similar
article about China which basically said that China was still
a socialist country only to be challenged recently by Adolfo's devastating
answer about the actual nature of this "socialism") is presented as
confirming evidence. 

So is imperialism currently to be held responsible
for Daniel Ortega's metamorphosis? Or is it some thing else (internal
factors like ideology) which also has to be brought into the picture?
In this regard, the complaint is raised that too much attention is
being paid to ideology and not enough to the actual state ownership (P,D,
E) of the economy. By the fact that many states have significant ownership
or even monoploy (e.g., the Gulf countries) over sectors of the
economy, does it mean that such states are socialist? What about the
character of the regime that run such states? This overemphasis on
the productive forces in contrast to the struggle for change
in the production relations (ideology) was one element of the
critique that the Chinese made with respect to the SU.

The other, and more rational way, is to accept reality and attempt to
explain it in a scientific manner. This explanation should include both
internal and external factors, i.e., should be a well-rounded one.    

S. Chatterjee

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