SV: M-TH: Washington and Moscow

1999-11-23 Thread Bob Malecki

Chris interestling writes.
 On the main theoretical difference between Dave and Bob, I am alarmed to
 find myself agreeing with both of them. Rather than argue however between
 Russia as a developing imperialist state or as a colony, I would like to
 suggest a formula I heard at a seminar on the world economy in London 8
 days ago. It was from someone from a Trotskyist background. It was that
 there are such things as sub-imperialisms. The definition would be where
 the entity keeps some share of surplus value for itself.

Interesting take. How would you characterized  countries like India,Pakistan. With 
Russia we are dealing with a country in transition from a degenerated workers state to 
what? Is the question. A quite new and extremely difficult question. 

 I think despite our many other differences all of us can see that the West
 has been particularly soft on Yeltsin for entirely discreditable reasons.
 It is essentially allowing him to play the idea of becoming a
 sub-imperialism. They calculate that he will have to compromise and accept
 a subordinate position within a global capitalism dominated by the US. 

I doubt in the long run that imperialism is united or agree on Russia. The destruction 
of the SU has unfortunately put us back in pre 1914 positions albut with nuclear 
 BTW I note contributors denouncing the possibility of a western
 "humanitarian intervention" into Chechnya. What you are not distinguishing
 is between a military attack and financial pressure, of the sort that got
 the Indonesian troops to withdraw from East Timor. It is quite clear that
 the west could have imposed the latter, and for *imperialist* reasons
 decided not to. They would rather do business with a corrupt Yeltsin/Putin
 regime that oppresses subject nationalities, than a lefter Primakov type

 "humanitarian" intervention has nothing to do with what is going on. This is a 
struggle for positions before the next buig round.
 Perhaps Dave or Bob will not buy it, but what about "sub-imperialism" as a
 relevant half-way concept for what Russia under Yeltsin is trying to achieve?

Well to put a label on it I like the capitalist Russia with imperialist intentions. 
Perhaps capitalism in the accumilating stage which in a sense is as impossible as the 
colonial bourgeoisie being able to carry out the democratic aspects of a bourgeois 
revolution in the imperialist stage of development. I say that sub-imperialism, as 
well as a democratic capialist regime in Russia is impossible! 

You know this reminds me of the theory of peremanent revolution albut in a situation 
which in history is entirely new to us. I mean this is the first time we are 
confronted with capitalist counter revolutions in the degenerated and deformed workers 


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SV: M-TH: Washington and Moscow

1999-11-23 Thread Bob Malecki

Dave replies...
 We've had this one out many times Bob. By any measure, Russia is not 
 imperialist. It is poor, and while not little is it getting smaller. 
 It is a restored former workers' state whose economy is virtually 
 collapsed. The methodology is Lenin and Trotsky. Imperialism 
 produces a surplus which it has to invest in colonies and 
 semi-colonies (today's client states) or loan to its rivals. 
 Without that, it would have to physically annex regions to get 
 hold of new markets, resources etc so as to create this surplus, 
 like Tsarist Russia did. Russia today does not fit either of those 
 scenarios. Is Rusia's invasion of Chechnya imperialist? Is it 
 about to grab new resources? No its trying to defend existing 
 resources established during the Soviet era. Its oppressive yes. 
 That's why we can't support it. But oppression by itself is not 
 imperialist.  20 years ago the Red Army invaded Afghanistan, and 
 you argued correctly that that was to defend Russia from the US 
 backed Mujadaheen. Now the USSR has collapsed, and the Russian 
 Federation itself is beginning to break up. While the invasion of 
 Chechnya cannot be justified, it is primarly defensive.As much as one 
 third of Soviet oil was supplied by Chechyna. So Russia's invasion is 
 not imperialist motivated but rather motivated to prevent a total 
 collapse of the economy.  Of course the new bourgeoisie would have 
 long term plans to expand outside the Russian Federation, but can 
 they do this now? No way. 

Well,I don't think that the transition going the other way can be explained by 
claiming that Russia with its history has become a semi colony. And to say that the 
"economy has collapsed" must be seen in the context of that it is the planned economy 
that has collapsed and what  is coming out of the ruins is another economy with 
definite class interests. 

And yes in Afghanistan we still had a degenerated workers state in the Soviet Union 
and thus the need to defend it, but to claim that the present war in Chetchenya is 
"defensive" I find quite mind boggling. There are quite a number of scenarios of why 
this war and the least viable is defensive. Some even say the bombings in Mosco were 
the work of thgose who needed a war to consolidate Russia. And if you claim the 
economy being saved by this war I certainly would like to know which economy?
 Which proves my point, that in Chechnya there is no advantage to the 
 imperialists to see the Caucuses  which are part of the 
 Russian Federation fragment. Keeping control serves Russia's 
 interests as major oil pipelines pass through to the Russian 
 Black Sea. But this also serves the US interests, as a united 
 Russia is better able to pay back its massive debt. Outside the 
 Russian Federation, the US and EU imperialists are doing deals with 
 the new bourgeoisies of the former Soviet Republics. Russia is in no 
 position right now or in the forseeable future to compete for the 
 spoils in these countries.

Naturally various imperialist powers are using this stuff in there own interests. But 
this certainly does not exclude that the Russians themselves have there own 
imperialist intentions. In fact one of the big side issues in this war is the message 
coming from the Kremlin that the west has no business telling the Russians how to deal 
with this stuff. The latest interesting turn was Yeltsin walking out of the recent 
meeting with a loud clamour. Leaving the OSSE meeting in a shambles..

 Yes well this is an incomplete way of posing the national question. 
 We agree that we are against Russian intervention. But how to be for 
 Chechen independence but against its Islamic bourgeoisie? Only by 
 putting the demand for Chechen self-determination to Russian workers 
 and troops. That's the only way to unite Russian and Chechen masses 
 against both of their bourgeoisies and to fight for a Socialist 
 Federation of the former Soviet Union. 

Well I think the central task is tell inform the Russian workers and soldiers that the 
main enemy is at home.

 What's the confusion about Russia as a capitalist semi-colony? Its 
 not a workers state, and its not an imperialist state. Its in a 
 transition which is more likely to see it collapse and fragment 
 further under imperialist pressure, than become an imperialist state.
 Its you who are confusionist. 

Well tell me now that we live in a vacum. The "Russian" economy has collapsed. No the 
Soviet Union and its economy has collapsed and in its place there is something else. 
This you can not describe for me other then being some sort of semi colony. You are 
empirically labeling the destitution of the masses in the former Soviet Union as semi 
colonialoist without taking into question the entire new counter revolutionary 
segments of society that have taken over and are quite successful and philthy rich 
because of the overturn. However this is not enough to consolidate their class rule 
yet. But they 

SV: M-TH: Washington and Moscow

1999-11-21 Thread Bob Malecki

Dave writes..

 Burford's analysis of Chechyna starts from the proposition that both 
 OSCE (the European end of the Atlantic alliance) and Russia are 
 imperialist.  George is closer to the truth when he recognises that 
 Russia is making a concession to imperialism. This is not only 
 because Russia is weak and isolated, but because it is a restored 
 capitalist semi-colony of US and EU imperialism. 

Who are you kidding with thuis bullshit Dave? The poor little Russia scenario you are 
trying to clue into your "anti-imperialist" united front methodology has nothing to do 
with a "Trotskyist" perspective. Russia is clearly acting like an imperialist wannabe 
and is wheeling and dealing with other imperialist powers hardly because it is a semi 
colony to USA imperialism but in its *own* imperialist wannabe intentions. In the 
Yugoslavian stuff Russia clearly was making wheeling and dealing with the Germans. And 
now with the Chetchenian stuff it is hardly Russia who is making a concession but the 
Americans fearing that the Germans might get in to the Caucasis. 
 It is true that imperialism is indulging Russia, but that is because 
 it has larger fish to fry. Not only keeping the pro-West 
 Yeltsin/Putin in power, but also keeping the Russian Federation a 
 Federation, not a mass of fragments. It knows damn well that the 
 Russian army is a better bet in guaranteeing US oil investments and 
 the pipelines in the Caspian and Caucasus, than a bunch of Islamic 

More bullshit. As if poor little Russia would defend American interests. In fact the 
Americans are supporting or were supporting a lot of these regimes just against 
Russia. Like in Afghanistan and certainly the southern belly of the ex SU. The real 
action is the conflict between the Germans and Americans and which side the 
imperialist wannabes wind up in the coming confrontation. The only thing the Americans 
support is their *own* interests and certainly would block with anybody whether 
warlord or Russian against the Germans getting influence in the area. And wanna bet 
that if the Americans get to much influence that we will see a turn in diplomatic 
relations by the Russians towards Germany? This proves that Russia is hardly a semi 
colony but a capitalist country with imperialist ambitions and will play all sides of 
the fence to defend its *own* interests...
 The correct position in this situation is to condemn Russia's 
 invasion of Chechyna, and recognise its independence, but without 
 given any support to imperialist intervention including 
 'humanitarian' interventions. By making these demands on Russian 
 workers and troops, there is the possibility that a workers 
 opposition to the war can join forces with Chechen workers and 
 peasants against both the new Russian bourgeoisie, and the new 
 Chechen bourgeoisie. 

More bullshit. Certainly we recognize the right to self determination for the 
Chetchenyan peoples against the imperialist wannabe attack by the Russians. However no 
support to either side who on the one hand want to create a new imperialist Russia and 
on the other a pro Islamic capitalist republic. In fact in this war the main enemy is 
at home! 

But your line is confusionist and some sort of anti war popularlist in that on the one 
hand you say that Russia is a semi colony fighting for its right to become a nation 
against imperialism instead of realizing that Russia has become a capitalist state 
through capitalist counter revolution and is now on the road of imperialist wannabe.

You are trying to put Russia in the slot of China in the twenties rather then seeing 
that capitalist counter revolution does not equal this but something quite different 
then we have seen before in history. That is the evolement of the ex degenerated 
workers state towards becoming once again and imperialist power or take the world down 
trying.There ain't no way in the world you can justify this line except by adapting 
Trotskyism or Leninism to the politics of the Mensheviks betwen Feb. and October at 

But then they had the fuedalist relations and czar to lean on. You my friend only have 
your false conception of and anti imperialist united front and the only thing it will 
get you is your organization supporting Russian war credits in the future imperialisat 

You are in fact the reverse side of Chrs's arguement in  a sense. Chris I believe 
argues imperialism on Russias part so that he can support his own British humanitarian 
solution in the coming war while you take the side of the Russian rulers and their 
imperialisat intentions by covering for them from the left screaming they are a semi 
colonial country.Both lines are comparible in their social patriotic stance and will 
mean that you will go tell the workers to die defending someting which is hardly in 
their interests.Futhermore...

Well even Lenin under the czar never did that despite the backwardness of Russia. And 
Russia is fa more