The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.60/No.13           April 1, 1996 
 
 
Letters  

Oppose the death penalty
The New Jersey Coalition Against the Death Penalty will hold a march and rally April 20, 1996, in front of New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

To be clear, I oppose the death penalty even for bloodsuckers like Dupont. It is no coincidence that politicians are not seeking the death penalty for him. Clearly, the death penalty in this country is not designed for billionaires accused of murder.

It is reserved for those who cannot afford bail much less an adequate defense. Those who have capital don't face capital punishment. THAT'S CAPITALISM!!!

So attend this rally which begins at 11:00 AM. Help stop the executions in New Jersey before they start!

For more information call: In New York & North Jersey: (201)642-2086; Central Jersey: (908)874-5891; South Jersey & Philly: (609)342-6681 or E-mail:bwitanek@igc.apc.org

Daniel CortÚs

Camden, New Jersey

Define `national socialism'
As someone who turns to the Militant for political direction, I have been following the articles on Buchananism with particular anticipation. I have been rather disappointed with the analysis in the most recent issues, and particularly with the front-page article in the March 4th paper. I, like many other, feel the need to understand this political phenomenon in all its implications in order to more effectively explain it to others. I find in "Buchanan win is Based on Counterfeit Socialism" the problems that, to various degrees apply as well to the preceding articles. It is mostly schematic, lacking in proof for its central points, predominantly written for the initiated in the socialist circle, and rather inadequate and uninformative for the average person.

This article states that Buchanan offers a national socialist agenda, that national socialism is counterfeit socialism, and that he is building an incipient fascist movement. Yet while it contains a fair amount of quotes from the candidate as well as about him from other political figures, it fails to actually explain in what way they substantiate the conclusions put forth about Buchanan. They thus remain closer to mere labels than to sound political points.

What proof does the article offer about the building of a fascist movement? Are we to assume that Buchanan is arming street gangs, organizing against unions, homosexuals, against young people as was the case with German fascism? Or is it, at present, in an early stage of that process? When the article cites the New York Times editorial that mentions the presence of thuggish elements at Buchanan's rallies, it is more to take issue with the NYT's classist reduction of working people to "pot bellied boys who (would) be happy to throw a punch or two just for the recreation of it" than with addressing the political significance of that component of Buchanan's constituency.

I see still further problems with the article's potential to clarify Buchananism for people unfamiliar with the subtleties of political categories. From the point of view of the average person, why are Buchanan's attacks on big bosses and landlords, and his defense of the "little guy" themes to be suspicious of? What is national socialism?

Claudia Kaiser-Lenoir

Boston, Massachusetts

Che on Yugoslavia
Cuban communist leader Che Guevara anticipated some of the consequences of the pro-capitalist economic policies undertaken by rulers of the Yugoslav workers state, and sought to make them general lessons for fighters for socialism to avoid as he grappled with the major questions facing revolutionists of his day.

I raise this point to support the thorough and convincing "Discussion with Our Readers" article by Argiris Malapanis in the February 16 issue of the Militant, on the character, evolution, deformation, and continued existence of the Yugoslav workers state.

"Capitalist methods of competition among enterprises and profitability were institutionalized in industry," Malapanis states, "packaged as `workers' self-management. Market mechanisms were extolled, encourage eventual competition between different republics," thus open the way to the current situation.

This is what Che was coming to grips with.

In an interview by the Arab journal Al-TalÝ-ah, published in April of 1965, after making extended remarks on the views of Cuban communists on "the role of the party" and the character of "the revolutionary state," Guevara is asked by the reporter point blank, "What is your opinion of the Yugoslavian experiment in this respect?"

(The following quotes are excerpts. The entire interview is available in "Che: Selected Works of Ernesto Guevara," by Rolando E. Bonachea and Nelson P. Valdes. The MIT Press, 1969.)

"We definitely oppose the Yugoslavs," Che states, "and we do not wish to use big flashy words on this subject; we are not talking about backsliding - but we also do not wish to talk about being stationary. We do not accuse the Yugoslavs of being agents of imperialism, and so forth - but we oppose them in a basic manner."

"We believe that there are two ways in which we differ from the Yugoslav experiment; that is, in our reaction to Stalinism and in opposition to the Soviet Union to dictate to us its economic leadership ideals."

Guevara notes that "in their experiments the Yugoslavs mix individual economic matters with group problems, and we believe in the separation of the one from the other. The problem of workers' participation in the administration of organization seems to us to be a separate questions from the problem of workers' participation in profit."

"There are problems concerning the basic concept of socialist evolution in the field of economy which are still unknown to this day. So far, crooked roads have been followed; and when it was decided to refrain from these roads, other roads were followed which did not prove to be less crooked...Everything so far has been focused on the law of production [value] - and this means the danger of returning to capitalism," Guevara explains.

"[I]n Yugoslavia the road faces toward the danger of outbursts of these negative elements. In our trade with Yugoslavian organizations which work in the same field and at the same time compete with each other - each one is ready to cut down prices to a critical low point so as to eliminate each other from the market...Isn't this a distinctive feature of capitalistic economy?"

Guevara saw in the "Yugoslav experiment" the danger of capitalist methods, employed by the ruling stratum, and warns of the formation of a "privileged group" with its "capitalist nature."

The disintegration into warring gangs fighting for lucre, egged on by imperialist backers, fulfills the logic of the Yugoslav approach with which Che disagreed so strongly. To this, he contrasted he the worker's "extreme efforts and steadfastness for readiness in the struggle...and this is what socialism is particularly concerned with."

It is that working steadfastness, in defense of the gains of the Yugoslav revolution, that has proven stronger than the brutal campaigns of the splintered "privileged groups" of Stalinist bureaucrats who seek, and have failed, to restore the market economy to the country. As that battle continues under the conditions of imperialist occupation, Cuba's vanguard example of resistance to this course, over nearly four decades, will attract Yugoslavian fighters, as will Che's especially keen insights as they search for the clarity required to guide their historic tasks.

Jon Hillson

Twin Cities, Minnesota

Mexico City book fair
The Pathfinder Press participation in the recent Book Fair held in Mexico City from February 22 to March 3, 1996, was a great success. The brisk sales and interest generated by the Pathfinder stand is testimony to the thirst for revolutionary ideas on the part of "los mexicanos."

Mexico has been going through the throes of a profound economic, social, and political crisis for many years. The sudden devaluation of the peso at the end of December 1994, demonstrated the third world reality of Mexico as it plunged ever deeper into poverty.

Revolutionary-minded people here are searching for answers and analysis that Pathfinder Press can offer. Your continuing effort to circulate more widely your literature is greatly appreciated.

N. Fuentes

Mexico City, Mexico

The letters column is an open forum for all viewpoints on subjects of general interest to our readers. Please keep your letters brief. Where necessary they will be abridged. Please indicate if you prefer that your initials be used rather than your full name.

 
 
 
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