Latin America - Critique of a bourgeois programme passed off as "socialist"

Considered objectively, despite its "Marxist" and "communist" airs, the socialism of the Latin American "left" has, in reality, a bourgeois-democratic orientation. From the outset it has been the ideological head of a simple bourgeois nationalist/reformist movement adorned with a socialist phraseology. Despite the unwary who have ended up seduced by their verbal radicalism, the current Left governments of the world are carrying out what, until now, the right have only dared to dream. Today it has been made clear that the only point which differentiates right and left resides in the political ritual and the rhetoric used to manipulate the masses. To end the devastation of world capitalism and open the way to a system where only the proletariat holds the reins of power, the class struggle must be organised on an international scale and subject to the regulatory idea of the communist programme. It may then be possible to realise the suppression of the present mode of production, which is based on exploitation and profit, by laying the base for production and distribution to be carried out according to society's needs and the growing expansion of material and cultural wealth to be attained through social and technological forms which do not endanger the biological balances of survival. The current Left has not only shown itself incapable of carrying out this gigantic historic task, but increasingly declares itself openly hostile to it.

Regardless of having passed through a phase of direct armed struggle during the period of the cold war, the Left, together with all those instruments and organisations included in its strategy, has ended up acting in convergence with the other political formations of capitalism, to the point of practically dissolving itself in capital's totalitarian hegemony. Even when it adapts itself to specific local conditions, today the political farce it brings into being is the same whether it is carried out by Chávez in Venezuela, Antonio Vargas in Ecuador or Subcomandante Marcos in México as pontifex maximus, with the rank and file militants of Latin America and the world as asinus portans mysteria. Limiting its involvement to disputes amongst the bourgeoisie caused by "globalisation", this tendency, together with other sectors, has called on the workers of Central America and the Andean and Amazon region to react against imperialism in the name of the spurious, rancid, obsolete and prostituted tricolour flag, under slogans of defence of "national sovereignty" and the lofty interest of the "people". That is to say, in the name of demands belonging to a historical period superseded more than a century ago. Like the old opposition workers parties, this tendency ignores class barriers and tries to place the proletarian movement within the old limits of bourgeois states or territorially limited economic areas. It takes as its historic starting point the national differences of the bourgeois factions who locally dispute economic and political power, without noticing that capitalist development has done away with or is liquidating those limits. Thus the Left ends up presenting the economic and political jostling of a few regional bourgeois factions in the current framework of capitalism's global powers under the suggestive titles of "national liberation" and "the struggle for socialism".

Without doubt, numerous parties of the Left today can claim military and political success (Sandinismo in Nicaragua, the FLMN in El Salvador, the PRD and the EZLN in Mexico, the PS in Chile, the PT in Brazil, the FARC in Colombia), but it should be clearly said that the Left has not even made a decisive contribution to the bourgeois demands of the workers, never mind contributing to a radical social transformation in favour of the continent's working masses or, simply, to the progress of class consciousness. Despite the constitution of some Left governments and the progressive advance of "workers" parties in Brazil, México, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina, no politico-organisational signposts exist to orientate the working masses in an anti-capitalist sense. Neither has there been, nor will there be, legislative or governmental advances to at least lessen the consequences of the chronic crisis which grips societies. On the contrary, the abnormal phenomena which traditionally characterise Latin American societies have tended to intensify in recent decades. The greatest achievement which supposed Latin American "revolutionaries" crow about, the Cuban Revolution, is no more than a stagnant society transformed into an immense concentration camp for its starving population where autocratic methods of ruling are combined with an economic model of state capitalism backed by international finance capital, firstly Russian then European. Altogether, this shows that the absolute domination of capital over the material and human productive forces of society is unaffected by the political and ideological badges of the executive agents of the state which momentarily administer power. Nor is it affected by the intermittent forms taken on by the different spheres of interest of civil society as they politically confront one another. What really counts for Capital, and consequently, for the class which manages it, is that power is exercised in such a way as to guarantee the imperatives of accumulation and the subordination of the working class. If this is not the case, then the provisional executives of political power will be removed and substituted by other more functional ones. In accordance with this principle, there is a continual alternation of power within the state: left-right, fascism-antifascism, liberalism-totalitarianism, etc. These different formal alternatives succeed each other in a cyclical movement whose co-ordinates are set out as much by imperialist rivalry ­­ - to which the immediate fate of the bourgeoisie is linked - as the social and politico-ideological efficiency of the administrative methods applied to perpetuate control over the labour power of the masses and reproduce capital on an enlarged scale. This can occur equally under Fujimori or Alan García, under Popular Unity or Pinochet, under Fidel Castro or Max Canosa, under "subcomandante" Marcos or Vicente Fox. On the other hand, the momentary "victory" of one of them is only a question of the correlation of forces between the bourgeois factions involved and their aptitude for responding to the local demands of the world system of capital.

We consider it strange that nobody wonders what the current popular movement aspires to. (We say "popular" as we can find no other word to define its heterogeneous social composition). Of course every one of its disparate elements would offer a different answer: the peasants would say the land, shopkeepers and members of co-operatives, the small and medium industrialists would say industrial and commercial freedom in the face of monopoly power and the financial oligarchy; professionals would say state protection of union rights, etc. All aim at achieving liberty and justice from the narrow viewpoint of the petty-bourgeoisie: for them freedom and justice mean State protection, tariffs, antimonopoly laws, progressive taxation and sumptuary laws for the rich, low rates of interest, incentives or financial relief for the weak, a system of State supported co-operatives, nationalisation of the principle natural resources, confiscation of land and its handing over to the peasants, exemptions, liquidation of the vestiges of patriarchy and servitude, as well as officials' abuse in the administration of the State (1); in other words, they add up to so many restrictions, limits and injustices for their bourgeois foes, the "free" and "equal" citizens of large scale industry, high finance, landed property and big commerce.

It is obvious that even according to the hypothesis that the radical adoption of these measures might make social reform by a left government possible, the commodity economy would not be broken. On the contrary, thanks to the growth of new economic units and the simplification of society's class base, it would open the gate to a cruder, more intense capitalism, whose final result would be a greater class polarisation of the rural and urban mass. The belief in an inexorable advance of liberty and equality within the commodity and monetary economy is a puerile dream. No government, no matter how powerful it may be, is capable of reversing the dynamics and tendencies of this society; only the proletarian social revolution - in as much as it carries the seed of a new mode of production, of distribution and social relations - can do so.

So, giving the label "socialisation" to nationalisation (meaning the move towards an extreme monopolisation of the means of production), fooling oneself and the workers with the possibility of an "egalitarian" exploitation of the soil or the means of production in general within the commodity economy, constitutes a reactionary petty-bourgeois utopia. Following Marx and Lenin, we will leave this to the Latin American and European Left. In effect, under the above-mentioned supposition, the possessors of the means of production and exchange in the countryside and city would very quickly separate from the simple sellers of labour power and, as a consequence, the class antagonism between bourgeois and proletariat would become deeper. The fact that the working class forms part of a multi-class alliance set up to end the oligarchic political régime and the current socially dominant block does not give the democratic struggle a socialist seal of approval. Regardless of the concrete analysis of its viability or its demagogic character in the context of the current world system (and its crisis), the "socialist" struggle of the Left and the social movements it controls is restricted to raising the bourgeois demands which different sectors of the population hold: a higher salary, a paternalistic, benefactor State and freedom of association for the workers, the expropriation of big land owners, nationalisation, etc. There is, therefore, no socialist fight against the bourgeoisie for workers' power but, on the contrary, a democratic struggle for reforms and political liberties in alliance with a section of the bourgeoisie, especially the petty-bourgeoisie. "The struggle against officials and "landlords" is waged alongside the peasants, including the rich and middle layer" (2). Or, to put it another way: in a society where the proletariat constitutes the majority of the population, it is being asked to renounce its class interests in the name of supporting a reformist Trojan War, of a different nature.

The backwardness which persists in many Latin American regions explains the consistently non-Marxist political positions of "socialist" petty-bourgeois democracy. Many of these sectors deny the capitalist character of Latin American society, deny that the fundamental contradictions of society reside in relations of wage labour and capital and the concentration-reification of social power in the State and, therefore, deny the role of industrial workers as the social vanguard of the exploited (3). Rather, because they consider the current social formation as a peculiar case produced by underdevelopment and the socio-economic deformations imposed by imperialism, they give priority to the peasant and national question. In other words, they ignore the labyrinth of the capitalist economy and the mechanisms by which the current social totality is integrated and functions. Instead, they attribute to the political will of a "revolutionary democratic" state the ability to break the chains of dependency and to extricate itself from the economic-political circuit woven by capitalist historical evolution. But to do so they must demolish all the obstacles which reality imposes on this petty-bourgeois illusion: the market, global competition, capitalism's techno-industrial complex, the international financial system, the constellation of states, etc. Hallucinating with the idea of an enclosed national economic system capable of unilaterally fixing society's macro-economic parameters and providing for itself all necessary conditions for the accumulation of capital, they can easily believe that the social and political elements in Latin American society can be transformed by a democratic revolution going on in the continent. Such a revolution is defined by its political tasks: the liquidation of oligarchic castes, of the political superstructures which perpetuate their power and the expulsion of imperialism in order to achieve national self-determination; and its social tasks: the destruction of the latifundist system of land ownership and the strengthening of national industry in the face of "foreign" capital, emphasising the role of the state in economic management, but at the same time preserving the strategic co-ordinates of the "mixed economy". Seeing this as a national and/or regional process independent of the real conditions of accumulation and the division of labour on a world scale which determine the ebbs and flows of capital, the first task which they confer on this revolution is the conquest of an "advanced democracy" and of a classic type (European) of industrial development which may go beyond the circumstances which "deform" (sic) capitalist development.

It is ironic to note that, in spite of the social illusions behind it, the prime practical consequence of the complete victory of the petty-bourgeois movements in the world - defined as such by their social base which is as much agrarian (poor, middle and rich peasants) as urban (medium and small industrialists who work for the internal market, some professional categories, artisans, shop-keepers, medium and high ranking state functionaries, etc.) - is not the elimination of capitalism nor imperialist subjugation. On the contrary, it creates a wider base for their development, it accelerates and sharpens purely capitalist development, purging society of those elements inherited from previous modes of production. It is impossible to avoid this structure - with its bipolar logic and its contradictory dynamic - by an effort of will. In Colombia, for example, the most immediate impact of the "democratic revolution" underway is not the improvement of the living standards nor the strengthening of the political power of the oppressed, but the accentuation of the typical processes of capitalism:

  1. Depopulation of the countryside, with the subsequent exacerbation of poverty and social tension in the big cities due to the dizzy growth of the so-called "misery belts", always kept full by the exodus of the population fleeing the war.
  2. The weakening - and in fact the reduction to paralysis - of resistance to the bosses' offensive by the workers, whose actions, besides suffering at the hands of the State military, have as their immediate and long term aim the fanatical defence of the so-called "national industry" and the economic role of the State.
  3. The growth in dependence and submission of both contending bourgeois forces vis à vis the struggle of the capitalist powers for the control of local markets in goods and profitable investments and the exploitation of financial income via the mechanisms of debt, petroleum exploitation, drugs trafficking and the laundering of dollars. In short, its "victory", according to Lenin's forecast at the beginning of the 20th century, "can only create a bulwark of the bourgeois democratic republic..." (4). After the rich historic experience of the last 50 years, we can be even more sure of this.

For those who assume current society's point of view one of the most significant consequences is that they must suffer the deception of its ideological mystification, remain the prisoner of appearances, which are taken to be reality. One of these deceptions is that of completed phases in capitalist development, an idea they preserve through their metaphysical comparison to other phases. Amongst the great mystifications-anachronisms of the Latin American Left is their attempt to preserve political forms devoid of economic substance, forms for which capitalism's advance, at least in the central countries, has found efficient substitutes. The distinguishing characteristic of these groups is that their perspective has not gone beyond the status quo prior to the imperialist phase of capitalism. By placing themselves in the camp of capitalist society, as a simple opposition party linked to the bourgeois superstructures, they have ended up becoming, like the bourgeoisie, unable to understand the essence of development. Prisoners of the initial forms of evolution of capitalist societies which, in spite of producing an economic substratum which demolishes bourgeois-national divisions, maintains an appearance of a "national" development, they consider that their different post-revolutionary "national" entities can follow a path of development identical to that of the great metropolitan powers. But the democratic slogan of self-determination alone is incapable of assuring them an indigenous economic existence fit for continuous economic expansion. In fact we are dealing with states which cannot exist outside of the frame set by imperialism and whose internal political and economic situation is configured by the imperialist balances (and imbalances!). Due to its class constitution, the proletariat should absolutely reject - together with other mystifications regarding the economy and political praxis of capitalism - the national viewpoint and rather, as Lukács advised, "direct their action exclusively according to the real situation of economic development".

The threatening perception third world oligarchies used to hold of left-wing movements has not been completely erased with the collapse of the Russian Empire and Teng-Tsiao Ping's reforms (5) in China. Where alignments with Russia occurred they not only functioned in her interests within the workers' movement, but brought sectors of the local bourgeoisie within her imperialist frame. Essentially, they owe this image to their state capitalist strategy and their aspirations of national strength which compel them to persist in their tactic of a plural-class alliance with those bourgeois factions whose position in the market depends on state aid. It is useful to reiterate that such a transformation is impossible for the small, weak peripheral states. Only for the giant historical states or the remnants of great empires which are still politically united and already possess, in their interior, their own sphere of colonial exploitation (India, China, Russia, Brazil) can this option be viable. For some of these great states with relatively backward economies and societies it has been possible, as clearly shown by the Russian and Chinese revolutions, to achieve an accelerated, although moderate, capitalist development within the current imperialist milieu. The path followed by these countries seems to follow "abnormal" channels only because the evolutionary course of European capitalism is taken as the only possible model of capitalist development. But bourgeois reality is historic and resists being reduced to specific moments of its development, however important these may have been in the past. If we take history into account we will see that the development of late capitalism occurs in a context in which capital has already arrived at its imperialist phase (6) and where everything - politics, economy, society - is determined by the imperialist economic circuit. In the above quoted countries, (and only in them) a national capitalist flowering, more or less independent of international imperial-monopoly capitalism, has been viable thanks to the greatest concentration and centralisation of all the instruments of economic and political power. In the analysis of this exceptional phenomen, Paul Mattick has correctly observed:

what appears as a result for 'normal' capitalist development is here an indispensable presupposition. If the maximum concentration of capital and the unification of the imperialist effort constitute an everyday necessity for all capitalist countries within the system of international competition, today it is much more vital for the backward countries and their harsh struggle to survive. If Russia, for example, did not want to end up like the semi-colonial countries and wanted to become a world power counting only on her own strengths, or to simply assure her independence, it was necessary to avoid the normal course of capitalist evolution. If not, Russian capitalism would have been unable to achieve concentration through competition, as did English, German or American capitalism, which had the comfort of centuries long development across entire generations. The soviet Union, therefore, had to skip the laissez-faire period, resorting to political means, and was capable of doing so because it could open the way for those productive methods which are the aim of capitalist development in the technologically more advanced countries (7).

The repetition of an analogous process in other countries, as Mattick himself emphasises, would suppose similar situations, which, however, do not exist at all in the countries of the periphery, except in the above quoted cases.

The real problem facing critical social theory is not, therefore, to fathom when and where the process of capital accumulation in the backward countries can take place, but in dispelling the ideological mystification which presents as "socialist" a "political" variety of capitalist development, under which initial accumulation of capital is guided by the state. The peculiar historic situation traversed by soviet Russia in its initial phase is one of the causes of the strength which this ideological fiction commanded for so many years. If at first the constitution of organs of administration and direct workers' power gave rise to the belief in the inauguration by the Russian proletariat and the Bolshevik Party of a new social era, subsequent development very quickly gave the lie to these hopes. The reasons for the degeneration of the proletarian revolution into state capitalism are best explained - and this is not by chance! - in one of the principal theses of their maximum exponent, Lenin: the isolation and backwardness of Russia made socialism within the structure of world capitalism impossible and only a revolutionary situation at a global level would allow the direct passage from semi-feudal conditions to socialism. Nevertheless, Lenin, and alongside him the bulk of the revolutionary vanguard, contemplated the possibility of a future evolution to socialism by maintaining and developing capitalism via the state, on the condition, naturally, that the proletarian power survived and the Party kept its role as representative of the communist programme. As we know, none of these expectations were realised: already by 1925-26 there no longer existed proletarian power nor a Communist Party; the Party itself had become bureaucratised and had come to be the sole capitalist. Despite the magnitude and significance of this historic process and the early political denunciation made by the Communist Left, whose lines of development and characteristics go beyond the limits of this analysis, the necessary proletarian clarification concerning the question of Russian state capitalism, the indispensable condition for a real revolutionary advance of the revolutionary movement in the world, has still not occurred.

The Soviet Union is still referred to as the model for the proletarian dictatorship and socialist and communist construction. For the proletariat of the periphery, the monstrosity of the statist doctrine has already been plainly and tangibly evident precisely in the national liberation movements; by the fact that historically such arguments were used in the imperialist strategy articulated by the Russian bloc during the "Cold War" and found their raison d'être in the possibility opened to the new states arising from the post WW2 "decolonisation" of integrating into the anti-American pole led by Moscow. Within the small nations which struggled against Western hegemony there arose, in effect, the ideological fiction of a march analogous to that undertaken by Russia and China, with the economic, technical and political successes exhibited by these two powers as goals attainable by all "oppressed countries and peoples" (8).

The reactionary character of this doctrine was also demonstrated by the bestowal of a supposedly "revolutionary" role on the so-called "national" bourgeoisie which claimed to ally all elements in society around the defence of the interests of weak social and economic strata tied to the internal market or belonging to the state sector of the economy. Theses economies - unsustainable and non-viable as an independent project - were once again absorbed by one of the imperial-capitalist blocs. It is therefore obvious that a whole of, or fraction within, a class cannot become revolutionary solely thanks to an arbitrary plan. It should not be forgotten that the revolutionary or counter-revolutionary character of a class is defined by its position in production and its relation to other classes and power. As has already been pointed out, today there does not exist a simple "national" section of the bourgeoisie independent of the world circuit of the production-reproduction of capital. Nowadays the bourgeoisie of the backward countries are largely the product of the penetration of modern imperialism itself within those countries. The sociological-economic nexus between them is not exogenous but endogenous: their origin, trajectory, and final fate are intertwined. The interests defended by the Left are, therefore, those of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie - whether or not directly bound to the state sector - as they strive for social self preservation in a situation where their economic activity is subscribed by international parameters (dominated by the transnational phenomenon of monopoly capitalism). Petty-bourgeois nationalism concretely means the struggle for the terms of internationalisation to be defined so that the general conditions of their own social survival are not ignored. This explains why they have chosen to target neo-liberalism, an ideology which, in its practical effects, is the crude version of "globalisation" according to the multinationals. On the one hand it is about getting the systems stemming from the multilateral organisms of imperialism which regulate the official conduct of states and the political and economic movements of transnational capital (IMF, WTO, World Bank etc.) to recognise the interests of bourgeois factions within the national economy. On the other hand it aims to put into practice the complementary democratic principle, both in the running of the bourgeois republic, as well as the legitimising of the regime. Obviously, none of this presupposes an attack on the social division of labour, the concentration-centralisation of capital and the general expropriation of the worker masses.

However, all this would require a profound shift in the methods of managing capital and the state which, via the strengthening of the state sector of the mixed economy, could secure a distribution of power and income capable of giving rise to a lasting change in the relations of force between bourgeois factions. In their judgement, this can only be attained by bringing the workers' organisations into a political front with the "progressive bourgeoisie" which would open the way for a political regime with a wider social and consensual base (9). Once again the anachronism of this position is obvious given the irreversible monopolistic form of economic and political organisation that capital has already achieved. The present day competitive environment for firms and states reflects the level of planetary associations of industrial and financial capital equipped with financial, technological and politico-military super power. Their standards of investment, income, productivity social influence co-ordination and organisational efficiency fix the scale of competition. There can be no doubt that, in the best of cases, the reformist position consists of replacing one monopoly with another. In the final analysis the problem is reduced to understanding which is the most efficient form for the reproduction of capital in this competitive situation.

Before trying to estimate the probable results of an eventual social alliance between the small and medium bourgeoisie with the workers (10) it is necessary to stop to consider the repercussion of the following circumstances on the remaining national liberation movements in the "third world":

  1. The disappearance of the soviet bloc and the possibilities of victory of the national liberation fronts still clinging to an orthodox line.
  2. The role of social democracy in the promotion of those fronts in certain third world countries.
  3. The world economic crisis.
  4. Connected to the above, the actual situation developing in Latin America. This latter includes: the incessant proletarianisation suffered by the middle and small layers of the bourgeoisie over the last three decades; concomitantly, the deepening of the concentration and centralisation of capital (whose mergers and vertical alliances have accentuated the oligarchic character of capital) and a corresponding impoverishment of the proletariat (11).

The historic fact which refutes the Left approach from its very origins has been pointed out by the radical communists since the beginning of last century: the incapacity of the "nation states" formed in the imperialist phase to have independent life is not because of the impossibility of finding territorial, linguistic or ethnic unity, but because "these people have forever lost the historic moment of their national state organisation (meaning at the beginning of capitalism) " (12). In fact, since their genesis and throughout their evolution, their structures and superstructures were deterministically conditioned by the metropoles. In this sense, the Left groupings have imposed a reactionary and purely ideological vision on the real social processes, ignoring the new characteristics and economic and political conditions of capitalism during the 19th and 20th centuries (13). Their attempt, successful up to now, to relegate proletarian action to the limits of the spectral national bourgeois state - limits in fact already liquidated - is the latest attempt of the petty-bourgeoisie to tie the proletarian movement to the perspective of current society and its own expectancies of life under the globalised capitalist order. Instead of calling on the proletariat to unite and fight as a class on the international level, they have limited the scope of the current movements and social struggles to a new democratic coalition government. For example, this is the FARC formula which brings with it the practical rejection of historic class goals for a false "anti-imperialist" unity with sectors involved in bourgeois exploitation.

Despite Marx's early teaching that the proletarians have no country, that for them there does not exist democracy or ownership over the product of their labour, neither the law nor the nation, nor, therefore, the equal citizen granted with equal rights and opportunities, but only the elemental reality of their submission to the power of work, the petty-bourgeois parties ask the proletarians to believe in their promise of finding, at the end of the road, the fatherland which the oligarchy and imperialism have denied them. In this way an entire class has the moral duty imposed on it of ignoring the realities which keep them tied down to be deceived by the promise of the reformist heaven in a world made in the image of the petty-bourgeoisie. Yet today, once again, the battlefield emerging is that of capital against the proletariat.

Resume of the Fundamental Positions of the Left in Latin America

  1. Fundamentally the Left equates political emancipation, (meaning the transformation of the individual into a citizen donned with equal rights and legal/political obligations) and human emancipation (the liberation of man from all material and ideological subjugation to the state and to classes). In order to reach its version of emancipation the Left propose the full elimination of oligarchic political régimes. The "jacobinism" of these positions is, then, obvious: unification of the nation, a single sovereign government of all the people via its democratic assemblies, the formation of a moral and fanatical partisan élite which functions as the depository of the common will to rigorously implant the democratic principle in the government and legislation, the attempt to completely eradicate adversaries.
  2. The central objective of what the Left calls "the fulfilling of the democratic tasks of the coming revolution" is the suppression of those features which according to them "deform" capitalism. Such deformations of capitalism are summed up in the existence of hybrid social formations, in which, due to the influence of imperialism, features of feudalism and slavery survive in coexistence with the bourgeois mode of production. They tend, then, towards a "pure capitalism" or classical capitalism where all the factors for a rapid modernisation and civilisation of society and customs are present: the industrial revolution and capital accumulation, upon which depend the advances of freedom, equality and prosperity for citizens materially enriched and spiritually developed by the just distribution of social income by the state and the uninterrupted expansion of productive forces by capital.
  3. Like its supposed opponents, the Left wants a bourgeoisie without a proletariat, it wants to realise a reactionary utopia of a capitalism without exploitation, without misery, without inequality, without crisis, democratically administered by its free and equal citizens, to whom the institutions and rules of the democratic state will guarantee the exercise of sovereignty in its free collegiate bodies.

(1) In Latin America, and especially South America, the feudal regime, or even semi-feudal conditions no longer persist. For almost a century, the classic land-owning sectors, with their late transformation into private independent enterprises consuming free labour power, completed the process of social decomposition of the rural classes initiated in the final phase of the colonial period. Already during the colonial period, the landowners, via the system of forced labour and the encomienda (control over land and Indians granted to an encomendero - translator's note), incorporated into the world market and the monetary economy, constituted the primary structure of capitalism disguised by the still feudal and even slave relations between classes on haciendas and plantations. Nowadays, these groups have become completely capitalist proprietors and exploiters. Although in some cases they still carry out the role of passive receivers of rent from land, their actual economic function is preponderantly capitalist and, in general, submits to the market. In the consumption of labour power in the countryside the contraction of free, salaried labour power heavily predominates, and only in a subsidiary or random manner is the reproduction of human labour power and class domination realised in a non-capitalist sphere.

(2) See V. I. Lenin "Petty bourgeois and proletarian socialism".

(3) The proletarian denominator is, of course, much wider; it includes, generally, all the social elements which distinguish themselves by the sale of their labour power (regardless of their labour for capital being productive or not from the point of view of surplus value) and occupy a subordinate position in the labour process.

(4) Lenin, op.cit. "For the Marxist, the peasant movement is precisely a non-socialist, but democratic movement. It indispensable companion of the democratic revolution, bourgeois due to its social-economic content. That movement does not in the least orient itself against the bases of the bourgeois régime, against the commodity economy, against capital. On the contrary, it directs itself against the old relations of servitude, pre-capitalist, in the countryside and against big agrarian property as the main point of support for all the remnants of the régime of servitude".

(5) Or Deng Ziao Bing, according to the SEFCH. We are alluding to the famous strategy of the "four great transformations" started since 1978 under the governorship of Hua Kuo Feng.

(6) As a consequence, the theses of Rosa Luxembourg and upheld by the Communist Left at the beginning of the 20th century that "national states" formed since the ascendancy of imperialism are incapable of life, finds full confirmation: "Whilst the national ideology has accompanied the process of bourgeois unification, the liquidation of the feudal-absolutist remnants on the path of capitalist development (political and economic unity of states), this was not only objectively favourable to the proletariat, but forced it into a form of class struggle for which the objective of a new national order had to play a decisive role. This situation has changed radically with the coming of the imperialist phase. Capitalism has reached a stage of development in which - in accordance with R. Luxemburg - "it has become an international phenomenon, an indivisible whole, only reconcilable in its interrelations and from which no particular state can extricate itself."

(7) Paul Mattick, "Rebels and Renegades", anthology of essays and articles by Claudio Pozzoli. Editorial Icaria, Barcelona 1978.

(8) In the imperialist phase of the capitalist era, particular social formations are determined, at different structural levels, by the totality of the international economic system of production-reproduction of capital. If the structural nucleus of the Latin American social formation is the world expansion of capital carried out in different periods by the imperialist metropoles, the left has explained development by a pure or classical model of capitalist political and economic evolution, according to which modes of production lineally follow an equal series of successive stages. According to this hypothesis imperialism is globally presented as the fruit of the intervention or the external imposition of a parasitic power which adulterates deforms or frustrates the national development of the capitalist mode of production. According to these formulations, Latin American capitalism had an autonomous development on its own sources of capital accumulation and following genuine evolutionary paths, but, just at the moment when an independent national development began to take shape - it suffered a foreign interference which stifles it. the specific form taken by relations of production and property is, therefore, not explained by the precise function assigned to the social formation within the world capitalist economy, but as a limit or shackle imposed on autonomous industrial progress (in total, on the accumulation of capital) by the action of an exterior force.

(9) Precisely, this has been the course of action followed by so-called "Chavism" in Venezuela. The transitory feasibility of this policy in that country unequivocally obeys the huge volume and strategic significance of its petroleum income nationalised in the western hemisphere.

(10) These are connected as much with changes in the balance of power and the structure of agrarian property and urban land, so desired by the marginalised of the countryside and the city who aspire to the different forms of small proprietorship, as with the implementation of the necessary social infrastructure (health, housing, education, services and social security) able to increase the competiveness of the labour force to the point which allows its incorporation into the formal economy.

(11) The figures submitted by the bodies of statistical investigation unequivocally demonstrate these processes. In Latin America, Colombia is the most outstanding country in terms of inequality and pauperisation. Let us briefly look at the following data: unemployment hits 22% of the population,50% are involved in informal activity (meaning, underemployed), only 28% of the total of the economically active population enjoys social security cover and almost 80% of the labour force has an income below that established as the minimum wage by the government. In this same country, industrial employment went down over the last two years to 25%.1% of the population possesses 48% of fertile land,4 monopolies control communications (radio, TV, press, telephones, etc.),5 banks control 95 % of banking assets,25 groups hold in their hands 82% of industry. On the other hand,9 million people are in absolute poverty and 26 millions have been declared as living in the category of "absolute misery".

(12) Lukács ibidem page 26.

(13) The bond between the national economies in a single world economy and the organisation of economic and political blocs - megastates - which compete for the control of markets, financial income, primary materials and cheap labour power.