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#1787: Re: #1746: Diaspora:Goff replies to Laleau

From: Stan Goff <stangoff@all4democracy.org>

> Dear Joel,
> That was a splendid article. I don't have much good to say for bourgeois
> capitalism or bourgeois democracy, although in Haiti's case, it would seem
> that bourgeois capitalism would be progressive, just as monarchies and
> nationalism were progressive in breaking up feudalism, and just as the
> 18th-century bourgeois revolutions were progressive in overthrowing the
> monarchies... Haiti to a large extent is still a feudal society, but with
> mixed capitalist features, I guess... in a way, perhaps the masses of
> want to elect Aristide to be king... and it would be progress against the
> existing feudalism, I guess.  Does the country have to pass through a
> benevolent monarchy or two before reaching bourgeois capitalism and

While it is clear that Haiti contains vestiges of feudalism alongside
characteristics of capitalism, it is important to qualify this analysis with
where and how Haiti is situated in the global capitalist system.  Even in
its more semi-feudal state prior to American intervention and exploitation
(which rapidly developed capitalist enterprise), the Haitian system was
integrated into the world system by virtue of having an export economy.  And
what Haiti does not have is a genuine, independent bourgeoisie.  The Haitian
bourgeoisie, whether comprador or technocrat, has been and remains the pet
bourgeoisie of the transnational capitalists.  This is important, because we
will err if we see Haiti's economic development out of that context, as we
will err if we fail to see that Haiti's core struggle is and must be first
for self-determination.  Given this situation, that is an inherently
anti-capitalist struggle.

> Unfortunately for Haiti and for all of us, it seems that bourgeois
> is just about obsolete and is moving into some kind of two-tiered
> transnational imperialism.  (I don't remember exactly what Noam Chomsky
> called it, but you probably know what I mean.)  So I don't think small
> countries like Haiti are going to have the option of enjoying any kingship
> bourgeois democracy/capitalism at all before being gobbled up by
> transnational corporations and/or economies.

Closer.  The confusion here is that there is something called "bourgeois
capitalism."  An owning class that employs a non-owning class is a
characteristic of capitalism... all capitalism.  The stage of development of
capitalism that we are seeing with a vengeance is imperialism--defined as
capitalism that controls economies through export of capital instead of
commodities, increased power for international financial oligarchies, the
division of the world into economic blocs controlled by the most powerful
nations in those blocs, etc.  But it's capitalism, nonetheless.

> Sincerely,
> Nancy Laleau