Monday, May 12, 2008

Union of struggle against Imperialism, creating socialism based on historic cultural traditions, and continuing the class struggle

I've been rifling through "Old Left" ideas again, trying to resurrect some things that still have value.

The question of socialism in the Third World is kind of complex because of both the cultural background of non-western countries and the imperialist relations of western countries to them.

Iraq, for instance, is currently occupied by an imperialist power, the United States, combined with lesser occupations by other western powers. It wants freedom to self determine its destiny without the U.S. being there. At the same time, the U.S. is attempting to impose its culture on Iraq through promoting secularism and secular western traditions and cultural patterns. If you're a socialist this presents a problem in that socialism is supposed to be a progressive doctrine while this sort of resistance to cultural domination seems to support reactionary elements. But there's a way out of this, and it consists of the idea that non-western countries can establish equivalent institutions to Western democracy based on their own cultural traditions. Collective decision making based on non-absolutist models. Socialism that creates change while not negating historical traditions by calling them backward and feudalistic. Yet this does not invalidate the theory of class struggle; instead, it may lead to a theory of class struggle done under the auspices of national traditions, a sort of melding of Third World socialism with more classical Marxist and socialist goals.

In Iraq, for instance, you could say that a valid movement could consist of resistance to U.S. imperialism as manifested through culturally aware groups that also want to combat class inequality in Iraqi society. But it's not either or with culturally aware groups. They may root themselves in these ways but they're not shut off from the outside world either.

*on edit: this would be a good way for a country to transition from feudalism to socialism without the collective trauma of a Cultural Reovlution.

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