60%(5)3 out of 5 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 120 - 122 out of 281 pages.
Revolution had, in effect, become tired. It was indeed capitalism, not revolutionary socialism and third-
worldism, which in the 1990S formed the global vision of the future. This haphazard and impressionistic response has, however, to be compounded by a reflection on the overall legacy of the century of revolutions: neither form of amnesia—counterrevolutionary or revolutionary—is acceptable. Indeed, amnesia invites the repetition of another common saying with regard to revolutions, that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Here perhaps is one of themost worrying aspects of thecontemporary radical movement, be it in its national or internationalist forms: the failure to reflect, critically, on the pastrecordof revolutionary movements. This pertains to models of alternative political and social orders. It pertains to the dangers inherent in any utopian, radicalized, mass movement that lacks clearforms of authority and decision-making. It also involves the espousal, spirited but onlinous, ofalternative social ordersthat could work only if imposed by an authoritarian state. A pertinent contemporary example is that of radical environmentalism: the program of de-industrialization, and restricted consumption and travel, entailed by such ideas could only be established, and maintained, by a coercive state. In the international sphere, thesimple invocation of solidaritymay too often conceal interests of power, and manipulation.In the days of authoritarian Communist Parties, but equally in that of national and communal movements today, unconditional solidarity with repressive organizations may be at odds withany commitment to emancipatory values. Such a critical reflection has to apply, too, to the individuals often invoked for contemporary purposes: Lenin was a visionary, but also a cruel, pompous bigot; Che was a man of heroism and solidarity, but his econonlic programs were a disasterandhis austere romanticism at times led to cruelty; Mao freed a quarter of mankind from imperialism, but also repeatedly plunged his society into barbarous conflict and social experimentation; Khomeini overthrew the Shah, but his social and political program was reactionary and repressive.A similar pause in romanticization might be applicableto some of the supposed components of the anti-globalization front today:few might defend Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il or Ayatollah Khamenei, but there isperhaps too little questioning of the commitment to emancipatory valuesof the PKK in Turkey, Sendero Luminoso, the FARC in Colombia, the Chechen rebels, to name but some. The Zapatista movementhas become for many an icon of hope: but, as contributors to this volume make clear, it is not alwaysitself a model of democratic practice. More importantly, one has to ask if this is the most important experience in the Latin America of the I990S to study: it is part of, but only one part of, a broader crisis of the authoritarian PRI regime that beset Mexico and resulted in the rise on the one hand of the PRD and on the other of the election of Fox in 2000. An open assessment of challenges to authoritarian,