Cardoso and Milosevic; dependency and nationalism

Hello list-mates: Due to extensive computer over-hauling, I was prevented from sending mail to this list for two weeks. Now, returning to business as usual.

In the recent discussion around the nature of the Milosevic regime, IMHO it's necessary to agree that the class base, as well as the nature of the economic policies of Milosevic's, are ultimately of the same nature as the policies of any other post-stalinist regime, in that it seeks to harness the national economy to international finance capital movements as a basis to a dependent strategy of capital accumulation devised by a stalinist-like bureaucracy turned lumpen-bourgeoisie. However, given the specific nature of the Milosevic regime - a personal autocracy based on plebiscitary devices and a nationalist ideology- Milosevic's policies include -differently from economic policies in the Czech Republic, or Poland - *retaining a modicum of internal control*- exerted by Milosevic and his cronies- over the said process of dependent accumulation. The fact that Milosevic remains adamant about retaining his political clout over the [rump]Yugoslav body economic is, in fact, what has prevented him to bend his knees before Western Imperialism, and the sole reason why defense of the present Yugoslav body politic against NATO retains, to the World Left, an unavoidable progressive character.

To realize what is the alternative to such a regime, let's have a translation of today's article by Elio Gaspari, in *O Globo* of today:

Cardoso's Washington Party

by Elio Gaspari

"President Cardoso climbed a rostrum last Monday in the Eximbank to expose the blessing of his policies. Behind him, a huge panel[...] said more or less the following, in English: 'Commemmorating 65 years of employment through exports'[...] That is, *American* exports, which the Eximbank finances. Cardoso went into the picture as a representative of an importing country, helping produce job opportunities in America[...] Brazil has now the 4th greatest amount of jobless people in a given country. Out of every 100 jobless people in the world, 5 are Brazilians. [Neverthless] since 1994, American exports to Brazil had a growth increased 220%, while Brazilian exports to the USA went only 22% up. Cardoso's cronies boast about the fact that Brazil imports from the USA amount to 25% more than Chinese imports.


In a globalized world, nothing could be more fashionable than having a president hugely unpopular at home, but cheered in Washington"

[and NB- *O Globo* is the Brazilian bourgeois newspaper *par excellence*, and Mr. Gaspari is not exactly a Left, only indignant- in this particular case, an indignation prompted by Cardoso's uninterrupted, costly and useless foreign travelling and his displays of subservience].

Carlos Rebello

As the list members undoubtedly know, we are here in Brazil in the midst of a parliamentary inquiry commission in the Senate dealing with the fact that, during the devaluation of the Real in January, the than president of the Central Bank allowed U$1.5 m in aid to be given two bankrupted banks (by selling dollars to the said banks at the old exchange rate) given the allegedly possibility of "systemic risk". The former president of the Central Bank having been duly pilloried before the commission, by being briefly arrested for refusing to testify under oath (which would imply arraigning the principle that no one must testify against oneself), it remains to be known whether Finance minister Malan (to whom the president of the Braz. Central Bank, unlike the Fed, is a subordinate) knew about the said relief operation - and also about the fact that, shortly before the devaluation, a reduced group of Banks, including, among others, the J.P.Morgan, decided after a prolonged period of filling future orders for selling dollars, started buying in an enormous scale .

The Minister has declared that he didn't know anything on both counts, even when confronted with incontrovertible evidence that he was at the Central Bank office during the day when the decision for the "anti-systemic operation" was taken. Since the Minister is until now a protege of FHC and of the Senate President Antonio Carlos Magalhaes, he has not received a subpoena, and it is generally admitted that he will not receive one testify before the commission. Meanwhile, other commission at the Senate about the Juditiary, after hearing a retired judge with an account in the Cayman Islands and a bought apartment in a Miami condo.... But I begin to tire, these histories are ever more confused, longer and nastier...

The last Sunday, the member of the National Directorate of the Workers' Party, the former mayor of Porto alegre Tarso Genro, repeated in an article in *Folha de Sao Paulo* his old proposal of ousting of FHC and extraordinary presidential elections. The article can hardly be considered stylish, and it begins with two rambling paragraphs which try to develop a failed metaphor between the plot of Tennessee Williams's *Night of the Iguana* and the present Brazilian political situation (a metaphor I shall spare my readers to reproduce). The choicest parts are:

"I believe that the president must be faced with the fact that he personally supports an outlaw group that controls state treasury and subordinates the country's Labour and Capital to the benefit of the happy few. Some banks profited (evidently, through inside trading)U$1.3 billion in the month of january,a sum which they had not got in the way of profit in the entire past year"! US$ 40 billion of foreign reserves of currency were burnt in an attemp t to preserve "exchange rate populism". Crime against country, nation, and political stability [sic-my emphasis]. The president must be held responsible [the fact that this commonplace can be taken as a scandal-mongering proposal says much about the present Brazilian political situation].

[...] The government has ended [...] and only the President of the Semate Magalhaes wants that to happen slowly, in order to propose, under his control, an amendment introducing the parliamentary system and his opportunity to become prime-minister [and chief of an outright oligarchical system, I add- CR].


Isn't that high time to announce society that we have a president each moment more illegitimate, a government each moment more illegal, a State- Finance Corps relationship ever more corrupt? In January I had not stated that, had only prepared myself to; today, I daresay that readers will be less shocked when I ask: Haven't we enough of FHC?"

And, perhaps the problem in the 3rd World is exactly choosing-having to- between Slobodan Milosevic and FHC...

Carlos Rebello

I admit I was somewhat jumping to a conclusion about making the statement that NATO had already lost its war in Yugoslavia, but nevertheless sustain it.

We must be clear that here, in psychologically far-away, provincial, and economically stagnated Brazil, the war in Yugoslavia is a far cry from creating any kind of ruckus in public opinion at large. However, the mere existence of such a war- and, above all, its present course- will, sooner or later create, in Brazil as in the rest of LA, some kind of an antidote against ideological "common sense" statements- made daily by the Brazilian media- that justify any act of subservience to imperialist interest - from the passing of a bill on patent rights for imported medicines manufactured by multinationals to a further eroding of well-earned rights to retirement pensions; from the curtailing of further research in long-distance missile technology to further cuts in education and health state expenditure- by arguing that "globalization" cannot be argued against; that the powers-that-be cannot be resisted and that what remains to the left are to perform is getting to manage some token social worker with the aid of charitable donations from concerned citizens and "1st World" NGOs. In this sense, Yugoslav resistance has made already much to the morale of the Left - or what remains of it - around the World, by proving right Trotsky's dictum in 1940 that

"Bertrand Russell thinks, it is true, that some victorious state may, as a result of the war, unify the world in a totalitarian vise. But even if such a hypothesis should be realized, which is highly doubtful [sic] military 'unification' would have no greater stability than the Versailles Treaty. National uprisings and pacifications would culminate in a new war, which would be the grave of civilization" (*In Defense of Marxism*, Pathfinder, 1990 reprint., pg 11). Well, the first part of Trotsky's prophecy has proved ultimately right:an imperialist "monopolar" world, under the iron vise of Capital, has not been a peaceful place since at least the Gulf War. It's up to us to try to make the 2nd part of T's forecast prove wrong. Otherwise....

Carlos Rebello