By Henry Veltmeyer (ed.)
This publication of essays is written in honour of James Petras, in reputation of his highbrow achievements and political interventions—his steadfast rules, exceptional scholarship, remarkable writing and uncompromising commitment to the preferred struggles of hundreds of thousands the world over. In acceptance of his life of major contributions and important function within the international fight for social justice, the authors of this assortment, each one a number one student in his personal correct, deal with essentially the most serious problems with our time: these of imperialism, challenge and sophistication fight. those matters let the authors to spot either the ‘the enduring verities and modern face of capitalism’ and James Petras’ contributions to their paintings and that of others.
Contributors are Berch Berberoglu, Tom Brass, Ronald H. Chilcote, Raúl Delgado clever, John Bellamy Foster, Hannah Holleman, Ashok Kumbamu, Fernando Leiva, Stephen Lendman, Morris Morley, Michael Parenti, and Henry Veltmeyer.
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Among other elements, such analysis opened up a totally different entry point on debates about the relevance of Latin America’s revolutionary left. Beyond discussions about the nature of capitalist development in Latin America and the ‘anti-feudal’ versus ‘proletarian’ ‘long petal of wine, sea and snow’ 25 character of the Latin American revolution, the existence or not of a national bourgeoisie, or armed versus peaceful roads, Petras’ analysis of the Chilean situation posed a new angle from which to evaluate the role of the emergent revolutionary left: the requisite to preserve significant levels of autonomy from the capitalist state.
8 Ernest Mandel attempts to clarify the central issue around the theory of permanent revolution by distinguishing among several positions. The Mensheviks argued that because the tasks of the revolution are bourgeois democratic, only a bourgeois government and bourgeois state can achieve them; efforts by the working class to take power would result in a revolutionary setback. Trotsky countered that the bourgeoisie would support the counterrevolution and, further, that if the bourgeoisie were to maintain its hegemony within the revolution, the revolution would collapse.
Leiva was entering that complex time when it would become necessary to ‘sacrifice dictators in order to save the regime’. After Pinochet’s defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, illusions about the imminent return to genuine democracy exploded. Petras sought to bring some clarity to what was transpiring and do so by bringing a class analytic perspective to the new situation. His essay ‘The New Class Basis of Chilean Politics’ represents a synthesis of his previous studies about the nature of the Greek and Spanish ‘transitions to democracy’ with his now almost two decade long involvement with Chile.