Rosa Luxemburg Foundation offices in Germany
Kein guter Rat für La Paz from Junge Welt
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is financed by the German government. Their representative’s comments here reflected the talking points by those on the “left” (such as environmental groups and Upside Down World) who covered for the regime change operation against Evo Morales and the Movement for Socialism. Translation:
Not good advice for La Paz
In Bolivia, gas, oil and mining are essential for poverty reduction, industrialization and sovereignty. The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation considers this to be a mistake
Red Erbol is one of the most popular radio stations in Bolivia. The mouthpiece of the Catholic Church, which is openly at war with the leftist government of President Evo Morales, was pleased to receive a studio visit from Germany in May. “The interviewee criticizes the direction of so-called socialism of the 21st century, which in the majority of cases is reduced to mere verbiage to disguise policies of extractivism,” the station announced a conversation in the morning format Mapamundi. The guest was not an avowed opponent of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), which has been transforming the country of ten million inhabitants from a neoliberal model student to a favorite opponent of the conservative international since 2006, but a leftist.
Miriam Lang, head of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung) Andean office in Quito, was at the microphone. With publications and seminars underway, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation branch, which is run entirely by women, sees itself as an intellectual spearhead. For Bolivia, they have set out “in search of alternatives to the prevailing economic model,” which has so far been “based exclusively on the export of natural resources.” For the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation experts, “extractivism,” i.e., the mining of raw materials and their export to the world market, is nothing but capitalism. With a wave of the hand, left-wing governments in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador are accused of following the wrong development path.
Many a sleepy radio listener might not have believed their ears. “We have the same situation today as in colonial times, things are being taken out of the ground here and brought somewhere else,” Lang said, making a “colonialism of the 21st century.” The “triad of progress, development, growth” is a fatal aberration, “perverse” consequence of the “mentality of this modernity,” he said. The Munich-born sociologist suggested to Bolivians that the right path was not the industrialization of gas, iron ore and lithium, as envisaged by La Paz, but rather the “strengthening of the autochthonous.” It was important “not to repeat the mistakes of the north.”
Here the moderator could stand it no longer. His countrymen had a right to the satisfaction of basic needs, the baffled journalist remarked. This “agenda from the North”, all the well-honed criticisms of “German ecos”, does not take into account the most necessary needs in the underdeveloped countries.
Understandable. His homeland is still the poorhouse of the continent. Given the lack of hospitals, doctors and dialysis equipment, people die earlier here than elsewhere. Nowhere from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego do so many children fail to survive their first year of life. The road network is smaller than that of a major German city. Only one in two has electricity, let alone computers with internet. Clean water from the tap is a luxury. Progress, growth and development are not rejected as threats, they are survival issues. Instead of constructive solidarity with the nationalization of natural resources and encouragement to redistribute natural resource pensions through social programs to the poorest, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation gives bad advice.
Miriam Lang sees it differently: “You have an advantage, you can take a different path before you fall into the same trap we did,” and “Why do we need a steel industry?” she asked. In the daily La Razón, Lang follows up: “Socialism as a utopia remains problematic,” argues Ms. Lang of the foundation that bears Rosa Luxemburg’s name: “Serious mistakes of the 20th century” such as the “modern logic of growth,” the “competition with the capitalist system,” and “the whole development of the productive forces” have led “civilization to the abyss.” Therefore, capitalism and socialism of the 20th century are “just as guilty” of colonialism, war, and climate crisis.
Consciously or unconsciously, the convergence theory and industrial society theory favored by the West German left during the Cold War is breaking new ground here. From the 1960s onward, it was fashionable west of the Elbe to condemn the real socialism of Eastern bloc states as capitalists in disguise. On that side of the Wall, it was not the business community that was squeezing the population, but a red-coated bureaucratic elite. This bizarre agreement with Western development theorists such as White Office adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was hardly disturbing to them. Nationalizations by Kremlin political cadres were “merely a technical-political means of increasing labor productivity, accelerating the development of the productive forces, and controlling them from above,” as Herbert Marcuse lashed out against “state capitalism” there in 1964 in The Social Doctrine of Soviet Marxism. Max Horkheimer went further. By eliminating private property, these “authoritarian states” were more capitalist than Hitler’s Germany or Franco’s Spain.
The bizarre agreement with Western development theorists such as Oval Office adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski hardly bothered. Nationalizations by Kremlin political cadres were “merely a technical-political means of increasing labor productivity, accelerating the development of the productive forces, and controlling them from above,” Herbert Marcuse lashed out against state capitalism there in 1964 in The Social Doctrine of Soviet Marxism. Max Horkheimer went further. By eliminating private property, these “authoritarian states” were more capitalist than Hitler’s Germany or Franco’s Spain.
Today, similar analytical misfires are painted green and applied to South America’s left-leaning countries. In the early 1980s, Rainer Rilling denounced the blatant “contempt for the economic dimensions of property relations”. At that time, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Analysis warned in an analysis against “confused” egalitarianism and “complete confusion.” Today, South America’s left is experiencing a historic moment – and some intellectuals from Germany, who look at the “New World” in these times of neoliberal restoration of Europe, can think of nothing more than a rehash of old critiques of socialism. The right is rubbing its hands.