Thank you, Vera Vratusa,* for your excellent questions submitted in the Comments form. The questions address issues that we are going to explore more fully in future posts, but I would like to take a moment to succinctly address them now.
Vera poses questions concerning the internal and external contradiction confronted by Third World reform and revolutionary movements in the 1960s and 1970s. The questions are formulated in a way that points to a correct understanding.
The basic internal contradiction is that the national bourgeoisie in the neocolony is allied with the international bourgeoisie, whose bases of operations are found in the developed nations in the core of the world system. The national bourgeoisie was formed during the colonial process, and it was constituted by European settlers and their descendants (especially in Latin America) as well as by an educated elite created by educational systems imposed by the colonizer (more common in Africa). The national bourgeoisie has an interest in independence from colonialism, but in a form of independence that preserves the basic structures of colonialism, especially its economic structures. The national bourgeoisie benefits from neocolonialism and has an interest in maintaining it. Thus the national bourgeoisie in the neocolony acts in opposition to the popular movements consisting of the petit bourgeoisie, workers, peasants, students, women, ethnic minorities, and indigenous populations as well as renegade individuals from the national bourgeoisie. These popular movements seek true sovereignty and independence by means of the transformation of neocolonial structures. The national bourgeoisie has considerable influence, although few in numbers, because of its accumulated wealth.
At the same time, there are important external contradictions that the movements confront. The first external factor is the interest of the international bourgeoisie in maintaining the neocolonial structures of the world system and its capacity to mobilize enormous economic, financial, military, political, and ideological resources on a global scale in defense of its interests. And the second factor is the undeveloped nature of South-South structures of commerce, finance, transportation, and communication, making it difficult for a neocolony to put into practice an alternative world system.
These powerful internal and external factors present formidable obstacles to Third World governments that seek true independence, making it difficult for them to improve the standard of living of the people, leading to an erosion of popular support for the governments and movements that seek an alternative world system. In the 1980s, the global elite was able to take advantage of the difficulties confronted by the movements to engage in a global war against the poor, in a desperate effort to maintain the structures of the neocolonial world system. Although successful at first, this global neoliberal project was so detrimental to the basic needs of the people that it provoked a revitalization of the popular movements after 1995, creating a global political crisis for the neocolonial world-system.
The three obstacles to the movements are still with us. But now the conditions are less unfavorable to the movements, making possible the definitive turn that the movements have historically sought. We will be pursing these themes in future posts.
I encourage all to follow the fine example of Vera and to submit comments and/or questions.
Greetings from Havana, Cuba.
* Vera Vratusa is Professor of Sociology at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Visit http://veravratusaesociology.wikispaces.com/